-Injury Lawyers

In Arizona, and elsewhere, the statute of limitations imposes a deadline on the injured plaintiff’s various claims.  When the applicable statute of limitations deadline passes, then the plaintiff’s claims expire, at which point the plaintiff is no longer entitled to sue and recover for damages in an Arizona court of law.

For example, suppose that you are injured in a motor vehicle collision.  Given the seriousness of your sustained injuries, however, you spend most of your post-accident time and energy attempting to physically rehabilitate and reintegrate into your old lifestyle/career.  As a result, you wait too long to file your claims and the statute of limitations deadline passes.  You will no longer be entitled to compensation.

Importantly, the Arizona statute of limitations for injury claims — which runs for two years from the date of injury — allows for the suspension/extension of the deadline in certain circumstances.  This is known as “tolling.”  If the statute of limitations deadline has been tolled, then you may still have enough time to pursue litigation.

Tolling on the Basis of the Discovery Rule

Equitable tolling takes into consideration the possibility of a delayed discovery of one’s various injuries in the wake of an accident.  The application of the discovery rule is actually fairly straightforward, though many prospective plaintiffs are unaware of how it works.  Essentially, the statute of limitations period does not begin to run until the date that the plaintiff’s injuries are actually discovered, or until the date that the plaintiff’s injuries should have reasonably been discovered.

Consider the following example.

Suppose that you are involved in a car accident.  At the time of the accident, however, you don’t display any symptoms of injury.  A checkup with your physician (and some diagnostic tests) does not reveal injuries, either.  After two years, however, you begin to develop pain that is caused by the car accident (perhaps minor hairline fractures).  Despite the fact that the standard statute of limitations deadline has passed, you could effectively argue that the hairline fracture was not reasonably discoverable until a later date, and as such, the statute of limitations period did not begin to run until that later date.  You would therefore still have time to file your claims and potentially recover damages pursuant to litigation.

Automatic Tolling of the Limitations Period

In some cases, the statute of limitations period is automatically tolled when certain issues are present.  These include, but are not necessarily limited, to issues such as the plaintiff’s mental competence at the time of the accident, and the plaintiff’s age at the time of the accident.  For example, if the plaintiff is a minor at the time of an injury-causing car accident, then their statute of limitations period will be tolled until they reach the age of majority (i.e., age 18), at which point it will begin to run as normal.

Contact a Phoenix Car Accident Lawyer Today

If you have suffered significant injuries — whether in a car accident or otherwise — due to actions of another person or entity, then Arizona law may give you the right to sue for compensation.  Importantly, however, a statute of limitations deadline applies to all Arizona injury claims.  Waiting too long to file your claims can result in the expiration of such claims.  All is not lost, however.  Depending on the circumstances, your attorney may be able to convince the court that your limitations period should be “tolled” or “suspended,” thus extending your deadline and giving you a revived opportunity to pursue litigation.

Schedule a free consultation with a skilled Phoenix car accident lawyer today — call (602) 535-1900.  During your initial consultation, we will evaluate your injury claims and help you develop a roadmap to full and adequate damage recovery.

Our multi car accident lawyer can help

According to our multi car accident lawyer, multi-vehicle pileups (also known as “chain reaction accidents”) are not uncommon on busy roadways in Arizona, and in the United States at-large.  When a motor vehicle accident occurs, then — depending on the conditions of the road and the average speed at which cars, trucks, and motorcycles are moving — a pileup could quite easily develop, causing the initial event to spiral out-of-control and affect a much larger group of people.

If you’ve been harmed in a multi-vehicle pileup, you may be feeling confused and somewhat overwhelmed by the prospect of litigation, and for good reason.  It may be unclear where you should even begin — there could be several different drivers who you believe are responsible for causing your injuries in a Phoenix car accident.

Multi-vehicle pileup liability can be simplified through the application of basic causation principles.  Let’s take a quick look.

Understanding the Chain of Causation

In multi-vehicle pileups, the core issue is that of the chain of causation.  Defendants may only be held liable if their actions substantially contribute to the injuries you suffered, and if the chain of causation “linking” their actions to your injuries is continuous.

Concurrent Causation

Arizona law does not shield defendants from liability simply because others were simultaneously negligent, reckless, or intentionally engaged in misconduct.  If there are multiple causes to an accident (as is typical in a multi-vehicle pileup where several cars and trucks might fail to exercise reasonable care and thereby contribute to the pileup), then each defendant responsible for contributing to the accident can be held liable.

Determining whether a defendant has substantially contributed to an injury requires an evaluation of but-for causation.  In other words, if the injury would not have occurred “but for” the defendant’s negligence, recklessness, or wrongful misconduct, then their actions may be counted among the substantial causes of the injury per Phoenix car accident lawyer, Jack Hirsch.

For example, imagine that a multi-vehicle pileup begins to form.  It is a low-speed pileup, so you have fortunately not suffered a major injury.  Then, a speeding truck slams into the pile and causes a car to flip onto your hood, leading to severe injuries.  The truck is not the sole cause of your injuries but is certainly a “but for” concurrent cause.

Intervening Causation

Intervening causation is a defense used by many drivers when circumstances allow.  If the causal chain is severed, then the defendant can avoid liability.  The causal chain can only be severed if the subsequent, intervening events were not reasonably foreseeable.

For example, let’s return to the multi-vehicle pileup scenario above.  One of the low-speed defendants might argue that the speeding truck slamming into the pileup was an intervening cause, and that the truck driver should be held fully responsible for the damages.  This might not be a fair argument, however, as one could counter-argue that by causing a pileup on the roadway, it is reasonably foreseeable that a large vehicle could collide with the disabled vehicles and cause additional harm.

Liability is Proportionally Assessed

Arizona previously applied what is known as “joint and several liability,” which imposed full liability (for all damages) on each of the defendants in a case, no matter how much fault they actually contributed.  This was quite useful in the multi-vehicle pileup context, as the injured plaintiff could pursue recovery against any one of the defendants on the basis of their ability to pay the damages.

These days, however, Arizona has abolished joint and several liability.  Instead, each defendant is only responsible for damages proportional to their own fault contribution.  For example, if you are injured by three vehicles, and each is 33.3 percent at-fault, then you could recover 33.3 percent of your total damages from each of those driver defendants — no more than that.

Schedule a Free Consultation with an Experienced Phoenix Truck Accident Lawyer

Hirsch & Lyon is a Phoenix-based personal injury litigation firm with extensive experience handling various motor vehicle lawsuits, including those that primarily involve car, truck, and motorcycle accidents.  We are well-equipped to help clients navigate the complexities of a multi-vehicle pileup accident, and to secure maximum available compensation in such disputes.

Ready to connect to an experienced Phoenix truck accident lawyer at Hirsch & Lyon?  Call 602-535-1900 or send us a message through our website.  Consultation is free, confidential, and no-obligation, so don’t delay.  It’s important that you secure legal assistance as soon as possible.

Phoenix multi car accident lawyer

Are you looking for a law firm that specializes in multi-car accidents in the Phoenix area? If so, you may want to consider speaking to a qualified Phoenix Multi Car Accident Lawyer. An experienced lawyer who has dealt with similar cases in the past can help you navigate the legal process and ensure you are fully compensated for any car-related damages or injuries you have suffered. They can provide advice on legal strategies, negotiate with insurance companies, and pursue the best possible outcome for you and your family.

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) 535-1900.

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) 535-1900 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.

It is an unfortunate fact of life: at some point or another, you may be involved in a serious car accident. If you or a loved one is injured in a collision, you are encouraged to contact a Phoenix car accident lawyer. According to a recent report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were an estimated 6,734,000 police-reported auto accidents in the U.S. in 2018, resulting in 36,560 fatalities and 2,710,00 persons injured.

A car crash can take just a few seconds to unfold. That said, in the moments and days that follow an accident, you may be wondering what you should do next. While each accident situation can vary, here are a few things to remember:

Call the police.

Even in accidents in which there appear to be no serious injuries, the police should be notified as quickly as possible. Resist any offer by the other driver merely to “exchange identification information.” You’ll need a police report for insurance purposes. What may at first appear to be an amicable situation can later turn ugly. The police are specially trained to make an initial investigation. Use them.

When the police arrive, be clear and specific in your statements.

The officer arriving at the scene must rely upon the witnesses to set the scene. Be courteous, clear, and as specific as possible about how the accident unfolded. If you don’t know the answer to one of the officer’s questions, say so—don’t guess. You may also find it helpful to speak with a Phoenix car accident lawyer prior to giving any statements to the police.

Take photos.

Nowadays, most of us carry a smart phone with us. They have excellent cameras. If you have one, use it. Document the damage to all vehicles. Take photos of signposts and other identifying landmarks. If you have injuries, take photos of them as well. Recognize that you are not allowed to interfere with the police in their investigation, but you can make a record of the event as best you can.

Get medical attention for any injuries.

Recognize that in many cases, injuries sustained in car accidents may not be immediately apparent. If you have suffered a cut or broken bone, that is usually obvious. However, bear in mind that a host of medical issues may not manifest themselves until much later. Unless you are certain that you have not sustained injuries, you should seek medical attention at a nearby emergency room, urgent care center or your family physician. This is particularly important if you struck your head or if you have any lapse of memory regarding the circumstances of the accident. In many situations involving injuries, time is of the essence.

Report the accident to your auto insurance company.

Your auto policy requires you to advise the insurance company as soon as possible about any accident involving an insured vehicle. Determine if you have special medical coverage, sometimes referred to as “medpay,” which can pay for immediate medical bills without regard to who was at fault. In speaking with insurance company representatives, be cooperative, accurate and truthful, but recognize that the insurer may be searching for information to support a later claim denial. Don’t give a statement to the insurer unless you are represented by a competent Phoenix car accident lawyer.

Keep a journal and “open a file.”

Carefully maintain a written or electronic record of all relevant information concerning your car accident. Keep information related to the other driver’s name, the identity of any passengers, the names and claim numbers of your auto insurance policy. Keep receipts of cars that you may be required to rent.

Consider hiring a skilled Phoenix car accident lawyer to represent your interests.

Accident victims often comment about how difficult it is in the days following an accident to keep a proper perspective, to think clearly and to make sure that valuable evidence and information is preserved. That is why many individuals involved in car accidents choose to work with a skilled team of accident attorneys like those at Hirsch & Lyon. With more than 60 years of combined experience representing auto victims, we are equipped to help you through trying times. Any Phoenix car accident attorney at our firm can take care of all the necessary and intricate details in handling your claim.

Injured in an Auto Wreck? Contact Hirsch & Lyon today!

Hirsch & Lyon is focused entirely on providing top-tier legal advocacy for the victims of motor vehicle accidents. Our car accident attorneys have over 65 years of combined experience, with a long track record of success in obtaining favorable results for clients, whether through settlement negotiations or at trial.

At Hirsch & Lyon, we understand that client engagement is crucial to success. Our staff is available 24/7 to respond to any questions or concerns you may have. For your convenience, we are also available to make hospital and home appointments. As we are confident in our ability to serve our clients, our injury lawyers provide legal services at a discounted rate (our contingency fee is 25%, and up to 30% if the case proceeds to trial, plus costs). When you win through Hirsch & Lyon, you keep more of it for yourself!

Call 602-535-1900 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with a top Phoenix car accident lawyer today. Our legal team will assess your claims and help you navigate the challenging landscape of litigation.

Experienced Accident Attorneys in Phoenix, AZ

If you have been involved in a car accident, but were lucky enough not to sustain physical injuries, then you may be wondering whether you are entitled to sue the defendant(s) responsible for the accident.

In Arizona, plaintiffs who (by chance) avoided physical injury can bring a lawsuit, assuming that there are “some” measurable damages.  These damages need not be associated with a physical injury — Arizona law entitles plaintiffs to recover property damage caused to their vehicle, and for any emotional distress that they may be experiencing in the wake of an accident.

Let’s take a closer look.

Property Damage is Sufficient to Make for an Actionable Claim

You do not have to have suffered physical injuries in order to sue and recover damages from the liable defendant.  In Arizona (and other jurisdictions), a tort action — here, one arising from a car accident — can be pursued even without damages based on physical injury-related losses.

Suppose, for example, that you are involved in a car accident where you are miraculously left unscathed, but your car is totaled. The defendant-driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident, and as such, can be held liable for the damages.  Under such circumstances, you would be entitled to bring an action against the defendant to recover compensation for whatever losses you did suffer: here, property damages for the car getting totaled (along with replacement costs for renting a car in the meanwhile, or purchasing a new car).

Emotional Losses May Give Rise to Damages

Worth noting is the Arizona may also give you a right of action to recover damages that are linked to “emotional distress” or “mental anguish” caused by the car accident.  In the wake of a car accident, for example, you may experience nightmares and PTSD-like episodes that can have an impact on your quality of life.  In extreme cases, you may be impaired at work or in your social life.

Emotional distress damages fall under the “pain and suffering” category, and as such, form a key component of any car accident dispute.  You may also bring a separate action for emotional distress — either intentional infliction of emotional distress or negligent infliction of emotional distress, and thereby recover for damages that do not necessarily flow from a physical injury.

Contact Hirsch & Lyon for Comprehensive Legal Representation

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our team of Phoenix accident attorneys has extensive experience working with clients in a range of injury disputes, including car accident cases.  We strive to engage clients early and often in the litigation process so that we can gain insight into the specific circumstances surrounding their dispute, as well as their goals and limitations — by doing so, we are better equipped to tailor our legal representation to the particulars of their case.

Over the years, this approach has helped us secure significant results through negotiated settlement and in trial litigation, alike.

If you’d like to have your claims evaluated, contact us at 602-598-4786 or complete an online intake form to schedule a free consultation.

What to Do After a Phoenix Accident

Have you been injured in an accident that you believe someone else caused?  Arizona law may entitle you to compensation for the suffered losses.

Though one of your first priorities should — of course — be to contact a Phoenix accident law firm for professional guidance on how to proceed with your claims, there are a number of “dos and don’ts” of which you may not be fully aware.

Let’s take a look.

Do…

Do Seek Timely and Adequate Medical Treatment

Your health is the top priority in the wake of an accident.  Seek timely and adequate medical treatment.  If you believe that you may have suffered an injury, then you should go to a healthcare facility and have the injury evaluated and potentially treated.

It’s worth noting that the failure to secure timely and adequate medical treatment could have legal ramifications, too.  Defendants in Arizona can minimize their liability by claiming that the injured plaintiff was also at-fault.  Delayed treatment for a truck or motorcycle accident, for example, could lead to an assertion of contributory fault. This means that the defendant will almost certainly argue that your injuries were caused or exacerbated by the delay, thus making you responsible for the harm (and minimizing their damages liability).

Do Secure Timely Legal Assistance

It’s critical that you secure the assistance of a qualified attorney as soon as is practicable under the circumstances — an experienced Phoenix accident attorney is an invaluable ally at every stage of the personal injury lawsuit, from the initial factual investigation to the nuances of a courtroom hearing.

Attorney assistance is often useful in ways that may not be immediately perceived by the client.  For example, your personal injury attorney will serve as a communication middleman between you and the relevant insurer.  During such communications, your attorney will not only be able to prevent the disclosure of sensitive information that could undermine your claims, but may also be able to apply significant pressure and secure a favorable result before the case develops further.

Timely legal assistance is critical.  The general statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Arizona is just two years from the date of injury.  Failure to bring an action before the deadline passes could lead to an automatic dismissal of your claims, preventing a full and adequate recovery.

Do Take Steps to Preserve Evidence and Identify Relevant Parties

If you are not in need of emergency medical care following an accident, you can take steps to preserve evidence and improve your likelihood of success in litigation.  For example, if you are in a car accident, then it’s possible that the design of the roadway contributed to the accident in a way that could lead to an independent claim for damages against the City.  Take photos of the roadway, signage, and environmental hazards before the City steps in and makes any changes.  These photos could be introduced as evidence to support your claims.

You’ll also want to identify relevant parties: potential defendants and eyewitnesses.  Record their contact information so that you can get in touch with them when necessary (as the case progresses).  If you are unable to do so, all is not lost — your attorney will just have to take additional steps to identify and contact the appropriate parties.

Don’t…

Do Not Leave the Accident Scene Prematurely

Unless you have suffered grievous injuries that require instant medical assistance (i.e., you have to go to the hospital immediately for emergency medical care), then you should not prematurely “escape” a serious accident scene until you have had a chance to speak to authorities.  Leaving an accident scene prematurely could not only expose you to criminal charges, but could also weaken your eventual case against the defendant (as the jury is likely to assume that you were somehow at fault for the accident, as evidenced by your premature escape from the accident scene).

Do Not Communicate Extensively With Insurers

Insurance companies have interests that are in opposition to your own — and yes, that includes your own insurer as well.  If you find yourself in communications with an insurance company before you have consulted an attorney, make sure to reveal as little as necessary to end the conversation.  Do not provide a statement (regarding the accident).  Let them know that law enforcement are investigating the accident and that you cannot provide any further information.  It is not your responsibility to speak to an insurer and negotiate with them on your own — that is the responsibility of your attorney.  If you speak to an insurer on your own, they will attempt to manipulate you into making disclosures about certain aspects of the accident that they will subsequently use to de-value or even deny your subsequent claims.

Do Not Exaggerate Injuries

Exaggerating your injuries is not a good idea.  Defendants (and insurers) typically use investigators who will take a number of steps to monitor your condition — monitoring your social media pages, following you around town, etc. — and if they discover behavior that is inconsistent with your claimed injuries, it could significantly undercut your case.  Further, when you bring an action in personal injury, you must be able to support your assertion of damages with sufficient evidence (documentary/record evidence and expert testimony, for example).  If you exaggerate your injuries, the evidentiary record will not match the claimed impairments and asserted damages, thus creating a disconnect that could create serious doubt about your overall case.

Contact Hirsch & Lyon for Comprehensive Legal Assistance After an Arizona Accident

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have decades of experience working with injured plaintiffs in Arizona in a variety of disputes, from car accidents to product defect-related accidents, and more.

Since our founding, we have helped plaintiffs secure favorable results that compensate them for their losses, whether through a negotiated settlement or aggressive trial litigation.  We are committed to practical, results-oriented representation — unlike many of our competitors, we have experience handling cases all the way through to trial, giving us a significant advantage in pressuring defendants at an early stage.

Ready to speak to a seasoned Phoenix accident attorney about your injury claims?

Call us at 602-598-4786 or complete an online intake form on our website to setup a consultation with a member of our team today.  Consultation is free, confidential, and comes with no obligation to continue (if you decide against pursuing compensation).  During the initial consultation, we will evaluate your claims and identify potential next steps.

If you have been injured in an accident due to the fault of another, you may be entitled to sue and recover damages under Arizona law.  Plaintiffs often forego pursuing litigation, primarily because they are uncertain about whether it is worthwhile to go through the effort for a small recovery.

Until you consult a qualified Phoenix accident attorney about the case, you will not have an accurate appraisal of the damages.  We therefore encourage you to contact Hirsch & Lyon for a case evaluation so you can learn more.

For now, let’s explore some of damages typical of a personal injury dispute.

Identifying Losses and Gathering Evidence

In the context of personal injury, your losses are likely to vary significantly on a case-by-case basis.  For example, if you suffer injuries in a car accident that are not “catastrophic” and you are able to return to your career after a few months without any significant impairments in your ability to perform your job responsibilities, then you may have a significant damages claim for wage loss accounting for those few months of being unable to work, but not for the loss of earning capacity, as your earning capacity was not, in fact, diminished.

Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident and subsequent injuries, your losses may include the following:

Medical Expenses

In the wake of an accident, injured plaintiffs may recover for all their health-related expenses, including doctor visits, prescription drugs, diagnostic exams, counselor appointments, chiropractic exams, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and alternative medical treatment.  The defendant may attempt to argue that some of the treatment is not “reasonably necessary” under the circumstances.  You can counter this argument with supportive testimony from your treating physicians and other medical experts.

Lost Wages

Our skilled Phoenix accident attorneys know that injured plaintiffs are entitled to recover damages for their lost wages/income.  This includes all missed work time due to their accident, missed job opportunities, missed interviews, missed client meetings, and all other lost income (i.e., lost sales for a commission-based earner).

Loss of Earning Capacity

If you are injured severely enough that your future earning capacity is limited in a significant manner (i.e., you are blinded, and are therefore unable to continue working in as a lab technician), then you are entitled to damages for the lost earning capacity associated with that impairment.  You will have to compare your new earning capacity with what you would have earned in the future — this will require a lifetime analysis of future earnings.  Loss of earning capacity is more difficult to prove than lost wages, but you can effectively do so by introducing supportive vocational expert testimony.

Property Damage

As a personal injury plaintiff, you are entitled to recover for any damaged property and incidental expenses associated with the accident, including the cost of repairs or replacement (for your vehicle), rental car expenses, travel expenses, household assistance, and childcare expenses.  For example, if your car is totaled in an accident, then you may need to pay for a rental car.  That rental car is an incidental expense that could be claimed in the ensuing litigation.  Speak to a Phoenix accident attorney to discuss the specifics of your situation.

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering damages comprehensively accounts for the suffering that a plaintiff experiences in the wake of an accident.  For example, if you fracture your pelvis in a car accident, then you can recover for the subjective pain that you experienced due to that injury.  Intense pain leads to greater damages.

Emotional Distress

Emotional distress can best be described as the psychological pain sustained in relation to one’s injuries.  For example, if you have received burn injuries on your face and hands, then you may experience significant emotional distress due to the social stigma associated with your aesthetic losses.

Proving emotional distress damages will require extensive psychological diagnostic records and expert testimony supporting the fact that you have not only experienced such distress, but that it is as severe as you are claiming it to be.

You’ll have to do more than merely assert damages in order to successfully recover.  In personal injury litigation, documentary evidence (i.e., medical records, work payment records, contracts, etc.) and testimonial evidence (i.e., expert testimony regarding your pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity, etc.) are both extraordinarily valuable in supporting your claim for damages.  If you are claiming medical expenses, for example, you will have to introduce evidence of the treatment that you have received and how much the procedure costs.

Are Punitive Damages Available? Our Phoenix Accident Attorneys Will Review the Case and Advise

An award of punitive damages can significantly boost your damages, as they act as a multiplying factor on the compensatory damages total — for example, if you recover $100,000 in compensatory damages (i.e., medical expenses, pain and suffering, wage loss, etc.), then the court may award you punitive damages of up to seven times that amount, for a total of $800,000.

Unfortunately, punitive damages are not often available.  The plaintiff may only qualify for punitive damages if they can prove that the defendant acted willfully, maliciously, and/or with reckless disregard for the safety of others.  Further, even if the plaintiff “qualifies” for punitive damages, the court may exercise its discretion in awarding them. Our Phoenix accident attorney can further explain this during the initial consultation.

The fundamental reasoning behind an award of punitive damages is quite different than what many plaintiffs initially expect.  Simply put, punitive damages are not intended to compensate you for your various losses but are meant, instead, to punish and otherwise discourage the defendant (and other similarly situated parties in society) from engaging in the sort of willful and malicious behavior that the case is centered around.

If you could potentially access punitive damages, your recovery could be striking.  Many multimillion-dollar personal injury lawsuits are actually reliant on punitive damages to reach those significant dollar amounts.

How “Certainty of Success” Impacts Damage Recovery

Most disputes are resolved through settlement.  Each party compromises, agreeing to an amount that is less than the maximum claimed damages in an effort to avoid the cost and uncertainty of trial litigation.  As such, understanding what you are likely to recover through settlement is fundamental to understanding the true damages potential of your claims.

In a settlement, the amount that the defendant will agree to offer depends largely on whether your claims are likely to succeed (should the case proceed to trial) and whether the claimed damages are likely to be awarded by the jury.

For example, if the defendant concedes that they are at fault and caused your injuries, then you have a 100 percent chance of “winning” the case at trial.  Suppose, however, that the evidence for your claimed $200,000 damages is rather scant, and in fact, there is a 50 percent that the jury will award you $100,000 in damages instead.  Given these risks, a reasonable settlement amount might hover around $150,000.

Contact Hirsch & Lyon to Setup a Free and Confidential Consultation With a Phoenix Accident Attorney Today

If you’ve sustained injuries in a motor vehicle accident due to the fault of another party, then Arizona law may give you a right of action for damages.  The pursuit of litigation may seem intimidating, but it’s important to understand that the damages you’re owed may be recoverable with the aid of a skilled legal advocate.

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our team of attorneys has decades of experience working on behalf of those who have been injured in various personal injury scenarios — primarily motor vehicle accidents (car, truck, motorcycle, and pedestrian).  This focus affords us substantial insight into the unique issues likely to be encountered over the course of litigation in such disputes and helps us to maximize our client’s damages.

Ready to speak to one of our experienced Phoenix accident attorneys about your claims?  Send us a message online to arrange for an initial consultation today.  Consultation is free and confidential.

Car accident lawsuits appear straightforward to those who are unfamiliar with the litigation process — and in some cases, naturally, the “legal” issues are relatively straightforward.  What many plaintiffs do not realize, however, is the various ways in which one’s injury claims can be undermined and weakened by one’s actions in the wake of an accident.  Seemingly minor decisions can have disastrous consequences.

We’ve tallied up five mistakes commonly made after a car accident.  If you’ve been in a car accident and are intending to pursue a claim for damages, contact a skilled Phoenix car accident attorney and be careful to avoid making these mistakes!

1) Failing to Secure Medical Care

Securing timely and adequate medical care is critical.  If you have been injured, you should actively seek out medical care necessary to treat whatever symptoms you have.  Even if you are not expressing any symptoms, you should make an appointment with a physician and have diagnostic tests performed.  In some cases, the injury may be pernicious and undetectable except with advanced medical equipment.

Failure to secure medical care in a timely manner could weaken your claim and lead to difficulties, as the defendant may argue that they are not responsible for your injuries (i.e., that the injuries developed due to your delay), and that your delay is proof that any injuries they caused were not serious.

2) Waiting to Seek the Assistance of a Phoenix Car Accident Attorney

Seeking the assistance of a qualified attorney is not only important for bringing an action before the statute of limitations deadline, but also for obtaining the comprehensive guidance necessary to pursue your claim in the wake of an accident.  Your car accident attorney will assist with a variety of matters, from evidence gathering to witness identification to sending demand letters and filing claims.

3) Making Statements That Undermine Your Claims

Statements that you make to other people — such as the defendant, witnesses, and police officers —at the scene of the car accident, and afterwards, can undermine your legal claims and create complications down the line.

Oftentimes, one’s objective appraisal of a situation is influenced by the adrenaline and chaos of an accident.  At the time of an accident, for example, you may be under the wrong impression that you made a mistake while driving that contributed to the accident.  As such, you might apologize to the defendant and explain your “mistake,” when in fact you did nothing of the sort.  Such a statement could have a negative impact on your ability to successfully litigate your claims.

4) Failing to Identify Witnesses

Eyewitness testimony is extraordinarily valuable in the car accident context, as it can provide the clarity necessary to succeed when there are conflicting narratives.  If you are not in need of emergency medical care after an accident (and can take some time at the accident scene to speak to bystanders), it’s worth identifying possible eyewitnesses and taking down their contact information so that you can consult them later for supportive testimony.  Failure to do so at the scene of the accident could make it more difficult to identify and secure the testimony of reliable eyewitnesses.

5) Negotiating Directly With an Insurer

Insurers are quite clever about minimizing and avoiding a payout, and one of their tactics is to engage with plaintiffs directly (before they can consult with an attorney).  Do not speak with an insurer until and unless you have consulted a qualified Phoenix car accident attorney about the matter.  Insurers use direct conversations to pry for information and statements that they can use to justify the denial of your insurance claim later on.  Further, they may attempt to push you towards an unfavorable resolution at an emotionally sensitive and frustrating moment, before you have had the chance to consider all your options.

Contact Hirsch & Lyon for a Free Consultation

Have you been injured in a car accident?  Depending on the circumstances, you may have an actionable claim for damages under Arizona law.

Successfully pursuing a car accident claim is quite a challenge, but an experienced Phoenix car accident attorney can provide the assistance you need to do so while maximizing the available damages.  Here at Hirsch & Lyon, we have nearly seven decades of combined experience working relentlessly on behalf of injured car accident plaintiffs, with significant results gained through trial litigation and settlement.

If you’d like to learn more about our services and how we can help advance your interests, send us a case evaluation form through our website.  Consultation is free and confidential.

A Car Accident Lawyer Can Advocate on Your Behalf When You Have Insurance Company Headaches 

Insurance companies are fundamentally opposed to their policyholders.  Though pernicious advertising has sold insurance companies as “allies,” the truth is quite a bit different from the marketed fantasy.  Our Phoenix personal injury lawyer knows that insurance companies benefit when they take a position that is adverse to claimants.  When legitimate claimants are denied coverage, paid out less than expected, or choose not to pursue their claims, then the insurance company gets to keep money that they would have otherwise been required to hand-over to the policyholder.

Given this dynamic, insurance companies are incentivized to act (in sometimes devious ways) so that they can avoid having to payout legitimate claims, or at the very least, to reduce the amount they have to payout.

Fortunately, the law shields policyholders.  Insurance companies have a duty to act in good faith towards their policyholders, and that duty is broadly applicable — if your insurer fails to act responsively (with respect to your accident claim), loses important documentation, or has made an adverse decision on your claim without proper justification, then you may have an actionable bad faith claim against them for damages.

So, how can you tell that if an insurance company is giving you the runaround on your motor vehicle accident claim?  Let’s take a look at some common tactics utilized by insurance companies.

Active Investigation of Your Claim

When an insurance company communicates to you that they are actively investigating the claim at-issue, then there is a high likelihood that they are doing whatever they can to find weaknesses in your claim — in the wake of a motor vehicle accident, many insurers conduct an independent factual investigation, of course, but an extended investigation may be indicative that the insurance company smells “blood in the water” and is looking aggressively for a justification to deny or undervalue the claim.

Refusal to Cover Immediate Expenses

In the wake of a motor vehicle accident, our Phoenix personal injury lawyer knows that chances are that you have immediate expenses associated with your losses: medical expenses, wage loss, and property damage, among other things.  If your insurer refuses to provide a small, advance payment to cover at least a portion of these immediate losses, then that may be indicative of their intent to undermine your overall claim.

Refusal to Approve Medical Treatment

If the insurer believes that your injuries fall under a coverage exclusion, or that you simply do not qualify for coverage, then they are very likely to refuse to approve medical treatment.  In fact, they may even refuse to approve medical treatment if they believe that you are entitled to coverage, but that your injuries are being exaggerated or that the treatment sought is unnecessary.

Confusion, Missing Documentation, and Delays

If you sense that the insurer is acting in a confused manner — in other words, if they are asking for documentation that you already submitted or are “messing up” the submission process so as to create administrative headaches for you — then they may be engaging in a stalling tactic designed to intimidate you and wear you down mentally.  If you are exhausted by claim submission and processing, then you are more likely to accept an undervalued payout.  You may even decide that it is not worth the effort and emotional burden to challenge an adverse decision, such as a claim denial.

Contact a Phoenix Personal Injury Lawyer at Hirsch & Lyon for Legal Assistance

If you have had your insurance claim denied, undervalued, or are in preparations to submit an insurance claim, we can help.  After a motor vehicle accident, it’s important that you secure the guidance of a Phoenix personal injury lawyer with a track record of success in navigating the challenges of the insurance claims process.

