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Hill Law Firm Cases
6 minutes | Dec 9, 2021
Holiday Safe Driving Tips for San Antonio Drivers
The holidays are here. More people are on the road and that means more accidents. We cover some of the safe holiday driving tips to try to help our San Antonio neighbors avoid crashes and make sure everyone stays safe on the Texas roadways. Transcript: Justin Hill: Welcome to Hill Law Firm Cases, a podcast discussing real-world cases handled by Justin Hill and the Hill Law Firm. For confidentiality reasons, names and amounts of any settlements have been removed. However, the facts are real, and these are the cases we handle on a day-to-day basis. [music] Justin Hill: Welcome to Hill Law Firm Cases podcast where we not only talk about what's going on at our firm, we also talk about ways to not need a law firm like mine, safety tips, how to live a safer life, how to drive safer, how to be safer on the roads and in your home and in the work. Today, we're talking about holiday driving. It's right around the corner and actually, Thanksgiving holiday is already behind us. If you drove then and you're fine now, good for you. We're glad you were able to drive safely. As the Christmas holidays approach, we hope you also drive safely. The CDC, we all know a lot about CDC now that we have lived through this pandemic, but they also do injury prevention and control and they've released some tips for holiday safe driving. They also started by pointing out that it looks like 2020, we'll see a 7% increase in deaths, roadway fatalities which is surprising to everybody because actually, there were less miles and time driven by people in 2020. In 2019, they said there was about 36,000 people killed in crashes. I expect it to be closer to 39 in 2020. Even less people on the road has not led to less traffic fatalities. Be careful out there. San Antonio has a lot of roads, a lot of people on the roads, and the holidays just make for even more traffic. Some safety tips they recommend for everybody to follow. Number one is, the real obvious one, is do not drive when you are impaired. In 2019, alcohol-impaired driving was part of- or contributed to over 10,000 crashes in the United States. That's not just alcohol, drugs, marijuana. If you're on medication in which you shouldn't drive, don't drive, call a taxi, call an Uber, have a friend drive. Number one tip that we've been hearing our whole lives. Remember it and plan ahead. Also, distractions. That's the new thing that's leading to a lot of crashes that we see here at our law firm, a lot of people in San Antonio. If you're just driving around or sitting on the phone, one of the things the CDC points out that- if you are receiving a text message and reading it, driving at 55, that you are likely keeping your eyes off the road for almost the distance of a football field. Five seconds not looking at the road is almost the length of a football field at 55 miles an hour. Just remember, put your phone down, pull over if you need to use your phone. Also, check the weather. Us in San Antonio saw one of the worst traffic backups mass casualty events. It's probably the worst that I've ever seen or heard of was the Fort Worth pile-up last year with the ice on the road. I have hit ice in Fort Worth before. It is a very scary thing to hit that unexpectedly. Check the road safety tips, check the weather on the road. Make sure before you head out, you got a plan. Make sure you know what to do. If you do hit bad weather, get a hotel, stay the night, try to avoid it. Some child passenger safety tips they recommend. Make sure your kids are in the age-appropriate seatings whether it's a car seat or a booster seat, make sure the seat belts fit them properly. There's a lot of analysis that goes into properly restraining a child in a vehicle. Make sure you're up on that and make sure you've got the right booster or car seat. Make sure you take off their...
11 minutes | Dec 6, 2021
December 2021 Hill Law Firm Update
Your San Antonio Personal Injury Law Firm, Hill Law Firm, has been very busy the second half of 2021. From new cases, to settlements, to community involvement, we have a lot to share. This short update covers mostly the injury lawsuits that have settled recently. Sexual assault, on the job, car wrecks, and other cases have been part of our recent settlements. Transcript: Justin Hill: Welcome to Hill Law Firm Cases, a podcast discussing real-world cases handled by Justin Hill and the Hill Law Firm. For confidentiality reasons, names and amounts of any settlements have been removed. However, the facts are real, and these are the cases we handle on a day-to-day basis. [music] Justin Hill: Welcome back to Hill Law Firm Cases. We haven't had an episode in a while. I wanted to update everybody on what's going on over at our law firm. First, happy holidays, happy Thanksgiving, and a Merry Christmas and happy Hanukkah, and whatever you celebrate, we hope you have a good holiday. We wanted to update everybody on what we've been up to. The firm has gone through a lot of changes over the last couple of months. We've been very busy from a work side, from a staffing side, from all types of things going on. It's a very busy time of the year as it relates to lawsuits. It's also very busy as it relates to our involvement in the community and our work with nonprofits. We recently attended Restore Education, big fundraiser, a spelling bee in which me and Gabriel from the Hill Law Firm were able to take home first place. It was a lot of fun, but we've also been involved in zoo activities and San Antonio Bar Association activities, and other fundraisers. It's important for us to be involved in our community, but not just from some of the vanity type charities and where people want to put their names on, but real small charities that need the help and need donors and need people who can put in hours to help. We're really involved in those as well. I just wanted to talk a little bit about what we've been going through in the last couple of months in terms of our cases. What kind of cases we've been working on, how those cases have been turning out for us, and I think it's good to just start and walk through some of the settlements we've had over the last 45 days. Some of them have been real victories for our clients and for our law firm and for the justice system as a whole. To start, we recently settled a case against a major insurance company that really had in bad faith and in a really bad way treated our client poorly. She was rear-ended in a car crash in San Antonio. No fault of her own. The other driver said she was messing with her cup of coffee. When she rear-ended our client, our client ended up requiring a shoulder surgery. Now she had had a shoulder procedure just months before this. We had imaging and doctor's notes and everything showing that she was fully healed before this crash, but the insurance company, as they tend to do, lodged frivolous defense that was trying to allege that even though we had records and notes and doctors saying she was fully healed and fine with complete range of motion and no pain prior to the crash, they tried to say that the previous issue is what required her to have surgery after this crash. They hired a doctor who charged about $17,000 to agree with them. I don't think he was in any way impartial. In his deposition, he said that he had given 20 to 40 depots over the last three years, but whenever he was pushed and we got documents on it, he had actually been deposed over 120 times over the past couple of years. This was a real victory because after the deposition of this expert, we increased our demand from our demand at mediation, and that's pretty abnormal when the insurance company will agree to accept an increased demand. We settled it for more than we were willing to...
