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Being Involved in a Hit and Run Car Accident in Phoenix

When a driver crashes with another vehicle, pedestrian, person riding a bicycle or property and then flees the scene, it is called a hit and run accident. These drivers often flee due to fear of responsibility or charges of some sort. They leave without identifying themselves, helping the injured or otherwise taking care of the responsibilities drivers have under the law. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that 11 percent of all auto accidents are hit and run. This includes 4.3 percent of the accidents that result in fatal injuries.

When a driver is involved in an auto accident, the law requires them to remain on the scene and render aid as needed to other parties. This aid is general help to injured people, calling 911 for help and otherwise doing one’s personal duty to others involved in the accident. It is also the responsibility of each driver to provide their identifying information, contact details and insurance policy information to other drivers and the police.

Hit and run is a crime in every state of the United States. It may be a misdemeanor or felony, depending upon the magnitude of the accident and other circumstances. Resulting judgments may involve jail time in a county facility or even time in a state prison. Substantial fines are also often applied to drivers that caused the injury. Community service is sometimes offered as an option versus jail time.

The majority of hit and run drivers get away with their crime. They quickly hide their vehicle and evidence of the accident. Because car accident victims are often stunned or in shock after the wreck, it is hard for them to remember identifying information about the vehicle that hit them. Most often, victims do not even see the make, model, year or color of the offending driver’s car.

Luckily, video cameras are more common on roadways and business now than ever before. So these cameras can be quite useful in identifying hit and run drivers.

Why Drivers Hit and Run

Drivers hit and run because they fear responsibility for the accident or being held accountable for other actions, such as being under the influence of a drug or alcohol. They do not want to be caught for something and act selfishly without concern for others involved in the accident. Hit and run drivers cross all demographics, age groups and social classes. These drivers are not necessarily the criminal “type,” but may be someone like a school teacher, doctor, accountant, or other average citizen without other crimes on their record.

According to the article on USA Today, crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that over the years of 2009 – 2011, the number of fatal hit and run accidents had increased year over year. That state with most fatalities in by car California with a staggering 2,833 fatal crashes in 2014.

We have found that the most common reasons why the types of accident occur include:

  • Driver intoxication
  • Lack of auto insurance
  • A stolen vehicle or vehicle borrowed without permission
  • Unlicensed driving
  • Excessive driving citations
  • Company car use in the accident
  • Outstanding warrants
  • Suspended license
  • Illegal immigration to the country
  • Transporting of illegal substances or stolen property at the time of the accident
  • Fear of arrest or repercussions of negligence in the accident

Identifying the Hit and Run Driver

Police will provide support in trying to identify a hit and run driver. This does not usually fall on the shoulders of accident victims and police actively pursue these drivers through investigations. All 50 states consider hit and run a criminal offense.

The problem is that the police are overburdened with more pressing types of cases and hit and run accidents often fall into a low priority category. But if the case is serious enough, police will start a criminal investigation to try to find and interview the offending driver. If this driver can be identified, an arrest may occur. But an arrest is sadly rare in these types of investigations.

It is difficult for hit and run victims to identify the fleeing driver or their vehicle. Most victims are still in the process of being injured or recognizing that they have been in an accident, when the driver is fleeing. If an uninjured witness can be found, such as an observer on the street or in a nearby business, this type of witness can be very helpful in locating the hit and run driver.

Ways that you may be able to identify the hit and run driver include:

  • Eyewitness identification
  • Canvassing the neighborhood and area businesses with car information
  • Business video cameras
  • License plate information

Criminal Penalties after Hit and Run

In most cases, only the vehicle’s driver is criminally charged. If the vehicle has a separate owner who was not the one behind the wheel, that person will most often escape criminal penalties. That is, unless the owner had some sort of criminal participation in the hit and run accident, in which case the owner could be held criminally liable, too.