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our team has over 65 years of combined experience advocating for plaintiffs and motor vehicle insurance claimants.  Quite simply, we have “seen it all” — we understand the unethical tactics employed by insurance companies and how to effectively overcome them.

Ready to move forward?  Send us a case evaluation form through our website to request a free consultation with one of our attorneys.  We are available 24/7 to respond to any inquiries that you may have concerning your claims.

Have you been injured in an accident in Phoenix — or elsewhere in Arizona — due to the negligence or wrongful misconduct of another party?  If so, the law may give you a right of action against the defendant for damages.  The decisions you make in the wake of that accident can have enormous consequences for your later injury claims against the liable defendant, however.

Even if you choose to pursue claims against the defendants, it’s important that you prioritize full and adequate medical care.  Failure to secure such care could undermine your overall legal argument and reduce the potential damages significantly. Contact our Phoenix accident attorney today to discuss the particulars of your situation.

Let’s take a closer look.

Consequences of a Delay or Failure to Follow-Through on Medical Care

In Arizona, and in every other jurisdiction in the country, our Phoenix accident attorney knows that a plaintiff’s inability to secure timely medical care (and to follow-through on medical care) could have a substantial negative impact on the success of their injury claims.  Consequences include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:

  • The defendant attacks your legitimacy as a plaintiff (i.e., claiming that your injuries were not serious enough, or else you would not have been lax about medical care)
  • Difficulties in separating the foreseeable, accident-related injuries from the injuries that were caused by the lack of immediate and comprehensive medical care
  • Uncertainties as to the damage calculation
  • Statute of limitations deadline issues in the event that you do not discover the injury at an earlier date, when you should have (under the circumstances)

Confused?  This is all perhaps best clarified through an example, so let’s consider one in brief.

Suppose that you injure your leg in a car accident.  You do not seek immediate medical attention after the accident, in large part because you assume the injury is minor (in truth, it is not) and would rather not go through the hassle.  As a result, your condition worsens and you develop a serious infection that causes you to suffer organ failure.  This requires additional medical care and causes significant additional expense.

In litigation, the defendant argues that your damages are largely caused by your delay in seeking medical care — not by the accident itself.  This is likely to be an effective argument with the jury, who may be unsympathetic when presented with a plaintiff who could not do enough to “help themselves.”  Ultimately, the defendant may pick away at the damages to the point that your overall recovery is reduced to a minimal amount.

In the wake of an accident, priority should therefore be given to medical care.  Plaintiffs must do everything they can to secure such care so as to ensure that they have not missed anything that could impact their later injury claims — it is important that plaintiffs not make assumptions about their own health.

Contact a Phoenix Accident Attorney at Hirsch & Lyon for Legal Assistance

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our team has over 65 years of combined experience working on behalf of injured plaintiffs in motor vehicle accident disputes.  Through these experiences, we have gained the insight necessary to help our clients understand the “ideal” path through every phase of the litigation process.  We provide comprehensive guidance so that plaintiffs do not weaken or otherwise threaten their own claims.

Ready to speak to a Phoenix accident attorney at our firm?  Send us a case evaluation form to arrange for a free consultation.  We are available 24/7 to respond to any inquiries you may have.

Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Phoenix, AZ

Many car accidents are not caused by immediate driver negligence (i.e., distracted driving), but instead by system issues, such as malfunctioning brakes.  In such cases, though it may seem that the driver or owner is not responsible, that is not necessarily true.

Cars must be properly maintained by their owners, lest they develop issues that could expose others to an unreasonable risk of injury.  Owners must adhere to this duty.  Failure to properly maintain a vehicle — when it contributes to an accident — entitles the injured car accident plaintiff to compensation under Arizona law.

Questions?  Contact us at Hirsch & Lyon to learn more about how we can help.

Owners Tend to Shift the Burden of Responsibility

How parties act during personal injury litigation can be confusing for first-time plaintiffs, but in truth, one must consider that the defendant(s) are acting in accordance with their “survival instinct.”  Unless you can clearly establish that the defendant is not only liable, but liable to the specific degree that you are asserting, their instinct will be to minimize or avoid that liability by shifting the burden to another party — in the car accident context, that burden-shifting may be from the vehicle owner towards the mechanic shop.

For example, suppose that you are injured when the defendant’s front tire suddenly blows out, causing them to lose control of their vehicle and slam into yours.  You sustain significant injuries as a result.  In the ensuing litigation, the defendant claims that they are not responsible for the losses at-issue, since it was not their negligence that led to the collision.  Instead, they argue that the mechanic should be held liable for failing to properly service the vehicle, which would have prevented the accident.

Depending on the circumstances, it is not particularly damaging to your claims for at least some of the fault to fall on the mechanic — after all, they are likely to have more significant liability insurance coverage.

Breaking Down the Case

What determines the distribution of fault in a car accident dispute involving improper maintenance?

Owners are not expected to have professional skill or training with respect to understanding mechanical issues.  Still, they can be held to the standard of a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances.  For example, if the owner of a vehicle is driving around on a flat tire, they should be aware of that and seek the assistance of a mechanic (or change the tire themselves).

In more complicated situations, such as engine trouble, the owner may not know how to fix it, but can be held liable for failing to seek the assistance of a professional mechanic.  Once the car has been brought to a mechanic, then the mechanic can be held liable if they do not adequately perform such maintenance.

Contact Hirsch & Lyon for Immediate Legal Assistance

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have extensive experience representing car accident plaintiffs in challenging litigation, including disputes that involves claims arising from the unreasonable risks posed by a poorly-maintained vehicle.  Car accident litigation may seem straightforward at first, but the dispute can become quite complicated when new and complex issues are brought to the fore (i.e., distribution of fault among multiple defendants, understanding the impact of inadequate maintenance, etc.).  Fortunately, we are well-equipped to successfully guide plaintiffs through a wide range of motor vehicle disputes.

As a firm, we have chosen to exclusively handle personal injury cases.  This specialized focus has — over many decades — helped us to develop competitive insights into what is necessary to secure a favorable result, even in cases where the defendant is hostile, or where the legal issues are not straightforward.

Ready to move forward with your claims?  Call us at 602-535-1900 or send us a message through our online form to arrange for a free, confidential, and no-obligation consultation with a skilled Phoenix car accident lawyer at our firm.

Experienced Truck Accident Attorney in Phoenix, AZ

Unsecured and improperly secured cargo loads are a significant contributor to truck accidents in Arizona, and throughout the United States.  According to a study conducted by the AAA Foundation, between 2011 and 2014, a failure to properly secure loads led to more than 200,000 crashes, 39,000 injuries, and 500 deaths.

If you have sustained injuries in a truck accident that was caused by an unsecured or improperly secured cargo load, then Arizona law may entitle you to compensation.  Contact us at Hirsch & Lyon to learn more about how we can help.

Risks Posed by Unsecured Cargo

Unsecured and improperly secured cargo on trucks pose major accident risks to others on the roadway, including but not limited to:

  • Heightened probability of a rollover accident
  • Reduced maneuverability of truck
  • Unexpected and inconsistent impact on maneuverability of truck
  • Danger of loose cargo exiting the truck and colliding with others

Multiple Liability Sources

When litigating a truck accident dispute centered around the damages caused by unsecured or improperly secured cargo, you may be faced with significant challenges (and opportunities) due to the nature of the accident — simply put, responsibility for an unsecured or improperly secured cargo load does not typically rest on the shoulders of a single defendant.  In fact, there may be multiple defendants on whom liability can be imposed:

  • Drivers and their employers
  • Cargo loaders and their employers

How does this work in real-world terms?  Consider the following example.

Suppose that you are seriously injured by a truck in an accident where the cargo was improperly secured, causing it to shift during operation and develop into a rollover collision situation.  You investigate the case further and discover that there are multiple defendants who can be held liable: 1) the cargo loaders, for negligently failing to secure the cargo so that it was balanced in the truck; 2) their employers, under a theory of vicarious liability or perhaps for their own independent negligence in failing to exercise due care in hiring/supervising the cargo loading employees; 3) the driver, for negligently failing to inspect the cargo and ensure that it was loaded properly; and 4) their employers, under a theory of vicarious liability or perhaps for their own independent negligence in failing to exercise due care in hiring/supervising the driver employee.

Contact Hirsch & Lyon for a Free Consultation

Hirsch & Lyon is a boutique personal injury firm with an exclusive focus on handling personal injury cases.  Our attorneys boast over seven decades of combined experience representing plaintiffs and have a long track record of success in securing favorable results through trial verdicts and negotiated settlements.

There are many firms operating in the personal injury space, but we set ourselves apart through our specialized advocacy, commitment to client-oriented service, and discounted contingency fees.  From the start of an engagement, we strive to develop a close and transparent relationship so that we can further their interests more effectively as the dispute progresses.

If you have any questions, or are interested in moving forward with your claims, we encourage you to get in touch.  Call us at 602-535-1900 or send us a message through our online form to request a free and confidential consultation with a skilled Phoenix truck accident attorney at our firm.

Skilled Motorcycle Accident Attorneys in Phoenix, AZ

Motorcycle operators and passengers face significant risks on Arizona roadways.  According to the Department of Public Safety, in 2016 alone there were 792 motorcycle collisions in the state, and 32 of them fatal.

Passengers who have been subjected to an unreasonable risk of injury have a right to recover compensation for the harm they suffered.  Successfully litigating the claim requires skilled advocacy.  Contact Hirsch & Lyon for assistance.

Specific Prohibitions and Requirements Involving Motorcycle Passengers in Arizona

Arizona law features a number of prohibitions that could impact your injury claims against the motorcycle operator:

  • Passengers must wear a helmet if they are below the age of 18 (though it’s important that you wear a helmet regardless, as the defendant is likely to argue that a failure to do so constitutes contributory negligence);
  • Passengers cannot ride with motorcycle operators who only have their permit, and not a license; and
  • Motorcycles must be equipped with a passenger seat and footrests to ensure that the passenger can ride safely.

For example, if someone takes you as a passenger on their motorcycle without having obtained their license (they only have a permit), they could be held liable for injuries that you suffer in an accident caused by their negligence.

Similarly, if someone takes you as a passenger on their motorcycle without having properly installed a passenger seat and footrests on the vehicle, and the lack thereof causes you to be harmed in a subsequent accident, then you would have an actionable claim against them under Arizona law.

Pursuing a Claim Against the Motorcycle Operator

As the injured motorcycle passenger, you may have several different claims against various defendants, including the motorcycle operator with whom you were riding.  Pursuing a claim against the motorcycle operator can be somewhat complicated, however, if you are also bringing a claim against another defendant, as you must be able to delineate fault between the parties.

For example, imagine that you are riding on the back of a motorcycle when the operator decides to take a sharp turn at an intersection without looking.  This leads to a left-hand turn collision with a car that causes you to suffer serious injuries.

Now, clearly the motorcycle operator was at-fault, and you would have a legitimate claim for damages against them, but you may also have a claim against the driver of the car — after all, perhaps they were distracted at the time of the accident and did not notice that you were passing in front of them.  Had they been paying attention, they could have stopped their car and prevented the collision.  In juggling claims against these two parties, you will have to wrestle with the issue of each party (the motorcycle operator and the car driver) arguing that they are “less” at-fault than the other.  Depending on the insurance coverage available to each defendant, this could have a significant impact on your ability to recover your damages in full.

Contact Hirsch & Lyon to Request a Free Consultation

If you have been injured as a motorcycle passenger in Arizona, then you may have a right to compensation under the law.  Depending on the circumstances of the accident, motorcycle passengers may have actionable claims against a number of different parties, from the operator of their own vehicle to various third-parties (i.e., other drivers, manufacturers, property owners, etc.).

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have over seven decades of combined experience providing specialized representation to injured plaintiffs involved in motor vehicle accident disputes, including accidents that involve a passenger on the back of a motorcycle.  These types of disputes are unique, challenging, and full of opportunity for those who understand how to properly navigate them.

Ready to move forward?  Call us at 602-535-1900 or send us a message through our online form to request a free and confidential consultation with one of our skilled Phoenix motorcycle accident attorneys.  We will evaluate your claims and work with you to identify possible avenues for recovery.

Serious Injuries Lawyer in Phoenix, AZ

If you’ve been harmed in a motor vehicle accident in Arizona due to the negligence or wrongful misconduct of another party, then you may be entitled to significant compensation under the law.  Litigation can be an overwhelming prospect for first-time plaintiffs, however.

As you begin to explore your options for litigating a motor vehicle accident claim, or any other personal injury claim, you may be somewhat confused by “contingency fees” and what it means for your case.  First-time plaintiffs are often unfamiliar with the contingency fee dynamic.

Not to worry!  Let’s explore the basics to clarify the essential elements of a contingency fee arrangement.

What is a Contingency Fee?

Typically, plaintiff’s-side personal injury litigators are paid on contingency, not through an hourly or flat fee.  Contingency fees are rather straightforward — the litigator does not get paid unless they help you secure compensation, whether through a negotiated settlement or a favorable case verdict.

So, for example, if you take your case to trial and “lose” the case, failing to secure any compensation, then you will owe nothing to the litigator.  On the other hand, if you do secure compensation, then you will owe the litigator a percentage of the overall recovery.

Contingency Fees Create Favorable Dynamics for Plaintiffs

Contingency fees are positive for most plaintiffs, and for a number of reasons.  First off, most plaintiffs do not have the funds (or willingness) to sustain long-term litigation against a defendant when the result is uncertain.  With a contingency fee arrangement, you — the plaintiff — need not secure initial funds to litigate your claims.  The law firm will foot the bill (i.e., the out-of-pocket expenses) for litigation.

Perhaps more importantly, contingency fees creative a positive incentive for law firms to fight aggressively on behalf of plaintiffs and to secure the maximum available compensation.  With hourly, a litigator is incentivized to drag on the proceedings.  With flat fee arrangements, a litigator is incentivized to “rush” the proceedings and conclude it prematurely.  In either case, the result is irrelevant to the litigator’s own financial gain.

Contingency fees link the fortunes of the client (the plaintiff) with the fortunes of their attorney-litigator.  This ensures that their attorney will fight vigorously on their behalf from the very start of the litigation process.

Contact Hirsch & Lyon for Immediate Legal Guidance

Hirsch & Lyon is a boutique personal injury litigation firm with a focus on personal injury cases.  We have nearly seven decades of combined experience advocating on behalf of injured plaintiffs, helping them to secure the compensation they need to cover their losses.

Thanks to our specialized representation in the motor vehicle accident context, we have developed key insight into what it takes to successfully litigate such a claim from beginning to end, making us more effective and more efficient overall.  This further enables us to provide discounted contingency fees to our clients — put simply, our clients get to keep more of what they receive through settlement (or a case verdict).

Ready to move forward with your claims?  Call us at 602-535-1900 or contact us online to request a free and confidential consultation with an experienced Phoenix serious injuries lawyer at our firm.

Wrongful Death Lawyer in Phoenix, AZ

If your loved one has died due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another party, then the state of Arizona may give you a legitimate right of action for wrongful death.  Wrongful death litigation is critically important, as it gives the surviving family members of the deceased an effective tool for securing the compensation they need to cover their various losses.

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, we are compassionate advocates that understand the many challenges that families face in the wake of their loved one’s death.  It is perfectly normal to feel trepidation about moving forward with litigation.  We encourage you to contact us to learn more about what wrongful death litigation entails, and how we can help.

Understanding Wrongful Death Damages

Wrongful death damages are paid out to cover the losses sustained by the surviving family members of the deceased — not the losses sustained directly by the deceased individual themselves.

For example, if your spouse dies in a car accident caused by a drunk driver defendant, you would be entitled to bring an action for wrongful death damages that account for the losses that “you” (as the surviving individual) sustained in the wake of their death, which may include the loss of their financial support, loss of guidance, loss of marital companionship, and the loss of domestic services and support.

The Loss of Domestic Services

Domestic services are a form of support that is accounted for by Arizona courts in wrongful death litigation.  Accounting for such damages is meant to ensure that the true contribution of a family member who provides domestic services (i.e., cleaning, cooking, childrearing, babysitting, teaching, etc.) is measured.

Calculating the value of domestic services is quite a bit more straightforward than plaintiffs might initially realize — with the aid of an attorney and industry experts (who can provide analysis and supportive testimony), you can identify the market value of the domestic services provided by your deceased loved one, and calculate the potential future contribution that would have been made by your loved one based off their pre-existing daily, weekly, or monthly contributions.

Consult an Experienced Attorney at Hirsch & Lyon for Guidance

Hirsch & Lyon is a specialized litigation firm with a focus on representing personal injury victims, including those that involve the wrongful death of a loved one.  Wrongful death claims can be somewhat unintuitive for those who are not familiar with litigation, and this can lead to many plaintiffs being poorly served by attorneys who fail to pursue all available damages.

At Hirsch & Lyon, our wrongful death attorneys have decades of experience providing comprehensive representation to clients in a variety of situations, and are committed to maintaining a highly-communicative, transparent relationship.  This ensures that we have the information we need to personalize the way in which we advocate for the wrongful death plaintiff.

Ready to move forward?  Call us at 602-535-1900 or contact us online to request a free and confidential consultation with a skilled Phoenix wrongful death lawyer at our firm.

Car Accident Lawyer in Phoenix, AZ

If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident — whether you’re a pedestrian, driver, or passenger — then Arizona law may give you a right to sue and obtain compensation for your various losses.  There is significant diversity from case-to-case in terms of the fact patterns and how the dispute must be litigated.

In many cases, there are issues involving defects with the roadway itself (such as poor road visibility) that contributed substantially to the accident.  These defects can be influenced by a number of factors.

Consider the following non-exhaustive list.

Grading and Sudden Elevation Changes

Sudden elevation changes can have an enormous effect on road visibility.  When a crosswalk is placed at a plateau between sharply-graded roads, then rising traffic may have their visibility significantly impeded.

Elevation changes need not be sudden to have an impact, however.  Even roads with a more gradual vertical grade can influence visibility — for example, if a road is graded upwards at a low degree, this could have an inhibiting effect on drivers at a distance, preventing them from easily identifying crossing pedestrians further down the road.  With the assistance of a road safety expert, you can identify the potentially negative consequences of such elevation changes.

Adjacent Property Interference

Adjacent property can quite easily interfere with road visibility.  For example, if a home built next to a road has an overgrown tree in the yard that extends out into the street, then the branches might cause problems for drivers and pedestrians.  Under such circumstances, both the party responsible over the roadway (i.e., the City) and the party responsible over the adjacent property may both be held liable for failing to correct the defect.

Inadequate Lighting

Roads must be properly illuminated at night.  Whether the illumination is “sufficient” is a fact-dependent question that will change based on the circumstances.  Fundamentally, however, if there is inadequate lighting, or if the lighting is simply not working (perhaps due to poor maintenance), then this could give rise to an actionable claim for damages in the event of an accident.

Poorly Marked Crosswalks

Crosswalks must be made visible to incoming traffic.  Failure to design, construct, and maintain a crosswalk that gives sufficient notice to drivers (of its existence) could expose the responsible parties to significant liability.

Consult an Experienced Attorney at Hirsch & Lyon

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our team of attorneys boasts nearly seven decades of combined experience in litigating claims on behalf of injured plaintiffs, and more specifically, those who have suffered injuries in the motor vehicle accident context.  We have helped numerous plaintiffs (including pedestrians) recover compensation that fully and adequately covers their losses.

Unlike many of our competitors, we are committed to client-focused service.  We make ourselves throughout the litigation process to respond to any and all inquiries, and work tirelessly to ensure that our client’s goals, preferences, and concerns relating to litigation are integrated into the overall case strategy.

Ready to move forward with your claims?  Call us at 602-535-1900 or contact us online to request a free and confidential consultation with a seasoned Phoenix car accident lawyer at Hirsch & Lyon.

Speak With a Phoenix Serious Injuries Lawyer Today

If you’ve been injured due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another party, then Arizona law may give you a right to sue and recover compensation for your various losses.  When pursuing a claim against the defendant(s), however, it’s important to understand that you do not have an unlimited amount of time — personal injury claims are governed by a statute of limitations deadline.  If the deadline passes before you file your claims, then you will be barred from pursuing compensation in an Arizona court.  The risk of “waiting too long” is therefore substantial.

The statute of limitations can vary from case-to-case.  Generally speaking, personal injury claims are governed by a two-year statute of limitations deadline in Arizona, though this period may be shortened under certain circumstances (i.e., the defendant is a public employee or entity, for which the deadline will be just one year from the date of injury).

Fortunately, you may not be entirely without options if the deadline passes.  In Arizona, and elsewhere, there are a few exceptions that allow the plaintiff to suspend the statute of limitations countdown, thus extending the deadline.  We encourage you to contact Hirsch & Lyon for an assessment of your case and guidance on how to proceed, particularly if you find yourself in a difficult procedural situation.

Absence of Defendant from State

According to Section 12-501 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, if the defendant is absent from the state during the statute of limitations period, then the countdown will be suspended until they return.  For example, suppose that you are injured in a car accident, and the defendant flees Arizona immediately.  The defendant does not return until three years later.  Normally, the deadline would have already passed, but because the defendant was absent from the state of Arizona, the period of time they were gone (three years) was suspended.  You may bring an action against the defendant upon their return, with whatever time you have remaining on your statute of limitations.

Minor Plaintiff

Minor plaintiffs (and other incompetent plaintiffs, such as disabled or ill plaintiffs who are mentally incapable of bringing a claim against the defendant) are not affected by the statute of limitations during their period of minority.  It is only once they reach the age of majority (age 18) that the statute of limitations will begin to run.

Discovery Rule

The discovery rule is perhaps the most common exception to the statute of limitations, in Arizona and elsewhere.  Under the discovery rule, a plaintiff’s statute of limitations deadline will be extended if they are not aware of the injuries they suffered due to the defendant’s fault, and they could not have reasonably discovered the injury.

How does it work?

Suppose that you are injured in a slip-and-fall accident on the defendant’s property.  At the time of the accident, your injuries were asymptomatic.  In other words, you did not feel that you were injured, and your visit to a physician did not lead to a diagnosis of injury.  A few years later, however, symptoms finally arise due to spinal degeneration (that was activated by the fall).  Given that the injury/condition could not have been reasonably discovered until the later date, and that you did not know about the injury despite your best efforts, the statute of limitations will likely be suspended until the date of discovery.

Schedule a Free Consultation at Hirsch & Lyon

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have decades of experience representing injured plaintiffs in a variety of personal injury disputes.  Unlike many of our competitors, we have tried many cases to conclusion.  This willingness and ability to litigate a dispute not only gives us substantial leverage at the negotiating table (to secure a favorable settlement compromise) but has also given us a keen eye for what is necessary to overcome the barriers presented by opposing counsel.

Ready to move forward with your injury claims?  Call 602-535-1900 or send us a message online to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a skilled Phoenix serious injuries lawyer at Hirsch & Lyon today.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, and you have significant liability coverage, then you may be entitled to compensation pursuant to the terms of your insurance plan.  In many motor vehicle accident cases, however, the injured are constantly challenged by their insurer and may not be awarded the benefits they seek.  This can place a significant burden on the injured plaintiff, who may not have any other recourse for compensation.

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, we have extensive experience handling motor vehicle accident disputes, including those that require a first-party insurance claim.  Contact us for comprehensive guidance on how to proceed.

First Party Insurance Coverage is Invaluable

First-party insurance coverage is particularly applicable to motor vehicle accident scenarios in which the defendant-driver lacks sufficient insurance coverage to compensate you for your losses.  For example, if you have suffered damages in excess of $200,000, but the defendant has insurance coverage that pays out only $35,000, then that will be insufficient for your purposes.  You will have to seek full and adequate compensation through other means — in most cases, through first-party insurance coverage.

Wrongful Denial and Bad Faith Claims

Many plaintiffs do not realize that insurance companies are fundamentally arrayed against them.  It is the insurer’s goal to minimize their payouts so that they can maximize their overall profits.  As such, insurers tend to be aggressive in denying first-party insurance claims made by policyholders.  They may justify the denial in a number of different ways, such as by arguing that you were at-fault for your injuries, or that your injuries are pre-existing.

In denying such claims, however, insurers may “go overboard.”  If the insurer wrongfully denied your claim, then you may be able to challenge their decision and secure the compensation you deserve.  In cases where the insurer did not have a reasonably justification for denying the claim, and acted maliciously to deny benefits (i.e., by delaying the processing of your claim to an excessive degree, or by lying to you so that you will drop your claim), then the court may even choose to award bonus punitive damages.

Request a Free and Confidential Consultation at Hirsch & Lyon

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have nearly seven decades of combined experience handling personal injury cases.

Thanks to the significant depth of our experience in such matters, we have gained key insight into the strategies and excuses typical of insurance companies, and how to successfully secure compensation despite such challenges.  Since our founding, this focused approach has helped us to secure significant compensation for our clients through favorable verdicts and settlements.

Ready to move forward with your claims?  Call 602-535-1900 or send us a message online to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a skilled Phoenix car accident lawyer at Hirsch & Lyon.

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident due to the fault of another, then Arizona law may entitle you to damages.  Do bear in mind, however, that the lawsuit may be a bit more complicated than it initially appears.

Motorcyclists are often — and unfortunately — perceived by much of the general public to be inherently undisciplined on the road.  This perception can be challenged, of course, but it takes skillful and detail-oriented advocacy, particularly in situations where the injured motorcyclist may have engaged in behavior that is violative of the law.

Without context, this can all be somewhat confusing.  Let’s explore some basic issues relating to lane sharing and splitting, and how liability is affected.

Two Motorcycles May Ride Together in the Same Lane

In Arizona, Section 28-903A of the Revised Statutes quite clearly allows for two motorcycles to ride abreast of one another in a single lane.  This “lane sharing” allowance is limited to two motorcycles, however.  If another motor vehicle attempts to share the lane with you, then they could be held liable in the event of an accident.

Prohibited Behavior

Arizona prohibits a variety of behavior relating to motorcycle lane use:

  • Motorcycles may not ride more than two abreast in a single lane
  • Motorcycles may not ride between lanes of traffic (i.e., lane-splitting)
  • Motorcycles may not overtake other vehicles in the same lane (they must transition into the next lane and back to perform a passing maneuver)

By violating any of these prohibitions, you will have committed a “negligent” act, which could influence your damage recovery in the event of an accident.

How Liability is Affected

Arizona implements the doctrine of pure comparative fault.  Simply put, a motorcycle accident plaintiff may recover damages even if they are partially at-fault for their own injuries.

In fact, the doctrine of pure comparative fault allows recovery even if the plaintiff is 99 percent at-fault for their own injuries.

Importantly, however, the amount of damages that you are entitled to recover are reduced in proportion with your contribution of fault.  If a court deems you 50 percent at fault in a case involving a claim for $100,000 in damages, for example, then you may only receive $50,000.

Any contributory negligence that is linked to your injuries will have a significant impact on your total recovery.  Suppose that you were riding three abreast in a lane (violative of the law), and in doing so, you had less room to maneuver and avoid a drunk driver.  Given the circumstances, you may be found partially at-fault, leading to a reduction in damages.

Contact Hirsch & Lyon for a Free and Confidential Consultation

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have extensive experience advocating on behalf of motorcycle accident plaintiffs.

As a firm, we only handle motor vehicle accident claims (including motorcycle accidents).  We have successfully represented numerous clients in a variety of motor vehicle accident litigation, including disputes that center around motorcycle accidents.  Thanks to our focus on personal injury cases over the decades, we have gained key insight into what it takes to secure a favorable result both pre-and-post-litigation.

Curious about your claims?  Call 602-535-1900 or send us a message online to request a free and confidential consultation with one of the skilled Phoenix motorcycle accident attorneys at Hirsch & Lyon today.

The unexpected and wrongful death of a loved one can leave their family members devastated in many different ways.

Though it’s natural to think only of the emotional consequences at first, there are real financial consequences to the loss of a loved one on whom you and the rest of your family have come to rely for support.  Without the income generated by a spouse, for example, a nuclear family may struggle with paying for food, rent, education, and health expenses, among various other necessities of life.

Fortunately, Arizona law may provide certain individuals the opportunity to recover for those losses.  If you’ve recently lost a loved one due to the negligence, recklessness, or wrongful misconduct of another, then Arizona law may entitle you to significant wrongful death compensation.

How does it work?  Let’s take a closer look.

Wrongful Death Basics

Wrongful death actions give certain qualified family members the right to pursue damages for the losses they have directly suffered due to the death of their loved one.  For example, a wrongful death plaintiff may recover damages for the mental anguish they experienced (and continue to experience) as a result of their spouse’s death.

For a wrongful death lawsuit to succeed, there must be underlying liability.  In other words, the defendant (who is responsible) must have acted in a negligent, reckless, or intentionally harmful manner, thus causing the death at-issue.

Calculating the Loss of Financial Support

In many wrongful death cases, financial support losses form the largest component of the overall damages.  As a result, the defendant is likely to employ a range of tactics during litigation to minimize their liability for such damages.  These tactics may include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:

  • Arguing that the financial support would have been reduced or terminated
  • Arguing that the deceased individual’s income would not have increased over time
  • Arguing that the deceased individual was incapable of or uninterested in returning to work (if they were unemployed or partially employed at time of death)

Suppose, for example, that your father was a generous man, and provided $3,000 per month in financial support to help you cover your costs.  After their untimely death due to a drunk driving accident, you bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the defendant-driver.

The defendant might attempt to reduce their financial support damage liability in a number of ways.  They might argue that your relationship with your father was deteriorating quickly, and that your father intended to stop all financial support soon.  They might (alternatively) argue that your father was nearing retirement age, and that the financial support may only be counted for an additional two or three years.  You might be able to counter this assertion by showing that your father used income generated by investment assets to provide the financial support at-issue.

Contact Hirsch & Lyon to Setup a Free Consultation

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have extensive experience representing wrongful death claimants in litigation, specifically in situations where the death itself is linked to a motor vehicle accident.

We understand just how emotionally overwhelming and difficult it can be to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit in the wake of tragedy — our commitment to compassionate and personalized legal advocacy has helped many families secure the compensation they need to cover their losses, while doing so in a manner that is respectful of the various burdens they are now saddled with.

Ready to move forward with your claims?  If you’re interested in learning more about the litigation process and how we can help, call 602-535-1900 or send us a message online to schedule a free, confidential, and no-obligation consultation with an experienced Phoenix wrongful death lawyer at Hirsch & Lyon today.

Contact a Phoenix Serious Injuries Lawyer Today for Help

If you’ve suffered catastrophic injuries in a motor vehicle accident (that was caused by the negligent, reckless, or intentional misconduct of another party), then Arizona law may give you a right of action for significant damages as compensation.  Catastrophic injury claims are often associated with high damage recoveries, but — while it’s important to remain positive — there are a number of unique challenges associated with such disputes.

Let’s take a look.

Damages Must Be Sufficient to Cover Losses

Catastrophic injury damages must be sufficient to cover all your losses.  These losses can be extensive and diverse, depending on the nature of the accident, the plaintiff’s own circumstances, and the resulting injuries.  It is not “satisfactory” to secure damages that are not enough to cover one’s losses.

