Frequently-Asked Questions

Below is a list of some of the most frequently asked questions by our clients and prospective clients. If you still have any questions, feel free to contact us or call 866-492-2509.

Top Questions

Most personal injury attorneys work on what is called a contingency fee basis, which means that you pay the attorney only if and when the attorney has successfully made a recovery in your case, either by settlement or by winning a jury trial. Our philosophy is that clients have enough to worry about, so clients at Glasheen, Valles & Inderman never pay us a dime out of their pockets directly; when you’re case is finished, the insurance company sends a check to our law firm, we take our percentage fee from that check, and send the remainder to the client.

In the rare event we are unable to make a recovery on your case, you still don’t pay us a dime, and that even includes case costs, court costs, expert fees, and any advances. There is truly zero risk in hiring a personal injury law firm like Glasheen, Valles & Inderman.

You always have the right to fire your attorney; however, if you have signed a contract with that attorney, you may have to pay that attorney a fee. The answer to that question is very fact-specific, because one of the considerations as to whether you owe the first attorney a fee is whether you have “good cause” for firing that attorney.

What we recommend is, if you are unhappy with your current attorney, try to communicate that to them first. Let them know why you are unhappy so that they have a chance to remedy the problem. If you cannot get in contact with your attorney, or if they are unable or unwilling to remedy the problem, then your next step would be to consult another personal injury attorney. The new attorney can advise you about your contract with the first attorney. If you have “good cause” for firing the first attorney, and you have made an unsuccessful, good-faith effort to resolve the problems with the first attorney, then your new attorney will likely be able to resolve any claims from the first attorney. Such a resolution typically involves the old attorney and the new attorney dividing the contingency fee between themselves so that you do not have to pay double fees.

If your employer truly does carry workers comp insurance at the time of your injury, then you are barred from suing your employer; you must go through the Workers Compensation Commission to recover damages for your injuries. However, we have had dozens or more clients come to us under the impression that their employer carried work comp insurance, and when we checked it, the employer in fact did not. The only way to be sure is to seek the counsel of a personal injury attorney. At Glasheen, Valles & Inderman, we will perform this check for free before a contract is ever signed.

Even if your employer does carry workers compensation insurance, you might still have what is called a third-party claim. This refers to if your injury was caused by a person or company other than your employer or a co-worker. This is especially common in oil field cases where there may be three, four, or more different companies represented at a drilling site. In these cases, the fact that your employer carries work comp does not affect your claim against third parties, and seeking the services of a personal injury attorney is highly advised.

Hiring a Lawyer

Potential defendants are usually covered by insurance. The insurance companies are notified immediately when an accident occurs, and they usually hire attorneys and expert witnesses to investigate the claim. It is important that witnesses be interviewed as soon as possible and evidence be preserved. Witnesses will often be more difficult to locate or will have a poor memory if they are interviewed much later after the accident has occurred. Evidence such as machinery parts or skid marks on the highway will disappear unless preserved quickly. Insurance companies have insurance adjusters who will contact you and try to be friendly. You should not trust the statements that insurance adjusters make to you. They are not working for you and will sometimes make misleading statements in an effort to trick you into resolving your case. Insurance adjusters also might record your conversations with them and use your statements against you in order to try to save money for the insurance companies.

The main thing we try to impress upon people is that it’s never too early to talk to an attorney, and it’s always too late. By that we mean that speaking with an attorney very soon after a crash or other accident in no way will harm you. Along the same lines, the longer you try to handle a claim on your own or delay hiring competent counsel, irreparable damage can be done in the form of recorded statements given to the insurance companies and evidence not being preserved. There is no risk or fee for speaking with an attorney and arranging an initial consultation.

For personal injury claims the time period to file a claim could be anywhere from one year to four years depending upon the type of claim that you have. Generally, the time limit is two years to file suit in Texas. It is important to get advice from an attorney because the exact time limits can depend upon the specific facts of your case. It is important to hire an attorney soon after an accident. The insurance companies usually respond immediately and so should you. An attorney can help preserve evidence that otherwise may be lost forever.