Victims may gain reparation from a victim’s compensation fund managed by the prosecutor’s office, if the criminally charged driver does not have insurance or money to compensate the victim for injuries and damages. Some criminal offenders are held accountable through probation, during which they must gain employment and pay the victim out of their own compensation as part of the terms of probation. If these payments are not made according to the agreement, the driver may be imprisoned.

There are a multitude of directions a hit and run case may go through claims, court and other processes. If you have been injured or endured property damage as part of a hit and run accident, gaining the help of an experienced auto accident attorney will provide the best possible results for your case.

Civil Penalties after Hit and Run

Through a civil case, both the owner of the car and the driver can be held accountable for the driver’s actions. This opens the door for multiple parties from whom the victim can gain compensation for injuries and property damage. When a company car is used for hit and run, the company can be sued in court. An experienced auto accident attorney can advise whether your hit and run victimization is a good case with potential for positive outcome through a civil suit.

Engaging an Attorney’s Help in Hit and Run Claims

Even though some hit and run drivers are identified by victims through license plates, it can be difficult to get the driver to admit that they were involved in the accident at all. If the driver will not admit his or her role, you will likely not be able to gain their insurance policy details.

If an attorney feels your particular case offers enough potential in court and to make the case worth their time and investment, you may be able to gain an attorney’s support for a hit and run claim. A lawsuit may be filed and the owner of the other vehicle can be subpoenaed for deposition. Such a deposition is a delicate matter for anyone daring to try to cover up their involvement in a hit and run accident, as lying under oath is a felony throughout the United States. This alone makes drivers confess in depositions in many instances and also helps victims gain the driver’s insurance information for a claim.

Experienced Legal Support for a Hit and Run Accident

Enlisting the help of an experienced and aggressive car accident lawyer will help you navigate the processes and claims associated with being a victim to such an accident. Call the attorneys of Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law now at 602-786-7039 for a free, no-obligation consultation and assessment of your hit and run accident claim.

All terrain vehicles, also known as an ATV or “quad”, are small vehicles primarily used by one or two people for recreational purposes. They can be driven on rough courses with off-road conditions or across vast areas of land. Although they are not street legal in America, ATVs are very popular in rural environments for both work and play.

Owners and riders of ATVs are required by law to follow their regional regulations for operation, as well as in use of safety equipment. When passengers or others are injured due to driver negligence or the vehicle itself is flawed, personal injury attorneys can help ATV accident victims.

Side by Side and ATV Design and Safety

Once designed as “three wheelers,” known as an ATC, ATVs now usually feature four wheels which attributes to the nickname “quad”. A ten year ban on three wheelers in the United States was enforced beginning in 1988. This ban was enacted due to the high number of accidents resulting from three wheeler use through the 1980s. The Consumer Product Safety Commission later determined that driver error and lack of proper technique were at the root of most of these accidents, not necessarily any design flaws.

ATVs use low-pressure tires to navigate rough terrains. These tires feature deep grooves more adequately suited to muddy, rocky conditions than standard automobile tires. Some ATVs have two seats in a side-by-side configuration, but most are one seat above the engine.

Despite a rough start with three wheel versions, ATVs are now considered safer than motorcycles. This is attributed to their stability inherent in the four wheel design. But drivers often gain a false sense of security mixed with bravado and expose themselves to conditions as dangerous as those of other vehicles at high speeds. Rollover accidents are one of the biggest dangers of ATV use, during which seatbelts and a passenger compartment do not exist to protect the driver and passenger, unlike four wheeled automobiles with these features.

Some ATVs have roll cages. But these still lead to injuries such as severe crush accidents causing serious damage to arms, legs, torsos and the head. Traumatic brain injuries are not necessarily uncommon in ATV accidents. Most roll cages are aftermarket and do not come standard on these ATVs.

Age is frequently a contributing factor in ATV accidents. ATV design is oriented to specific age groups. But misuse of some demographics can lead to intense injuries. Riders younger than 16 years are most affected by ATV accidents and injuries, accounting for more than one third of all injuries resulting from these vehicles’ use.

