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Richard L. Armstrong
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Richard Armstrong’s Answers

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  • While dining at Red Robin Restaurant on April first, I bit down on something hard and broke a tooth. I talked with an assistant

    Asst. Mgr. took a picture of my tooth that had broken off. I asked Red Robin to pay my dental bill. They accepted no responsibility at all and refused. I am suing them in small claims court to recover my losses. I ate at Red Robin in Hurst. Te...

    Richard’s Answer

    In the strict sense, as a private business owner he can deny you entry for any number of reasons; however, he would be foolish to do so. You should reenter and seek service like any other patron, and then if he denies you service, I would contact the corporate headquarters and explain the situation. I would be willing to bet that they would overrule him. If they do not, I suggest you contact the local news media and they would gladly run a story on this, which would make the restaurant rue the day they acted this way.

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  • Any chance to win a personal injury suite involving a pedestrian struck by a train on a bridge.

    Train was a capital metro electric railway going 40 miles an hour

    Richard’s Answer

    Of course, there is always a "chance to win" such a suit; however, the key is to know the factual details surrounding the accident. Was the person already on the bridge when the train approached? How far away was the train when the pedestrian saw it? What efforts were made to stop the train and when? A litany of other questions will need to be answered before the relative strength of the claim can be evaluated.

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  • I got rear ended and the other party is telling her insurance that it's my fault.

    My insurance told me that when they contacted her insurance that their client is claiming that I am at fault for cutting her off, but I know I didn't. Her insurance hasn't even tired to call me for my statement. Is that normal? Or I don't have t...

    Richard’s Answer

    Policies for interviewing accident witnesses vary between insurance companies. Some insurers don't take recorded statements in cases involving relatively minor injuries. However, if a case is viewed as having the potential for litigation--usually meaning higher damages--it is pretty rare for the opposing insurance company to not seek your recorded statement. They will normally do this quickly, before you have a chance to forget critical facts, and while you are still unrepresented. You do not have to talk with them, but you should follow the advice of the lawyer you retained. In our practice, I generally allow my clients to give such recorded statements, but only if I am present in the event the adjuster gets out of line. You should also ask for a transcribed copy of the recorded statement to be provided, and any legitimate insurer will do so.

    The way fault is determined is by looking at various factors. The way the accident facts are established is by witnesses who saw the accident. Regrettably, bystander witnesses are often not available either because they didn't stop, as is often the case in rush hour, couldn't safely stop, or left the scene without leaving their identifying information. If you have such witnesses available, make sure you stay in touch with them and share their information with your attorney, who may try to procure their statement. If no bystander witnesses are available, you will have to rely on your own testimony, that of any passengers in your vehicle, and occasionally, the other side. It doesn't happen often, but once in awhile the other side admits fault or says something that amounts to an admission. Unless they are represented by counsel, I always try to obtain their statement early, as well.The policeman is correct that he cannot determine fault. He was merely doing his job by showing up and taking down the accident scene facts as he saw them. Some people are tempted to ascribe heavier weight to his testimony; but he was not even a bystander. Still, it is valuable to obtain a copy of his report to see if it supports you or works against you. Your attorney can then advise you on whether to contact the officer and perhaps take his deposition in a lawsuit.

    Good Luck.

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  • Can I sue a towing company for stealing iteams out my car?

    I was arrested for a DWI and my car was towed on site. The police made an inventory report of iteams in my car. I gave power of attorney to my sister to get my things from my car while I was in jail. However, the towing/storage company denied any ...

    Richard’s Answer

    Absolutely you can.

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  • Is there a time limit between the date of MVA until you see the doctor for one to have a case? 9 days after an MVA I have back

    pain. 2 lawyers refused my case?

    Richard’s Answer

    There is no "hard" legal time limit, no; but practically speaking, very much so. The longer one waits after an accident to visit a doctor, the more basis the insurance company (or uninsured defendant) has to argue that the injury is (a) minor or (b) something you trumped up after, not before, you sought legal counsel. These are common positions taken by attorneys for insurance carriers. We all know that, absent catastrophic injury, no one wants to rush off immediately to a doctor if it may not be necessary. But postponing a visit for too long plays into the defendant/insurance company's hands, strengthening their argument.

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  • Can we sue a person for assault after he stole our atv and knocked my husband out?

    The man stole our atv and was talked into bringing it back by a friend. When he brought it back my husband went after him. He hit my husband who is 59 years old, knocking him out cold and causing a concussion and stitches in his head. Can we file ...

