Untimely death of a loved ones is one of the most difficult time for the loved one’s family or friends. However, in some cases, someone else might be at fault and in those cases, when someone else was negligent, you might be entitled to a compensation. These type of compensations are achieved through a wrongful death lawsuit.
Here, we will discuss what different type of accidents can lead to a wrongful death lawsuit.
Commercial trucking accidents
Most of the time, commercial trucking accidents are classified as auto accident. However, they are different from passenger vehicle accidents in a lot of way. One of the main difference is the mere size of the truck. Since commercial trucks are often heavy and large, they are most likely involved in accidents that result in death.
Commercial truck operation has a lot of elements in it, and each one of them has to be examined by the personal injury or wrongful death lawyer in order to determine how the accident occurred. These elements can include
- Mechanical failure
- Incorrect maintenance of the truck
- Oversized loads
- Loads that weren’t properly secured
- Driving error and
- Driving under the influence of some substance (alcohol or drugs)
In order to determine which party, or parties, are liable in the wrongful death of your loved one, the attorney will review every relevant aspect of the commercial truck operation.
Wrongful Death Through Car Accidents
Traffic collision involving passenger vehicles are one of the most common types of accidents that lead to a wrongful death case. This is due to the number of people that drive and how often they drive.
According to the 2019 NHTSA statistics, over 39,000 car accidents in the US had a fatal outcome. Only in Arizona, there were 911 fatal crashes, and even though this is the lowest number in the past three years, that is still an alarming number
Many of the fatal car accidents are caused by the negligence or one or more drivers. These can be categorized as:
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving or driving under the influence
- Roadway issues
- Speeding and
- Driving while drowsy
Bicycle, Pedestrian or Motorcycle accidents
People that commute with bicycles, motorcycles or on foot, are more likely to be killed in vehicle accidents. This is because they lack the necessary protection that vehicle d rivers have during the collision.
In the majority of these cases, the pedestrian, bicyclist or motorcyclist are killed in accidents mainly because of the negligence of the driver.
Medical malpractice and wrongful death
Even though hospitals should be a safe place, where healthcare providers should be skilled and well-trained to avoid harming the patients. We even have safety protocols set up in all hospitals. But despite that, medical negligence occurs and it can be fatal.
The most common examples of fatal medical errors include:
- Delayed or incorrect treatment
- Birth injury
- Errors during surgery
- Pharmaceutical errors
- Defective devices or medications
- Hospital negligence
- Lack of informed consent
Certain occupations are at greater risk of injury and death because of workplace accidents and dangerous nature of the job. Fatal work accident can occur in any workplace where the workers are required to work under dangerous conditions.
Based on the research of OSHA, the most frequent work-related accidents which result in death, occur due to:
- Being struck by an object
- Being caught between machinery, objects or materials
Defective products are dangerous for users even if they are used correctly. Sometime, even safe use of a defective product can be fatal. The most common cases of defective products, which cause death are:
- Defective drugs
- Vehicles or some components
- Defective children products
- Toxic food or containers
All manufacturers are obligated to only manufacture and sell safe and reliable products to their users. In case the manufacturer creates an unsafe or defective product, which poses danger to the user, then he can be held reliable of the (proper) use of said product leads to the user’s death.
If you or your loved ones has died and you suspect that you have a wrongful death case of one of the types mentioned above, contact Schenk & Podolsky today and schedule a consultation. Let us review your case with you and see if you have the right to claim compensation.
In our previous blog posts we discussed what happens after your car accident. We mentioned that lawyers of both sides will do a deposition to take statements from you, from the at-fault driver, witnesses and medical examiners. Then those depositions get transcribed and reviewed by the lawyers. So what’s next?
Once both sides have their depositions, it’s possible that there will be a trial, if of course both sides feel that they have a solid case.
Going to trail isn’t something to be taken easily. It’s a big decision that you need to discuss with your personal injury lawyer. Your attorney should be honest with you and tell you what are your chances if the case does go to trial and what are the good and bad sides of it.
The reason why this needs to be considered carefully is because a trial can be an expensive and time-consuming process. But if a trial is what it will take for you to get the best out of your recovery and not pay anything out of your own pocket, then your personal injury lawyer will be there to help you and guide you through the process.