Common injuries of  side-by-side and ATV accidents include:

  • Abrasions
  • Bruising
  • Burns
  • Concussions
  • Dislocations
  • Fractures
  • Lacerations
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries
  • Spinal Injuries
  • Whiplash

Most injuries are caused by unavoidable circumstances. But the results of these unavoidable accidents are far more injurious than they could be, due to non-use of helmets, poor judgment, vehicle size versus age and improper seating of a passenger on a single-person ATV.

Common Causes of ATV Rollovers

ATVs frequently rollover onto their drivers and passengers. There are a multitude of reasons why this rollover may happen, with the most common being:

  • High center of gravity of the ATV
  • ATV narrow track width
  • Sudden acceleration by the driver
  • Poor steering by the driver
  • Improper handling or maneuvering

By ATV design, both rear wheels travel at the same speed. This helps the vehicle get in and out of muddy, rough terrain. But when turning an ATV, this can cause great instability. Regular four-wheeled vehicles like passenger cars feature back wheels that turn at different speeds to accommodate turns. So when drivers maneuver turns too quickly or due to mechanical problems, an ATV’s outer wheel drags and may cause the ATV to rollover.

An ATV Rollover Attorney Can Help You After an ATV Accident

When you are in an ATV accident, an experienced ATV rollover accident attorney can provide the assistance and support needed to gain compensation for injuries suffered in the rollover. Much as they would conduct an investigation into an auto accident to help victims receive appropriate compensation, experienced ATV rollover accident attorneys may use investigation methods, expert witnesses, scene witnesses and others to determine the exact cause of your ATV rollover related injuries.

Call the experienced Arizona ATV rollover accident attorneys of Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law now at 602-737-0532 for a free, no-obligation consultation.

According to statistics, there are more automobile drivers than motorcycle riders on the road. While weather conditions often prohibits bike riding, injuries and deaths due to motorcycle accidents are up in the United States. One of the most common injuries that motorcycle riders and passengers sustain is traumatic brain injury (TBI). Sometimes, motorcycle accident injuries cannot be prevented; however, there are several precautions that riders can take to avoid a brain injury from a bike wreck.

Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injuries from motorcycle accidents can be life-shattering. In the most serious cases, the accident victims who suffer these injuries may face physical, emotional, and social disabilities that will last for the rest of their lives. Effects of traumatic brain injuries can include paralysis, seizures, loss of motor abilities, and loss of memory. Victims may experience concentration loss and cannot return to work. Such devastation can cause anxiety, depression, and mood swing disorders.

Minor motorcycle accidents usually cause scrapes, cuts, or broken bones. The time and cost of repairing such injuries pale to how much motorcycle accident victims pay for traumatic brain injuries. Financial burdens can be overwhelming for these victims. They have to pay for hospitalization, medication, and rehabilitation. Sometimes, they must pay for permanent medical care at home or be placed in a long-term care facility.

How You Can Avoid a Traumatic Brain Injury from a Motorcycle Accident

  • Helmets: Your best defense against getting a traumatic brain injury in a motorcycle wreck is a helmet. According to medical studies, you reduce your chances of receiving a TBI by 85% by just wearing your helmet. Helmet laws are different in each state. Some states require that only passengers and drivers under 21 have to wear a helmet. While there are many states that mandate helmets for all riders on a motorcycle, some states do not have any requirements. Currently, the state of Arizona only requires that motorcycle operators who are under 18 have to wear helmets. You may have heard riders complain that helmets are uncomfortable and that they “mess up my hair”. Nothing could be more uncomfortable or messed up ones hair than a permanent brain injury. So, your best safety bet is to wear your helmet.
  • Safety Information: Most states require motorcycle operators to complete a safety course in riding. They must also pass a knowledge and skills test to get an operator license. However, most of these laws only pertain to street riding. If you want to stay safe while you ride, be sure that you know all the safety rules. You should also be very familiar with your motorcycle and how it reacts in various weather conditions and terrains. Read your owners’ guide thoroughly and keep your motorcycle in good condition.
  • Practice Defensive Driving: People who are driving cars are protected by metal all around them. Cars run on four wheels and drivers do not have to worry about balancing themselves. When you are on your bike, you have virtually no protection. Except special motorcycles with three or four wheels, most bikes require you to balance on two wheels. In light of these differences, cars clearly have the upper hand when it comes to power and safety.

