Personal injury law can be very complex. One of the many questions often asked is, what is "due process" and how is it relevant to personal injury law?
Personal injury law can be very complex. One of the many questions often asked is, what is "due process" and how is it relevant to personal injury law?
What exactly is a free consultation when you meet with a phoenix personal injury lawyer?
Are there any hidden fees? What does the consultation consist of? What should I bring with me to the consultation?
A free consultation with our firm means that you get to talk to one of our attorneys, either in person or over the phone. The attorney will first review the viability of your claim, while also explaining what a personal injury claim entails and how we can help.
We can help on a number of levels, including helping with one’s property damage; help get medical care (with providers that will wait for payment if necessary); help navigate health insurance (if applicable); help document out of pocket expenses such as lost income, etc. We will explain the process of negotiating a settlement upon completion of medical treatment.
Since some cases do not necessarily settle for one reason or another, we also discuss the prospects and process of litigation in the event that were necessary. This is an important consideration since some attorneys and firms do not litigate their own cases.
In fact, besides handling our own cases, we also litigate cases for a number of other firms when they cannot negotiate a fair and reasonable settlement.
There is no charge for the free consultation. We will also explain how we are paid on a contingency fee basis, and what that means. Basically, if you retain our services, you will never reach into your pocket to pay us.
We advance all costs necessary to pursue your claim and reimbursement of our costs, as well as payment of our fee, comes from the settlement or recovery. If there is no settlement or recovery, you owe us nothing.
In fact, subject to a very few situations, we will reduce our fee however much is necessary to ensure that it does not exceed your in-pocket net recovery after payment of attorney fees, costs, and medical bills.
If you do schedule a free consultation, please bring any and all injury related paperwork to the consultation. This includes any available police reports, photographs, medical records and bills, Health Plan cards, auto insurance information (for you and the adverse driver), adverse driver information, witness contact information, etc. Also, consider seeking your free consultation before you speak to any adverse insurance adjusters.
The term "suicide lane" doesn't exactly conjure an image of safety. More aptly referred to as a “universal turn lane”, it is still a big time danger on the road unless used as intended.
For the most part, these lanes should be used for left turns only.
However, Arizona allows the universal turn lane to be used as a stopping point for cars to merge into their intended direction of traffic flow. However, the lane is NOT to be used as a “get up to speed” lane.
What about the daily drive reversible lanes on 7th Avenue and 7th Street in Phoenix? What are the rules here? These reversible lanes can be hazardous to navigate if you aren't well-versed in the rules of those roads.
Heck, even if you know exactly what you're doing, driving in the reverse lanes is somewhat unnerving, with cars whizzing past in the opposite direction just feet away with no barrier.
Here are the rules, as clearly displayed on the signs above the lane:
-6-9 a.m.: Southbound traffic can use the lane as a travel lane;
-4-6 p.m.: Northbound traffic can use the lane as a travel lane;
-At all other times, the lane is for left turns only (and per above, a merge point).
The lanes are not to be used for left turns during the 6-9 and 4-6 time frames, but that does not seem to stop people from doing so. Also, the existent of the lanes does not seem to deter people from stopping in the opposite way travel lane to make a turn, blocking traffic behind them.
Is this permissible? Well, per the City of Phoenix's website, making left turns into driveways and parking lots is permitted, with a clear zone and avoiding impeding the traffic flow. Again, these restrictions don’t seem to stop people from continuing to make left turns when and where they want. Often, car crashes occur. Be careful.
Do the Phoenix Police monitor? From my personal observation, not really. This should not give you leave to do what you want, it is still up to the discretion of the officer on patrol, but I have seen a good many people stop in the universal turn lane and the travel lanes, Phoenix Police in the area, and ignore the movement.
The final say: Use your own discretion, pay attention and be careful.
I like to drive. I enjoy feeling the acceleration and being in control of my vehicle. The concept of being driven by a computer seems a bit odd.
However, driverless cars are coming. A few states have already made them legal. The research, thus far, looks very positive.
Did you know that 90% of all crashes are caused by driver error? Perhaps then, if we remove “drivers” from the equation, crashes will decrease by 90%? Is this possible?
According to reports, as carmakers automate more aspects of driving, crashes will likely decrease significantly. If this occurs, car owners will need less insurance coverage, and rates will drop substantially. Some experts estimate that premiums could drop as much as "60 percent in 15 years." (Sidenote: Do we really think the auto insurance companies will allow this to happen??)
Question: Who is responsible if a crash occurs with a driverless vehicle – the manufacturer or the vehicle owner? This is the ongoing debate that fuels speculation.
However, this issue now looks as though it has been resolved. Mercedes, Volvo and Google all say that THEY will assume responsibility for crashes caused by their driverless vehicles. Wow – talk about putting your money where your mouth is.
