There are all types of accidents, but the collision with a truck can be very different from a crash with a car or motorcycle. Any minute is of the essence.
An expert should download the “black box” information from the truck to determine the speed and when the breaks were applied. Many enterprises especially truck companies have installed video surveillance that can also be requested. Trucking companies are only required to maintain documents like trip receipts for a short period, which can be difficult when you are building a case. The attorney must request all the evidence from that driver related to the trip be maintained.
The important thing is that a semi-truck can cause a lot of damage, much more than an average vehicle. Further, there is a chance for higher compensation for a trucking accident than you would receive in a crash with a passenger vehicle. Semi-truck are almost certainly covered with one or more commercial liability insurance policies.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FCMSA) requires that semi-trucks carry commercial carrier insurance so that there is money available to offer compensation for a trucking accident. It is not unusual to find commercial carrier insurance policies for $1 million or more.
These policies are entirely different than a regular passenger vehicle. It’s essential that you work with experienced accident attorney who can advise you and get you fair compensation for a trucking accident.
There are the couple of factors that can vastly change your compensation level:
- Sustained injuries
- Medical treatment
- The economic damages sustained
- Lost wages
- Lost Future earning capacity
- Emotional trauma and Post-Traumatic stress disorder
- Lost of companionship (Also known as loss of consortium)
We at Schenk Podolsky Attorneys at Law care about the case, so there is no same case for us. Truck accident cases are unique because you can sue a corporation that hired a driver, the broker that arranged the trip, and even the shipper of the goods being transported, under certain circumstances.
If you go to trial you cannot tell the jury is there an insurance company protecting the driver. The board is not supposed to consider the effect of a verdict on a person’s financial situation, cause if they chose to return a high verdict, there is a chance that they fill financially cripple the defendant.
That’s why there is lower compensation for a car accident than in the case involving the truck. Also, let’s not forget that semi-truck drivers have different regulations.
A truck driver has to follow service regulations to prevent fatigued driving, and are subject to immediately post-accident drug and alcohol tests. Unfortunately, many drivers ignore these rules and drive overly tired because of the pressure to deliver on time.
In an accident that involves the truck, you can claim that corporate negligence, like safety violations, vehicle maintenance or overloading contributed to the cause of your injury. Higher compensations are usually in these cases because the corporation is a corporate violation policy, rather than an individual.
There are cases against companies that are very complex. Including multiple defendants, injuries and much time.
Car Accident Victims
A driver has one responsibility, and that is watching the road in front of them. Making phone calls, eating, texting, or updating GPS can be very dangerous while driving. If the Distracted driver has caused the incident, the driver may be held liable- or legally responsible. It can cause physical as emotional trauma. In this situations it is essential to know your rights or if anyone from your family or friends experience similar life situations.
Get adequate medical attention
First of all, if the accident occurs, especially if accident renders a victim of cause any other serious injury, seek medical help as soon as possible. They will help with proper medical care and have the wounds treated.
It is crucial that individuals take care of their physical harm and to prevent further injury. Medicine staff should take documentation of current injuries as well as the damage the other person/persons injured during the crash. If your doctor diagnoses an injury and begins treatment, continue the course of the therapy as pointed. Your doctor is in the best position to determine a treatment for you and to keep doctor’s record of your visits and verify the nature of injuries. This verification is vital due to a later injury claim. You can get your copy of your medical records. Is it said that you were going 45 mph when you were going 25 and vice versa.
The victims should collect as much information about the incident as possible. Other parties that are involved in the incident should be documented, names and contacts. If there are police officers on the site, you can seek the copies of incident reports. Commonly, there are witnesses information, pictures of the crash site and further documentation from the coalition. Write down what happened. Include every detail of what happened in the accident. Features should include the time of the day, lane you were driving, weather condition, road condition and other information that may contribute to the crash. Pictures are paramount cause they can prove other driver’s negligence.
Report the accident to your insurance company. You can take the settlement offer, but sometimes it is better to talk with the professional. There are compensations for the accidents, and they are determined by the court. It is vital for victims to know what are they seeking damages. Physical injuries, disability, medical treatment, mental distress loss of earning ability, loss of earnings, inconvenience, damage to property, hospitalization expenditure, pain, and suffering.
