Category: Litigation

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, […]

What’s My Case Worth?

Feb 24, 2016 - Litigation by

The most common question I am asked by my personal injury clients is, “what’s my case worth?” In this article I will spell out the factors that influence the value of a bodily injury claim. Assuming you have established that someone else is 100 percent at fault and the injuries sustained were directly related to that negligent conduct, Arizona law now permits you to present evidence of your loss or damages. Damages are generally classified as either special or general. Special damages are those that have actually been incurred like medical expenses, lost income (past and future), prescriptions, mileage to and from the doctor and any other expense authorized by a doctor that resulted from the accident. General damages are quite a bit more subjective. We have all heard the term ‘pain and suffering,’ which is a general damage component of all personal injury claims. Other general damage components include emotional distress, inconvenience, lifestyle disruption and loss of enjoyment or consortium. We will save loss of consortium for another day. Because of the subjective nature of general damages, the majority of cases that end up in litigation are there due to a disagreement over general damages. I am sure you have heard the old saying, “three times the medical bills equals the value of a personal injury case.” Rest assured, nowhere in Arizona law will you find this mathematical formula. Instead, the computation for general damages is done on a case-by-case basis. Here are some of the actual factors used […]

Don’t Be Afraid to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Jan 28, 2016 - Litigation by

Don’t Let Fear of Litigation Prevent You from Fighting for Compensation After an Arizon Accident In the 35 plus years I have practiced law I have never encountered a client that looked forward to our filing suit against the at-fault party or their insurance company. Granted there is a delay in resolving the legal problem and a certain degree of uncertainty as to the result, but the method of operation or M.O. of insurance companies these days has dramatically increased the number of lawsuits we have to file on behalf of our clients. Years ago, perhaps one in four or five cases resulted in a lawsuit. Today, roughly 40 percent require filing suit due to unreasonable positions taken or low offers of settlement. Some insurance companies routinely make offers so low that the claimant receives little or no compensation for pain and suffering. In the case of those insurance companies we usually file lawsuits almost 100% of the time. Getting back to the title of this blog, “Don’t be afraid to file suit,” allow me to cite some statistics that will take some of the fear out of filing suit. The attorneys at Phillips and Lyon keep detailed statistics on all cases that result in a lawsuit. After all, I do not wish to recommend filing suit unless our client is likely to win. Looking at statistics for December, 2015 we note the following: On average the litigation award was more than double the highest offer made by the insurance […]

Driverless Vehicles and the Future of Accident Liability

Jan 22, 2016 - Car Accidents by

Earlier this month, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk made waves in the automotive industry when he announced that his company was just two years away from releasing its first fully autonomous vehicle. Prior to this announcement, even the most optimistic industry forecasters estimated that it would be about five years before driverless cars hit the consumer market. Coming from anyone else, Musk’s estimate might sound like a desperate grab for media attention. But in light of the fact that his other company, SpaceX, just successfully landed a rocket upright after returning from orbit for the first time in history, his prediction about driverless cars doesn’t seem quite so outrageous. Whether or not Musk’s estimate will prove to be accurate, there’s little doubt that sooner or later driverless vehicles will become commonplace on America’s roadways. Once this day does come, the questions surrounding accident liability could get a whole lot more complicated. Automakers, legislators and insurance providers are already working to hammer out the details of how fault will be established in car accidents that involve autonomous vehicles. Let’s take a look at a few of the hot-button issues surrounding accident liability and driverless cars. Joint Liability Between Man and Machine At least initially, autonomous vehicles will still need to have a driver behind the wheel. In California, legislation has already been passed that requires a licensed driver behind the wheel of any partially or fully autonomous vehicle. So let’s say one of these vehicles gets in an accident. Is the […]

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