For example, suppose that you are injured by a truck in a highway accident.  The truck driver lacks adequate insurance coverage to compensate you for the range of losses that you suffered as a result.  Though your damages totaled $500,000, you were only able to recover $100,000.  That would be insufficient, given the circumstances.

Now, if your attorney identified that the truck driver was an employee acting within the course and scope of their employment (at the time of the accident), then you might be able to bring a lawsuit against the employer under the vicarious liability doctrine.  The employer would likely have sufficient insurance coverage to pay out your damages in full.

Effective advocacy in the catastrophic injury context therefore requires a thorough assessment of the litigation landscape (and available opportunities for damage recovery).

Speedy Resolution Issues

Given how destructive the consequences of a catastrophic injury can be (i.e., causing the victim to suffer a disabling condition, requiring extensive surgical and rehabilitative intervention to ensure a return to good health), a speedy resolution is quite desirable in many cases.  A catastrophic injury can put the plaintiff in a uniquely vulnerable position financially — they might not have the resources to cover all their medical expenses, or to provide for their family given their inability to return to work.

As such, plaintiffs may find themselves performing a balancing act between securing a speedy resolution, and one that is more comprehensive.  At Hirsch & Lyon, we believe that our approach to litigation is well-suited for both maximizing the client’s compensation and doing so within a reasonable timeframe.

Our attorneys are battle-tested litigators who have a reputation for being willing and able to take a case through to trial when necessary.  This has a significant effect on our ability to negotiate a favorable settlement for our client — opposing counsel must take your claims seriously, given that (in the alternative) they could be exposed to the cost and uncertainty of trial.

Contact Hirsch & Lyon for a Free and Confidential Consultation

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our team of attorneys has many decades of experience litigating catastrophic injury claims for plaintiffs involved in various motor vehicle accident scenarios (car, truck, motorcycle, and pedestrian accidents).  We are well-acquainted with the unique challenges that catastrophic injury plaintiffs face in the wake of an accident and are committed to working tirelessly on their behalf to ensure that they can secure the compensation they need to cover their losses.

Whereas many other firms shuffle clients through like “mere customers,” we see our relationship with clients as a partnership — we keep the client in the know at all times and engage them closely so that we can better understand the circumstances of their case, their goals, and their concerns moving forward.  This approach to litigation allows us to craft a tailored solution for each and every client.

Interested?  Call 602-535-1900 or send us a message online to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced Phoenix serious injuries lawyer at Hirsch & Lyon today.

In Arizona (and throughout the United States at-large), if you’ve been injured in a car accident due to the fault of another party, then you may be entitled to significant damages as compensation for your losses.

What you may not realize, however, is that your ability to recover could be affected by the defendant’s unique circumstances and impairments.  For example, though the defendant-driver may have crashed into your vehicle, if they were experiencing a sudden medical emergency at the time of the accident, then they may be able to avoid liability for your injuries.

The sudden medical emergency defense can be confusing, so we’ll explore some of the basics to clarify how it works.

Basics of the Sudden Medical Emergency Defense

In order for the defendant-driver to take advantage of the sudden medical emergency defense and successfully avoid liability, they must show that:

  1. They suddenly lost consciousness, or experienced some other medical emergency symptoms that caused them to lose control over their vehicle; and
  2. The medical emergency at-issue was sudden and unforeseeable.

Let’s take a closer look at these two elements.

Loss of Control

The defendant-driver cannot make use of the sudden medical emergency defense if they did not lose control over their vehicle at the time of the accident.  If the defendant was merely impaired, for example, but could still exercise a sufficient level of control that they could have avoided the collision, then they can be held liable for the resultant injuries.

Events Were Sudden and Unforeseeable

A medical emergency that was “foreseeable” cannot shield the defendant-driver from liability for causing your injuries.  Drivers who can reasonably foresee the risk of an accident (due to a medical emergency) must take steps to mitigate those risks, by refusing to drive or by taking necessary medication.  Whether the medical emergency was reasonably foreseeable depends on the circumstances.  For example, if the defendant-driver failed to take their seizure medication before operating their vehicle, then the subsequent seizure would have been reasonably foreseeable.

Speak to an Experienced Phoenix Car Accident Lawyer for Assistance

Hirsch & Lyon is a boutique personal injury litigation firm based in Phoenix, AZ.

Interested in speaking to a qualified attorney about your claims?  Call 602-535-1900 or submit an online case evaluation form to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced Phoenix car accident lawyer at Hirsch & Lyon today.

Many injured car accident plaintiffs mistakenly believe that their lawsuit will progress in a simple and straightforward manner.  This is natural, of course.  They may approach the case with their own understanding of what transpired, and who is responsible for their damages.  In truth, however, a car accident lawsuit can develop in a rather non-standard fashion (depending on the circumstances), which can take a plaintiff by surprise.

In the car accident context, one of the various non-standard possibilities for recovery is the negligence of a mechanic/auto shop.  Drivers trust their mechanics to perform comprehensive inspections and to correct defects as they are discovered, or to — at the very least — notify them as to the existence of such defects.  If a mechanic fails to do so, then they could be held liable for the damages suffered in a subsequent car accident.

How does this all work?  Let’s take a closer look.

Negligent Inspection and Maintenance Basics

Mechanics have a duty to properly inspect, maintain, and repair vehicles that have been entrusted to them (for such services).  If a mechanic fails to exercise reasonable care in inspecting a vehicle (and thereby fails to identify a defect), or performs a negligent repair using substandard parts, then that may give rise to liability in the event that it contributes to a car accident later on.

It’s worth noting that a mechanic’s liability (for negligence) can generally be imposed on their employer, the auto repair shop, through the application of vicarious liability principles.  This can be handy given that the auto repair shop may have more substantial insurance coverage and may be more willing to negotiate a fair settlement due to having a business reputation to protect.

“Industry Standards” May Be a Sticking Point

Central to the negligence consideration is an evaluation of the standard of care.  Mechanics may only be held liable for their actions if they violated the standard of care.  The standard of care is dependent on a number of factors, which includes typical conduct in the industry under similar circumstances.

For example, suppose that your mechanic verbally notifies you about a defect they found with the engine.  You might try to argue that the mechanic should have given you written, formal notice of the defect, but the mechanic could potentially defend themselves by arguing that verbal notification is the industry standard.

Speak to an Experienced Phoenix Car Accident Lawyer for Guidance on Your Claims

Hirsch & Lyon is a Phoenix-based personal injury litigation firm that exclusively handles motor vehicle lawsuits on behalf of injured plaintiffs.

Our team of attorneys has many decades of experience representing those who have suffered harm in a range of motor vehicle accident scenarios — this includes complex and non-standard matters that may involve the negligence of a third-party, such as a mechanic/auto shop that fails to properly maintain your vehicle.  This specialized approach to personal injury litigation has given us deep insight into what it takes to successfully obtain compensation for our clients.  Over the years, we have secured substantial results in motor vehicle accident cases, through negotiated settlements and trial verdicts alike.

Interested in learning about your case and what you can do moving forward?  Call 602-535-1900 or submit an online case evaluation form to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a skilled Phoenix car accident lawyer at Hirsch & Lyon today.

Let Our Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Help

If you are a motorcyclist who was injured due to the fault of another, then Arizona law may give you a right to sue and recover damages as compensation for the losses that you suffered as a result.

Motorcycle accident litigation — not unlike other motor vehicle accident litigation — can become quite complicated when the facts are “messy.”  In some cases, the injured motorcyclist may not be entirely absent of fault.  It’s not uncommon for a motorcyclist to have acted negligently and thereby contributed to the accident in their own way.

So, how does this affect the dispute?  Let’s dive in for a closer look.

Comparative Fault in Arizona

In Arizona, pure comparative fault rules apply.  What this means is that an injury plaintiff is not barred from recovering damages even if they have acted negligently (and this negligence has contributed to the injuries at-issue).  Instead, the plaintiff’s overall damages will be reduced in accordance with their fault contribution.

For example, suppose that a plaintiff was hurt in a motorcycle accident and has suffered overall damages equivalent to about $100,000.  If the plaintiff is found 40 percent at-fault for their injuries, then they will be entitled to recover $100,000 minus $40,000, or $60,000 in total.

As the plaintiff, it’s not only important that you “win” your case (i.e., negotiate a settlement or obtain a favorable verdict), but also that you secure the maximum possible compensation given the circumstances.  An effective litigation strategy will therefore seek to minimize your fault.

Standard of Care Basics

For the defendant to prove that you — the motorcyclist plaintiff — were negligent (and that your damages should be reduced accordingly), they will have to show that you violated the applicable standard of care and that this negligence substantially contributed to your injuries.

The standard of care is the degree of caution that must be exercised by a reasonably prudent person in the circumstances.  When determining whether the standard of care has been violated in the motorcycle accident context, the court will consider how another motorcyclist would have acted under similar circumstances.

For example, suppose that you are injured in a left hook motorcycle accident where an incoming car made an illegal turn in front of you.  At the time, you were distracted, and thus did not have enough time to stop safely before the collision.  In evaluating your own contribution of fault, the court will have to determine whether a reasonably prudent motorcyclist in the same conditions and with the same training/experience would have come to a stop before the collision occurred.  Expert testimony will help illuminate what could be expected.

Speak to Our Experienced Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Attorneys for Assistance

Hirsch & Lyon is a Phoenix-based personal injury litigation firm.

Our attorneys have decades of experience handling claims on behalf of those who have suffered harm due to the fault of others.  We represent motorcyclists and others involved in motorcycle accidents, and unlike many of our competitors, our focus is on personal injury cases — this has given us deep insight into what is necessary to succeed in such litigation.  Since our founding, we have helped clients recover over $100 million (in verdicts and settlements).

Call 602-535-1900 or send us an online message to schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our experienced Phoenix motorcycle accident attorneys.

If you’ve been harmed in a car accident scenario in which the defendant-driver fled the scene of the accident — known colloquially as a “hit and run” — then you may be entitled to damages, though litigation may be more complicated than a standard car accident case.  In a hit and run lawsuit, there are a number of unique challenges and opportunities to keep in mind when considering the dispute process.

Let’s take a closer look.

Identifying the Defendant

Perhaps the most significant problem facing injured plaintiffs in hit and run accidents is identifying the defendant in the wake of the accident.  If the defendant gets away without leaving a “trail,” then you might not have an opportunity to litigate your claims against them and obtain the compensation you deserve.

Given the risk of a defendant successfully avoiding a lawsuit in a hit and run accident, it’s important to consult a skilled attorney as early as possible — your attorney will work with expert investigators and various stakeholders (i.e., law enforcement, businesses located near the accident) to secure evidence, such as video footage and traffic photos, to secure information that could be used to identify and track down the defendant.

Implied Fault

When the defendant flees the scene of the accident, they are painting themselves as the liable party, even if their negligence is questionable.  If you can identify the defendant-driver and bring an action against them, they will be fundamentally disadvantaged throughout the litigation process, as they must account for the fact that a jury will have a negative perception of them.

Punitive Damages Availability

When the defendant flees the scene (assuming that they did not do so in response to physical violence or threats of harm), they are engaging in willful misconduct.  As such, under Arizona law, the court may choose to award bonus punitive damages to punish the defendant for their egregious conduct, and to discourage others from similar hit and run conduct.

Punitive damages can raise the damages substantially.  If you are entitled to recover $100,000 in compensatory damages (i.e., medical expenses, wage loss, pain and suffering, etc.), then your punitive damages could be a three-times multiple of those damages, or $300,000, for $400,000 in total.  If you can establish the possibility of punitive damages, the defendant is very likely to negotiate a favorable settlement early to avoid the risk of being saddled with such a large financial burden.

Contact an Experienced Phoenix Car Accident Lawyer to Schedule a Free Consultation

At Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have decades of experience litigating claims on behalf of those who have suffered injuries in Arizona car accidents that were caused due to the fault of another party.

Our team is well-positioned to represent you at every stage of the litigation process, from identifying the defendant to negotiating a settlement, to advancing the case to trial if necessary.

Ready to learn more about your claims and what you can do to move forward on the road to recovery?  We encourage you to call 602-535-1900 or submit an online case evaluation form to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a skilled Phoenix car accident lawyer at Hirsch & Lyon today.

If you’ve injured in an accident due to a commercial truck driver’s negligence, then Arizona law may entitle you to significant compensation.

When litigating a claim against a commercial truck driver — and thanks to the application of vicarious liability principles, their employer — you may find that establishing negligence is somewhat “easier” to do than litigating a claim against a non-commercial driver.  As a general rule, professionals in all walks of life are held to a stricter standard of care in skill/knowledge areas than the average person.

Let’s take a quick peek at why this dynamic exists.

Negligence Basics and the Standard of Care

In order to prove the defendant’s negligence, you will have to show that they violated the applicable standard of care under the circumstances, and that in doing so, they substantially contributed to your injuries.  The standard of care (in truck accidents and in other contexts) is that of a reasonable person under the same or similar circumstances.

How does this work?

When a defendant injures you in an accident, for example, the court will evaluate what a reasonably prudent person would have done had they been put in the same or similar circumstances.  This is a rather “fuzzy” determination, depending on the case.  Suppose that a driver gets into a collision after quickly changing the channel on their radio player — it may not be obvious that a reasonably prudent person under the same or similar circumstances would not have taken their eyes off the road for a second to change the station.

Commercial drivers (i.e., truckers) may be held to a higher standard due to their role as professionals.

Professional Skillset and Knowledge Play a Significant Role

Negligence is a violation of the standard of care, which is a measure of what a reasonably prudent person would have done under the same or similar circumstances, but there’s an important caveat — those circumstances are not just external, but also internal.

If the defendant is a professional truck driver with a commercial license and years of experience and specialized training, then the jury is well within their rights to evaluate that information with regard to the standard of care.  Fairly evaluating a reasonably prudent person under the same or similar circumstances must necessarily involve a professional driver, as those are the circumstances applicable to the case.  If the defendant is driving an eighteen wheeler truck, for example, it would hardly be representative of the case at-hand for the court to compare the defendant to an imagined “non-commercial driver” who is operating the same vehicle under the same road conditions.

Thus, the advanced training and knowledge of the commercial trucker defendant is almost certainly going to be advantageous for your claims, as the defendant will naturally be expected to exercise a higher level of caution and skill.

Schedule a Free Consultation With an Experienced Phoenix Truck Accident Lawyer

Hirsch & Lyon is a boutique personal injury litigation firm located in Phoenix, AZ, and serving injured plaintiffs throughout the state of Arizona.

We have extensive experience litigating claims on behalf of those who have been harmed due to the fault of another in various motor vehicle accident scenarios, from truck accidents to car accidents — in fact, we exclusively handle such disputes.  Our focus on personal injury cases makes us especially well-equipped to navigate the complexities of truck accident litigation (involving commercial truck drivers and their employers) and to secure maximum compensation for our clients.

If you’d like to learn more about your claims and how best to move forward on the road to recovery, call 602-535-1900 or send us a message through our website to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a skilled Phoenix truck accident lawyer at Hirsch & Lyon today.

Ridesharing is a form of transportation in which the customer connects to an independent driver who is registered on a mobile app.  The customer requests a ride, and the app links up one of the rideshare drivers to the customer.  The company takes a cut of the ride’s overall cost.

In Arizona, and elsewhere, ridesharing services (such as Uber and Lyft) have become increasingly common over the years.  Still, despite its ubiquity, many injured plaintiffs are unsure of their rights under the law and how they can secure adequate damages in a rideshare accident scenario (car, truck, etc.).  If you’ve been injured in an accident involving a rideshare vehicle, then you may be entitled to damages, but the dispute may be complicated by a number of issues.

Let’s take a peek at some of the basics.

Insurance Coverage

Whether you are likely to receive damages will depend — in many cases — on the insurance coverage.  In Arizona, rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft pay for liability insurance coverage of up to $1 million to cover accidents involving their drivers.  This liability insurance may vary depending on the circumstances.

For example, suppose that you are riding as a passenger in an Uber when the driver crashes the car.  Given that the driver had already picked you up and was taking you to your destination, you would be entitled to the full $1 million of insurance coverage.

Now, if a driver has not yet picked their passenger up, but is on his way to do so when he injures someone, then a reduced amount of liability coverage will apply (i.e., $100,000 in most rideshare insurance policies).

Suing the Rideshare Company

If you’ve been injured by a rideshare driver, then you may want to bring an action against the company directly.  The problem, however, is that Arizona law defines Uber and Lyft drivers as independent contractors.  As such, you cannot apply vicarious liability principles to rideshare companies.  If you wish to impose liability on a rideshare company directly, you’ll have to prove that they contributed to your injuries through independent negligence.

For example, suppose that you are injured by a rideshare driver who is operating their vehicle extremely recklessly.  You later discover that the driver does not have a license.  After further investigation, it turns out that the rideshare company did not do their due diligence and determine whether the driver had an active license before allowing them to register and use the service to pick up customers.  Given their inability to perform an adequate background check, you would likely have a negligence claim against the company for damages.

Contact Hirsch & Lyon for a Free Consultation With an Experienced Phoenix Car Accident Lawyer

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have substantial experience litigating car accident claims — including rideshare-related accidents — on behalf of those who have been injured due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another party.  In fact, unlike many of our competitors, our firm exclusively provides legal services to those who are involved in a motor vehicle accident dispute, giving us depth of insight into the unique issues typical of such litigation.

We are capable of anticipating how the opposing counsel is likely to react to our claims, and how best to circumvent the barriers raised over the course of litigation.  Our specialized approach has served us well over the years — we have recovered over $100 million in damages for our clients, in trial verdicts and negotiated settlements.

Call 602-535-1900 or send us a message through our website to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced Phoenix car accident lawyer at Hirsch & Lyon today.

Though truck accident claims can be a challenge to litigate, there are a number of unique opportunities available to those who are plaintiffs in such litigation.

For example, if you’ve been injured in an accident involving a commercial trucker, then you could be entitled to bring an action for damages against their employer pursuant to vicarious liability principles.

Among these various opportunities is the electronic logging device (ELD) that has been federally mandated for commercial drivers who are required to prepare hours-of-service records for their work.

Let’s take a closer look.

What is an Electronic Logging Device?

Recently, federal legislation (that has been in the works since 2012) has come into effect.  The legislation mandates that an ELD be installed for commercial drivers — including truckers — to keep track of various data points that are intended to help manage driver “cheating” and minimize the safety risks typical of the industry, such as over-scheduling.  An ELD keeps track of a driver’s hours logged (and speed), among other data.

How does an ELD help?

Drivers cannot drive more than 11 hours a day, nor can they work more than 14 hours a day total.  Previously, drivers could “fudge the numbers” on their paper sheets by logging less than they actually worked, thus enabling them to travel a farther distance (so that they can be eligible for compensation bonuses) while remaining within the hourly maximum.  Now, with the ELD system in place, commercial drivers cannot log more than the maximum amount.  If they do, then the system will record the violation.

Multiple Avenues for Liability

As the plaintiff, you can utilize the ELD data in a multitude of ways to establish liability.

Suppose that you are attempting to show that the driver was negligent, and therefore liable for your injuries.  After evaluating the ELD data, you are able to demonstrate that the driver was operating their truck at an excessive speed at the time of the accident.  Alternatively, you might be able to show that the driver had violated their maximum hourly quota for the day and were therefore “fatigued,” contributing to the accident.

There may also be avenues for liability against the employer.  Following the implementation of ELD systems, many commercial truckers are being incentivized to drive even faster in order to achieve their mileage bonuses.  If the employer is aware that truckers are driving recklessly to satisfy a company bonus, then that employer may be held liable for not changing the incentive structure or retraining truckers appropriately.

Schedule a Free Consultation With an Experienced Phoenix Truck Accident Lawyer

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have decades of experience advocating on behalf of those who have suffered serious injuries in various motor vehicle accidents, including truck accidents.

Given the impact forces associated with truck collisions, such accidents can quite easily lead to catastrophic injuries.  We are well aware of how much victims rely on successful litigation to recover damages that could help them pay off expenses and establish a sense of “normalcy” in their life once again.  As such, we invest a great deal of time into understanding every dispute and are relentless in representing the interests of our clients at every stage of the litigation process.  This client-centered approach has helped us recover over $100 million in damages since our founding.

Call 602-535-1900 or send us an online message to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced Phoenix truck accident lawyer at Hirsch & Lyon today.  We look forward to assisting you.

Phoenix Truck Accident Lawyer

In the realm of motor vehicle accidents, truck accidents are uniquely dangerous — particularly those that involve large trucks that may be loaded with cargo.  Trucks tend to be heavier than other vehicles, and as such, the impact forces in an accident are likely to be much more severe.  The aggregate force of impact can lead to serious (if not catastrophic) injuries or even death.

Truck accidents can occur for a number of reasons, but among the more common types of truck accidents are those that are caused by improper cargo loading.  Improper cargo loading involves cargo that is not adequately secured (and is therefore prone to sliding or tumbling in the back of the truck), or cargo that has been placed in such a way that it creates a structural imbalance.

Let’s examine this issue more closely.

Improper Cargo Loading Can Create a Substantial Rollover Accident Risk

Improper cargo loading — whether the cargo has not been secured properly or has been placed in a manner that creates a fundamental weight imbalance — can lead to a rollover accident in many cases, particularly situations where the driver is taking a sharp turn.

Drivers may be additionally liable for failing to take into account their cargo load.  For example, if a truck driver is carrying a full load of cargo, they should be careful to slow down when taking turns and shifting lanes so as not to create a rollover accident.  Drivers must be considerate of the unique circumstances under which they are operating the vehicle.  Failure to do so could lead to significant civil liability.

Multiple Defendants May Be Liable, Depending on the Circumstances

Improper cargo loading may expose multiple defendants to civil liability, depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident.  Parties whose negligence may have contributed to improper cargo loading include, but are not necessarily limited, to the following:

  • Driver (who may not have properly evaluated the balance of cargo in their vehicle before setting off on their journey)
  • Physical laborers who loaded the cargo itself (who may have failed to follow the requisite procedures/plans ensuring that the cargo was properly loaded in a balanced manner)
  • Supervisors who failed to properly guide the cargo loading workers
  • Shipping company (who may not have established adequate protocols to limit the risk of improper cargo loading)
  • And more

This can be an incredible opportunity for the injured plaintiff, as it enables the plaintiff to secure a payout from multiple different sources in the event that one of the defendants does not have the resources to cover their damages in full.

Schedule a Free and Confidential Consultation With an Experienced Phoenix Truck Accident Lawyer

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have decades of experience representing the interests of those who have been injured in truck accidents, including those that resulted from improper cargo loading.  Improper cargo loading in the truck accident context exposes others on the roadways to an excessive and unreasonable risk of harm — trucks are already at a heightened risk of a rollover accident, and improper cargo loading can further exacerbate this risk.

We have a results-oriented approach to litigation.  It is our belief that aggressive and relentless representation is critical to securing justice, particularly in cases where the defendant is uncooperative or otherwise hostile to the client.  This approach has paid dividends over the years.  We have litigated numerous motor vehicle accident claims and have successfully obtained favorable verdicts and settlements on behalf of injured clients, with over $100 million recovered in total.

Interested?

Call 602-535-1900 or submit an online case evaluation form to schedule a free, confidential, and no-obligation consultation with an experienced Phoenix truck accident lawyer at Hirsch & Lyon today.

Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

Motorcyclists have good reason to be paranoid while operating their vehicles on America’s roadways.  Motorcycle accidents — in Arizona and elsewhere — are often caused by car and truck drivers who fail to drive in a manner that accounts for the possibility of two-wheelers on the road, or who otherwise fail to “notice” the presence of a two-wheeler.  This can expose motorcyclists to an unreasonable risk of harm.

Given the risks, it’s not surprising that many motorcyclists wonder whether they have an affirmative responsibility or duty to make themselves more (in the visual and auditory sense) obvious to others.

Let’s explore some of the basics for a clearer understanding.

Motorcyclists Must Exercise Reasonable Care — There is No Special Responsibility to Make Oneself Obvious

Motorcyclists have no affirmative responsibility or duty to make themselves obvious.  In fact, it could be reasonably argued that attempts to make themselves more visible or otherwise obvious to other vehicles could expose the motorcyclist to additional risks of harm.  For example, many motorcyclists swerve within their lane to make themselves more visible to passing cars, but this activity can confuse other drivers — they may not be aware that you are intending to stay in your own lane.

As a motorcyclist, your mind should be focused on exercising reasonable care given the circumstances.  If the actions necessitated by the circumstances involve making yourself obvious, then that would justify you doing so.  Otherwise, it’s not required to take additional or special actions to make yourself obvious.

For example, suppose that a car is shifting into your lane.  The driver does not realize that they are about to collide with you.  Now, given the circumstances, you should attempt to move out of the way and honk your horn to alert the driver to your presence.  Though the driver is clearly negligent, the circumstances are such that you might be found contributorily negligent if you failed to take action to make your presence known by honking.

On the other hand, if you’re riding in your lane and there is no immediate scenario demanding that you make your presence “actively” known to another driver, you do not have to honk or swerve or do anything else out-of-the-ordinary.

Contact Our Team for Experienced Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Attorneys for a Free Consultation

Our attorneys have decades of experience representing the interests of injured plaintiffs.  We pride ourselves on our commitment to client-oriented service that is aggressive, relentless, and dedicated to securing substantial positive results.  Over the years, this commitment has paid off — since our founding, we have recovered over $100 million in favorable verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients.

Interested in learning more about how we can help you obtain compensation for your motorcycle-related injuries?  Call 602-535-1900 or submit a case evaluation form through our website to schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our experienced Phoenix motorcycle accident attorneys.  We will evaluate your case and work with you to develop a strategic plan moving forward.

Phoenix Accident Lawyer

If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident due to the fault of another, then you may be entitled to recover damages pursuant to Arizona law.  It’s worth noting, however, that the lawsuit may change depending on whether the defendant was operating a “commercial vehicle.”

If the defendant-driver was operating the vehicle for a commercial purpose — in other words, if they were an employee acting within the course and scope of their employment — then you might have legitimate, actionable claims against their employer on the basis of vicarious liability and negligent hiring theories of liability.  Claims against an employer are valuable for a number of reasons, chief amongst them the fact that employers tend to have deeper pockets and more to lose by going through litigation (i.e., their commercial reputation), and as such, you’re likelier to secure full and adequate damage recovery in litigation against the employer.

Let’s explore negligent hiring claims.

Independent Employer Negligence and Negligent Hiring

Negligent hiring claims are “independent” claims brought against the employer for their own contribution of negligence in a commercial vehicle accident — they are quite unlike vicarious liability claims, which impose liability on the employer for the negligence perpetrated by the employee.

In Arizona, you can hold the employer liable for both negligent hiring and for claims falling under the vicarious liability umbrella.

Thus, in order to succeed in establishing liability in a negligent hiring lawsuit, you’ll have to show that the defendant-employer actually acted in violation of the standard of care and thereby contributed to your injuries.

Negligent hiring can be difficult to understand, so let’s use an example to get the basic concepts across.

Suppose that you are injured in an accident involving a commercial driver who was driving while distracted by their cell phone (texting) — perhaps a delivery driver for a local business supply warehouse.  You consult an attorney for assistance.  As the investigation deepens, you discover that the employer hired the driver despite knowing that they had a long and consistent accident history, most of which involved distracted driving.  It seems clear that the employer negligently hired the driver, given that they knew about the heightened risk of harm.

Negligent Hiring Issue Must Be Linked to the Accident

Importantly, negligent hiring will not lead to liability unless the “negligence” actually contributed to your injuries.  For example, if a commercial driver struggles with alcoholism (and the employer hired them despite knowing of the alcoholism), then you cannot succeed in establishing liability for negligent hiring unless you show that the driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident.  If the driver was not intoxicated, then the “negligent hiring” issue is irrelevant to the injuries caused.

Contact an Experienced Phoenix Accident Lawyer for a Free and Confidential Consultation

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have extensive experience handling claims on behalf of those who have been injured in car, truck, and motorcycle accidents, including those that involve a commercial vehicle.

Commercial vehicle accidents may implicate the employer of the driver, thus giving rise to additional complications (and opportunities).  Since our founding, we have secured over $100 million on behalf of our clients, through favorable verdicts and settlements.

Interested?  Call 602-535-1900 or send us a message online to request a free, confidential, and no-obligation consultation with an experienced Phoenix accident lawyer at Hirsch & Lyon today.

Hit and run accidents are more common throughout the United States than you might think.  A recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety report indicated that an average of 682,000 hit and run crashes occur annually (based on data recorded since 2006).  If you’ve been injured in a hit and run accident, then you may have a right of action for damages, even if the other driver cannot be found.  If the driver can be found and depending on the circumstances, your case may be strengthened by the fact that the defendant fled the scene.

Reasons Why a Defendant May Flee the Scene

There are a number of reasons as to why a defendant may flee the scene of an accident, some of which are more “egregious” than others.  Consider the following:

  • Lack of insurance coverage
  • Underinsured
  • Concern over potential liability
  • Driving while intoxicated (and want to avoid being arrested and charged)
  • Fear of reprisal
  • Shock
  • Unaware of collision

If a defendant flees the scene, you are not entirely without options for litigating your injury claims.  You may be able to identify the defendant by gathering and evaluating surveillance footage, speaking to eyewitnesses or by monitoring the accident scene after the collision, as most drivers tend to stick to a pattern of travel if the collision occurred on a daily commute.

Civil Liability for a Hit and Run Accident

Hit and run accidents may not only expose the defendant to criminal liability, but may also expose them to potential civil liability, which gives you an opportunity to recover significant damages for the injuries you sustain as a result of their behavior.

Evidence is Probative of Negligence

The fact that the defendant-driver fled the scene of the accident is not — in and of itself — enough to establish negligence.  Generally speaking, evidence of a hit and run accident can be admissible as evidence of wrongdoing. The circumstances (aside from the fact that the defendant fled the scene) must be sufficient to infer negligence.

Punitive Damages Liability

Fleeing the scene of a motor vehicle accident may give rise to punitive damages liability in certain circumstances.  Punitive damages are awarded quite infrequently — the court imposes punitive damages only when the defendant has engaged in willfully malicious acts, egregious acts, reckless acts, and/or acts that showcase a disregard of the safety of others.

Fleeing the scene of an accident may be interpreted as a reckless disregard for the injured person’s safety, or it may even be viewed as a malicious act.  Of course, in some cases, a plaintiff may flee the scene out of fear or mere instinct.  Depending on the facts surrounding the hit and run accident at issue, it may qualify for punitive damages under the law.

Punitive damages are a punishment — they are meant to discourage same or similar behavior in society.  When punitive damages are calculated, they may therefore extend well past the actual losses.  For example, if you are injured in a hit and run accident where your damages total $50,000, then the court may award punitive damages of up to $300,000, for a total recovery of $350,000.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

If the driver of the vehicle who caused the collision cannot be located, you may still be able to present a claim for the losses and harms that you sustained in a hit and run accident.  Uninsured Motorist Coverage, provided by your own automobile insurance policy, allows a means of recovery for this type of collision, as long as certain conditions are met.