4 minutes | Jul 7, 2021
HEB Chicken Listeria Outbreak
Recently, H.E.B. grocery stores have announced a massive recall of millions of pounds of chicken products due to the risk of listeria contamination. Listeria is a deadly pathogen that can cause illness and is of particular risk to pregnant women. If you have purchased these possibly listeria contaminated HEB chicken products, return them immediately. If you ate one and feel ill, seek medical attention now. Transcript: Speaker: Welcome to Hill Law Firm Cases, a podcast discussing real-world cases handled by Justin Hill and the Hill Law Firm. For confidentiality reasons, names and amounts of any settlements have been removed. However, the facts are real, and these are the cases we handle on a day-to-day basis. [music] There are not many law firms in San Antonio that handle as many food poisoning cases as we do and we have. Probably the most recent largest food poisoning lawsuit in San Antonio revolved around a outbreak at Pasha in San Antonio. That involved hundreds of people who were injured and became sick as a result of eating contaminated food. That case recently resolved. Recently in the news was a story that HEB was recalling some 8.5 million pounds of ready-to-eat Tyson Food chicken products that included some of their Meal Simple products. If you live in San Antonio or you shop at HEB, you know what these Meal Simples are. They're ready-to-eat meals, you buy them and heat them up. Also, included in the recall, were some Tyson grilled chicken breasts, fajita chicken, grilled and ready pulled chicken, a bunch of Tyson products, a bunch of Meal Simples to include Meal Simple buffalo chicken, pepper trio chicken, barbecue chicken, curry chicken. Then even some of their SoFlo products, which is pizza, their buffalo chicken pizza, and their crustless Buffalo chicken pizza had been recalled. They've all been recalled as it relates to a potential outbreak of Tyson chicken with a pathogen known as Listeria. You may know of Listeria from the Blue Bell recall a few years back that almost shut down Blue Bell. Listeria is a really nasty illness. Listeria can and does kill hundreds of people in America a year. It's something that can be through proper food handling techniques eliminated or very, very limited from contaminating food. One of the bad things about Listeria is that it can be a very, very deadly, and very dangerous sickness specifically for pregnant women. Pregnant women are 10 times more likely than other people to get a Listeria infection. On top of that, it can cause all kinds of complications with the pregnancy and really anybody who would be at risk from other illnesses, older people, people with weakened immune systems, but in particular, pregnant women have a real risk with listeria. Some of the facts include that pregnant Hispanic women are 24 times more likely than the general population to get a Listeria infection. This is straight from the CDC website. According to the CDC is the third leading cause of death from foodborne illness or food poisoning in America and that approximately 260 people die per year. What we know right now is that HEB has taken on upon themselves to withdraw some and recall some 8 million pounds of chicken. If you have any of these products, you need to throw them away or go back to HEB and get a refund. If you think you have eaten some of them and you feel sick, please go to the doctor. Food poisoning is something people talk about like it's a tummy illness, but in reality, food poisoning is very dangerous and can kill people and does kill people. If you think you have been part of the Listeria HEB food poisoning outbreak and you'd like to seek counsel, please reach out to us. if you have not been injured by this, but have some of the products, call HEB, get a refund, and let them properly dispose of any products you have. Anyway, thanks for tuning in. We'll try to keep you...
12 minutes | Feb 2, 2021
Child Safety In Vehicles Part 1
Vehicles can be very dangerous places for children. A lot of the dangers are unknown or less publicized. In this series, we are trying to cover and discuss some of the most common dangers in vehicles for San Antonio and Texas residents. Transcript: Justin Hill, San Antonio Injury Lawer: Welcome to Hill Law Firm Cases, a podcast discussing real-world cases handled by Justin Hill and the Hill Law Firm. For confidentiality reasons, names and amounts of any settlements have been removed. However, the facts are real, and these are the cases we handle on a day-to-day basis. [music] Justin: Welcome to another episode of Hill Law Firm Cases where we talk about what's going on at the Hill Law Firm, but we also talk about ways to keep yourself and your family safer on the roadways, on the job, in everyday life. One of the things we want to talk about today is keeping our kids safe in the vehicles. If you get on the internet, there's all kinds of information about properly installing and fitting car seats and children's helmets or bicycles, all types of information about how to increase the safety of your child in a range of environments and in a range of situations. One of the things we want to talk about today is some of the more uncommon, I'll say, but very serious dangers associated with vehicles that we typically hear in the one-off story, the tragic story that you hear in the news and think, "That couldn't happen to me," but are real dangers and really happen to normal people doing their best every day. In San Antonio, one of the things that people know about our city is it's very hot. You come around the San Antonio River Walk during the summer holiday when you get a lot of families down here going to SeaWorld, and I still look around and think, "Jeez, how is this a holiday for some people?" Because I'm very hot-natured, and I sweat, so I do not enjoy being out those really hot two or three months during the summer. One of the things to consider in those hotlines or really all the time of the year, especially in South Texas, where it never gets too cold, is the risk of heatstroke. People talk about this oftentimes, and you hear about this in the media where people leave a dog or leave a child, unfortunately, in a vehicle, even for a short amount of time, and it can lead to heatstroke. It's one of the leading causes of non-crash-related causes of death for children, and it can happen when kids are left in a hot car alone, and it doesn't take long to leave them in there for the vehicle to get so hot that their core body temperature gets too hot, and it can just overwhelm their little bodies. For example, the inside temperature of your car can rise almost 20 degrees Fahrenheit in 10 minutes. If it's 100 degrees outside, you're talking, it's 120, 130, within 10, 15 minutes. Once a child's body temperature gets above 104, it's a very bad deal, and once it gets above 107, it can be fatal. These are really serious concerns. There's lots of things that we need to think about. We're going to talk about a few of those things, but one of them is just habit. As it relates to your vehicle, get in the habit of checking all of your seats before you lock the door and walk away. Make sure that you keep your vehicle locked if you have young children. 3 out of 10 heatstroke deaths in vehicles involve children just crawling into a vehicle and accidentally closing themselves into it. It's not being left. Almost 30% are preventable just by locking your car and keeping your keys away from your children. Third, pay attention to other vehicles you see. If you see a child or a dog, in my opinion, in a vehicle in a hot day or, really, any day, make sure to call the authorities if it looks like, or you even suspect a slight risk that the child could be in danger. Never leave your kid in the car. Even if you just
7 minutes | Jan 29, 2021
San Antonio Car Crashes and Seatbelt Use
On this episode, we discuss the use of seatbelts in Texas. The statistics, the law, and the campaign to increase usage are discussed. In San Antonio, it is important that everyone follows the Click it or Ticket campaign when possible. We cover some interesting details about seatbelt usage. Transcript Justin Hill, Injury Lawyer: Welcome to Hill Law Firm Cases, a podcast discussing real-world cases handled by Justin Hill and the Hill Law Firm. For confidentiality reasons, names and amounts of any settlements have been removed. However, the facts are real and these are the cases we handle on a day-to-day basis. [music] Welcome to Hill Law Firm Cases, a podcast where we typically talk about what's going on at our law firm here in San Antonio, Texas. We talk about our cases, we talk about results, we talk about personnel and just good things that are happening as well. One thing we really try to focus on as well is safety. We're a law firm that represents people injured through no fault of their own, in most cases. We're in a practice area where if people, companies, government agencies enforced and implemented safety procedures, we'd be out of business. That's the long-term goal of our industry, to regulate safety such that it becomes economically responsible and the right thing morally for businesses and people to do. For example, automotive safety has increased significantly over the last 20 or 30 years in large part due to lawsuits. Everybody's familiar with Ford, Firestone and some of those lawsuits, but everything from airbags to rollover safety to the strength of your roof to the way tires are manufactured now, all of those things have been affected for the better through lawsuits and litigation forcing industry to be held responsible when they either take shortcuts or just ignore safety altogether. Too often and many of those industries, the marketing department had more say than the safety people. Did a feature sell was more important than did it save lives. If you've been driving around Texas, you know that our state also works to improve road safety in the state of Texas. Just here in San Antonio, driving around, you see a lot of billboards talking about the number of fatalities on the roadway and injuries on the roadway. Click It or Ticket campaign, it's one of the things we're going to talk about today. In preparing for this, a statistic that really stood out to me as shocking is that November 7th of 2000, more than 20 years ago, was the first or was the last day in Texas in which there was not a roadway fatality as a result of an automobile accident or some sort of accident on the roads. As a result of that, Texas has taken up the Click It or Ticket campaign and not as a direct result but due to the fact that our roads have a long way to go to be safer, one of the things that state of Texas has done is create and implement this Click It or Ticket campaign. It is passed and pushed by the Texas Department of Transportation and according to NHTSA, which is the federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They said that the Click It or Ticket initiative in Texas is estimated to have saved over 6,000 lives, prevented over 100,000 injuries and saved Texas almost $25 billion since the campaign began just 18, 19 years ago. It's been a highly successful campaign. As the run-up to the new year, the state of Texas renewed their push and published a lot of data to talk about why wearing your seatbelt remains a very important piece of contributing to roadway safety. It reduces the risk of dying in a crash by 45% for people in the front seat and it reduces the risk of dying in a pickup truck crash by 60%. Mostly as a result of rollover vehicles being much more prevalent in pickup truck accidents. Through some data and analysis, the state of Texas said that more than 90% of Texans...