Most injury attorneys such as the law firm of Glasheen, Valles & Inderman will work on a contingency fee basis. This means that you do not owe any fees unless we are successful in recovering money for you. We are also willing to pay the expenses in your case “up front.” You also will not owe us any fee or expenses unless we make a successful recovery in your case. We do not charge for our initial consultation and we will be happy to review our contract with you and explain in person how the fee agreements work. A typical contingency is 40% plus expenses, depending upon the type of case.

Most personal injury attorneys don’t require a retainer. A retainer is an up-front payment for attorney services. As the attorney works, they will bill against the retainer. Because most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency percentage fee, no retainer or up-front payment is required; the lawyer won’t be paid until the very end of the case, making it easier for clients to obtain the services of a personal injury attorney.

You always have the right to fire your attorney; however, if you have signed a contract with that attorney, you may have to pay that attorney a fee. The answer to that question is very fact-specific, because one of the considerations as to whether you owe the first attorney a fee is whether you have “good cause” for firing that attorney.

What we recommend is, if you are unhappy with your current attorney, try to communicate that to them first. Let them know why you are unhappy so that they have a chance to remedy the problem. If you cannot get in contact with your attorney, or if they are unable or unwilling to remedy the problem, then your next step would be to consult another personal injury attorney. The new attorney can advise you about your contract with the first attorney. If you have “good cause” for firing the first attorney, and you have made an unsuccessful, good-faith effort to resolve the problems with the first attorney, then your new attorney will likely be able to resolve any claims from the first attorney. Such a resolution typically involves the old attorney and the new attorney dividing the contingency fee between themselves so that you do not have to pay double fees.

Attorneys become Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Austin, Texas, which was created by, and operates under the authority of the Supreme Court of Texas. The Board’s Members are appointed by the President of the State Bar of Texas. The Board administers the program by which a lawyer may earn a certificate of special competence in a particular field of law.

Kevin Glasheen is Board Certified in Personal Injury and Civil Trial Law.

An attorney who is Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Personal Injury Trial Law must have handled jury trials dealing with matters such as vehicle accidents, workers’ compensation, premises liability, products liability, statutory tort claims, maritime accidents, or social security claims which involve a physical or mental injury to a person. The lawyer must also have extensive knowledge of the law of evidence, procedure, and other substantive law involved in the trial of Personal Injury Trial Law. In order to be certified , an attorney must have:

  • Been licensed to practice law for at least five years;
  • Devoted a required percentage of practice to personal injury trial law for at least three years;
  • Handled a wide variety of personal injury trial law matters to demonstrate experience and involvement;
  • Attended personal injury trial law continuing education seminars regularly to keep legal training up to date;
  • Been evaluated by fellow lawyers and judges; and
  • Passed a day-long written examination.

Kevin Glasheen is Board Certified in Personal Injury and Civil Trial Law.

A Board Certified Attorney is entitled to indicate certification on business cards and letterhead by stating “Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.” The Attorney may also display the certificate of Special Competence awarded by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and list the certification in legal directories and telephone listings under “Attorneys-Board Certified.” Kevin Glasheen is Board Certified in Personal Injury and Civil Trial Law.

Initial Certification is valid for a period of five years. To remain certified, an attorney must apply for re-certification every five years and meet practice, peer review and continuing legal education requirements for the specialty field. Kevin Glasheen is Board Certified in Personal Injury and Civil Trial Law.

Personal Injury Cases

The answer to this question often depends upon your specific situation. In an automobile accident with fairly minor injuries, sometimes there is Personal Injury Protection insurance or “PIP” coverage that can help pay for your medical bills. Other times your private health insurance provided from work will pay your medical bills. Once we settle your case, we may have to reimburse your private health insurance policy for medical expenses. In other cases where our clients do not have insurance we can arrange medical treatment for our clients using a “letter of protection.” That means that we make an agreement with medical providers that if and when you recover in your personal injury case, then we will pay the medical bills out of the settlement. In some cases where our clients are unable to get medical treatment otherwise, our law firm will advance the cost of medical expenses in order to assist our client. Exactly how each medical expense is handled in each case will depend on the facts of each case and the circumstances of any potential available forms of insurance payment.