As a motorcycle rider, remember that your bike is much smaller than a car and is easier to crash. Maintain safe distances between you and other motorists and drive carefully. Often times, car drivers cannot see you. If you have to pass a car, do so carefully and make sure that the driver is aware of you. Be wary of speeding motorists and cars that are passing you. Do not speed and weave in and out of traffic. If you see a car doing this, let him drive far away from you. Use extreme caution when riding in rain or snow.

People who sustain traumatic brain injuries due to a motorcycle accident can face incredible physical and financial catastrophe. If you, a friend, or loved one have been injured and need a motorcycle accident lawyer because you suffered a traumatic brain injury, you may be entitled to be compensated for your pain, suffering, medical bills, and loss of income. There may be other losses for which you are entitled for remuneration.  Contact Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law today at 602-786-7093.

When you are injured in a car accident, your medical bills will undoubtedly inconvenience you at the least and could possibly be financially damaging to you and your family. Most people rely upon the insurance settlement to help them pay for their medical expenses.

An important thing to realize is that the insurance company only offers the minimum amount to get an injured accident victim to settle. They try to pay as little as possible, so they can still profit as a business. You need compensation for all of your losses as related to the accident, but these losses will be more than the insurance company is willing to pay.

Because of this huge gap between what you deserve for your damages and the insurance company’s likely offer, it is best to have an aggressive Phoenix car accident lawyer on your side. The law firm of Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law will fight to gain the highest possible settlement for your injuries.

Statistics of Medical Bills After an Auto Accident

The Insurance Research Council (IRC) conducted a study called the Auto Injury Insurance Claims Study. The resulting report reflects that medical expenses after auto accident injury are increasing more rapidly than the rate of inflation. From 2007 to 2012, expenses for medical care, lost wages and other injury-related out-of-pocket costs grew eight percent among those paid through personal injury protection claims.  There was a four percent increase in bodily injury claimant payouts.

ISO, a Verisk Analytics organization, reported that in 2013 auto liability claims for bodily injury averaged $15,443 per injured accident victim. Private insurance companies typically cover only about 50 percent of medical and property damage costs from accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This means that the injured victims of car accidents are left holding big bills for medical and property damage expenses, if they do not utilize the services of an experienced lawyer to help them gain the compensation needed for their accident-related costs.

Receiving Compensation for Medical Bills Following an Auto Accident

Regardless of the type of accident, an individual person or an entity are always at fault when vehicles collide. Many single-car accidents are not the fault of the driver, instead being due to faulty mechanisms of the vehicle or traffic signals, as examples.

Clear evidence of negligence leads to the ability to gain compensation for injuries and damages suffered due to a car accident, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and property damage. When a legal claim is established for compensation after an accident caused by a negligent party, the claim includes reimbursement for all of these expenses from the time of the accident to present day, as well as into the future for some costs.

Medical bills covered when such a claim is settled or won include expenses arising from treatment methods, ambulance transportation, hospital and clinical expenses, lab tests, X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, assistive devices, medical providers, prescriptions and other costs. Any expenses related to your treatment and recovery will be written into the claim. The total claim amount may also include a valuation of pain, suffering and emotional distress.

Is there a legal claim for medical expenses?

Regardless of fault when you are involved in a car accident, your insurance company is the first entity that holds responsibility for medical expenses. This coverage is to the extent of their policy limitations.

