Answering All Your Questions about Personal Injury, Social Security Disability, Complex Litigation, Special Needs Planning, and Probate

When a catastrophic event puts your future at risk, anxiety and uncertainty will cause you to have a million questions. What can you do? How can you provide for your family? Will you recover?

Allow the extensive experience and knowledge of the Packard Law Firm put your worries to rest. Come learn the answers to your questions and see how we can help pull you out of the depths of uncertainty.

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  • At what point in the application process should I contact the lawfirm? Do I have to be denied before I can get help?

    If you are disabled and can't work, you should apply for social security benefits.  Give us a call and Social Security disability lawyer can help you out, at the beginning of the process or even if you have been denied once or even twice.  We can help you at the beginning or we can help you at the end when you are going in front of the judge.  Fill out the contact form here on the website or pick up the phone and give us a call and we will see what we can do to help you.

  • Can I Afford a Social Security Disability Lawyer?

    Those who need legal help with Social Security Disability may be hesitant to get a lawyer. If you are looking to apply for Social Security Disability, you likely don’t have another source of income or have a very limited income source, and if you’re already receiving some Social Security you are on a fixed income.

    Without a lawyer, the process of paperwork, appeals, and legal maneuvering can feel overwhelming. So what should you do? You should get the legal help you need. It is much more affordable than you may realize.

    How Much Money Do I Need to Pay Upfront?

    Absolutely nothing.

    Attorneys do not charge any fees upfront to work on your Social Security case. They do not charge to meet with you. They do not bill you hourly. There is no financial risk in speaking with a Social Security attorney since the service is free.

    How Much Will I Need to Take Out of My Future Benefits?

    Absolutely nothing.

    If an attorney doesn’t charge you upfront, then they must bill you once you start receiving benefits, right? No. Whatever ongoing benefits you receive from the Social Security Administration are entirely yours. You will not have to live on a tightened income after your case just because you got an attorney.

    How Will I Pay if I Lose?

    You won’t have to pay.

    Some people might worry that if they lose their Social Security case, not only will they not have the money they need, they’ll have lawyers to pay with the money they don’t have. Don’t worry. If you don’t win your Social Security case, you pay your lawyers nothing.

    So How Do My Lawyers Get Paid?

    If I don’t pay them upfront, and I don’t pay them from my benefits, if I won’t get billed, and I don’t pay if I lose, then how does my lawyer ever get paid?

    If you win your Social Security case, you’ll likely be paid in two ways. First, you’ll be paid an ongoing monthly benefit. Nothing from your monthly checks go to your lawyer.

    Second, most cases are also given a lump sum called “back pay”. This back pay is a reimbursement check for all the months that Social Security Administration should have been sending you checks, but wasn’t. Your attorney will charge 25% of this back pay. Typically when Social Security Administration goes to disburse your back pay check, they will actually send a check for 25% to your lawyer, and the remaining 75% will be sent to you so that you don’t even have to worry about it yourself.

    What Does it Cost if I Don’t Get a Lawyer?

    This article is mostly about all the costs of getting an attorney. But before you make a decision, you should also consider the costs of not get an attorney.

    This process can be is overwhelming. There are many technical rules and regulations that can actually increase the amount of back pay and monthly pay that you get. Many people that handle their case on their own end up missing out on extra funds because they are not familiar with the technical rules. The Packard Law Firm has a special department that focuses specifically on maximizing the benefits and back pay you that you will receive.

    If you need legal help with your Social Security, the best and most financially prudent thing you can do is get a lawyer. The Packard Law Firm is committed to helping individuals who need help with Social Security get the help they need in an affordable way. Reach out to us today.

     

  • Why are 18-Wheelers so dangerous?

    18-wheelers are monstrous vehicles.  A loaded 18-wheeler will weigh between 60 and 80,000 pounds.  That is 20 times the weight of an average passenger vehicle.  And when you are talking about damage to a car or to the people inside, it is not just the speed of the vehicle, it is the momentum.  And when you are talking 60 to 80,000 pounds it will just crush a passenger car.  These 18-wheelers kill and maim people every day.

    Government studies show that 18-wheelers account for only 4% of the vehicles on the road, but they are involved in 1 in 8 of the traffic fatalities.  When you are on the road, be mindful of the 18-wheelers because they can be really dangerous.

    If you have been hurt by one, you can speak to truck accident lawyer today, we will be glad to help you.

  • How is a big truck case different than a regular car wreck case?

