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Frequently Asked Questions

Tell Us About Your Case
When an accident or injury occurs, you are usually left with more questions than answers. At The Law Office of David McQuade Leibowitz, P.C., we understand how overwhelming your situation can be and we strive to ease your burden during this difficult time. Every case is different. Every case is unique. In order to answer specific questions about your case, Attorney Leibowitz would need to meet with you one-on-one to discuss the details of your personal situation. Until then, we have compiled a list of general questions you might have before meeting with David McQuade Leibowitz.
What should I do after an accident?

The most important thing you can do after your accident is to seek medical treatment for any injury sustained. Begin documenting all of your losses and expenses – medical bills, property damage and/or time lost at work – so that your damages can be accurately accounted for. If possible, get the names and contact information for any witnesses there may have been to your accident.

What shouldn’t I do after an accident?

Do not admit fault to anyone. This includes police officers, doctors, EMT’s, family and/or friends. Do not sign any paperwork other than the citation that may be issued from the investigating officer (this is NOT an admission of guilt). Do not give a recorded statement. Any statement that you give could be taken out of context and used against you in future settlement negotiations and/or trial. Do not post anything about the accident to social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snap Chat, etc. as these can provide defense attorneys’ a way to undermine your claim.

Should I give a recorded statement about my auto accident?           

The short answer is no, you should not give a recorded statement about your auto accident until you have spoken with an attorney. Auto accidents usually leave victims shaken and disorientated which could cause you to give a statement that is conflicting or lacking important details. As the days and weeks go by you could remember important details that may help your case or new information from police reports or witnesses could shed more light on your auto accident. It is best to wait to give a statement until all information is present. Remember, the insurance company will not have your best interests in mind and anything you say to them can be used against you in court.

Should I talk to anyone involved in the accident (witnesses, police/fire/EMT’s, etc.)?

It is important to get the names and contact information, if possible, from anyone who witnessed your accident. However, it is also important that you do not discuss the accident with anyone. It is imperative that you make no statement of fault to anyone including the police, family and/or friends. Of course, you can tell the police officer how the accident happened and provide the officer with your license and insurance information, and explain to EMS personnel what parts of your body are hurting; however, do NOT talk with an insurance company representative without talking with an attorney first. Insurance companies are not in business to pay fair and just compensation to those injured. They are in the business to "rake in" your premiums and maximize their profits.

Who will pay for my car to be fixed?

The party responsible for the accident will also be responsible for paying for any repairs needed to your car. David McQuade Leibowitz will assist you in filing a property damage claim in addition to any claim personal injury claim.

Can I get a rental car?

Once the responsible party’s insurance company has accepted liability, they should pay for a rental car.

How will the accident affect the value of my car?

It is possible that there will be no effect on the value of your car or it is possible that the value of your car will decrease as a result of the accident. Once all repairs to your car have been made, an appraisal can be made to determine if the car has retained its value or if it has decreased. In cases where the car has lost value as a result of an accident, David McQuade Leibowitz can file a “Diminished Value” claim which can compensate you for the diminished value of your car.

What if I owe more on my car than it is worth?

Unless you have Gap insurance, you will, unfortunately, be responsible for the difference. 

My car is totaled, now what?

If your car is not repairable after an accident or it costs more to repair than the car is worth, the responsible parties’ insurance will owe you compensation in the amount of the value of your car before the accident.

What is UM?

Uninsured motorist coverage is additional, optional, coverage you purchase through your insurance company to help pay for injuries sustained in an accident with a motorist who does not, despite Texas law, have motor vehicle insurance.  

What is UIM?

Underinsured motorist coverage is additional, optional, coverage you purchase through your insurance company to help pay for injuries sustained in an accident with a motorist whose insurance does not cover all of your injury-related expenses.

What is PIP?

Personal Injury Protection is additional, optional, coverage you purchase through your insurance company to help pay for medical expenses and lost wages as a result of an injury sustained in an accident. Even if your medical insurance covered all or part of your medical expenses, a claim can be submitted to your insurance company for reimbursement of medical expenses.

Who is responsible for my injuries?

The simple answer is usually the driver of the car that hit you is responsible for your injuries and any property damage, but there could be circumstances where other parties are liable as well.

What if the other driver’s insurance isn’t enough?

Under Texas law, the minimum amounts of car insurance a person must have is $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident. Unfortunately, especially in the case of serious injuries, that insurance is often not enough. In those cases, a claim can be made through UIM coverage if you opted for it on your insurance. In some cases, a judgment can be levied against the responsible party if they have assets or other resources to pay for the additional expenses.

I was injured in a car accident, do I have a claim?

More than likely, if you were injured in a car accident, you do have a claim for the injuries you received and the damage done to your car. The amount of your claim will depend on the type of negligence, the amount of liability for everyone involved in the accident, the type of injury(s) sustained and all property damage resulting from the accident.

I was hit by an uninsured driver, what now?

