OVERVIEW OF WHAT THIS FIRM DOES: Representing catastrophically injured victims and families who have lost loved ones through the negligence of others throughout Texas and the United States for 30 years. Practice is limited to litigation only in the areas of trucking and transportation accidents, motor vehicle accidents, products liability, medical negligence and workers' compensation death cases.
MY THEORY OF REPRESENTATION: The only promise I will make to any potential client is that I will represent him or her to the best of my ability. In that regard, I will tell them the truth about their claim or situation, good or bad. I don't make promises or guarantees of big settlements just to obtain someone's business. I have known of attorneys who tell potential clients that their cases are worth huge amounts of money just to get the person's signature on the contract. That, in my view, is wrong. The client who signs up with an attorney who make that type of promise will always be disappointed in the resolution of that claim. Every case, from the simplest car accident to complex multiparty medical negligence cases, is unique. No attorney, no matter how experienced or well known, can guarantee any client that he or she will obtain a certain amount of money in a settlement, mediation or judgment.
WHAT CLIENTS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CLAIMS: Most people are under the impression that insurance companies are there to pay you if someone harms you; and, that they will settle with you with a little prodding. That is a big mistake. Insurance companies are corporations created to make a profit for their shareholders. They less they pay out, the more profit they make. Insurance companies do not have a soul or morals. They are not going to pay you just because you deserve it. They are not going to pay voluntarily even to a little child who has been permanently damaged for life. They have to be made to pay.
WHY I DO THIS FOR A LIVING: I have spent nearly my entire legal career making insurance companies pay what they should to injured clients. For a few years, I represented insurance companies and my representation of them kept adults and children from receiving what should have been due them. My legal representation at times kept injured people from receiving any settlement at all, even though they deserved it. Though I won these cases for my client insurance companies, I did not feel good about denying good people their due, That is why I switched from defending insurance companies to prosecuting them and making them do the right thing - compensating people justly for their injuries. That is what makes me feel good about what I am doing in this life, protecting people who have suffered great loss that would otherwise get run over by big insurance companies trying to make a profit by paying them far less than they deserve or nothing at all.
LAWSUITS, LIKE LIFE, ARE UNCERTAIN: Just as life is uncertain, lawsuits are even more uncertain. The past results of an attorney's lawsuits is not an indicator that your case will end in a great result or even that you will win your case. The representative cases shown in my profile are those cases that have been reported as they were in the public press such as the Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas Lawyer, and other sources.
DO NOT MAKE UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS ABOUT YOUR CASE: Do not make expectations about how much your own case may be worth based upon the results of my cases or of any other attorney's past cases as they may be unrealistic. Remember that every case is unique and that no matter how much you think it may resemble a reported case, there are facts that WILL make your case different in what type of recovery you may make, if you make one at all. The cases that the public hears about through the news are the exceptions, that is why they are newsworthy. Cases with million dollar verdicts are very rare; multi-million dollar cases are extraordinarily rare, probably less than one case in 10,000 is a multi-million dollar case.
HOW TO VIEW YOUR OWN CLAIM: It has also been my experience that clients who recognize this uncertainty and who don't change their life on the expectation of a big settlement at some point actually get much better results than those who think they are going to make a big score. The potential client whose first question is "how much I am going to get?" after explaining the case to me is generally not the type of client whom I will represent as that question usually indicates a client who is going to have unrealistic expectations about their case. Every case, no matter how good the facts, has a range of expectations that starts with the amount of Zero Dollars ($0.00) to an amount that consistent with the unique facts of the particular case, which may be $2,000.00; $10,000.00; $200,000.00; or, even $20,000,000.00. Sometimes the reasonable amount of settlement is not apparent until late in the case; sometimes not until it is actually in trial.
LAWSUITS ARE LIKE WARS: A lawsuit is similar to war; there are battles that you win; there are battles that you lose. My belief is that the odds favor the warrior who is the most prepared for battle; that is how I approach all cases - I prepare all them for the war of courtroom trials. I never presuppose that an insurance company will make a decent offer of settlement somewhere down the road - they will not unless you and your attorney are prepared to go all the way to trial. If I accept a case for representation, that case will be prepared for trial; not for hope of a settlement. Good settlements only come to those prepared for trial.
HOW CONTINGENT FEE CONTRACTS WORK: Many people are unsure how the contingent fee contract in an injury case works. Some fees are set by state law, such as workers' compensation cases, where the maximum fee is 25% of the gross recovery, plus expenses. All other injury cases are not regulated by statute and can vary. A motor vehicle or trucking accident fee at our firm is 33 1/3% of the gross recovery plus expenses where a recovery is made without having to resort to filing suit. If suit has to be filed, then the contingent fee is 40% of the gross recovery plus expenses. In medical negligence cases, the fee begins at 40% and remains the same through trial, plus expenses.