10 minutes | Jan 27, 2021
San Antonio Dog Attack Case at HLF
Join us to hear about some of the dog bite and dog attack cases we are currently handling at Hill Law Firm. Both involve our San Antonio neighbors being attacked and injured by dogs that were not properly restrained or handled. Transcript: Dog Bite Attorney Justin Hill: Welcome to Hill Law Firm Cases, a podcast discussing real world cases handled by Justin Hill, and the Hill Law Firm. For confidentiality reasons, names and amounts of any settlements have been removed. However, the facts are real and these are the cases we handle on a day-to-day basis. [music] Welcome to Hill Law Firm Cases, a podcast discussing what we have going on at our firm, safety information, general information about our cases, and really just whatever I think will be helpful for our listeners, helpful for our industry, and helpful for you and your family just from a safety perspective. If you keep up with our law firm, either on social media or through this podcast, you know that I love dogs. We have Winston, he's been my dog for 12 years, we even have a Meet-the-Team episode on this podcast with Winston. It was done as a joke, but also he's part of the team. He's in the office quite a bit. He's my best friend and it's great that I have an office where I can bring him in. When we bring him in, we're careful with him. He's a nice dog, we know he's a nice dog, but when he's outside, he's on leash. I make sure that I monitor him around people. If I'd ever seen him show any sign of aggression, I would not let him be around people, he would just be sitting in my office with the door closed with me and probably leashed or something. Luckily, he is not one of those dogs, he's a good dog, goes around and gets belly rubs. Unfortunately, a lot of people have dogs that aren't like him. My personal views aside on why people keep dangerous or aggressive dogs is neither here nor there, but people do have them. For many reasons, there are duties under the law by which they have to keep them leashed, safe, away from people. Texas actually has causes of action by which you can file a lawsuit against somebody who doesn't maintain their dog in the correct way. For example, Texas has a cause of action, which is a way to sue somebody, there's a cause of action for negligent handling of animals. If you can prove the defendant was the owner or the possessor of an animal, and we've seen that before, we've had people that say, "Well, I didn't own it, I was just babysitting the dog." Well, Texas doesn't care. If you're a owner or possessor of an animal, you owe a duty to exercise reasonable care to prevent that animal from injuring others. If you can prove they breached that duty of reasonable care, you can hold them responsible for any injuries that they caused. You see this often, for example, where somebody has a dog that, has either been aggressive or bit somebody before, they have house guests over and the dog bites somebody. They weren't reasonable on allowing a dog that had a history to be around people and injure them. Or you have instances in which a dog has a history of getting out of the yard and attacking people. Well, the fact that it got out the 10th time is enough for us to hold them responsible, not because they knew it was going to attack but because they knew it could get out of the yard and then all bets are off if it was going to attack. There's also causes of action under the law for what's called negligent per se. If you can show that the dog owner violated a law or city ordinance or municipal code related to a dog, you may be able to hold them responsible under those provisions. For example, in Texas, in San Antonio, there's a leash law that if you have a dog it needs to be on a leash, and we've sued many people
51 minutes | Jan 19, 2021
Q&A with Damond Garza, San Antonio Trial Lawyer and SATLA President
Damond Garza has been a defense and a plaintiffs attorney in San Antonio for almost 20 years. He has tried over 40 cases to juries and leads San Antonio's trial lawyer association. He is a good friend and offices next to us at Hill Law Firm. Transcript: Justin Hill: Welcome to Hill Law Firm Cases, a podcast discussing real-world cases handled by Justin Hill and the Hill Law Firm. For confidentiality reasons, names and amounts of any settlements have been removed. However, the facts are real and these are the cases we handle on a day-to-day basis. All right. [music] Justin: All right. Welcome to Hill Law Firm Cases podcast. Today, I've got Damond Garza with me. Damond is a lawyer in San Antonio, a friend, and he's also a lawyer that we work with on some cases. He is the current president of the San Antonio Trial Lawyers Association and his reign ends tomorrow, right? Damond Garza: I think officially on the 21st, actually. Justin: He's also a stickler for technicalities as you will learn. I asked Damond to come on and talk about practicing law. Really, the point of these has been younger lawyers. That's been the thought process and that's been the response from people. When I tell you who will respond about you being on here, then you'll understand. You'll be like, "Oh, okay. I understand your audience now." You're not the first SATLA president I've had on there. Damond: That makes me a little- Justin: Second. Damond: -less special feeling, but that's okay. Justin: First [unintelligible 00:01:22], I mean. I think that's what they say in that one show. Javier was on. I think he's the only one that would have been SATLA president. Bill Marler was on. There's been books written about him. Mikal Watts was on. He's been indicted and has a book and movie coming. Damond: No books or movies based on me yet, unfortunately- Justin: Indictments? Damond: -or fortunately. No indictments that I'm currently aware of. Justin: I think you would know. What is SATLA? Damond: SATLA a local trial lawyers association that is comprised of a little bit over 400 members these days. Primarily lawyers here in the Bexar County area, but we have a good contingency out of South Texas and we have members really spread as far as Alaska, even because it's a group of lawyers who represent folks, who represent people against companies, organizations, insurance companies who tend to have a lot more power and influence in the courts. We represent those folks against those powerful folks whenever they suffered a loss, injury, death, economic loss, something like that. We put our minds together to share information, to help each of us better represent our clients. The folks who usually defend injury cases have large organizations, they share information to help strengthen their defenses. We try to pool our resources to better combat against those forces who would otherwise deny the availability of the courts to regular people who have suffered a loss. Justin: San Antonio Trial Lawyers Association is not limited to San Antonio lawyers. I think there used to even be in Alaska person. Damond: We still have a very active member from the State of Alaska, we've got people from the East Coast, the Midwest, the Southeast, and everywhere far-flung in between. Justin: A very robust idea and document sharing through our Listserv, but the rules are just lawyer and do not regularly represent insurance companies. Is that basically the...