While Texas law makes it mandatory to have car insurance, many people choose not to or simply cannot afford car insurance. If you are hit by a driver who does not have the required car insurance, you may have to rely on your own insurance to cover medical bills, lost wages and/or property damage. It may be possible to file a judgment against the at-fault driver but they may lack the finances to pay for that judgment.

Does a rear end accident have "automatic liability" in Texas?

Generally speaking, yes rear-end accidents usually have "automatic liability" in the state of Texas but there are some exceptions. A driver can present evidence that that mechanical failure prevented the car from stopping, that the front car stopped abruptly or unexpectedly switched lanes and/or that the front car stopped illegally. If any of those can be proven there is a chance that the rear driver might not be guilty of negligent driving.

What are the different kinds of car accident claims?

There are a few different types of claims that can be filed as the result of a car accident. Some of the different claims are:

Personal Injury/Bodily Injury – a claim that includes injuries and medical treatment necessary for healing

Property Damage – a claim that includes damage done to the automobile as a result of the accident

Lost Wages – a claim that includes wages lost as a result of work missed due to an injury and can also include the loss of ability to earn money in the future

Pain and Suffering – a claim that includes mental or physical distress caused by the accident including any mental and/or emotional damage stemming from the accident

Loss of Consortium – a claim that includes the loss of the ability to have an affectionate relationship that is filed by the uninjured spouse

Wrongful Death – a claim that is filed when a death is the result of an accident

What are the most common car accident injuries?

Some of the most common injuries that are the result of a car accident are:

Head and Back Injuries – concussion, traumatic brain injury, herniated discs in the neck or lower back, sprains, strains, muscle spasms, broken or fractured vertebrae

Neck and Chest Injuries – whiplash, cartilage tears, broken ribs, sternum or breastbone

Internal Injuries – rupture of a diaphragm, damage to kidneys, liver, spleen or other organs

Soft Tissue Injuries – damage to the tendons, ligaments or muscles

Spinal Cord Injuries – Displaced disc material, bone fragments, ligament tearing or bruising to the spinal tissue

I was in a car accident, now what?

The very first thing you should do is seek medical treatment if you were injured as a result of your car accident. Your health is the most important thing!

If possible, there are a few things you can do at the accident site that can help your case:

1) Call 911 and file a report with the police. It is ok to sign a citation that the responding officer might issue – this is protocol and is NOT an admission of guilt.

2) Take pictures of the accident and accident site, all injuries, all vehicles involved (including license plates), road conditions (especially if there was something hazardous that may have caused or contributed to the accident), traffic signs, skid marks and/or anything else that may have an impact on your case.

3) Exchange information with the other driver(s). This includes not only insurance information but contact information as well (address, phone number, 
and email address).

4) Exchange contact information with any witnesses to the accident including name, address, phone number and email address.

After the accident, make sure to contact your insurance company to let know you have been in an accident. The only information you need to provide your insurance company with is the fact that you were in an accident and the basics of what occurred. Do NOT go into much detail, do NOT admit any kind of fault and do NOT sign any paperwork.

I wasn’t injured in the accident, but my car was damaged. What are my options?

You do not have to be injured to make an accident claim. Under Texas law, if your vehicle was damaged in an accident that was not your fault, then you have the legal right to recover the costs associated with repairing your vehicle. Should the repairs cost more than the value of your car, you are entitled to recover the value of the vehicle before the accident.

I was injured riding a motorcycle, what now?

The first, and most important, thing to do if injured while riding a motorcycle is to seek medical treatment for your injury(s). Since motorcycles do not offer the same protections as an automobile and riders are less protected, many time the injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident are often more severe so it is important to have your injuries examined by a medical professional.

If your injury(s) are the result of another person’s negligence, it may be best to employ a personal injury lawyer to ensure that you will be fully compensated for any and all injuries you sustained.

My children’s car seats were in my car at the time of my accident. Do they need to be replaced? Will insurance pay to replace them?

Whether or not you need to replace your child(ren)’s car seat(s) after an accident depends on the brand of car seat. Most of the popular brands of car seats require replacement after any accident, even a minor one, even if the seat was unoccupied. It is best to always consult the car seat manual and/or manufacture to determine if you need to replace the car seat.

Some of the brands of car seats that require replacement after any crash include Clek, Cosco, Evenflo, Graco, and Safety 1st.

Often insurance companies will say that they will not replace a car seat if the accident didn’t meet the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) minor accident guidelines or if the car seat was unoccupied, but the insurance company cannot overrule a manufacturer’s instructions and/or they cannot apply NHTSA guidelines if the manufacturer requires replacement after any crash. You can supply your insurance company with either a copy of your car seat manual and/or a letter from the manufacturer that states their requirements for replacing a car seat after an accident.

If you have any questions as to what constitutes an accident or whether your car seat(s) require replacement after an accident the best thing you can do is contact the manufacturer and they can, and will, readily advise you with regards to your specific car seat(s).

How can the “black box” from a commercial truck help me?

