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Choosing Your Personal Injury Attorney

Posted on Wednesday, February 19th, 2020 at 3:57 pm by Williams Hart   

Choosing the right attorney to represent your personal injury claim is essential to securing not only the justice you deserve, but financial compensation for your losses. It’s important to put your trust into a legal representative with experience in representing plaintiffs in personal injury cases. 

What to Look for in Your Legal Representative

    1. A Proven Record of Winning. When you look for an attorney, the first thing you should see is a history of winning results. An attorney’s work should speak for itself. At the end of the day you want an attorney that knows how to do their job, namely, winning cases.
    2. Financial Compensation. Securing adequate financial compensation requires a competent lawyer. You need to find an attorney who is experienced in setting the cost of damages and liability at a reasonable rate. Many people underestimate the amount of money they are owed while other attorneys might promise more than they can deliver. Look for an attorney who has won similar amounts for other clients and who is educated how much money cases like yours have won.
    3. Up-Front. You need an attorney who will be upfront about their fees and the prospective outcome of the case. Look for an attorney who takes the time to determine the likelihood of your case winning and who can give you some idea of what the legal proceedings will entail. When suing for damages and liability you should expect to pay your attorney part of the money you win, rather than any sort of prior fee. A plaintiff-side personal injury attorney who expects payment before winning should always be a major red flag.
    4. Powerful Negotiator. A good attorney will know when it is best to negotiate and when it is time to go to court. After a verdict, further negotiations on payouts may also be necessary. This is where having a skilled and thorough negotiator is key. Unfortunately, you could be looking at a long appeal process or a reduced payout that is barely worth the time spent filing the lawsuit. You need an attorney who can set reasonable expectations and who knows how to win a case through to the final payout.
    5. Formidable. Look for an attorney who has a reputation in their legal community. It isn’t enough to have a nice attorney, look for someone who is willing to take your case to trial if that is what needs to happen for your best outcome. Be aware of attorneys who do not have the skill or confidence to stop negotiations and go to court. You want to be sure that you hire someone who is experienced in the courtroom and who has won against other formidable lawyers.
    6. Compassionate. What drives a good lawyer to do their work? At the end of the day money isn’t enough to provide the care and honesty you need out of an attorney. It isn’t enough to merely enjoy winning, you need an attorney who has a sense of justice and drive to fight for what’s right. Defending individuals and families who have been harmed through negligence and greed should matter more than making the same money defending the corporations who cause these tragedies. Finding an attorney with a passion to fight for you is a competitive edge that should not be dismissed.
    7. Respect & Fairness. While your attorney should be an expert in their field, there is no excuse for an attorney who doesn’t respect their clients. Keeping you informed and making sure you understand your options is invaluable and the mark of a good attorney. Hire an attorney who will set fair expectations not someone who will promise the moon. Be wary of attorneys who promise something that is too good to be true.
    8. Transparency & Communication. Look for an attorney who is transparent about the legal process. It’s okay to not understand the entire process, that’s why you are hiring a qualified lawyer. You should be able to ask your attorney about the legal process and to get straightforward answers explaining your next steps. Your attorney should keep you informed and aware of the process every step of the way.
    9. Connections & Resources. When deciding on a law firm, look for a firm with the connections to be successful. Deciding between a large or small firm can be challenging. While it might seem like a good idea to go with a smaller firm and receive more one-on-one support, some aspects of trial can benefit from a larger legal team. Major corporations and even some smaller businesses may spend thousands of dollars on “expert” witnesses to attack your case. These experts can be tough to match without the resources to hire your own experts or researchers to prove those other experts wrong. Othertimes, companies may intentionally swamp your lawyer with paperwork to slow the legal process down. Having a firm with a team capable of handling these complicated and labor intensive processes is critical. Look for a firm with the connections to industry leaders and competent staff to tackle whatever your opposition throws at you.
    10. Experience. Having an experienced attorney with an equally experienced legal team encapsulates all of these critical components. An attorney who has a proven record of success in negotiations and the courtroom is of the utmost importance. You want an attorney who has a reputation of success and integrity handling complex cases while also taking the time to answer any questions you might have.