Negotiations with the other side will keep on going, but your lawyer will also dedicate a significant amount of effort to prepare for a trial that should give you the best chances for success.
A settlement is something that can occur at any stage of the process. Reaching a settlement is actually beneficial for all parties involved, but you should only settle if the offer you get is what you want.
If you’re not the cause of the accident and you have no part in the injuries, then you should have the obligation to bare any costs for your recovery. The goal of your personal injury lawyer is to get you every dollar you deserve.
Once a sides presents a settlement offer you will have to discuss it with your attorney. Your attorney will give you his honest opinion and whether he thinks that the offer is fair or not. The final decision on accepting or refusing the settlement offer is entirely up to you.
Accepting a settlement offer means that your case will be closed and you probably won’t be able to file another claim for this particular accident. Since this closes the loop on your car accident case it really important to carefully review the settlement offer and make sure that it covers everything you will need for a full recovery. When it comes to settlement offers, you should know that they should cover:
- Medical bills, both present and future
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Rehabilitation costs
The recovery process could be long, depending on how severe your injuries were. If the recovery process is longer, then you will need extended hospital stays, even more than one surgery which means that you will be away from work for quite a while. It is also possible that you might not return to work in the same capacity as before.
Accepting this can be difficult, especially if we take into consideration that this might result in financial difficulties, stress and problems for your family. So working closely with your attorney who is fully aware of your needs and how those injuries might affect you in the long run is key. He will be able to closely determine the settlement that will compensate you.
Brain damages caused by a car accident can sometimes affect you for the rest of your life which means that there will be recurring costs aside from the initial treatment. These recurring costs might include prescriptions, returning visits to the doctor, therapy and rehabilitation.
Avoiding car accident trial
After a car accident, the most important thing is to focus on your physical recovery. Trials can be added unnecessary stress that you don’t really need. And even though settlements are a relatively quick and good solution to a car accident case, sometimes a trial is necessary because the at-fault party is refusing to offer a fair settlement.
Fatal auto accidents are something we often hear about on the news, and the reports sometimes make us wonder – is the number of accidents going down or up?
The laws of texting while driving, additional enforcement on drinking while driving and the variety of safety measures should really make a difference.
According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) the answer is yes, but it’s a bit complicated. The number of fatalities in automobile accident has dropped by 2.4% compared to 2018.
Unlike automobile accidents, truck accidents are on the opposite end of the curve and have increased by 0.9% in a recent year. Most of the time, in truck accidents, the ones that suffer in the collision aren’t truckers, but other drivers and passengers that they hit.
From the automobile-related fatalities 62% of fatalities were drivers and passengers of cars and small trucks. Only 3% of fatalities were commercial or large vehicles.
Trucking fatalities – Common causes
The American economy is switching towards home deliveries and shipping. This not only increases the number of products that get moved around, but also puts a bigger pressure on truckers to make deliveries on time.
Alcohol-related collisions have decreased in 2018 which means that the most common causes of trucking accidents are actually:
- Driver fatigue
- Distracted driving
- Poor driver training
- Poor truck maintenance and
- Reckless driving and speeding
Increase safety on the road
Even though the number of tricking accidents is growing, there are certain things you can do in order to reduce the risk:
- We should all practice defensive driving
- Drivers should avoid being next to or directly behind (tailgating) large trucks or in their blind spots.
- Practice the 3 second rule.
- Be diligent in wearing your seatbelt – Not sure if you know but more than 85% of survivors of car accidents were buckled up.
- If you see any form of reckless or irresponsible driving, like texting, you see that the driver is tired or he is doing anything else that might jeopardize your life or the life of someone else…don’t hesitate in calling the police.
Everyone should do what they can in order to support the implementation of the national polities and increase the safety on the roads. Keep in mind that trucks are normally 25 times heavier than regular cars so truckers should pay extra attention to driving responsibly and ethically.
If you were hit by a large truck
If you or your loved one was in an accident involving a truck, you’re most likely going through a challenging time. Trucking accidents, since they are more severe than car accident, can leave pretty severe injuries and disabilities that turn your life upside down.
Accidents that involve trucks and big rigs are most of the time complicated and can mean a lot of complicated and convoluted paperwork. So having a skilled and qualified personal injury lawyer is required.