The cousin of an airplane’s “black box”, Electronic Control Modules (ECMs) or Event Data Recorders (EDRs) monitor and retain important information about commercial trucks that can be used to determine important information about your accident. Aside from truck maintenance and functioning, a truck’s “black box” can tell your attorney about the truck driver’s behavior including average speed and/or length of time the truck exceeded set speed limits; how long the truck had been in use; how far the truck had traveled; whether or not there had been excessive stops or hard braking; whether the airbag deployed and/or if the seatbelt was in use. All of this information helps provide necessary details critical to your case.

What are the common causes of truck accidents?

Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:

Driver Fatigue
Poor or Improper Truck Maintenance
Equipment Failure
Distracted Driving
Inadequate or Improper Training/Inexperienced Drivers
Intoxication – Drug Use or Alcohol Consumption
Reckless or Aggressive Driving

I was injured in a truck accident, what now?

First, and most important, seek medical attention even if you don’t think you were injured. To be on the safe side, you should get yourself checked out. There are some injuries, like whiplash, that are not visible and can take time to show up. Proving your injuries were caused by the accident will be a key component of your case, so it is imperative that you seek medical attention from the beginning.

It is also important to contact law enforcement when the accident occurs. The police will come to the scene of the accident to complete an accident report and will help with preserving evidence and details of the accident.

While you are still at the scene, and if you are able, take photos of the accident – your vehicle, the truck, any injuries sustained, roadway conditions, street signs, etc. Also, gather as much information about the truck driver (name, license number, insurance information) and any eyewitnesses (name and contact information) as they may be more difficult to track down after they leave the scene of the accident.

Once that is all said and done, contact David McQuade Leibowitz, an experienced truck accident lawyer. He can immediately start working to protect evidence, conduct a thorough investigation and deal with all parties, insurance companies and defense lawyers that will be involved in your case. You need to focus on healing, allow David McQuade Leibowitz to focus on getting you the compensation you deserve.

How is a truck accident claim different than a car accident claim?

Since trucks are so much larger than cars and weigh so much more, accidents involving commercial trucks and big rigs usually result in injuries that are worse than those from a car accident.

When it comes to truck accident claims there are also many possible defendants whose negligence led to your injuries including, but not limited to, truck driver, trucking company, manufacturer of truck and/or parts on the truck, loading facility, repair facility and/or government entity responsible for road hazards.

There are also differences in insurance claims with a truck accident as opposed to a car accident. For example, trucking companies are required to carry insurance, but are under no obligation to reveal how much insurance they have until litigation begins. Also, part of the requirements for trucking companies is that the insurance company must provide coverage to all vehicles, even those not specifically listed on the insurance policy. Further, truck companies have to carry insurance with much higher limits than do personal vehicle owners. 

Given the complex nature of trucking accident cases, it is important that you have an experienced lawyer defending your rights. David McQuade Leibowitz will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.

What kind of compensation can I receive after a truck accident?

There are two kinds of compensation you can receive depending on the circumstances and results of your accident - economic and noneconomic compensation. Economic compensation includes past, present and future medical bills, lost income, loss of ability to earn income in the future and/or property damage to your car and its content. Noneconomic compensation can include physical/emotional pain and suffering, change in lifestyle, loss of enjoyment of life and/or loss of consortium.

The truck accident I was involved in was partially my fault. Do I still have a case?

Determining fault in a trucking accident is not always clear cut as there are often many contributing factors. It is not uncommon that both drivers share a portion of the blame when it comes to accidents. However, whether or not you can recover damages depends on the percentage of the accident that is deemed your fault. Texas law states that if someone is injured in an accident that is less than 51% their fault they can recover damages but the damages are reduced by the percentage they are at fault. This is why it is important to have the very best lawyer making sure that you are able to collect all damages to which you are entitled.

What are the laws that govern the trucking industry?

Almost every aspect of the trucking industry is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) which is a part of the United States Department of Transportation. The laws that are in place are there to protect everyone on the road including truck drivers themselves. Some of the areas that the FMCSA places strict regulations on are:

Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) – regulations on who can obtain a CDL as well as requiring applicants to pass skills and written test

Hours of Service – one of the biggest issues with truckers is fatigue so the FMCSA has limited how long drivers can and cannot drive

Weight and Size Restrictions – the FMCSA regulations restrict the weight and size of trucks used in interstate traffic

Drug and Alcohol – the FMCSA has clear rules on testing for substance abuse

Who is responsible when an 18-wheelers’ tire blows out?

18-wheeler tires never blow out for no reason - either the truck driver failed to properly inspect the tires, there was substandard equipment used or there was a defect in the manufacturing or installation of the tires. In the event that you are injured as the result of an 18-wheeler tire blow out, there are many different people and companies that can be held responsible for your injuries.

The driver of the 18-wheeler has a duty to inspect the tires for wear and tear and monitor tire pressure to ensure the tires are not under or over-inflated and a duty not to drive knowing there is a problem with the tires (daily checks keep truck drivers informed on the condition of their truck).

