In 2015 in the state of Arizona alone, there were 116,609 total car crashes. Of those crashes, 895 proved fatal. Alcohol was responsible for 295 fatalities and 3205 injuries. Excessive speed was responsible for 300 fatalities and 21,991 injuries. Clearly, if you drive on Arizona roads, staying sober, driving within speed limits, and paying attention are things you should be doing.
With all these crashes happening on the roads, how can one stay safe and avoid an auto accident? What are the best ways to prevent getting in an accident in the first place? Of course, there is simple common sense. Make sure you are aware of who goes first at an intersection. Don’t follow the car in front of you closely. Don’t exceed the speed limit – especially if road conditions aren’t ideal. But beyond these common sense tips and basic rules of the road, what else can be done to prevent an accident? Let’s take a look.
Of course, you can be the safest, most attentive, and un-distracted driver in the world, but you can’t control what other drivers are doing. Accidents will still happen. But you can be as aware as possible of the conditions, drivers, and vehicles surrounding you to help avoid accidents wherever possible. Remember that driving is not a passive activity.
Being injured because of someone else’s negligence can change your life forever. You’re experiencing a significant amount of pain. It’s likely that your injuries are preventing you from working. You might be looking at weeks, or even months of recovery and physical therapy. In the most extreme case, you may never fully recover and will always be physically limited by the effects of your injuries.
Under Arizona law, you have the ability to obtain compensation for the personal and financial damages caused by the negligent acts of the person who injured you. You may have considered filing a lawsuit to obtain the compensation to which you’re entitled. If you have, there are a few vital facts about personal injury law that you need to know before you bring any legal action.
If you’re like most people, you associate personal injury law with car accidents. That’s a reasonable conclusion to reach. Car accidents are one of the most common causes of injury that occur due to negligence. Nevertheless, the relief offered by personal injury law is not limited to the victims of vehicle collisions.
Motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents are all governed by personal injury law, as are injuries caused by slips and falls, defective products, and medical malpractice. Even dog bites can be considered personal injuries. If someone else’s negligence has caused you harm in any significant way, the chances are good that you have a valid personal injury claim.
For the majority of personal injury claims, insurance companies provide the money that pays for settlements and damage awards. Despite this fact, insurance companies are not on the side of the injured party in a negligence suit. The primary purpose of the insurance industry is to turn a profit. That purpose cannot be satisfied if too much money is paid on claims against policies issued.
This means that when it comes to your personal injury claim, the insurance company involved will do everything it can to limit, or even deny your recovery.
If you’re like the average personal injury victim, you could be facing tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in bills for your medical treatment. You have likely lost a considerable amount of time at work. In fact, you may no longer be able to perform your job duties. As a result, you may not be able to return to work at all. None of this even begins to account for the pain, suffering, and loss of routine activities that have been caused by your injuries.
A competent personal injury attorney understands how your life has been changed by your injuries. They also understand the law and are able to use their knowledge and experience to communicate the value of your case to insurance adjusters, judges, and juries. Having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side often means the difference between obtaining the compensation you deserve and settling for an amount of money that fails to cover your needs.
When you’re in pain, you want relief. Likewise, when you’re under the financial and personal strains caused by an injury, you also want relief. You want your life to get back to normal. You want to get out from under the pile of bills that keeps building up. You want the person liable for changing your life to take responsibility for their actions.
Your feelings are completely understandable. Nevertheless, successfully pursuing a personal injury claim takes time. The process cannot be rushed. A successful claim often hinges on careful preparation. Documents need to be gathered. Witness testimony needs to be taken. Every bit of relevant evidence needs to be gathered together to tell a story that convinces an insurance company to settle, or a jury to find in your favor. Remember, the ultimate goal is for you to obtain adequate compensation for your injuries.
Though your particular injury case may fall into a specific category (car accident, slip and fall, etc.) each case is unique in and of itself. This is the reason why a one-size-fits-all approach cannot be used when investigating and litigating a personal injury claim. An experienced personal injury attorney realizes this. They treat your case as the one-of-a-kind matter that it truly is. Nothing is taken for granted or left to chance.