If you need counsel regarding a personal injury claim from a car or truck accident, contact us today.
Auto insurance is not just a legal formality and requirement. It’s also a very important aspect in protecting your financial stability and health.
Before picking an auto insurance company, you need to know what type of insurance is there, what coverage they offer and what will happen to your premium if you get into a car accident. And in case you were in an auto accident, it’s important to know what to say and not to say to your auto insurance company. These things can have a big effect on your insurance claim.
What auto insurance coverage do you need?
There are a number of auto insurance forms and not all of them are mandatory. Some are even voluntary. For example, auto insurance in Arizona includes:
- A minimum of $15,000 per person OR a $30,000 per accident in bodily injury
- A minimum of $10,000 in property damage coverage
This sounds pretty generous and reasonable. Except when you find yourself in an accident where the damages are much higher. This can impact your financial health, because you will have to pay for the extra costs out of your own pocket. So that’s why we highly recommend that you maintain higher level of protection with your auto insurance so that you are sure that you have sufficient coverage. These voluntary coverages include:
UIM or Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist coverage – If you’re in a car accident and the person responsible flees the scene, or is underinsured or uninsured, you will be left without any recourse unless you have an UIM.
Comprehensive coverage – This type of coverage is great if you want to protect yourself against damages from vandalism or car theft, basically from things that are out of your control.
In order to make sure that both you and your loved ones are insured, locate your auto insurance policy, look it over and if necessary, increase your coverage.
Speaking with an insurance agency after the accident
When you get into an accident, you need to contact your auto insurance company in order to report it. The other driver’s insurance company might also contact you. Communicating with both insurance companies is crucial, because one misstatement can make your insurance claim invalid and will dramatically reduce the amount of coverage you can receive. That’s why it’s important that you limit your communication with the auto insurance companies in very specific ways:
Communicate only about facts – You need to understand that the goal of every auto insurance company is to settle the case for as little as possible. That’s the job of the insurance adjuster. Insurance adjuster are representing the insurance company, so no matter how pleasant they sound, keep in mind that they are not representing your best interest. So when you communicate with an insurance adjuster, speak only about facts, without providing ANY opinion, evaluation or to admit anything.
Admitting fault – Often will insurance companies claim that you were the person at fault. If they try do to that, just say nothing. You can’t really know whether you were the one at fault or not, without being fully aware of all the aspects of the accident. For example, you don’t know if the other driver was under any influence, distracted, violating some other law etc. These are all important things required to determine who is at fault.
Calls with insurance companies – When you’re on the phone with an insurance adjuster, keep in mind that the entire phone conversation is being recorded and noted down. This information can be useful in further minimizing your insurance claim. So make sure that you pay extra attention to what you tell the adjuster. Choose your words carefully.
Hiring a lawyer – Since the insurance claim can be a bit complex and complicated, the safest bet would be to hire an attorney who will advocate on your behalf. And if you sustained some type of injury due to the accident, we recommend using a personal injury lawyer as the best option. Lawyers are well-versed in these cases, they know the procedure in and out and will be able to navigate more efficiently in order to get you the highest claim possible.
If you were in an auto accident and you need help filing an insurance claim with your auto insurance company, contact us today and let us help you out!
When it comes to personal injury claims, they all require you to have an experienced attorney who is well familiar with the process and knows the differences from cases involving auto accidents, nursing home abuse or neglect. But what are the main burning questions when it comes to personal injury law?
Is your personal injury claim valid?
If you want to pursue a successful personal injury claim, you need to be able to prove that your injuries are caused by someone else’s negligence. Extensive medical treatments are usually part of every personal injury case. However, not all personal injury claims have physical injuries. Some have non-physical harms or losses. A good example is if someone attacks your professional reputation or invade your privacy. These can all be good grounds for a personal injury claim.
How soon can you file a lawsuit?
This depends from one state to another. To be more precise, on the states ‘statute of limitations’. This statute basically determines how much time you have to file a personal injury claim. Of course the statute of limitation differs from case to case. Some states have a statute of limitation of 4 years for a personal injury lawsuit, but for medical malpractice this statute is only two years.
The best thing you can do is to pursue the lawsuit as soon as possible after your injury. This is because preservation of evidence is very important in these cases. Furthermore, a standard procedure involved in a personal injury case is investigation done by your personal injury attorney, which can take some time.