When is this likely to occur? Certainly it will be a slow transition, and full integration is still decades away. But is there technology that can help decrease car crashes now – short of driverless cars? Yes, there is.
Modern technology exists to help drivers minimize or avoid crashes altogether. It is known as “advance collision warning technology”. It is relatively simple, and very much like the driverless cars, it works.
It does not take the human driver out of the driver’s seat, but rather, helps the driver by warning him/her of an approaching object and even assisting the vehicle in braking to avoid a crash.
Is it common? Well, BMW has been using the technology in its vehicles since 2006. The concept: When sensors in your car detect an object or vehicle within its protection zone, it warns the driver. This can occur in a variety of ways:
The cost of implementing these measures into all cars has become much more affordable over the years. Why then aren’t we seeing it? The simple answer to this is that auto manufacturers have placed profits over safety. Currently, it is only installed in the highest-end models of vehicles, with – yes, you guessed it, a high price tag. When questioned about it, the manufacturers contend it is expensive and cost prohibitive (although they have yet to divulge the per unit cost of the hardware).
Likely the initial research and development was pricey, but like all technology, the hardware cost per unit is extremely affordable – for everyone.
The manufacturers also say that it is annoying, that people don’t want it because they “don’t want to be annoyed”. Really?
As a recent purchaser of a vehicle with the advance collision warning technology, I can honestly say that the warning system is anything but annoying. It is quite subtle, in fact – a gentle reminder to pay attention to the road.
With all of the distractions we have now, with cell phones and texting, especially for young drivers, I believe that we need all the help we can get. Advance Collision Warning Technology works. Indeed, it is truly these systems which make driverless cars even possible.
Is this scary? Yeah, a bit – you are trusting a machine to do your looking and thinking for you. But all tests prove that it works. Recently, to test the technology, a fully-loaded Budweiser beer truck was operated driverlessly in Colorado, making a delivery 120 miles from the brewery to a retail location. Per all reports, the trip was flawless.
The technology is coming. We welcome any systems which help reduce or prevent crashes, injuries and deaths. Honestly, who wouldn’t?
For one brief, shining moment, it appeared that Arizona might, at long last, join 46 other states and impose a ban on texting while driving.
Or not, as it turns out. Again.
Senate Transportation and Technology Chairman Bob Worsley, R-Mesa, says he won’t hear Senate Bill 1049 because he “doesn’t think his fellow Republicans are ready for it.” Ummm…WHAT????!!!!!!!
It is a law that has come before the Arizona Legislature multiple times. It is not rocket science. But our legislators are “not ready for it”? What exactly are they doing down there????
Instead, the legislature will hear a bill on Tuesday aimed at barring teen drivers from texting for the first six months after they get their driver’s license or until they turn 18. However, the fact is that the great majority of texting crashes occur from adult drivers—not teens.
Since 2007, Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, has been trying to outlaw the far-too-common practice of careening down Arizona’s roadways while texting, checking your Facebook status or otherwise fiddling with your phone when you’re supposed to be paying attention to what the heck you’re doing. (Driving, that is, not thumbing on a tiny keyboard.) But since 2007, the Legislature has steadfastly rejected Farley’s ban on texting while driving.
Never mind that your risk of getting into a crash or near-crash is 23 times greater if you're doing it (according to a 2009 study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute).
A 2012 survey of AAA members in Arizona said that 92 percent support a ban on texting. So, what is happening down at our legislature??
Sen. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, is sponsoring this year’s ban on texting while driving, saying it’s “extremely dangerous and just crazy.”
But Kavanagh’s bill won’t even get a hearing. Instead, Sen. Karen Fann’s six-month moratorium on teen texting and driving will be heard.
Count Susan Huff among the disappointed. Her father, Tom Hall, was hit and killed last year while riding his motorcycle, struck from behind by a driver who was busy looking for her cell phone as she barreled down the highway. Huff says Fann’s bill sends the wrong message.
“This bill tells everyone that teens are the main source of the problem and that adults don't need to be held responsible for their own actions,” she told me.
But actually, under the current proposal, teens wouldn’t be held accountable either once they have a grand total of six months of driving experience.
One word here folks: ABSURD.
In a tough economy, people, unfortunately, cut back on the amount of their automobile insurance coverage, and in some cases, drop such coverage entirely in an attempt to save money. Also, because we are a “border” state, we have a number of drivers without Arizona licenses and/or insurance coverage, while others again still have only minimum coverage.
Uninsured (UM) and Underinsured Motorist coverage (UIM) are optional coverages that you can purchase to help you if you are injured through the negligence of another driver that is either uninsured or underinsured. Uninsured means they have no insurance, while Underinsured means that while they do have some liability coverage it is insufficient to cover your damages (medical, lost income, pain & suffering, etc).
We recommend that you always purchase UM & UIM coverage and that you buy coverage equal to your liability coverage. After all, don’t you want to protect your own loved ones as much, if not more than, a total stranger that you might cause injury to?
