Law Talk Episode 21: Personal Injury Law

Have you ever experienced an injury at work or in a car accident? If so, then you should know the basics of personal injury law in Virginia.

Andrew Michael: All right. And we are live. It is Wednesday. We are actually starting perfectly on time this time, exactly 11:00.

Jacob Tingen: Good for us.

Andrew Michael: I am here with Jacob, and today we’re going to talk about the fun world of personal injury. I know how much everyone loves that. Yeah. Is there anything you want to sort of start off with?

Jacob Tingen: Yeah…

Andrew Michael: Sort of a broad overview of what personal injury is, how we’re getting into personal injury as a firm, sort of.

Jacob Tingen: Yeah. For a long time, Tingen and Williams … Well, from the beginning, Tingen and Williams’ focus has been primarily immigration. I personally have done some trademark and some business stuff, which I really enjoy. But as a firm, we’re getting into personal injury. And then we’ve also added two new attorneys, whose sole focus will be criminal law. It’s been exciting for us to kind of experiment, branch out a bit. We do have plenty of work doing immigration law in the current political climate. But yeah, it’s been very exciting to learn about a new area of law.

Jacob Tingen: Personal injury is basically civil lawsuits. Who’s liable? Who’s not? And then how much money does it take to help someone become whole, or to repair an injury, or property? How to help people move on with their lives, that’s what personal injury is.

Andrew Michael: Yeah. Because that’s the whole point of it, is to make the person whole as if the accident or whatever never happened, so like sort of getting them back to the standard of living they’re used to is really what’s important about personal injury law.

Jacob Tingen: Yeah. And we know that personal injury lawyers and lawyers in general may not have the best reputations in the world, and it’s probably related to the reputation that personal injury lawyers, probably the reputation that personal injury lawyers have. People have this perception that lawyers are just after money. And yeah, there’s a financial incentive in this process for lawyers. But at the same time, there are people who, once you’ve had an issue with an insurance company, you’ll be grateful for that personal injury lawyer.

Jacob Tingen: They’re not always fair, and people wouldn’t be made whole without the assistance of a lawyer, so that’s what we want to do, is we want to help you move on with your life in the best way possible, especially after something traumatic that happens to you.

Andrew Michael: Oh, yeah. Definitely. Dealing with insurance companies, I’ve just read horror stories about ways they try and finagle out of these kind of things. Having someone on your side seems really important for this kind of stuff.

Jacob Tingen: Yeah. Well, and we’ll probably touch on some of the ways that insurance companies try to do that, in particular in Virginia.

Andrew Michael: You want to just start with that, keep rolling with that?

Jacob Tingen: Sure. Yeah. Typically, when you look at a civil lawsuit, which is personal injury again, generally are civil lawsuits, so there’s concepts like intentional torts, so tort law is the legal term for some kind of personal injury. There are intentional torts where somebody intentionally hurts you or harms you. But generally when it comes to things like car accidents, or even things like medical malpractice, these things are so-called accidental injuries. But the legal standard that people are held up to is negligence.

Andrew Michael: Yeah.

Jacob Tingen: Should or could they have prevented the harm somehow? And so when you look at traffic, the easy examples are people running red lights and then getting into accidents, or people running stop signs.

Andrew Michael: Speeding is a big one as well.

Jacob Tingen: Speeding, right. Doing things that maybe are a little bit, I wouldn’t go so far as to say reckless, but possibly negligent.

Andrew Michael: Outside the norm is making it negligent.

Jacob Tingen: Outside the norm and making it negligent, and then causing damage to property or people. Those are negligent activities. Negligence is the first kind of legal concept that you encounter. And then the defensive, the counterattack when you say, “Look. You injured me, and you should make me whole,” in Virginia the defense strategy a lot of times focuses on contributory negligence.

Andrew Michael: Yeah.

Jacob Tingen: Did you contribute to the injury? Well, then you get nothing. At least that’s the rule in Virginia. If the other guys hits you, let’s say you’re a pedestrian and a car hits you, well, they’re clearly at fault. They’re negligent. They should’ve slowed down, or seen you, or whatever. And so they’re at fault. But let’s say you bent down to pick up a penny that you saw on the crosswalk. Well, you shouldn’t have been doing that on a crosswalk.