What is negligence exactly?
Negligence concerns actions taken in a specific situation by a ‘reasonable person’. For example, you would expect a truck driver (or basically any driver) to obey the traffic rules and to drive at full attention in order to avoid putting themselves and others at risk. In the event that they cause a car accident because they didn’t pay enough attention while driving, they can be liable for the accident.
So basically, someone is negligent if he/she fails to act in a way an ‘ordinary reasonable person would’ in a specific situation. Personal injury cases are generally found on negligence.
Will the person at fault be punished?
Personal injury cases are NOT criminal actions. They are civil actions. Jail terms cannot be sentenced to defendants in personal injury cases. The same goes for criminal fines. This is because there was no real malicious intent that caused the injury. The cause of the injury is negligence.
Nonetheless, in some rare cases, there can be punitive damages. Punitive damages have a goal to punish the defendants that were reckless OR didn’t act in the best interest of the public. The end result of punitive damages is to discourage defendants to behave in such way.
If you think that you have a valid personal injury case, because someone else’s negligence caused you harm, contact us today and let’s review your case together!
In our previous blog posts we’ve summarized that car accident are life-changing events that can occur out of nowhere. One moment driving down the motor way listening to the radio, and in the next your car is totaled, your body is aching with pain and you’re trying to grasp what has happened.
We also talked about what insurance companies usually do, how they want to deny or minimize your claim payment and what reasons (or tricks) they use to deny your claim. Today we will be focusing on the tips on settling a car accident claim.
Contacting the authorities
If you wish to successfully settle your car accident claim, there are several things you need to do immediately after the accident.
First and foremost, you need to contact the authorities and wait until the police arrives at the scene. Once the police arrive, make sure to tell them exactly what happened and seek medical attention if you need to. You might not feel that you need help from a doctor, but that can be a result of the shock your body went through. So make sure that you get examined by the doctor. Once the effects of the shock settle down, you will feel the effects of the accident. This can take a few hours.
Once the doctor establishes that you’re safe and not injured, take photographs of both damaged vehicles and make sure that the license plates are clearly visible. You should also make notes about the other car e.g. the make, model, color and exchange information with the owner of the other vehicle. Taking photos of the scene and location is also a good idea because this will provide useful information on the weather, traffic signs and even skid marks.
Doing this, you’re starting the car accident settlement the right way. Also, you need to keep in mind that you might not be settling the claim directly with the owner of the other vehicle, but rather with his insurance company.
Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer
Not all accidents will lead to a totaled car. Some will just end up with minor property damage, for which you don’t heel to have an attorney. It’s easy to settle this.
But if the accident caused severe damage to your vehicle and caused significant injuries to you, you should really consider getting help from a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer. It might help your claim.
Experienced personal injury lawyers are well informed about the process to come and can anticipate the strategies that the other side will implement so he/she can be well prepared.
The goal of the insurance company is to protect the bottom line and their self-interest. They do this by offering you very low settlements and they might even try to dispute the entire claim. But having a good personal injury lawyer in these cases can help you a lot because he/she will be negotiating on your behalf.
Recorded statements and documents
It’s not uncommon practice, that insurance company representatives will contact you as soon as they learn about the accident. The representative might sound reasonable, friendly, polite and helpful but keep in mind one thing…they work for the insurance company, not you. The goal is to minimize the value of the claim. And since many car owners aren’t exactly skilled in these matters, the insurance representatives will even try to use some rather questionable methods to get what they need/want.
One of the things they might use are recorded statements. If you get asked to give a statement, politely decline and tell the insurance representative that you will be speaking with an attorney first. This is your right before giving any statements. You might as well use it.
Another thing that insurance companies also do, is send you documents like a medical authorization or similar. The strongly advise that you DO NOT sign any type of authorization that comes from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Why? Well because then the insurance company can then dig through your medical history looking for a way to prove that some of your previous injuries were the cause of the accident.
So when settling a car accident claim, it’s imperative that you speak to a personal injury lawyer. He will be negotiating with the insurance company, he will release any medical records and advise you on giving statements.