For a legal claim to be warranted, injuries to an individual, property damage or death must have occurred as a result of the accident. For medical expenses to be paid through a legal claim, there are three primary criteria that must be met. Those criteria are:

  • Another driver caused the accident through recklessness or deliberate actions
  • The victim suffered injury or death as a result of the accident
  • The injuries caused financial damages

When these three criteria are met and a legal claim is initiated by an accident attorney for the client, negligence of the other party or parties must be proven. To prove negligence, there are several sources of evidence. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Police reports
  • Witness statements
  • Accident scene photographs
  • Vehicle damage photographs
  • Expert witness assessments of the accident
  • Proof of the other driver being under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Other types of evidence

A medical expense legal claim after an auto accident may include medical bills, lost compensation from work, caregivers required in the home due to your injuries and other costs. In Arizona, there is also no limitation on the amount that victims can receive for pain and suffering. Covered medical bills, other expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering may be for present costs, costs from the time of the accident and into the future.

When the negligent party does not have insurance as required by law, criminal charges can be brought. Civil charges are also frequently produced to gain compensation for the injuries, damages and expenses they caused.

Common Types of Auto Accidents Leading to Medical Expenses

Accidents can happen anywhere, anytime and in a multitude of ways. There are some common types of auto accidents and each provides its own set of potential injuries frequently experienced by accident victims. The most frequently seen types of accidents and their common injuries include:

Rollover Car Accidents

The National Automotive Sampling System Database provides data reflecting that during a rollover accident injuries typically affect five main areas of the body: head and neck, chest and upper back, abdomen, arms, and legs. In rollover accidents, most victims have multiple injuries in these areas. The head and neck are the most heavily damaged region of the body for these accidents, with the following results:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Lacerations
  • Broken bones
  • Contusions
  • Scrapes

These injuries carry additional repercussions, including:

  • Speech impairment
  • Vision loss or blindness
  • Memory loss
  • Loss of emotional control
  • Hearing loss
  • Loss of teeth or dental injuries
  • Arm or leg amputation
  • Chronic back problems and pain
  • Internal organ, nerve and vascular damage

Rear-End Accident

When vehicles, motorcycles or even bicycles are rear-ended in traffic, the following injuries typically result:

  • Broken or crushed facial bones
  • Broken jaw
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Dental injuries or loss of teeth
  • Whiplash
  • Other neck injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Crushed arms and legs
  • Internal organ damage
  • Internal bleeding
  • Contusions
  • Road rash and burns
  • Spinal cord injury (SCI)

These injuries often result in very high medical bills. Required services often include:

  • Emergency trauma care
  • Hospital stays
  • Medical equipment use
  • Surgeries, often multiple
  • Medications
  • Home nursing support
  • Long-term assisted living
  • Rehabilitation
  • Other treatments

T-bone (Broadside)

During T-bone accidents also known as broadside accidents, vehicles are often impacted by a first vehicle, then knocked into a second impact with another vehicle. Often, these broadside wrecks cause one or more cars to be knocked into oncoming traffic, stationary objects or even pedestrians.

Traumas often result from each impact separately and as compounded injuries. Once T-boned, a car can easily rollover, be involved in a separate head-on collision or spin out of control. Passengers are often partially or fully ejected from their vehicle in these accidents. All of the injuries seen in other types of accidents can be part of a long list of injuries suffered by broadside collision victims.

Head-On Collision

Known for the sheer violence and catastrophic results such an accident brings, head-on collisions are feared by most drivers. This is with good reason. Although these types of wrecks only account for about two percent of all auto accidents, 18 percent of all fatal wrecks not occurring at intersections are head-on collisions.

People involved in head-on collisions suffer a high-speed jolt of stopping due to the impact with another vehicle, then the immediate jarring backwards that increases the significance of their injuries.