Andrew Michael: Because you’re standing in the middle of the road without looking [crosstalk 00:04:41] place. Yeah.

Jacob Tingen: Because you’re standing in the middle of the road, right. And so even though the other car was speeding and came around a curve and should’ve seen you and stopped, the fact that you were there picking up something off the ground makes you contributorily negligent possibly. I mean I look at the legal analysis.

Andrew Michael: That’s the defense that a lawyer might bring up in the situation.

Jacob Tingen: That’s a defense. I mean, I would bring it up if I was the defense lawyer. Right? Because in Virginia, contributory negligence is a complete bar to recovery. So even if the other car is 99% at fault, and it’s only 1% your fault, you get nothing. I think another very popular example is slips, trips, and falls cases. You’re in a store. There’s a sign that says, “Caution. Wet floor.” And you walk there anyway, well, the sign said caution, so that’s partially your fault. Again, you get nothing no matter how much you get injured from a slip or a trip. Those are examples of contributory negligence. And again, just because somebody makes that argument doesn’t make it true. Right?

Andrew Michael: It’s just something that will probably come up in court if there is an argument to be made there.

Jacob Tingen: Yeah. If you dropped your change on the ground and another car comes around, and you’re in the crosswalk picking up change, and they have a red light, or any other number of scenarios, that doesn’t make you contributorily negligent, but expect that defense from the other guy.

Andrew Michael: Yeah. And to go back to the original question, these are things that the insurance company might use as a way to not pay out.

Jacob Tingen: Right. Yeah, because they don’t want to pay any money. Even if what happened is an atrocity, they don’t want to pay money because when it comes down to it, the name of their name is the bottom line. And their bottom line is money. And our bottom line is helping you. The insurance companies are the ones you should be upset with, not the attorneys. Although, everybody loves good attorney jokes, so I don’t blame them for that. I like a good attorney joke too, as much as the next guy. Maybe we can do a law talk episode of just attorney jokes someday.

Andrew Michael: Just attorney dad jokes and stuff.

Jacob Tingen: Yeah. That’d be fun.

Andrew Michael: Like horrible, horrible puns. We made one article recently that was just filled with puns. And I can’t remember which one it was.

Jacob Tingen: Was it the tree one?

Andrew Michael: No. It wasn’t the tree one. I remember I sent it to Amanda, and she was just like, “Let’s fill this with as many puns as possible.”

Jacob Tingen: Did we do the tree law article already on the podcast? Have we talked about that?

Andrew Michael: No. I don’t think we’ve chatted about it.

Jacob Tingen: That’s a kind of tort law. We have an article on our website about tree law and the injuries that can happen from tree branches and falling trees. With the hurricane coming, this could be a popular topic.

Andrew Michael: Yeah.

Jacob Tingen: And so basically our article, and you should check it out on our website at tingenwilliams.com, but we go over what kinds of damages and who could be liable in the event that tree branches fall and cause damages to other people’s properties.

Andrew Michael: This is related to the contributory negligence thing as well, because for example if your neighbor’s tree branches are hanging over your fence, and it’s very obvious, like they’re neglecting to trim them, take care of the plant, in Virginia, if that falls and stuff happens, you’re technically at fault because there is an assumption that you could’ve cut the branches yourself.

Jacob Tingen: Well, let’s be careful.

Andrew Michael: Be careful, yes.

Jacob Tingen: I would say you’re technically at fault.

Andrew Michael: Technically.

Jacob Tingen: That’s a defense that somebody might present, so if that’s the situation you’re in, you come talk to us and we’ll look. One of the things we would do is we would look closely at the case law, and we would look closely at the standards of negligence that are present because, again, just because they’re saying you contributed to the accident doesn’t mean that you did.

Andrew Michael: Yes.