A car accident can change your life in an instant and it can happen without any warning. As if injuries aren’t enough, but you also might need to navigate the complex and lengthy process of an insurance claim. This can be both stressful and confusing, especially if you know nothing about car insurance claims.
But the question still remains. How do car insurance claims exactly work? Here’s what you need to know about car insurance claims, especially if you were injured in a car accident.
After the car accident that you were involved, you should notify the insurance company right away. In some states you can file the claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. And in other states, different rules will apply. For example, did you know that Kansas has a no-fault insurance system? This basically means that if you were in a car accident and you’re not the at-fault driver, you have to file the claim with your own insurance company.
After the accident, in most cases the insurance companies will contact you. Sometimes even while you’re recovering. Once the claim gets filed, the insurance company appoints an adjuster who will evaluate your claim and determine its worth.
You might think that the adjuster is here to work in your favor. Well, he/she isn’t. The adjuster appointed by the insurance company works for the insurance company’s interests. The sole goal of the adjuster is to minimize the amount that the insurance company will pay you for your claim.
Working with the adjuster
It’s often the practice that the insurance adjuster will contact you in order to get more information about the accident. The adjuster might even ask you to give a recorded statement. However, if you haven’t yet spoken to a personal injury lawyer, we strongly recommend that you don’t give a recorded statement to the adjuster or any other representative from the insurance company.
The recorded statement and any other evidence is collected for processing your claim. So when the adjuster asks you to give a statement, just politely decline and let him know that you will be willing to give a statement once you consult your personal injury lawyer. In case you’re still under some stress from the accident or you’re experiencing pain and take medication for it, allow yourself some time to pass before giving a statement. Also, you can rely on your personal injury lawyer to negotiate the process with the insurance provider.
Sometimes, the car accident will only cause property damage and no one will be injured. In cases like that, the insurance claim process is pretty simple. The insurance company will ask you to take your car to the mechanic, who will then assess the damage and provide the estimate to the insurance company. Car accidents that only end in property damage is something that you can handle. So you don’t really need a personal injury lawyer.
Determining who’s at fault
It’s the adjuster’s job to determine who caused the accident and who’s at fault. Sometime, even when the police record clearly state that you’re not at fault, the adjuster will try to dispute it.
Another practice is that insurance companies sometimes want to settle a claim rather quickly. If someone from an insurance company approaches you and makes you an offer, don’t accept it. It’s best to first speak to a personal injury lawyer who can evaluate your claim. Because when insurance companies make you an offer right away, the offer is usually extremely low compared to the realistic value that you should be compensated for (the insurance company is trying to pay out as little as possible).
Once your personal injury lawyer evaluates your claim, you will realize that the offer from before was really low. The lawyer will provide you a range of values and a fair offer from the insurance company should fall within that range.
When you agreed on how much you would request from the insurance, the lawyer will draft a letter, include additional proof and send the new offer to the insurance company. The insurance company can do three things: accept your offer, offer you a lower amount or just deny it.
As you can see, the insurance claim process is not as simple. The entire process can be a complicated maze you need to navigate and that’s why it’s important that you have a good and experienced personal injury lawyer who will support you.
Truck safety failures can be proved through the use of experts and inspections. Numerous causes of negligence can cause an accident. Therefore, only the most diligent inspections can reveal the proximate cause of the collision, and alert similar companies to follow better practices.
At Schenk Podolsky, we thoroughly investigate every truck accident case that comes through our office. The truck, or the components of the truck, not just the truck driver may have caused the accident. Further, the commercial truck driver may have been negligent in driving over the speed limit, over the hours of time allowed under the law, or may have simply been tired and inattentive at the time of the accident.
Trucking companies have high exposure limits when involved in an accident, so they have highly trained insurance adjusters and lawyers who investigate their losses. Thus, when you are injured in a truck accident, it is vital to have someone with the resources that Schenk Podolsky can provide you with.
Our firm can effectively investigate your truck accident and determine what parties were negligent in your loss. Whether it was the driver, poor maintenance, improper loading of the cargo or a combination of these, our firm will pursue the trucking company to ensure you obtain the compensation you are entitled to.
We would like to help you if were injured in an accident with a commercial truck. We have the experience and resources necessary to help you pursue your claim.
Contact Schenk Podolsky online, or by calling us at to set up a free consultation in our Mesa Law Office.