Other people that may possibly be responsible are manufactures, installers, and sellers. Each party has a responsibility to ensure that the products that trucks use are safe and free of defects.

Who can sue and who can be sued after a trucking accident?

Truck accidents can lead to complicated cases of liability since, depending on the circumstances of the accident, there can be multiple parties involved and responsible.

Ultimately, the person(s) who have a right to sue are those that were injured as a direct result of the accident – usually the driver and/or passenger(s) of the car involved in the accident with the truck.

The responsible party or parties that can be sued is determined by the circumstances of what caused the accident and your injury(s). There can be one or more parties including, but not limited to, the truck driver, the owner of the truck, the leaser of the truck, shipper or freight loader and/or the manufacturer of the truck/truck parts.

Do I have a case?       

If you have been injured or had property damage as a result of an accident and another person is at fault, then the short answer is yes, you do have a case against the negligent party. There are many factors that will determine the degree and strength of your case and David McQuade Leibowitz will need to assess your claim and discuss all of your options with you. 

Are there time limits to filing a lawsuit?                    

The State of Texas has a 2-year statute of limitation beginning on the date of the initial injury on most lawsuits arising from an auto accident. It is imperative that you contact The Law Offices of David McQuade Leibowitz, P.C. immediately after your accident so that he can begin working to resolve your case before the statute of limitation expires.

How long will a lawsuit take?

There is no standard answer to this question. Some cases are resolved quickly, while other cases take time to be resolved especially if your case goes to trial. David McQuade Leibowitz can better assess the probable timeline of your case when he meets with you about the details of your claim.

Will I have to go to court?

Most cases settle out of court but some do go to trial. It all depends on whether the insurance company fights the claim or tries to undervalue your case.

How long do I have to file a claim?

Personal injury claims have a statute of limitations of 2 years from the date of the injury to file a claim.

What will an attorney do for me?

The law is a complicated thing and takes legal expertise to skillfully and effectively navigate. When you hire an attorney they know what it takes not only to win a case but to ensure that every aspect of your case is handled successfully – challenging or suppressing evidence and/or testimony, filing discovery and responses to discovery, timely filing of court documents, etc. Attorneys also have access to expert witnesses and other professionals whose testimony can be used to prove and strengthen your claim.

Since the defendants in your case will have a team of lawyers on their side, it is important that you have a representative on your side that will fight to protect your interests both physically/mentally as a result of an injury(s) and any property damage related to your accident.

Additionally, experienced personal injury lawyers have a good idea of what can and will be a fair settlement for the expenses that you have as a result of an accident. Lawyers know how to negotiate and are usually able to negotiate a settlement that will more than compensate you.

What factors influence the outcome of my case?

There are many factors that will influence the outcome of your case including, but not limited to, actions leading up to your accident (such as speeding or negligent behavior like texting while driving) and actions that were, or were not, taken after the accident (such as seeking medical treatment or any admission of guilt). The evidence gathered after the accident, such as photographs, witness statements, measurements of skid marks, etc. at the accident scene, and medical records will also factor into the outcome of your case.

How much compensation am I entitled to?

There is no one answer to this question and no way to really determine how much compensation you are entitled to before reviewing all aspects of your case. There are many factors that will be used to determine compensation including, but not limited to, the severity of injuries sustained, the limits of the insurance involved, the amount of fault that each driver has in the accident, past, present and future medical bills, lost wages, lost earning potential and/or pain and suffering.

Do I need a lawyer?

Although Texas law allows all accident victims the right to counsel to ensure their rights are protected after an accident, the decision to hire a lawyer remains with the victim and, ultimately, if a victim does not want to hire an attorney it is not mandated that having a lawyer is required. In fact, oftentimes in minor accidents – accidents with no injuries and minimal damage to cars – a lawyer is not needed as insurance companies may fairly handle the claim. However, if an accident is serious – involving serious injuries or death, contested liability, denied claims and/or unreasonable settlement offers – it is in the best interest of the victim to hire a lawyer. Insurance companies do not always have the best interest of the victim at heart and are sometimes more concerned with protecting their client or their bottom line which can mean a victim does not get the full compensation they need and deserve. A lawyer is there to ensure that all of the victim’s needs – past, present, and future – are met and compensated for accurately.

When should I call an attorney?

Seeking out medical attention for any injuries is, of course, the first thing that you should do after any accident, but when it comes to an accident claim the sooner you call an attorney the better. The last thing you need to worry about while you are recovering is your accident claim, either for injury or property damage, so having someone who will start fighting for you is important. Additionally, your attorney can immediately begin an investigation into your accident which can greatly strengthen your case and all claims you may have.

What are punitive damages?

Punitive damages are damages that are awarded in excess of the amount of damages from provable injuries. Punitive damages are often awarded to punish the defendant or deter others from engaging in the activity that led to the lawsuit.

What is this going to cost?

