Category: Car Accidents

Understanding the Comparative Fault Doctrine

Oct 20, 2017 - Car Accidents by

In Arizona, those who suffer injuries due to the negligent acts of another are entitled to recover damages as compensation for their injuries, even when they have contributed in some way to their own injuries.  Unfortunately, many potential claimants in Arizona are not aware that they may recover in situations where they were negligent — an injury claimant might avoid consulting with an attorney despite having a legitimate claim for damages.  It’s important that accident victims in Arizona understand that their claims may be legitimate even if they were partially at-fault in the circumstances. For example, if you were injured in a car accident, but you were also speeding at the time (and the speeding contributed to your injuries), you would not be barred from litigating your claims and obtaining compensation. Arizona allocates fault to different parties in an injury lawsuit based on their proportional contribution of fault.  To better understand how this system works, let’s go through some of the basics of the comparative fault doctrine. Comparative Fault Basics Arizona implements the doctrine of pure comparative fault, also known as pure comparative negligence.  The pure comparative fault doctrine is particularly beneficial for personal injury claimants, such as those who have been injured in a car accident, truck accident, or motorcycle accident. How does comparative fault work? The principle of comparative fault is actually rather straightforward.  Essentially, in a comparative fault system such as the one that Arizona adheres to, each party involved in an accident is assigned a percentage […]

Injuries Suffered as the Result of a Defective Airbag — Are You Entitled to Sue?

Oct 13, 2017 - Car Accidents by

Airbags are critical to the safety of both drivers and passengers in the event of an accident (and in fact, some motorcycles even provide frontal airbags as an option when purchasing).  The introduction of airbags to American automotive culture has generally been considered a net positive, despite some hiccups along the way.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), reported by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 44,869 lives have been saved by frontal airbags as of 2015, while 2,252 lives have been saved by side airbags as of 2012. Though airbags are a safety device, the potential for injury caused by or exacerbated by a defective airbag is significant.  For maximum effectiveness, an airbag must deploy in a very particular manner during a very narrow window of time.  The NHTSA estimates that — in low speed crashes alone — there were 290 fatalities caused by frontal airbag deployment from 1990 to 2008.  Many of fatalities and serious injuries associated with frontal airbags during that period were due to the excessive force of airbag deployment, though there were (and continue to be) many other reasons for airbag-related injuries. If you have been injured due to an airbag deploying in a hazardous manner, or perhaps because an airbag simply failed to deploy, then Arizona law may entitle you to compensation for your injuries pursuant to a defective product claim.  Product liability law in Arizona operates somewhat similarly to that of other states.  Let’s take a brief look at […]

The Most Dangerous Car Models in Accidents

Jul 14, 2017 - Car Accidents by

Car safety ratings have become a big deciding factor for most people when they buy a new car. The federal government produces safety ratings through the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the insurance industry’s Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has its 5-star safety scale, and various nonprofits like Consumer Reports and Informed for Life conduct their own safety tests or aggregate test results from other sources. But even with the increased focus on vehicle safety, nearly 40,000 Americans die in car accidents each year and the insurance industry estimates that the annual number of car accident injuries exceeds 2 million. The list of most dangerous car models depends on who you ask. Our Phoenix accident lawyer has found these lowest-ranked vehicles listed in various sources: IIHS List of Vehicles with Highest Death Rates (2014 model year and equivalent models 2012-15) Hyundai Accent Sedan Kia Rio Sedan Scion tC Chevrolet Spark Nissan Versa Ford Fiesta Sedan Kia Soul Dodge Challenger Nissan Titan Crew Cab short bed (4WD) Ford Focus Sedan IIHS List of Vehicles Generating Most Personal Injury Claims (Model Years 2013-15) Mitsubishi Mirage Mitsubishi Lancer 2WD Nissan Versa Kia Forte Dodge Charger 2WD Chrysler 200 2WD Hyundai Accent Chevrolet Sonic Kia Rio Mitsubishi Outlander Sport 4dr 2WD IIHS List of Vehicles Generating Most Medical Payment Claims (Model Years 2013-15) Mitsubishi Mirage Mitsubishi Lancer 2WD Nissan Versa Chevrolet Sonic Chrysler 200 2WD Chevrolet Spark Kia Forte Nissan Sentra Hyundai Accent Dodge Charger 2WD IIHS List of Vehicles Generating Most Bodily […]