This is a Guest Article Written By Jonathan Russell of Drake, Hileman and Davis

About the Author:

Attorney Jonathan J. Russell has been a member of Drake, Hileman and Davis, PC since 1993 and a shareholder and principal in the firm since 1998. Jonathan received his law degree from Villanova University School of Law and his Bachelor’s degree from Eastern Nazarene College. As a trial attorney, Jonathan has been an advocate for his clients throughout all phases of the litigation process. He has obtained successful verdicts and awards before judges, juries and arbitration panels. Jonathan has been recognized by the publishers of Philadelphia Magazine, as a SuperLawyer for the past eight years and is a member of the Million dollar Advocates Forum.

Car Accident Lawyers in Phoenix Explain “Emergency Defense” 

In Arizona, as in other states, the behavior of the defendant-driver in a car accident is not always unjustifiable.  Depending on the circumstances, the defendant-driver may have acted in a reasonable manner, even though their actions ultimately led to an accident (and subsequent injuries).  These situations tend to be rather uncommon, but they do happen — the sudden emergency doctrine covers one such scenario.

By developing a more complete understanding of the defenses commonly used to avoid liability in a car accident lawsuit — such as the sudden emergency defense — you can be better prepared to undermine the defendant’s argument.

Let’s take a closer look.

What is the Sudden Emergency Defense, and How Does it Work?

The sudden emergency doctrine — on which the defense is anchored — establishes that a defendant cannot be held liable for when they act reasonably (given the circumstances) in reaction to an emergency.  This can be a difficult concept to explain using general terms, so let’s explore a quick example to clarify.

Suppose that you are injured in a car accident where the defendant-driver shifted into your lane suddenly and slammed into the side of your car, causing you to collide with the median and suffer serious harm.  As it turns out, however, the defendant-driver only acted in that manner in order to avoid a massive ditch that would have sent their car falling at least ten feet or so.  The defendant was acted out of necessity due to a “sudden emergency.”  Under such circumstances, they would likely not be liable for the injuries you suffered.

Reasonable Conduct Under the Circumstances

It’s important to understand that you can overcome the defendant’s assertion that they are shielded from liability due to the sudden emergency defense.  You’ll have to show that the defendant did not act reasonably under the circumstances, however.

Though an emergency situation does give defendant’s a wider “berth” of reasonable conduct, some actions may still be unreasonable.  For example, if the defendant sees that the road is coming to a sudden end, and they have to merge, then it may be unreasonable for them to immediately merge into a crowded lane (at high speed) as opposed to slowing down or coming to a stop, first.  If the defendant acts unreasonably in an emergency situation — in other words, if a reasonable person would have acted differently — then they can be held liable for the damages caused.

Contact an Experienced Phoenix Car Accident Lawyer for a Free and Confidential Consultation

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our team of attorneys has decades of experience litigating motor vehicle accident claims (including car accident claims) on behalf of those who have been injured due to the fault of another.

This specialized approach to litigation has given us deep insight into our practice areas and how to effectively advocate in challenging situations.  We are able to anticipate the tactics that will be employed by the defendant and undermine or otherwise circumvent the hazards altogether.  Since our founding, we have achieved substantial success in motor vehicle accident litigation, and have recovered over $100 million for our clients.

Call 602-535-1900 or submit an online case evaluation form to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced Phoenix car accident attorney at Hirsch & Lyon today.

Phoenix Wrongful Death Attorney

Wrongful death litigation can be emotionally overwhelming.  Family members must not only process the untimely and unexpected death of their loved one but must also pursue comprehensive litigation in order to secure damages that can compensate them for the losses they suffered as a result.

Many first-time plaintiffs are not entirely familiar with wrongful death litigation and what it entails.  Wrongful death actions can be rather difficult to conceptualize compared to a standard personal injury action.

Stated simply, wrongful death actions are brought by certain qualified family members for the damages they suffered due to the loss of their loved one.  For example, suppose that a father dies in a car accident that was caused by the fault of another.  The child of the deceased might have a legitimate wrongful death claim for the losses they sustained — including but not limited to their mental anguish, the financial support they will no longer receive from their father, and the love, companionship, and guidance of their father.

If you’re interested in bringing a wrongful death action (against the party responsible for the death of your loved one), it’s important to understand some of the limitations typical of such disputes.

Let’s take a brief look at one such limitation.

Accident-Related Deaths Do Not Always Create an Actionable Wrongful Death Claim

In Arizona, actionable wrongful death claims require an underlying wrongful act — either negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct.  If there is no underlying wrongful act linked to the death at-issue, then liability will not attach.

How does this work?

Suppose that your father dies in a car accident, but nobody else was at-fault for their death.  Perhaps the weather conditions were extremely poor and your father lost control of the vehicle as a result, leading to his death.  Under such circumstances, there could be no actionable wrongful death claim.

Now, suppose that investigators discovered that your father’s accident was partly caused by a mechanical defect in the car brake system.  If the brakes manufacturer would have been liable for your father’s injuries (had he survived), then you may be entitled to bring a wrongful death action against the manufacturer for damages.

Schedule a Free and Confidential Consultation With an Experienced Phoenix Wrongful Death Attorney

Hirsch & Lyon is a Phoenix-based boutique litigation firm with a focus on personal injury cases on behalf of those who have suffered serious losses.  We have extensive experience representing victims and their families in challenging litigation, including the family members of the deceased.

We are a client-oriented firm, and as such, we are committed to working closely with clients at every stage of litigation.  We maintain open lines of communication so that clients can have their questions and concerns answered — by encouraging the sharing of information, we are uniquely well-informed and capable of taking decisive action on behalf of our clients.  Over the years, this approach has helped us recover over $100 million for our clients.

If you’re ready to learn more about your claims, call 602-535-1900 or request an appointment online to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced Phoenix wrongful death attorney at Hirsch & Lyon today.

If you have been seriously injured in a car accident (due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another party), then Arizona law may give you a right to secure compensation for your losses, including losses relating to any disability that results from the accident.

Damages for disabilities sustained due to an accident can vary substantially depending on the activities of the plaintiff and the length of the disability at-issue.  For example, if you are a highly-active socialite and enjoy outdoor recreational activities, then your disabling condition may preclude you from not only working in your profession, but may also preclude you from engaging in the social and recreational activities that once defined your lifestyle.  These damages can be difficult to measure, but may be significant.

Disability Benefits and Occupational Deficits

There is quite a bit of variation when it comes to disability insurance plans.  In some plans, a disability is strictly defined as a condition that precludes the claimant from working in “any” occupation, whereas in other plans, a disability is more broadly defined as a condition that precludes the claimant from working in their “own” existing occupation.

For example, suppose that you purchased disability insurance coverage that includes an “own occupation” definition of a disabling condition.  You are then involved in a car accident, where you suffer a back injury.  Your current career is as a physical laborer in a warehouse.  Due to the back injury, however, you are permanently rendered incapable of performing your current job duties.  Given the “own occupation” definition, you would be entitled to benefits.  If the definition had been “any occupation,” however, then you may have been precluded from claiming benefits due to the possibility of obtaining alternative office work.

Application of the Collateral Source Rule Allows for Full Damage Recovery

Arizona enforces the collateral source rule, which prohibits the jury from considering evidence relating to the plaintiff’s receipt of benefits and other forms of compensation from third-party sources (i.e., medical expenses reimbursement pursuant to health insurance coverage, and disability benefits pursuant to private disability insurance coverage).

Simply put, the courts will not allow the receipt of such benefits to affect the plaintiff’s ability to recover full and adequate damages to cover their losses, even if doing so allows the plaintiff to obtain a “double recovery” of sorts.  The intention behind the collateral source rule is essentially to shift the risk-burden to the defendant.  Were the collateral source rule not applied in Arizona, then the fact that a plaintiff had the good sense to purchase disability insurance coverage would reduce the liability of the defendant — and this would benefit the at-fault defendant, as opposed to the plaintiff.

Schedule a Free Consultation With an Experienced Phoenix Car Accident Lawyer Today

If you have sustained serious injuries in a car accident and are now suffering from a disabling condition, then you may be entitled to disability benefits (public or private) as well as significant damages pursuant to a lawsuit.  Arizona law provides for a full and adequate damage recovery even where disability benefits are paid out to the injured plaintiff.  However, given the complexities of disputes in which a disabling condition resulted from the accident, it’s important to consult with a qualified attorney who has extensive experience handling such claims.

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, we approach litigation differently.  Unlike many other firms, we have a fundamentally client-oriented outlook, as we believe that truly effective litigation demands an individualized, “client-first” form of advocacy.

In fact, from the very beginning of the engagement process with our clients, this unique approach plays out in a variety of ways.  Our clients are encouraged to get in touch if they have any questions or concerns, and we put forth a great deal of effort to ensure that clients are kept apprised of case developments as litigation proceeds.  We are dedicated to maintaining a strong relationship with our clients, and to that end, we make house calls and hospital visits when necessary.

Interested in learning more about your claims and whether it is worth pursuing litigation?

Call 602-535-1900 or submit an online case evaluation form through our website to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced Phoenix car accident lawyer here at Hirsch & Lyon.

If you have sustained serious injuries in a pedestrian accident while you were walking on a roadway, then you might be somewhat confused as to your rights — after all, it may not be clear whether you were actually entitled to walk on the roadway (under Arizona law) at the time of the collision.

Arizona regulates pedestrian roadway use quite stringently.  Let’s take a look at the basics.

Sidewalk Use is Highly Controlled

Section 28-796 of the Arizona Revised Statutes governs pedestrian use of roadways in situations where sidewalks may or may not be present.  More specifically, Arizona statutory law prohibits pedestrian use of roadways when there are sidewalks on (or adjacent to) the roadway at-issue.

Where no sidewalk has been provided, pedestrians are allowed to walk along the roadway, but this accessibility is limited.  Pedestrians may only walk:

  1. On the left side of the roadway, or
  2. On the shoulder of the roadway, facing traffic that may be approaching from the opposite direction.

Further, you may not stand in a roadway — even briefly — to solicit a ride.  For example, it is illegal to step onto the road to call a taxicab.  You must stay on the sidewalk (assuming that a sidewalk has been provided).

Arizona Comparative Negligence

In the event that you did, in fact, violate the various statutory regulations concerning sidewalk use and pedestrian roadway use, then Arizona law may not necessarily preclude you from suing and recovering damages for your injuries — though your recovery will likely be influenced quite significantly.

Arizona applies pure comparative negligence rules.  In other words, an injured plaintiff may bring an action for damages in situations where they are at-fault, even if they are 99 percent at-fault for their own injuries.  Critically, however, the total damages will be reduced by their proportional fault contribution.

For example, suppose that you are hit by a car while traveling on a roadway without a sidewalk.  Your damages total $100,000.  As it turns out, you were walking in the same direction as traffic, and therefore were violated section 28-796(b) of the pedestrian roadway regulation.  The court determines that you are 50 percent at-fault, and that the defendant-driver is 50 percent at-fault.  You are entitled to recover $50,000.

Contact a Skilled Phoenix Pedestrian Accident Attorney for Assistance With Your Claims

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys bring to bear over six decades of combined experience handling claims relating to motor vehicle accidents and pedestrian accidents, and have successfully resolved numerous lawsuits over the years, including those that involve pedestrian roadway collisions.

Unlike many other personal injury firms, we are committed to the provision of client-oriented legal advocacy — as such, we make ourselves available 24/7 to answer any questions or concerns you may have, and we even offer discounted contingency fees so that our clients can keep more of what they secure through a verdict or settlement.  This approach has brought us a significant amount of success over the years, reflected in our case results.

Interested in learning more about your claims?

Call (602) 535-1900 today to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced Phoenix pedestrian accident attorney at Hirsch & Lyon.  We look forward to helping you move forward with your lawsuit.

If you or anyone close to you has ever been hit by a car, you can imagine how terrifying and baffling the situation can be. Economic and noneconomic losses triggered by another driver’s carelessness brings upon a great deal of financial and emotional burden. Unfortunately, you cannot press a rewind button and escape what has happened. The least you can do to get closure is making the offender pay for their negligent behavior. Luckily, the law permits you to demand compensation for your medical bills and property damage. The money you receive from the defendant may not alleviate your pain, but it sure can solve your money problems and save you from drowning in debt. In order to make that happen, you need a car accident attorney to review your case and help you file a personal injury claim.

Following the accident, you need to consult a lawyer as soon as possible. A legal representative is integral to the success of your case because:

They know what to do

A person who has never encountered a car accident or any other legal issue in the past is naturally clueless. He/she does not know where to go from there or understand the right course of action. The person may unknowingly say or do something that incriminates them or jeopardizes their case. People around might misguide them and reduce the possibility of obtaining compensation. A car accident lawyer can handle everything for you, starting from talking to the police to collecting evidence and filing the lawsuit.

They are masters of negotiation

You are likely to be shook after the accident, thus your ability to negotiate with the opposition will falter. The defendant and their insurance company will not make the transaction any easy. They will try their best to undermine your claim and defy your rights, by exploiting your lack of knowledge. They might offer you a meager settlement that only partially covers the cost of your damages. Lawyers are well aware of all the antics and can tell when the opposition is simply bluffing to sidetrack your focus. They are trained to bargain and conjure up convincing arguments, which is guaranteed to work in your favor.

They are problem solvers

Auto accident cases can be complicated and sometimes proving the burden of liability becomes tricky. Professional and experienced car accident attorneys have the brains and skills to figure out problematic stances. They have a qualified team to thoroughly investigate the matter and fill any information gaps. They can uncover evidence that the average person could never even think of. Precisely, your lawyer will always have your back, whether it’s about verifying your medical records or providing a testimony in court.

They are capable of making better decisions

Car accident victims are in no position of making life-changing decisions. Their pain and suffering prohibits them from thinking straight or acting rational. A personal injury attorney understands that their client is overwhelmed by emotions, which can potentially become an obstacle for their success in the lawsuit. Therefore, they will do everything in their power to rescue you from a regretful future.

They maximize your interests

The insurance company does not care about your wellbeing, regardless of what they say. They will only manipulate you to reduce their payout and coax you into accepting a measly settlement. Your lawyer is the only one who can recognize their hypocrisy and fight for the compensation you deserve. By taking the case to trial, the lawyer may help you win additional benefits, such as reimbursement for punitive damages.

They allow you peace of mind

PTSD, anxiety, and depression are common among survivors of car accidents. They need time to heal and cope with their loss. Legal procedures of a personal injury claim/lawsuit only add to their stress. By hiring a Houston car accident attorney, you don’t have to face all the troubles, as he/she will take care of everything for you. You can recover in peace while your lawyer deals with the paperwork and other legal requirements.

Truck accidents are not only quite common, but they tend to give rise to more severe injuries than other types of auto accidents, in major part because the impact force caused by a truck tends to be much higher on average.  As such, it’s critically important that truck drivers are considerate of unique the risks involved in operating their vehicles, and that they drive appropriately so as to minimize those risks to the best degree possible.

If you have suffered injuries in a truck accident scenario, then you may have a right of action against the truck driver — and potentially even their employer — for damages under Arizona law.  In Arizona, and elsewhere, truck accidents (whether involving a commercial truck or a personal vehicle) may be caused by a range of negligence-related factors.

Consider the following.

Improper Cargo Loading

Improper cargo loading is perhaps one of the most common causes of truck accidents, as it can lead to rollover risks.  Truck drivers — along with cargo loaders, supervisors, etc. — must make reasonable efforts to ensure that cargo has been loaded appropriately so as to avoid a heightened rollover risk.  This applies to non-commercial contexts, too.  For example, if the defendant has rented a U-Haul truck, and decides to load all their heavy furniture to one side of the truck, then that could lead to a rollover accident.

Failure to Properly Maintain Vehicle

Trucks must be adequately maintained to prevent mechanical issues that could lead to an accident on the road.  In the commercial context, a number of state and federal regulations govern inspections — failure to adhere to these rules may expose the driver and their employer to significant liability.

Intoxication, Stimulant Use, and Exhausted Driving

Intoxicated driving (i.e., intoxication through drugs or alcohol) is a common factor leading to truck accidents, and in many scenarios is a response to the exhausting schedules imposed on truck drivers.  In an effort to stay awake or better manage their emotions (that have suffered due to exhaustion), some truck drivers may consume alcohol, or take various drugs and stimulants.  This can give the truck driver a false, positive impression of their ability to control the vehicle, however, when the safer option would simply be to rest.

Depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to bring an action against the employer if the employer knew or reasonably should have known that the driver in question would be taking drugs while operating the truck.

Inadequate Licensing

In some cases, employers may fail to perform comprehensive, adequate background checks of their truck drivers, which can lead to situations where a truck driver does not have a valid license to operate a particular class of commercial vehicle.  An improperly-licensed driver is a dangerous one — others on the roadway may be exposed to an unreasonable risk of injury due to the driver’s lack of experience and/or assumed incompetence, given that they have not been qualified by the government.

Speeding

In the commercial context, truck drivers are often seriously strained by their employers to perform their job duties within highly time-crunched schedules, and as such, may feel as though they have to “speed” in order to accomplish their tasks before the deadline passes.  As compensation (and job security) can be linked to timeliness, the pressure to speed is rather significant.

Speeding trucks present an even greater danger on roadways than speeding cars and motorcycles, for obvious reasons — a speeding truck carries a sizable mass, and thus requires more space to come to a complete stop.  This is particularly true when the truck is loaded down with heavy cargo.  When a truck is excessively speeding, it may not be capable of engaging an immediate stop in the event of sudden road interference (i.e., a car pulls in front of the truck while it is speeding).

Schedule a Free Consultation 

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have decades of experience handling auto accident claims involving cars, trucks, motorcycles, and pedestrians.  We understand that otherwise straightforward injury lawsuits can be complicated by a range of factors that arise during litigation, and as such, we have dedicated our practice to personal injury, specifically — this focus has given us deep insight into what makes for an effective truck accident claim.

We are results-oriented, and believe that our unique, specialized approach to litigation has paid significant dividends.  Over the years, we have secured well over 100 million dollars on behalf of injured clients, through favorable verdicts and negotiated settlements.  Further, we offer discounted contingency fees, so our clients can keep more of what they receive.

Interested in learning more about your claims and the steps necessary to effectively secure damages?  Call (602) 535-1900 or submit an online claim evaluation form to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a seasoned attorney here at Hirsch & Lyon.  We look forward to assisting you.

In Arizona, and elsewhere, motorcyclists sometimes attempt to split lanes in an effort to cut through traffic and avoid the gridlock.  This is perfectly natural, of course — many motorcyclists see lane splitting as a maneuver that is meant to take advantage of the unique dimensions of a two-wheeled vehicle.  Motorcyclists (like most others on the road) tend to also see themselves as exemplary operators and may therefore find any restriction on lane splitting to be questionable.

In reality, however, lane splitting can expose both motorcyclists and others to a significant risk of injury.  It should come as no surprise that Arizona and most other states have regulated lane splitting in an effort to minimize the occurrence of motorcycle accidents (and the injury claims that may result from such behaviors).  As per section 28-903 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, the state imposes a complete ban on motorcycle lane splitting.

How does this effect damage recovery in a motorcycle accident?  Let’s take a look.

Recovering Damages in a Lane Splitting Accident

Given that lane splitting is banned in Arizona by statute, if you are involved in an accident while you are splitting a lane (i.e., riding between two lanes of traffic or between adjacent rows of vehicles), then you will be found negligent per se.

Importantly, however, the fact that you are negligent for violating the lane splitting prohibition is not — in and of itself — enough to prevent you from successfully recovering damages in an accident.  Arizona implements the pure comparative fault doctrine, which allows injured plaintiffs to recover damages even if they acted negligently and thus contributed to their own injuries.  The total damages will simply be reduced in proportion to their own fault contribution.

For example, if you are found 50 percent at-fault in a lane splitting accident where the damages total $100,000, then you would be entitled to recover $50,000.

The fundamental question in a lane splitting accident, then, is whether the defendant is responsible — even partially — for your injuries.  The defendant is still required to exercise reasonable care given the circumstances.  For example, if the defendant can see that you are lane splitting (despite it being against the law in Arizona), then they must act accordingly and avoid blocking your path.  If they do so, then it’s likely that a court would find the defendant negligent, and therefore liable.

Contact Our Experienced Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Attorneys for Guidance

If you have suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident — whether or not you were lane splitting at the time of the accident — then Arizona law may give you a right of action against the defendant for damages.  Motorcycle accident litigation can be quite challenging in situations where there are lingering concerns over the injured motorcyclist’s own contribution to the accident, however.

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have more than 65 years of combined experience representing injury victims in a range of auto accident disputes, including motorcycle accidents.

Interested in speaking to an attorney directly?  Call 602-535-1900 or submit an online claim form through our website to schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our seasoned Phoenix motorcycle accident attorneys.

In Arizona, and elsewhere, the surviving family members of an individual who has died due to the negligence or wrongful misconduct of another party are entitled to sue and recover damages pursuant to a wrongful death action — and in some cases, pursuant to a survival action.  Though the two actions are closely-related in many respects, there are fundamental differences that are worth evaluating.

Consider the following.

The Basis of the Action is Different

Survival actions are brought on behalf of the deceased with the intention of recovering losses that were suffered by the deceased directly (prior to their death).  If the deceased dies instantly in an accident, for example, there would likely not be an actionable claim on this basis.  On the other hand, if the deceased is injured in a car accident, and their condition worsens over the course of a month before they die, then their estate would likely be entitled to bring a survival action for significant damages.

Wrongful death actions are independent of survival actions, and meant to account for the losses suffered by the surviving family members of the deceased — for example, damages for wrongful death may cover the mental anguish suffered by a surviving spouse after the death of their husband.

If you believe that you may have a legitimate survival action or wrongful death action, it’s important to get in touch with a qualified Phoenix wrongful death attorney for further assistance and an evaluation of your claims.

Debtors, Creditors, and Liabilities

Wrongful death damages belong to you — the qualified, surviving family member entitled to such damages — and are therefore not subject to the claims of debtors and creditors that might otherwise attempt to access funds belonging to the estate of the deceased.  The damages obtained in a survival action, by contrast, goes to the estate of the deceased, and is therefore vulnerable to debtor and creditor interference.

Available Damages

Wrongful death damages include, but are not necessarily limited, to:

  • Loss of companionship, guidance, and love
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of services
  • Financial support
  • Mental anguish
  • Expenses (i.e., medical, funeral) relating to the deceased
  • And more

By contrast, survival actions may include the following damages (suffered directly by the deceased prior to their death):

  • Funeral expenses
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property loss
  • And more

The Parties’ Right of Action

Survival actions and wrongful death actions are quite different in terms of who has a right to file a lawsuit and secure damages.  In wrongful death actions, only qualified family members (i.e., surviving spouse, descendants, parents, siblings, etc.), as identified and established by Arizona statute, may bring a lawsuit against the defendant for damages.

Survival actions are more limited.  In a survival action, the surviving family members are not entitled to bring a lawsuit against the defendant, as the damages do not directly belong to them — it is the estate of the deceased that has the right to bring a lawsuit against the liable defendant.  Of course, once the personal representative of the estate has secured damages in a survival action, the family members can access the damages at-issue when the estate assets are eventually distributed to the beneficiaries (assuming that the family members are beneficiaries).

Negligence and Wrongful Misconduct

When contemplating either a survival action or a wrongful death action, it’s important to note that neither claim will stand without proof of negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct on the part of the defendant.  You cannot succeed in securing damages on the basis of a survival action or wrongful death action without being able to show that the defendant at-issue acted in a negligent or wrongful manner, thus causing your loved one to suffer fatal injuries.

For example, suppose that you are bringing a wrongful death action against a driver for colliding with your sibling, which resulted in their death.  If the driver clearly demonstrates that their actions were not negligent or wrongful — perhaps the driver was involuntarily intoxicated and is thus shielded from liability — then you are not entitled to damages.  It is not enough that your loved one died.  It must be the result of another’s negligent or wrongful conduct.

If you are injured in a car accident where the collision is caused by the defendant’s failure to maintain their vehicle in a reasonably safe condition, then you may have a right of action against the defendant for damages.  In Arizona, and elsewhere, drivers have a duty to maintain their vehicles — failure to do so could expose them to significant civil liability in the event of an accident.

Defendants Have a Duty to Properly Maintain Their Vehicles

In Arizona, all drivers have a duty to maintain their vehicles in a reasonably safe condition so as to minimize the risk of injury to others.  Ensuring that one’s vehicle is properly maintained and free of defective conditions (that could pose an injury risk) may require a wide range of active behaviors, such as regular inspections, professional servicing and repair, and more.

Whether the defendant has done enough to maintain their vehicle will depend on the circumstances of the case.  For example, if the defendant notices that their engine is acting up quite a bit, and they refuse to inspect the condition to determine whether the engine is faulty and in need of repair, then that may constitute negligence (if the engine fails and leads to a collision).

Knew or Reasonably Should Have Known

Critically, you can only hold a defendant-driver liable for the failure to adequately maintain their vehicle (in a safe condition) if you can prove that the defendant knew of the defective condition at-issue, or reasonably should have known about the defective condition.  Drivers must regularly inspect their vehicles, or have a professional do so on their behalf.  If a defective condition is obvious and should have been discovered during the inspection, but was not, then the defendant may still be held liable.  Of course, some defective conditions may become known (or reasonably should be known) even outside of the inspection context — for example, if a tire goes flat, then the driver should become aware of the defective condition, even if they have not performed an “inspection.”

Schedule a Free Consultation With an Experienced Phoenix Car Accident Lawyer

If you have been injured in a car accident due to the fault of another party, you may be entitled to recover significant damages pursuant to Arizona law — but litigation can often be quite complicated.  As such, we encourage you to get in touch with a seasoned team of attorneys who can aggressively represent your interests from beginning-to-end of litigation.

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have over six decades of combined experience advocating on behalf of car accident plaintiffs, including those involved in accidents where the collision occurred due to the defendant’s failure to adequately maintain their vehicle in a safe condition.  As a firm, we focus entirely on personal injury cases, so we are fully capable of handling “edge cases” and disputes where the defendant’s liability may be difficult to assess.

Call 602-535-1900 or submit an online claim form today to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced Phoenix car accident lawyer at Hirsch & Lyon.  We will evaluate your case and — if the claims are worth pursuing — will work with you to develop a strategy for securing maximum compensation.

In Arizona, and all other state jurisdictions, the surviving family members (i.e., the surviving spouse, child, parent, guardian, siblings, grandparents, etc.) of the deceased may bring a wrongful death action against the defendant whose negligence or other misconduct caused the death of their loved one.

For example, if your loved one died in a car accident involving a defendant-driver who was intoxicated at the time of the accident, then you would likely be entitled to bring a wrongful death action for damages.

Wrongful death actions can give rise to significant damages.  Specifically, such actions are intended to compensate the surviving family members of the deceased for the losses they suffered due to the death of their loved one.  These losses are quite varied, and are certainly not limited to emotional losses — in fact, surviving family members may be entitled to recover for a range of damages that include lost financial support and lost companionship.

Wrongful Death Damages — Basics

Wrongful death claims can vary significantly from case-to-case, as the individual bringing the action may have a more interdependent relationship with the deceased (than others with a wrongful death claim).  For example, if you are completely financially dependent on your spouse, and your spouse dies in a car accident (involving the defendant’s negligence), then you would be entitled to wrongful death damages that account for the lost financial support that you would have otherwise received had your spouse survived.

Wrongful death damages include, but are not limited, to:

  • Funeral, burial, and medical expenses that you expended on behalf of the deceased
  • Financial support (pre-existing and projected future support)
  • Domestic services and support
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of parental guidance
  • Loss of love
  • Loss of care
  • Loss of consortium (i.e., marital relationship)
  • And more

These damages can be somewhat difficult for first-time litigants to understand, let’s clarify with a quick example.

Suppose that your mother dies in a car accident where the defendant was driving negligently and is therefore responsible for your mother’s death.  As the child, you are entitled to bring a wrongful death action.

Before the accident, your relationship with your mother was highly dependent, and as such, the losses are substantial.  You lived with your mother in a shared family house, and she cooked, cleaned, and provided various other domestic services.  Perhaps she also provided supplementary financial support for your education.  You would likely be entitled to damages that include existing and future financial support, the value of the domestic services, loss of companionship, love, care, and parental guidance, and mental anguish.

Speak to a Skilled Phoenix Wrongful Death Attorney at Hirsch & Lyon for Assistance

If your loved one has died due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another, then — in all likelihood — you are entitled to bring a wrongful death action against the liable defendant and secure damages for the losses you suffered as a result of your loved one’s death.  Arizona law entitles the qualified, surviving family members to a range of possible damages, depending on the circumstances.  Given the variation, we encourage family members to contact a seasoned team of attorneys for guidance.

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have over 65 years of combined experience handling car, truck, and motorcycle accident claims, including those that involve wrongful death — we are fully capable of representing claimants in complex wrongful death actions.  Further, we offer discounted contingency fee arrangements, so whatever you recover in the lawsuit (whether through a negotiated settlement with the defendant, or a favorable verdict), we take a lower percentage.

If you’d like to learn more about your claims and speak to a qualified professional about how best to proceed with your wrongful death action, call 602-535-1900 or submit an online claim form through our website to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced Phoenix wrongful death attorney today.  We look forward to assisting you.

If you’ve been involved in an Arizona car accident, then you may not only be entitled to bring an action against the defendant for damages related to your injuries, but you may also be entitled to claim property loss as a component of your overall damages.  In fact, many plaintiffs are unaware that their injury claim may include a purely economic, property loss component, and are surprised to learn that those damages can be significant, depending on the overall circumstances.

The Basics of Property Loss in the Context of Car Accidents

In any injury lawsuit, there are both economic and non-economic damages.  Economic damages are objectively measurable and related to specific financial losses.  Non-economic damages, by contrast, are subjective in nature and are somewhat more speculative than economic damages.  Property loss claims fall within the category of economic damages, and are quite commonly encountered in the car accident context.

Suppose, for example, that you suffer serious injuries in a car accident — more specifically, you have suffered debilitating back and shoulder injuries, for which you have had to see many medical specialists and have had to undergo surgery.  Naturally, you would be entitled to assert damages for pain and suffering, medical expenses, emotional distress, wage loss, and various other losses.

You would also be entitled to fold your property loss into your overall damage claim.  If your car was totaled in the accident, then you might be entitled to recover the full value of the vehicle at the time of the accident, as well as the cost of a rental car for the interim period.  Alternatively, if you have had to get significant repair work done, you might be entitled to secure damages for the repair costs.

What many plaintiffs don’t realize, however, is that — even if they have paid for a perfect repair of the car — there is an additional damage claim known as “diminution in value” for which they may recover.

What is Diminution in Value?

The “diminution in value” claim is quite unique in that it accounts for a psychological trend among consumers that causes vehicles with an accident history — even if they are in absolutely perfect condition — to have a reduced resale value.  Thus, any fairly contemplated award of damages must account for the eventual, diminished value of the vehicle.

How is Diminished Value Calculated?

The diminished value of your vehicle will be determined on the basis of a variety of different factors, including, but not necessarily limited, to:

  • Age of the vehicle in question
  • Model of the vehicle
  • Brand
  • Mileage
  • Condition before and after the accident
  • Extent of damage vehicle suffered during accident
  • Quality of repairs
  • Objective value of vehicle before the accident
  • Difficulty of reselling activities after the accident
  • Presence of interested buyers

These factors are all dispositive, but you’ll have to introduce expert testimony that puts hard numerical estimates on the pre-accident and post-accident value of your vehicle.  Your attorney will have specific experts on-hand who can be trusted to provide an accurate evaluation.