17 minutes | Dec 10, 2020
Texas Trucking Accident Stats and Causes
Texas trucking crashes and commercial motor vehicle accidents are a product of a booming transportation and oil and gas industry. We discuss some of the lies and dishonesties about these crashes being used to push tort reform. Transcript: Speaker: Welcome to Hill Law Firm Cases, a podcast discussing real-world cases handled by Justin Hill and the Hill Law Firm. For confidentiality reasons, names and amounts of any settlements have been removed. However, the facts are real and these are the cases we handle on a day-to-day basis. [music] Two professors at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway completed research recently using hair and urine samples for drug testing, and they were also studying whether hair drug testing has any racial bias to it. One of the things they found was that if we move to hair drug testing instead of urine, more than 300,000 truckers would be removed from the roadway. They would be unable to pass their drug test because they will have used illicit drugs in whatever time allowed to show up on a hair drug test. The authors were asked to do this by a trucking industry association because the trucking industry associations were considering hair drug testing. This really shocking finding came out of their research that basically said that urinalysis is insufficient to really pick up illicit drug use after some amount of time. If we really want to crack down on people who think it's okay to drive 80,000-pound vehicles and also use drugs that we should use hair analysis. Now, the obvious import for the industry is we can't lose 300,000 drivers overnight. What would we do? Where would we find those 300,000 people to make up for those jobs? That would likely mean they'd have to raise wages and make their jobs more appealing. The researchers went on to talk about how all those people should be pulled off the road, and they don't care what the industry has to do to fix that problem. That it's really just so reckless for trucking companies to have this information. To know that if they did a hair test that they would find some of their truckers were using drugs or alcohol, and they still don't do it. This is a study that came out this year, just six months ago. This is really important right now because what's happening in Texas is a coalition of trucking companies and trucking industry trade groups, and highly most likely also insurance companies are pushing for reforms of our legal industry so that they're held less accountable when they cause crashes. Texans for Lawsuit Reform and the trucking association here in Texas have teamed up, and they say that lawsuits and people injured on the road are putting them out of business. Texas doesn't even have close to the highest trucking insurance premiums, but the trucking industry is saying we can't afford these premiums so we have to get legislative changes to our legal system. It's worth noting that they're not discussing changing the way insurance is handled in Texas. They're not discussing changes to their own industry that allows for a lot of trucking crashes in Texas that involve texting and driving, alcohol-related driving, and lots of really egregious gross negligence. It is criminal, but almost homicidal behavior. If you were behind an 80,000-pound vehicle and you're texting and driving or drunk, you know that you've got a really high likelihood of hurting somebody or killing somebody. But the industry isn't trying to address that. What they want to do is say, "Hey, legislators. Please shield us from lawsuits because we're not self-regulating," which is leading to a lot of bad lawsuits and a lot of injured and killed Texans too that people forget to talk about, so they want the legislator to fix it. Just for some background information, Texas has had an explosion in the oil and gas industry which has led to an explosion in the support industry for that, supporting oil and...
14 minutes | Dec 7, 2020
San Antonio Injury Attorney Q&A Pt. 2
We get a lot of questions from potential and current personal injury clients. We address those questions today! Transcript: Justin Hill: Welcome to Hill Law Firm Cases, a podcast discussing real-world cases handled by Justin Hill and the Hill Law Firm. For confidentiality reasons, names have been removed. However, the facts are real and these are the cases we handle on a day-to-day basis. [music] Welcome to Hill Law Firm Cases podcast. This is going to be our second edition of a lawyer Q&A that we have put together. I've asked my staff and I myself have done the same as we get common questions from people that call the office or from our current clients that we get. I've already done Part 1 of this series. It looks like we've got about another 40 or 50 questions that we have compiled, and I'm going to just go through some of the most common questions we get. If I didn't hit the question that you have, try and listen to Part 1 of this series and we might've covered it there. In Part 1, we talked about honors and awards we've received, how we get paid, what a fee arrangement is? Who's responsible for out-of-pocket? How much time do we spend on a case? What is a case worth? How are we paid? What happens if you lose? Then questions about our firm, what percentage of our case load is personal injury? Do we get cases referred by their lawyers? Do we handle complex cases in cases against Fortune 500? The questions that you have, feel free to listen to our lawyer Q&A Part 1, that's up on our website, jhlawfirm.com. Today, I'm going to start with a common question that I personally have gotten. One of those questions we hear a lot is, "Have you handled personal injury cases like mine before," and/or questions such as, "Have you ever tried a personal injury case like mine?" One thing I always have to tell everybody when they call and ask you a question like that is that every case is unique. Every case is unique from the fact that what our plaintiff has gone by case and also the liability against the defendant and the ability to recover against the defendant is going to be different. For example, we have handled lots of car accident and vehicular accident cases, but I've never seen two that are exactly the same. Have had the same plaintiff, have had the same liability, and have had the same insurance company and lawyers. Every case is different. My first boss always said a lawsuit is a lawsuit is a lawsuit and as long as you can learn and understand the substantive law, then you get evidence to support your substantive law, you go try it to a jury under the same rules of evidence that don't really change depending on what type of case it is. We can never tell somebody, we have handled a case exactly the same as theirs. Ethically, we are bound to only take cases that we feel we are competent to handle. It's the reason I turned down a mortgage, a dispute case that came in last year. When a bank asked me to go try a case on their behalf regarding a mortgage fraud claim, it's not something I have done before. Honestly, I didn't feel too motivated to get into a trial representing a large bank. We have tried lots of different types of personal injury cases, dram shop cases and negligence cases, car wreck cases, on-the-job injury cases. We have the ability, the resources, the knowledge and the know-how to work up, prepare and try a personal injury case, a product liability case, dram shop case, 18-wheeler case, on-the-job injury case. Even though the case may have some differing details, we feel like we are competent, ready and able to handle those cases. The next one we're going to hit up is, "Do cases like mine usually settle out of court or go to trial?" I tell all clients that the vast majority of cases settled before trial and there's multiple reasons for that, but the biggest reason is at the end of the day,...
7 minutes | Dec 3, 2020
San Antonio Christmas Safety
All injury attorneys in San Antonio and the rest of Texas see an uptick in cases during certain Holidays. Christmas is no different. There are more people on the road, more parties involving alcohol, and more fire hazards present. Transcript: San Antonio Attorney Justin Hill: Welcome to Hill Law Firm Cases, a podcast discussing real-world cases handled by Justin Hill and the Hill Law Firm. For confidentiality reasons, names and amounts of any settlements have been removed. However, the facts are real, and these are the cases we handle on a day-to-day basis. [music] We are now in December, which means everybody is full on Christmas mode. We've put away the pumpkin spice lattes, we've shelved the cornucopia and turkey and dressing until next year. Now, we're onto peppermints and hot chocolate and Christmas trees and all the wonderful things associated with Christmas. Another thing about Christmas, though, it is associated with lots of its own specific dangers. We want to talk a little bit about this. The great people at the National Safety Council, which is one of America's leading non-profits regarding safety information and safety advocacy, has put together some holiday safety information. I wanted to share that with our listeners. It's truly broken down into two things, or three things. We're going to be on the road a lot. We're going to be decorating. Lots of things involve fire this time of year, so let's talk about that. The holidays are a dangerous time to be on the road. I think, in 2017, they said there was almost 300 deaths on Christmas Day on the roadways. Alcohol was a factor in a third of those. What we know is that people go out and they celebrate on Christmas Day, Christmas Eve. People travel for Christmas, a lot of people are on the roadways. A few things, it's cold outside, prepare your car for winter travel. Depending on where you are in Texas, that probably don't mean much, other than to watch the news, watch the weather, make sure you're not driving into an eye storm, especially if you're going up to North Texas, like where I am from. Here, in beautiful San Antonio, I think it's probably unlikely that there will be much ice on the road or snow on the road or the need for change or anything like that. Depending on where you are and where you're traveling, make sure you prepare for the weather, whatever that may mean, and prepare for a breakdown in cold weather as well, just in case that were to happen. If you're going for a long drive, make sure you get a good night sleep. You don't want to be fatigued or drowsy while you're driving. Also, don't drink and drive. A lot of people like to celebrate the holidays with a drink or two or too many. Just make sure that you don't get behind the wheel after that. Plan your travel ahead. Traffic during the holidays picks up. Plan your travel so that you know where the traffic is, maybe how to avoid it, and then you have plenty of time to get to where you need to be. You may have people in the car with you. Avoid distractions. Make sure that you're not on the phone or watching a TV or not paying attention. Make sure everybody in your car is buckled up. This might be one of the only times a year that everybody is in the car together. Make sure that you follow all safety protocols with your kids and/or family in the car. Be a defensive driver because, remember, some of those other people on the road will have partied too much and may be a drowsy driver. Pay attention to those on the road. Next thing we want to talk about is decorating safely. In our house, we say, "You got to be careful with poinsettias because they can kill dogs." Poinsettias and things like that can also poison children, so be careful with the plants that you use. Be careful with the tree that you use. If you've got a artificial tree, make sure it's fire-resistant. If you have a real tree,...
