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.
After a traumatic incident occurs, it can be difficult and even confusing to know what the next step is, if any. It’s common for those involved in traumatic incidents to lack proper information into the rights they possess. Knowing what rights you have can help incidents like a traumatic brain injury, feel a little less overwhelming. If you or a loved one has gone through this experience, here is a bit of information on your rights and the steps you should take during the process.
Your First Steps
If you hit your head and there are symptoms arising afterwards, seek medical care as quickly as possible. Even minor head injuries can be quite serious and cause other issues if left untreated. Further, if your incident occurred at work, in a car accident, or other place where someone may be held liable, getting medical care will provide proof of the injury and help with the timeline of events. Sometimes, incidents may occur that do not involve the liability falling on another person. However, brain injuries can be a life-changing event and are often caused at work, in car accidents, etc. This means you shouldn’t be the one to handle all the burdens a brain injury can lay in your lap.
Contact an Experienced Lawyer ASAP
It can be common for people to move quickly in order to protect themselves when it involves an incident they may be liable for. This is why it’s important to protect your rights as soon as possible. Bringing in an experienced lawyer as soon as everything starts to happen can ensure things are handled properly from the beginning. An experienced attorney can ensure your rights are protected and followed to the letter while you go through such a burdening event.
Listen to Professional Advice
We often times want to argue with our doctors and lawyers about certain matters. Sometimes this is warranted however, other times we need to listen to the professionals. We hire them for a reason and it’s because they know what they’re doing. This means you’ll want to follow the treatment and medical plan given to you by your doctor. Some hiccups can occur if a patient during a case doesn’t follow a treatment plan. Further, listen to the tips your attorney will offer you. For example, he/she might tell you to avoid discussing matters freely on social media or with friends and family. This often can also cause hiccups and make the process harder or longer. It’s important you stay aware of your actions and think about how those actions can interfere with your case.
If you or a loved one have experienced a traumatic brain injury, contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Not all incidents involving brain trauma require cases however, many do and you’ll want to make sure your rights are covered.
You have been a victim of a car accident while riding in the passenger seat. Whose responsibility is that?
Initially, the responsibility falls onto the insurance carrier of the vehicle that, you, the passenger was riding in (passenger of an individual vehicle or a public vehicle….). As a passenger injured in someone else’s car you will need to send some documents including all of the specific information about the accident and the driver. When the passenger sends this information, it allows the insurance companies to make any necessary compensation payments that are eligible from the accident.
The insurance provider of the driver of the vehicle that the passenger was in is responsible for all of the monetary and medical compensation required from the accident. This is the case unless there is another vehicle involved in the accident who carries the fault.
The insurer of the vehicle has eight months to pay the passenger a sufficient financial provision from the accident unless the accident has gone to court, at which time this may extend the payout date. The one thing to keep in mind, is the question of “what is sufficient?” and this is why we always recommend that anyone who has been injured in a car accident in Mesa or any of the surrounding cities in the valley, come in and see us for a free consultation.
The amount of compensation due is dependent on the amount of injury that occurred, and how that is going to affect the passenger in his or her life.
The financial provision must be sufficient, i.e. the passenger must not have financial problems because of the car accident.
The insurer of the car will then have to make an offer of compensation, after getting expert medical opinions on the status of passenger and the injuries that they have incurred due to the accident.
Medical expertise and passenger compensation
The insurer may make medical assessments of the passenger(s) in order to assess the amount of the provisions to be paid and in order to assess the final amount of compensation. The insurer will then send his/her medical expert to consolidate the state of health of the passenger who was in the car. It is on the basis of the report from the medical expert that he will then make a definitive offer of compensation.
The passenger who was a victim in the accident does not necessarily need to be evaluated by a medical doctor or an expert. It is specifically for the realm of financial provisions from the accident that the victim would think about doing so. Do not hesitate to contact an expert if this is necessary.
When the car accident is fatal for the passenger, what are his or her rights or what are they entitled to?
The insurer of the vehicle involved must then send the required documents within six weeks of the accident. He is then obligated to make an offer of compensation for non-pecuniary damage as well as for economic loss (financial loss due to the death of the pedestrian, funeral expenses, time out of work, etc …).
It may be the case that the insurer forgets to send an offer to the beneficiaries, due to the fact that he may not be aware of the entire composition of the passenger’s family.
It is then up to you as the victim’s family to let the insurer know so that he or she sends you an offer of compensation.
It can be quite difficult to enforce your rights, especially when there are significant damages or losses due to the accident.
We hope that this article brings some insight to your questions, please do not hesitate to contact your Personal Injury Law Firm in Mesa, Schenk Podolsky Attorneys at Law for a free consultation where our attorneys can discuss in more detail the best possible route to handle your accident claim and means of seeking compensation for your injuries.
Choosing a Personal Injury Lawyer
When you have had a car accident, you know there is going to be a lot of headaches involved when filing your claims or dealing with insurance companies and you want a car accident attorney to help you with all the necessary work. You need to know how to choose the best car accident attorney for your specific claim and some attorneys will be better than others, can have different prices for hire and may specialize in various types of claims. You will want to choose the best attorney that fits your budget and is knowledgeable about your specific type of claim and situation.
If you have had a car accident in Mesa, you do not want to hire an attorney that specializes specifically in auto accidents. If you have extenuating circumstances involving injury or loss of life, you do not want an attorney that may handle injury and loss of life claims. You want to make sure that the attorney you hire is capable of providing the representation that will best serve you and help you to get the settlement you are entitled to.