Contact a Qualified Phoenix Accident Attorney for Guidance on Your Claims

In Arizona, and all other states, injured plaintiffs may assert damages for the economic losses they sustain to their vehicle.  These claims are not necessarily simple, however.  You’ll want to work with a qualified attorney who is intimately familiar with the process of securing damages for both economic and non-economic injuries.

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our team of attorneys boast decades of experience providing skilled legal advocacy to injured plaintiffs in Arizona.  Unlike many other injury firms, we are focused on personal injury cases and as such, we are particularly well-suited to litigate these disputes to the fullest extent.  We also offer discounted contingency fees that ensure that our clients can keep more of what they receive in damages.

Interested in learning more?  Call 602-535-1900 or submit a case evaluation form today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Phoenix accident attorney here at Hirsch & Lyon.  During the initial consultation, we will assess your claims and determine the best way to move forward to secure maximum compensation.

In the majority of motor vehicle accident lawsuits, injury victims initially focus their attention on obvious defendants — other negligent drivers who contributed to the accident, or perhaps the government agency that failed to maintain the roadway in a reasonably safe condition.  In reality, however, the vehicle manufacturer may be a potentially liable defendant worth bringing an action against, depending on the circumstances.

All product manufacturers — in Arizona and elsewhere — have a duty to ensure that their products are not defective and are reasonably safe for their foreseeable uses.  Failure to adhere to this duty could expose the manufacturer to significant liability.  This could prove especially useful in cases where the other defendants (i.e., the drivers) are uninsured or underinsured and therefore not equipped to cover your damages in full.

There are a number of different product liability claims — defective manufacture, defective design, failure to warn, and breach of warranty — but for now, let’s focus on defective design in the motor vehicle accident context.

Defective Design Liability

Arizona implements strict product liability, which is a boon for injured plaintiffs involved in litigation with a vehicle manufacturer.  Stated simply, the plaintiff need only prove that the vehicle is defective in some way, and that the defect substantially contributed to the injuries they suffered in the accident.  It is not necessary for the plaintiff to prove the manufacturer’s negligence.

Of course, this does not mean that litigation is easy.  Arguably, the implementation of strict liability simply puts the injury victims and manufacturers on a more equal footing, given the substantial advantages that manufacturers enjoy from a resources perspective.

In any case, if you’re looking to bring a claim against the vehicle manufacturer for defective design in Arizona, you’ll have to prove the following elements:

  1. Some element of the vehicle was defective; and
  2. The defective condition proximately caused you injuries.

Success will ultimately turn on your ability to prove that the product was actually defective in terms of its design.  This can be a significant challenge, particularly if the defendant is uncooperative or hostile and is willing to throw resources at the problem in an effort to bully you into submission.

Arizona courts will consider a product defective in terms of its design if the product poses an unreasonable danger to foreseeable users.  There are two tests for determining whether a product poses an “unreasonable” danger to its users: the risk-benefit test and the consumer expectation test.

Risk-Benefit Test

The risk-benefit test is fairly straightforward on the surface.  In Arizona, the courts will deem a product defective if the harmful consequences of its design outweigh the benefits of its design.  Courts will weigh a number of different factors, including the existence of a reasonable alternative design, the actual danger of the design, and many others.

Consumer Expectation Test

The consumer expectation test, by contrast, is about “foreseeability.”  If a product is not as safe to use in a foreseeable manner (i.e., driving a car on a highway) as the ordinary consumer would expect, then it will be deemed defective.

Product Misuse as a Defense

Manufacturers have a number of defenses they can assert to circumvent liability, including the product misuse defense.  Naturally, manufacturers are not absolute guarantors of safety for every conceivable use of their product — for example, a vacuum cleaner manufacturer cannot be held liable if a consumer attempts to use the vacuum to clean up toxic chemical waste and complains that it leaked out and caused them to suffer injuries.

Similarly, there are plenty of ways in which a driver may misuse a vehicle in a non-foreseeable manner.  For example, if you attach a pulley to your truck tires, and run the engine to turn the wheels and lift an object out of a pit, then the manufacturer cannot be held liable for injuries stemming from some product failure that subsequently occurs (i.e., the breaks fail and the truck collides with you and your friends).

Speak to an Experienced Phoenix Accident Attorney for Legal Assistance

Though product defect claims in Arizona are subject to strict liability principles, they are among the most difficult claims to “win,” as manufacturers have substantial resources, and tend to be somewhat aggressive in fighting lawsuits so as to discourage others from bringing similar lawsuits.

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys are more than capable of taking on manufacturers and securing maximum compensation for our injured clients.  We have decades of experience representing the injured in a range of motor vehicle accident lawsuits, and as such, we understand the contours of product defect litigation and the strategies that manufacturers employ to avoid liability.

Unlike many other firms, we focus solely on personal injury cases.  This focus ensures that we are well-equipped to handle all the complex (and unexpected!) issues that arise in such litigation.  Our results speak volumes about our approach — we have secured over $100 million in damages (verdicts and settlements) on behalf of our injured clients.

Call 602-535-1900 to connect to an experienced Phoenix accident attorney today for a free and confidential consultation.

In Arizona, many employees are covered by workers’ compensation coverage that pays out for wage loss and medical expenses in the event that an employee suffers an injury in the workplace or while otherwise performing their duties.

Workers’ compensation is an exchange that is often sensible for both parties.  Employers agree to provide no-fault coverage, which gives employees the right to obtain workers’ compensation benefits even if there was no negligence or wrongful conduct involved, while employees agree to give up their right to sue the employer (and thereby obtain damages through standard litigation).

Many employees understand the basics of workers’ compensation, but aren’t quite sure what to make of “borderline” situations where they are also entitled to sue a third-party that is liable for their injuries.

Suppose, for example, that you are injured in a car accident while using the company vehicle to deliver products to a warehouse.  Though the accident was not the fault of your employer, you would be entitled to submit a claim for workers’ compensation to obtain benefits that account for your wage loss and medical expenses.

Now, even though you are not entitled to sue your employer, you might be entitled to sue a third-party — perhaps the negligent driver that collided with you — to secure a more extensive range of damages.

Oftentimes, injured employees are incentivized to bring an action against a liable third-party as workers’ compensation benefits can be quite limited — workers’ compensation benefits may only cover medical expenses and wage loss.  While significant, these may not be sufficient to account for all your damages.

By suing a third-party, you gain access to a much broader range of damages: pain and suffering, emotional distress, property loss, and more.

Application of the Collateral Source Rule

In Arizona, the collateral source rule ensures that you can not only secure workers’ compensation benefits, but also make a claim for wage loss and medical expenses (along with other damages) against the liable third-party.

What is the collateral source rule, exactly?

It’s actually quite simple.  Basically, the rule prevents the introduction of evidence relating to bills paid by a “collateral source,” such as workers’ compensation, or a health insurer.  For example, if you had all your medical expenses paid off by workers’ compensation insurance, you could still claim those medical expenses as damages in your lawsuit against the liable third-party defendant.  The defendant could not introduce evidence of your workers’ compensation benefits, and would therefore be required to pay your medical expenses (even though you already paid them off thanks to workers’ compensation).

Stated succinctly: the collateral source rule allows you, in certain limited circumstances, to obtain a financial windfall in the form of a “double recovery.”

Speak to an Experienced Phoenix Injury Lawyer for a Free and Confidential Consultation

The attorneys here at Hirsch & Lyon have over 65 years of combined experience representing the injured in a range of motor vehicle accident lawsuits (car, truck, motorcycle, and pedestrian disputes), including those that involve related workers’ compensation claims.

We are both client-oriented and results-focused.  Over the years, we have secured hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of injured clients, working tirelessly to secure favorable verdicts and settlements.  We are thorough about preparing for the possibility of trial, and as such, we have a competitive advantage during negotiations.

Call 602-535-1900 today to get connected to an experienced Phoenix injury lawyer for a free consultation.

Filing an accident claim can be a simple process when there are only two parties involved and the negligent driver is clearly identified. Insurance companies know they will be required to pay benefits to the injured victim when their client is fully at fault. However, when the injured victim also has a certain degree of comparative negligence, insurance company claims adjusters can be difficult in negotiations because they can use comparative fault to lessen the total payout of the claim. This is not a scientific calculation, but insurance companies try to control this component of an accident from the very start. And, this is especially true when the accident involves commercial vehicles and a shipping company. Multiple car accidents can be complicated as well when all parties have attorneys arguing competing versions of events that are focused on protecting the fault level of their client. Regardless of the situation, it is always important to get legal advice from a car accident lawyer before filing a claim and seriously consider retaining a Pacific Attorney Group to handle your particular case because of potential complications.

Investigating the Accident

One of the first steps an accident attorney will take is conducting a full investigation into the crash. This usually begins by evaluating the official accident report along with interviewing the reconstruction specialist and investigating police officer. A car accident lawyer can contest the official version of events as well as the version of events provided by the respondents and their insurance companies when details are missed in the evaluation. Your personal injury lawyer can also conduct a background check on the respondent parties with respect to driving history along with inspecting the vehicles involved in the wreck. This can be very important when commercial vehicles such as 18-wheelers were included because the potential for equipment failure is high in a big-rig crash.

Identifying Multiple Negligent Parties

In certain situations such as when commercial vehicles are part of the collision, it is possible that the employing company can be liable as well as the driver. When vehicles are owned by the operator and leased by the company, both parties could be liable and will have their own insurance company adjusters attempting to lessen the value of the claim. This is important because commercial vehicles are usually insured in higher amounts, which means there are more financial funds available when multiple policies can be attached. In addition, shipping companies often instruct drivers to cut corners during operation in terms of rig inspection or driving time restrictions. Sub-standard company policy along with citation history can be important in being made financially whole in the settlement process.

When a Case Goes to Trial

Any party to an accident case can request that an injury claim go to a full trial. This usually happens when a defending legal counsel thinks they can win an acquittal, or at least a reduction in applicable damages, or when a personal injury lawyer for the plaintiff thinks they can win a punitive damage claim or be assigned whole financial damages regarding the long-term prognosis of the accident injury. Bad faith insurance companies are often difficult in negotiations for full damage payment, and punitive damages can greatly enhance the value of an accident injury claim. In addition, product liability claims can also arise when unexplained accidents occur due to mechanical failure of auto components.

Never let an insurance company deny you full compensation for an injury following an accident. Always retain a car accident lawyer who understands what to expect from the defendants and can inspect the official record for mistakes while investigating all of the circumstances. Your accident injury claim may be much more valuable than your realize.

 

Intersections tend to be hotspots for motor vehicle and pedestrian accidents, in Arizona and throughout the country at-large.  According to a 2008 study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were roughly 2.31 million crashes that occurred at intersections in that year alone.

If you suffer injuries in a motor vehicle accident that occurs at an intersection, and the intersection was designed in a way that contributed to the accident, then you are entitled under Arizona law to sue the person or entity that owns or possesses the intersection property.

Whether an intersection represents a hazard depends on a number of factors, but ultimately rests on a determination that the intersection presents an unreasonable risk of danger to users of the intersection.  There are a number of different factors to consider, of course.  Let’s take a look at a few.

Obstructed Visibility

Oftentimes, intersection accidents occur due to problems with visibility — whether caused by inadequate lighting, narrow or otherwise constrained sight lines leading up to the main intersection, and various physical obstructions such as poorly placed signage, trees, and other items.  When designing and maintaining an intersection, those responsible must consider the ability of drivers and pedestrians to identify the presence of the intersection (and others near the intersection) in advance, thus giving them the time necessary to make adjustments.

Non-Functioning Traffic Signals

Intersections must be properly maintained to ensure that the traffic signals are in good working order.  In some cases, for example, an errant traffic signal may give a pedestrian confidence to enter the intersection and cross the road, thus luring them into a dangerous situation.  If the signal doesn’t work, then the pedestrian could be hit by an incoming vehicle.

Inadequate Traffic Signals

The traffic entering certain intersections can be high-volume, complex, and chaotic.  Intersection design must take this into account — if additional, visible, easier-to-read traffic signals are necessary to properly control traffic, then it must be implemented to ensure that the intersection does not pose an unreasonable risk of danger.

Lack of Speed Control Mechanisms

Speed control mechanisms (i.e., radar signs, speed bumps, etc.) are an effective way to slow down incoming traffic.  Unfortunately, administrative bloat and lack of care can lead to inadequate speed control implementations.  With the aid of a skilled attorney, you can investigate the roadway and determine whether traffic speed would benefit from such mechanisms, and whether the implementation thereof might have prevented your injuries.

Design Inconsiderate of the Circumstances

Intersection design must be reactive to the circumstances.  For example, if there is an elementary school down the street from the intersection, it’s important that the intersection be highly visible to both drivers and pedestrians — further, the traffic signals must be implemented to give schoolchildren sufficient time to cross the street safely.  If the traffic signal is too “fast” to countdown, then this might encourage unsafe behavior when crossing the road.

Contact a Skilled Phoenix Accident Lawyer for Help

Poor intersection design poses a serious risk of injury to drivers and pedestrians alike, and litigation may be worth pursuing — not only to ensure maximum compensation for your injuries, but also to force the defendant to correct the design of the intersection and prevent others from suffering similar harms.

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, we have decades of experience assisting injured plaintiffs with a range of motor vehicle accident claims, including those that involve road hazards and dangerous conditions of property at intersections (public and private).  We pride ourselves on being a firm that values clients and their time.  We make ourselves readily available to answer any questions or concerns that clients may have, and further, we offer discounted contingency fees so that our injured clients can keep more of what they ultimately secure in a verdict or settlement.

Call (602) 535-1900 or send us information about your claim online to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced Phoenix accident lawyer.  We look forward to assisting you.

In Arizona (and throughout the country), even once you have secured a court judgment in your favor, the task is not yet complete — you must still collect the damages which you are owed by the defendant.  The type of case is irrelevant to collection.  Whether you were involved in a car accident lawsuit, or some other lawsuit, will have no effect on the procedure that you are required to follow.

Unfortunately, defendants can be challenging.  Though in most cases the defendant will honor their responsibilities and — having lost the case — will pay the damages that you (the plaintiff) are owed, in some cases, the defendant will maneuver around the judgment and create roadblocks to collection.

The defendant may ignore your request for damages, costs, and legal fees.  Alternatively, they may outright refuse to pay the judgment.  As a general rule, these are a clever application of stalling tactics.  If the defendant can stall for a long enough period of time, then they may be able to hide or otherwise relocate their assets so that you — as the judgment creditor — cannot seize them.

What can you do to ensure that you collect your damages in full, after a judgment has been entered in your favor?

Let’s take a look at some of your options.

What is a Court Judgment?

A court judgment is essentially a formal document that gives you, the successful plaintiff, the unrestricted right to seize the assets of the defendant in order to satisfy the damages owed to you.  In Arizona, court judgments last for a long period of time — five years, running from the date that the judgment was entered) — to account for the difficulty in seizing assets that the defendant may attempt to hide or relocate.  The judgment may also be renewed, if deemed necessary, by filing an affidavit of renewal with the court.

If the defendant makes collection difficult, and extends the collection process significantly, the judgment amount will accrue interest year-on-year.

There are many advantages to the judgment being made enforceable over a quite extended period, and two stand out as particularly useful for the typical plaintiff.  These advantages are as follows:

  • Assets may be seized when the defendant least expects it, years after they have “let their guard down,” so to speak, and
  • You can wait until the defendant obtains sufficient assets to pay off the judgment before collecting.

Suppose, for example, that you have been awarded $250,000 in damages in a motor vehicle accident lawsuit.  At the time of the lawsuit, however, the defendant has not been doing very well financially.  They are unemployed and have few savings.  They do not have sufficient assets to satisfy the judgment.  If you were to attempt to collect, you would only be able to collect $30,000.

Now, imagine that you wait four or five years, and the defendant has secured a high-paying job and has invested well over the years.  Their total assets are $300,000.  If you attempt to collect, you can fully satisfy the amount owed on your original judgment.  Even better: the defendant will owe you more due to the accrual of interest!

Seizing the Necessary Assets

When attempting to seize the assets of the defendant (in order to satisfy the judgment), perhaps the first issue you’ll run into is the defendant hiding or relocating their assets.  For example, a defendant may — after losing a case and having a judgment entered against them — move significant assets “offshore,” into foreign accounts.

As the winning plaintiff (and thus, the judgment creditor), you are legally entitled to collect, but you cannot do so if you don’t know where the assets are!  Third-party investigation may work, to an extent, but even better is filing for a Judgment Debtor’s Examination with the court.  The Judgment Debtor’s Examination will compel the defendant to appear in court and answer truthfully as to the location of their various assets.  The defendant will also be ordered not to relocate the assets further, and you will be granted a Writ of Execution by the court to seize said assets.

If the defendant has not attempted to hide or relocate assets, or if you know exactly where those assets are already, you may simply file a Writ of Execution (for personal property and other assets) or a Judgment Lien (for real estate property).  This gives the county Sheriff — where the assets are located — the go-ahead to seize the assets on your behalf.

Arizona Limitations on Seizure

It’s worth noting that you cannot seize all assets.  Some are “off limits,” so to speak.  If the defendant does not have significant assets, and all they have left is their sole personal residence, you may have difficulty seizing the residence (and forcing a sale) — this is known as the homestead exemption.  In fact, there are many other exceptional situations that may prevent you from collecting your rightful judgment.  For this reason, it’s critical that you work with an experienced attorney who has a track record of success in securing the defendant’s assets on behalf of clients.

Contact a Skilled Phoenix Injury Lawyer Today for Assistance With Your Claims

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys not only have decades of experience representing injured plaintiffs in motor vehicle accident litigation, but also have extensive experience handling the collection of monetary judgments — we are therefore well-positioned to identify and secure assets necessary to fulfill the judgment.

Call 602-535-1900 today to schedule a free consultation with a skilled Phoenix injury lawyer here at Hirsch & Lyon.

Our Phoenix Accident Attorneys Explain the Duty to Mitigate

In Arizona, and throughout the country, injured plaintiffs are entitled to recover damages for damages they incur due to the negligent, reckless, or intentional acts of others — whether they are injured in a car accident or a slip-and-fall accident, or some other accident scenario.  This right to recovery is not absolute, however.  Injured plaintiffs must act in accordance with their various duties and responsibilities under the law, which includes the duty to mitigate their losses.

What is the Duty to Mitigate?

Defendants cannot be held liable for losses that they do not actually cause.  This “causation” requirement is fundamentally linked to the duty to mitigate.

How so?

The duty to mitigate requires that the injured plaintiff exert “reasonable efforts” to reduce their total losses — failure to do so will result in a proportional decrease in one’s recoverable damages.  Losses can be quite varied, and as such, mitigation must cover all the losses that the plaintiff intends to claim.  This can all be somewhat confusing to understand, so let’s use a quick example to clarify.

Suppose that you are injured in a motor vehicle accident by the defendant, who was excessively speeding at the time, thus causing the accident.  You sustained significant neck and back injuries during the accident, and as a result, you can no longer work.  Now, suppose that you seek adequate medical diagnostics and treatment as soon as possible.  Your doctor asks that you sign up for long-term physical therapy sessions in order to regain some of your pre-accident function.

If you fail to attend the physical therapy sessions, then the defendant may have an excellent argument for your “failure to mitigate.”  After all, they could argue that your injuries were worsened by your refusal to attend the physical therapy sessions, that the injuries would have mostly resolved had you attended the sessions, and that you could have returned to your job soon thereafter (or found alternative employment).  The defendant could thereby convince the court to reduce your damages, as they did not actually “contribute” to a significant portion of the damages sustained over time.

Importantly, the duty to mitigate is not exclusively linked to medical expenses and pain and suffering damages.  If you are injured in an accident, and afterwards, you don’t seek employment, then you cannot claim the same amount of “lost wages” (as you did not seek to mitigate those damages).

Reasonable Efforts are Required

The duty to mitigate is premised on “reasonable effort.”  As the plaintiff, you are not expected to make perfect decisions — just reasonable ones, given the circumstances.  What constitutes reasonable effort depends largely on the circumstances.

For example, if you fail to seek out basic medical services after an accident, then that will almost certainly constitute a failure to exert reasonable effort towards mitigating your damages.  On the other hand, the defendant cannot hold you to ridiculous standards.  If you do not seek out a niche medical expert located in a foreign country, that would likely not be considered a violation of your duty to mitigate (as it would demand more than “reasonable effort”)

Make an Appointment With an Experienced Phoenix Accident Lawyer Today

If you have been injured in an accident due to the negligence or wrongful conduct of another individual (or entity), then you may have the right to sue and recover damages for your various losses.  Still, despite the fact that you may be entitled to damages under Arizona law, it’s important to note that you have responsibilities as the injured plaintiff that — if you fail to uphold them — could undermine your claim.  Among these responsibilities is the duty to mitigate your damages.

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have more than 65 years of combined experience representing injured plaintiffs throughout the state of Arizona.  We specialize in motor vehicle accident litigation (car, truck, and motorcycle cases), and due to our commitment to these specialized practice areas, we are uniquely well-positioned to successfully litigate such claims on behalf of our clients.

We do not get paid until you obtain a settlement or verdict in your favor.  Our contingency fees are discounted, however, ensuring that even when you win your case, you get to keep more of what you’ve fought so hard to obtain.

Call 602-535-1900 or submit an online claim form to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Phoenix accident attorney here at Hirsch & Lyon.

Waivers of liability are quite common, particularly in the context of recreational activities — this ubiquity means that laypeople are generally familiar with the concept of a “liability waiver” and what it entails.  Simply put, a liability waiver shields the defendant from civil liability for serious injuries and damages that they cause due to their own negligence.

Still, few laypeople understand that liability waivers are not always applicable to a given situation, or that enforceability will depend on a number of different factors that could be evaluated in their favor.

Freedom to Contract

Arizona law recognizes the freedom to contract, but this freedom is not unlimited.  Though two or more parties are reasonably entitled to contract around their potential liabilities, the law will not necessarily accept all such agreements as enforceable.  In Arizona, for example, the state generally disfavors agreements (i.e., liability waivers) designed to release liability.  As such, any and all liability waivers are strictly construed against the defendant seeking to enforce the waiver.

Determining Whether the Liability Waiver is Enforceable

Enforceability of a liability waiver depends on the circumstances.  Courts will analyze the facts of the case (surrounding the liability waiver) and will consider those facts in the context of the following factors.

Ambiguity in the Waiver Agreement

Liability waivers must be sufficiently clear and unambiguous such that they function as a fully adequate notice of the inherent dangers associated with the covered activity.  The dangers must be reasonably communicated to the participants.  If there is ambiguity in the liability waiver language, then this will weigh against a finding of enforceability.

Specificity of the Release from Liability

In Arizona, it has been long-established by the courts that enforceable liability waivers must specify the particular risks and harms for which liability is being released.  Though it is not necessary for the defendant to specify every single potential risk or harm, the language of the agreement must make it clear to the participant what the scope of the liability shield actually entails.

Public Policy Considerations

In some cases, public policy will count against a finding of enforceability.  For example, a product manufacturer — say, a tire manufacturer — cannot avoid liability through a waiver agreement.  Product manufacturers are held strictly liable for damages caused by their defective products.  As such, it would be against public policy for them to be able to avoid the application of this strict liability framework.

The “Intentional Conduct” Exception

In Arizona, and elsewhere, liability waivers cannot be used to shield the defendant from liability for their intentional misconduct.  Waivers may only release the defendant from liability for their negligent conduct.

How does this work, exactly?

Suppose that you are injured in a go-karting accident.  You are vacationing with your family when you decide to compete in a go-kart race with a recreational company.  When you pay for the rental, you sign a waiver of liability that exculpates the defendant from liability for damages incurred (due to their fault).  Once you start go-karting around the track, however, the owner takes a second go-kart and slams it intentionally into yours, causing you to suffer serious injuries.

Despite the fact that you signed a liability waiver, an Arizona court is unlikely to enforce it, as it is not relevant to the case — the defendant’s conduct (intentional) is not covered by the waiver.

Schedule a Free Consultation With an Experienced Phoenix Injury Lawyer Today

Unfortunately, many prospective plaintiffs do not realize that they have a legitimate claim for damages (even if they have already signed a liability waiver).  If you have been injured in some activity where you were required to sign a liability waiver, then you’ll want to consult with a qualified attorney as soon as possible.  Your attorney will evaluate the facts of the case and will help you develop a strategy for convincing the court not to enforce the waiver.

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have several decades of experience serving injured plaintiffs throughout Arizona in a range of motor vehicle accident litigation.  Our services are designed to prioritize the needs of our clients — not only do we make ourselves available for questions 24/7, but we are willing to make hospital and home appointments (if need be) and provide discounted contingency fees.

Call 602-535-1900 to setup an appointment with an experienced Phoenix injury lawyer here at Hirsch & Lyon.  Initial consultation is free.  We look forward to helping you!

Motor vehicle accidents are often caused — in whole or in part — by the presence of unexpected road debris and various other roadway hazards.  In the state of Arizona, for example, the Department of Transportation estimates that road debris alone is responsible for 1,000 crashes on an annual basis.  Accidents from dangerous road conditions can be particularly disastrous, as drivers may not be prepared for

If you have been involved in an accident that was caused by road debris or some other roadway hazard, then you may be entitled to damages, as it the existence of the dangerous condition may be indicative of another’s negligence.  You’ll therefore want to get in touch with a Phoenix injury lawyer as soon as possible for an evaluation of your car accident claims and how best to proceed with litigation.

Though the existence of a roadway hazard may not always be the fault of another party, there are many cases in which the negligence of the defendant — typically the possessor of a particular roadway (i.e., the government, or some private entity) — has contributed to the hazard at-issue.  If the defendant fails to correct the hazard or fails to warn motorists of the existence of the hazard so that it can be avoided, then liability may attach under prevailing Arizona law.

Roadways Must Be Maintained in a Reasonably Safe Condition

Claims arising out of injuries sustained due to road debris (or other roadway hazards) generally come under the umbrella of premises liability.  Premises liability claims in Arizona are rather similar to those found in other jurisdictions throughout the country.  Stated simply, you will be entitled to recover damages if you can show that the defendant — the person or entity who is in control of a particular property, which may include a roadway — failed to maintain the roadway in a reasonably safe condition for motorists.

Once a hazard is known (or should be known to the defendant), then they have a responsibility to correct it.  The hazard can be corrected in two ways: 1) the defendant can repair the hazard or remove the debris at-issue, or 2) the defendant can put up signs warnings motorists about the impending hazard so that it can be avoided.

For example, suppose that there is a large pothole in one of the lanes of a busy public highway.  After the government discovers the hazard, they have a duty to correct it and minimize its danger.  Perhaps they do not have the immediate resources to fill in the pothole.  They must instead setup a perimeter around the pothole and create signs warning motorists about the presence of the hazard.

It’s worth noting that the defendant may attempt to avoid liability by arguing that they were not aware of the hazard at-issue, and that they were therefore not required to correct the hazard or warn motorists of its existence.  This is not necessarily a winning argument for the defendant, however, if they “should have known” about the hazard given the circumstances.  Generally speaking, those who are responsible for roadways have a duty to inspect those roadways for dangerous conditions that could expose motorists to an unreasonable risk of injury.  Failure to inspect and discover a condition does not shield the defendant from liability.

Hazards Must Be Non-Obvious or Unavoidable

In Arizona, defendants cannot be held liable for injuries caused by hazards that were obvious or avoidable — they can only be held liable for hazards that were concealed in some way such that reasonably prudent motorists would not have discovered the hazard before it was too late to avoid it.

For example, if you are driving and you notice (from a distance) that a fallen tree is covering half a lane on the roadway, you cannot slam into the tree and then obtain damages from the City for your injuries.  Unless the collision was fundamentally unavoidable, the fact that you became aware of the hazard well in advance means that you had a responsibility to exert reasonable efforts to avoid the hazard.

Contact an Experienced Phoenix Injury Lawyer for Assistance With Your Claims

If you have suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident involving road debris or some other hazard on the roadway, then you may have the right to sue and recover damages pursuant to Arizona premises liability law.

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our personal injury attorneys have decades of experience litigating claims on behalf of the injured, including motorists who encountered unexpected road hazards.  We are committed to client-oriented legal representation — we make ourselves available to clients 24/7, offer discounted contingency fees, and encourage a level of transparency in the attorney-client relationship that many other firms fail to achieve.  This approach is advantageous for everyone involved.  You can have any questions or concerns addressed quickly, and we can better understand your litigation goals.

Call 602-535-1900 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Phoenix injury lawyer here at Hirsch & Lyon.

Whether you’ve been injured in a car accident in Phoenix, a slip-and-fall accident, or in any other scenario where the defendant’s negligent or wrongful acts have contributed to your injuries, plaintiffs are entitled to claim (as a separate element) damages for “loss of enjoyment of life” (LEL), otherwise known as “hedonic damages.”  These damages account for a unique set of losses arising from an injury — specifically, the plaintiff must assign a monetary value to their recreational activities, and thus calculate the losses due to the injuries at-issue.

LEL damages have not always been accepted, and in some jurisdictions, there remain questions as to their viability as a separate element of damages.  In fact, Arizona courts have only recently deemed LEL damages independent of pain and suffering damages.  This case law development has led to a spike in litigation involving significant LEL damage claims.

Confused by all this complicated legal terminology?  Let’s break down some of the basics and take a brief look at how LEL damages actually work, and how they might be applicable to your case.

Basics of LEL Damages

LEL damages (i.e., hedonic damages) are intended to compensate the injured plaintiff for various losses related to their recreational activities, social life, and relationships.  They are a form of non-economic damages, and as such, are inherently subjective, which is to say that they are based on your personal, emotionally-tinted experience of loss, as opposed to some objective indication of loss.

Suppose that you are severely injured in a car accident, which results in an extensive, full-body paralysis.  You have become quadriplegic as a consequence of the defendant’s negligent acts.  Under Arizona law, you would not only be entitled to damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, wage loss, and loss of future earning capacity, but you would also be entitled to recover damages for the “lost enjoyment of life” that extends naturally from your paralyzing condition.

After becoming quadriplegic, for example, perhaps your once-happy marriage falters and it devolves enough that a divorce is necessary.  Further, you may have been an active, sporty person prior to the accident.  Your quadriplegia may prevent you from any serious physical recreation, such as sport.

The Difficulty of Calculating LEL Damages

In the LEL damages context, the claim itself is not necessarily at issue — it is the amount of claimed damages that are typically up for dispute.  Remember, LEL damages are inherently subjective.  Though expert testimony regarding the extent of your injuries (and whether you are capable of engaging in the recreational or social activities at-issue) is certainly valuable, it is up to your attorney to put forth a convincing argument for the claimed damages.

Despite the subjective nature of LEL damages, they must still be reasonably related to the losses.  For example, suppose that your injury renders you unable to play basketball.  If you played only occasionally, however, then the damages cannot be unreasonably high (i.e., $50,000+).  On the other hand, if you were a former collegiate basketball athlete and if you regularly exercised and socialized by playing basketball, perhaps on a weekly basis, then significant damages are justifiable.