A car accident attorney can give you legal representation. The critical thing to know is that you can sue other parties as well responsible for the accident.
If your car was smashed by a truck, you could file a suit against both, the driver and the trucking company. Also, if the intersection was poorly designed or constructed, you can seek claims from the state agencies. You can even sue the manufacturers of equipment failing, or construction caused the accident. For negligence, you can sue the third parties like Government agencies and road contractors.
Are Car Accident Settlements Taxed?
Going through a car accident is already a process, but if and when you need to get a settlement, it’s important to know what to do with the settlement money and if it is taxable. It’s easier to worry about that in the beginning than it is later. Here are some tips.
Very rarely are they taxable, though they are some exceptions according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
If you receive a settlement for personal physical injuries or physical sickness and did not take an itemized deduction for medical expenses related to the injury or sickness in prior years, the full amount is non-taxable. Do not include the settlement proceeds in your income.
Although, there are times when the compensation IS taxable. Depending on how the settlement was laid out and what took place in the interactions for negotiation between you and the other driver involved who has injured you. Talking about tax considerations during these times is imperative for you to get the most money back as possible. Having the right lawyer to know when to bring up and how to get you the most in return in especially vital so you do not have to worry about possibly missing something during the initial conversations.
Having your settlement be eligible for taxes mostly relies upon the reason for the payment to offset 4 main categories.
- Lost wages which might look something like $5,000 this is true if you have had to miss work, or work less in result of the injury.
- Replace or repair your damaged vehicle/property. If you had to get something fixed, or need to, or if it is unable to be fixed.
- Cover your medical costs. Always go see a Dr. and get checked out after a car accident. Medical bills could be another $10,000 that you put down as a cost to you in result of the accident that the other driver is responsible for.
- Compensate you for your emotional stress. For your pain and suffering. It takes a toll to get hurt, lose work, have damages, and still maintain a healthy disposition. This can be a really tough experience to have to go through and you can essentially hold the other driver for accountability and you could potentially receive more money. That price your lawyer will help you with and the total cost will include all numbers. If you ask for $15,000 for pain and suffering this will leave you a total of $30,000.
Each of these can be broken down into when a tax is likely to be applicable and mostly that it is very rare that it is. Most medical is NON-taxable, but there is an exception for prior years deductions that can be taxed. If that sounds like it may apply to you, tell your lawyer. Emotional distress and pain and injury are considered to be different. Pain and injury in result of the experience and accident cannot be taxed; but if you were NOT injured but now have a fear of driving, that would be taxable.
There are many things can can come up, and things you might not know or miss. Make sure the right lawyer is representing you and call Schenk Podolsky Attorneys at Law. Each state will vary when it comes to your rights in accidents and settlements.
Reporting an Accident to Police
When car accidents occur, usually stress kicks in as well. It is very easy to get overwhelmed in the situation, especially when you want to make sure you do everything right. It is important to understand WHY and HOW to successfully report the car accident.
Why is it Important to Report a Car Accident?
If there is any damage to your vehicle, or any injuries that you have sustained; you will want to get that taken care of immediately. Sometimes people say they are willing to pay cash up front to avoid the reporting to police of incident, but that isn’t going to actually be in your favor and could make matters more difficult down the road. People lie and they give out false information to you, and even if it seems legit at the moment, you might run into trouble later. When the police arrive they will take care of the swapping and verifying of insurance, which is a huge relief off of you when you have other things to worry about.
Injuries don’t always set in immediately upon accident. You might feel some soreness, but you might dismiss it as not that bad and thinking that it will subside. Often times the next couple of days is when you start to feel just how sore you are, or that you have an injury. If you wait too long or decide not to report, you could find yourself in a situation where you are having to pay for your own medical bills.
How to Properly Report a Car Accident to Police
There are a few steps you should take to report the accident to the police and to your insurance.
- STAY CALM: At least try to. It is going to be okay, and you’ll have time to process later.
- DO NOT ADMIT FAULT: Don’t talk much about the accident and whose fault is who.
- MAKE SURE: Everyone is safe from traffic, and in a spot where they can breathe.
- DON’T AGREE: Not to report. You should and need to report it.