Jacob Tingen: And so you may have a case, or you may not. And so it’s always important, each case it case by case. Talk to a lawyer, especially if there’s lots of damages. Now if your fence cost 200 bucks to fix, it’s probably not worth it to go to a lawyer. But if they knock over your shed and ruin your riding lawnmower and 20 other tools, and your fence is ruined and it’s going to cost $10,000 for the fence and another $5000 of tools in your garage, and your neighbor doesn’t want to pay for it, you don’t know whose homeowner’s insurance or whatever insurance should cover this, yeah. Talk to a lawyer. That’s worth it. There’s something to be gained from getting this fixed. And you don’t want to be out all of that money yourself.

Andrew Michael: This may be a bit outside of the realm of this. But what happens in a disaster for that kind of stuff, like if your neighbor has a tree that falls on your house?

Jacob Tingen: I mean, a lot of insurance policies are going to have an act of God provision, so they’re not going to cover an act of God. But at the same time, when you’ve got a dead tree, and you’ve been telling your neighbor for years to get rid of it, and then that’s the tree that wrecks your house in a hurricane, I think that you might have an argument. You’d still want to investigate your options. And most attorneys for personal injury, or a tort law, or civil case, are going to give you a free consult. And so to get something like that evaluated is not going to be a challenge. If you’ve got a tree problem after the hurricane, we’ll talk to you about it.

Andrew Michael: Because it’s very much case by case, even down to the particular type of tree.

Jacob Tingen: Oh, yeah. Very much case by case. Yeah.

Andrew Michael: What’s the next thing that you want to sort of chat about for personal injury law? Because there’s a whole bunch of different areas we could sort of go into.

Jacob Tingen: One of the first things I would focus on is you probably only need a personal injury attorney if you’re out lots of money or it’s a significant injury.

Andrew Michael: Sort of like cost effectiveness of hiring a lawyer.

Jacob Tingen: To be honest, most lawyers won’t take a case in Virginia that would be where the recovery is less than say, 10 grand. Right?

Andrew Michael: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jacob Tingen: Once you get above that number, you might have something worth taking to a lawyer. And the reason is a lawyer’s going to take a third. If you need 10 grand, the lawyer’s going to take three and a third of that. It needs to be worth it for the lawyer. It needs to be worth it for you. Some things are just more hassle than they’re worth. We try to take higher value cases here, so if it’s less than 10 grand, we probably would pass.

Andrew Michael: Would you take the smaller cases to something like small claims court, or how would that work?

Jacob Tingen: Well, it’s interesting in Virginia. Lawyers can’t represent you in small claims court. If you show up to small claims court with a lawyer, they kick it up to regular general district court. And so I forget what the limit is on small claims court. I know in general district court-

Andrew Michael: I think they raised it recently. Didn’t they?

Jacob Tingen: Well, in general district court, I think it’s 25K.

Andrew Michael: Yeah.

Jacob Tingen: There could be cases that a lawyer would be happy to represent you in general district court.

Andrew Michael: Yeah.

Jacob Tingen: That’s definitely a possibility. And then of course, to get to federal court with multiple state actors, it has to be … Well, if it’s multiple state actors you can get into federal court anyway. But you have to be higher than $75,000 just in terms of money to get to federal court. There are different reasons why you’d want to go for different kinds of court scenarios. But that’s a whole other conversation.

Andrew Michael: Oh, definitely. That’s like if you, what? I don’t know. Get injured in some business from being negligent, like at McDonald’s, like if their roof is not done properly and it falls on you or something stupid.

Jacob Tingen: Yeah. And there’s all sorts of litigation strategies. I mean a local lawyer might know the local judges better. McDonald’s might try to push it into federal court because they’re the big evil corporation. They feel, I think the perception is that there’s a little more consistency at the federal level, or at least that’s how corporations feel. As far other aspects of personal injury law, liability, proximate cause, there are a couple of other things that come into play.

Andrew Michael: Well, we can go into more specific things later. But I know something we haven’t really talked about much yet is workers’ comp, which is sort of like the other half of your neighbor injuring you or something because workers’ comp cases are generally handled a little bit differently than car accident cases, that kind of stuff. Right?