8 minutes | Nov 26, 2020
Traffic Injuries and Fatalities Increase with Texas Oil Boom
The Texas Department of Transportation recently released data showing an increase in traffic fatalities and crashes in the oil rich areas of Texas. South of San Antonio and out in West Texas are areas with large oil and gas stores. That has lead to more traffic and more crashes. Transcript: Oilfield Injury Attorney Justin Hill: Welcome to Hill Law Firm cases, a podcast discussing real-world cases handled by Justin Hill and the Hill Law Firm. For confidentiality reasons, names and amounts of any settlements have been removed. However, the facts are real and these are the cases we handle on a day-to-day basis. [music] I think it's fair to say that no matter where you live in the state of Texas, you know that Texas is associated with oil and gas production. I came from a town called Burkeburnett, Texas. It was known as boom town and there was actually a movie with Clark Gable named Boom Town about Texas' oil production. Everybody's heard about Spindletop. The movie Giant spends a long time discussing our Texas moved from cattle ranch and farms to oil and gas. The movie There Will Be Blood. The TV show, Dallas, Texas' oil and gas is as any other state in the union and probably the most of all States. With that being said, Texas is in a new peak of oil and gas production. In 2017 Texas oil production exceeded the peak of oil production that Texas on 1972 and then they beat that production in '18 and '19. Without a doubt, Texas is going through a huge renaissance or revitalization of oil and gas production in the state of Texas. A lot of that has to do with the technology advances and fracking or hydraulic fracturing and finding new energy plays in the Barnett shale, the Eagle Ford shale, the Granite Wash, the Hainesville and Bowser shell and the Permian basin and the Wolf camp and you could go on and on about all these new areas where oil and gas companies have found essentially oceans of oil under the ground. What that means is there's a lot of oil production, meaning there's a lot of people working in the oil and gas industry and there's a lot of people working in the sectors that support the oil and gas industry. In San Antonio, for example, there's a lot of people that work in industries that support either the Permian basin or the Barnett shale and that can range from delivering water to taking wastewater, to loading mining and delivering sand to building pad sites and to actually be in a roughneck out in the oil patch, either as a driller or in a frack crew or any of the other areas that are supporting the oil and gas production in the state. That also trickles down to just regular jobs like gas station workers, grocery store workers, the HEB in Karnes City or outside of Kennedy was seeking people to work and were paying high wages because they could not get workers because workers were going to the oil and gas industry. This also means that a lot of people are on the roads in communities that aren't used to that. The traffic in the Midland Odessa area and the Permian basin area in the Barnett shale, is in numbers unseen before. A lot of that traffic is 18-wheeler traffic and commercial motor vehicle traffic. What we found is that traffic crashes in these energy producing areas have increased just substantially. For example, in 2019 TxDOT said there was over 205,000 crashes in counties defined as the Texas energy sector and that's defined by the Texas Railroad Commission and it includes large portions of West Texas, South Texas and some metropolitan areas or edges of metropolitan areas like Dallas and Fort Worth and even El Paso. The number of crashes represents an approximately 3% increase from the year before and these crashes led to almost 1700 fatalities. Now we personally have worked on a lot of these cases and a lot of them involve unqualified drivers or...
10 minutes | Nov 23, 2020
San Antonio Personal Injury Attorney Q&A Part 1
Have you ever had questions about hiring a personal injury attorney or about how the practice works? In this series of Q&A, we are going to tackle some of the most common questions we get at Hill Law Firm. Transcript: San Antonio Personal Injury Attorney Justin Hill: Welcome to Hill Law Firm Cases, a podcast discussing real-world cases handled by Justin Hill and the Hill Law Firm. For confidentiality reasons, names and amounts of any settlements have been removed. However, the facts are real, and these are the cases we handle on a day-to-day basis. [music] Welcome to this episode of Hill Law Firm Cases. One thing I wanted to do was cover some frequently asked questions we get. We get a lot of discerning clients that come and meet with us, or one of those reasons is because a lot of clients that end up calling us are clients that have done a lot of research into client satisfaction and reviews and looked into a bunch of different law firms. Nobody's going to hire our law firm because we got a slogan or a jingle. We don't carry hammers or other types of tools. We don't have a phone number that's really easy to remember. What we are is a good law firm and does good work for people. We get a lot of questions from people when they call about hiring us, and a lot of those questions I've tried to keep track of and write down. I'm going to just walk through some of them. This is going to be a multi-part series where I just hit up a bunch of questions that people ask. One of the questions we get is, how do you get paid? Our law firm is a contingency fee law firm. That means that you don't pay us hourly, you don't pay us a flat rate. A lot of lawyers get paid by the hour. A lot of lawyers get paid by the flat rate. For example, if you get a DWI, you're going to have a criminal defense lawyer say I'll handle your case for $5,000 or $10,000 or $15,000. It's a flat rate, no matter what happens. Our law firm gets hired on a contingency fee, which means we get a percentage of recovery if there is a recovery. If there is no recovery, we don't get any money. We don't get any fees. We don't even get our expenses back if there's no recovery. If there is recovery, we get our fees as a percentage of the recovery, and we get our expenses back. One thing that makes us a little different, I think, is that our client always makes the decision on when to settle a case. We can tell them we disagree with them. We could tell them we think it's too high or too low, but they tell us what to do. At the end of the day, they get to make the final decision on how to settle their case. We have been asked, have we received honors or awards? I think this is a funny question because if you look, there are so many lawyers that get all sorts of awards. If you're a lawyer, you get a letter probably once a week or every other week saying you've been named top this or top that, now give us $500 for your certificate. A lot of these awards are made up. There was a famous example where a lawyer bought an award for his pet chicken because he wanted to point out how worthless most of these awards were. Some of the awards are peer vote based. I, Justin, has been named Texas super lawyer rising star for almost 10 years. Now, that's peer-based in which other lawyers vote on you, and it's done through Thomson Reuters. We've also been nominated for other things and gotten some of these other awards, but I think that's probably the best one in terms of how you gauge things because it's voted on by their attorneys. We get asked if we offer free and confidential case reviews. The answer to that is always yes, with the caveat that we can't give people free legal advice. I can talk to them about their facts. I can talk to them about their potential case. I can tell them if it's a case we would take or not take or who I would call if I was them. What we can't do is give them legal advice when...