Injuries suffered in these wrecks largely depend upon the vehicle’s safety devices and which ones are in use at the time of the collision. When fatality does not occur, the following injuries are common:

  • Concussions
  • Head trauma, including traumatic brain injury
  • Lacerations
  • Fractured bones
  • Contusions
  • Whiplash
  • Neck trauma
  • Back trauma
  • Dental injuries
  • Internal organ damage
  • Internal bleeding
  • Airbag-related injuries

Pedestrian

Pedestrians hit by a car are also particularly catastrophic. The average vehicle weighs over 3,000 pounds. When this weight impacts the unprotected human body, little can be done to prevent disastrous results.

Over 69,000 American pedestrians are injured each year and over 4,000 are killed by motor vehicle operators, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. This is one pedestrian injured every eight minutes. About 40 percent of the deaths are children.

When a pedestrian is hit by a car, there are two sets of injuries incurred. The first set are caused by the impact from the vehicle, itself. The second set are derived from impact with the solid object where the pedestrian lands. That second set may be from hitting the ground, being thrown into a telephone pole, being knocked into a wall or hitting other cars, as examples.

The most common injuries seen in pedestrian accidents include:

  • Scalp lacerations
  • Body lacerations
  • Concussions
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Hemorrhages
  • Hematomas
  • Contusions
  • Abrasions
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Torn and sprained ligaments
  • Bone fractures
  • Dental injuries

Getting the Help You Need for Accident Related Medical Bills

When you are injured in an auto accident, you need experienced legal help in dealing with insurance companies and negligent parties. Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law today for a free, no obligation consultation at 602-786-7093 to discuss your case with an attorney who can ensure you get the compensation you deserve.

Anytime a pedestrian is hit by a car there is a good chance that they are going to sustain an assortment of injuries. While some injuries might not be that serious, others could be life-threatening. Even if the person is doing nothing more than backing out of their driveway, there is a good chance that the injuries sustained are going to be significant. However, that chance of being severely injured is going to rise tremendously if the vehicle was traveling at a significant rate of speed.

According to the CDC, over 150,000 people were treated for injuries at the hospital for crossing the street in 2013. Close to 5,000 people were fatally wounded. That averages out to one death every 2 hours across the US.

According to the Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law team, an injury lawyer from Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law, Pedestrians that have been hit by a car can end up experiencing injuries to their abdomen, chest, extremities, and head. There are a number of factors that come into play when determining the severity of the injuries, such as how fast the driver was going, what type of vehicle they were driving, where they were hit and how old the pedestrian is. Some of the more common injuries sustained from pedestrian accidents are:

  • Head trauma
  • Internal bleeding
  • Pelvic injury
  • Spinal injury
  • Fractures
  • Death
  • Internal injury

Recovery can often be a long and drawn-out process. The intense pain of recovery coupled with the rise of medical costs can leave the individual struggling just to make it through from one day to the next. When injured in a pedestrian accident, there is a chance that the individual is going to have to go through some type of physical therapy.

Understanding Driver Negligence

When injured in a pedestrian accident, you have to first establish that the individual who was driving the vehicle was supposed to provide you with a certain duty of care. What does this mean for you? It means that the individual was expected to drive their vehicle with a reasonable amount of care to prevent causing injury to someone else.

There are a number of different factors that could end up causing a car accident to occur that involved a pedestrian, such as:

  • Being inattentive or distracted for any reason. Distractions can come in an assortment of different forms. It could be that the driver was messing with their cell phone or other electronic device.
  • The driver was speeding. Not only is speeding dangerous for a pedestrian who might be walking along, but it is also dangerous for the driver. Injuries are far more severe when the driver is going at an increased speed

There is no way to determine what might be ahead. A patch of ice or an object in the road could cause the driver to lose control and end up crashing into someone else.

Pedestrians are often hit by a car when they are simply trying to get across the road. This could be because the driver did not yield when they were making a turn. Drivers are supposed to yield to the pedestrian. They need to make sure no one is walking across the crosswalk before speeding through.

If a driver disobeys a traffic sign or signal, there is a good chance an accident will occur. This is neglect on the fault of the driver. They know that when a light is red, they need to stop. If there is a stop sign present, it is up to them to follow the traffic laws properly. Drivers who do not use turn signals also end up causing accidents. There is no way for a pedestrian to know if that driver is going to be coming their way or not. They cannot predict what the driver’s intentions are. This can end up leading to a lot of accidents from negligence on the driver’s part.