The time it takes to resolve a personal injury claim depends very much on the type of case. We believe that it is important to prosecute claims as quickly and efficiently as possible. We usually like to have our client finish with their medical treatment so that we can fully and properly evaluate their injuries before we attempt to settle the claim. Sometimes we can assist a client with making advances to cover lost wages or living expenses while the client is waiting for the case to be resolved. Typically, automobile accident cases with fairly minor injuries can be resolved in about six months. More serious accident cases usually take anywhere from six months up to a year and a half or longer.

Whether a case goes to trial depends on dozens of factors, including your damages, the amount of insurance available, and the circumstances of the case. However, generally speaking, approximately 98% of personal injury cases settle without going to trial.

If you lose at trial, or if your recovery is not as high as it should be, we can discus filing an appeal, which typically happens if the judge makes a mistake during the trial. With respect to expenses and fees, you will owe us nothing for our time, attorney’s fees or our expenses if we lose your case at trial.

Very often when a person is in a traumatic accident, they don’t begin to feel pain for a day or two after the accident. This is because swelling and inflammation may not take place until sometime after the initial trauma. Often it is the inflammation that causes impingement on the nerves and pain. Sometimes the initial adrenaline and excitement from the accident can mask the pain as well. It is important to see the right kind of doctor that is accustomed to dealing with the kind of injuries that you have received. A lot of general practitioners and emergency room doctors are not really accustomed to treating the kind of trauma that is common in an automobile accident. We can make suggestions on doctors who are experienced in seeing automobile accident cases. Who you see as a doctor is up to you and there are certainly many doctors who are experienced in the area of trauma to choose from.

In Texas employers are not required to carry workers’ compensation. However, if an employer does not have workers’ compensation and an employee gets injured at work, then a claim can be made against the employer for the employer’s negligence, if any, that caused the injury. Our firm handles quite a few of these claims against employers who do not carry workers’ compensation. These claims are known as “non-subscriber” work injury claims. Because there is no limit on the damages in a non-subscriber case, there can sometimes be a substantial recovery. We have recovered in excess of a million dollars for many different clients with non-subscriber cases.

If you are hurt at work and your employer has workers’ compensation you cannot make a claim against your employer for the injuries. However, time after time, we have seen clients who are sure that their employer carries workers’ compensation insurance, but when we check, there was no such insurance in effect at the time of the accident. This contradiction is usually because employers will lie to their employees about their workers’ comp insurance status to either make them feel safer at work or to discourage them from making a claim against the employer after an accident has occurred. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed at work, do not take the company’s word for it; talk to a personal injury lawyer who can check the status of the company’s work comp insurance before negotiating any type of settlement.

There may also be claims against a “third-party.” For example, if you are driving a vehicle for your employer and you are hit by somebody else, then you can make a claim against the other driver since they are not your employer but instead are a “third-party.” Also, for example, in the oil field if you were working for a drilling company, and another company was on location such as a casing crew who caused your injuries, then you could make a “third-party” claim against the casing company that caused your injuries.

Contributory negligence—also known as comparative negligence—is a defense in personal injury cases. If an injured person is, in part, responsible for their own injuries, then a jury can be asked to assign a percentage of fault by dividing the responsibility for the accident between the injured person and the defendant. In such a case, the amount of the recovery might be reduced or prevented. Just because a person has some fault in causing their own injuries does not mean they are prohibited in making a claim, and if you are concerned about contributory negligence or comparative negligence in your case, we will be able to evaluate your chances for a recovery.

The law provides that if a person is killed because of the negligence of another, then a wrongful death claim can be brought by some of the decedent’s heirs. The people who can make a claim on behalf of the deceased person are the parents, spouse and children of the decedent. The wrongful death claim recognizes that when a person is killed, then the parents, spouse and children of the decedent will have damages for the loss of that relationship. Wrongful death damages include loss of economic contributions and support from the decedent, loss of emotional support from the decedent, and loss of love and affection from the decedent. Other wrongful death damages include damages for the mental anguish, pain, suffering and loss that the family has endured.

Related to wrongful death claims is a survival claim. The law recognizes that when a person dies that the estate will have a claim for the medical expenses that were incurred prior to death and for any conscious pain, suffering, disability or other damages that the decedent suffered as a result of their injuries prior to their death. This claim for “pre-death” damages known as a “survival claim,” is owned by the estate and distributed according to the Will, or in the absence of a Will, according to the probate laws.

