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The Trial

Although most accident cases settle before trial, there are a few that actually get to a jury. Knowing this, every case in pre-litigation is handled with litigation in mind so as to have a file prepared to go to litigation if the need arises.

So, we need in pre-litigation to have the same proof mindset that we have in litigation.

In a trial, we need to prove two things, and then we need to prove a connector.

First, we need to prove that the accident or incident was the defendant’s fault. We must prove that the defendant is the only person who is responsible for the accident. This is called liability. We must prove the defendant is liable.

Second, we must prove damages. We must prove there were authentic medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering or any other damages that apply.

Then we must prove the connector. We must prove that it was the accident that caused the damages. The defense may claim that the injuries you suffered came from an earlier accident or incident. We have to prove that the accident, and only the accident, caused the damages we are claiming.

Knowing these elements, we in pre-litigation prepare our cases to prove the exact same elements to the insurance companies with whom we are negotiating. The insurance companies must know that if they refuse to settle with us, we already have the proof we need to be successful in trial.

And that is what makes us always prepared to represent each and every client we have at Bailey & Galyen.

The New Battlefront

by Steve Sanderfer

At Bailey and Galyen, we are keenly aware of how the legal landscape changes. Through the years, we have always stayed one step ahead of those changes, and we have adapted to meet the challenges as they arise to better serve our clients.

Recently, several of the major insurance companies have declared war on YOU, the injured victim. All of these companies with their cute television ads and promises to be there for you actually don’t care about you at all.

The new tactic these companies use is to seriously undercut what you deserve for your accident, especially when your medical bills are less than $6,000. They hope that if they offer you thousands less than what your case is worth, you will drop your case. They also hope that your attorney will choose not to pursue further legal action in those cases. Their goal is to chase you, the victim, away and force law firms out of business.

But at Bailey and Galyen, we do not run. We fight.

Bailey and Galyen has always had a litigation department. And Bailey and Galyen’s litigation department will continue to be the finest litigation department in the state.

But to combat the new insurance company tactic, Bailey and Galyen now, in addition to its litigation department, will have a small claims department. This department will fight the litigation battles for those cases in which the medical bills are $6,000 and under. Where other firms might withdraw from those cases, B&G simply sees this as another way to fight for YOU.

And that is what Bailey and Galyen is all about.

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The Answer is Yes … you can keep your stuff after a bankruptcy!


“Can I keep my stuff?” is one of the most common questions asked by a bankruptcy client of Bailey & Galyen, and for the overwhelming majority of our clients, the answer is yes … you can keep your stuff after a bankruptcy.

Assuming you have lived in Texas at least two years before the filing of a bankruptcy, you can choose between the Texas and federal “exemptions” — laws that allow you to protect and keep property through a bankruptcy. The choice of exemptions is an important legal decision that will bebased on the kind of property you own and its value, and at Bailey & Galyen our job is to maximize your exemptions. Both exemption paths have a few things in common:

  • Homesteads are exempt from your ordinary creditors. Mortgages, taxes and certain other debts remain on your home.
  • Most vehicles are exempt from your ordinary creditors but, like houses, are subject to valid debts from any vehicle finance company.
  • Retirement assets (such as 401(k)s, IRAs, pensions, teachers’ retirement, etc.) are exempt from your creditors.
  • Most if not all of your personal property assets are also exempt from ordinary creditors (unless they have a “purchase money” lien on them like a car loan). This includes furniture, clothing, jewelry, tools of the trade, pets and household goods.

There are important limits on exemptions, and here at Bailey & Galyen our job is to apply the law to your specific situation so you know what your options are. Even if you own property of a kind that is normally not exempt, there may be bankruptcy options available to you that allow you to keep nonexempt property.

On a related note, you can also keep certain debts. Depending on the chapter of bankruptcy selected and your payment status with the creditor, you are generally able to keep debts on necessary property, such as your homestead and vehicle. “Reaffirming” these debts in a chapter 7 bankruptcy allows those debts to survive the bankruptcy so that you can keep the collateral (house or car) and hopefully rebuild your credit by continuing to pay those particular creditors.

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LOSER WHO PAYS IS A LOSER

The new tort reform banners proclaim that plaintiffs who lose civil trials should pay the attorneys fees and costs of the defendant. Mind you, they do not advocate that losing defendants also pay the winning plaintiffs’ attorneys fees and costs. The one way, loser pays street is a sure dead end for justice and access to the courthouse.

A one way loser pays law would do nothing more than prevent individuals and small business owners from redressing civil wrongs in the courts. The risk of having to pay the other side’s enormous legal fees and costs will prevent them for standing up for themselves. Sadly, that is exactly what loser pays laws are designed to do.

Loser pays severely harms small businesses by preventing them from filing lawsuits on past due accounts, breached contracts, partnership disputes, and the like. Unlike wealthy corporations, small business will not be able to afford the risk of losing at trial.

The fact is that taking a case to trial is no sure thing, not even for the best case. Lawyers cannot predict with any certainty whatsoever what a jury will do in any given case. Cases that were soundly based on the facts and the law are frequently lost in jury trials. The reason: The enormous amount of undue influence placed on Americans by tort reform groups, political candidates, corporations, and the like. Americans have been inundated with trial lawyer bashing and anti-plaintiff/anti-lawsuit rhetoric, little of which has any truth and are nothing more than wild, cleverly crafted stories.

When these very same Americans are called for jury duty, this undue influence that uses fear and threats to change public opinion morphs into jury tampering. Jurors bring to the courthouse and jury box their fears of doctors leaving the state if damages are not capped in malpractice cases, the cost of consumer goods rising from frivolous lawsuits, teachers quitting if parents are allowed to sue them (which cannot be done, anyway), the lose of jobs from lawsuits, and much more.

So when your state legislators seek to pass laws that make the losers pay the winner’s legal fees and costs, see if for what it is: Corporate immunity. When corporate America wins, Americans’™ access to the courthouse is blocked and we all loose.

In 30 years I have never filed a frivolous lawsuit, nor do I know any other trial lawyer who has. The reason is simple. It costs hundreds of dollars for the filing fees alone, followed by tens of thousands of dollars in costs for pre-trial preparation and trial and years of the attorneys’™ and their support staffs’ time and efforts.

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