It is the mission of David McQuade Leibowitz to provide unwavering support and effective results to those in need. To do so, he makes the services that he provides to clients both affordable and easily accessible. In fact, his contingency fee basis calls for no upfront payments. Clients will only be asked to pay for services that were provided to them under his representation if/when favorable results are achieved on their behalf. 

What is a personal injury lawyer and why do I need one?

A personal injury lawyer is a licensed lawyer who provides legal representation to those who have been injured – physically and/or mentally – by the negligence or wrongdoing of another person, company, government agency or other entities.

Although you are not legally required to have a personal injury lawyer for your case to be settled, personal injury lawyers provide you with experience assessing claims and cutting through red tape. They have experience working with other lawyers and/or insurance companies. They have objectivity when it comes to your case. Personal injury lawyers generally get the best settlements and/or jury verdicts.

After an accident, the only thing you should be focused on is healing from the injury(s) you sustained. You do not need to be dealing with insurance companies and/or the defendant’s lawyer. A personal injury attorney will take the stress and worry that comes with a personal injury claim off of you so that your full recovery is the most important thing you have to deal with.

Can I settle a Personal Injury Claim without a lawyer?

Absolutely, you are not required to have a lawyer when negotiating or settling a personal injury claim, but you are less likely to get the full compensation you need and deserve. Even if you are concerned about the cost of a lawyer, it is important to remember that most people who settle their claims without a lawyer receive less compensation than those who hire a lawyer and pay lawyer fees.

How long will my case take?

Unfortunately, there is no one answer to this question. Each case is unique and there is no standard on how long cases take. Some cases settle quickly, while others take longer to settle especially if your case goes to trial.

Will I have to go to court?

While most cases tend to settle out of court, depending on the case it may be necessary to go to court.

What do I need to support/prove my case?

The more information available, the better it is for your case. You are encouraged to gather as much information at the accident site as you able. This includes:

Pictures at the accident site of anything that may be relevant to your case such as injuries, damage to vehicles, road conditions/hazards, street signs, skid marks, etc.

Name and contact information for any witnesses

Name, contact information and insurance information for the other driver(s), r
esponding police officers information, information on the accident report including when you can request a copy

You are also encouraged to keep track of everything related to any injuries that you may have sustained including medical bills (emergency room visit(s), ambulance fees, doctors’ visits, medications prescribed, etc.), wages lost as a result of time off of work and any estimations/bills for repairs to your car.

How do I know if my accident and/or injury is worth legal action?

If you were injured in an accident that was not your fault and you have injuries that resulted from that accident, then it can be in your best interests to pursue legal action to ensure you are fully compensated for all expenses you may have incurred.

I hired an attorney but am dissatisfied with their service. What can I do?

The first thing that is suggested when you are dissatisfied with your lawyer is to speak with him/her and explain what it is that you are unhappy with. Most lawyers will be more than happy to discuss any issues you have and would like to be given a chance to explain and/or show improvement. However, if you are still not satisfied with either the explanation or your lawyer fails to make any improvements, then you are within your legal rights to seek out the opinion and/or services of another lawyer. You have the legal right to fire your attorney at almost any stage in your case although you may need the court’s permission if your case has already been filed or is set for trial.

It is important to remember that if you do decide to fire your lawyer, they can still charge you for work that they have already done with your case so it is generally best to try and work with your lawyer before ending the relationship.

How do I pay for medical expenses?

Initially, you are responsible for medical expenses either through your medical insurance or out-of-pocket if you do not have medical insurance or your medical insurance does not cover certain things. Once it is determined that you were not at fault for the accident, the at-fault party’s insurance company will be responsible for paying your medical expenses. It will also be possible for you to use the Personal Injury Protection that may have been purchased on your own insurance policy.

Some important things to remember are:

Insurance companies will only cut you one check. They will not pay for ongoing medical treatment. Therefore it is best to finish all medical treatment(s) necessary for recovery so that you know exactly how much compensation you deserve.

Once you have accepted a settlement check you cannot ask for more money.

You do not have to accept the 1st settlement check offer. It is often in your best interest NOT to accept the first offer especially if you are still undergoing treatment.

What does “standing to sue” mean?

Standing to sue is the legal requirement used to determine if the person bringing a lawsuit has suffered due to the negligence of the defendant. Unfortunately, members of the general public who have no personal stake in the outcome of the case are not allowed to sue. The law requires that the plaintiff in any lawsuit has either been affected by actions of the defendant or will be affected if the court does not intercede.

When it comes to a personal injury claim the person(s) who have been injured as a result of someone’s negligence almost always have standing to sue. In the matter of a wrongful death claim, the person(s) who have standing to sue are the immediate family of the deceased – spouse, parents and children.

Why The Law Offices of David McQuade Leibowitz, P.C.?

With over 35 years’ experience, David McQuade Leibowitz has a proven track record of success when it comes to winning personal injury cases. His dedication to victims and his passion for justice ensures that his commitment is to you and your family.

