Your San Antonio Personal Injury Law Firm, Hill Law Firm, has been very busy the second half of 2021. From new cases, to settlements, to community involvement, we have a lot to share. This short update covers mostly the injury lawsuits that have settled recently. Sexual assault, on the job, car wrecks, and other cases have been part of our recent settlements.
Justin Hill: Welcome to Hill Law Firm Cases, a podcast discussing real-world cases handled by Justin Hill and the Hill Law Firm. For confidentiality reasons, names and amounts of any settlements have been removed. However, the facts are real, and these are the cases we handle on a day-to-day basis.
Justin Hill: Welcome back to Hill Law Firm Cases. We haven’t had an episode in a while. I wanted to update everybody on what’s going on over at our law firm. First, happy holidays, happy Thanksgiving, and a Merry Christmas and happy Hanukkah, and whatever you celebrate, we hope you have a good holiday. We wanted to update everybody on what we’ve been up to. The firm has gone through a lot of changes over the last couple of months. We’ve been very busy from a work side, from a staffing side, from all types of things going on.
It’s a very busy time of the year as it relates to lawsuits. It’s also very busy as it relates to our involvement in the community and our work with nonprofits. We recently attended Restore Education, big fundraiser, a spelling bee in which me and Gabriel from the Hill Law Firm were able to take home first place. It was a lot of fun, but we’ve also been involved in zoo activities and San Antonio Bar Association activities, and other fundraisers.
It’s important for us to be involved in our community, but not just from some of the vanity type charities and where people want to put their names on, but real small charities that need the help and need donors and need people who can put in hours to help. We’re really involved in those as well. I just wanted to talk a little bit about what we’ve been going through in the last couple of months in terms of our cases. What kind of cases we’ve been working on, how those cases have been turning out for us, and I think it’s good to just start and walk through some of the settlements we’ve had over the last 45 days.
Some of them have been real victories for our clients and for our law firm and for the justice system as a whole. To start, we recently settled a case against a major insurance company that really had in bad faith and in a really bad way treated our client poorly. She was rear-ended in a car crash in San Antonio. No fault of her own. The other driver said she was messing with her cup of coffee. When she rear-ended our client, our client ended up requiring a shoulder surgery.
Now she had had a shoulder procedure just months before this. We had imaging and doctor’s notes and everything showing that she was fully healed before this crash, but the insurance company, as they tend to do, lodged frivolous defense that was trying to allege that even though we had records and notes and doctors saying she was fully healed and fine with complete range of motion and no pain prior to the crash, they tried to say that the previous issue is what required her to have surgery after this crash.
They hired a doctor who charged about $17,000 to agree with them. I don’t think he was in any way impartial. In his deposition, he said that he had given 20 to 40 depots over the last three years, but whenever he was pushed and we got documents on it, he had actually been deposed over 120 times over the past couple of years. This was a real victory because after the deposition of this expert, we increased our demand from our demand at mediation, and that’s pretty abnormal when the insurance company will agree to accept an increased demand. We settled it for more than we were willing to settle at mediation, more than they ever wanted to pay, but it was a real victory for our client.
Another case we just settled actually last week was on-the-job injury where a employee of a local restaurant, a food establishment here in San Antonio, Texas was injured whenever he slipped down a set of stairs that he was required to use as part of his job. Texas has some strange on-the-job injury laws, but one of those is that if a condition of the premises causes an injury of an employee, they can hold the employer liable if the employer doesn’t carry Texas workers’ compensation insurance.
Now in our situation, they tried to allege that the client, our plaintiff, knew about the slipperiness of the stairs, but the Texas Supreme Court has said, even if they are aware of the danger, if it is part of their job, that they’re required to use that part of the premises, then you as an employer have to make sure it’s safe. Our client suffered pretty serious injuries as a result of this fall. We actually did a site inspection ourselves, and it was almost comical how slippery it was.