If a manufacturer distributes a defective product that causes injuries, they can be liable under the law. A product can be defective either because it has a design defect, a manufacturing defect or ineffective warnings. Our firm has handled numerous defective product cases and recovered millions of dollars in such cases. If you believe you have been injured by a defective product, we will be glad to evaluate your claim.

The law provides that owners of premises can be liable if they fail to use ordinary care to keep the premises safe for their customers. Our firm has handled numerous slip and fall claims over the years and recovered millions of dollars for cases involving knee surgery, back surgery and shoulder surgery. If an operator of a business fails to put up appropriate warning signs for a wet floor, leaves a dangerous condition on the floor, or carelessly creates or does not remedy some other hazardous condition, then there may be a claim. We have handled numerous cases where sprinkler systems were set to operate in the winter, leaving ice on the walkways and resulting in a fall.

If an owner of an animal is negligent in failing to keep their dog secure, then they can be liable. There is no such thing in the law as “one free bite” anymore. If you or a loved one, especially a child, has been injured by an animal, it is important to contact an attorney to get an idea of the value of your claim, especially if the injuries required treatment at a hospital.

Our firm has handled numerous animal attack cases over the years, many involving recoveries of several hundred thousands of dollars. Most homeowner’s insurance policies cover the liability of a homeowner whose dog attacked someone. Therefore, there is usually a potential source of recovery for damages.

Negligence simply means failure to use ordinary care—that is, being careless. If a person is not acting reasonably or is not being careful, then he is being negligent. To be successful in a personal injuries claim or law suit, we are not required to show that a person intentionally caused an injury; we only have to show that they were negligent. If a person did do something intentionally or was reckless then they can be liable for punitive damages in addition to actual damages. Punitive damages are damages in excess of the actual damages, and juries award them to plaintiffs to punish defendants for particularly egregious conduct.

Personal injury claims are usually resolved by either settlement or by a jury trial. When a case is settled, it is the client’s decision of whether to accept a settlement offer. The lawyer will advise the client as to the potential value of the claim. Lawyers evaluate the potential value of a claim by predicting what a jury would do based on experience with similar claims. A jury can consider all sorts of damages in a personal injury case including medical expenses in the past and in the future, loss of earnings in the past and in the future as a result of the injury, physical pain and mental anguish in the past and in the future, physical impairment—that is loss of use—in the past and future, and disfigurement in the past and future. The jury has discretion in awarding the sums. We can give you advice on the value of your claim based on our experience with some of our claims and similar jury results.

Anytime a minor child is injured, a court must approve a settlement for that child’s injuries. While adults can settle their claims outside of court, a law suit must be filed for children. The term friendly suit comes about because the law suit is often filed after all the parties have agreed on the settlement amount. Once the friendly suit is file, an independent attorney called a “guardian ad litem” is appointed by the court to represent the best interests of the child. Once all the parties agree on a settlement amount, and the ad litem approves the settlement amount as being in the best interests of the child, a court hearing called a prove-up hearing happens. The parents or guardians of the child will usually be asked questions about the child’s injuries, and the attorneys will make statements to the judge about the settlement amount. Once the judge approves the settlement, the court case is dismissed and the claim is complete.

Motor-Vehicle Wrecks

Call 911 and report the accident. Move your vehicle off of the roadway, if it is possible to do so in a safe manner.

Do not apologize for the accident. If you are able, ask to see the other driver’s license and proof of insurance. From the driver’s license, write down—or take a photo with your cell phone—the other driver’s name, address, date of birth and Texas driver’s license number. From the proof of insurance card, copy the name of the insurance company, the policy number and the insurance company’s telephone number, if listed.

If anyone saw the accident and stopped afterwards, ask them what they saw, and make sure to write down their name and telephone number. Witnesses like this can be very helpful in determining who caused an accident.

Seek medical attention if you are injured. This can be as immediate as going to the hospital in an ambulance.

Lastly, talk to a personal injury attorney before contacting the insurance company.

Try to write down any identifying information you can, including the license plate of the other vehicle, the color, make, or model, as well as any description you have of the driver. If possible, use your cell phone camera to record this information. Next, call 911 and report the accident. Tell them that the other driver left the scene without stopping.