Jacob Tingen: Yeah, yeah. Workers’ comp is only injuries at work. If your neighbor injured you, it’s not workers’ comp. But if your coworker injurers you, it’s probably workers’ comp. And that’s not to say that you wouldn’t have potentially, and this is again where you’d talk to a lawyer, other opportunities to sue. But generally, work injuries are going to be covered by workers’ comp and they have to go through the workers’ compensation process first. And so the reason that is, is that employers want to be able to have some level of stability and not worry so much about their legal liability for injuries to employees. Virginia requires you to, I believe after you’ve got two employees, once you get beyond that threshold, you have to have workers’ compensation insurance.

Andrew Michael: Yeah. It’s a smart idea too because otherwise you might get sued and go bankrupt or something.

Jacob Tingen: Yeah. Well, I mean you want workers’ compensation insurance. Depending on the industry, of course, it’s going to be more expensive. And we’re an office, so our workers’ compensation insurance for everybody is pretty cheap. I think it’s negligible. It’s like less than 100 bucks a month.

Andrew Michael: Versus something like, I don’t even know, like a factory or something where they have an onsite medical team, all this other kinds of stuff.

Jacob Tingen: Yeah. I imagine factories. I was reading about injuries at the Tesla factory. And I hope that comments like that don’t sink Tesla. I really like the idea of Tesla cars. But yeah, I’ve heard that they’ve had injuries at their factories lately. That’s no good. Right? But I bet they are insured. And so workers’ compensation insurance, depending on your industry, may cost more. But I would say that it’s always worth it.

Andrew Michael: Oh, definitely, just as protection because I know we’ve talked about LLCs and all this other kind of stuff, for sort of like the legal side. But on the insurance side as well, protecting yourself from a $100,000 lawsuit because of something like this is definitely ideal.

Jacob Tingen: Yeah. But if you don’t have insurance, then even if you don’t personally have to pay for it because you did the smart thing and registered an LLC, your LLC is going to pay for it. And if you’re out of business, well then, I’m sorry. You’re sunk. And we also mentioned that typically in the small business scenario, even though the LLC prevents you from being legally liable for incidents like a personal injury, or personally liable for those kinds of things, you still probably have to sign a personal guarantee to get the lease and stuff like that. So it’s problematic, so get workers’ compensation insurance.

Jacob Tingen: Now from our context, if you’re an injured worker and you come to us, we’ll file a claim with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, which is more like a bureaucracy that handles these claims in a streamlined fashion. One of the good things I guess, from the client perspective, is that when you … First of all, attorney recovery, or at least the percentage that the attorney can charge the fee, isn’t as high in a typical personal injury case, which is like 33 and a third, or 45% if it goes to trial. In the workers’ comp scenario, I think it tops out at 25% of the injured worker’s recovery can go towards paying for the attorney.

Andrew Michael: Yeah.

Jacob Tingen: That’s one aspect of workers’ comp. But generally, you avoid courts and you work with the insurance company via the Workers’ Compensation Commission, which is like a giant mediator and court system if you need it.

Andrew Michael: Yeah. It’s more like mediating for the bureaucracy rather than going to court and arguing with the other person’s attorney, kind of.

Jacob Tingen: Yes. And then the other thing about workers’ comp is you come into your lawyer’s office and they can pretty much tell you what kind of recovery you can expect in terms of financial recovery because there is literally a chart in the Virginia code telling you how much each body part is worth, for how much percentage injury. I mean it’s fascinating. If you can’t lift your arm more than 50%, then you say, “Well, it’s 50% immobile,” then they look at the price per arm disability. And they say, “Well, now it’s only limited by 50%, so you get half of the total price.” And if that’s your permanent injury, then that’s what you’d get.

Jacob Tingen: Of course, there are all sorts of aspects to workers’ comp, so there’s temporary partial disability. There’s temporary total disability. There’s permanent partial disability. And there’s permanent total disability. These four kinds of injuries generate different kinds of income to you. And then there’s always of course medical insurance benefits that you typically win in a workers’ compensation case.