Dealing With the Other Driver After a Car Accident

Jul 12, 2017 - Car Accidents by

Phoenix Automobile Accident Lawyers Explain How to Communicate with the Other Driver A car accident is an inherently upsetting experience. It is usually sudden, surprising, loud and scary. Your vehicle has sustained some sort of damage and you may be injured – even if you initially don’t think you are. But if you do your best to remain calm and rational, you can have a civil, constructive conversation with the other driver and avoid making an already bad incident even worse with poorly chosen words and actions that can lead to a protracted battle with the insurance companies (yours and the other driver’s). So, in the immediate aftermath of a car accident, how should you deal with the other driver? Keep Conversation to a Minimum Try to speak with the other driver only to the extent necessary. People often react to an awkward social situation by filling the silence with idle chatter. But the last thing you want to do is mistakenly admit that the accident was your fault or minimize your injuries or the damage to your car. Simply put: After asking if everyone is okay, any Phoenix car accident lawyer will tell you that your best course of action is to say as little as possible. Don’t Argue and Don’t Apologize Don’t argue with the other driver about who was at fault. If the other driver caused the accident, you may be mad and want to yell, but a calm demeanor will keep you from saying something at […]

Steps to Take After a Car Accident

Jun 23, 2017 - Car Accidents by

Car accidents are inherently stressful. After an accident — even a minor one — you’re probably shaken up, you might be injured, and you may be angry at yourself or the other driver (or both). So, what should you do if you’re involved in an accident? Focus on Your Safety You first need to ensure the safety of yourself and your passengers. If your car is movable, drive onto the road’s shoulder and out of the way of moving traffic. If your car is disabled, you and your passengers should exit your vehicle and move away from the road. If you or any passengers are injured, call 911 for an ambulance. If any of the injuries are serious, use your judgment about the safety of moving anyone — it may make sense to remain in the car and wait for first responders. Choose Your Words Carefully What you say to the other driver, the police and your insurance company can be used against you when you file an insurance claim or seek compensation for injuries. Don’t argue with the other driver about who was at fault — let the police and insurance companies sort that out. Try not to apologize to anyone or say that the accident was your fault — just give a neutral, truthful version of facts of the accident to the police and insurance company without admitting that you were careless or negligent. Don’t tell anyone you’re weren’t injured in the accident — injuries can take time […]

How to Take Photos After an Accident

May 30, 2017 - Car Accidents by

Any car, truck or motorcycle accident (even a minor one) is a stressful experience. But once you’ve made sure that no one has been injured and shared some basic information with the other driver, you should do your best to document the accident scene by taking photos either with a camera or even a cell phone. Why Take Photos? Photos will preserve evidence of the crash before anyone has moved the vehicles or cleared the debris (broken glass, broken car parts, etc.)  This can help the insurance companies (yours and the other driver’s) determine what happened and who was at fault. If you’ve been injured in the crash, the photos will enable your car accident attorney to reconstruct the facts of the accident in any legal claim and refresh your memory when you need to give testimony about the incident in a deposition, court hearing or trial. Documenting the Scene First, make sure that the date/time tagging function is enabled on your camera. Then, start taking the photos by concentrating on the following: Your vehicle and its damage The other vehicles involved and their damage Vehicle parts and other debris on the ground Skid marks The intersection, parking lot or other location of the accident Traffic lights and signs at the scene Any damage sustained by stationary objects at the scene – guardrails, signs, trees, etc. Any visible injuries sustained by you or other drivers/passengers (but obviously only to the extent they consent to your taking such photos) Weather conditions […]

Insurance Company Runaround

May 26, 2017 - Car Accidents by

If you’ve been involved in a car, truck or motorcycle accident, the insurance policies carried by you and the other driver are two potential sources of compensation for your injuries and vehicle damage. But the insurance companies have financial incentives not to make the claims process easy or fast. Why You Need Insurance Company Cooperation After an accident, you’ll want assistance and cooperation from the insurance companies right away. You may have injuries that require immediate treatment (which means you need money to pay medical bills). You may be losing wages because injuries prevent you from working (which means you need money to pay your normal household expenses). You need to get your car or motorcycle fixed (which means you need help paying mechanics and a body shop). Why Insurance Companies Don’t Want to Cooperate But the insurance adjusters don’t work for you – they work for the insurance companies. And their goal isn’t to quickly provide you with the maximum amount of compensation. The adjuster’s job is to save his insurance company money by: Minimizing the amounts paid to you; and Delaying those payments as long as he can. The easiest way for an insurance company to achieve these two goals is by giving you the runaround. What Does Insurance Company Runaround Look Like? Insurance company runaround can take many forms but the classic signs include: Not answering or returning your phone calls Taking a long time to provide you with basic information or required forms Repeatedly asking for […]