LEL damages must also take into account various factors that include the length of the supposed loss (temporary or permanent), the age of the injured plaintiff, the importance of the activity to the plaintiff, and more.

Schedule a Free Consultation With an Experienced Phoenix Injury Lawyer for Further Guidance

If you’ve suffered injuries due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional acts of another person or entity, then Arizona law may give you the right to sue and recover a range of damages, including those for “loss of enjoyment of life.”  As a general rule, LEL damages tend to be somewhat more difficult to prove, and defendants are very likely to dispute the amount of damages claimed.  You’ll therefore benefit greatly from working with a qualified attorney who has extensive experience handling personal injury litigation that involves claims for LEL damages.

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have served thousands of injured plaintiffs over the years, assisting them throughout the litigation process.  We believe that effective legal representation is personalized to the needs of each client — to that end, we keep our clients fully apprised of the developments in their case, and are committed to prioritizing their goals.  We are extremely confident in our ability to effectively represent the needs of our clients, and as such, we offer discounted contingency fees.

Call (602) 535-1900 to speak with an experienced Phoenix personal injury lawyer here at Hirsch & Lyon.  Your initial consultation is free, and all communication is confidential.  We look forward to advising you on how best to move forward with your injury claims.

If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident (due to the negligent or wrongful acts of another), then you may be somewhat confused as to how your health insurance coverage affects your ability to recover damages for incurred medical expenses.

After all, it might seem reasonable to the injured plaintiff that they be entitled to recover damages only for losses incurred out-of-pocket.  If your health insurer is paying for all your medical expenses, can you assert such damages in litigation against the defendant?

Thanks to the collateral source rule: yes.  Arizona law gives injured plaintiffs the right to recover for medical expenses, even if their insurer is covering such expenses.

The Collateral Source Rule

In Arizona, as in many other states, the “collateral source rule” applies to a range of personal injury actions.  The rule essentially prevents the jury from being able to consider evidence relating to plaintiff’s receipt of funds from outside sources, such as insurance, so that the defendant cannot escape significant liability simply because the plaintiff had the good sense and foresight to purchase insurance coverage.

In practical terms, the application of the collateral source rule means that you — the injured plaintiff — are entitled to recover damages for any and all legitimate medical expenses, even if those expenses are being covered by your insurer.  Simply put: your health insurance coverage will not negatively affect your ability to secure damages in a personal injury lawsuit.  Claim reimbursement is irrelevant.

Recovering Damages for the Amount Paid

It’s worth noting that the push-and-pull between healthcare providers and insurers often leads to significant pricing negotiation.  In Arizona, injured plaintiffs are entitled to assert (and recover) damages for the actual amount paid by their insurer.

How does this work?

Suppose that you are treated at a rehabilitation clinic.  The clinic charges $100,000 in total for months of treatment.  This treatment is covered by your health insurer.  As such, your insurer negotiates with the clinic and gets the price reduced to $50,000.  When bringing a claim for medical expenses, you will therefore have to claim the amount that was ultimately paid by your insurer: $50,000.

Contact an Experienced Phoenix Accident Attorney for Further Assistance With Your Claims

If you have suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident that was caused due to the contributed fault of another person or entity, then you may be entitled to recover damages pursuant to Arizona law.  Litigation is not always as straightforward as it initially appears, however — when making a claim for medical expenses, for example, one must take into account the amount actually paid by the insurer.

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have over six decades of combined experience representing injured plaintiffs in motor vehicle accident litigation, including car, truck, and motorcycle accidents.  Unlike other firms, we are specialized in aggressively litigating motor vehicle accident cases to their fullest extent, giving us a substantial competitive advantage in securing compensation on behalf of our clients.

Call 602-535-1900 today to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced Phoenix accident attorney here at Hirsch & Lyon.  During your initial consultation, we will evaluate your injury claims and help you strategize your next move.

In the state of Arizona, loss-of-life claims — more specifically, wrongful death claims and survival claims — are a category of injury claims brought either by the surviving family members, or by the estate of the deceased individual.  When a person is killed due to the negligent or otherwise wrongful acts of another, then Arizona law may entitle a qualified subset of survivors to pursue an action in litigation against the defendant and recover damages.

When most laypeople think of loss-of-life claims, they tend to think of “wrongful death.”  Survival actions are an important part of the legal landscape, however, and may lead to significant damage recovery.

So, what’s the difference?  Let’s take a look.

Survival Actions vs. Wrongful Death Actions

Survival actions are fundamentally different than wrongful death actions, though these differences are often misunderstood.

Stated simply, survival actions are brought against the defendant (who is responsible for causing the death at-issue) on behalf of the deceased individual.  In essence, a survival action gives the estate of the deceased an opportunity to recover damages for the wrongs committed against the deceased individual.  It arguably acts as a form of claim preservation — whatever claims the deceased would have had in the event they survived, are preserved and may be pursued by their estate.

Suppose, for example, that your loved one is killed in a motor vehicle accident by a distracted driver.  Their death was not immediate, however.  After a week of attempted treatment, your loved one finally succumbed to their injuries.  Their estate (managed by their personal representative) would thereafter be entitled to sue the defendant-driver and recover damages for the personal losses suffered by your loved one.

Wrongful death actions are also brought against the defendant (who is responsible for causing the death at-issue), but not on behalf of the deceased individual — instead, it is the surviving family members who bring a wrongful death action.  In essence, a wrongful death action gives those surviving family members a right to recover damages for the losses they suffered as a result of their loved one’s death.  Wrongful death claims have nothing to do with the particular losses suffered by the deceased.

Let’s return to the previous example.  Suppose that your loved one is killed in a motor vehicle accident by a distracted driver, but the death is immediate.  As one of the qualified surviving family members, you would be entitled to bring a wrongful death action against the defendant-driver to recover damages for “your” losses, which may include pain and suffering, emotional distress, medical expenses (paid out of your pocket), and more.

It’s worth noting that survival actions and wrongful death actions are not mutually exclusive.  It is entirely possible for the death of a loved one to give rise to both types of actions.

Filing a Claim

Survival actions must be brought by the estate of the deceased (which is likely administered by the personal representative of the deceased).  Though surviving family members are not necessarily entitled to bring the action — unless one of them is serving as the personal representative, of course — they are most likely the ones who will benefit from the eventual damage recovery.

For example, if the estate brings a survival action against a defendant and secures $100,000 in damages, then those funds will eventually be distributed to the beneficiaries of the estate.  If you and your sibling are the two sole (and equal) beneficiaries, then each of you will receive $50,000 more than originally anticipated.

Damages in a Survival Action

In Arizona survival actions, the law allows for the recovery of damages for lost wages, funeral expenses, burial expenses, and medical expenses (paid by the deceased).  Depending on the circumstances, punitive damages may also be available.

Unfortunately, however, there are strict limitations on “pain and suffering” recovery — section 14-3110 of the Arizona Revised Statutes specifically restrict recovery of pain and suffering damages in a survival action.

Schedule a Free Consultation With a Skilled Phoenix Wrongful Death Attorney

Loss-of-life claims can be particularly confusing for those who have little (or no) experience with injury lawsuits.  Depending on the type of action — wrongful death or survival — litigation will proceed quite differently.  Given the relative complexity of such litigation, it’s important that you get in touch with an experienced attorney who has a proven track record of success in handling wrongful death and survival actions.

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, we bring decades of combined experience in loss-of-life litigation to bear in representing those affected by the wrongful death at-issue.  We are committed to the provision of client-oriented legal advocacy.  Not only are we paid on contingency (e.g. we are only paid if you succeed in recovering damages), but we accept a reduced fee in comparison to competitor firms.  We also keep our clients “in the know” with regard to developments in the case, and work with them to ensure that our strategic goals are aligned.

Call (602) 535-1900 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Phoenix wrongful death attorney here at Hirsch & Lyon.  We look forward to assisting you.

In Arizona, if you’ve been injured in an accident due to the fault of another person or entity, then you may have the right to recover a range of damages to cover your losses — generally speaking, this includes lost wages.

When bringing a lawsuit against the defendant, it’s important to remember that damages may vary substantially from plaintiff-to-plaintiff.  Every case is different.  In fact, it is a fundamental principle of law that the defendant be forced to “accept the victim” as “they found them.”  Stated another way, compensatory damages are not capped based on the type of accident that occurred.  If you have significant wage loss damages, you will not be prevented from recovering such damages simply because they seem excessive in comparison to the damages suffered by the average person.

Wage loss recovery is actually rather straightforward to understand.  Let’s explore the basics to get a clearer picture of how it works.

Wage Loss at a Glance

Wage loss damages account for actual losses suffered due to an inability to work (following an injury).  Wage loss damages are somewhat different from lost earning capacity.  For example, if your injury has not resulted in time off from work but has reduced the likelihood that you will be promoted in the future, then you’ll want to claim loss of future earning capacity damages — not wage loss damages.

Wage loss damages must generally be “certain” — they can be estimated, but there must be evidence that reasonably supports the numbers.  This is not typically an issue for past wage loss (where the injured plaintiff should have pay stubs and other evidence of the losses) but is more often an issue for future wage loss.

Damages for Past Wage Loss

Past wage loss refers to those damages directly suffered as a result of having to take time off of work.  For example, if you were forced to take two months off of work due to the injury inflicted by the defendant, then you could claim damages for the amount you were not paid during such time.

Defendants have a difficult time undermining past wage loss claims, but they may attempt to minimize their liabilities by arguing that you did not “have” to take so much time off of work, and that your failure to return to work sooner was unreasonable and constituted a failure to mitigate damages.

Damages for Future Wage Loss

Future wage loss refers to damages that you have not yet suffered at the time of litigation, and naturally involves a higher level of uncertainty.

Suppose that you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, and the injuries are so severe that you have been forced to take an indefinite leave of absence from work (until you fully recover).  If you bring a lawsuit against the defendant during this period of “unemployment,” then you will not only have past wage loss damages for the period of time after the accident and up to the litigation.  but you will also have a claim of future wage loss damages for the indefinite period of time after litigation.

Generally speaking, successful claims involving future wage loss damages must be supported by expert testimony, such as that of the treating medical professionals, and industry professionals in your field (who will discuss how your injuries necessarily prevent you from returning to work).

Contact an Experienced Phoenix Personal Injury Lawyer for Additional Guidance

If you have suffered an injury in an accident that was caused due to the negligent or wrongful acts of another, Arizona law may entitle you to recover significant damages as compensation for your losses.  Generally speaking, in cases involving severe injury — assuming that you were employed at the time of the accident — you will have wage loss damages to claim as well, due to having to take leave from work in order to physically and mentally recover from your various injuries.

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have more than 65 years of combined experience, and have represented thousands of clients in a range of injury disputes, helping them to recover the full amount of damages they are owed, which may include wage loss (among other damages).  We are committed to personalized advocacy and believe that our approach leads to significantly better results in litigation.  Clients can also take advantage of our discounted contingency fee — despite the fact that we only get paid if you succeed, our fee is lower than that of competitors.

Call (602) 535-1900 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Phoenix personal injury lawyer today.

Motor vehicle accidents (like many other accident scenarios) are frequently decided on the basis of evidentiary issues.  The value of effectively navigating evidentiary conflicts cannot be understated — generally speaking, skilled litigators understand the value of favorably resolving evidentiary conflicts.  Doing so will almost certainly pay dividends further downstream in the litigation process.

Perhaps the most commonly encountered evidentiary issue is that of hearsay evidence admission.  In Arizona, the success of your motor vehicle accident and car accident claims can turn on the application of the hearsay evidence rule, so it’s worth considering the rule and its fundamental limitations.

Let’s take a look.

Arizona Law Prohibits the Admission of Hearsay Evidence

According to the Arizona Rules of Evidence section 801, hearsay evidence is defined as a statement that:

  1. the declarant makes outside of the current trial or hearing, and
  2. is offered into evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted in the statement.

If the declarant testifies about a prior statement and is subject to cross-examination, or if a statement is offered into evidence against an opposing party, then — assuming that certain additional requirements are met (see section 801(d)(1) and (d)(2)), the statement will not be considered “hearsay” despite having been made out-of-court.

Sifting through this legalese can be rather difficult.  Simply put, a hearsay statement is any out-of-court statement that is being offered to prove the content of the statement itself.

For example, suppose that the defendant is attempting to minimize their liability by claiming that another defendant was involved and contributed to your injuries (but drove away).  They introduce the eyewitness, out-of-court testimony of a bystander, which includes a statement that they saw a third car driving away from the scene after the collision.

Now, given the nature of the testimony — it is an out-of-court statement, and is intended to prove the truth of its content, which is that a third car was involved in the accident but drove away — it would likely constitute a hearsay statement, and would not be allowed into evidence.

The hearsay evidence rule may seem confusing to the layperson, but there are good reasons as to why the rule exists in the first place.  Generally speaking, the hearsay rule is intended to prevent untrustworthy statements from being introduced into evidence.  Out-of-court statements have not been properly cross-examined, after all.  If every hearsay statement were allowed, then there would be far too many inconsistencies in the evidentiary record, and it would create stumbling blocks for the resolution of the case.

Exceptions to the Hearsay Rule

In Arizona, there are a number of exceptions to the hearsay rule.

Even if the statement is deemed hearsay, it may be introduced if it qualifies as: 1) an excited utterance made about an unexpected or otherwise startling event, such as a car accident; 2) an immediate impression of an event, after or while the declarant perceived it; 3) a public record; 4) a statement made for the purpose of a medical diagnosis or medical treatment; and more.

Hearsay exceptions are numerous, and in many cases — with skilled argumentation — they can be used to introduce otherwise prohibited evidence.

Consult With an Experienced Phoenix Injury Lawyer for Further Guidance

Whether the admission of hearsay evidence will have a positive effect on likelihood of success at trial depends on the particular circumstances of the case — there are no absolute answers.  If the hearsay evidence is favorable to your arguments, then your attorney will argue that certain exceptions apply.  If the hearsay evidence is unfavorable to your arguments, then your attorney will argue the opposite.

Litigators who understand how to maneuver around evidentiary issues — such as hearsay evidence admission — can have an enormous effect on the success of your injury lawsuit.  As such, it’s important that you select an attorney who has a track record of success in handling evidentiary conflicts.

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have decades of experience representing injured clients in motor vehicle accident disputes in Arizona.  We are committed to client-oriented legal representation, and prioritize the interests of our clients in a number of ways that give us a significant competitive advantage.

Call (602) 535-1900 to speak with an experienced Phoenix injury lawyer today.  Initial consultation is free and confidential.

In Arizona, as in other states, workplace injuries (and other injuries sustained while performing one’s workplace duties, even off-site) can lead to quite a bit of confusion.  Many workers may not realize that they not only have the right to receive workers’ compensation benefits, but that they may also have a legitimate right of action against one or more defendants.

If you were delivering pizzas, for example, and you were subsequently injured in a serious car accident, then you would not only be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, but you may also have other claims worth pursuing.

Workplace injuries can be particularly challenging from both an emotional and financial perspective.  Still, if you’ve suffered serious injuries, it’s critical that you consult with an attorney who can evaluate the situation and determine whether you have actionable claims — workers’ compensation benefits alone may be insufficient to account for your losses.

Arizona “No Fault” Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation in the state of Arizona is mandatory — employers are required to pay for workers’ compensation insurance that covers their employees.  As such, if you are an employee and you are injured in a job-related incident (on-site or off-site), then you are almost certainly entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

Importantly, Arizona workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” system.  In no-fault systems, it is irrelevant whether you contributed to your own injuries (so long as you did not intentionally cause your own injuries).  Further, it is not necessary to prove that the employer acted negligently or wrongfully.  Benefits will be paid out, regardless.

Workers’ compensation benefits cover a limited subset of damages: wage loss, medical expenses, and job retraining.  They do not cover pain and suffering, emotional distress, or loss of quality of life.  This can lead to a substantial damages gap, where your actual losses outstrip the compensation.

One way to ensure that your actual losses are accounted for is to bring an action against liable defendants.  This can be quite challenging, however, as workers’ compensation serves as an exclusive remedy and precludes the employee from bringing a lawsuit against their employer on the basis of negligence.

Intentional/Willful Misconduct

Though workers’ compensation will generally preclude a lawsuit against the employer, in certain circumstances — where the employer engaged in intentional or willful misconduct — you may be entitled to bring an action.  For example, suppose that you are injured in a truck accident while on-the-job.  Your employer is upset with you, and in their anger, they cut the brakes on your vehicle, leading to an accident.  Given the willful nature of such misconduct, you would have the right to sue your employer and recover comprehensive damages.

Suing a Third Party for Damages

In many workplace injury scenarios, even if the employer was not actually at-fault for your injuries, there may be third-parties whose negligence have substantially contributed to your injuries.  In Arizona, you have the right to sue a liable third-party for damages, even if you will be receiving workers’ compensation benefits.

For example, suppose that the tires on the company vehicle explode, causing an accident in which you are severely injured.  Further investigation reveals that the tires were defective.  You may be entitled to sue the tire manufacturer pursuant to a product defect claim.

Get Connected to an Experienced Phoenix Injury Lawyer for a Free Consultation

If you are involved in a car accident or truck accident while on-the-job — whether you’re on-site or simply performing the duties of your position off-site — then you are very likely entitled to receive “no fault” workers’ compensation benefits to help compensate you for your various injuries.  Unfortunately, workers’ compensation benefits are not particularly comprehensive.  As such, you may find that the benefits are not sufficient to cover your losses.  There are ways in which to secure more comprehensive damages, but those will require the assistance of an attorney who has experience navigating the complexities of work injury litigation.

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have decades of combined experience litigating motor vehicle accident claims on behalf of our injured clients.  We have handled straightforward injury cases, as well as more complicated cases involving high-conflict issues relating to workers’ compensation benefits and potential third-party liability.

Call (602) 535-1900 or submit an online claim evaluation form to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Phoenix injury lawyer here at Hirsch & Lyon.

Motor vehicle accidents — like many other accident scenarios — often involve multiple defendants.  Bringing an action against a single defendant is quite a bit different than suing multiple defendants, even if the case may seem uncomplicated upon first impression.

For example, if you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident where two speeding cars collided with yours (on the highway), then you would have to sue and recover from each defendant separately.  Defendants are well aware of the fact that this burden is placed on the injured plaintiff, and may attempt to minimize their liabilities by shifting the greater portion of the blame to the other defendants in the case.

Arizona Implements Several Liability, Not Joint Liability

In Arizona, historically, the state implemented “joint and several” liability.  Joint and several liability gave the injured plaintiff a great deal of power — the plaintiff could sue any one of the defendants who contributed to their injuries, and in turn, recover the full amount of their damages from that one defendant, even if the defendant was only minimally liable for the injuries at-issue.

For example, in a case with $1 million in damages, a defendant who was only 10 percent at-fault could be held liable for the entire $1 million!

Unfortunately, lawmakers came to believe that the system was unfair to defendants, and abolished “joint and several” liability, replacing it with a system of pure several liability.  If you are injured in an accident in Arizona, you will therefore be subject to the state’s implementation of several liability.

How does several liability work?

It’s quite simple, actually.  Several liability holds each defendant liable for damages that are proportional to their actual fault.  The courts enter separate judgment against each defendant for the amount owed.

For example, in a case with $1 million in damages, a defendant who was 10 percent at-fault could only be held liable for their proportional amount in damages: $100,000.

Several liability puts a much greater burden on the injured plaintiff, as they can no longer sue and recover their damages (in full) from a single defendant.  The plaintiff must identify all potentially liable defendants and file claims against them, accounting for their proportional contribution of fault.

Contact an Experienced Phoenix Injury Lawyer for a Free Consultation

If you have suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident that was caused by the negligent or wrongful acts of another, then Arizona law may give you a right to recover damages as compensation.

Even if there is strong evidence pointing to the liability of the defendant, your lawsuit may be complicated by other issues, such as the existence of multiple fault-contributing defendants.  If multiple defendants are found to be at-fault for your injuries — which is often the case in motor vehicle accident scenarios — then you will have to properly evaluate their separate liabilities and doggedly pursue your individual claims against each defendant.

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, we understand that serious motor vehicle accidents (and the legal consequences) can be overwhelming to plaintiffs who are unfamiliar with the complexities of the litigation process.  As such, we strive to provide client-oriented legal representation — to that end, we consistently communicate case developments, make ourselves available 24/7 to answer any questions or concerns, and charge discounted fees so that our clients can keep more of what they recover.

Call (602) 535-1900 today to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced Phoenix injury lawyer here at Hirsch & Lyon.  We look forward to assisting you.

In Arizona, as in other states, those who have lost a loved one to an accident (that was caused by another’s negligent, reckless, or intentional acts) may be entitled to recover damages pursuant to a wrongful death claim.

How Do Wrongful Death Claims Work?

Wrongful death claims give a right of action to certain surviving family members of the deceased, allowing those surviving family members to recover damages to compensate them for the various losses they suffered as a result of the death at-issue.  Importantly, wrongful death claims are not intended to compensate the surviving family members for the suffering of the deceased.  Instead, they are intended to compensate the surviving family members for their own damages.

These damages may include:

  • Out-of-pocket medical expenses paid by the surviving family member
  • Funeral expenses paid by the surviving family member
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of domestic services
  • Loss of love and affection
  • Loss of financial support
  • Mental distress
  • And more

Suppose, for example, that a close relative — perhaps your father — was involved in a motor vehicle accident.  The accident did not immediately result in your father’s death.  He is rushed to the hospital.  After a few days in intensive care and a difficult struggle for survival, your father dies.

In the above example, you cannot recover (in a wrongful death action) damages for your father’s pain and suffering, or for their medical expenses or wage loss.  You can only recover damages for your own losses.  If your father was providing you monthly financial support, for example, then you could recover those damages as part of your wrongful death claim.

When determining whether you are entitled to recover wrongful death damages, there are a number of factors that have to be considered: 1) you may only recover if the accident was actually caused by the negligent or wrongful acts of the defendant (if the accident does not actually implicate the liability of a third-party, then you cannot recover), and 2) you must be a qualified, surviving family member.

Who is Entitled to Recover for Wrongful Death?

According to section 12-612 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, an action for wrongful death may be brought by any of the following survivors, related to the deceased:

  • Spouse
  • Child
  • Parent (or guardian)
  • Personal representative

It’s important to note that Arizona law does not give siblings, and other surviving family members, the right to recover for wrongful death.  If multiple surviving family members are bringing a wrongful death action against the defendant(s), then they will have the right to recover in proportion to their damages.

Speak With an Experienced Phoenix Wrongful Death Attorney for Assistance

If you have lost a family member in a motor vehicle accident that was caused by the negligence or wrongful acts of another, then Arizona law may give you the right to recover in a wrongful death action.  Wrongful death claims can be quite complicated, however — you must not only establish that the defendant caused the death of your loved one (by acting in a negligent or wrongful manner), but you must also demonstrate that you qualify to receive wrongful death damages under the law.  It’s therefore critical that you get in touch with an attorney who has a long track record of success in handling such claims.

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys boast several decades of combined experience representing injured clients in a range of accident claims.  We believe that by dedicating ourselves to motor vehicle accident claims, we are able to provide more comprehensive and effective legal representation to our clients.

Like most other personal injury and wrongful death firms, we work on contingency — we are only paid if we win your case — but we charge a discounted contingency fee, ensuring that our clients can keep more of what they rightfully recover in litigation.

Call (602) 535-1900 today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Phoenix wrongful death attorney here at Hirsch & Lyon.

Quite often, injury victims are not in perfect health.  One injury victim may be suffering from a serious heart condition that predisposes them to blood clots, heart attacks, and other heart-related injuries during times of great stress.  Another injury victim may be suffering from a weak back that is prone to fracture injuries.

Injury victims who are in particularly poor health, or who are uniquely fragile — for example, who suffer from muscle weakness or a lack of bone density — may feel that they are not in a strong position to sue the defendant who caused their injuries.  These victims mistakenly believe that their condition precludes a lawsuit.  After all, should the defendant be held liable for injuries that are unexpected?

Simply put: yes.  In Arizona, and in other jurisdictions throughout the country, defendants may be held liable for any and all injuries that were caused by their negligent, reckless, or intentional actions.  It does not matter that the defendant was “unlucky” that their actions affected a fragile victim — the defendant must bear the burden.

All of this is great news for injury victims, of course, and we encourage you to speak with a qualified attorney for further guidance.  For now, let’s unpack some of this terminology so that we can clarify any remaining confusion.

Defendants Must Accept the Cost Burden of Their Actions

No matter what jurisdiction you’re in — Arizona or California or New Mexico or Texas — the “thin skull” rule, otherwise known as the “eggshell skull” rule, will apply to your injury lawsuit.  This rule is fundamental to personal injury litigation, and has far-reaching implications.

So, what is the “thin skull” rule?

Essentially, the “thin skull” rule requires that the defendant be held liable for all the damages that they cause, no matter the condition of the defendant.  Pursuant to the “thin skull” rule, a defendant may be held liable for damages that are unforeseen, unlikely, and entirely unexpected.

For example, suppose that someone sucker punches you on the street.  You have a degenerative spinal condition that renders your spine particularly vulnerable to shock impact damage.  When you fall down and hit the ground, you become paralyzed from the waist down.  Even though a “normal” person may not have been paralyzed under the same circumstances, it is irrelevant — you would be able to sue and recover damages that include all the losses you sustained (and will sustain) due to your paralysis.

The “thin skull” rule shifts the cost burden of an injury over to the defendant who caused the injury.  If the rule were not in effect, then the disproportionate consequences of the defendant’s behavior would have to be shouldered by the plaintiff, who was simply a victim, not the aggressor.  Application of the rule has significant (positive) implications, which is why it is uniformly applied across jurisdictions in the United States.

How the “Thin Skull” Rule Works in Real-World Situations

In real-world situations, the “thin skull” rule allows fragile plaintiffs to sue and recover substantial damages that may seem disproportionate given the defendant’s actions.  Imagine, for example, that you are involved in a car accident with the defendant.  You have generalized anxiety, and in the wake of the accident, you experienced episodes that have caused substantial emotional trauma.  Though the fact that you are experiencing continued psychological trauma months, or even years, after the accident may seem “disproportionate,” so long as you can present evidence of this trauma (i.e., medical/therapy records) then you would be entitled to recover damages.

Speak With an Experienced Phoenix Car Accident Attorney for Further Guidance

If you’ve been injured in an Arizona car accident due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional acts of another person or entity, then you should consult with a qualified attorney who can help you navigate the challenges of litigation and obtain compensation on your behalf — even if you suffer from a physical condition that makes you more “fragile” than the average person, or that otherwise predisposed you to injury.

The prospect of personal injury litigation can already feel overwhelming to an injured plaintiff who has little experience in the legal arena, and this feeling can be exacerbated if they suffer from a condition that predisposed them to the injury.  There’s no need for concern, however.  It’s important to remember that Arizona law allows injured plaintiffs — even those who are uniquely fragile — to sue the defendant and recover damages pursuant to a legitimate injury claim.

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have spent decades representing the interests of injured plaintiffs in a range of disputes, including those where our client was a “thin skull” plaintiff and therefore suffered a unique fragility that predisposed them to injury.

Call (602) 535-1900 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Phoenix car accident attorney today.  We look forward to assisting you.

If you are suing the defendant for having caused your injuries — perhaps in a car accident, for example — then you may be concerned about having all your medical records exposed to the defendant and their attorneys.

You may be uncomfortable with the prospect of having private information revealed to the public at-large (if the medical records are introduced into evidence, then the details will be made available to the public).  Further, the greater access that the defendant has to your lifetime medical records, the more likely it is that they will be able to weave together a damning narrative that undermines your arguments.

Suppose that you are injured in a car accident that was caused by the defendant, who was operating their vehicle in a distracted manner.  You injure your leg as a result of the accident.  During the discovery process, the defendant requests your lifetime medical records.  That request is likely overbroad, however, and you need not honor it.

If the defendant were to have access to your lifetime medical records, they might notice that you have been in-and-out of hospitals many times throughout your life, and they might argue that your leg injury is exaggerated, given your “demonstrated tendency” to malinger.

By preventing the disclosure of irrelevant medical records, you therefore shield your lawsuit from damaging narratives.

Fortunately, the basic rules of evidence in Arizona protect injured plaintiffs against unnecessary and over-broad investigations into their lifetime medical records.  It’s important that you secure the assistance of a qualified Phoenix car accident attorney, as they will help you navigate the challenges of litigation without having to provide access to irrelevant evidence that could hurt your case.

Evidence Rules at a Glance

The rules of evidence in Arizona largely mirror those enshrined in the various federal rules of evidence.  For now, we’ll take a brief look at two of the most important evidentiary considerations that prevent excessive medical record disclosures.

Evidence Must Be Relevant

Rule 402 of the Arizona Rules of Evidence requires that admissible evidence be relevant (irrelevant evidence will not be admissible), while Rule 401 describes the test for relevant evidence.  Pursuant to Rule 401, evidence will be deemed relevant only if it has a tendency to make a fact more or less probable than it would be without the evidence at-issue, and if it is of consequence in determining the action.

What does this mean in the context of medical records?

Suppose that the defendant requests your medical records relating to a hand injury you sustained years ago, even though in your current lawsuit you are only arguing that you have suffered leg injuries.  You could likely prevent the disclosure of the hand injury-related medical records because it is of no consequence in determining the action.

Evidence Must Not Be Prejudicial, Confusing, or a Waste of Time

Rule 403 of the Arizona Rules of Evidence requires that the court exclude evidence — even if it is relevant — if its probative value is outweighed by the danger of causing unfair prejudice towards the plaintiff (for example, an abortion might prejudice the jury against the plaintiff in a conservative county).  Similarly, the probative value must be outweighed by the danger of causing confusion, a waste of time, or the jury to be misled.

Schedule a Free Consultation With an Experienced Phoenix Car Accident Attorney

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have accumulated over six decades of combined experience representing a range of clients in personal injury litigation — including car accident cases — throughout the state of Arizona.

Unlike many other injury firms, we are deeply invested in the well-being and success of each of our clients.  As such, we make ourselves available 24/7 to answer any questions or concerns that a client may have regarding their case, and we work closely with our clients (from the start of litigation) to ensure that our overall goals are aligned at every step of the process.  We are even available to make hospital and house appointments, if doing so will be more convenient for you.

Have you been injured in a car accident, or in any other accident that was caused by the fault of another?  Call (602) 535-1900 to setup an appointment with an experienced Phoenix car accident attorney here at Hirsch & Lyon.  We take a lower contingency fee than competitor firms, so when you obtain compensation for your injuries, you’ll be able to keep more of it for yourself.

If you’ve suffered an injury in an accident that was caused by someone who has a cognitive disability, or who is otherwise mentally incompetent, then you’re likely wondering about the likelihood of recovery should you choose to pursue litigation against the defendant.  In the state of Arizona, much like the rest of the country, personal injury lawsuits brought on the basis of negligence (i.e., that the defendant acted in such a way that they violated the standard of care for the situation) are rather complicated when it comes to those who have cognitive impairments.

