The Insurance Research Council estimates that 13% of all motorists, or one out of every eight drivers, are driving with no insurance. If you include the number of drivers who are underinsured, you can begin to appreciate the difficulty of collecting damages for property loss and personal injuries that you have suffered in a motorcycle accident. Statistics from the Arizona Department of Transportation show that in 2015, bikers in Arizona were involved in more than 116,000 crashes, and more than 36,000 of those crashes resulted in injuries. If you are in a motorcycle accident, instead of just being another statistical, you should retain a skilled lawyer to help you recover compensation for your injuries even if the other driver was uninsured or underinsured.
A skeptic will tell you that the odds are against you and that you simply should not ride, but the freedom that your bike represents and the hundreds of miles of open Arizona roads and highways will always make a stronger argument for riding. Your best preparation for riding where (like in Arizona) your odds of encountering an uninsured motorist are high is to review your own insurance to make sure that your own medical costs would be covered if you are involved in an accident. If your policies are confusing and you cannot get a straight answer from your insurance agent or the company’s help lines, you can consult with an attorney who will help you review and understand your policy. Some policies offer a separate insurance rider that increases your coverage when another party is uninsured or underinsured.
Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can help you recover damages from another party for losses and injuries even if the other party has no insurance. A lack of insurance is not the same thing as an absence of assets. A driver can forego insurance out of forgetfulness or neglect. He might simply assume the risks of having an accident on a belief, mistaken or otherwise, that he can avoid a judgment against him if he has no money to pay the judgment.
As with all motor vehicle accidents, the first order of business after the accident is for you and the other driver to exchange contact information. By doing this, you will quickly determine whether the other driver is insured and what kind of insurance he has. Call an attorney as soon as is possible after the accident. If the other party does not have insurance, he might begin to take steps to hide his assets or to file bankruptcy to defeat any judgments that you might obtain against him. Involving your attorney sooner rather than later will prevent dissipation of any assets that might be used to pay your claims.
A good attorney will also know whether any other parties can be named in a lawsuit. Your motorcycle accident may have been the result, in part, of faulty roads, or by the negligence of a driver who was not involved in the accident but who created some unsafe condition. The sooner your lawyer can investigate the accident, the more likely it will be that he can find the correct parties to name in a lawsuit.
Arizona’s law enforcement authorities are working hard to reduce the number of uninsured and underinsured motorists on the State’s roads, but this problem will not disappear any time soon. The attorneys at Schenk Podolsky represent riders in Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler and the Phoenix metropolitan area to recover the maximum possible amount of monetary damages to compensate for injuries suffered in motorcycle accidents. Please see our website or call us to schedule a consultation on how we can assist you.
To learn more about What Topics are Involved in a Motorcycle Accident take a look at our blog post.
If you file a lawsuit to recover a monetary award for damages and injuries that you have suffered in a car accident, at some point early in the litigation you may well receive a settlement offer from the liable party’s insurance company. You will inevitably be tempted to accept the offer, particularly if the prospect of a quick payout will handle your near-term need for quick cash. At this point, your car accident lawyer should advise you to consider the settlement very carefully. Once you sign the settlement agreement, which will inevitably include a provision that releases the other party from all liability associated with the car accident, you will have virtually no chance of re-opening the case if, for example, you later discover that some damages were not included in the settlement dollar offer. This is true even if those damages were not apparent when you signed the settlement agreement.
The mistaken belief that a settlement can be opened is sometimes driven by rare commercial litigation cases in which a settlement agreement is procured via a party’s fraud or duress. A party that misrepresents facts or that strong-arms an opposing party into signing a settlement agreement might see that agreement successfully challenged when the fraud or duress later comes to light. In car accident cases, an insurance company that stands in for the party that caused the accident will often couch the settlement in terms that make it look like the best deal that will be offered. In itself, this is not sufficient to rise to the level of duress that would later justify opening the settlement.
An injured party can also make a mistake by assuming that his lawyer has settled a car accident case when an insurer presents a settlement agreement. Your lawyer will be a zealous advocate for you. He will negotiate any settlement offer and advise you on the likelihood of procuring a higher or lower damages award if you take your case to trial. The final decision to settle or try a case and to accept or reject a settlement offer is always made by an injured party and not by his lawyer. Some lawyers will accept a larger volume of cases than they could ever take to trial on a premise that they will settle a substantial majority of them. Before you retain a lawyer to represent you in your car accident case, you should interview that lawyer to understand his or her philosophy on settling or trying cases. A lawyer that takes a case with an expectation that it will be quickly settled may not be getting the best deal for his client.
What factors, then should you consider when you are deciding whether to accept a settlement offer? First, consider all of your costs for current and future medical care for injuries that you received in the accident. Some injuries can require months or years of therapy. If a settlement offer only accounts for the medical costs that you have incurred through the date of the settlement, the offer is likely too low.
Next, think about all corollary costs and expenses that you have suffered. Are you losing wages due to an inability to work? Have you missed any events or activities as a result of your injuries? Your lawyer will help you to understand the full range of compensable costs that should be included in your damages.
Finally, include all property damage that the accident may have caused. If your own car was damaged, make sure that you are comfortable with the repairs. A car that has been damaged in an accident will typically have a lower resale or trade-in value. That value reduction should be part of your damages.
This is not to say that every settlement offer you receive following a car accident should be rejected. You will need to consider a myriad of factors and issues before you accept a settlement, and this short summary barely scrapes the surface of those issues. Moreover, this summary is not legal advice, and is only an overview of one of what you will encounter after you have suffered damages in a car accident. If you have suffered car accident damages in Phoenix or anywhere else in the greater Mesa, Arizona metropolitan area, please contact the attorneys at Shenk & Podolsky for a consultation on your case.