They know that a successful personal injury case not only depends on the facts involved, it also depends on the person who is presenting those facts. That is why a good attorney will not only gather all the necessary factual information, they will also present those facts to an insurance adjuster or jury in a manner designed to achieve the optimal results for their client.
Attorneys that practice in areas of the law outside of personal injury usually require an upfront payment in order to take your case. This is not the case in personal injury law. Personal injury attorneys are paid on a contingency basis. This means that the attorney will represent you without requiring any type of advance payment. If you don’t recover any money, they don’t get paid.
They will only receive a fee for their efforts if they successfully conclude your case. In other words, their fee is contingent on you receiving compensation for your injuries. When your case is successfully concluded, your attorney will take a portion of the amount of money recovered, generally 33%, as a fee for the efforts that they have put forth on your behalf.
After you’ve been in a car accident, life becomes complicated. To begin with, you’re likely dealing with the injuries caused by the accident. This means that you’re in pain. You’re also dealing with the limited mobility that an injury often brings. You can’t do what you’re normally able to do and even the simplest of tasks now seems impossible.
You’re also having to deal with the damage to your property that was caused by the accident. Your car has been damaged, perhaps seriously enough so that it’s not drivable. While you’re waiting for it to be repaired or replaced, you have to figure out how to get around. This means that you have to rely on friends, family or public transportation for a ride. Alternatively, you may find yourself having to rent a car which can be expensive.
Finally, you’re dealing with the stress of the unknown. You may not be able to work as a result of your injuries. You find yourself wondering who is going to pay for the bills that keep piling up. You worry about how you’re going to take care of yourself and your loved ones in the weeks or even months that it may take you to recover.
On top of everything else that you’re experiencing, you now also have to begin dealing with your insurance company and the insurance company of the driver who caused the accident that injured you. Both companies want information about the accident. You might not know how to answer the questions that are being posed to you. This feeling of uncertainty can increase the amount of stress that your feeling, which only makes the whole situation worse.
The last thing that you need at this point is more stress. Therefore, here are 3 things to keep in mind when communicating with any insurer. Using these tips will allow you to give the insurer the information they require to process your claim while, at the same time, protecting your interests.
Insurance protects against loss. For a small fee paid on a regular basis, you are shielded financially from the potential of a large, catastrophic loss in the future. The concept makes sense. This is the reason why the insurance industry is able to collect over a trillion dollars in premiums every year.
That level of income means that insurance is a big business. Like any big business, the insurance industry in the United States needs profits to survive. So, while you protect yourself from loss by purchasing insurance, the company that sells you that policy protects itself from loss, in part, by doing what it can to reduce the amount of money that it pays out in claims.
After a car accident, the communications that you have with the representatives of any insurance company will generally be helpful and friendly. After all, the industry likes to market itself in terms of neighborliness and protection, However, never forget that anything you say to any representative of an insurance company has the potential to be used against you to devalue or deny the claim that you’ve made against the policy they’ve issued. Which brings us to the second thing you need keep in mind when dealing with an insurance company.
Facts are powerful things. They can be used to establish truth, find guilt and determine liability. In a car accident case, facts will be used to determine the value of a settlement or the amount of a judgment award. This means that in order to obtain an amount of money that adequately compensates you for your damages, you have to use solid and verifiable information. Conjecture, estimates and guesses will not help you to achieve the result you need.
This is why it is imperative that all of the information that you provide to an insurer in regard to your auto accident is factual. Your opinions will not take the place of verifiable proof. Therefore, in all communications with the representatives of an insurance company, stick to the facts as you understand them and nothing but the facts.
A great place to start is by giving the insurer all of the official documents that pertain to your claim. Police reports, witness statements and photographs are objective and based in fact. They establish what happened right before an accident and the subsequent results.
Medical records are another excellent source of factual information. Your medical records provide verifiable details of the nature of your injuries, the treatments your received and your general prognosis. They give the insurer an accurate snapshot of the pain, suffering and inconvenience that was a result of the accident. They also give an accurate count of how much your medical treatment cost.
