When dealing with a personal injury case, it’s nice to know what’s going on. This allows you to have confidence in what’s occurring during your case and not just trusting an attorney blindly. Although it’s important to pick an attorney that’s good at what they do and whom you can trust, it’s still important to be prepared and knowledgeable yourself. Having tabs on your own case and understanding the steps as they come allows you to make an informed decision when presented with one. Below covers some topics on personal injury cases when you are the one who has sustained the injuries.
What Does a Typical Personal Injury Case Look Like?
When an injury occurs at the negligence of another party, most states have laws that allow the person injured to recoup costs. This can include emotional trauma connected to the injury. Negligence can be from a workplace being unsafe or not kept up to code which resulted in an injury. Negligence can also include careless driving, malpractice by a doctor, and more. A typical case will have an injured party and a negligent party seeking to prove whether negligence was indeed the issue.
What Happens After Filing a Case?
The assumed negligent party is then served papers of the notice and becomes the defendant while you become the plaintiff. The next step is called “discovery” as lawyers on both sides gather evidence, ask questions, and build a case. Once this mode has ended, offers can be made before the case is taken to trial. If the offer is refused, it will go to trial and be decided by a judge. However, it’s common for personal injury cases to be settled outside the courtroom.
What Happens if I Win?
A judge or jury will decide an amount for damages and you will be rewarded this amount of money. Those deciding the amount will take into account the injury, grief caused by the injury, future wages lost, etc. All angles will be considered in order to fully cover the plaintiff. This is why cases like this are often settled outside of court.
How Long Do I Have to File a Case?
Each state differs on the length of time following an injury that you have to file a claim. This is referred to as the “Statute of Limitations.” Your attorney should be able to help you with this amount of time for your state. However, it’s always best to file a claim as quickly as possible following the injury. This often helps with evidence trails and the case in general.
Some other important notes to consider are that the defendant of the case isn’t punished. Other than paying out what’s rewarded to the plaintiff if they lose the case, a defendant won’t have to worry about aspects such as probation, jail time, etc. Further, if you decide to settle a case outside of court, this is when you and the defendant agree on a specific outcome of the case without a judge or jury. Your lawyer will handle the details.
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.
Appropriate Riding Gear
Riders injured in a crash that was not their fault may still have to accept some of the blame if they are not wearing enough protective clothing. The legal term is “contributory negligence” and it can result in a reduced payout for riders, even if they are not at fault.
Contributory negligence is a defense often raised by the Traffic Accident Commission who represent the ‘at fault’ driver. It can cover a wide range of issues. The defense is raised when the TAC considers that the injured person’s damages should be reduced because their injuries were contributed to by their failure to take reasonable care for their own safety. This can be the case regardless of whether the rider’s actions partly caused the accident or if they were criminally at fault.
An example of criminal fault is not wearing a helmet, or being alcohol/drug-affected.
It can also be applied even if the rider’s actions were not illegal and did not contribute to the crash, but they were not wearing “appropriate riding gear”.
What constitutes appropriate riding gear?
In civil cases, the same standard is applied to all of these issues. In a civil setting, the standard that is placed on you is that you take reasonable care for your own safety. In other words, you may not have caused the crash, but if you contributed to your injuries by not wearing proper protective gear, your damages may be reduced due to a finding of contributory negligence. There is a reasonable expectation that if someone is riding a bike at high speed in shorts and thongs and not any appropriate gear, any degree by which their injury is made worse by failing to protect themselves may result in a reduction of their damages.
It may not be illegal to ride in shorts and thongs, but a court might say you could have done more to avoid injury. It can be a persuasive part of the defense argument.
This results that the lump-sum payout may be reduced by a percentage. The jury decides the amount of damages the injured person is entitled to, and then decides by what percentage, if any, it should be reduced by contributory negligence. The judge gives them some guidance but the percentage reduction is ultimately in the jury’s hands.
The lesson for riders is to wear the gear to reduce your exposure both physically and financially. It’s also a good idea to seek good legal representation as soon as possible after an accident.
Most Common Causes Of Motorcycle Accidents
Millions of Americans drive motorcycles every single year. It can be a way of life, or a fun and stress-relieving hobby. Unfortunately, a number of bikers also get into dangerous or even deadly motorcycle accidents while on the road. What factors contribute the most to motorcycle accidents? What are some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents? And how can accidents be avoided to maximize safety for everyone who shares the roads together?
Let’s take a look at the most common causes of motorcycle accidents and what you can do to prevent them. Whether you drive a motorcycle or you share the road with those who do, it’s important for everyone to do their part.