Andrew Michael: Because it all goes back to the whole thing we were talking about earlier with how much it costs to make you whole. If you’re only going to be injured, like if you sprain your ankle or something and you can’t work for a week, that’s going to be very different from, you break your ankle so bad that you can’t walk correctly for the next 20 years or something.

Jacob Tingen: Yeah. I kind of wondered. I know that Tom Cruise, for example, broke his ankle working on his latest Mission Impossible movie. And I wonder if … They’re movie stars and it’s probably not handled under workers’ comp, but I kind of wonder if it could be.

Andrew Michael: Yeah.

Jacob Tingen: I bet when you’re Tom Cruise, your body parts are insured. But you do your own stunts. I wonder who’s liable for that. You know?

Andrew Michael: I’m sure people who do stunts have a crazy high personal injury insurance kind of policy.

Jacob Tingen: Especially if you’re Tom Cruise.

Andrew Michael: Can you imagine walking into an office being like, “I’m going to get blown up on Tuesday. How much does it cost in case I get injured?”

Jacob Tingen: Yeah. I imagine if you’re Disney, you pay really high workers’ comp insurance premiums.

Andrew Michael: Yeah. Another important part I think we should talk about, just because we’ve sort of been talking around it for the last five or six minutes, is documentation, like how to prove that you’re injured. For example, I know Virginia has a two year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. It can sometimes be to your advantage to wait a year, year and a half to file just because: What if your injury comes up again? Or how does this affect your everyday life? There’s a whole bunch of-

Jacob Tingen: I would actually say that it’s not to your advantage to wait. You should go ahead and file immediately.

Andrew Michael: Yes.

Jacob Tingen: And the reason there is that certain claims are going to be preserved no matter what as soon as you file. You should file immediately. And then that’s part of the conversation that you have with the Workers’ Compensation Commission, that you have with the employer and their insurance company, is that, look, my injuries are still being evaluated. As long as you file that claim and let them know that you’re injured, they’re on notice and it starts the conversation. And there are provisions in the code that allow you to come back and say, “Hey. I’m still injured for this reason.”

Jacob Tingen: There are a lot of interesting timing provisions in the Virginia code about when you can sue for a permanent disability, not sue, I mean I guess make a claim for a permanent disability. Again, this is the tricky part. This is where you talk to a lawyer and they can kind of help you navigate some of these sticky areas.

Andrew Michael: Because there’s a very specific process you need to go through, so making sure you hit every single one of those is definitely really important.

Jacob Tingen: Yes. Yes. And go ahead and file for everything right up front. Make sure that you are well within the statute of limitations. And then you mentioned treatment and those kinds of things, get treated. Document. Again, the insurer, the employer’s insurance is likely to pay for most of these medical bills. And so you need to get all of your injuries documented so that you can get a recovery.

Andrew Michael: Yeah. And definitely get that documentation. If you break your ankle, they’re not going to pay if you don’t have a doctor’s note that says, “I broke my ankle.”

Jacob Tingen: Yeah. And I think this is a good time to talk about proximate cause.

Andrew Michael: Yeah. I was going to go into that next, actually.

Jacob Tingen: Yeah. In the workers’ comp context, you have to show that you are injured and the extent of the injury, the percentage of the injury. But you also have to show that the work injury is what caused that, that the incident in question caused this specific injury. And to leave workers’ comp when you go to the just standard personal injury context, like say a car accident, let’s say after a car accident, you’ve got pain in your right foot. And that only started after the car accident. Well, you kind of have to prove that the car accident was the proximate cause of the pain that you feel going down your right leg and into your right foot.

Jacob Tingen: And so what you have to do is, particularly in the car accident scenario, you have to get evaluated by a doctor, sometimes neurologist, sometimes back doctors. I recently went to a presentation again with some lawyers because we talk about these things and educate ourselves. It’s possible to get whiplash, get a back injury, that can create pain in your left leg or your right leg the rest of your life because of an impact on your back or your spine. And so how you show that to an insurance company or to a jury, how to you explain that? Most people don’t recognize that after a car accident, my right foot could be paralyzed. You know? And then of course, one of the responses is, “Well, why am I, from a simple bumper bump, why am I responsible to the tune of $200,000 for his paralyzed foot?” Right?