- TAKE PHOTOS: Maybe jot down some notes from your memory of what happened and any some details that might need to be remembered later.
- IF ANYONE IS HURT: Do not move them. Only move them if they are in danger.
- CALL THE POLICE: File a report.
- SWITCH: Information, Anything essential.
- IF THERE IS A WITNESS: Get their information too.
- CONTACT: Your insurance company. You’ll want all the information on hand with you and to file it as quickly as possible post accident.
When the police arrive it is best to also take note of their information.
- The officer’s name.
- Officer’s badge number.
- Officer’s phone number.
- Police report number.
A fender bender may result that you only call your insurance companies and if both insurance companies do not think that there needs to be police involved, than you can make that decision then. Only agree if the following are true.
- No one is injured.
- Damage is minor.
- The OTHER driver ACCEPTS BLAME, and has insurance.
- You get the other driver’s insurance information.
- YOU have talked to both of the insurance companies, everyone is on the same understanding, and both of the agents have told you that you have done and have everything that you need. You will also want to get the claim number of the insurance from the driver.
This is very important that all steps are checked off. In the state of Arizona, over $300 dollars in damages is considered as a need to report.
Car accidents can be scary and shake you up, but knowing that you have a plan of attack to best handle the situation can bring a sense of peace. Know what you need to do, and know your rights. Then make sure you have the right accident lawyer to help you with anything that doesn’t go right, and if matters start to get worse.
Why the increase in pedestrians deaths in Arizona? There are many things going on while we are driving or walking on the road and sidewalks. It is quite easy to be distracted, and normally if you are only looking away for a second, nothing too bad happens. Though there are times when it is just that
1 second that it’s all it takes for a really bad accident to occur. It is not just being behind the wheel and concerned about others in their vehicles, but it’s also the pedestrians walking around.
New research done by the Governors Highway Safety Association shows that Arizona is rated third highest state for a number of fatalities per population. Phoenix/Arizona has been high on the lists for about 20 years now and seeing a consistent increase. With everything being at your fingertips, it is reasonable to say that 11% of the increase is due to cell phones. “You’re always on that phone!” might actually cost you your life. It’s not that being on your phone is the cause of all bad things, but it does assist in distractions for both drivers and pedestrians. Last year in Arizona, there was almost 200 people, statewide, who did not survive their injuries in these accidents.
Awareness To Pedestrian Safety
In attempts to try and bring awareness to the increase we are seeing, new education is being explored. Arizona has received funding from the government to work towards programs and initiatives that will keep pedestrians safer. Over the course of the next few years, you will start to see new ads, and new resources to help keep drivers less distracted. When you are in transition from one place to another try to stay focused and present in the moment. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes but make sure you are in a clear-headed space make all the difference. Everyone needs to work together to keep the streets safe and maintain a hyper-awareness of your surroundings, both as the driver and as a pedestrian.
Life is delicate, and knowing the right people to contact in times of trouble is crucial and sometimes difficult to navigate. When the programs are not enough, and when you find yourself amidst the situation yourself, it is important to have the right lawyers. It is not always death that happens, but sometimes very serious injuries or someone you know might have gotten hurt, and you will want the right representation. When you are facing adversity, we will face it with you, fight for you, and make sure that your safety is our priority.
Contact Schenk Podolsky Attorneys at Law today, your Arizona Injury Lawyers in Mesa and Phoenix.
Dealing With Trauma After a Car Accident
Enduring a car accident can be particularly traumatic, and it’s about more than just the physical damage to your car. Because car accidents leave many feeling shocked, it’s a good idea to have a plan ahead of time for how to deal with a car accident.
What Should You Do Immediately Following a Relatively Minor Accident?
A major accident with multiple vehicles or where someone is seriously injured must be dealt with a bit differently, but here is a plan for dealing with a relatively minor accident:
- Move your vehicle to a safe area like the shoulder of the road, if possible. If you cannot move your vehicle, turn on your flashing hazard lights to alert other drivers.
- Get out of your vehicle when safe.
- Check on any parties involved—other drivers, passengers and any pedestrians—to make sure everyone is safe. Immediately call 911 if anyone appears to be injured.
- Call law enforcement and make a report.
