So you’ve survived the long, arduous process of fighting for a settlement claim and you’ve received your payment. You have several options now as to what to do with your settlement and you may not be sure what to do first.

What do you want to accomplish?

If you received the settlement as compensation for continuing health care issues, then of course, that’s where the majority of it should go. Along with that is using the payout to cover debts incurred as a result of extensive medical treatment. If you don’t have health care or disability-related issues, you might just be looking for a long-term strategy that includes an investment plan.

cash in handKeeping cash on hand.

It’s common to use the money first to pay down debt. That’s usually a wise choice, and if you decide to reduce or eliminate your debt, you’ll also most likely want to include investments in your overall picture as well. A generally conservative approach is to set aside enough in cash and other safe investments to cover at least three to five years’ worth of living expenses. Beyond that, especially if you will be relying on investments to support you indefinitely, it’s important to invest money for growth in order to combat the effects of inflation on purchasing power over several years.

Investing the difference.

How you specifically invest your settlement depends on your attitude towards risk and financial markets, but in general, mutual funds based on stock indices, such as the S&P 500, sufficiently outperform more expensively managed mutual funds, providing enough of a rate of return to combat inflation. A good way to learn more is to contact a financial institution where you already hold accounts or other low-cost mutual fund companies and ask for a prospectus on their index funds. This will give you historical performance data of the fund and whether or not it has outperformed the stock index that it tracks. You may also qualify for price breaks when making larger investments.

If you have a financial planner who knows your situation well, they can give you more specific investing advice that’s tailored to your situation. If you don’t have one, you can ask your accountant, your lawyer or even your friends and family to refer you to one.

Although you are required to show financial responsibility when registering a vehicle with the Arizona MVD, there are many circumstances where you may have a lapse in coverage. If you got involved in an accident during one of the gaps in coverage or don’t have insurance for some other reason, you can find yourself in a difficult situation.

Injury claimThe state of Arizona requires all drivers to possess a valid driver’s license and maintain at least $15,000 in bodily injury insurance and $10,000 in property damage insurance. In the event that you’re in an accident in Arizona with no insurance, or with insufficient insurance, you could receive a Class 1 misdemeanor citation. You may also face up to six months in jail, a $2,500 fine, and your car may be impounded. Also, your driver’s license may be suspended until you provide the state with proof of insurance. That being said, if the other driver is at fault for the accident, then they will be responsible for injury and damages.

Another factor in this circumstance is the reason why you don’t have insurance. If the reason why you’re not insured is simply because you never bought it, you’re going to face a worse punishment than if there was just a lapse in your coverage, especially if your coverage expired very recently. Whatever the reason, you’re not going to be allowed behind the wheel again until you can show proof of current insurance coverage.

While you’re at the scene of the accident, it’s important to be honest. If it’s clear that you’re to blame for the accident, tell the other driver that you don’t have insurance. Hopefully, they have uninsured motorist coverage. If they do, they’ll file a claim with their company and after the insurer pays the claim, the insurer will probably sue you to recover the payment. Either way, do not refuse to answer questions about your insurance or say that you have coverage when you don’t.

It’s important to protect yourself and keep your insurance up to date. If, however, you’ve been in an accident during a period when you didn’t have coverage, speak to an experienced attorney today.

Over a recent five-year period, an average of 144 pedestrians per year were killed in Arizona. The state’s pedestrian danger index is nearly double the national average. Most of the time, injuries occur as a result of drivers failing to pay attention to their surroundings. While drivers are paying attention to the potential dangers presented by oncoming traffic, they often don’t look for the people to whom they present a danger. Here are some alarming statistics involving pedestrian accidents:

  • Most pedestrians were hit by cars when the drivers were making right or left turns across crosswalks.
  • Most Mesa pedestrian accidents occurred within a 2 ½ mile radius of downtown.
  • Alcohol and drugs played a role in about 18 percent of all Mesa pedestrian accidents.
  • The intersection of Southern Avenue and Stapley Drive has been the city’s most dangerous five years running.
  • Of all pedestrian related crashes occurring within Mesa, 59.8% occurred on or west of Gilbert Road,
  • University Drive had the highest overall crash frequency at 13 crashes, Country Club Drive had 12, and Main Street had 11.
  • Pedestrian crashes occurring within a 2‐1/2 mile radius of downtown Mesa account for 43.1% of all pedestrian crashes

Because we live in a metropolitan area that has seen unprecedented growth in recent years, we have challenges when it comes to managing traffic. Many older streets and intersections were built to handle the traffic that was there 20 years ago. Today’s population is much larger and although intersections are gradually being rebuilt to accommodate the much higher traffic, inattentive drivers still present a danger.

Pedestrian accidents can result in a wide range of injuries, varying from minor to permanently disabling or even fatal. If you or a family member has been involved in a pedestrian accident, Schenk & Podolsky can help, starting with a free consultation.

Favorite Mesa Breakfast Restaurants

Looking for a great new breakfast spot to take the family this weekend? With our personal injury law firm in Mesa we eat out for breakfast a lot and we’ve got you covered. Here are some great breakfast places right here in Mesa that’s got something for everyone:

Crackers & Co Cafe

crackers and coThe basis of Crackers & Co has been creating great meals “from scratch cooking.” Before the days of smartphones and internet, the only way you’d know about Crackers & Co is through word of mouth, which has served them well. Open since 1984, they’ve stuck to the high standards that make their food so amazing, bringing them acclaim from customers, food critics and local media. You can visit them at any of their three locations. For hours and directions, go to crackersandcompanycafe.com.

T.C. Eggington’s

Back in 1985, Thom and Kathy Coker opened a small breakfast eatery on Alma School Road. Since then, they have propelled it to a top-rated restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch and brunch to the citizens of Mesa from traditional family recipies made from scratch. T.C. Eggington’s goes through a lot of eggs, too. They transform over 8,000 eggs into delicious breakfast entrees on a weekly basis. If you’re feeling adventurous, try their O’Pear Grenache! Find them at 1660 South Alma School Road or visit their website at tcegg.com

Cafe 8

cafe_8Back in July of 2013, Cafe 8 opened its doors here in Mesa. The small eatery that looks like a European bistro prides itself on using fresh ingredients, organic fruits and veggies, and organic grass fed meats to make genuinely wholesome food. On top of that, Cafe 8 boasts an extensive gluten-free menu, including pies and cakes in their dessert case. Tucked in the corner of the Sprouts plaza at Southern Avenue and Higley Road, the eatery is small (it sits about 20 people) and boasts a vibrant color scheme. When you’re headed there, be prepared to eat. The dining room is small, but the portions are big! While you’re there, try the Saints and Sinners French Toast. Check them out at cafe8az.com.