Unlike other law firms, you will never be just another case that is assigned to a lawyer you have never met or spoken with. At The Law Offices of David McQuade Leibowitz, P.C., it will be Attorney Leibowitz who handles your case from the very first meeting, through all settlement negotiations and even if a trial is necessary. You will never be just a number, rather you will be treated like an important client who deserves personal and professional attention. 

Having served as an elected member of the Texas House of Representatives, David McQuade Leibowitz helped author, or co-author, many of the laws that govern personal injury cases. When you hire The Law Offices of David McQuade Leibowitz, P.C., you hire an expert who knows the laws of Texas in a way no other lawyer who has not served in the legislature can. His knowledge is your unique advantage.

The insurance company wants me to sign paperwork, should I?

No! Do not sign any paperwork until you have spoken with David McQuade Leibowitz.

The insurance company is offering a settlement, should I take it?

No! It may take time to fully determine the extent of your injuries, all medical treatment that will be necessary for a full recovery and the amount of time it will take you to fully recover. While an early settlement offer may seem reasonable and fair, insurance companies do not work for you and they do not always fully consider your future quality of life when making a settlement offer.

The insurance company is calling, what do I say?

Do not speak with them. If you have already hired an attorney the insurance company should not be calling you directly. All communication should go through your attorney. If you have not yet hired an attorney simply tell the insurance company that you are in the process of hiring an attorney and will have your attorney call them. Do NOT speak with them about the accident or anything regarding the accident as anything you say can be used against you in the future. Do NOT give them a recorded statement.

I wasn’t injured in the accident, but my car what damaged. What are my options?

You do not have to be injured to make an accident claim. Under Texas law, if your vehicle was damaged in an accident that was not your fault then you have the legal right to recover the costs associated with repairing your vehicle. Should the repairs cost more than the value of your car, you are entitled to recover the value of the vehicle before the accident.

The insurance company wants to settle, what should I do?

You can either accept the settlement offer that the insurance company is offering, try to negotiate yourself for a higher offer or hire a personal injury attorney to handle everything for you. If you are considering accepting the insurance’s settlement offer please remember that the insurance companies rarely have your best interests at heart. They are more concerned with protecting their client and their own bottom line so the amount they offer is rarely one that is fair. It is in your best interest to have someone representing you, so call David McQuade Leibowitz today.

What is negligence?

Negligence is defined by law as a failure to exercise a reasonable amount of care for the safety and well-being of others.

How do I prove someone was negligent?

There are four elements that are needed to prove negligence:

Duty – the defendant owed a legal duty to you or your loved one. In some situations, a relationship might create a legal duty such as that of a doctor and patient. In other situations, the defendant owed you or your loved one a legal duty to act with reasonable care.

Breach of Duty – the defendant breached the duty owed to you or your loved one by acting or failing to act, how a “reasonably prudent person” would act under similar circumstances. More specifically, a person or company, knowing what the defendant knew at the time of your injury, would have known that someone would be injured as a result of their actions, or inactions, and would have, thus, acted differently.

Causation – the defendant’s action(s), or inaction(s), directly caused you or your loved ones injury(s). You not only have to prove the defendant’s negligent actions caused the injury(s) but you must be able to prove that the defendant could have foreseen that their action(s), or inaction(s), could cause an injury(s).

Damages – Plaintiff had damages that the court can compensate for such as monetary damages for medical expenses.

How do I prove negligence?

Generally speaking, in order to prove negligence you must be able to establish that the person who caused the injury or death failed to take actions a reasonable person would take in the same situation.

Legally speaking, in order to prove negligence you must prove:

Defendant owed you or your loved a duty

Defendant breached that duty

Breach of duty caused you or your loved one’s injury(s) or death

You or your loved one have suffered an injury(s) that the court can compensate

Proving negligence can be difficult which is why it is important to have an experienced attorney fighting for you.

Can I be compensated for my injury?

If you were injured due to the negligence of your employer or another person then yes, you should get compensation. However, if your injury can be perceived as coming as a result of any kind of negligence on your part then your claim for compensation can be denied.

Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?

Spouses, parents, and children can file a wrongful death suit.

How do I prove wrongful death claim?

To prove a wrongful death claim in Texas you must prove: you are a beneficiary – spouse, parent or child – of the deceased, that the defendant’s negligence caused the death of the deceased and that you have suffered demonstrable harm as a result of the death.

A loved one died in an accident, can I sue?

If you are a surviving family member – spouse, parent or child – who lost a family member in an accident that was not their fault then yes, you are entitled to file a wrongful death claim against the responsible party. The amount of financial compensation you receive will vary depending on your case, but typically the amount is similar to what would have been received in a personal injury claim.

What is a wrongful death claim?

Texas law states that a wrongful death claim can be brought if the “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default” of one person causes the death of another person.

A wrongful death claim is a lawsuit filed by the surviving family members – spouse, child or parent – of someone who died as the result of someone else’s negligence or intentional act. The claim is brought against the person(s) or entity(s) believed to be responsible for the victim’s death. 