- Do not admit fault. Ever. Even if you believe yourself to be at fault, do not admit it or even hint at it. It is the job of the authorities to determine fault. Gather any relevant information, including:
- The names of the other driver(s) and any passengers
- License plate numbers
- Insurance information
- Make and model of any vehicles involved
- Contact information for any witnesses
- The name and badge number of any law enforcement officers who respond to the scene
- Document anything you can using the camera on your smart phone
Of course, in the event of a more serious accident, you should immediately call 911, then perform the above steps if feasible.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident
What Else Should You Do After an Accident?
You should seek medical attention, even if you do not believe yourself to be injured.
Even a minor accident can cause injuries, like whiplash, which you may not be aware of until later. This means that even if you think you are fine, it’s a good idea to seek medical attention following a car accident. Calling an ambulance may not be necessary, but you should call your primary care physician or go to an urgent care clinic to be checked out. Sometimes when people are in shock following a car accident, their brains do not immediately process injuries. This is why it is a good idea to consult a physician, even if you don’t believe you’ve been injured. The physical effects of a car accident can be devastating, and months of pain and rehabilitation resulting from an accident may result in reduced productivity and an inability to fully participate in life.
What Should You Do after You’ve Seen a Doctor?
Finally, it is in your best interest to seek legal representation, especially if your physician determines that you have been injured or if the authorities determine that you are at fault.
If you are in physical pain resulting from another driver’s being at fault, then you may be entitled to the other party’s insurance covering your medical bills. Without proper representation, you may feel pressured by the insurance company into a settlement that is really not in your best interest. If you are determined to be at fault, you may feel pressured to settle for more than what the law actually requires. Surrounding yourself with the right legal team is a way to protect your rights and make sure you receive what you are entitled to under the law. This makes legal representation essential.
Enduring a car accident can be upsetting and stressful, even if it’s just a minor accident. Because you will likely be under extreme stress and possibly not thinking clearly, it’s helpful to have a plan before hand, a plan that involves seeking medical attention and legal support.
The insurance company wants a written statement about my car accident
Surely, you’ve heard the Miranda warning, “Anything you say can and will be used against you.” You’re probably thinking, “But, that’s for criminal proceedings.” While that’s true, it also a smart way to view supplying a written statement about your car accident to the other driver’s insurance company. An insurance company will most assuredly use your own words against you at the first available opportunity if it saves them money.
Insurance Adjusters Don’t Work for You
Insurance adjusters are not looking out for your best interests. They work for the insurance carrier, and that’s where their allegiance lies. The adjuster’s role is to minimize the financial impact of a motor vehicle accident for their company. To that end, they are adept at eliciting statements that help the carrier and hurt the claimant.
Requesting a written or recorded statement is common practice after a car accident. Your own insurance company is likely to demand one too, and you must comply with this requirement in those situations. However, no such obligation exists when dealing with the adjuster for the other motorist’s carrier. Keep that in mind when speaking with their representative.
Often, these requests are part of a fishing expedition. The insurance company is looking for ways to defend against a claim or a lawsuit. They ask a series of questions that may trip you up and make it appear that you’re at fault for the accident. This is their job. It’s what they do day in and day out. You, on the other hand, are simply trying to tell your side of the story. One of the problems with that approach is that you don’t have all the facts.
You likely don’t know what issues the other driver could have been facing. That motorist may have been sleep-deprived, taking medication, talking on the phone, texting, or otherwise distracted. There could also be mechanical problems. The adjuster is not going to volunteer this information. Instead, they might ask you a litany of detailed questions to confuse you and elicit comments and statements that lets them off the hook.
Proceed with Caution
The other insurance company’s investigator or adjuster is likely to go after your recorded statement right away, probably during your first phone call. They want to catch you unprepared, and hopefully before you have retained a lawyer.
You need not be rude when declining. Simply explain that you would prefer to discuss your rights with a lawyer before making any statements. Be polite, but firm. Don’t allow them to press you or guilt you into a statement.
Keep in mind that you can always change your mind and offer a statement later. The opposite is not true. Once you’ve provided a recorded or written statement, you can’t take it back. The opposition has locked you into a version of events and any confusion or missteps on your part can and will be used against you.