An insurer may ask you to give them a statement about the accident. If this happens, it is imperative that you stick closely to the facts as you understand them. This is not the time to get emotional or advocate your claim. If you don’t know the answer to a question, say so. You are not being scored on how many questions you answered correctly. Saying “I don’t know” is infinitely better than guessing at something that you don’t remember clearly. When you make a statement based on a guess, you turn something that’s non-factual into the truth. The insurer will then use this non-factual fact against you to devalue or deny your claim.
The representatives of an insurer that you talk to are pros. Every day, they deal with people just like you who are making claims against insurance policies that have been issued by representative’s employer. They do not get paid to facilitate those claims. They are instructed and rewarded to do everything possible to “deny, delay and defend against” the claims that cross their desks. They know more about the insurance industry than you can ever hope to know. They will use this knowledge against you in an attempt to get you to settle your claim for less than it is worth.
Know when you’re in over your head and get help. An experienced car accident lawyer has the knowledge and skills necessary to advocate on your behalf to the insurer. They will present the facts of your case in the best possible light so that you are able to obtain the compensation that you deserve. An experienced attorney also knows the law. If the insurer refuses a reasonable settlement demand, your attorney will bring a lawsuit on your behalf and get you the compensation that you need in a court of law.
After you’ve been involved in a car accident, the pain you feel can be unbelievable, especially down your spine. Whiplash is the #1 medical complaint for car accident victims, and whiplash can affect not only your neck, but your entire spine right down to your tailbone.
There are four stages of whiplash – first, as impact occurs, your mid-back is pressed flat against your seat back, which compresses your spine upward. Second, your torso accelerates with impact, but your head does not. This creates a “whipping back” motion of your head, until your head reaches the headrest. Third, your torso slows, but your head accelerates forward. Fourth, your torso is held in place by the seat restraint, while your head snaps forward. The second and fourth stages of whiplash are where the majority of the damage occurs to the soft tissues.
When you get whiplash from a car accident, you experience muscle and ligament strains, spinal disc fiber tears, and vertebrae being pushed out of place. Even your spinal cord and nerve roots that extend from your spinal cord are stretched. Your brain hits the inside of your skull, which can cause a concussion on top of the whiplash injury.
Other injuries that can be caused by whiplash trauma include:
All of this trauma can result in excruciating pain in the back and neck areas. Many whiplash and back injuries will heal on their own with time, but here are 10 tips to help you speed up that healing so that you can once again be pain free!
Under Arizona law, for liability coverage to apply when a “use” provision is in effect, a causal relationship between the injury-causing accident and the use of the covered vehicle must exist. Benevides v. Arizona Property & Cas. Ins. Guar. Fund, 184 Ariz. 610, 612, 911 P.2d 616, 618 (App. 1995) ; Love v. Farmers Ins. Group, 121 Ariz. 71, 74, 588 P.2d 364, 367 (App. 1978) . The injury need not be directly and proximately caused, in the strict legal sense, by the motor vehicle.Farmers Ins. Co. of Arizona v. Till, 170 Ariz. 429, 430, 825 P.2d 954, 955 (App. 1991) .
“The fundamental question is whether the use of the [covered] vehicle was itself the cause of the injury.” Ruiz v. Farmers Ins. Co., 177 Ariz. 101, 104, 865 P.2d 762, 765 (1993) . To recover under the insurance policy, the injured party must show that the covered “vehicle caused and produced [the] injury, not that it merely facilitated [the] injury.” Id. at 103, 865 P.2d at 764 .
In determining a coverage question involving the use of a vehicle, the Arizona Supreme Court explained: “The insurance is to pay for the negligent acts of the insured committed during the operation or use of the motor vehicle . . . . It should be emphasized: Liability arises out of negligent acts in the use of motor vehicles which proximately cause the accident and injuries.” Morari v. Atlantic Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 105 Ariz. 537, 538, 468 P.2d 564, 565 (1970) . In other words, “even though the causal relationship between the motor vehicle and the accident does not have to be the proximate cause of the accident, the accident must be caused by a negligent act in the use of the motor vehicle.” Associated Indem. Corp. v. Warner, 143 Ariz. 585, 588, 694 P.2d 1199, 1202 (App. 1983) , modified on other grounds, 143 Ariz. 567, 694 P.2d 1181 (1985) .
