Bad News from Austin: Perry’s Vetoes Hurts Texas Personal Injury Victims

Austin continues to be a source of bad news for personal injury victims.  Staying true to form, Governor Perry rushed to beat legislative deadlines so he could veto numerous bills from the last legislative session.  Unfortunately, two of his vetoes really hurt Texas auto accident victims.

The first veto was of House Bill 3281, which clarified a prior bill that was enacted in 2003.  The 2003 bill contains confusing language that was the subject of a lot of litigation.  This session the house and senate passed a clarification almost unanimously (the bill passed 139-0 in the house and 28-2 in the senate).  The clarification would have prevented people that cause car wrecks from gaining an advantage because a victim was smart enough to buy health insurance.  Pandering to big business and insurance companies, Perry vetoed the bill, and once again left the confusing issue to be decided by Texas courts.  Today, Texas Watch issued a press release describing the situation in more detail.

The second veto involved HB 1519, a bill that limited chiropractors’ abilities to solicit victims of car wrecks.  An increasing problem for Texas car wreck victims and for legitimate Texas car wreck and personal injury attorneys is some personal injury attorneys circumventing attorney solicitation rules by using chiropractors.  Under some schemes, chiropractors contact victims, and then the chiropractors refer the victims to attorneys, sometimes allegedly even having agents for the attorneys waiting in the chiropractor’s offices for the car wreck victims to arrive.  We’ve previously written about this problem here. The house and the senate addressed the problem by putting limits on how soon after a wreck a chiropractor could solicit a victim of a car wreck.  Again, pandering to others, Perry vetoed this important legislation.

The one source of good news for car wreck victims was the passage of SB 502, which increased the minimum liability limits from $20,000 per person/$40,000 per accident to $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident.  Unfortunately, these limits don’t go into effect until 2008.

Mark Perlmutter and Brooks Schuelke are Austin personal injury lawyers.

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit http://www.civtrial.com/.

A lawyer’s guide to Father’s Day

Not our usual post, but we’re both fathers, and in honor of father’s day, we thought the USA Today article, A Lawyer’s Guide to Father’s Day, deserves a link.  Among the highlights of the article:

But the most important lesson is that all children are born with an innate sense of the law. Indeed, when the Framers spoke of natural rights, they might have hit on the same discovery in their own children. You can actually track your kids’ development by the legal arguments they make. Take it from me, the best way to prepare for parenting is to take a law course at your community college.

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Contracts. By 3, negotiating with kids is like working with little Teamsters on a labor contract. Bring a sandwich truck to the site; it becomes part of the contract. Likewise, once a parent buys a scone at Starbucks or allows cartoons in the morning, it is part of an unwritten but enforceable contract. This develops into a form of collective bargaining with the addition of another sibling: Any benefit to one is instantly an expected benefit to the other. Break the contract and you’ll face work stoppages, unending protests and even sabotage that ranges from spilled milk to items in the trash can.

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Due process. By 6, kids will insist on full due process in adjudicating their claims. Major penalties such as loss of Game Boys require something close to a full trial with two days of arraignment, jury selection and sequestration – and inexhaustible appeals.

The full article is worth a read.  And thanks to Luke Gilman at the Blawgraphy for the link.

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit http://www.civtrial.com/.

The Risky Life of a Patient

There is an interesting guest column in today’s East Texas Review, a small East Texas newspaper, titled The Risky Life of a Patient.  The general gist of the column is that when we visit contractors, car dealers, or even lawyers, we’re on guard to avoid becoming victims of one sort or another.  We’re not on alert with the health care system.  But, between medical malpractice, unexplained pricing models of doctors’ offices and hospitals, and insurance company chicanery, maybe we should be.

Click here to learn more about medical malpractice claims and our Austin personal injury lawyers.

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit http://www.civtrial.com/.

Protect Yourself: Personal Injury Protection and Uninsured Motorist Coverage

One of our recent cases demonstrates the importance of buying insurance to protect yourself. Dick and Jane were both passengers in a vehicle that was hit when the other driver made an improper turn. We represented both Dick and Jane in the wreck, and we settled their claims for what we thought were decent amounts. From the settlements, both Dick and Jane were to receive roughly the same amount. But Dick’s purchase of significant amounts of personal injury protection insurance made all the difference in the world.

Personal injury protection (or PIP) insurance is an option that you can purchase when you buy automobile insurance. PIP pays for your medical expenses and your lost wages when you’re in a car accident or wreck. PIP has two important features. First, there is no subrogation interest; unlike health insurance, if you submit bills to your PIP carrier, you do not have to reimburse the PIP carrier for amounts paid when you receive a verdict or settlement that includes the same bills. And second, you can submit bills to your PIP carrier even if the bills have been paid by your health insurance. Because of this, generally, all money recovered on a PIP claim goes straight to you (we do not charge to assist clients with making PIP claims, though some attorneys do). If you have been in litigation involving a car wreck or accident, you know that there are many expenses, including attorneys’ fees and case expenses, that you never have the opportunity to recover. Because PIP can help “offset” these items, and because PIP is also fairly inexpensive, it’s a good way to protect you and your loved ones from many of the losses that come with being victims in a car wreck.

In our case, Jane had purchased PIP in the minimum amount offered by insurance companies. On the other hand, Dick had purchased the coverage in a very high amount. As a result, after it was all said and done, Dick will take home thousands more in cash than Jane even though their medical expenses and lost time at work were similar.

In addition to PIP, uninsured and underinsured (UIM) coverage can also be purchased through your auto insurance to protect you in case the person that hits you doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance. At a time when the state regulatory authorities estimate that twenty percent of drivers don’t carry any automobile liability insurance — and a majority seem to have only the minimum limits of $20,000.00 — it’s critical that potential victims protect themselves by purchasing UIM coverage.

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit http://www.civtrial.com/.

Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC maintains offices in Austin, Texas. However, our attorneys and lawyers represent clients throughout the state of Texas, including Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Forth Worth, El Paso, New Braunfels, San Marcos, Kyle, Buda, Round Rock, Georgetown, Lockhart, Bastrop, Elgin, Manor, Brenham, Cedar Park, Burnet, Marble Falls, Temple and Killeen. By Brooks Schuelke


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