With that information we can attempt to track down the vehicle’s owner and obtain the insurance information on that vehicle. If we can get the insurance information, then the claim will proceed like any other type of motor vehicle accident claim. However, if it is not possible to track down the other driver’s information then we have to look at the client’s insurance coverage to see if they are covered by uninsured motorist coverage.

When an accident is caused by another driver, that other driver’s insurance company must pay for the damage to your vehicle and will also pay for a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired.

Typically, the law requires that when a vehicle is going to be repaired, the insurance company for the driver responsible for causing the accident has to pay for a rental car or reimburse the accident victim if the accident victim pays for a rental car out of his or her own pocket.

Passengers have the same rights as any of the other parties hurt in an accident. They are entitled to recover their damages from the person or persons who caused the accident. In some cases, both the driver of the other vehicle in the accident and the driver of their vehicle are responsible for the accident. In that case, both insurance companies are responsible for the passenger’s damages.

Pedestrians have the same rights as anyone else who has been hurt in an accident. They are entitled to recover for the damages from the person who caused the accident. Accidents involving automobiles and pedestrians often result in very serious injuries and even death. For this reason, and because circumstances in this type of accident can become very complicated, it is very important if you have been injured in an automobile/pedestrian accident that you contact an attorney as soon as possible to help you with this claim.

Truck wreck crashes can cause substantial injuries or death. It is critically important to contact an attorney immediately after a crash because of the nature of the evidence in these types of crashes. Our top priorities when investigating a new truck crash are to photograph the scene—including aerial drone photos of the scene—gather physical evidence, hire an expert engineer to download the engine control module data (like a black box), and talk to any witnesses. All of these things must be done in the hours or days after the crash.

Truck drivers are required to have a minimum of $750,000 of insurance if they drive intrastate and $1,000,000 if they drive interstate. Many trucking companies have more insurance than the required minimum. Our experience in truck driving cases helps us identify important evidence. We have found truck drivers falsifying their log books and driving in excess of the maximum amount of work hours allowed by DOT regulation.

For more information about truck wreck cases, click here.

Our firm has recovered millions of dollars for clients injured while driving motorcycles. Motorcycle cases present unique issues in the law and our experience can help you get the best recovery. Even though helmets are not required in some states, insurance companies will try to blame the motorcycle driver for not wearing a helmet. Other drivers often fail to yield to motorcycles, and insurance companies try to blame the motorcycle driver for being difficult to see. Based on a review of the physical evidence, many times our expert witnesses can help establish that our client was operating legally at the time they were injured.

The legal definition for intoxication for adults in Texas and New Mexico is .08 blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Also, in Texas there is a “zero tolerance” that penalizes persons under twenty-one (21) years of age who operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol with a BAC concentration below the .08 level. Additionally, any level of alcohol in a driver’s system may help prove that they were driving while impaired and therefore, may be negligent.

Assuming that the drunk driver is covered by liability insurance, you have a very good claim against the drunk driver and his insurance company. Because of the extremely danger a drunk driver poses to the public, drunk-driving-accident victims are able to recover punitive damages from the drunk driver and his insurance company. It is for this reason that accidents with drunk drivers are can be very valuable claims.

Yes, but it is very important that you hire an experienced dram shop attorney right away. The Dram Shop Act is a very specific set of laws that apply to bars, restaurants, night clubs and any other business that serves alcohol. If a business decides to keep serving beer or alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person and that person causes a motor vehicle accident, the business can be found liable for injuries caused by the intoxicated person.

Generally, there is no “social host” liability for non-businesses who serve adults; only commercial vendors of alcohol can be liable. However, a “social host” can be liable for serving alcohol to minors who then cause an accident.

An unfortunate and illegal practice in personal injury law is known as barratry, or more commonly referred to as ambulance chasing or case running. Lawyers and people who work for lawyers are prohibited from making unsolicited contact with potential clients in the form of in-person visits or telephone calls. Often times after a highly publicized accident where a potentially valuable claim exists, unethical lawyers will—either themselves or through someone they hire—attempt to contact the claimants or meet them at their homes or hospital rooms. Sometimes they pose as grief counselors, funeral home staff, or even healthcare providers like nurses.

Know that you have the right to refuse to talk to these people, and if possible, you should report them to the local authorities.

For more information about barratry, click here.

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