According to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), the following is the breakdown for all reported motor vehicle collisions in 2009:
BREAKDOWN OF ALL CRASHES IN ARIZONA
BREAKDOWN OF FATAL CRASHES IN ARIZONA
BREAKDOWN OF PERSONS KILLED AND INJURED
BREAKDOWN OF CRASHES BY TIME
Arizona at a Glance – 2009
Car Accident Texting Lawsuit, Another Text Message Sender Named as Defendant
A New Jersey couple who were riding their motorcycle at the time were hit by a car in 2009 are now suing a woman for her part in her at-fault boyfriend’s motorcycle-car accident , who was repeatedly sending text messages to her boyfriend as drove his vehicle to work
The accident victims David and Linda Kubert of Dover, N.J., were initially filing a civil suit only against the driver, Kyle Best of Wharton, N.J.
On September 21, 2009, Best’s vehicle veered across the roadway’s center dividing line, causing a violent head-on collision with the Kubert’s motorcycle. A sad fact remains true both of the Kuberts lost a leg in the collision
Earlier this year in Montville Municipal Court, Best pleaded guilty to using a cellphone (reading and replying to text messages from his girlfriend) while operating his vehicle, failure to stay in his lane and careless driving.
The Kuberts have now amended their lawsuit to include the then 19-year-old Shannon Colonna, for contributing to Kyle Best’s negligence, even though she was not physically present in the vehicle.
In deposition Colonna stated that she was not sure whether Best was driving at the time she was texting him, but authorities believe she may have known.
Shannon Colonna’s defense attorney rebutted:
“The sender of the text has the right to assume the recipient will read it at a safe time. It’s not fair. It’s not reasonable. Shannon Colonna has no way to control when Kyle Best is going to read that message.”
Kyle Best was legally reprimanded to speak to approximately 14 high schools about the perils of texting while driving. Additionally he was fined $775.00 for his traffic offense.
The Kuberts’ lawyer stated:
“The defendant may not have been physically present, but she was electronically present.”
Superior Court Judge David Rand has to rule as to whether or not to keep Ms. Colonna in the lawsuit. This decision will be made within a week.
This story is particularly compelling because it involves the possible placing of negligence on a party that was not physically present at the time of the car accident, but was rather, electronically present, as the Kuberts’ attorney has explained.
As a Prescott AZ and Phoenix AZ car accident attorney, I want you to be aware that texting type accidents are rapidly becoming commonplace. I urge you to speak to your children about the obvious dangers of texting while driving and not so obvious texting a friend while they may be driving. Let them know they can cause an accident and not even be present in the car and could be held liable. But even worse is the fact that the motorcycle victims each lost a leg.
Experience You Can Trust
At Parker & Lazzara, we know the dynamics of motorcycle accidents and are well equipped to handle even the most complex cases. Our utilizes top notch licensed investigators to find out what the cause of teh accident was, and why it occurred. Once we determine fault, we will fight zealously on your behalf and make sure that all responsible parties are held accountable for their actions.
We recognize that most motorcycle crashes are due to the recklessness of another driver, such as:
Motorcycle crashes may be caused by dangerous weather conditions, obstructions in the roadways or defective motorcycle parts. No matter what the circumstances of your case, we will investigate the evidence and search diligently for evidence of any wrongdoing.
Serious Motorcycle Crash Injuries
Due to the open surroundings and high speeds, motorcycle riders are in danger of sustaining serious injuries that can change their lives forever. If another car or truck hits them while they are driving, they have nothing more than their bodies to take the hit.
At Parker & Lazzara, we have experience in handling a wide variety of motorcycle crash cases, including those involving catastrophic injuries such as:
Serious injuries can leave our clients with physical disfigurement and permanent disabilities that will linger forever. As a result, we fight diligently and aggressively to ensure that our clients receive the highest quality of treatment and care in addition to compensation for their emotional pain and suffering and financial losses.
