Suing the Defendant for an Injury-Causing Property Hazard

In the stereotypical case, motor vehicle accident claims are associated with negligent or reckless operation of a vehicle by a driver.  For example, the injured plaintiff may have a legitimate claim to bring against the defendant-driver for distracted driving, or excessive speeding (which caused the accident at-issue).  There are certainly situations that call for unique liabilities, however. In some cases, you may find yourself in a situation where you have a claim against a property owner or possessor of land.  More specifically, the defendant may have contributed to your injuries by having failed to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition (thereby exposing you to a dangerous condition of their property, or in other words, a hazard), or by failing to warn drivers of latent dangers existing on such property. Premises Liability Basics In Arizona, the rules of premises liability are quite simple (and they are readily applied to such defendants in motor vehicle accident scenarios).  Essentially, you may have a claim against the defendant property owner or possessor if the defendant fails to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition, or if the defendant fails to warn or otherwise give notice to premises entrants of non-obvious, dangerous hazards. All this legal terminology can be fairly confusing to the untrained reader, so for the purpose of clarity, let’s run through a quick and basic example. Suppose that you are involved in an accident in the parking lot of a major retailer.  You were driving and a non-obvious pit […]

The Value of Expert Witness Testimony in an Injury Lawsuit

Dec 13, 2017 - Car Accidents by

Those unfamiliar with or new to the process of litigation may not realize the importance of expert witnesses in helping to construct an effective claim.  Depending on the circumstances of the case, the testimony of an expert witness can substantially affect the outcome of the lawsuit itself. What Makes an Expert Witness Different Than a Fact Witness? An expert witness is a witness with specialized knowledge, training, or proficiency who is brought in to testify in the form of an opinion as to matters related to their specialty — for example, an expert witness (qualified orthopedic surgeon) might be retained to provide their opinion on the extent of damage caused by a botched orthopedic surgery, and to discuss the standard of care that would normally apply to a surgeon in the circumstances. Critically, expert witnesses provide opinion testimony.  They do not offer direct, observational testimony as to the facts of the case. By contrast, a factual witness is an individual who is brought in to testify as to the particular facts of the case, based on their personal knowledge and observation thereof.  For example, a factual witness who observed a car accident occurring at an intersection (in other words, an eyewitness) would testify as to the sequence of events and how it played out in front of them, to the best of their knowledge.  They would not be entitled to provide their opinion on case-related matters. How Expert Testimony Helps Expert testimony can be used in a variety of ways.  […]

Hiring A Personal Injury Lawyer for Getting Fair Compensation in Car Accidents

Nov 25, 2017 - Articles by

Long Beach – The city know for its waterfront attractions, is the 7th most populated city in California. With its moderate weather conditions, this city attracts a lot of tourists. The California State University of Long Beach is one of the largest enrolling universities in California with a significant number of students coming from other cities and nations. This city offers endless job and business opportunities too. But having this much incoming traffic increases the risk of getting into accidents as well. The higher the volume of traffic, the higher is the chance of getting into an accident.  Long Beach car accident stats have elevated over time, with an average of 1,855 car accidents per year. It has the highest Traffic collision and death rate.  If you are in long Beach, California, and get affected due to a traffic collision or a car accident, and you get injured, or you suffer a material loss due to someone else’s fault, you can get legal help from a Car Accident Lawyer in Long Beach. They offer the best services in all kinds of legal stipulations attached to your scenario, no matter how complicated your case may be. Car accidents, Insurance claims, negotiations, dealing with insurance settlers, and getting compensation for your loss and injuries feels like a laborious yet complex task to manage, but having the right kind of legal help by your side can work like a miracle, especially when you only pay for your help if you get compensated right! […]

Suing the Employer of a Commercial Driver

Nov 24, 2017 - Litigation by

In Arizona, if you have been injured in a car accident (or any other accident) due to the negligence of a defendant-driver who is an employee acting within the course and scope of their employment at the time of the accident, then you may be entitled to sue and recover damages from their employer.  This is known as the doctrine of vicarious liability. What is Vicarious Liability? Vicarious liability — also known as respondeat superior — is a doctrine implemented by the state of Arizona (and many other states) that holds employers liable for the negligence committed by their employees.  A claim brought against an employer pursuant to vicarious liability is not separate or distinct in any way from the claim that you would otherwise bring against the driver.  If you are bringing a claim against the employer for contributing to your injuries (i.e., asserting that the employer negligently hired or supervised the employee driver), then that will be separate and distinct from your vicarious liability claim. This can all be rather complicated to understand, at first glance, so let’s go through a quick example for clarification. Imagine that you suffer injuries in a car accident involving a pizza delivery driver.  The driver was operating their vehicle negligently at the time of the accident, and was on their way to delivering pizzas to customers.  You could ostensibly sue and recover damages from both the driver and their pizzeria employer. In some cases, the employer may contribute to the accident by […]