7 minutes | Nov 19, 2020
Personal Injury Cases in San Antonio During COVID
Unfortunately, the COVID crisis has created situations that make settling and trying personal injury cases in San Antonio and the rest of Texas much more difficult. Courts are shutdown. Doctors offices are running with low staff. And, getting evidence needed can be slowed. We discuss expectations for our clients in this episode. Transcript: San Antonio Injury Attorney Justin Hill: Welcome to Hill Law Firm Cases, a podcast discussing real-world cases handled by Justin Hill and the Hill Law Firm. For confidentiality reasons, names and amounts of any settlements have been removed. However, the facts are real and these are the cases we handle on a day-to-day basis. [music] All right. Welcome to this episode of Hill Law Firm Cases, this podcast has been an attempt to make sure our listeners, make sure our clients, our former clients, our potential future clients not only know what we're doing on a day-to-day basis in terms of the type of work we work on, but also who works with us, what's going on in the legal industry and what to expect if you ever need our services. One of the more common questions that we're getting these days revolves around the COVID crisis, the court shutdowns, what to expect, and how it's going to impact their personal injury lawsuit. In San Antonio, the court systems have been shut down for months at this point, very few things have been moving forward. The courts have been looking for people willing to try their case by Zoom, but not many people want to try a personal injury case by Zoom for a variety of reasons. We get these calls from our current clients asking what to expect and what's the delay and what's going on. We have to walk through this uncharted territory that we're in right now as it relates to the COVID crisis. From our law firm standpoint, I just wanted to discuss a few things. With the COVID crisis early on here in San Antonio people weren't going to work, people weren't driving on the highways and the streets. That meant there were less car crashes. There were less on the job injuries. There were less people needing our services. What that meant practically was our phones weren't ringing as much on intake and new cases but it was still ringing, but it allowed us to start focusing solely on moving the cases that we had at that time in light of the fact that there were a lot of hurdles to moving cases with the COVID crisis looming. One thing I have to tell all of my clients now and our future clients is that the question of how long will it take to resolve my case is up in the air at this point. There's a lot of reasons for that. The one that most people know about is that the courts are not trying cases right now. We're able to get hearings, we're able to do some things, but from a plaintiff's standpoint, in a personal injury case, the deadline or the backstop time in terms of a cases lifespan, is the trial date. If you don't have a trial date, the other side feels no pressure because there's nothing looming for them to worry about. They don't have to worry about allowing 12 people here in San Antonio decide the merits and value of the case. They can delay and just sit tight because there's no risk for them, but practically there's other considerations as well that we have to talk to our clients about. For one, depos are more difficult. We're able to do zoom depositions, they're happening all over America, the state of Texas is no different, but they're much harder to handle for certain types of depositions. A fact witness, that's not that bad, but when it comes to very document-intensive depositions of experts or doctors or corporate representatives, it's more difficult to the extent that some of them we have to really weigh whether or not we want to wait to handle that deposition in-person because it will be a more effective deposition. Some of the other things that people don't think about is medical...
6 minutes | Nov 16, 2020
Texas School Bus Safety Laws
What are the laws in Texas about interacting with school buses? That is the question we discuss on this episode of San Antonio's go-to personal injury law firm podcast. Join us to learn more. Transcript: Personal Injury Attorney Justin Hill: Welcome to Hill Law Firm cases, a podcast discussing real-world cases handled by Justin Hill and the Hill Law Firm. For confidentiality reasons, names and amounts of any settlements have been removed. However, the facts are real. These are the cases we handle on a day to day basis. [music] Welcome to this episode of Hill Law Firm cases where we're going to be talking about school bus safety in the state of Texas and in San Antonio. One of the things about our law firm is we are a safety advocacy law firm as well as a personal injury plaintiffs law firm. It's very important for us that what we do makes our community safer, and specifically, what we do make San Antonio safer city for everybody to live in. I always joke with people that I wish we got put out of business by everybody following the laws, by products being made safer, and by people doing what they're supposed to do. I hope we don't get put out of business by political changes in which our legislators and insurance companies try to protect and shield insurance companies and corporations from any liability when they do wrong. One of the things I like to talk about is, in a case, usually there's some standard by which people have violated that led to somebody being injured. For example, if somebody is on their phone or drunk, and they cause a crash, they violated that law and that safety standard about drinking and driving, or texting and driving and caused a crash. In that example, San Antonio is one of the worst cities in the state of Texas in the United States for drinking and driving. These are issues that if people would follow the law, and do correctly, I wouldn't get those types of cases, and that would be great for everybody in our city, our state, and it will make our community safer. One of the things I want to talk about today is school bus safety. We all have been stuck behind a school bus before, we've probably all hated that experience, especially if you're stuck behind a school bus that stopping over, and over, and over, and you can't get around it. I remember growing up, I lived out in a rural area, and we'd be stuck behind buses for a long time on our way home. That was part of it and I actually rear-ended the school bus as a kid, so I'm glad that people follow the laws when they do because I was one of those kids that could have been injured. [clears throat] The State of Texas has laws on how we are supposed to interact with and treat school buses when they're on the road. Some of the laws involve all drivers must stop for flashing red lights on a school bus regardless which direction you're traveling. We've all seen a school bus start to slow, and the yellow lights on the back of it start flashing, and then they turn red. The law on that is that they're essentially the same as a stop sign, that no matter which side of the road you're on, whether behind it or fixing to pass it, you're required by Texas law to stop. The reasons for this are pretty obvious, kids exiting and entering a bus might dart across the road or step out when a vehicle is trying to pass. If you're old enough to drive, you've probably got better judgment, hopefully, then, a six-year-old who's running across the street and just wants to get home, or just wants to get on the bus. If you see the red lights, come to a complete stop. Another thing about school bus safety is that you're allowed to continue your trip once the bus has moved, and the flashing lights have stopped flashing, or if the school bus driver lets you pass. You can end up passing the bus if you need to, you just can't do it with its lights flashing. The fines in Texas for this type of bad...