The Most Dangerous Time of Year for Teen Drivers

Jun 16, 2016 - Car Accidents by

A few weeks ago, millions of Americans came together to observe Memorial Day with friends and loved ones. Burgers were grilled, pools were opened and the sacrifices of the brave men and women of the armed forces were commemorated. In addition to being the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day marked another important annual milestone as well – the beginning of the 100 deadliest days for teen drivers. Statistically speaking, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is the most dangerous time of year for teens to be on the road. During this period, when the weather is nice and schools are closed for the summer, teens tend to spend more time behind the wheel, increasing their risk of getting in an accident. On average, about 1,000 people die every year in accidents involving teenagers during these 100 deadliest days. The Most Dangerous Time of Year for Teen Drivers With this in mind, it’s imperative that parents of teenagers remind them about the additional risks associated with driving this time of year. According to AAA, distracted driving is the most common cause of accidents involving teen drivers. Cell phones, in particular, tend to be especially dangerous distractions for teens behind the wheel. Parents should set clear safety expectations for their teenage drivers, and do their part to practice what they preach as well. If your teenager sees you checking text messages while you drive, they’re more likely to do the same when they get behind the wheel. You can […]

If I make a Claim Against my Insurance Company, Will My Rates Go Up?

May 20, 2016 - Car Accidents by

People pay hundreds and in some cases thousands of dollars a year on car insurance and when they get in an accident are afraid to use it! If that’s your thought process, don’t buy the insurance. You wouldn’t buy a new car if you had no intention of using it – why buy the insurance? Rather than think like that, I have a much better answer for the motorists of Arizona. We have a law in place that makes it illegal to raise your rates if you file a claim when the accident is not your fault. For you legal eagles the specific statute is Arizona Revised Statutes 20-263 which reads in part: Vehicle insurance; prohibited act by insurer; hearing; penalty A. No insurer shall increase the motor vehicle insurance premium of an insured as a result of an accident not caused or significantly contributed to by the actions of the insured. Subsection B is even better, B. The director, after a hearing, shall order an insurer that has raised the premium of an insured in violation of subsection A to refund the amount attributable to such premium increase and shall impose a civil penalty not to exceed three hundred dollars. Therefore, if you are hurt as a result of the negligence of an uninsured motorist use your uninsured motorist coverage. If the negligent driver has liability insurance but not enough to fully compensate you for your injuries, use your underinsured motorist insurance. That’s what it’s for and now you […]

Federal Study Reveals Most Dangerous Driving Distractions

Mar 29, 2016 - Car Accidents by

We’ve all been guilty of it at some point — fiddling with the radio while we change lanes, taking our eyes off the road to gaze at the passing scenery. Even professional drivers aren’t perfect. Distractions happen, and sometimes they can be deadly. Recently, the U.S. Congress funded the Strategic Highway Research Program Naturalistic Driving Study (SHRP 2 NDS) to find out just how dangerous distracted driving is. The study was conducted by scientists from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Rather than using a controlled testing environment, data was collected from 3,500 volunteer drivers over a three year period travelling in real-world conditions. The volunteers’ vehicles were outfitted with a series of radar units, cameras and sensors that allowed the researchers to record and analyze their driving behavior. By the end of the study, the participants had been involved in more than 1600 incidents. The researchers assessed accident causation based on a number of factors including speed, fatigue, sobriety and distraction. After analyzing the data, the research team concluded that distracted driving was nearly as dangerous as drunk driving. But Which Distractions Were the Most Dangerous? Some distractions that the researchers expected to be particularly dangerous were actually fairly uncommon. These included things like applying makeup while driving, and interacting with children in the back seat. In fact, the researchers found that people tended to drive more carefully with children in the car. Other well-known distractions – texting while driving, for example – were found to be very dangerous. Generally, […]

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