Negligence Liability is Based on the Objective, Reasonable Person Standard

Negligence claims — in the injury context — are fundamentally based on the concept of a standard of care.  Simply put, the difference between a mistake and negligence (for which the defendant will be held liable) turns on the standard of care.  If the defendant acts in such a way that it violates the standard of care, they will be found negligent, and may therefore be sued by the injury victim for damages.  If the defendant makes a mistake, but their actions do not violate the standard of care, then you cannot hold them liable for your injuries.

The standard of care in any given situation is meant to be based on an objective, “reasonable person” standard.  Essentially, the court will determine how a reasonably prudent person would have acted in the same situation as the defendant.  If the defendant’s actions fall out-of-step with this expectation, then they have violated the standard of care.

For example, in a car accident, if the defendant ran a red light at high-speed, the court is likely to find that the defendant violated the standard of care.  A reasonably prudent person under such circumstances would not have run the red light (absent some other life-threatening circumstance).

Historically, in Arizona and throughout the country, mental illnesses and cognitive disabilities have not changed this objective standard of care.  This is important.  In many other situations, the defendant’s condition may influence their liability under a theory of negligence.  For example, if a defendant is deaf, then they may be held to a different standard of care when operating a vehicle.

For the most part, then, if you are involved in an accident due to the negligence of a person who is suffering from a cognitive disability or a mental illness, they cannot use their mental condition to avoid liability.  Assuming that you can show that they violated the standard of care and that you suffered injuries as a result, you can recover damages.

Defendants May Only Escape Liability When Mental Illness Absolves All Responsibility

It is worth noting that Arizona carves out a limited exception where a defendant can avoid liability if their mental illness/cognitive disability is so severe that it absolves them of all responsibility for their actions — this is extremely rare, however.  For example, even a schizophrenic might be capable of modulating their speed effectively in a pedestrian-dense area.  On the other hand, someone with a cognitive defect so severe that they are incapable of processing the presence of pedestrians, or that they must avoid a collision in the first place, could argue that they should not be held liable.

Speak With an Experienced Phoenix Car Accident Attorney for Further Guidance

If you have been injured in a car accident, or some other accident that came about as a result of the defendant’s negligent actions, then you may have the right to recover damages in accordance with Arizona law.  Litigating a claim against the defendant can appear misleadingly simple, at first, but can become rather complicated as further investigation of the facts reveal a multi-layered case.

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys are no stranger to complex personal injury litigation.  We have decades of experience advocating on behalf of injury victims, assisting them throughout the litigation process, and helping to secure substantial damages to compensate them for their injuries.  We are a client-oriented firm, and as such, we are available at all times to discuss their questions and concerns.  We work on a lower contingency fee than most other firms, so you only pay if you successfully obtain compensation, and most importantly, you get to keep more of it!

Call (602) 535-1900 today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Phoenix car accident attorney here at Hirsch & Lyon.  In these initial stages of the attorney-client relationship, we will begin with a careful evaluation of your claims and will help you take the next steps towards recovery.

If you’ve been injured due to another person’s negligent, reckless, or intentional actions — for example, in a car accident with a defendant-driver who was speeding and driving in a distracted manner at the time of the accident — then Arizona law may entitle you to sue and potentially recover damages as compensation.  Though lawsuits are an excellent way to ensure that defendants are held accountable for their damaging actions, there are many limitations that people are unaware of (chiefly, the issue of privacy).

Simply put, litigating a claim opens up the details to members of the public.  Upon first impression, this may not seem like a “big deal.”  After all, you might find it strange that someone in your community is scouring public databases for court records and will thereafter reveal your personal issues to the world at-large.  In reality, however, many disclosures in litigation are made known to the public through various media outlets.

For example, if you are suing a local transportation company for an accident that occurred on the highway, then the local news outlets may report on litigation as it proceeds.

Fortunately, there are ways to circumvent the privacy concerns associated with litigation, so if your privacy is particularly important to you, then you may still make an attempt to negotiate and resolve your dispute with the defendant without disclosing certain information to the public.

Trial Details Are Matters of Public Record

Again, it’s important to reiterate that the details of litigation are matters of public record.  For example, media persons are entitled to report on your trial as it unfolds.  They may write about how you reacted during litigation, and they may discuss certain embarrassing details that were presented during an evidentiary hearing.  Even your medical history and psychological history may be made public.

Depending on the circumstances, that litigation is a matter of public record can have far-reaching effects on one’s life.

Suppose that you have sued a defendant for injuries caused in a car accident.  Evidence relating to your psychiatric health and history is presented at trial, as it’s relevant to the case (you have made an argument for damages on the basis of emotional distress).

Now, imagine that media reports on the case, and that it is revealed to your employer that you have a history of psychological illness.  Your employer may begin to view you as a serious risk to his business, and may reduce your hours, fire you, pass you over for promotion, or otherwise interfere with your career.

How to Maintain Privacy While Resolving a Dispute

If you wish to maintain privacy, then you can do so by engaging in various forms of alternative dispute resolution.  Private, out-of-court dispute resolution does not qualify as a matter of public record.  Dispute resolution includes, but is not limited, to:

  • Mediation
  • Arbitration
  • Internal Administrative Processes

Not only is alternative dispute resolution typically faster, less costly, and more informal than traditional litigation, but it’s private — you won’t risk the details of the dispute being revealed to the public.

Alternative dispute resolution is an excellent tool, but in some cases, the defendant is hostile or is simply unwilling to negotiate a fair settlement.  Alternatively, you may receive a poor result in arbitration or pursuant to the administrative process.  At that point, it may be worth it to move forward with litigation and risk public disclosure of the details.

Contact an Experienced Phoenix Injury Lawyer Today

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have several decades of experience representing thousands of injured clients — particularly those in motor vehicle accidents — sue and obtain compensation for their injuries.

We are a truly client-oriented law firm, and this is expressed in a variety of ways.  We are available 24/7 to both prospective and existing clients, and we are willing to meet at any of our offices in the state, or at a location of your choosing.  Throughout the litigation process, we work closely with clients, evaluating their claims, advising them on next steps, and negotiating on their behalf.  At Hirsch & Lyon, we understand that litigation against a defendant can be challenging and emotionally exhausting.  We believe that you should keep more of what you win, because you deserve it.  We therefore charge a lower contingency fee than most other firms — 25%.

Interested in speaking with an experienced Phoenix injury lawyer here at Hirsch & Lyon?  Call (602) 535-1900 today to schedule a free consultation.

In the state of Arizona, as in other states, both plaintiffs and defendants may prevent certain evidence from being introduced into the lawsuit, to their benefit.  An effective evidentiary strategy is critical to success in a motor vehicle lawsuit, or in any other civil lawsuit — personal injury or otherwise.

Generally speaking, the defendant will attempt to introduce evidence that undermines your various claims.  For example, if you apologized to the defendant after the occurrence of a motor vehicle accident, the defendant may argue that this post-accident apology constituted an admission of fault, and that it is therefore relevant to the injury claims at-issue.  Alternatively, the defendant may attempt to introduce evidence of a statement made by a witness at the scene of the accident.  Depending on the circumstances, however, each of these statements may be suppressed (to your benefit).

Evidentiary Privileges

As the plaintiff in an Arizona motor vehicle accident lawsuit, you are likely to encounter a number of unexpected challenges in the evidentiary context.  Oftentimes, for example, the defendant will attempt to undermine your injury claims by asserting that they are “made up” or exaggerated in some way, perhaps by introducing evidence of your past psychiatric records with your therapist.  This is a broad overreach, however, unless you have made your mental health an issue in the lawsuit — the Arizona medical record privilege shields gives you the right to suppress the introduction of medical record evidence that is not relevant to the injury claims at-issue.

Other evidentiary privileges giving you the right to suppress evidence include, but are not necessarily limited, to the:

  • Attorney-Client privilege
  • Spousal privilege
  • Physician-patient privilege
  • Penitent privilege
  • And more

Application of the Hearsay Rule

The hearsay rule is almost universally applicable, in Arizona and elsewhere.  Put simply, the hearsay rule prevents certain statements that are made outside of the courtroom setting from being admitted into evidence for the purpose of proving that the content of the statement at-issue is true.  The intention of the hearsay rule is twofold: 1) to prevent the introduction of unreliable statements, and 2) to give litigating parties the opportunity to formally cross-examine the person who has made the statement at-issue.  If a court were to consistently allow the admission of hearsay statements, then the defendant could introduce statements that have no bearing in reality and that are not properly subject to scrutiny.

If you found that a bit confusing, there’s no need to worry!  Consider the following example for clarity.

Imagine that you are injured in a motor vehicle accident.  The defendant would like to introduce evidence of a statement made by your difficult neighbor.  At the time of the accident, your neighbor made a statement claiming that you are exaggerating your injuries.  Under Arizona law, however, you would likely be entitled to suppress the admission of such evidence pursuant to the hearsay rule.  The statement made by the neighbor cannot be introduced to “prove” that you are exaggerating your injuries.  Even if the defendant wished to introduce such evidence as proof of your reputation for exaggeration, it would likely be considered unfairly prejudicial to your case.

In Arizona, there are a number of hearsay exceptions to keep an eye out for, however.  The defendant may be allowed to introduce hearsay evidence if it constitutes a present sense impression, excited utterance, statement for medical diagnosis, recorded recollection, part of a public record, and more.

Balancing Evidentiary Factors

In Arizona, the Rules of Evidence (Rule 403, to be exact) gives a court power to exclude relevant evidence if — on the whole — its value to the case is outweighed by certain dangerous factors, such as the risk of unfair prejudice, issue confusion, misleading the jury, and undue delay, among other factors.  Your attorney will argue that damaging evidence (if it does not fall within an evidentiary privilege or within the hearsay umbrella) is either irrelevant, or that it is relevant but is outweighed by these factors.

Connect to a Skilled Phoenix Car Accident Lawyer Today

Have you been injured in a motor vehicle accident by another?  Arizona law may give you the opportunity to litigate your injury claims and recover damages as compensation.  Success in litigation requires that you overcome the various evidentiary roadblocks that the defendant is likely to challenge you with.

Hirsch & Lyon is a Phoenix-based law firm whose attorneys boast decades of combined experience representing clients in a range of personal injury litigation, including motor vehicle accident claims.  We are aggressive advocates for our clients, and provide discounted contingency fees, so our clients can keep more of their damages.

Call (602) 535-1900 to get in touch with an experienced Phoenix car accident lawyer here at Hirsch & Lyon.

Our Phoenix Accident Lawyers Will Fight for Maximum Damages in Your Aggressive Driving Accident 

In Arizona, and elsewhere, motor vehicle accidents typically occur due to the negligent or reckless conduct of a defendant.  Of course, there are many cases in which the defendant has intentionally caused injuries to the defendant — such conduct falls within the umbrella of intentional torts, and may expose the defendant to civil liability for damages you suffered as a result, as well as criminal liability.

Many injury plaintiffs are not familiar with the prospect of twin criminal and civil liability, and don’t quite realize how one affects the other.  Put simply, the fact that the defendant is currently engaged in — or will be engaged in — a criminal prosecution will have no bearing on your ability to recover damages in civil litigation.  Even if the defendant is found innocent in criminal litigation, it’s worth noting that criminal liability requires the satisfaction of a much stricter burden of proof (i.e., 99 percent certainty, as opposed to the 51 percent certainty required in civil litigation).

Road rage or other form of aggressive driving is an unfortunate reality.  In the spur of the moment, many drivers lose their senses and engage in behaviors that are designed to frustrate another driver who they perceive to be doing something wrong.  Such conduct is unarguably intentional, and can expose others to a significantly heightened risk of harm.

Intentional collisions give rise to unique considerations in the Arizona motor vehicle accident context, which an experienced Phoenix accident lawyer can use advantageously in litigation.  Consider the following.

Intentional Misconduct and the Sliding Scale of Liability

In a motor vehicle accident, the defendant-driver’s conduct falls on a sliding scale, with one side being negligence, and the other side being intentional misconduct.  In the middle lies reckless conduct (otherwise known as gross negligence).  Negligent actions are so careless that they violate the standard of reasonable care for a given situation.  Proving that the defendant engaged in negligence requires that the plaintiff establish the proper standard of care and demonstrate that the defendant violated that standard.  By contrast, proving that the defendant engaged in intentional misconduct requires that the plaintiff demonstrate that the defendant actually intended to cause them harm — the state of mind must be made clear.  It’s worth noting that the plaintiff can always plead negligence or recklessness in the alternative.

For example, suppose that you are injured in a motor vehicle accident where the defendant swerved into your lane and collided with your vehicle.  You assert that the defendant intentionally caused such harm due to “road rage.”  Your attorney will likely also plead that — in the alternative — the defendant engaged in negligent conduct that violated the standard of care in the circumstances (i.e., a reasonable person would have merged only after using their blinkers, and only if there was sufficient space to merge).  As such, you can still recover damages even if establishing the specific intent of the defendant proves too difficult.

Potential for Punitive Damages

In Arizona, punitive damages are sometimes awarded in personal injury lawsuits when the defendant has acted in such a way that their conduct was indicative of an “evil hand and an evil mind.”  An evil mind is demonstrated by evidence of the defendant’s intention to cause harm to the plaintiff, or when the defendant’s conduct was motivated by maliciousness or ill will.  If the defendant collides with you intentionally, for example, there is a strong likelihood that you will be awarded punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages.

Contact an Experienced Phoenix Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer Today

If you have suffered injuries due to the intentional misconduct of a driver in Arizona, then you may be entitled to compensation for your losses.  Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our attorneys have decades of experience litigating a range of claims on behalf of injured clients, including those that involve a defendant’s intentional misconduct (such as a car accident caused by the defendant’s “road rage”).

We are committed to personalized representation.  Throughout the litigation process, we strive to keep our strategic objectives aligned with those of our clients.  We believe that transparency in the attorney-client relationship is critical to success in litigation.

Call (602) 535-1900 today to speak with an experienced Phoenix accident lawyer here at Hirsch & Lyon.  Your initial consultation is free, and thereafter, we work on contingency — you only pay if we obtain damages on your behalf, and thanks to our discounted contingency fee arrangements, you get to keep more for yourself!

As the injured plaintiff — in Arizona and elsewhere — you should take note of the statute of limitations for your various claims.  The statute of limitations is of prime importance in every litigation (both civil and criminal!).  Essentially, the statute of limitations acts as a deadline for your injury claims.

Do bear in mind that the statute of limitations deadline is a rather strict one.  If you do not file your claims before the deadline passes, then the claims will “expire” and you will no longer be entitled to sue and recover damages against the defendant on the basis of such claims.  As such, it’s absolutely vital that you connect with an attorney who will file your personal injury claims in a timely manner, and thereby avoid relinquishing your right to sue and recover damages in an Arizona court.

In the Arizona personal injury context, the statute of limitations deadline is two years from the date the cause of action accrues.  This is a somewhat short period of time for such overwhelming tasks — during such time, you’ll have to begin the process of physical and psychological rehabilitation, reintegrate yourself into your career and social life, and more, in addition to identifying relevant injury claims and filing them before the deadline passes.  A sense of immediacy is therefore critical to effective personal injury litigation.

When the Cause of Action Accrues

Normally, the cause of action “accrues” on the date of injury.  Like many other states throughout the country, however, Arizona implements the discovery rule, which can change when the cause of action actually accrues.

The discovery rule can give plaintiffs a bit more time when circumstances are such that — even with reasonable diligence — the plaintiff would not have discovered their injuries, or the fact that there was negligent, reckless, or intentional conduct that could make the defendant potentially liable, until some later date.

This rule can be quite confusing.  Let’s go through a brief example.

Imagine that you have been injured in a rear-end motor vehicle accident that occurred while you were stopped at a red light.  The defendant’s fault is immediately clear, but you don’t suffer any obvious injuries at the time of the accident, besides some slight soreness.  A quick doctor’s visit does not reveal any issues, either.  Two years later, you are in great pain and get thorough diagnostic scans done on your spine.  This reveals serious spinal degeneration that was set in motion by the rear-end incident two years prior.

In this scenario, if the cause of action accrued on the actual date of injury (i.e., the date of the accident), then you would no longer be entitled to sue and recover damages, as the deadline would have passed.  If the cause of action accrued later (i.e., the date of discovery), then you would still have two years to file your claims.  Whether the date of discovery is a legitimate one for counting the “accrual” depends on how reasonable it was to discover the injury at that later date.  If a reasonable person would have discovered it sooner, then the date of accrual will be sooner.

Contact an Experienced Phoenix Accident Lawyer Today

If you have been injured due to the actions of another person or entity, then you may be entitled to sue that defendant to obtain compensation for your various injuries, in accordance with Arizona law.  It’s important to note, however, that you do not have an unlimited amount of time to consider a lawsuit, so make sure to get in touch with an experienced Arizona injury attorney here at Hirsch & Lyon as soon as possible.

Hirsch & Lyon is a Phoenix-based law firm that has represented numerous clients in injury litigation through the years.  We provide unique, discounted contingency fee arrangements that ensure clients can keep more of their damages as compensation.

Call (602) 535-1900 today to connect to an experienced Phoenix accident lawyer at our firm.

In Arizona, and elsewhere, auto mechanics can be held liable for injuries that are caused due to their negligent, reckless, or intentional misconduct in handling your vehicle while it’s “in the shop.”  The strong possibility of auto mechanic liability in a motor vehicle accident scenario can come as something of a surprise to those who are not aware of how fault can be distributed to multiple defendants.

Auto mechanics must act with reasonable care while your vehicle (or the defendant-driver’s vehicle) is in their possession.  Failure to adhere to the standard of care, given the circumstances, could result in the attachment of liability.

Standard of Care

The standard of care in any given situation is influenced by a number of factors.  The duty of reasonable care is not universal.  This applies to auto mechanics as well.  The standard of care will be influenced by factors that include, but are not necessarily limited, to:

  • Training and experience of the mechanic
  • Nature of the defect requiring repair
  • Obviousness of the defect
  • Cost and expectations relating to the repair
  • Whether the owner/driver has been notified as to discovered defects
  • And more

For example, an auto mechanic who is conducting an inspection on a vehicle that has a non-obvious, extremely rare defect would not necessarily be negligent for failing to discover said defect.  An auto mechanic who fails to identify faulty brakes, on the other hand, would likely be found negligent for failing to do so.

How Liability Falls on the Mechanic

Auto mechanic liability is rather useful for all parties (except the mechanic, of course) involved in litigation.  If you are the injured victim in a motor vehicle accident, then being able to sue the mechanic for failing to properly inspect or repair the vehicle at-issue can give you access to substantial financial resources and insurance coverage that the driver may not have.  On the other hand, if you are the defendant-driver in a motor vehicle accident, but your car was simply unresponsive or defective at the time of the accident, then you can shift liability to the mechanic who actually is responsible for the defect.

Auto mechanics may be found liable for a broad range of actions that include, but are not necessarily limited, to:

  • Failing to notify the owner/driver as to inherent dangers
  • Failing to properly inspect the vehicle to discover defects
  • Failing to repair discovered defects (or notify the owner/driver)
  • Performing work that was not authorized by the owner/driver
  • Modifying the vehicle in a way that creates a heightened risk of injury
  • And more

Contact an Experienced Phoenix Car Accident Lawyer Today

If you have suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident in Arizona, you may not only be entitled to litigate injury claims against the defendant-driver, but you may also be entitled to litigate injury claims against the auto mechanic, assuming that the circumstances demonstrate that the mechanic significantly contributed the the accident.  Get in touch with an experienced Arizona motor vehicle accident attorney here at Hirsch & Lyon for further guidance on how to move forward with your lawsuit.

Call (602) 535-1900 today to speak with an experienced Phoenix car accident lawyer.

Motor vehicle accidents are by their very nature difficult-to-predict.  In some cases, a sudden and unexpected emergency can influence the ability of the defendant to predict the consequences of their actions and avoid an accident.

For example, imagine a situation in which the defendant-driver is operating their vehicle on the highway and has a heart attack.  The driver — battling the sudden pain, spasms, and general loss of body control inflicted by the heart attack — swerves into your lane and collides with your vehicle, causing you to suffer significant injuries.

Can you recover damages?

There isn’t a simple yes-or-no answer that applies to all “sudden emergency” scenarios in the motor vehicle context, unfortunately.  Whether you can recover damages in a situation involving a sudden emergency is dependent largely on the circumstances at-issue — and more specifically, whether the driver acted with reasonable care given the emergency.

Have you been involved in an accident and suffered injuries as a result?  You may be able to sue the defendant and obtain compensation, pursuant to Arizona law.  In the personal injury context, the person responsible for your injuries can make use of a number of defenses to escape liability.  To ensure that your claims are effectively litigated, make sure to consult with an experienced Arizona motor vehicle accident lawyer so that your lawsuit can be properly evaluated and filed.

Arizona applies what is known as the “sudden emergency” doctrine to cases in which the defendant is rendered incapable of reacting in a safe and reasonable manner to the circumstances.  Generally speaking, Arizona does not treat the sudden emergency doctrine as its own separate doctrine, and instead applies its reasoning to the interdependent issues of standard of care and negligence that lie at the heart of a motor vehicle accident claim.

To put it in simpler terms: Arizona courts do not view the sudden emergency doctrine as a separate and independent rule.  The presence of a sudden emergency is simply a factor in the consideration of the total circumstances.

Standard of Care and the Sudden Emergency Doctrine

Defendant-drivers may be held liable for violating the standard of care.  The standard of care is a relative concept that changes dynamically based on the circumstances.  For example, the standard of care required of drivers in a school zone or in the parking lot of a hospital is likely to be higher than the standard of care required of drivers operating a vehicle on abandoned property.  There are a number of factors that influence the standard of care: the driver’s age, the condition of the roadway (i.e., visibility), the condition of the vehicle, the training and experience of the driver, and more.

How does the sudden emergency doctrine work, then?

Essentially, if the defendant finds themselves in a sudden emergency situation, then they may argue that the standard of care was lower — given the emergency circumstances — and that their actions therefore did not violate the standard of care.  Emergency circumstances are those that require “rapid action” and that do not allow the defendant to make a deliberate and well-considered decision.

If you are suing the defendant-driver, and they claim to have had a heart attack at the time of the accident, for example, then your attorney will likely investigate the nature of the heart attack and its severity.  If the heart attack was minor, and circumstances were such that the defendant could have safely moved their vehicle to the side and come to a stop, then it will have an effect on their liability.  Further, the presence of a sudden emergency will not shield the defendant from liability when they have negligently created a dangerous situation.  For example, if the defendant-driver had a heart attack, but was driving dangerously above the speed limit on a local road, then their inability to safely maneuver and avoid a collision during the sudden emergency may have been affected by their excessive speed.

As an injured plaintiff in a motor vehicle accident lawsuit, your claims may be countered by various defenses.  Depending on the circumstances, the defendant may argue that they are not liable for damages on the basis that there is no causal link between their conduct and the injuries at-issue, that you were also negligent, and that there are co-defendants who must share liability, among other arguments.

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to sue and recover damages as compensation for your injuries, pursuant to Arizona law.  Litigation is rarely straightforward, however, though it may appear to be upon first impression.  In many cases, circumstances will enable the defendant to put forth several strong defense arguments that could absolve them of liability, or — at the very least — minimize their potential liabilities.  As such, it’s important that you work with an experienced Arizona motor vehicle accident attorney who has a track record of success in handling claims where the defendant was well-positioned to counter the plaintiff’s assertions.

Certain defenses are commonly used by defendants in motor vehicle accident cases to minimize their liability.  An experienced injury attorney will almost certainly have encountered these defenses before, and are well-equipped to navigate the barriers they raise to the success of your claims.

Consider the following.

Plaintiff Was Comparatively Negligent

Arizona applies the doctrine of pure comparative negligence — or pure comparative fault.  What this essentially means is that the plaintiff may still recover damages even if they are significantly at-fault for their own injuries (up to 99 percent at-fault, in fact).  As such, though a negligent defendant cannot necessarily absolve themselves of liability by asserting that the plaintiff also contributed to the injuries, the defendant can minimize their potential damages.  For example, if the court finds that you are 50 percent liable for your injuries, then your damage award will be cut in half.

Plaintiff Had a Preexisting Injury or Condition

As a plaintiff, you must have suffered losses as the result of the defendant’s negligent, reckless, or intentional conduct in order to recover damages.  If you did not actually suffer new and distinct losses, then you are not entitled to recover damages.  It is therefore quite common for defendants to assert that the injured plaintiffs are not entitled to compensation on the basis that they suffered from preexisting injuries or a preexisting condition, and that the accident at-issue did not actually result in any new, distinct injuries.  If your symptoms are the same before and after the accident, the defendant may succeed in absolving themselves of liability on this basis.

It’s worth noting, however, that you may still recover damages for the same injury or condition that you suffered from prior to the accident, so long as you can show that the accident aggravated your preexisting injury or condition.  For example, if you had a preexisting back injury and the accident caused your pain symptoms to increase and limited your mobility to a greater degree, then you could recover damages for the losses related to such aggravation.

Defendant’s Negligence Did Not Cause Injuries

The mere fact that a defendant was involved in an accident with you — and that the defendant was operating their vehicle negligently at the time of the accident — is not necessarily proof that the defendant’s negligent actions caused your injuries.  If the defendant’s negligent actions did not actually cause your injuries, then you cannot hold them liable.

For example, imagine that the defendant was speeding at the time of the accident, when they made a legal lane change and collided with your vehicle.  Though the defendant was speeding at the time (and was therefore acting negligently), speeding may not have actually caused or even worsened the accident.

Other Liable Defendants

If there are other potentially liable defendants, the defendant may argue that they should be brought in for the purposes of litigation.  The defendant may reasonably argue that they should not be held liable in full for damages that others negligently contributed to.  Arizona holds defendants severally liable, not jointly liable — as such, a defendant may only be held liable for the proportion of their total fault contribution in the case at-issue.

Plaintiff Failed to Mitigate Damages

Plaintiffs must act reasonably following their injuries to mitigate their damages to the degree possible.  For example, suppose that you are making a wage loss claim as part of your overall damages in a motor vehicle accident lawsuit.  You did not work for a full two years after the accident.  The record shows that you were offered several jobs, however, and that you would have been in reasonably good health enough to work in those positions had you accepted the positions instead of remaining unemployed.  The defendant could argue that you failed to adequately mitigate your damages and that they cannot be held liable for losses that were within your control.

In Arizona, as in other states, evidence of your injuries — whether in a motor vehicle accident or some other accident — is critical to support your legal claims against the defendant(s).  Without sufficient evidence to support your claims, your claim will be dismissed and you will be left with no means for obtaining compensation.

Attorneys are valuable early-on, as they will guide your independent investigation of the facts of the case, and can connect you with experts who will not only assess the scene of the accident, but will also help assess the gathered evidence.

As a plaintiff, there are a number of ways in which you can help ensure that your case goes smoothly (from an evidence-gathering perspective).  Consider the following.

Obtain Contact Info of Important Parties

Once you’ve been involved in an accident, you’ll want to first identify any and all potential defendants (i.e., the defendant-driver in a motor vehicle accident scenario).  If you fail to identify the defendant and obtain their contact information, it can be rather challenging to litigate a claim against them, as the defendant may thereafter make attempts to evade litigation by maintaining their anonymity.  This happens quite often in the hit-and-run context, where negligent drivers get away before the injured victim (or anyone else) is capable of properly identifying them.

Identification information need not only be phone numbers, emails, and addresses.  It can be a description of the defendant, a photograph of the defendant, the license plate number of the defendant, a description of their property (i.e., color and model of their vehicle), and more.  Anything that can be used to identify the defendant will be useful in pursuing litigation, particularly if the defendant is “slippery” and evasive.

This is also true of witnesses at the scene.  Make sure to obtain their contact information so that you can request their presence later, once litigation has begun.  A legitimate eyewitness account can spell the difference between a winning case and a losing case.

Write Notes and Take Photographs of the Accident

Taking notes of the accident — from identifying information to an account of what actually happened (i.e., the sequence of events leading up to the accident) — is incredibly useful as a tool for more accurately remembering the accident and the circumstances surrounding it.

Photographs are perhaps even more useful, as photographic evidence of the scene of the accident may be introduced as evidence and can be used by accident experts to help reconstruct the sequence of events and demonstrate — objectively — how the defendant’s actions led to your injuries.  Don’t forget: photographs can be taken of your injuries to demonstrate what they looked like after the accident, and photographs can also be taken of property before the landowner makes safety modifications. 

Preserve Damaged Property and other Physical Evidence

Damaged property can be valuable evidence.  A damaged vehicle, for example, can be examined so that investigators can piece together the impact forces involved in a car accident and what angles these impacts occurred at.  Further, if you were injured as the result of a defect in your vehicle, then preserving the evidence (as opposed to junking the vehicle, selling it, or repairing it) may be critical for demonstrating the existence of the defect.

Secure Medical Records

Medical records include a range of evidence, such as diagnostic reports, inpatient/outpatient reports, surgical reports, medical billing records, and more.  Once you begin working with an attorney, he or she will begin gather all relevant medical record evidence for the purposes of litigation.  As a general rule, however, it’s worth requesting copies of all your medical records from beginning-to-end of treatment.  This makes it easier and faster to begin the process of litigation in earnest.

Obtain Evidence of Wage Loss

Wage loss (and loss of earning capacity) evidence includes payment records, work disciplinary records, and more.  Any written evidence of days that you were forced to take off due to your injury, or partial days, or of any negative work-related incident associated with the injury (i.e., perhaps you were passed over for a promotion as you were deemed physically incapable — due to the lack of energy following the accident — of performing the role).

Evidence gathering and preservation is critical to the success of an injury lawsuit.  Without adequate evidence to support your claims, they will not survive litigation.  As such, it’s critical that you work with an attorney early on — with the aid of an attorney, you will have the resources necessary to investigate and secure sufficient evidence so that your injury claims are well-supported.

If you have been injured due to another’s negligent, reckless, or intentional actions, call (602) 535-1900 today to connect to an experienced Phoenix injury lawyer here at Hirsch & Lyon.  Initial consultation is free.  Your attorney will work with you to assess your injury claims and help you navigate the challenging process of litigation.

In Arizona, as in other states, injured plaintiffs — whether in motor vehicle accidents, or any other tortious accident caused by the negligence, recklessness, or intentional conduct of a defendant — are entitled to recover damages that include both past and future medical expenses.

Let’s begin with a simple example.

Suppose that you are injured in a motor vehicle accident due to the negligent operation of a vehicle by another driver.  You suffer significant injuries to your back, neck, and limbs that require you to not only undergo diagnostic procedures and surgical treatment, but will also (for up to a year or more) require that you consistently attend rehabilitation sessions to get your strength back.  In addition to the various other losses that you may claim damages for (i.e., wage loss, pain and suffering, emotional distress, etc.), you may also claim damages for the medical expenses that you have already suffered, and for reasonably anticipated medical expenses in the future.

Medical expenses tend to be a substantial component (and in many cases, the largest component) of a plaintiff’s overall damage claim, as the cost of medical care includes a range of services, from diagnostics to treatment, and everything in-between.  As such, medical expenses are a frequent target of criticism in the litigation context.  Depending on the medical care that you have received, the defendant may assert that the medical care you have received (or that you will receive) is not reasonably necessary.

Past Medical Expenses

Past medical expenses are those costs associated with medical care (diagnostics, treatment, rehabilitative care, etc.) services that you have already been provided.  It’s important that you secure all your medical records — from inpatient reports to medical billing records — so that you can use such evidence to directly support your damages claim, without having to resort to assumption and guesswork.

