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Attorney Stephen H. Gordon
Founder and President of
The Gordon Law Firm, P.C.
5820 IH-10 West, Suite 400
San Antonio, Texas
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Attorney Stephen H. Gordon
voted as "Super Lawyer" in 2007 by
Scene in SA Monthly Magazine
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INTRODUCTION

We live in a dangerous world today. People get injured at home, in the streets, and on the job. Sometimes these injuries are minor and go away quickly. Sometimes, there are serious and go on forever. In extreme cases, they can even lead to permanent disability or death. Hopefully you and your family will never suffer any serious injuries. However, if you do, there are some important tips you need to keep in mind.

If you are involved in an auto accident, slip & fall, or other case where you are injured, you should try your best to document the incident, call the necessary authorities, and then seek immediate medical attention. DO NOT MOVE until witnesses arrive if at all possible. After following these steps you should then contact an attorney as soon as possible to preserve your rights.

WE CAN HELP YOU

We will evaluate your claim carefully, and fight to get you the compensation you deserve for your pain & sufferring. We can also help you with your property damages claim as well if you have been injured. You may also be entitled to reimbursement for lost wages if a doctor has advised you to take off work to recouperate.

We can help you gather the necessary information and deal with the insurance company to make sure you are not taken advantage of in the process. We may also be able to refer you to a doctor to get you the treatment you need even if you do not have any health insurance. We generally work on a contingency fee basis, so there is usually no money up front and no attorney's fees unless we recover a settlement or judgment for you.

The key is to act quickly and not delay. If the insurance company sees that you waited a week or two to get treatment, they are not going to take your claim as seriously. Sometimes a person sustains only minor injuries at first, but then they develop into something more serious later. If you do not go to the doctor early on, the insurance company may try to argue that you got injured sometime after the intial accident and that they are not responsible. Don't let this happen to you.

There are important deadlines in personal injury case that you may not be aware of. Although the general rule is that you have 2 years from the date of injury to file suit, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, any claim involving a governmental entity requires that they be notified within 180 days of the date of the incident. This is why it is critical to call our office as soon as possible after your are injured.

CAR ACCIDENT CASES

If you get into an auto accident, try not to move your car unless it is not safe to leave it where it is at. Try to get the other driver’s license plate before you move your cars in case they try to flee the scene. Make sure to call the police and wait for them to arrive. Be wary of cases where the other driver promises to pay for your damages out of his own pocket if you just agree not to call the police. If this person changes their mind later, or doesn't have the money to pay you, it will your word against his as to who was at fault for the accident.

Take pictures of the accident scene and the damage to the vehicles. You should also keep a small notepad handy and immediately record your recollection of the event before your memory starts to fade and you forget important particulars of the case. Also, try to get information on any witnesses who are present at the scene. Get names, phone numbers, addresses, or if need be license plate numbers and descriptions of vehicles in the area. This may allow them to be tracked down at a later date. Look around the are and see if you can detect the presence of any videocameras as well.

When the police are called to the scene, be sure to get the name and badge number of the officer in charge of making the report. Finally, you want to make sure to request the "case number" that the incident report.

PREMISES LIABILITY CASES ("SLIP & FALL" CASES)

If you slip and fall on a someone else’s property or suffer some other kind of injury, you may be entitled to compensation. It is not automatic, but if there is some sort of dangerous or unsafe condition on the premises, AND it is not obvious to a visitor, then the premises owner could be held liable.

If you are injured, it is once again very important not to move until you are sure it is safe to do so, and until you can get someone who is in charge of the location to help you up. It is also a good idea to ask for help from an independent witness and ask them to take a look at the are where you were injured so they can verify the condition of the area. For example - is there water or some kind of liquid on the floor; or a crack in the floor; or a large pile of boxes that are obviously not stacked up right? Also, if it is at all possible take pictures of the area before you leave.

It is also important to insist on speaking to the manager and filling out an accident report. Make sure to get a “case number” or “incident number”, before you leave, and try to see if they will give you a copy of the incident report or statement. (Unfortunately, some stores will not give a copy of the report to you). If not, then politely ask them for a piece of paper and pen so you can write down your own version of what happened. Make sure to get all the names, and numbers of the witnesses and workers who were on duty at the time.

If it is a slip and fall, it is really important to detail exactly what you slipped on, and in what condition the substance was. Was it a puddle of water? Then how big is it? And is it clean clear water, or does it look old and dirty, like it has been there for awhile? If it is some kind of food item, does it look old and mushy, or new? Make sure to save your clothing and shoes and don’t wash them, just in case.

DOG BITE CASES

If it is a dog bite or other domestic animal injury case, then you also need to document the injuries and the area. Also, take pictures of the animal and your injuries right away. Make a note of exactly where you were when the attack happened. Once again, try to locate some witness who can verify the presence of the animal in case the owner denies liability later. And finally, call the police and make a report.

WORKER'S COMPENSATION CASES

We do not handle worker's compensation cases. However, if you were injured on the job at a company that does not have worker's compensation insurance, then we may be able to help you. If you are injured through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to compensation for such injuries.

NURSING HOME NEGLIGENCE

If you or a loved one is injured as a result of the negligence of a nursing home, you could be entitled to compensation. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is a growing problem in the United States. In 2001 the Special Investigations Division, Committee on Government Reform, and the U.S. House of Representatives reported that almost one-third of nursing homes in the United States were cited for abuse violations over a two-year period. An estimated 84 percent of abuse cases go unreported or unrecognized. Nursing home deaths are rarely detected by government inspectors, assessed by medical examiners, or investigated and prosecuted by law enforcement.

Federal and state laws were designed to protect nursing home residents. According to the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, all residents in nursing homes are entitled to receive quality care and live in an environment that improves or maintains their overall physical and mental health. This entitlement includes freedom from abuse and neglect.

The Office of the Inspector General has categorized seven types of abuse and neglect sustained by the elderly in institutional settings:

     1. Physical abuse – infliction of pain or injury, including sexual abuse.
     2. Misuse of restraints – chemical or physical control of a resident not in accordance with accepted medical practice or orders.
     3. Verbal/emotional abuse –demeaning statements, harassment, threats, humiliation, or intimidation.
     4. Physical neglect – disregard for the necessities of daily living such as food, water, bathing and basic care.
     5. Medical neglect – lack of care for existing medical problems, such as ignoring a necessary medical diet, not calling a physician when necessary, being unaware of potential side effects of medication, or not taking action on a medical problem.
     6. Verbal/emotional neglect – not meeting the patients’ verbal/emotional needs including disregarding patients’ wishes or restricting contact with family and friends.
     7. Personal property abuse – illegal or improper use of a resident’s property (funds, property, assets) by another for personal gain.

Any of these incidents should be reported to the state agencies in charge of investigating such complaints. However, not all of these abuses will warrant a lawsuit or legal action by an individual. If there has been a clear case of documented physical abuse, we can help. Common signs of neglect may include bed sores, broken bones, dehydration, malnutrition, and other suspicious injuries or death.

Unfortunately, it is often difficult to prove the cause of these injuries. Also, the only witnesses are typically a nursing home employee and the injured patient. Many such patients have mental health issues or severe memory problems that prevent them from clearly explaining what happened to them.

To make matters worse, it is often difficult to separate pre-existing injuries from new injuries. And in reality, some patients do end up causing their injuries to one extent or another by doing things they are not supposed to. In addition, it is difficult to measure what is just compensation for a person who already suffers from a variety of ailments, and who may only have a few months left to live, even if provided with the best care possible. These factors make handling nursing home nelgligence cases very difficult sometimes.

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Personal Injury Cases - General Info