An example of how a contingent fee works is:
Client recovers $200,000.00 in a medical negligence case. The attorney incurred $45,000.00 in expenses in preparing the case. The attorney's fee of 40% is $40,000.00. After subtracting the attorney's fees and the expenses from the gross recovery, the Client receives $115,000.00. [$200,000.00 - $40,000.00 - $45,000.00 = $115,000.00]
The expenses in a case include every expense that an attorney may incur in the proving of a case, for example: long distance telephone calls; court filing fees; deposition fees; expert witnesses; travel; private investigator fees; copies; photographs; courtroom exhibits; and, many other expenses that may be pertinent to the particular case.
Medical negligence cases are notoriously expensive because of the numerous expert witnesses required to prove the case. In fact, because of the state limitation on the amount a victim can receive in a medical negligence case, the expert witnesses required to prove the case may prove to be so expensive that the case cannot be economically feasible to pursue. If the case is one where the $250,000.00 cap on non-economic damages is all that can reasonably expected in recovery; and, five expert witnesses are needed to pursue to the case for an estimated cost of $110,000.00; then, if the very maximum of $250,000.00 is recovered; the Client would only receive $40,000.00. [$250,000.00 - $100,000.00 - $110,000,00 = $40,000.00] In that situation, the risk of winning and obtaining the maximum amount of recovery is not economically feasible in our opinion.
The situation is certainly is not fair to an victim who may be horribly injured, but the Texas State Legislature has determined, in effect, that some people are worth more than others in Texas based soley upon whether or not they are gainfully employed. Children, the retired, homemakers, the unemployed, those who do not earn money are generally left out because they are limited to non-economic damages only. You need to let your representative know that this is not fair in a society where are are considered to be equal.
Contingent (25-50%), Free consultation (60 minutes)
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|TX||Eligible To Practice In Texas||1978||09/22/2016|
|Award name||Grantor||Date granted|
|Trial Masters Membership||Trial Masters, LLC||2015|
|Texas Top Rated Lawyers by Specialty||LexisNexis-Martindale-Hubbell Top Rated Lawyers||2015|
|Invited Membership||Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum||2007|
|Elected to Texas Bar Foundation||Texas Bar Foundation||2007|
|Best Attorneys in Fort Worth||Fort Worth, Texas Magazine||2004|
|Featured Top Malpractice Verdict||Current Award Trends in Personal Injury, 1996-2000 - 43rd Edition, JVR||2004|
|Texas Top Reported Medical Malpractice Settlement, 2002||The National Law Journal Litigation Services Network||2003|
|Texas Top Medical Malpractice Verdict, 1999||The National Law Journal's Litigation Services Network||2000|
|Martindale-Hubbell AV (Preiminent) Rating||Martindale-Hubbell||2000|
|Million Dollar Advocate||Million Dollar Advocates Forum||1999|
|Chairman, Region 1 (41 Counties) Texas Child Welfare Board||Texas Council of Child Welfare Boards||1981|
|Managing Partner||Lemons Law Firm, LLP||1990 - Present|
|Attorney||Stokes & Fields, PC||1983 - 1987|
|Association name||Position name||Duration|
|American Trial Lawyers Association||N/A||1987 - 2004|
|Texas Trial Lawyers Association||N/A||1987 - 2009|
|Tarrant County Bar Association||N/A||1987 - 2009|
|Tarrant County Civil Trial Lawyers Association||N/A||1986 - 2009|
|Amarillo Bar Association||N/A||1983 - 1987|
|Hale County Bar Association||N/A||1979 - 1983|
|Child Welfare Board, Texas Panhandle||Chairman||1979 - 1980|
|Brenda Higginbotham, Representative of Estate of Tommy Higginbotham, Deceased vs. Valley Forge Insurance Company||Verdict For Plaintiff - $1,232,000.00|
|John & Jane Doe, NF of Baby Doe vs. Palestine Principal Health Care; Stephen Bates, MD, et al.||$10,010,000.00 Settlement|
|Fred Evans, et al. vs. Children's Medical Center Dallas||Jury verdict $67,520,000.00 in favor of plaintiffs|
|See all legal cases|
|New Mobility: The Magazine for Active Wheelchair Users||STRUCTURED SETTLEMENTS: Beware of offers to cash them out||1999|
|Baylor University School of Law||Law||JD - Juris Doctor||1978|
|Baylor University||English||BA - Bachelor of Arts||1976|
|UT Southwestern Medical School Medical Malpractice Conference||Deposition Preparation by the Physician & Deposition Demonstation||1999|
|Medical-Legal Seminar||Child Endangerment: What Can Be Done?||1999|
|Guest Lecturer, Business Law 101||Laws Affecting You Everyday||1987|
|Seminar for Victims of Sexual Abuse||Cross-Examination of Women Alleging Sexual Assault||1983|
|Lecturer, Business Law, Federal Adult Education Grant||Business Law||1977|