10 minutes | Nov 6, 2020
Preparing for Depositions
Transcript: Justin Hill: Welcome to Hill Law Firm Cases, a podcast discussing real-world cases handled by Justin Hill and the Hill Law Firm. For confidentiality reasons, names and amounts of any settlements have been removed. However, the facts are real and these are the cases we handle on a day to day basis. [music] Justin: In the Hill Law Firm podcast, we try to not only discuss the cases that we handle but elements of cases that we handle, the way we handle cases, people we work with on cases. The podcast is designed to give information generally about the types of cases we handle from start to finish, from intake to end, the questions that arise along that process, as well some substantive cases that we handle as well. We've talked recently about the discovery process, depositions, what they are, what they're intended for, and why they are a part of the process. One of the most common things that we as attorneys have to do in personal injury cases are prepare our clients for their depositions. When a plaintiff files a lawsuit, they're usually alleging that somebody else was at fault for causing their injuries and that they suffered injuries and as a result of those injuries they suffered damages. Those damages can include pain, mental anguish, disfigurement, physical impairment, all in the past and in the future. It can also include wages lost in the past and future or wage-earning capacity for people that can't work anymore. It almost always includes medical bills in the past and the future. When we prepare our clients for their depositions, there are some things that are pretty standard among all cases. I want to walk through a few things I tell my clients in preparing for their depositions. We have a few rules that we go through, some general information about presentation and how to prepare. Now, this is not intended to be information anybody should use in their own personal case. They should always consult with their own attorneys. I think it's important to generally hear how we go through our process. If you're one of our clients and you have a call coming up with me, or you have a deposition upcoming with our law firm, here's some of the stuff you're going to hear and here's some of the things that everybody should do, in my opinion, when it comes to a deposition. I always tell my clients there's a few rules as it relates to a deposition. First and most important, the number one rule is, to be honest. We're not here to make up a case, we have a case. Honesty is the most important thing in a deposition for a few reasons. One, because it's important that we tell the truth of our case so that we can all understand what a jury is going to hear about our case. Two, because I'm not going to represent somebody who's not being honest. Three, honesty is something the jury can pick up on. Be honest even when it's uncomfortable because a jury wants to know that you're being honest, and a jury wants to know that you're being fair because at the end of the day, we're going to ask them to be fair. You need to be fair as well. Another thing about honesty is that the law allows only certain things and only certain pieces of evidence to go in front of the jury. For example, certain criminal convictions if they're so old or certain types, aren't allowed to be told to a jury. The law says only certain types and only certain types of crimes in a certain time period can be told to the jury. Those limitations sometimes go out the window if they witness lies about them. It's important they're honest so that they don't create an evidentiary problem for themselves. Another rule is answer the question. The purpose of a
7 minutes | Oct 23, 2020
Motorcycle Safety and Sharing the Road
At Hill Law Firm, we handle many motorcycle crashes every year. Unfortunately, they often involve very serious injuries due to the disparity between automobiles and motorcycles. If you are driving around San Antonio, share the road with those on smaller vehicles. Justin Hill: Welcome to Hill Law Firm Cases, a podcast discussing real-world cases handled by Justin Hill and the Hill Law firm. For confidentiality reasons, names and amounts of any settlements have been removed. However, the facts are real, and these are the cases we handle on a day to day basis. [music] At Hill Law firm, we handle all types of personal injury, car wreck, motorcycle, pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents. Another thing we handle fairly regularly are crashes involving motorcyclists. Crashes involving motorcyclists are unique for a few reasons. One of the main reasons is that they typically involve very serious injuries due to the fact, they usually have a big difference between the vehicles either impacting one another or you have the result of somebody falling off or being thrown off a motorcycle at a high rate of speed. One case I handled many years ago and took to a jury verdict involved a fireman who was on his motorcycle. When he was turning into a gas station, the person behind him wasn't paying attention and struck him. They hit this man at a pretty high rate of speed, estimated to be somewhere between 40 and 50 miles an hour. Our client the firefighter was just grievously injured. He ended up losing a portion of his leg in the crash and was never going to be able to be a firefighter again. That particular crash involved another driver who had been drinking before. It highlights the dangers involved in motorcycle vehicle crashes. It's likely that if our client had been in a passenger vehicle at the time, that he might not have suffered such serious injuries. We're currently working on a case in San Antonio, Texas involving a motorcyclist who was pulling into a gas station. The gas station had hired a company to do power washing and pressure washing of the parking lot. At the entrance, they had put two cones far apart from each other, not blocking the entrance. In those cones, they put metal posts and they strung a wire. Now that wire covered the entire entrance of the gas station, but the wire was not very visible, it was almost impossible to see. Our client, as they drove into that wire, fell off their motorcycle as did their passenger, and they were both seriously injured. A car would likely have driven through that wire. A car would have sustained damage but it's a very different experience than if you're on a motorcycle and you're knocked off of that motorcycle. In Texas, July is considered, Share the Road, Look Twice for Motorcycles Campaign month. The Texas Department of Transportation puts out this annual campaign every July of 2020. In particular, it's done to enforce the, End The Streak Campaign in the state of Texas. Currently, Texas has not had a single day without a roadway fatality since November 7th of 2000. Due to that, the Texas Department of Transportation has tried to create a campaign through social media and other news related awareness pieces to try to lower and reduce and potentially, hopefully, eliminate roadway fatalities for at least one day. The Share the Road, Look Twice Campaign regarding motorcycle safety is one of those. In the press release, the state points out that on average one motorcyclist dies every day on Texas roads. The cities with the most motorcyclist fatalities include Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, El Paso, Corpus Christi, Lubbock, and Odessa. The six month period from May through October is the deadliest six month period for motorcyclists in the state of Texas and accounts for over 60% of all motorcycle fatality crashes. In the press release put out by the Texas Department of Transportation,...
7 minutes | Oct 16, 2020
Why Do We File Our Cases Faster than Most
We tell our San Antonio personal injury clients that we are not the type of San Antonio injury law firm that will wait a long time, send a lot of letters, and hope the other side insured company pays us without doing much work. We file our Texas personal injury and car accident cases. We think our clients are treated better when their cases are filed, set for trial and prepared for trial. Transcript: Justin: Welcome to Hill Law Firm Cases, a podcast discussing real-world cases handled by Justin Hill and the Hill Law Firm. For confidentiality reasons, names and amounts of any settlements have been removed. However, the facts are real and these are the cases we handle on a day-to-day basis. [music] Justin: With every new case that we get in the door, I have to sit down with a client and have to discuss with them expectations for the process, what to consider going forward, and try to set their expectations about a process that really is unfamiliar with most people. It's unfamiliar because most people aren't used to having to go through a long, drawn-out process to find resolution to a problem. They usually should be able to be resolved without court intervention. Insurance companies have realized that the longer they delay a case, the more time they can have holding on to money in their reserves. There is a financial incentive for insurance companies to hold on to their money and delay the payment of claims, even claims that they know they should pay out. One of the first things I tell clients when they come to meet with me and discuss hiring me is that unlike a lot of law firms and a lot of lawyers, I'm going to file the case. I'm not going to do what a lot of people do. There's a different strategy among lawyers. Some lawyers take the position that they want their client to finish treating, do everything they need to do, figure out all of their damages, then send a letter, and try to resolve the claim. Then, if that doesn't work 6, 9, 12 months down the road, then they'll file a lawsuit. I was trained at a young age to file a lawsuit immediately because insurance companies have proven, time and time again, over a long period of time, that they're not planning on doing the right thing. If they do the right thing, they're not going to do it early on. I explain to my clients there's a few reasons that we need to file their lawsuit, and also explain to my clients that if they want one of those law firms that is going to go through a letter-writing campaign of trying to get their case resolved, without putting it in the court system, then I might not be the lawyer for them. One of the first things I tell them is that insurance companies rarely, if ever, will disclose the amount of insurance available in a case. Whether it's a $30,000 policy in a car crash, or a $10 million, $20 million policy available in some other type of claim, including an 18-wheeler case in which someone lost their life, it's very rare day that an insurance company will tell you what sort of insurance policies you're dealing with, the layers of the insurance, or the insurance carriers. Some states require that the insurance carriers tell you how much insurance there is, what the limits are, and who the carrier is. Texas does not require that unless a lawsuit's filed. If a lawsuit is filed, the defendants have to disclose the amount, the limit, the carriers, and all that information allows you to properly and adequately advise your client. It also allows you to potentially put the defendant in a Stower situation, which puts a lot of pressure on the insurance company to evaluate your claim because in those situations, there could be risk if they do not pay a claim when it would have been reasonable to do so. Another reason that we file cases early on is we're the plaintiffs. We have the burden of proof. We need to be on the offense. We have to prove our claim, we have to push...