An automobile accident can bring about more than just health problems, as there can be financial implications as well. Many victims are faced with staggering medical bills at the same time they are forced to take time off from work to recover. All too often, those who visit a car accident lawyer wind up needing financial assistance, and here is some of the advice we give these people.
Advise your Creditors Early
We recommend letting your creditors know about your circumstances as soon as you become aware there may be a problem. If you are hospitalized following your accident, don’t wait until you are released to begin making phone calls. Likewise, if you must have surgery or take time off from work, get in touch with those you owe money to immediately. The sooner you contact your creditors, the greater the odds are that they will make favorable payment arrangements. In some cases, they may even agree to suspend payments temporarily.
You should also look into possible sources of relief. For example, you may have credit disability insurance that would make a loan payment for you while you are disabled. Some loan companies may even allow you to skip a payment or two, provided you are not currently in arrears.
Contact your employer to find
out if you are eligible for short-term disability benefits. This type of benefit will allow you to draw a small amount while you are unable to work. While it isn’t a lot of money, it may be enough to help you stay current on some of your smaller bills. Churches and local charities might be willing to offer assistance with monthly expenses such as utilities or groceries as well.
After Receiving Collection Notices
Creditors can only extend a grace period so far. If you are out of work for an extended period, the odds are very high that your creditors will eventually lose patience and begin asking for money again. This normally happens at about the same time short-term disability benefits are exhausted.
What do you do when it seems you are backed into a corner financially, yet are still unable to pay? In that case, you should leave the matter to one of our attorneys. Many times, we are able to convince creditors to hold off a little longer until a settlement is made. Some will agree to do so in exchange for a written agreement which states you will pay the debt in full from your settlement.
Bankruptcy as an Option
In the event we cannot reach an agreement with your creditors, you may need to file bankruptcy. This will provide you with immediate relief against collection efforts and wage garnishments on the day you file. In Arizona, a Chapter 7 petition will allow you to keep any property you acquire (aside from inheritances) after your filing date, As such, any settlement you later receive will be off limits. You would however lose non-exempt property, as it would be sold by the trustee and used to pay off your debts.
Medical bankruptcies are extremely common, as an estimated 1.7 million people experienced one in 2013. Should we feel that bankruptcy is in your best interest, we will be happy to refer you to an experienced Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 attorney.
Fee Free Services
When you partner with our law firm, one thing you do not have to worry about is coming up with legal fees. We work on a contingency basis and do not recover unless there is a settlement. If you or a loved one has been injured, please contact us at once, even if you have not yet fallen behind with your creditors.
Pedestrians are a common sight in any metro region, and that includes the East Valley area. Millions of tourists visit Arizona every year. In addition, many of the people who work and live here take advantage of the dry weather to walk where they need to go. The downside to this is that it sometimes leads to collisions between pedestrians and cars, many of which happen at a crosswalk. Personal injury attorneys have represented numerous people who have suffered pedestrian crosswalk injuries.
Schenk Podolsky Attorneys at Law 4140 E Baseline Rd #101, Mesa, AZ 85206
Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents are a common occurrence statewide – not just in the Valley region. Every year more than 1,500 collisions take place, and nearly all of them result in some form of injury. Those numbers hold relatively steady from year-to-year with no sign of decreasing anytime soon.
Besides the overall statistics, the frequency of crosswalk collisions are especially worrisome. Of those who find themselves injured in pedestrian accidents, about half of them take place while crossing the road. Of the hundred or so fatal pedestrian accidents statewide every year, more than 80% of them are due to injuries sustained when being struck by a car at a crosswalk.
Not surprisingly, the majority of pedestrian crosswalk accidents occur during the day simply because of the higher traffic volume, both on the road and on foot. However, the ones that happen after dark often cause more serious injuries or death. Eight out of every ten pedestrian fatalities in the state of Arizona take place during the nighttime hours.
Whenever a person is injured or killed in a pedestrian crosswalk accident, they or their loved ones could have legal options for pursuing damages. The result of the lawsuit would depend largely on the specifics of the case and should be discussed with an experienced pedestrian injury attorney. The details of the incident would determine who was at fault and if comparative negligence took place, which means the pedestrian was at least partially at fault for causing the accident.
Basic traffic laws dictate behaviors within Arizona crosswalks. Pedestrians can cross the street within those crosswalks when it is safe to do so, typically when a traffic signal gives the indication. If no traffic signal is available, pedestrians are to check for oncoming traffic from all directions and cross only when it can be done safely. Once the crosswalk has been entered under reasonable circumstances, pedestrians automatically have right-of-way.
A lot of crosswalk accidents occur because motorists either forget that they do not have the right-of-way or they miscalculate whether their driving could injure a pedestrian. Distracted drivers and motorists who simply did not see a person on the street are other frequent causes of vehicle and pedestrian collisions. It is especially important for an attorney to examine the case if any of these types of negligent behaviors have taken place.
Most often, the previously described scenarios would ultimately find that the driver who harmed the pedestrian was being negligent behind the wheel. This would mean the pedestrian (or the family, in the case of a fatality) would be entitled to monetary compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost income, among other damages. However, there will be situations where it is determined both the motorist and the pedestrian caused the collision.
In the event of comparative negligence, Arizona law uses something called the pure comparative negligence standard. This means the court decides the level of responsibility for each party and whether the damages for which the defendant would otherwise be held accountable can be reduced based on plaintiff liability. This generally happens if the pedestrian crossed the street against traffic or ran into the road and the driver had little chance of avoiding a collision.
If you or a loved one suffered injury in a pedestrian crosswalk accident, please consider contacting our attorneys to schedule an initial consultation.