If the traffic conditions are bad, the driver should take their time and slow down. They should not be driving at an accelerated rate of speed under snowy and icy conditions. Exercising caution can go a long way in preventing a pedestrian from being injured. Any driver not paying attention to driving conditions and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs could end up finding themselves in serious trouble with the law. These individuals have a duty to drive with care, especially when the weather outside is less than desirable.

Make Sure to Seek Legal Counsel if Hit By a Car

The best thing you can do when you are injured in any type of pedestrian accident is to speak with a Phoenix personal injury lawyer. They will go over what happened with you and determine whether they believe you have a valid case or not. You deserve to be compensated for your injuries. Do not assume that you have no other option than to try to handle it on your own. There is always someone out there who is willing to fight for your rights and investigate the specifics of the accident to determine what happened and what went wrong.

The time after an accident can be very confusing. You have to decide what to do next regarding your expenses and damages. According to principles of tort law, if an injury is caused due to another party’s negligence, you are entitled to compensation for the damages suffered as a result of that negligence. Accident victims have a choice between settling a case or pursuing a lawsuit against whomever is responsible for injuries. Understanding how this process works in personal injury cases can help in making the best decision for your case.

Retaining Legal Help

It is always best to gain the help and advice of a lawyer as early in your personal injury case as possible. This means that you should call an attorney promptly after a car accident or other incident from which you sustain injuries. By talking to a lawyer early in the process, you can learn more about your legal rights and how to gain the compensation you need for costs incurred and damages suffered.

Having an injury lawyer on your side early also helps to prevent you from making any mistakes that may negatively affect your case. Examples of such mistakes include making statements to the defendant that can later be used against you. Personal injury lawyers are highly experienced in personal injury claims that include:

  • Auto accidents
  • Slip and falls
  • Premises liability
  • Defective products
  • Medical malpractice
  • Other personal injury cases

Filing a Claim

The victim must often file a claim against the defendant’s insurance provider. If injuries were sustained due to an auto accident, the defendant’s auto insurance policy will be involved. When the case is because of an accident on the defendant’s property, the homeowner’s or property insurance company will be involved. For other types of accidents, commercial insurance carriers may be party to the case.

Personal injury attorneys assist the victim throughout the case, including for filing of the claim. The lawyer may also help the victim prepare a statement about the accident and advises the victim of things they should not do, such as allowing an insurance company to record a statement from them without the lawyer being present.


Stages of Claims

Claims go through case stages after an accident, which may include some or all of the following:

— Investigation
The insurance company of the negligent party will conduct an investigation after a claim is filed against them. This investigation will determine who or what caused the accident, where responsibility lies and if the victim is responsible in any way.

The victim’s attorney may also conduct their own investigation to compile evidence to back up the claims of the victim. This investigation may include taking photos of the scene of the accident and documenting injuries suffered by the victim.

— Negotiation
After the investigation, the victim’s lawyer will likely negotiate with the insurance company and/or the defendant.

— Demand Letter
A demand letter is often sent by the personal injury lawyer to specify why the victim is entitled to compensation after the accident. This written notice will provide details of the accident and the victim’s injuries. A specific valuation of the damages may be specified in the letter.

— Counter Offer
Demand letter amounts are rarely accepted by insurance companies without a counter offer. When the insurance company provides a counter offer, the victim’s lawyer will help the victim decide if that amount should be accepted, negotiated further or rejected.

— Settlement
If the victim and the insurance company come to an agreement regarding claim value, the case may be settled out of court. The victim will likely have to sign an agreement stating that he or she will not make any further claims against the defendant or their insurance company. Settlement money can then be exchanged.