How much compensation can I receive in a wrongful death suit?

There is no one answer to how much compensation you can receive as each case is different and unique. Financial compensation can include:

Economic Damages – the tangible damages that are the result of the victim’s death such as medical and funeral expenses, loss of earnings, loss of benefits (pension plan or medical insurance) and/or the loss of inheritance caused by the untimely death

Non-economic Damages – the less tangible, but often more valuable, damages such as damages for survivors’ mental anguish or pain and suffering, loss of companionship from deceased and/or loss of consortium

Punitive Damages – the damages awarded to the survivors that are a punishment to the defendant for their bad conduct that contributed or lead to the death of the victim

Do I have to be legally married in order to bring a wrongful death lawsuit?

Unfortunately, in Texas you need to have a legally recognized marriage – either formally or by common law – in order to be considered a spouse in a wrongful death lawsuit.

If, however, you are not legally considered a spouse but are a beneficiary or representative of the deceased's estate, then you may have the standing to bring a wrongful death suit.

Can I sue a nursing home for wrongful death?

If the nursing home is guilty of negligence, abuse or an unsafe environment that directly resulted in the death of your loved one, yes you can.

What are signs of abuse in a nursing home?

Some of the signs of abuse in a nursing home are:

Physical – Untimely or unexplained death, infected bedsores, unexpected falls, unexplained injuries (broken bones, fractures, sprains, head injuries, bruises, burns, cuts or abrasions), medication errors or medication overdoses and/or weight loss

Neglect – Malnutrition, dehydration and/or unsanitary or unclean living conditions

Emotional or Behavioral – Agitation, withdrawal or fear, frequent crying and/or  complaints of poor treatment

How do I prove nursing home abuse?

To prove nursing home abuse you must prove: the nursing home owner or employees breached a duty of care owed to your loved one (this may have to include expert testimony), your loved one’s injury was a direct result of the breach of duty and the nursing home owner or employees conduct caused the injury to, or death of, your loved one.

What is medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional – doctor, nurse or other healthcare professionals – fails to uphold the standards of their profession and that negligence causes injury, illness or death in a patient. Common medical malpractice claims include misdiagnosis, medication errors, anesthesia errors, surgical errors and birth injuries.

How do I prove medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when a patient is harmed by a doctor, nurse or other medical professionals who fail to perform their medical duties in a competent manner. In order to prove medical malpractice, you must show:

That a relationship existed between the patient and the doctor/nurse/other medical professional

The doctor/nurse/medical professional was negligent in a way that a competent doctor, under the same circumstances, would not have been

The doctor/nurse/medical professionals' negligence more likely than not directly caused the injury(s)

The injury(s) led to specific damages that the court can compensate for.

What is workers’ compensation?

Workers’ compensation is an insurance that employers carry to cover their employees’ medical expenses and loss of wages if they are injured in the course of their employment. It is important to note that, once an employee accepts workers’ compensation, they are unable to sue their employer for additional damages or compensation.

What does workers’ compensation cover?

Workers’ compensation generally covers hospital and medical expenses as well as wages if an employee is unable to work. In addition, workers’ compensation may pay for rehabilitation services if needed, as well as death benefits to an employee’s beneficiaries.

I was injured at work, now what?

The first thing you should do if injured at work is to seek medical treatment for your injury. Secondly, notify your employer of the incident that caused your injury as you only have 30 days to do so. Third, contact The Law Offices of David McQuade Leibowitz, P.C. to discuss your case. It is important to note that, if you accept workers’ compensation from your employer, you cannot sue them for any additional damages so it is imperative to speak with David McQuade Leibowitz as soon as possible.

What happens if my accident happened while I was working?

Although employers are not required to carry worker’s compensation for accidents that occur while you are on the clock, many choose to have a third party insurance for those accidents that occur while employees are working. If that is the case then most likely you will be able to file a claim and receive compensation for any injury you sustained.

How do I know who to file a lawsuit against for my oilfield injury?

Determining who is responsible for your injuries while working in the oilfield can be a complex issue. There are many who could have caused, or contributed to, your injury including your employer, the contractor or subcontractor, the manufacturer of equipment that was faulty, the derrickman, driller or another employee.

Figuring out who is the responsible party is not something that you should be worried about while recovering from your injury; it is something that David McQuade Leibowitz can, and will, fully investigate on your behalf.

I was injured in an oilfield accident; can I receive worker’s compensation?

Yes, you can receive worker’s compensation if you are injured in an oilfield accident; however, it is important to note that worker’s compensation rarely covers all expenses that could arise from your injury and additional compensation is usually needed. Although worker’s compensation usually covers all of your medical expenses, it rarely fully covers your loss of wages.

My loved one was killed in an oilfield accident, what are my options?

If your spouse, child or parent was killed in an accident that could have been prevented you can file a wrongful death suit against the person(s) responsible and recover financial compensation. Although no amount of money will equal the loss your family has suffered, compensation can help ease the financial burden that the family may be enduring.