    Well they are usually a lot more complex and they have a lot more issues. For example, you are going to need an expert witness almost all the time, usually more than one. You are going to want to evaluate the rig itself.  It is very important to examine the vehicle, the 18-wheeler.  You want to check the tires to make sure they are not overly worn, you want to make sure the brakes are at the right settings.  Essentially you want to make sure that the vehicle should have been in service, so you look at the maintenance records, for example.   And you also want to make sure that the load was secured, so that it wasn't sliding around as that could be the cause of the accident.  None of that is relevant in a typical car wreck case, most of the time.

    Different Regulations For Truck Industry

    There are also unique federal and state regulations that apply only to big rigs and 18-wheelers and such.  You want to check to make sure that the driver and the trucking company complied with the applicable federal regulations.  Was the person really qualified to be driving? Was the person sleepy? Did the trucking company put them on a schedule that was unrealistic so that they had to drive sleepy?

    Characteristics About The Truck Driver

    You also want to check to see if the trucker was distracted.  Now a days, in many of these trucks, they have actual computers right there by the steering wheel with a keyboard and a computer screen.  They are supposed to pull over when they want to talk to dispatch or their family, but lots of times they do that while they are driving.  There is a study that shows that these truckers are 10 times more likely to cause an accident when they are distracted.  You want to evaluate whether they are intoxicated or on drugs and of course you want to evaluate whether they are speeding.  Many of these trucks have black boxes, kind of like an airplane, that records speed and other critical data.  Even when they don't have that, there are very sophisticated ways to calculate the speed of a vehicle and to reconstruct the accident.  The formulas and the science behind how you calculate the speed of an 18-wheeler are very different compared to a regular passenger car.

    Why You Need An Experienced Truck Attorney

    Bottom line is this, if you have been hurt by an 18-wheeler, you want a truck accident lawyer who has done this enough times to know what the issues are, who the real experts are, what the regulations say and what to do so that you can be protected and your family can be taken care of.

    So give us a call if you have one of these cases, we know what to do.

     

  • As a lawyer, do you need to be involved in the scientific and technical details of an 18-wheeler case?

    In an 18-wheeler case, a truck accident lawyer really needs to be involved in enough of the details to know when an expert is trying to deceive them. They don't have to know all the science but they have to be willing to learn it so that they can be conversant with the experts. They have to know the rig, they have to know the regulations and they have to know the science.

    I had a case one time where an 18-wheeler killed four people. The expert that the other side had hired calculated the speed of the 18-wheeler at something that was very disadvantageous to our case. And we knew that he was wrong, but my expert couldn't figure out what he had done wrong. So I went out and bought the textbook that the expert had used when he was in college. I read the whole thing, some of it multiple times until we found it. The expert from the other side had used the wrong formula. He used a formula for a passenger car, when if you use the right formula for an 18-wheeler, the speed would have been very different.

    I confronted that expert in open court in front of the judge and the judge threw out the expert and all of his testimony as non-scientific and it turned the whole case. So you have to have a truck accident lawyer that is willing to get into the details, get into the science and if he doesn't know, he is willing to learn it. Because on these kinds of cases where the stakes are high, there is no telling what the other side will do.

    If you have a case like this, give us a call because we know what to do to protect you.

  • Is it really important to act quickly in an 18-wheeler case?

    In an 18-wheeler accident, it is very important that the family and the person who is injured, call a truck accident lawyer whose got a team of experts immediately.  There is a lot of evidence that can get lost if they don't act quickly.  In fact, the federal regulations allow the trucking company to destroy evidence after a certain period of time.

    Act Quickly After A Truck Accident

    Immediately after the accident there will be debris on the road, skid marks, burn marks, and there will be shards of glass. A lot of that stuff will go away and some of it will go away very quickly. Make sure to take pictures of the accident scene. In addition you have witnesses, the tow truck driver, the police officer, bystanders, people in other vehicles.  Those people need to be contacted and their testimony needs to be preserved.  I have seen cases where the witnesses just got lost and were never found. Or they forget what happened. Or even worse: the insurance company for the other side gets to them and gets them to sign a statement that doesn't reflect what happened. And so it is important to have someone on that very early.

    Truck Collision Inspections Are Time Consuming

    In addition you have to evaluate the rig itself.  There are things you have to check on, to make sure the brakes were properly set, the tires weren't overly worn, to make sure the vehicle should have been in service in the first place.  And you want to get that vehicle as close to the accident as possible so that they can't argue that something else has created the defect that you are relying on.

    San Antonio Truck Accident Experts

    For all of those reasons, it is imperative that you call immediately so that my team of experts can get out there.  Because rest assured, the insurance company is going to have their team out there as soon as the accident happens.  If we don't get out there soon too we are going to be playing catch up. 

    So if you have one of these cases, give us a call or fill out the form on the website because we know what to do to help you.

  • Is driving while using a cell phone really that dangerous?