Although the name of a personal injury lawyer seems to speak for itself on what type of cases they might cover, it may not be descriptive enough. Personal injury cases can come in multiple forms which could leave people questioning what kind of lawyer they might need. If you’re unsure whether a personal injury lawyer is what you need or not, here is some information to clear things up for you.
Getting bit by a dog can be a scary ordeal. Sometimes, you hate to blame it on the dog, but it is what it is. A dog bite can be severe and leave lasting scars and medical issues for the rest of a person’s life.
These are perhaps one of the more popular types of cases a personal injury lawyer will take on. Accidents involving vehicles happen every day. This includes accidents where there was only one vehicle involved. In other words, maybe the car hit a pedestrian or a cyclist. These cases would be covered as well.
It’s no secret that many workspaces and areas can be a hazard to health and be very unsafe. However, what many people don’t know is that the law protects them from this. If there is ever an accident at your place of work and an injury results, don’t let them bully you into being quiet or sweeping it under the rug. Hire a personal injury lawyer since they specialize in all the laws that protect you from employers.
Were you walking through a store and then slipped on a puddle of water you didn’t see, and it resulted in a trip to the hospital? Then you need to hire a personal injury lawyer. When someone opens up their business, they ensure a certain level of safety. If you are harmed on someone else’s property, due to negligence, there are laws to protect you, and a personal injury lawyer can help.
Nursing Home Negligence
It’s not unheard of for nursing homes to provide less than adequate care for the residents in their care. It’s quite shocking to learn of and requires immediate action. Some of these more prominent companies and organizations will attempt to bully people into backing down. Be firm and hire a personal injury lawyer to be the voice of your loved one you trusted to be cared for by others.
In general, if your case involves an injury to yourself or a loved one, a personal injury lawyer can cover it. Regardless of what the details are surrounding the case, if you have an injury at all resulting from the circumstances, then you need to hire a personal injury lawyer who will be able to represent you and guide you appropriately.
As seasons change and various weather patterns come and go, new accidents and dangers present themselves. It’s common for some types of accidents to happen more often during certain seasons than others. One season that is popular for housing a large amount of accidents is summer. Kids are out of school, families are going on vacation, and people are more active than usual. This all is a recipe for fun and memories, but it’s also a recipe for accidents galore.
Pool or Water Accidents
Of course, you had to know this was going to top the list. Water is a large focus of fun when it comes to summertime games and time killers. However, water can be dangerous with slips, falls, head injuries, drowning, etc. Drowning is the fifth leading cause of death with a fifth of those accidents being children under the age of 14. Pools, lakes, and the beach can be a blast, but be sure to take as many safety precautions as possible to keep you and your family safe.
As mentioned above, summer is a great time for getting active and many people utilize their fun in the sun for sports. There are many summer leagues involving sports for children as well. A sport injury can be anywhere from a sprained ankle to head trauma. Sports can leave a window of uncertainty open on when or how a child could be hurt. Be sure to have all the proper safety gear in place for your child and get regular checkups to ensure there are no hidden issues that could arise from their sports involvement. Of course, don’t forget that adults aren’t exempt from sports injuries as well and should be cautious and not overlook safety guidelines suggested for the sport they’re involved in.
Bicycle and Motorcycle Accidents
When it comes to summer, there’s a lot of traveling occuring. On top of this, people like to utilize various modes of travel that aren’t possible or as popular during the cooler months. This includes mopeds, street bikes, motorcycles, bicycles, etc. These types of transportation have to share the road with motor vehicles which can get dangerous at times, especially in heavy traffic. With as busy as people are during the summer months, crashes involving these types of transportation tend to go up in number. Be careful when driving and sharing the road with these modes of transportation and ensure you’re wearing and covering as many safety precautions as possible if you operate one on a roadway.
As mentioned, the amount of travel people are doing goes way up when the summer months hit. Due to this, the amount of car accidents also rises throughout summer. Be aware that you’re not the only added traveler when summer hits and prepare/e aware of extra drivers on the road.
It’s always smart to observe safety parameters during any activity we might be involved in. This doesn’t just go for summer, but throughout the year. However, the accidents listed above are prone to happen more often and frequently when summer hits so, it’s good to be aware of this timing and up the awareness to compensate.