Be smart. Be cautious. Be prepared. It’s also a good idea to discuss your accident with a skilled and experienced car accident attorney. Most personal injury lawyers offer free initial consultations, allowing you to determine whether you have a viable claim before accepting any offers from an insurance company.
Every year, between 2.4 million and 4.4 million people are injured in motor vehicle accidents, per 2015 statistics reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Safety Council. The range of injuries resulting from these accidents runs the gamut, but whiplash is one of the most commonly suffered. Chances are high that you are at heightened risk of a whiplash injury when involved in a car crash, truck accident, or other motor vehicle collision.
Whiplash is perhaps most well-known as a car accident-related injury. But most people don’t really know what this injury involves, or how serious it can be. When you are in an automobile involved in a collision, you typically experience an abrupt, lurching motion inside the vehicle. This movement jerks your body, jolting joints between ligaments, cervical muscles, vertebrae, and discs in your neck and the upper area of your spine. This soft-tissue injury damages ligaments, muscles, and tendons.
Someone suffering from the painful condition of whiplash often notices neck strain or sprain, but may also experience any of the following symptoms as well:
- Neck pain
- Neck stiffness
- Upper back pain
- Lower back discomfort
- Shoulder pain
- Numbness/pain in the hand and/or arm
- Sleep issues
- Difficulty with concentration
- Memory problems
Whiplash Trauma Injuries
More than 90 percent of whiplash sufferers report neck pain. Though this is somewhat of a misnomer, as it generally radiates to adjoining parts of your body, into your head, shoulders, and between your shoulder blades. Disc injury and facet join pain are common causes of this neck pain. These injuries cause discomfort, stiffness, instability, and difficult and abnormal movement.
Headaches closely follow neck pain in prevalence for victims of whiplash, impacting more than 80 percent of those afflicted with this condition. This head pain is often a direct result of whiplash injuries to your cervical spine facet joints, and the supporting muscles and ligaments.
Low back pain is reported by more than 50 percent of those suffering from whiplash that results from rear-impact crashes. Side-impact crash-related whiplash victims see a rise in that rate to nearly 75 percent. This is caused largely by the compression your lower back experiences during the collision.
More severe injuries can also result, such as temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ), brain injury, and lasting chronic pain, weakness or limited movement. Early medical intervention is key in mitigating and minimizing severe damage.
After the Accident
Most commonly, you will experience much of the neck pain, strain, and headaches described above, immediately or soon after your car accident. You may make the mistake of minimizing your injury and presuming it will correct itself. This is a dangerous presumption. Failure to receive prompt medical treatment, such as chiropractic care and soft tissue rehabilitation can lead to more serious and long term injuries.
It’s also a mistake to turn to a car insurance adjuster to look out for your best interests, whether they work for your carrier or that of the other driver. Adjusters owe their allegiance to their insurance companies. Their goal is to settle your claim as quickly and inexpensively as possible.
A skilled and knowledgeable car accident lawyer is far more suited to help you receive the care that you need, and the compensation you require for the best possible recovery. He will advise of your rights, direct you to medical professionals experienced in the treatment of whiplash, and work to obtain a fair and equitable settlement or award while you concentrate on your recovery.
How Long Does It Take to Settle a Car Accident Case In Court?
You were in an accident. You hired a lawyer, went to physical therapy. Turned in all your bills. Now, what?
If you’re wondering how long it will take before your case settles, it can be fairly quick, but there can be extenuating circumstances that delay your case. Things like waiting for the attorneys, missing paperwork, and a few other factors…
So let’s take a look at a few examples of what happens in accident cases to help you understand how much time is really involved:
What Delays an Accident Claim?
- When liability comes into question: In some accidents there are factors that can delay a settlement offer. For example, if liability isn’t clear this can slow things down as both sides may not claim liability. If a car accident occurred when a vehicle stopped to avoid a vehicle that swerved in its path, a third-party crash can sometimes take longer to prove.
- When government agencies are involved: If an accident occurred due to a traffic light that malfunctioned or a missing stop sign, liability may also be questioned and an insurance claims adjuster may deny a claim which can take more time to prove.
- Missing paperwork: Another scenario is when there’s paperwork that’s missing. If the adjuster doesn’t have all the medical reports or the police report, this can slow down the settlement process.