How do I prove a defective product caused my injury and/or a loved one’s death?

In order to prove that a defective product is responsible for injuries and/or death there are 3 conditions that must be met:

1)  The product had an “unreasonably dangerous” defect that injured you or your loved one and that defect came into being in the design of the product, during the manufacture of the product or during the shipping and/or handling of the product.

2)  The product defect caused the injury to you or your loved one while it was being used as it was intended.

3)  The product hasn’t been changed in a way that would affect its performance from the condition in which it was originally sold.

What is consumer litigation?

Consumer litigation is a means of protecting a consumer, a person who purchases goods or services, from defective products that may be on the market.

What is products’ liability?

Products’ liability is the protection of the belief that a purchased product, used for its intended purpose, should be safe for the consumer that purchased it. Unfortunately, not all products on the market are ultimately safe for the consumers that purchase them. In the instances where unsafe products cause injury, or even death, products’ liability helps ensure that those families who suffered from the injury or death are compensated and other families are protected from suffering the same tragedy.

Some of the most common products that are the subjects of product liability lawsuits are:

Medical Devices
Automobiles and trucks
Home Appliances
Tobacco, guns and other inherently dangerous products

How are consumers’ protected?

If products sold do not match the description under which they were sold, or if sellers used dishonest tactics when selling products there are laws that protect the consumers. There are both State and Federal laws that protect consumers from false advertising and impose safety measures on products sold, to name a few. The laws also give consumers that have suffered as the result of a product's defect the means to collect financial compensation for their injuries or loss of life.

What is loss of consortium?

Loss of consortium is a claim made against a defendant for damages suffered by a victim’s spouse or family member as a result of the victim’s injuries or death due to the defendant’s negligence.

How much is my slip and fall accident worth?

The value of your slip and fall accident depends on quite a few factors and will vary by individual case. Ultimately, the worth of your slip and fall will be valued by the expenses incurred as a result of the accident, treatment, and recovery from your injuries. Some of the expenses include: medical expenses for doctor bills, hospital bills, x-rays, prescription drugs, ambulance bill, as well as out of pocket expenses such as co-pays and fuel needed to transport you to and from doctor appointments and loss of income as a result of the inability to work which also includes any future earnings that may be limited as a result of your injuries.

If your injuries are proven to place an unreasonable amount of inconvenience or pain there is a possibility that you could be awarded damages beyond provable financial losses. These damages are what is referred to as pain and suffering.

What is negligent security?

Negligent security is a form of premises liability that involves injuries sustained as a result of insufficient security measures and/or failure to take certain precautions against crime(s). The foundation of a negligent security claim is that property owners should anticipate and seek to avoid violence on their premises through measures such as security cameras, fencing and/or lighting. Injuries as a result of negligent security can happen anywhere but they most commonly happen at malls, hotels and motels, shopping centers, schools, stores, amusement parks, parking garages, apartment complexes, resorts, airplanes, churches and office buildings. Differing from injuries of a traditional premises liability claim, such as a slip and fall accident, injuries from negligent security include criminal assaults, rapes, and robberies.

What is premises liability?

Premises liability involves injuries sustained when a property owner knew about existing dangers, but failed to take any action to keep people from getting hurt. The most common type of premises liability injuries are injuries from a slip and fall accident. Premises liability claims rely on proving that the property owner knowingly failed to provide a safe environment for visitors.

What are slip and fall cases?

In short, a slip and fall claim is a personal injury claim arising out of an injury sustained after a person slips, trips and/or otherwise falls as the result of negligence on someone else’s property. In order to prove that negligence led to the accident causing the injury, it must be shown that: 1) the property owner or an employee should have recognized the dangerous condition and removed or repaired it and/or 2) the property owner or an employee caused the dangerous condition and it was reasonably foreseeable that someone would get hurt.

What are some common causes of slip and fall accidents?

The most common causes of slip and falls are:

Wet or uneven surfaces

Weather conditions
– property owners have a responsibility to make surfaces safe in any and every weather condition

Improper training – this is most notably an issue in the construction industry when employers fail to properly train employees on how to safely navigate the worksite

Nursing home neglect – the elderly are at greater risks for a slip and fall accident so nursing homes have a high standard when it comes to ensuring a safe environment for their residents

Footwear – footwear that does not offer appropriate traction can contribute to a slip and fall

What is considered intoxication under the law?

In Texas, blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is used to determine whether someone is intoxicated. Texas blood alcohol concentration limits are:

21 years and older – 0.08%
Commercial drivers – 0.04%
Under 21 years of age – any detectable amount of alcohol

What is distracted driving?

Engaging in any activity that diverts the driver’s attention from safely driving is considered distracted driving. The most common culprit when it comes to distracted driving is cell phone use – talking and/or texting – but other distractions include: eating or drinking, talking to other passengers, grooming, programming GPS and/or fiddling with the radio.