Because an uninsured driver will also not have any coverage to pay for the repair of your vehicle, we also recommend that you maintain collision coverage on your own car even after it is paid off and owned outright. The measuring stick should be could you afford the down payment on a replacement vehicle if yours’ was totaled in a motor vehicle collision?
Remember. Car crashes can be very complex. Make sure you protect your rights. Get the facts. Stop guessing.
Tucson Representative Randall Friese has proposed a law requiring motorcycle riders to wear helmets, with fines collected for violating the law going into a fund to help defray the medical costs of treating resulting head injuries.
The proposal includes a $500 fine for violators of the law. $300 of the fine will go into a fund that will pay for motorcycle head injury patients.
Shockingly, a similar proposed bill failed to pass last year. Arizona is a state of comparative negligence, so not only might a helmetless motorcycle rider suffer a serious head injury in a motor vehicle collision that was not their fault, but any claim against the at-fault driver would likely be reduced by the percentage that their own negligence (in not wearing a helmet) is to blame for their injuries.
Yes, motorcycle helmets may not be fashionable, but does that outweigh the safety benefits of wearing a helmet, not to mention the potential economic benefits of wearing a helmet.
Head injuries can be very costly to treat, with or without health insurance. More importantly, the residuals of a head injury can leave an individual with serious permanent cognitive deficits, such as impaired memory, speech, earning capacity, etc.
The costs associated with such permanent injuries can be devastating to the individual, their family, and potentially the government.
Of course, this all assumes the victim survives the collision and their injuries. Now is the time to put safety ahead of vanity. Please call your representatives and implore them to get behind this proposed bill.
Read More: Just how dangers are motorcycle accidents?
One of the most popular tactics used by insurance adjusters after you've been in an accident is asking for medical release forms. Why is this done?
When making an injury claim on your own, the adverse insurance adjuster will often ask you to sign a blank medical authorization, which they can then use to get all kinds of current and prior medical records, many of which have no bearing on, and are unrelated to, your injury claim and injury related treatment.
They may also use a single authorization to procure additional records from other providers without even consulting you.
When you are represented by an attorney, your attorney will help monitor, regulate, and control what medical records are provided to the adjuster, ensuring that only records relevant to the adjuster’s evaluation of your claim are provided.
This is why it's crucial to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer after you've been in a car crash. There are many complex issues that may arise from being involved in one.
Having no experience in handling a car crash on your own can really impact your claim in a negative manner.
Having the right lawyer will make all the difference in your case. Get facts. Stop guessing.
How To Combat Insurance Adjuster Tactics When You are Injured in a Wreck
Be wary of contact with an insurance adjuster after a collision. The adjuster will act like your friend and assure you that the company wants to fairly compensate you for your injuries and damages.
However, after acting all nice and friendly, the adjuster will likely manipulate your conversations only to use the information you freely volunteered against you.
This may take the form of getting you to downplay the severity of the collision, fault for the collision, severity of your injuries, impact on your activities, etc. They may offer you a quick settlement, which may sound good to you because you might not feel pain until a few days post-collision.
Adjusters often offer to reimburse you for medical insurance co-pays or deductibles, when they are really responsible for paying your billed medical charges.
These are just a few examples of tactics being used by adjusters. There are countless others that you need to be aware of. But with so many tactics, how can you keep track of them all? How do you know what you should say and shouldn't say after a wreck?
The best way to combat an adjuster’s tactics: consult and preferably retain an attorney before speaking to the adjuster. Having an attorney will not only protect your rights after being involved in any kind of personal injury claim, but they also deal with the adjusters on your behalf so you don't have to.
Car accidents can be a complicated issue, depending on the nature of the wreck, the number of vehicles involved, insurance companies involved, and potential witnesses. Interviewing witnesses while their recollection is fresh is always important.
This is why preserving evidence after a car accident is so important:
Measuring skid marks and calculating pre-impact speeds and stopping distances may be relevant. Involving an accident reconstructionist as early as possible, may be relevant. Having photographs of all involved vehicles (showing the damage and areas of impact) may be important.
This is why if you are in a wreck, we recommend taking photos of all involved vehicles before any vehicles are moved following the crash, as well as taking photos of each vehicle’s damage.
Related: (What you should and shouldn't do after a car accident. Follow these tips.)
In some cases, preserving one of more of the involved vehicles may be recommended. In such instances, if your vehicle – you may want the vehicle towed to your home or to a storage facility (you want to protect the vehicle from the weather if possible).
If another person’s vehicle – you want to put their insurance carrier on notice as soon as possible that you want the vehicle (evidence) preserved. In these situations, it is recommended that you consult an attorney as soon as possible to explore all available options,
Remember. Personal injury claims can be very complex. Make sure you have the right attorney on your side. It will make all the difference in your case.
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