Salado, TX–Truck Driver Struck by Car after Crash with Second 18-Wheeler

Posted on Monday, January 27th, 2020 at 9:39 am by Williams Hart   

On Thursday, January 23rd, state troopers responded to an accident that occured around 2:30AM on the southbound lanes of I-35, about two miles south of Salado. 

The Department of Public Safety determined that an 18-wheeler was partly blocking the inside lane of the highway after it was struck by a second 18-wheeler. The driver of the second 18-wheeler did not stop. The search for that second truck driver remains ongoing.

The 21-year-old driver of the first rig was attempting to direct traffic around his damaged rig when a 2010 Toyota sedan struck him and the 18-wheeler. The truck driver was taken to Scott & White Medical Center for treatment. No further details have been provided on his condition. 

The DPS stated in a press release that “the driver of the Toyota had impaired visibility due to the heavy fog in the area”. 

Our thoughts are with the injured driver and his family. We wish him a speedy recovery.

Common Causes of Big Rig Accidents

  • Driver fatigue

According to the Texas Trucking Association, the state is short nearly 50,000 truck drivers and that number is only expected to increase. With a rapidly retiring workforce, lack of interest from younger generations, stagnant wages, and increasing freight loads, truck drivers are burdened with longer working hours and less time to get from point A to point B. 

  • Drug and alcohol use

Legal and illegal drug and alcohol use contributes to nearly 65,000 big rig accidents annually. Inconsistent drug and alcohol testing for CDL drivers operating a commercial vehicle is a significant issue. Furthermore, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found that 22 percent of truck drivers were driving while receiving disability benefits for epilepsy, alcohol addiction, or drug dependence.

  • Texting and driving

The likelihood of being involved in an accident on the road is 23.2 times higher for truck drivers who text while behind the wheel than for those who don’t. 

Other common causes: 

  • Overweight freight loads
  • Improper vehicle inspection and maintenance
  • Cargo security
  • Poor road conditions and infrastructure, especially in rural West Texas

Road Fatality Prevention Measures

Road accidents involving 18-wheelers and other commercial vehicles are only expected to increase. While it can be difficult to prevent human errors that cause 18-wheeler accidents, there are measures that can be taken to subdue the number of fatalities that are expected to occur in the future:

  • Drivers must adhere to limited work hours regulations, such as the 11-hour driving limit and 60-hour weekly duty limit. If the demand for new truck drivers is to be met, life on the road must be improved with shorter work hours and more time to rest.
  • Practice safe driving, for both truckers and passenger vehicles.
    • No tailgating, use turn signals, minimize lane changing, stay out of blind spots, use caution in work zones and in inclement weather, and apply breaks early.
  • Logistics professionals must be cognizant of safety measures such as land transportation safety policies, routine commercial vehicle inspections, and proper freight load management that would further reduce drivers’ exposure to fatal road hazards.

Get the Justice You Deserve

Road fatalities and injuries involving 18-wheelers are serious realities for both big rig operators and regular vehicle passengers. Fortunately, there are lawyers who specialize in truck driving accident injury cases and can help you get the justice that you or your family deserve. 

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10 Most Dangerous Occupations in Texas – You May be Surprised

Posted on Friday, July 19th, 2019 at 9:03 am by Williams Hart   

Slips and falls, faulty electrical lines, poorly maintained machinery, lack of safety equipment, heavy objects striking out of nowhere–all are familiar hazards in the American workplace. Unfortunately, they are the cause of workplace fatalities that happen every single day.

A 2018 study led by Ken Kolosh, manager of statistics for the National Safety Council, suggests that occupations with the highest fatality rates have one of three things in common: they involve working from dangerous heights, frequent contact with dangerous machinery, or driving for substantial periods.

But which professions are statistically the most dangerous? The answer may surprise you. 

In Texas, it is typically assumed that construction work or oil and gas extraction are the most dangerous industries. While many of the listed professions below are in many ways related to those industries, it is important to take a closer look at the numbers.

The following list of the most dangerous occupations in Texas was determined by examining the fatal injury rates in 2017 for 72 occupations from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, and narrowing it down to the top 10 according to industry by state.

  1. Commercial fishermen

Fatal injuries in 2017: 100.0 fatalities per 100,000 workers

Topping the list, perhaps unexpectedly, commercial fishing is a highly physical industry involving slippery decks and heavy equipment in often remote areas where access to medical care is limited.