How Negligence Per Se Works

Nov 17, 2017 - Litigation by

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident due to the negligence of another person or entity, you may be entitled to recover damages as compensation for your injuries.  Proving that the defendant was acting negligently can be quite difficult, but in some cases, negligence may be proven if you can show that the defendant violated certain laws in causing the accident at-issue. When a statutory violation leads to an automatic finding of negligence, that is known as “negligence per se.”  In the Arizona motor vehicle accident context, negligence per se is a legal doctrine that can significantly strengthen your case. What is negligence per se? Stated simply, negligence per se is automatic negligence.  In a standard negligence situation, you would have to establish a standard of care, and prove that the defendant failed to adhere to that standard of care.  With negligence per se, the defendant’s law-breaking behavior serves as automatic proof of negligence. Arizona imposes a few requirements on plaintiffs attempting to prove negligence per se, however.  Violation of a law only serves as proof of negligence if: The law must be enacted for the protection and safety of the public; and The law expresses rules of conduct in specific and concrete terms. In other words, the law must be related to public safety and must be explicit (and specific) about what behavior is prohibited.  Generally speaking, traffic violations tend to fall within the category of laws that qualify for a negligence per se finding. For […]

Dangerous Crosswalks Can Lead to Pedestrian Injuries

If you have been injured due to a pedestrian accident at a crosswalk, you may not only be entitled to recover damages from the defendant-driver who collided with you — you may also be entitled to recover damages from the person/entity that owns or otherwise controls the crosswalk on which you were injured.  Crosswalks attract pedestrian traffic, as they are intended to be “safe zones” for pedestrians.  When crosswalks represent a hazard to pedestrians, however, with no adequate warning of the dangers therein, then the defendant who owns or controls the crosswalk may be held liable. Crosswalk injuries fall under the premises liability framework.  What this means is that you’ll have to show that the crosswalk was unreasonably dangerous for those making use of the property.  By introducing evidence that the crosswalk was designed or maintained in such a way that it presented a danger to pedestrians, you can more effectively litigate your injury claim. There are a number of factors that contribute towards making a crosswalk dangerous.  Let’s explore a few common ones. Visibility Issues Crosswalks must be reasonably visible to oncoming traffic at all times.  There are a number of visibility issues that can crop up: vegetation growing in adjacent property may be poorly trimmed and may therefore interfere with sight-lines, or there may be inadequate street lighting.  If visibility of the crosswalk is a serious concern even after certain measures have been implemented, signs should be installed to give drivers warning of the crosswalk ahead. Traffic Flow […]

Punitive Damages in Auto Accident Cases

Oct 27, 2017 - Car Accidents by

In Arizona, as in other states, punitive damages are awarded only rarely in auto accident lawsuits, though when a punitive damages award is granted by the court, it tends to make a splash in the media.  Punitive damages are awarded on the basis of the compensatory damages in a given lawsuit.  If the compensatory damages amount is significant, the punitive damages award can push the total damages up to a degree that is shocking to some.  Many injury lawsuits that have entered pop-culture have done so on the basis of punitive damage awards that capture the imagination of observers. For example, suppose that you are injured in a serious auto accident, and your total compensatory damages add up to $500,000.  If the court awards punitive damages in your case (say, three times the compensatory damages), then the total damages will be $2,000,000.  Oftentimes, “million dollar” injury lawsuits involve a punitive damages award. Punitive damages are quite unlike other forms of damages, so it’s important to understand that a claim for punitive damages is not made on the same basis as a claim for lost wages, or medical expenses. Punitive Damages Are Unique Punitive damages function differently than compensatory damages. A claim for compensatory damages (i.e., pain and suffering, past and future medical expenses, lost earnings, loss of earning capacity, loss of enjoyment of life, etc.) is put forth on the basis that you — the plaintiff — are entitled to financial compensation for your injuries.  Compensatory damages are an attempt […]

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 […]

Why Are Truck Accidents Increasing?

Jul 28, 2017 - Truck Accidents by

According to federal regulators, the number of accidents, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks continue to occur at historically high levels. In its April 2017 report summarizing crash statistics from 2015 (the most recent year available), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) concluded that: The number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes increased by 8 percent from 2014. The number of large trucks involved in injury crashes decreased by 1 percent from 2014 (but that small decrease followed a more than 60% increase from 2009 to 2014). The number of buses involved in fatal crashes increased by 11 percent from 2014. The number of vehicle miles traveled by large trucks was basically unchanged from 2014 to 2015. Overall, large truck accidents cause about 4,000 fatalities and 100,000 injuries in the US on an annual basis. As technology continues to improve passenger vehicle safety, why have large trucks become an increasing hazard on Phoenix highways and other US roads over the last decade? Deregulation Trucking industry experts point to various regulatory changes that could improve safety but Congress has consistently resisted imposing additional restrictions on the industry. Even worse, Congress has proposed rolling back some existing trucking company regulations and weakening FMCSA’s oversight abilities, such as: Increasing the maximum permitted workweek for truckers from 70 to 82 hours during every 8-day period. Discouraging FMCSA from investing in wireless technology to improve the monitoring of trucks and drivers. Permitting longer and heavier trucks on the road while lowering the minimum […]

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