10 minutes | Oct 12, 2020
Evaluating Personal Injury Cases
We get a lot of questions about how we evaluate cases. People whom we tell we cannot accept their case often want to know why. In this episode, we attempt to clarify how we evaluate cases. Transcript: Justin Hill: Welcome to Hill Law Firm Cases, a podcast discussing real-world cases handled by Justin Hill and the Hill Law Firm. For confidentiality reasons, names and amounts of any settlements have been removed. However, the facts are real, and these are the cases we handle on a day-to-day basis. [music] Just recently, we got a call from a man whose wife died in a very tragic incident in the hospital. He wanted us to take his case and help him out. He had called many lawyers before, he had gone on for years trying to find a lawyer that would help him. There weren't any that would help him. He called the state of Texas and filed a grievance or complaint against the doctors and hospitals involved. That investigation cleared the hospital and doctors. He then appealed that decision, and he lost. He was a very passionate man who had lost his wife, he was angry, he was upset, he was grieving. By the time he called us, the time to do anything, in terms of filing a lawsuit, had passed because the statute of limitations puts a limitation on how long you have to file a lawsuit. He didn't understand why we couldn't help him, and I don't know if it was because he was just so upset or if he just didn't understand it. It made me think I want to do a little bit of talking about how we evaluate a case when it comes into our office, because sometimes we can't help people with their cases, and that can be for a variety of reasons. Generally, when we get a call on a new case, we get all the facts and all the information that we can get. One thing I always like to ask the person on the other line, who's trying to hire us, is, "Who's at fault? Who do you think is at fault for this incident, for your injuries, for your loss of a loved one?" That's the first step I have to figure out. Did somebody do something wrong? Did somebody else's acts or inaction cause the incident that either left somebody injured or led to the wrongful death of somebody? I have to tell people when they call us sometimes that the law cannot right all wrongs. The law sets out when a person has legal redress to take them to court to seek compensation or justice through the form of compensation for the wrong that was committed. We have to ask, "Who did something wrong? Was it an entity? Was it a corporation? Was it a person that their actions cause some harm?" The next thing we have to know is, what is the harm? Did you have an injury? Did somebody pass away? Are you just angry that somebody wronged you, but there was no injury? We have to analyze whether the wrong caused the injury. In the law, we have to prove that the wrong that we're talking about, the bad act, led to somebody's injury. It's not enough that there was a wrong and then there was an injury. We have to show that they're connected. The law calls it "causation," we have to show that the wrong was the proximate cause of the injury. It's not enough for conjecture, and it's not enough that you know it really deep in your gut. You see this a lot in instances in which people are exposed to chemicals, or a landfill, or drugs. Everybody's seen the commercial on TV where it asks, "Have you taken this drug and suffered these injuries?" By the time those things are on TV, there's been a long history of studying and research and studies that typically leads to some understanding that these drugs cause these injuries. It's not enough that somebody believes that the drug they took caused this bad side effect. There has to be science, there has to be some proof of causation, proof enough that a judge will say, "That's valid causation." One of the other things we have to consider is, does the law allow for this kind of...
4 minutes | Sep 28, 2020
Drunk Driving Cases that Changed Policies
We have represented some very courageous clients. Two cases we had, one in San Antonio, led to not only a monetary settlement but also the changing of company policy. Personal injury cases can make our communities safer for everyone. Transcript: Speaker: Welcome to Hill Law Firm Cases, a podcast discussing real-world cases handled by Justin Hill and the Hill Law Firm. For confidentiality reasons, names and amounts of any settlements have been removed. However, the facts are real and these are the cases we handle on a day-to-day basis. [music] Some of the most rewarding cases we get to work on here at Hill Law Firm, are cases that involve not only a settlement for the client that makes them happy and makes them feel like justice was served, and a full measure of justice was served, but also there are cases in which we were able to affect policy changes, sometimes through the law, sometimes through products and sometimes just internal company policies. I want to talk about two of the latter. In two cases we've handled, we've been able to change the policies of a company in the way they do business. The first involved a company that allowed one of their employees to take people out drinking on a company credit card. After he had been out drinking on a tab picked up by his employer, to entertain clients of his employer, he got in his company vehicle and as he was driving down the road, he crossed the center line and crashed into our client. That case was worked up over many months and led to a substantial monetary settlement that made the client very happy. She was very satisfied with what they had done in an attempt to make it right, but that wasn't enough for her. She wanted to make sure that this wouldn't happen again. We told the defendant that we would accept her monetary settlement, as long as it also came of policy changes. Among those was a training program for anybody that had a company vehicle. This included a four-hour training program for anybody with a company vehicle to know how they could and could not use it. Also, the company instituted policies with regard to how the company credit card could be used, and it could no longer be used to pick up alcohol tabs for their clients. Finally, the company instituted a no-questions-asked policy for its employees, that if they're intoxicated and need a ride, the company would pay for a taxi or a rideshare company to pick them up. At the end of the day, my client by standing her ground, not only made the company safer, she made the public at large safer. The second example of this is also related to a drunk driving case. In that case, we pursued a bar and the bar had policies that encouraged servers to upsell their patrons. For example, if a patron said they wanted to buy 12-ounce beer, they were encouraged to tell them that for just a small amount more monetarily, they could get a double the size beer. In that case after the settlement, we were able to talk to them about those policies and get them changed. Also, we instituted the policy as part of the settlement. The defendant agreed that after anybody had two drinks, that the computer system, the point-of-sale system they use, would generate a ticket where the manager would have to go do a quick check on anybody. Just a, hello, lay eyes on them and see if they seem to have their faculties. Plaintiff's lawyers too often get a bad reputation, mostly due to media and insurance companies. They want to sensationalize and turn plaintiff's lawyers and victims into villains, but the reality is, these cases that are prosecuted by plaintiff's lawyer like the ones here in San Antonio, Texas, make the road safer, they make...
4 minutes | Sep 22, 2020
T-Bone Crash with VIA Bus in San Antonio
Recently, we settled a case for a young lady that was a passenger in a vehicle that ran a red light. In the intersection, her vehicle was t-boned by a VIA bus. This case had a lot of tricky issues due to the number of claims sure to be filed. We settled this case early for maximum limits. Transcript: Justin Hill: Welcome to Hill Law Firm Cases, a podcast discussing real-world cases handled by Justin Hill and the Hill law firm. For confidentiality reasons, names and amounts of any settlements have been removed. However, the facts are real and these are the cases we handle on a day-to-day basis. [music] Recently we were able to settle for what was a surprisingly good amount for a client. It was a case involving a car crash in which a car was T-boned by a VIA bus. This case had some difficulties. One of them was our client was very close family friends with the driver of her vehicle. However, that driver was at fault. Another complication was there was about 25 people on the VIA bus, Texas law provides that the insurance company can pay out whatever claims they want. They don't owe a duty to multiple plaintiffs to be fair to everybody. They can payout their money, wash their hands of it, and be done. We knew this and we knew that provided some sort of need for speed. We had to hurry up and make sure that our client's rights were protected. Our client at the end of the day would be competing with 25 other claims, assuming those 25 other people were injured. Our client suffered serious injuries. She was a young lady, barely out of high school, suffered a very serious cut to her face, some broken teeth and some other internal injuries. Luckily for her, she had health insurance and she was able to get all the medical care she needed. She seems to be on a road to full recovery. We were able to resolve her case without filing a lawsuit, which is pretty rare anymore in these times. The defendants understood that she had serious injuries. She had a scar on her face that would not heal anytime soon and the juries normally feel a certain level of sympathy for women who have injuries such as hers. On top of that, we expected the insurance company to toss all the money in a pot and tell everybody to fight over it. What was working in our favor was like most cases, we were the most aggressive. We pushed hard, we stayed on it. We got the insurance company everything they needed early on, and we told them we were going to be filing the case by a date certain if they didn't resolve our claim. I was surprised, and anymore in our industry it's pretty rare to be surprised, and I was surprised that they made a full policy offer for our client without having to file a lawsuit. It was much higher offer than I thought they would make, especially that early on. On top of that, we were able to get a full offer of the under-insured benefits from our client's insurance. Our client was able to put this to bed without having to follow a lawsuit, be deposed, go to trial. It was a great result for her and is going to provide money to pay for her college.
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