Reasonable Charges

In some circumstances, particularly if you’ve received what the defendant believes to be “excessive” medical care, or perhaps “nontraditional” or “risky” medical care, the defendant will assert that they are not liable for the costs you incurred as a result of medical care that was not reasonable or necessary, given the circumstances.

For example, if you have suffered a minor leg injury, and in response, you go in for an experimental, risky surgery that is extremely costly (for no significant added benefit in comparison to traditional, cheaper surgeries), then the defendant will almost certainly argue that the costs were not reasonable.

Reasonability is an issue that depends on the circumstances.  Whereas a risky surgery may be unreasonable for a minor limb injury, it may be reasonable in circumstances where the plaintiff has suffered life-altering injuries and there are no other traditional, safer, and cheaper alternatives.

Future Medical Expenses

Future medical expenses are somewhat more difficult to prove than past medical expenses, as there are no medical records of the actual treatment (that has yet to be provided).  You will have to introduce expert medical testimony to establish that the future treatment is not only necessary given your injuries/condition, but also that the projected costs are reasonably accurate.

Given the inherently uncertain nature of future medical expenses, many defendants will challenge such claims.  As a plaintiff, you must therefore demonstrate that:

  1. There is a reasonable probability that the treatment will be necessary, and
  2. The projected cost of treatment (and related care) is a reasonable estimation of the value.

Demonstrating that a treatment is reasonably probable — and necessary — will depend on the circumstances.  If doctors have not yet decided whether to operate on you, for example, then you may not be entitled to claim damages for that future medical expense (unless it is reasonably probable that they will decide to operate on you).

Have you been injured in an accident due to another’s fault?  You may be entitled to compensation — which includes a damages award for medical expenses (past and future) — in accordance with Arizona law.  Your claims are subject to a statute of limitations deadline, however, so it’s important that you consult with a qualified Arizona attorney as soon as you can to ensure that your claims are litigated in a timely manner.

Call (602) 535-1900 today to speak with an experienced Phoenix injury lawyer here at Hirsch & Lyon.  Initial consultation is free.  Your attorney will assess your injury claims and help you navigate the process of litigation moving forward.

In a motor vehicle accident — or any other personal injury scenario, for that matter — it can be rather difficult for the injured victim to determine whether the defendant simply made an understandable mistake, or whether the defendant acted negligently, thus exposing them to potential damages liability.  In fact, this uncertainty often discourages injury victims from bringing a lawsuit against the defendant and thereby securing damages to compensate them for their various injuries.

If you have been injured due to the conduct of another person (or entity), and you believe that the defendant’s conduct violated the standard of care — given the circumstances — then you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.  Injury claims often seem simple upon first impression.  In reality, however, your injury lawsuit can be complicated by a number of issues, such as the presence of multiple hostile defendants, evidentiary challenges, and more.  Make sure to consult with an experienced Arizona personal injury attorney for assistance.

If simple mistakes do not give rise to liability (except in product defect litigation, and other limited circumstances), and negligence does, wherein lies the difference between these two concepts?  At what point does a mistake “become” negligence and grant the injured party a right to sue and recover damages?

The answer to these difficult questions is embedded in the concept of “standard of care,” so let’s consider some of the fundamentals of the standard of care and how negligent conduct is borne from the violation of applicable standards.

Violation of the Standard of Care

In Arizona, as in other states, individuals and entities owe others a duty to exercise reasonable care given the circumstances.  This is a basic principle of tort law.  Failure to act in accordance with one’s duty of care will constitute a violation of the standard of care (applicable to the situation) and give rise to negligence liability.  To sum it up: a mistake gives rise to negligence when the mistake violates the standard of care.

As this legal terminology can be somewhat confusing, it’s best clarified with an example.

Imagine that you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident.  You were a pedestrian crossing the street at a legal, marked crosswalk, when the defendant collided with you, thus causing you to suffer significant injuries.  Now, suppose that the defendant-driver argues that they did not see you while rounding the curve that opened up into the crosswalk, as there were uncut plants that were obscuring their vision as they made the turn.  Given the circumstances, one could argue that the driver did not actually violate their standard of care (if they were otherwise driving in a safe manner).  On the other hand, you might be entitled to sue the property owner whose plants obscured the roadway.

The standard of care is fundamentally circumstantial.  In other words, it can change depending on the nature of the situation.  For example, the standard of care that applies to a professional truck driver who is driving for work-purposes may be higher than the standard of care that applies to a normal driver.

A number of different factors can influence the standard of care: the defendant’s age, experiences, training, and physical/mental capacity, the obviousness of the danger, the suddenness of the danger, the activity in which the defendant and plaintiff were involved, any regulations relating to the activity, and more.

In some cases, violation of a rule may give rise to “negligence per se.”  Essentially, the defendant’s violation of a rule may automatically give rise to an assumption of negligence.  As the plaintiff, you need only show that their negligence then caused your injuries.  For example, if the defendant-driver was violating some traffic rule when they collided with you, then you will not have to show that they were acting negligently, but only that their negligent act (i.e., violating the traffic rule) contributed to your injuries.

Personal Injury Damages Explained

In Arizona, and elsewhere in the United States, most cases never make it through to trial litigation.  Instead, a settlement is negotiated between the parties.  In fact, legal industry observers estimate that more than 95 percent of cases are resolved before trial litigation can begin.  For those unfamiliar with the process of litigating an injury claim, the fact that trial litigation is relatively uncommon (and seen as a “last resort” option) can come as something of a surprise.

Have you been injured in an accident that was caused by the negligent, reckless, or intentional conduct of another person?  Trial litigation may enable you to recover damages as compensation for your injuries, but it can be time consuming, expensive, and full of uncertainty.  Negotiating a settlement can save you a great deal of trouble in the long run, and secure you a favorable result — in some cases, a settlement can even ensure a level of amicability that might not otherwise be possible.  Get connected to an Arizona personal injury attorney who has extensive experience settling claims.

Many plaintiffs may be unaware of the value in negotiating a settlement.  Let’s take a quick peek at how settlements can work to your benefit, and then we’ll explore how a favorable settlement is negotiated.

Benefits of Settlement

Settlements are often said to be a win-win for both parties.  In our adversarial legal system, this can be a confounding result.  It’s actually quite simple to understand, however.  When the plaintiff and defendant negotiate a settlement, they are gaining a number of advantages (in comparison to traditional trial litigation).  Primarily, each party is able to exercise a level of control over the uncertainty that is inherent to litigation.

Uncertainty is fundamental to most litigation.  Even where the plaintiff is able to establish a level of certainty, there may be elements of uncertainty attached to litigation.  In situations where the defendant’s fault is undeniable, for example, there may still be substantial disagreement over the nature and extent of the plaintiff’s damages.

Negotiating a settlement empowers each side to take control and define the terms of litigation as they see it, instead of waiting for the court to determine who has won — and how much they have won.

For example, suppose that you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, and your damages tally up to about $500,000 in total.  That’s a significant damages amount, and the defendant is very likely to argue against it in some manner — perhaps by asserting that some of your damages are borne out of pre-existing injuries.  At trial, there is a chance that the court will find against you (leaving you with no recovery), or in the alternative, that the court will find in your favor, but will award you damages significantly below your expected total — say $200,000.  In either scenario, this uncertainty can damage your ability to recover adequate damages for your injuries.

Negotiating a settlement for $400,000 would therefore be a favorable result.  Though it is somewhat below your ideal recovery, it is higher than some of the possible scenarios should the court rule against you, or undervalue your claim.

There are a number of other advantages to settlement as well.  Trial litigation can be time-consuming, emotionally frustrating, exhausting, and expensive.  If your attorney is able to work with opposing counsel and help them understand your legitimate injury claims, you may be able to avoid trial litigation altogether and secure a favorable result through settlement.

Of course, though settlement is preferable in most cases, trial litigation may sometimes be necessary.  There are times when neither party can come to an agreement.  In rare cases, the defendant is simply hostile and uninterested in an amicable resolution.  As such, it’s important that your attorney be well-prepared for trial litigation, even if negotiating a settlement is your target.

In Arizona, a motor vehicle accident negligence claim — same as any other negligence claim brought pursuant to personal injury law — must satisfy certain elements.

More specifically, if you have suffered an injury due to the fault of another, in order to successfully recover damages in an Arizona court, you must prove that: a) you were injured; b) the defendant was negligent; and c) the defendant’s negligence caused your injuries.  Only once all these elements have been satisfied will you receive compensation for your injuries in a court of law.

Have you been injured due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another person or entity?  Arizona law may give you the right to litigate your claims and receive compensation.  Injury claims do not last forever, so make sure to get connected to an experienced Arizona personal injury attorney as soon as possible, before your claims expire.

Causation is therefore a critical aspect of personal injury litigation.  To put it in very simple terms: you cannot hold a defendant liable for your injuries unless the defendant’s negligent acts actually “caused” your injuries.

Not all cases are simple, however, and oftentimes, the defendant will use muddy, complicated circumstances to argue that they are not responsible for your injuries.  They will claim that there was some intervening cause that actually led to your injuries.  When the “chain of causation” is broken by an intervening cause, then the defendant may avoid liability.

Let’s take a look at how the chain of causation works, and when it breaks due to an intervening cause.

The Chain of Causation

Chain of causation terminology may seem unfamiliar and overly complicated to many, but it’s actually rather straightforward.  The “chain of legal causation” is essentially an unbroken linkage of cause and effect.  When you turn a glass of water onto its side, the liquid that fills the glass will pour out onto the ground (unless there is some occurrence that interferes with the expected action).  This cause-and-effect link is tightly bound to the nature of the objects involved.

In a great deal of personal injury litigation, however, the cause-and-effect link is not always clear.  If the defendant is speeding on the highway, is it reasonable to associate an unlikely consequence — perhaps a frightened driver swerving around and losing control over their own vehicle — with the negligent actions (speeding) of the defendant?

If the causal link (i.e., the chain of causation) has been severed between the defendant’s actions and the consequences thereof, then the defendant cannot be held liable.  Whether the causal link has been severed depends on foreseeability, however.

Foreseeability and Liability

The chain of causation is broken when an intervening cause (otherwise known as a “superseding cause”) severs the link between cause-and-effect.  This can only occur when the intervening cause is unforeseeable, however.  If the intervening cause is reasonably foreseeable given the circumstances, then the defendant can be held liable.

As this can all be rather confusing, consider the following example for clarification.

Imagine that you are injured in a motor vehicle accident at a traffic light.  The defendant is speeding and driving while distracted.  They rear-end you, forcing your car into moving traffic at the intersection, and your car is sideswiped by a different vehicle.  As a result, you are seriously injured.

Now, the defendant cannot argue that the result was unforeseeable, despite the fact that the more serious sideswipe collision could be seen as an intervening cause.  Why?  The sideswipe collision would likely be deemed reasonably foreseeable.  Though the defendant-driver who rear-ended you may not have known exactly what would happen when they collided with the back of your car, they should have reasonably known that they were exposing you to a heightened risk of danger by forcing your car into an active intersection.

Alternatively, if you are pushed into the intersection and an “Act of God” occurs — something so unexpected that it is simply unforeseeable, such as a large tree branch breaking off and slamming into your car in the intersection — then you cannot necessarily hold the defendant-driver liable for the injuries caused by the tree branch, as they could not reasonably foresee that rear-ending you would put you in a position where you were vulnerable to a tree branch falling on your vehicle.  Of course, it’s worth noting that you would still be able to sue and recover damages from the defendant-driver for losses directly attributable by the rear-end collision.

Contact Hirsch & Lyon today for help with your case.

Uninsured and underinsured motorists pose a serious risk to others on the road — drivers, passengers, pedestrians, cyclists, etc. — as their injured victims may, in many cases, be left without adequate financial recourse for obtaining a full recovery.  Perhaps more concerning are the statistics.  It is not at all uncommon to encounter an uninsured or underinsured motorist on the roads.  According to a 2015 study conducted by the Insurance Information Institute, 12 percent of Arizona drivers are uninsured, and many more are likely to have minimal insurance coverage (the state of Arizona only requires minimum liability insurance coverage of $15,000 per person) that is inadequate for accidents resulting in serious injuries.

If you have been injured by an uninsured or underinsured motorist, you may be concerned that the defendant-driver does not have the resources necessary to adequately cover your damages.  Depending on the particular circumstances of your case, however, you may have alternative avenues for recovery that are worth considering.  Consult with an experienced Arizona motor vehicle accident attorney as soon as possible for further guidance on how to pursue a claim against an uninsured or underinsured motorist.

When the defendant-driver lacks sufficient insurance coverage, then you — the plaintiff — are put in an unenviable position.  For example, if you have $250,000 in damages, but the defendant has only $30,000 in liability insurance, then you will have to look elsewhere to ensure that your damages are covered.

Consider the following strategies for securing a fuller, more adequate recovery.

Secure the Personal Assets of the Defendant

In the event that the defendant lacks sufficient insurance coverage (or lacks coverage altogether), you may be able to secure a lien against the personal assets belonging to the defendant-driver, or even against the earnings of the defendant.  Bear in mind, however, that in many cases, uninsured and underinsured motorists do not have significant personal assets on which to recover.  For example, a driver with substantial personal assets ($1 million or more) is unlikely to lack insurance or otherwise be underinsured with respect to liability coverage.

Engage Your UM/UIM Policy

Arizona does not have mandatory uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) for drivers, though it is highly encouraged.  If you have UM/UIM coverage, then you may be able to file a first-party insurance claim with your insurer for the damages you suffered as a consequence of the defendant’s negligent, reckless, or intentional conduct.

It’s important to note that — even if you have a sizable UM/UIM policy — your insurer is not your ally, and will almost certainly attempt to minimize their payout to the degree that it is possible to do so.  As such, it’s critical that you consult with a qualified attorney who can engage in discussions with your insurer and maximize your recovery.

Investigate Potential Co-Defendant Liability

One excellent strategy for recovering damages in cases where the defendant is uninsured or underinsured is to spread liability to other persons or entities.  Further investigation of the facts may reveal additional defendants.

For example, suppose that you are involved in an accident where the defendant-driver (who is an uninsured motorist) was speeding and lost control of their vehicle, thus leading to the collision with your vehicle.  Your damages are $100,000 in total.  After further investigation, you find that — though the defendant was negligent in the operation of their vehicle — the defendant’s vehicle malfunctioned at the time of the accident, and that this malfunction was caused by the negligence of the defendant’s auto mechanic.  Suppose that the mechanic is 50 percent liable for your injuries.  Even if you cannot recover anything from the uninsured motorist, you would, at the very least, be able to secure $50,000 in damages from the liable mechanic.

Contact us today to discuss your legal rights and options.

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 caused your car to fall in and you sustained damages as a result.  Interestingly, however, there were no signs warning of the drop, nor was there any indication of the drop.

You could almost certainly assert that the defendant property owner (or possessor) failed in their duty to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition for visitors in the parking lot — had the defendant corrected the condition (by filling in the pit) or setup cones or other warnings of the hazard, then the defendant would’ve been shielded from liability.  Given these circumstances, however, the defendant is likely to be held liable for your injuries.

Importantly, defendants in Arizona have different duties towards premises entrants depending on the “category” that the entrants fit into.

For example, trespassers are not entitled to sue and recover damages on the basis of premises liability unless the trespasser can show that the defendant was willful or wanton in causing harm.  In the motor vehicle context, this means that if you get lost and end up trespassing on property (and are subsequently injured due to some hazard of the property), you will not be entitled to compensation except in limited circumstances.

By comparison, property owners owe a duty of care to licensee (an invited guest or customer) visitors that requires them to adequately warn such visitors of the concealed dangers on their property, or to correct such hazards.

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may not be aware that Arizona law entitles you to sue and recover damages from all negligent parties that caused your injuries, not just drivers.  Landowners may also be held liable if some dangerous condition or hazard existing on their property significantly contributed to your injuries.  Pursuing a defendant on the basis of premises liability involves unique litigation challenges.  As such, it’s important that you consult with an experienced Phoenix accident lawyer who has a track record of success in litigating motor vehicle accident claims that involved premises liability issues.

Hirsch & Lyon is a Phoenix-based personal injury firm with a focus on personal injury cases.  Our attorneys are therefore well-positioned to litigate your motor vehicle accident claims to the fullest extent.

Call (602) 535-1900 to connect with one of the attorneys here at Hirsch & Lyon.  Initial consultation is free, and we will take the time to assess your claims and determine a path forward to recovery.

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.  Consider the following non-exhaustive examples:

  • Accident reconstruction experts may testify as to how the accident might have occurred given their assessment of the available evidence;
  • Medical experts may testify as to the damages, the injuries, and other medically-related issues;
  • Industry experts may testify as to the plaintiff’s potential earning capacity given their limited abilities following the accident;
  • Product experts and engineering experts may testify as to product defects in a product liability case;
  • And more

Undermining and Supporting the Credibility of an Expert

Both plaintiff and defendant will make use of expert witnesses.  As such, it’s important — strategically speaking — for each party to undermine the credibility of the experts retained by the other side, and to strengthen the credibility of the experts they themselves retain.  You may, for example, challenging the admissibility of an expert witness’s testimony, or alternatively, you could challenge the reliability of such testimony.

If you have been injured due to the fault of another (in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident), you may be entitled to receive compensation pursuant to Arizona law.  Successful litigation of your claim requires top-notch execution of a number of different aspects.  In litigating your claim, it’s therefore important to keep in mind the value of expert witnesses in providing testimony that supports your various assertions (and undermines those of the defendant).

Hirsch & Lyon is a personal injury firm based out of Phoenix, and our attorneys have over 65 years of combined experience representing clients throughout the state of Arizona.  Our firm offers a number of unique advantages to clients — we are focused on personal injury cases, and we also offer discounted contingency fees, ensuring that our clients keep a larger percentage cut of their damages after litigation has come to an end.

Call (602) 535-1900 to connect with a Phoenix accident lawyer here at Hirsch & Lyon.  Initial consultation is free, and we will take the time to assess your claims and help you determine the ideal path to recovery.

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!

Car Accidents are nightmares and the two most basic things that follow them are, first, getting immediate medical help and the second is, getting immediate legal help for your loss and injuries. Why do you have to pay for hospital bills? Or for your material damage, when your lawyer can get you compensated for both! Yes, it is possible. Under the law, you can get compensated for a traffic collision that caused you to harm due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness. This harm includes all sorts of damages, either those are material, physical or emotional. You can even get compensated for your loss of income, medical bills, and may get compensated for economic losses that may occur due to some injury that may affect your finances in the future. Furthermore, having legal representation at your side will not only help you in negotiating with your insurance agent, and the party at-fault for compensations of your losses throughout of court settlement, but will also make sure that grounds for formal court settlement are laid down if the negotiations fail. Insurance agents are tricky to handle, the insurance companies often offer unfair or limited settlements for your loss, and this could not only make matter worse for you financially but will also affect your mental health. Such situations can emotionally distress you to drain you. So, you should let someone professional and experienced, handle your case.

At this point, not only a lawyer can help you with an informal out-of-court settlement but can also help you with a formal settlement and evidence collection that can be crucial for winning your case. So, get legal help as soon as you get affected in a traffic accident.

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 acting negligently themselves.  For example, if the pizzeria in the previous example was aware that the driver had a long history of reckless driving (i.e., license suspensions, drunk driving, numerous accidents, etc.), then you may be able to bring a separate claim against the pizzeria employer for negligent hiring/supervision.

Course and Scope of Employment

In order to successfully bring a claim pursuant to vicarious liability, you must show that the driver was acting within the course and scope of their employment.  In other words, you must show that the driver was either performing his or her regular job duties, or were otherwise furthering some legitimate business purpose at the time of the accident.  For example, if the driver left work and was driving to meet some friends for dinner, that would likely not count as acting “within the course and scope” of their employment.

When determining whether the driver’s actions are within the course and scope of their employment, the court will look the the extent to which the driver was subject to the control of their employer.  The greater amount of control over the driver’s behavior that the employer can exert, the more likely it is that a court will find that the driver was acting within the course and scope of their employment.

In a surprising number of car accident cases, the defendant-driver is in fact an employee (acting within the course and scope of their employment), thus making the lawsuit somewhat more complicated, and potentially, making it more likely that the plaintiff can receive full compensation for their injuries.  Critically, Arizona law entitles plaintiffs to sue and recover damages from the employer on the basis of vicarious liability, but it only applies in certain circumstances.

Connect with an experienced Phoenix car accident lawyer here at Hirsch & Lyon.  Call (602) 535-1900 today.  Initial consultation is free — our attorneys will assess your claims and help you navigate the litigation process.

We look forward to speaking with you.

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 example, in the state of Arizona, pursuant to section 28-797 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, drivers may not travel at greater than fifteen miles per hour in a school zone while school is in session.  The law is enacted for the safety of the public, and is quite specific in its terms.  If a driver is traveling at greater than fifteen miles per hour and thereafter collides with and injures a student, the driver may be found negligent per se — and could be held liable.

Finding that the defendant has committed negligence — either standard negligence or negligence per se — does not mean that a lawsuit is won, however.  To succeed, you will have to show that the negligence committed by the defendant actually and proximately caused your injuries.  If the defendant violated some traffic law, but that violation did not actually result in the accident at-issue, then you cannot hold them liable (even if they were negligent).

Personal injury claims — including those where the defendant is likely to be found negligent per se — may seem straightforward at first glance, but can be complicated by a number of different factors.  Even where the defendant is found negligent, you will have to show that the defendant’s negligent acts caused your injuries, and further, you will have to successfully persuade the jury to accept your damages assertion as a reasonable estimation of your actual damages.  In the litigation context, there is a significant gulf between a “win” and a “huge success.”  As such, you’ll want to work with attorneys who have a long track record of success representing clients in injury litigation — and more specifically, in car, motorcycle, and truck accident litigation.

Call (602) 535-1900 today to speak with an experienced Phoenix injury lawyer here at Hirsch & Lyon.  During your initial free consultation, your attorney will assess your various claims and work with you to develop a plan of action for pursuing litigation.

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 Requires Additional Measures

Depending on the street, traffic flow may be high volume, high speed, and otherwise complicated (i.e., the street has many mergers close to the crosswalk) by various factors.  In such cases, the standard safety measures implemented at a crosswalk may not be enough.  Additional crosswalk safety measures — such as blinking crosswalk lights — may be necessary to sufficiently manipulate traffic flow and create a safe environment for pedestrians.

Failure to Consider Pedestrian Age, Health, and Ability

Crosswalks do not exist in a vacuum.  Reasonable crosswalk design considers the type of pedestrian foot traffic that will be using the crosswalk.  For example, if a crosswalk is built next to an adult disability center, then it should take into account that many of the pedestrians using the crosswalk will have to use the crosswalk in a slower and more deliberate manner.

Crosswalk Signals Not Working

A well-designed crosswalk must be properly maintained in order to remain safe for pedestrian use.  In fact, if a crosswalk has existing signals that suddenly stop working, or is otherwise in disrepair, it could serve as a “trap” that lures in pedestrians who believe that the crosswalk is safe to use.  If the property owner (or possessor) fails to maintain the crosswalk in safe condition, and a pedestrian is injured as a result, they could be held liable.

Inherent Danger Revealed by Accident History

A substantial pedestrian accident history at the crosswalk is proof that it is inherently dangerous and therefore needs to be modified or removed.  If a property owner is aware of a high volume of pedestrian accidents occurring at the crosswalk, it will operate in some cases as notice of the dangerous condition of the crosswalk.

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident due to the fault of another, you may be entitled to recover damages as compensation for your injuries, pursuant to Arizona law.  Your pedestrian accident case should be handled with seriousness and care.  To ensure that your case is handled effectively, contact an experienced Phoenix pedestrian accident attorney here at Hirsch & Lyon.  Call (602) 535-1900 today.  Initial consultation is free — our attorneys will assess your claims and help you navigate the litigation process.

We look forward to speaking with you.

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 to put you in a position that best approximates your pre-injury condition.

Punitive damages, on the other hand, are awarded as a means of punishing the defendant for their wrongdoing and deterring others from similar misconduct in the future.  Punitive damages are not meant to compensate the plaintiff for their injuries (though punitive damages are paid out to the plaintiff).

Qualifying for Punitive Damages

The Arizona Civil Jury Instructions clearly illustrate the requirements for asserting a claim for punitive damages.  Punitive damages may be available if you can show that:

  • The defendant intended to cause your injuries;
  • The defendant’s conduct was motivated by ill will; or
  • The defendant consciously disregarded the substantial risk of injury that his conduct might expose others to.

In the auto accident context, punitive damages may therefore be available in cases where:

  • The defendant was enraged and intentionally rammed your vehicle.
  • The defendant was intoxicated.
  • The defendant was racing on the highway and therefore consciously disregarding the risk of injury posed to the public.
  • And more.

Though punitive damages are rare, they may be awarded in cases where the defendant’s conduct is particularly egregious.

Punitive damages are — perhaps unsurprisingly — rare in the personal injury context, including auto accidents.  Unfortunately, many attorneys mistakenly pre-judge the situation and fail to assert a claim for punitive damages when there may actually be legitimate reasons justifying punitive damages.  When looking for an attorney to advocate on your behalf in an auto accident injury lawsuit, you not only want to find an attorney who has experience successfully litigating auto accidents, but you also want to find an attorney who is bold enough to pursue punitive damages when appropriate.

Hirsch & Lyon is an Arizona personal injury firm that has specialized in auto accident claims, and have secured punitive damage awards in the past.  If you have been injured in an auto accident, call (602) 535-1900 to setup a free consultation with a Phoenix injury lawyer here at Hirsch & Lyon.  Our attorneys will assess your claims and help you execute an effective strategy as you move forward with litigation.

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 of the total fault (i.e., plaintiff is deemed 20% at-fault, defendant #1 is deemed 40% at-fault, and defendant #2 is deemed 40% at-fault).  Comparative fault operates as a defense, but it is not an absolute defense that bars the plaintiff’s recovery.  Instead, comparative fault will reduce the plaintiff’s total damage recovery in proportion with their fault contribution.

This can be a bit confusing without adequate real-world context.  Consider the following example.

Suppose that you are injured in a car accident while making a left turn onto a local road.  You are a bit distracted, and are not paying full attention when you turn out into the road.  You do not realize that the defendant-driver is speeding towards your position.  As the defendant is driving at such an excessive speed, they cannot slow down and avoid you.  A collision occurs and you suffer serious injuries as a result.  The court finds that you are 40% at-fault, and the defendant is 60% at-fault.

Your total recoverable damages will be reduced accordingly.  As such, given the fault percentages, for a claim where you assert $200,000 damages in total, you would be entitled to recover just $120,000.  Though you are significantly at-fault for your injuries, you are not barred from recovery altogether.  In fact, you could be 99% at-fault and still recover damages in Arizona, thanks to the pure comparative fault doctrine.

Willful or Wanton Conduct

Arizona does not apply comparative fault in favor of any party in a situation where they have intentionally, wilfully, or wantonly caused or contributed to the injuries at-issue.  If you are injured in an accident that the defendant caused due to their road rage, for example, then they would likely not be allowed to raise the comparative fault defense and have their liability reduced (in proportion with the fault percentages).

Unlike other firms who have a range of disparate legal experiences, our attorneys are well-equipped to litigate motor vehicle accident claims and secure favorable results for our injured clients — whether through trial or settlement negotiation.

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, Arizona law may entitle you to compensation, even if you contributed to your injuries through some negligence of your own.  To ensure that your claim is litigated effectively, call (602) 535-1900 today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Phoenix accident lawyer here at Hirsch & Lyon.

We look forward to helping you.

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 how it works.

Product Liability Fundamentals

In Arizona, as in many other states, those injured by a defective product — stated in simple terms, a product that is unreasonably dangerous to those who use the product in a foreseeable manner — are entitled to sue the manufacturer of the product (and, ostensibly, those in the chain of distribution) to recover damages.  Product liability in Arizona makes manufacturers strictly liable for the injuries caused by their defective products.  As a plaintiff, you do not have to prove that the manufacturer negligently created a defective product, such as a defective airbag that failed to deploy — you need only prove that the manufacturer created a defective product.

Proving that the manufacturer created and distributed a defective product is not a simple, straightforward matter.  Your attorney will have to show that the product was unreasonably dangerous given the circumstances.

A plaintiff may show that a product is defective through the consumer expectations test or the risk/benefit analysis test (each may be applicable or inapplicable in different circumstances).  In the consumer expectations test, if a product fails to perform as an ordinary consumer would reasonably expect it to perform, then the product would be deemed defective.  In the risk/benefit analysis test, if the injury risks resulting from a product’s design outweigh the benefits of the design, then the product would be deemed defective.

For example, in a defective airbag case involving an assertion of defective design, if it were revealed that the airbag manufacturer used cheaper materials to save 3% on their manufacturing costs, but this resulted in a 50% spike in fatal accidents, then the airbag would likely be deemed defective under a risk/benefit analysis test.

There are three major types of product liability claims in Arizona.

Design defect claims are brought on the basis that the design of the product exposes foreseeable users to an unreasonable risk of injury.

Manufacturing defect claims are generally limited to “batches” of a product.  A manufacturing defect claim might assert that, due to some mishap or mistake in the factory, the airbag at-issue was made with a defect that caused it to deploy with excessive force.

In a failure to warn claim, the plaintiff asserts that the product at-issue exposes users to an inherent risk of injury, and that the defendant failed to warn users of this inherent risk and provide instructions on how to avoid it.

Defective airbag claims can be incredibly difficult to litigate, not only due to the inherent complications of litigation involving a complex product (i.e., factual issues, the need to retain industry experts, etc.), but also because the defendant is often a corporate entity with significant financial and industry clout.  To maximize your chance of success, it’s important to work with a qualified Phoenix car accident lawyer who has experience litigating defective airbag claims and other product liability claims.  Call (602) 535-1900 to setup a free consultation with one of the experienced accident lawyers at Hirsch & Lyon today.

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 age of interstate truck drivers from 21 to 18.

Lack of Technology

Large trucks in Europe are more likely to include the kinds of safety features that have become standard in passenger vehicles – electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, airbags and collision avoidance systems. Even though this technology is offered by the major truck manufacturers, the US trucking industry has generally not invested in those upgrades because of their cost.

Sleepy Drivers

Numerous studies have shown that truckers are more likely to suffer from obesity and sleep apnea than the general population. Sleep apnea interferes with normal sleep and leaves people with the condition chronically fatigued during the day. Even though FMCSA’s studies have concluded that trucker fatigue is one of the leading causes of large truck accidents, Congress has consistently slowed down any FMSCA efforts to impose mandatory apnea screening for truckers.

Compounding the apnea problem is the brutal schedule most truckers maintain to earn a living – often in violation of the weekly hour limits imposed by FMCSA. They routinely work overtime hours to earn more money and to make up “lost” miles from traffic and other delays. The trucking companies make things worse by asking drivers to comply with unrealistic delivery schedules.

If you or a family member has been injured in a truck accident, call a Phoenix truck accident attorney at Hirsch & Lyon for a free consultation. With offices throughout the Phoenix metro area, our lawyers can provide the representation you need to get the compensation you deserve.