    We hear a lot about how dangerous it is to drive while talking on a cell phone.  In fact, the City of San Antonio recently passed an ordinance banning the use of hand held devices while driving.

    But once you learn the facts, you really come to understand just how dangerous it is.

    • When you are talking on a cell phone, you are 4 times more likely to have an accident than when you are not.
    • 26% of all the accidents in the United States occur when at least one of the drivers is on a cell phone.
    • Over 50% of the traffic fatalities occur when one of the drivers is talking to someone or using a cell phone.

    Yes, Using A Cell Phone While Driving Is VERY Dangerous

    The reason this is true is because of a phenomenon called cognitive distraction.  It doesn't have anything to do with not watching the road but everything to do with the fact that your brain has a hard time multi-tasking.  It has a hard time perceiving and calculating movement when you are talking on a cell phone.

    The University of Carnegie recently did a very important study, where they put people in a driving simulator and let them talk on the phone and then they took a functional MRI which actually measured the brain activity.  And they discovered that the part of you brain that measures movement and that calculates what you have to do to avoid an accident, decreases 37% when you are talking on a cell phone.  Additionally your field of vision decreases 50% even when you are staring out the windshield.  That is why you miss your exit when you are talking on the phone, that is why you miss a stop sign, that is why you are 4 times more likely to cause an accident.

    Injured In An Accident? Contact Our Personal Injury Firm

    From your friends at the Packard Law Firm, stay off the cell phone when you are driving.   And if you do get in an accident, make sure you give us a call or fill out the form online.  We will be glad to help you any way we can.

  • How can I determine whether my employer has "authorized" workers' comp or is a "non-subscriber?"

    As explained on this website, if you are injured at work, it makes a big difference whether your employer has authorized workers' comp or some cheap benefits plan that they administer themselves.  If they have authorized workers' comp insurance, then you get your compensation through the workers. comp system.  If they do not, then you can recover the full amount of your damages through the court system as long as you can prove that the employer is at least 1% at fault in causing your accident.  So how do you know whether your employer's benefit plan is "legitimate" workers' comp from an approved provider?  

    The employer is required by law to tell you if they are a non-subscriber, but sometimes that information is buried in the the paperwork.  Thus, if you are unsure, you can call the Texas Department of Insurance at 1-800-252-7031.  Give them the name of your employer and the date of your injury, and they will tell you whether or not your employer was an official workers’ comp subscriber at the time you were injured.  You can also check on the TDI’s website at www.tdi.texas.gov, which also has a list of employers that subscribe to official workers’ comp.  If your employer is not on the list, you may have a legitimate non-subscriber case, and you should contact us to see if you can recover for all your losses and injuries.

  • Can my employer retaliate against me for filing a workers’ comp claim?

    Generally speaking, Texas is a “right-to-work” state – meaning that your employer can fire you for almost any reason.  However, if management discourages you from filing a workers’ comp claim, or if they make negative comments about the fact that you already filed a claim, and then they fire you (or take other adverse employment actions) you may have a wrongful termination case.

    This usually happens because of the tremendous pressure placed on supervisors and foreman to keep lost time injuries to a minimum. Unfortunately, some managers will not report injuries to improve the company’s “lost time injuries” statistics. For example, some managers might put an injured employee in a tent or shed and call it “light duty” and will then feel justified not reporting the incident as a “lost time injury”!

    The problem with this approach, of course, is that the employee is not getting the appropriate medical care. When the employee finally feels that enough is enough, they file a workers’ compensation claim and get fired! This kind of activity is illegal in Texas and there are steps you can take to protect your rights. If you feel you have been treated unfairly at the worksite because you filed a workers’ compensation claim and have questions, feel free to give us a call.

  • Can the family sue the employer when the company causes the death of an employee?

    Sadly, some work-related accidents are lethal.  Workers' comp has a modest death benefit for the family, but is there anything else that the family can do when the employer is responsible for the death?  Normally, an employer who carries official workers' comp insurance is completely immune from suit when they injure their own employees.  However, when the accident results in death, there is a tiny crack in the employer’s armor.  The family of the deceased can sue the employer even if the employer has official workers’ comp if they can show that the employer’s gross negligence caused the death. To prove gross negligence, the family must show that the company knew that its actions created an extreme risk of harm, but nevertheless proceeded with conscious indifference to the rights, safety and welfare of others.  In essence, it is the "I don’t give a darn" standard.  In other words, if the employer knows that its actions are very dangerous but proceeds anyway, it is grossly negligent.  If you think your loved one’s death was caused by gross negligence, give us a call, and we may have a chance to pierce the immunity created by workers’ comp and seek full recovery for all your losses.