The reason you want to know how long it takes is obvious. You probably have medical bills that need to be paid and you want to put a traumatizing experience behind you. That’s understandable, too.
Most people in accidents are hoping for the settlement money sooner rather than later especially if their vehicle was damaged, they lost time off from work or they fell behind on bill payments due to them being off work or in some circumstances, out of work.
When to Expect Your Case to Settle
For starters, there are a few things that need to be in place to reach settlement talks and receive an offer:
- all medical treatment should be completed with a doctor’s release from care
- all medical records and police reports have been forwarded to the attorney
- a settlement demand has been sent to the attorney’s office
The time frame can vary depending on how long you might be treated. If you only need a few weeks of physical therapy, that may mean you get a settlement offer sooner, but if you need a few months of care, then the process can take longer.
If you were in an accident and have turned in all your medical records, the police report and any other information that was requested, you may just want to call your attorney to confirm that the settlement demand was sent. If it was, they may call the other party’s attorneys to get an update on your case.
The Time Frame After All Paperwork is Completed
Typically, it may only take about three weeks after you finish your medical treatment and all paperwork and documentation have been turned into the insurance adjuster for the insurance claim to be completed. Your attorney may need to contact the insurance company if your claim goes beyond this. Once a settlement offer has been reached, it shouldn’t take long before you receive your payment.
When You Need a Lawyer: Contact Schenk Podolsky
Getting the right lawyer can help with your accident case. If you were involved in a car accident, get a FREE online consultation today at (480) 757-5000. Arizona accident lawyers are ready to help. Contact Schenk Podolsky today!
Are The Cameras Really Helping?
Backup Camera Technology in Accidents Prevention
Drivers might follow all the driving rules like keeping all the mirrors adjusted, keeping their mind undistracted when driving and still bump into an accident. Most of these accidents are backover accidents. They often happen to children and the elderly. Children love being at the back of the car mostly when they are bidding goodbyes and because of their heights it gets hard for drivers to see them. Back-over accidents are caused by the blind zones in the vehicles which prevent drivers from seeing beyond the rear bumpers.
A lot of people are only worried about highway accidents without having in mind that a high percentage of accidents occur in the driveways and the parking areas. Although many cars have sensors that help drivers detect when they are about to hit an object, that is not enough to prevent a backover accident. Fortunately, there have been introductions of backup cameras that will help solve the problem. The backup cameras are said to work better by themselves than when used together with parking sensors.
Research showed that mirrors alone are not convenient enough in preventing accidents. Large vehicles have the worst rear visibility when small cars have the best. A research tested both the backup cameras and the parking sensors and discovered that cameras are more promising in addressing backover accidents.
How The Back-Up Camera Works
These cameras work differently depending on the implementation. The image quality also varies for different cameras. Some work by capturing video images of the area behind the car which are then displayed on a screen that is situated on the car’s dashboard while others work in conjunction with an alarm sensor that informs the driver when she/he is about to hit an object. Some apply the brake automatically before an object is hit. These are images of objects that cannot be seen by mirrors or glances only. Also, the cameras are helpful because the objects can be seen before it is too late and the driver can apply brakes. This is very beneficial mostly to old drivers or people with disabilities who might be unable to stretch and check behind while driving.
However, these cameras are not entirely convenient in preventing accidents as other aspects have to be considered too. Drivers must be aware of their surroundings before backing up. Some drivers will fail to check the blind spots just because they depend on the backup cameras to see everything happening behind the vehicle. The cameras may at times fail to capture all the images which will lead to an accident, and the drivers must be held responsible. Some of the incidences where the rear cameras might not be of help are;
- When the camera is affected by the weather conditions- During a rainy or foggy weather, it is hard for the camera to capture any images and the driver needs to come up with another plan to prevent accidents.
- When the object is in the shade- The driver may not be able to view an object that is in the shade since the camera cannot capture objects in dark places
- When the sunlight is bright- The camera will capture blurred images which might not be helpful to the drivers.
- When the driver fails to use the camera properly
Backup cameras can prevent accidents, but they should not be fully depended on. Some situations require the driver’s extra effort, and they should trust their instincts because the cameras may not show the whole picture.