    Richard’s Answer

    If your husband "went after him" with physical force, it would be difficult to prevail in a suit for civil assault. A privilege of self defense arises in civil suits, just as it does in criminal actions. Further, if you are thinking of suing for damages relating to conversion (theft) of the ATV, you should forget about it, since the vehicle was returned. This means you have either no damage or negligible damage. Consider yourself fortunate, because this very rarely happens! Lastly, you must have a good address at which to serve this potential defendant civil process. It doesn't sound as though you have that information. If you obtain it, I would counsel against filing suit, based on the above identified factors.

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  • Setting aside a settlement agreement in California

    I sued my former company for moneys owed to me (lost wages, vacation pay, etc.). Defendant company cross-complained against me, alleging financial wrongdoing. After many discussions, the company muscled me into a settlement where I would pay the...

    Richard’s Answer

    Settlement agreements, properly done, are hard to set aside. Your basis for trying to set this one aside sounds like it would be duress. You will need to research, or have a California lawyer consult with you on, whether this fact pattern qualifies as the sort of duress that could set aside the agreement. Fraud is also a possibility. However, it sounds like the former employer threatened to turn the case over to a prosecutor---which technically is not the a factual misrepresentation as is required for fraud. It may have been a bluff, but bluffs are used all the time in settlement negotiations and are not illegal. You may want to investigate another approach as well. Under my state (Texas)'s ethics, it is unethical to threaten criminal action to gain an advantage in a civil case. If you can prove they did that, you might win an ethical complaint against the law firm. Perhaps the threat of doing so would gain some traction in getting them to set aside the settlement; but even if it did not, it would cause them some grief.

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  • A kid on a bike ran into my car. can I sue his parents for my auto deductable? I live in northampton county PA

    The kid is thirteen. there were two witnesses how gave statements to the police he was at fault not me. There is damage to my car. He was unhurt.

    Richard’s Answer

    It depends on how old the child is. Generally the age at which a child becomes liable for his or her own torts is around 12 (check your state's law). If the child was that age or older, and did not have a background suggesting that he was wreckless, his parents would probably not be liable---the child would. Absent very unusual circumstances, the child would have no assets from which to recover. If, however, the parents were negligently supervising the child, or knew that he had a habit of running into cars and did nothing to take the bicycle away, they may well be liable.

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  • I was in an auto accedent 2.5 years ago. i injered my kneck, and it never healed correctly. do I have any recourse on the ins.co

    I had an mri. the machine had a very high pitched sound. the sound never left my head, and is getting worse. it sounds like loud bugs! do I hve a case?.

    Richard’s Answer

    You may very well have a claim, provided the statute of limitations has not lapsed. In many states, including my home state of Texas, the period in which to file suit is 2 years from accrual of the claim (date of injury). In some states, such as Tennessee, it is one year. If time has not run out, you would need to get an attorney working on this fairly quickly. Don't be surprised if a number of them turn you down, given that this much time has gone by. With regard to the sound, to prevail on a claim against the radiologist or doctor who ordered the MRI, another doctor in the same subspecialty must be obtained who would opine that, in reasonable medical probability, the sound you are hearing was caused by the physician's negligence. This seems unlikely, because this is probably not a reasonably foreseeable outcome from an MRI. There is another possiblitiy: a products liability claim against the manufacturer of the MRI equipment, if the machine is malfunctioning and producing a sound which makes auditory injury likely.

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  • Should I sign a non-compete in FL?

    I work for a management company in the state of Florida. I have worked for the company for several months now. They asked me to sign a non-compete upon hiring on. I asked several questions without answers. Therefore, I did not sign. They have...

    Richard’s Answer

    Every state's law is different and I am licensed to practice in Texas. However, if you are in management, which it sounds like, you can usually be terminated at the will of the employer so long as it is not for a discriminatory reason under federal or state law. Such reasons are well recognized: race, religion, ethnic origin, age, gender. disability, and in a few jurisdictions, sexual orientation. Therefore, if it means enough to them, they can probably terminate you. I am not certain what you mean by "two party type contract", as all contracts must have at least two parties. However, if you are asking whether tyou have the option to make changes, this is more a function of bargaining power than anything else. You always have the legal option to make changes in any agreement to which you are a party, but the penalty for doing so in an "at will" employment state may be the loss of your job or the retraction of an employment offer. That is why such "contracts" are often termed "illusory", meaning that employment can be terminated at any time without notice to the employee. The bright side is that, if you intend to press forward with your own management company, you will have no restrictions placed on you from a non-competition covenant. Make certain, however, that you do not use any legitimate trade secrets or confidential information from your erstwhile employer that you agreed not to use or disclose. And, before relying on this advice, be certain to check whether Florida is, in fact, an at will state as Texas is.

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