— Filing a Lawsuit
When negotiation fails to bring all parties to an agreement, the victim has the right to sue. Filing a lawsuit starts the litigation process with a complaint filed with the court by the plaintiff’s attorney on his or her behalf. This complaint specifies who the parties in the case are, the victim’s residential address, jurisdiction of the court and legal basis for claim recovery.

A filed lawsuit makes a request for damages in a specific dollar amount. A sheriff, private process server or other mechanism recognized by rules of civil procedure in the state then serves the defendant with the complaint. A specified time period is provided for the defendant to respond. If the defendant does not respond before the deadline, a default judgment is made. Each jurisdiction provides its own time period for a default judgment, with the most common time period being thirty days.

Filing a lawsuit does not automatically send a case to a jury trial. The defendant can still opt to settle the case with an acceptable settlement offer. If the parties come to an agreement, the case is removed from the court docket. Cases are dismissed for other reasons, such as:

  • Case is without legal basis for recovery
  • A judge’s summary judgment is made based on state law

If you have been the victim of an accident or personal injury due to someone else’s negligence, you should seek the advice of a personal injury lawyer. An attorney can advise you regarding options in your case and whether it may be best for you to settle the claim with the insurance company or pursue litigation based upon the circumstances of your particular case.

One of the most painful things to experience during a lifetime is to lose a loved one to an accidental death. The unexpected demise of a family member is unfortunate and shocking. Death always brings grief, but it is easier to cope with when caused by long known or natural causes. People of different ages die a wrongful death in fatal auto accidents every day. It is indeed heartrending when someone’s minor negligence or wrong decision becomes the means of ending a life. The death of a single person affects multiple lives in more than one way. The deceased could a parent, spouse, child, sibling, partner, guardian, and/or caretaker having various financial and emotional obligations.

Wrongful death counts as a case of personal injury, where the victim himself/herself cannot demand compensation. As replacement, immediate relatives or dependents are eligible to file a claim, so long as they fulfill the quota of the deceased’s ‘survivors’. Legal compensation for a wrongful death typically provides coverage for funeral expenses, lost wages/income of the deceased, and value of companionship.

Who may Sue for Wrongful Death?

The so-called ‘survivors’ are the ‘real parties in interest’ for a wrongful death case. The scope of the ‘real parties in interest’ varies from state to state. The certified and experienced Personal Injury Attorney in Boston, MA can explain the local laws governing your case and help you file a claim or lawsuit. All states approve immediate family members as survivors; this includes the spouse and children, or parents if the person was unmarried.

There are cases of wrongful death where the deceased’s parents are no longer alive, and they did not have a legal partner and/or children. Many states allow unmarried partners to claim compensation, especially if they are the parent of the deceased’s biological child or children. A putative spouse and minor adopted/fostered children previously dependent on the deceased’s income also possess the right to demand compensation. Legal guardianship automatically grants children a share in estate as well, even if they are not related by blood.

If the deceased has no partner or kids outside of marriage, then some states may consider distant relatives like siblings and grandparents. These relatives should bring a wrongful death lawsuit if they were raising the victim, or were financially dependent on them. Several states allow parents to file a claim for wrongful death if their baby dies during or shortly after delivery at the hospital due to medical malpractice.

Who may get Sued for Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death cases are complicated, especially where there are multiple stakeholders involved. Sometimes, it becomes difficult to demonstrate ‘probable cause’ to incriminate the defendant or place the burden of liability on a single party. For example, if your loved one got into an accident with a slightly impaired rideshare driver who was driving an unstable car on a damaged road, you might blame one or more of the following:

  • The driver who was fatigued or driving under the influence of a drug/alcohol
  • The rideshare company for approving an unreliable driver and/or vehicle
  • The car manufacturer for the defective design
  • The municipal authorities for lack of road maintenance

As you can imagine, there could be a number of factors that contributed to the accident. It is also possible that the deceased was partially at fault; for example, they might be distracted right before the accident happened. Nonetheless, your loss is undeniable and an experienced personal injury attorney can get you the compensation you deserve.

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