Our law firm handles a lot of on-the-job injuries and workplace safety cases, and we were really happy with the result we got for our client in this case. We did really good work and we were able to find that there had been previous allegations and previous lawsuits and not just from employees, but from business entities suing the target defendant in our case regarding the safety of their restaurant. We did good work. Client had a really good result and was real happy about it.
Another case we were able to settle about a month ago was a case involving an injury at a car race track. Now as a very strange set of facts, a lot of really difficult negligence issues, the case by the time it got to our law firm was already a couple of years old and the pandemic didn’t help, and it was a long haul for these clients, but at the end of the day, we think they got treated fairly. We like to take on the tough injury negligence cases that a lot of firms won’t. We were glad that we were able to put the case together in a way that the defendants and the insurance companies felt like they needed to settle it instead of letting a jury decide.
I’m particularly proud of some cases we settled about 60 days ago. We were hired by a young man who was solicited on the internet when he was underage by a much older predator, I’ll say, because I think that’s a fair way to put it. Who found him on a website, convinced this underage child to meet with him, assaulted him, and I think there’s some reality to this out-of-town guy thinking he could come to San Antonio, find a victim, nobody would ever come after him and the victim would keep his mouth shut, and the victim did for a long time until he found us and he asked us if we could help.
Really, I thought we were taking a flyer because those cases are really tough. It’s really hard to not only prove that case whenever it’s just two people’s words against the other, but also recovery. It’s very rare that somebody who does actions like that who’s an assault or a criminal actor is going to have any assets to pay a judgment. They’ll never have insurance for it, and unfortunately, if the person does have assets and wealth and income that could pay a judgment, they are usually going to find a way to protect their assets from any type of judgment.
The case went on for about 18 months. There were lots of legal issues. There were some interesting expert issues that we dealt with in that case. At the end of the day, the defendant paid out of pocket a substantial amount of money to settle the claims for our client, and in that case, also had a companion case that we hadn’t even filed, but at mediation, they asked if they could work on settling that one as well. Both cases got settled. Clients are very happy. It’s a much better result than I was expecting for the clients, just because of the difficulties of suing an individual in a case like that.
It’s really been a productive last couple of months at the law firm. In terms of what we’re working on today, we have a whole bunch of stuff that’s come in that’s unique. We’re handling a lot of on-the-job injuries. We’ve got on-the-job injury involving a propane fire. We’ve got some other cases involving carbon monoxide poisoning, which is a very unique set of facts that we’re still working through and working up, but like we often say, we handle cases that a lot of firms won’t.
We filed two cases against the Catholic Church over the last 90 days. Both of them on behalf of victims of sexual abuse. Both of them are just tragic and terrible sets of facts, and we really think, and we hope that we’ll be able to get an outcome for our clients that not only compensates them, which is all we can do under the civil justice system for the most part, but also we hope it brings some amount of healing to them for what they’re going through, some amount of closure. In those cases, I was told by a lawyer early on in my career that if you’re going to handle those types of cases, you can’t just look at them in terms of money.
You need to ask the clients what they need out of this case and what would be closure for them and what would be considered a victory for them, because the analysis on the part of a plaintiff in those types of cases is very different than it is in many others. We do our best to really listen to our clients. We try to tell them what we think is possible, and then we try to work towards what they want and what they need as a result of the legal actions they’re taking, because it’s a scary road for them to go down, and so we want to make sure we’re taking all those interests into consideration whenever we work the case.
We’ve got a pretty busy early year ahead next year. We were able to settle some cases at the end of the year that we’ll wrap up at the start of next year. We’ve got a full docket of stuff coming in and, and we continue to have a pretty good mixed bag of on-the-job injuries, sexual assault cases that we’ve always had a real passion about handling, commercial motor vehicle crashes, general negligence, some product liability cases.
We’re excited about next year. We’ve got some new employees that have started. We’ve got a new young lawyer who has started with us. We’re going to do some meet the employee stuff later on so we can expose people to Gabriel, our new lawyer, and we’ll be better about doing these as time goes. We hope everybody has a great holiday season, and we’ll talk to you next time.