How Low Speed Impacts Cause Soft Tissue Injuries…
A low impact auto accident is usually defined as an incident that takes place at speeds less than 10 miles per hour (mph). This type of collision usually causes the least amount of demolish to the vehicles involved. Body injuries can result from any accident & that includes ones that occur with vehicles going less than 10 mph. Soft tissue injuries are the most common issue for those involved in a low impact accident.
A motor vehicle accident that takes place at speeds between under 10 mph often brings about miniscule visible demolish to the cars involved. Sometimes due to the fact that minimal demolish was finished to vehicle the injuries to the people in the vehicles are overlooked. This does not mean that bodily injury did not occur to the passengers in the course of the crash.
A contusion is an injury to the soft tissue caused by blunt force. This force produces pooling of blood around the injury causing discoloring of the skin. This is usually is often called a bruise. Bruising can be present in different shapes & colors.
A sprain is an injury to a ligament often brought about by a wrench or twist. A sprain can be a simple sprain, a partial tear or a complete tear. This can happen to various parts of a person’s body during an accident. It is not unusual for a person to twist in their seat as a vehicle strikes theirs in the course of the incident.
While an automobile is built to take a slow 5 to 10 mph crash that is not necessarily true for your body. In a low impact accident a person’s soft tissue can be damaged.The back & neck are the usual issue spots for soft tissue injuries. Soft tissue is fundamentally a person’s ligaments, tendons & muscles. Soft tissue injuries are usually classified as contusions or bruises, sprains or strains.
A strain is an injury to the muscle or tendon caused by overuse, force or stretching. The force of the automobile crash can push on a person’s soft tissue or cause parts to stretch in an abnormal way.Muscles & tendons support your bones. A strain may cause a partial or complete tear in the muscle & tendon combination.
The neck of a automobile occupant can whip forward causing the most common rear impact injury known as whiplash. General Motors (GM) did a study regarding crashes at speeds below three mph. GM found, to no surprise, that injuries do occur at such low speeds. The study also showed that whiplash injuries account for over half of all injuries connected to vehicular accidents.
Although these types of injuries are characteristically classified as minor 30 percent of those hurt in low speed collisions have reported having neck pain up to five years later. This injury is likely to be worse in those that experienced a rear finish collision. Depending on the age of the person this injury could cause a permanent disability.
A motor vehicle can take the force of a low speed collision without showing much demolish due to the advances automobile manufacturers have made in the construction of their vehicles. When a collision does occur the force of the accident pushes inertia somewhere & two times the automobile has taken part of that energy away the occupants take the rest. These forces are what may cause people bodily harm even in a crash of below 10 mph.Soft tissue injuries can occur to those involved in a low speed impact & though these injuries might be hard to see they exist.
There are generally two categories of damages that you can recover if you are injured in an automobile accident: (1) special damages; and (2) general damages. Special damages (“Specials”) are typically your out-of-pocket expenses, such as your medical bills, mileage, and prescription medications. Specials can be measured and calculated, and are typically represented by expenses actually incurred, or those that can be reasonably anticipated in the future, and which can be determined with the requisite degree of certainty required by the Arizona Rules of Evidence.
General damages cannot be fixed with any specific calculation. These types of damages are the most difficult to prove in a bodily injury case. General damages in Arizona tend to focus on pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. “Pain” typically refers to the physical pain that the client has endured and may endure. Suffering generally applies to the emotional aspects of the case, the client’s mental suffering, fear, humiliation, anxiety, etc.
“Loss of enjoyment of life” is another form of general damages that compensate the injured person for the limitations placed on his/her ability to enjoy the pleasures and amenities of life, such as activities of daily living. Loss of enjoyment damages may also include compensation for insomnia, limitations on recreational activities, travel limitations, and loss of social interaction.
It is important that you consult with an attorney if you have been injured in an auto accident. Remember, the insurance companies are not your friends and they have no obligation to you to explain all of the compensable damages in your case. To discuss your case with an established and successful injury attorney, call us now at 480-456-3080.