Andrew Michael: And I think you mentioned earlier this is like the eggshell plaintiff kind of thing.

Jacob Tingen: Yeah. You take your plaintiffs as they come.

Andrew Michael: Yeah.

Jacob Tingen: The eggshell plaintiff, some plaintiffs are like rocks. They could get in an accident and nothing happens to them. But some plaintiffs are like eggs. You tap them and they break. And either way, you’re liable if your negligence was the proximate cause of their injury. And so those aren’t defenses against a claim when a client has suffered a great deal as a result of negligent activity.

Andrew Michael: How does this sort of relate into preexisting injuries, or hurts, or that kind of stuff? If I already hurt my back, and I get into a fender bender, my back hurts more now. How does that sort of relate?

Jacob Tingen: Well, when it comes to, for example, the workers’ compensation context, we talked about the percentage injury. Right?

Andrew Michael: Yeah.

Jacob Tingen: If I already couldn’t lift my arm above this, if I already have 50% loss of my shoulder, well then … And then after I’m fully recovered, I only have 50%, well then I don’t get much for that. Right? But if I just can’t lift my arm very high at all, then I don’t get that. I would say the same for me. If I lost my vision, I mean I only got half my vision anyway. Right? These are thick, so take a look. Clearly, I would be devastated, and I wouldn’t be very happy about that. But at the same time, I didn’t have perfect vision. So somebody who had perfect 20/20 vision, maybe somebody who’s a pilot, maybe in the Air Force, their eyes are going to be worth a lot more than mine, frankly. That’s a fact. And so these things come into play. All of these are factors.

Andrew Michael: Yeah. Again, this goes back to sort of like the nitty gritty bureaucracy. How much is this person’s eyesight worth? Like you mentioned, someone who works with their hands for a living, for example, this is why concert pianists get hand insurance because-

Jacob Tingen: Or Dr. Strange. He should’ve had hand insurance. I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie, but he needed the magic and he never even healed his hands. But he probably should’ve done the time thing on his hands, now that I think about it.

Andrew Michael: All right.

Jacob Tingen: Yeah. His hands are worth a lot more than my hands, a surgeon’s hands, a pianist’s hands, other people who need their hand. Maybe a guitarist, maybe if you’re Taylor Swift and you … Maybe her hands are worth more than my hands.

Andrew Michael: This is again, to just keep hammering in this point, it’s very much a case by case basis, figuring out exactly what damages you have and what you can make a claim for is very much going in and finding the specific: How much is this worth, kind of thing, in the code and all that kind of stuff? We’re getting kind of close to the end. Do we maybe want to finish it out by talking about the difference between criminal and civil personal injury and assault and battery and that kind of stuff?

Jacob Tingen: Yeah. Sometimes you can be in a civil lawsuit. There’s such a thing. Man, we’re going back to my first year of law school, like my first week of law school. Criminal assault and battery are different things than say like civil battery. Civil battery is just kind of like unwanted or offensive touching. Civil battery could be as simple as coming up to somebody and putting your arm around them and they don’t want it. That’s fine. But if you didn’t intend to hurt them, then it’s probably not criminal battery. Right?

Andrew Michael: Yeah.

Jacob Tingen: Criminal battery has this, in criminal law we call it a Mens Rea requirement, so this kind of evil intent. So if you didn’t intend to hurt someone by a contact, a physical touch, with criminal law, or if you didn’t intend to offend, chances are you’re probably not liable. You may not be liable criminally.

Andrew Michael: Criminally.

Jacob Tingen: Of course, some context, even if you didn’t intend to hurt somebody, this doesn’t give way for people who are perpetrators of certain kinds of abuse and those kinds of things. Obviously there’s an objective standard as well. But you have to know what you’re doing to be liable criminally. And civilly, the standard is higher. It depends, but preponderance of the evidence, so more likely than not that you should’ve known that you were hurting this person. And so there are different standards for criminal liability versus civil liability. And so that’s interesting from a legal standpoint because it informs how you would make a defense.