Search Online or Look For Advertisements For Car Accident Attorneys
You can views advertisements for car accident attorney services on the television, in the yellow pages and online. Most ads will display what specialties and types of claims that attorney will normally handle. This can be very helpful when you are looking for an attorney to handle a specific type of case. Perhaps you were involved in an accident that was proven to be a no-fault accident in which there is not a responsible party to base a claim against while you know that it was not your fault and to receive the maximum payout on your settlement, you will have to prove the negligence of the other driver. There are attorneys who do specialize in representing this type of case and will be very beneficial. With a little research, you can find that attorney.
What if you have suffered a serious injury and need an attorney that will make house calls and can represent you under a contingency plan. Then you will want to find an attorney that provides these services and not with a lot of extra charges. If you hire an attorney that is not used to representing these types of clients, you may find you have more worries with your attorney than with your claim, and they may charge you outrageous fees for doing a little extra work. An attorney who is experienced with this type of case will know what your needs are and how to meet them within their specified price range.
You Have Found a Few Attorney Prospects, How Do You Choose the Right one?
You can find out a lot about the attorney through their advertisements, which will help to narrow your choices to a specific group of attorneys. Once you have a few that you believe can represent you the way you need, then you need to make a few phone calls and ask a few key questions for your lawyer. The questions you ask should pertain to your specific case, and it is best to write down all of your questions and concerns before contacting the attorney. If you have them readily available, then it is much easier to conduct a brief survey and to choose the best attorney to meet your needs. Once you found the attorney of your choice and they have approved to take your case, then it is time to get to work and file your claim.
You have just bought a new or used car and want to start a new era of driving safely? This article is made for you! Here are some tips to take care of your car while protecting your passengers and yourself.
It may seem obvious, but not many people actually do it so here’s a quick reminder of what to check on your vehicle. Do not start the voyage if your tire is smooth, have them changed before it’s too late. Go to a service station to check the pressure as well. You will find this information on your doorstep, by lifting the valve of your tank or in the maintenance book of your car. Two pressures are usually indicated, the first for normal use of your vehicle, the second when loaded. Take this into account when going on vacation. This takes only a few seconds and can change everything during sudden braking or driving on slippery surfaces.
On the way
Once on the road, put your hands at “10:10” on the steering wheel and drive carefully avoiding any distractions. Be sure to adapt your driving to traffic especially during departures on vacation. Speed limits are not everything. When roads and highways are loaded, set your speed on the vehicles around you. Do not ride too slowly to avoid obstructions to traffic.
Another important point is the safety distances which, when they are not respected, lead to serious accidents. Keep in mind the “two seconds” rule to maintain an acceptable safe distance. It is very simple to apply: choose a fixed object in the distance like a traffic sign or a bridge and wait for the vehicle in front of you to pass up to it.
Then say “independence, independence” equivalent to two seconds. If you arrive at the marker before the end, you are too close. You can also follow the white stripes on the side of the road, 2 safety bands, 1 danger band as the signs say.
DRIVING IN RAIN OR IN STORMY WEATHER
During rain or heavy rain, in order to limit aquaplaning and circulate safely, we recommend that you:
- Lift the foot of the accelerator
- Check the condition and pressure of your tires often
- Respect the safety distances
- Stick to the speed signs
- Anticipate braking
We remind you of the speed limits on the wet road, namely, 70 mph for rural freeways, a 45 mph minimum speed limit, 65 mph for other 4 lane divided highways, and 55 mph for all other highways.
ADOPT A SAFE DAILY DRIVING
It differs completely from daytime driving. We are often dazzled by the low beam or headlights of other vehicles. Here are some details:
Try not to look at the headlights of other cars
Reduce your speed
Change the position of your interior mirror. There is a night position.
TIRES: LOOK AT THE WEAR RATE AND CHECK THEIR PRESSURE
For a perfect grip, do not ride with under-inflated tires. You must follow the recommendations of tire manufacturers or manufacturers. Those that are recommended vary depending on your load at the back. Then increase the pressure of the tires in the same place. Depending on their wear rate you can swap your wheels. During a puncture, simply loosen the wheel, use your jack to replace it with your spare wheel. This must be checked regularly.
ADOPT RESPONSIBLE BEHAVIOR
For your safety and that of your passengers, use a breathalyzer when leaving a restaurant (if you have drunk, of course). He will inform you about your alcohol level and during a control by the police, you will not be in violation. Thus, you will not be penalized with a fine.
Arizona is a no-tolerance state for DUIs, meaning you can be arrested with a blood-alcohol content higher than the legal limit of 0.08 percent, which means that you should not drink a single drink
MEDICATION AT THE WHEEL
Also watch out for drugs that can cause drowsiness and decreased reflexes.
In traffic jams, it is better to turn the engine off in order to consume less fuel and to avoid releases of particles to the environment. Try to control yourself by avoiding inadvertent honking, incivility and aggression at the wheel (we know, it’s not always easy).
TELEPHONE ON THE FLY
For your safety, it is forbidden to phone, drink or eat while driving (but you already know that). The Bluetooth hands-free kit is allowed. SMS are not allowed. We keep both hands on the wheel!
If you have a teenager at home, know that he can do driving accompanied. Like you, he must respect all speed limits as well as the Highway Code.
PREVENTION AND ROAD SAFETY
Do not hesitate to obtain brochures, documents and visit the websites of associations that aim to reduce the death rate and accidents. There are many organizations whose mission is to perform Crash Tests. Thus, by buying a new car with 5 stars, you can be sure that it has responded positively to all safety tests.
Now that you know all about our safety tips, the best you can want is to pay attention to yourself, your loved ones and other road users. To do this, check all equipment of your vehicle. Beware also of all users on motorbikes, bikes etc. Finally, if your tires are worn out, buy new ones!