2. Loggers

Fatal injuries in 2017: 87.3 per 100,000 workers

Second on the list, the logging industry is also physically demanding labor–primarily outdoors and in remote areas of East Texas. Fatalities are most commonly caused by contact with an object (falling branches or logs) and dangerous machinery.

3. Pilots and flight engineers

Fatal injuries in 2017: 51.3 per 100,000 workers

In an industry characterized by mental stress and demanding scheduling, aircraft pilots and flight engineers are especially subjected to transportation accidents caused primarily by exhaustion.

4. Roofers

Fatal injuries in 2017: 45.2 per 100,000 workers

Scaffolds, ladders, and roofs create hazardous worksites for roofing professionals. Additionally, roofers are also at-risk for heat related illnesses caused by unfavorable working conditions in the hot sun.

5. Recyclable material collectors

Fatal injuries in 2017: 34.9 per 100,000 workers

Most recyclable material collectors operate in a moving vehicle during a normal workday, thus the vast majority of reported fatalities are caused by transportation incidences, including auto accidents. They may also be exposed to chemical pollutants.

6. Iron and steel workers

Fatal injuries in 2017: 33.3 per 100,000 workers

The installation and repair of iron on buildings, bridges, and roads often require iron and steel workers to perform job functions at significant heights. Falls, slips, and trips are the most common causes of fatalities in this industry.

7. Truck drivers

Fatal injuries in 2017: 26.9 per 100,000 workers

Spending much of their time on the road, truck drivers are possibly at the highest risk to transportation incidents such as motor vehicle accidents. They are also at risk of sustaining injuries from moving or living heavy objects.

8. Agricultural professionals

Fatal injuries in 2017: 24.0 per 100,000 workers

Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers are at risk of fatal injuries involving motorized vehicles (tractors), tools, and farm machinery. Unlike the majority of dangerous occupations, the majority of reported injuries resulted in death at 58.9%

9. Groundskeepers and landscapers

Fatal injuries in 2017: 21.0 per 100,000 workers

Grounds maintenance work is considered one of the most dangerous occupations in America because it frequently requires the use of powerful machinery such as chainsaws, lawnmowers, and tractors. Unintended contact with dangerous machinery is the most common cause of death in this industry. 

10. Electrical powerline installers

Fatal injuries in 2017: 18.6 per 100,000 workers

The installation and maintenance of high voltage power lines at great heights make live wires and risk of falling the most common causes of fatal injuries in this industry.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the above occupations are especially subjected to occupational fatalities or injuries. Fortunately, there are lawyers who specialize in work-related wrongful death cases and can help you get the justice that your family and loved-one deserve.

If someone you love was seriously hurt or killed in an accident, you may be unsure of where to turn. The attorneys of Williams Hart have experience helping people through the aftermath of catastrophic accidents, and we can help you too. Contact our law firm at (713) 352-7071 to speak with an experienced lawyer today.

Note: We report on the types of accidents and injuries our law firm has experience handling. Our hearts go out to victims of the accidents described on this blog, and we hope that future accidents, injuries, and deaths can be prevented. These posts are gathered from recent stories in the news. As new developments occur, these stories are often updated. If information contained within this article is false or outdated, please contact us so we can include the new information or make a correction.

Disclaimer: Williams Hart hopes that by showing how often catastrophic accidents occur, we can begin a conversation about how to reduce or prevent them. We sincerely hope that the articles on our blog arm readers with the information needed to avoid being involved in such accidents. Content on this blog should not be construed as legal advice.


Williams Hart Hosts First CLE

Posted on Tuesday, October 16th, 2012 at 3:00 pm by Williams Hart   

On Wednesday, October 12, 2012, Williams Hart Law Firm hosted their first CLE. This three hour free Continuing Legal Education seminar included entertaining and educational information on a variety of legal topics. Presentations included Opening Statements: Show the Movie, Forget the Credits, Personal Injury (Jim Hart / Steve Kherkher), Pharmaceutical Update (Margret Lecocke / Sejal Brahmbhatt), Internet for Lawyers (Joe Devine), Ethics (Harry Potter), and Appellate Law (Richard Hogan). Speakers at the event included attorneys with Williams Hart Law Firm, other attorneys in the Houston area, and professionals from other related fields.

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