Andrew Michael: Yeah. Actually, I saw a really interesting case related to this. I think it was about a month or two ago, where a bunch of teenagers were standing on a bridge 70 or 80 feet above the water. And this other girl pushed another teenager in. Did you see this news story?

Jacob Tingen: Yeah. I saw the news story. I never actually read any of them, but I just saw some captions.

Andrew Michael: Yeah. I remember looking at it. And they, I think, were talking specifically about this, the difference between being charged criminally versus being negligent of, you should’ve known that pushing someone into the water from 70 or however many feet up it was.

Jacob Tingen: Is going to be harmful.

Andrew Michael: Yeah. They were sort of discussing how. And this is sort of the next thing we can talk about, but how the criminal charges can affect the civil case as well, where if you’re found to be criminally negligent, or if it was intentional, for example, then that can affect the civil case, which is usually pushed off until the criminal case is finished.

Jacob Tingen: I mean, if I was the lawyer, I would. Right?

Andrew Michael: Yeah.

Jacob Tingen: In criminal law, the standard to prove a crime … First of all, criminal battery’s going to have several elements to it. Right?

Andrew Michael: Yes.

Jacob Tingen: And those legal elements may or may not be the exact same depending on your state and your situation as civil battery. Right? And so the interesting thing though is in a criminal case, they’ve got to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.

Andrew Michael: Yeah.

Jacob Tingen: If there’s a conviction or a guilty plea, well then your civil case is kind of sunk. You know what I mean? I’m not saying that there’s not effective ways to advocate for a client in that situation. And it’s not a fun situation to be in. Right? Yeah, I feel sorry for anybody who accidentally injures, even presumably a friend. But yeah, you’re civilly liable when you know or should have known that your actions were likely to lead to harm. That’s negligence. And if your actions are the proximate cause of their injury, you’re liable. So it’s nice to think through things before we act.

Andrew Michael: Yeah. Definitely.

Jacob Tingen: And so the interplay between how criminal laws analyze versus civil laws is interesting. But I think the takeaway is that they’re not the same. Criminal battery is not the same as civil battery. And so in the case of this girl, she may be criminally liable and not civilly liable. She may be civilly liable and not criminally liable. Right? It just kind of depends on how things shake out in the court with her representation and the specific facts of the case. Video is pretty definitive evidence a lot of times, so good luck to her and her lawyers.

Andrew Michael: Yeah. Is there anything else you want to sort of wrap this up with, any final thoughts on personal injury law in general?

Jacob Tingen: Yeah, no. I mean, we’re open for business, so if you’ve got a personal injury and you want an attorney to take a look at your case, we’re happy to look at generally automobile accidents, workers’ comp, and any other incident that involved negligence and injury, we’re happy to look at it.

Andrew Michael: Tree law.

Jacob Tingen: Tree law, tree law. Thank you. We’re looking at that.

Andrew Michael: Anything that causes damages to you that affects your daily life.

Jacob Tingen: Anything that causes damages to you. And also, of course, wrongful death lawsuits. One of the things that we’re good at, and I think because we do immigration law, is that we tend to be compassionate with clients and their specific needs. We’ll be respectful of you. That’s one of the things that when I first got into law I promised myself, is that we’re not going to tell stories about you behind your back. We’re going to be respectful to you and your case and to what’s important to you.

Andrew Michael: Yeah.

Jacob Tingen: So that matters. And we’ll do the best we can for you.

Andrew Michael: Yeah. All right. That’s it for this Wednesday. Exactly half hour, so we’re like super doing it today.

Jacob Tingen: We’re doing it perfect.

Andrew Michael: Thanks for listening in, everyone. We’ll see you next Wednesday, same time, same place. And I hope everyone has a nice weekend. Stay safe in the storm that’s coming, crazy hurricane stuff. Have a nice one, guys.

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