Sometimes, it’s not anybody’s fault but the manufacturer. And if they happen to make a faulty motorcycle, it could possibly cause an accident. This could happen when a part of the bike malfunctions. Some examples could be when safety mechanisms aren’t activated, when brakes fail, or when tires are not properly secured. Sometimes, the motorcycle may even be poorly designed, to begin with. This can be avoided by making sure the motorcycle you buy is of high-quality and safe.
Car Doors Opened Suddenly
If a vehicle driver opens a car door without warning in the path of an oncoming motorcyclist, the person riding the bike may collide into the door. This can cause both injury to the motorcyclist and expensive damage to both the motorcycle and the offending vehicle. If you ride a motorcycle, make sure you drive a safe speed and keep an eye out for car doors being opened. And if you drive a car or other vehicle with opening doors, make sure you check to see if any motorcyclists are in the path of you opening your door when you park along the street.
Driving With Excessive Speed
For drivers of all sorts of vehicles and cycles, speeding can be a major, leading cause of accidents. At high speeds, you may lose control of your ride or be unable to stop in time if there is an obstruction or safety hazard on the road ahead. Unexpected turns or merging lanes at top speed can also easily cause an accident. Nothing is worth the rush of speeding. If you think you may be late or need to get somewhere by a certain time, make sure you leave early to avoid the urge to speed. Besides being dangerous, speeding is also illegal and could lead to a ticket or loss of licensure.
Drivers Influenced By Alcohol Or Drugs
Drivers who are under the influence are major causes of accidents and accident-related fatalities every year worldwide. If you cannot stay sober, don’t drive. It is simply not worth your life or someone else’s.
How To Avoid Motorcycle Accidents
Driving on the road with drivers who prefer motorcycles can be a nerve wrecking experience. Choosing to ride a motorcycle comes with safety precautions you’ll want to take too. It is important to know and understand how to avoid accidents and to be a safe driver for both you and others on the road. Sometimes what seems common is not so common knowledge, so let’s break it down what healthy driving habits you can create to avoid unnecessary accidents.
Wear safety gear/bright, reflective colors: This helps you to feel more comfortable and also to let others have an easier time seeing you. The reflection of a bright color might catch someone’s eye that might have not otherwise seen you. Drivers, you will want to make sure you are aware of your surroundings and looking out for colors/indications of a motorists sharing the road with you.
Be weary of left turns: Depth perception plays a huge role in gauging what someone else’s speed is. It is often that a driver will turn left with no enough time for the second driver to not have to decrease their own speed. See the signs and intentions of the other driver’s next move or turn.
Check your speeds: Turning corners. This also goes for looking and knowing what the road conditions are like with making turns. Driving safe speeds will allow for reaction times, and the ability to make a different decision when something comes up.
Be aware when changing lanes: Know your blind spots and how to effectively spend as little time as possible in them. It’s not enough to look in your rearview mirrors, you need to also look behind you, and signal when you change lanes. Can not stress this enough, because if you change lanes into someone, it could be life threatening. An extra minute of making sure it’s safe to make the change makes a huge possibly years difference for the outcome. If you can not take the extra minute, don’t risk it.
Do not drink intoxicated: This goes for any and all driving and accidents. Drinking or doing drugs and deciding to drive is always a bad decision. It may not be each time you hit the roads that an accident will occur. You might have already driven under the influence and feel as though you had a fine experience. It only takes one time, and doing anything mind altering could create an incident that you will wish was avoided.
(For riders) Do not zig zag through traffic: There’s an impulse that because riding a motorcycle gives you flexibility to drive through the cars in multiple lanes, that you are able to do so safely. You might even actually be able to do so safely, but you can not account for the actions of others who do not see you. If you are driving alone on a road, or if you are practicing somewhere isolated and out of danger, you are free to get wild; don’t do it on the road. This is highly dangerous and should be avoided.
The road can create illusions of safety because you are either on a motorcycle and feel as though you can escape harm’s way easily, or you are in a car/truck and feel as though it will protect you from any potentials; but do not bet your life on it. Be safe and take the extra precautions to make sure that you do not put yourself or others in harm’s way. If something happens, know who to look to, seek the professionals at Schenk Podolsky Attorneys At Law who can save you further worry.
The Insurance Research Council estimates that 13% of all motorists, or one out of every eight drivers, are driving with no insurance. If you include the number of drivers who are underinsured, you can begin to appreciate the difficulty of collecting damages for property loss and personal injuries that you have suffered in a motorcycle accident. Statistics from the Arizona Department of Transportation show that in 2015, bikers in Arizona were involved in more than 116,000 crashes, and more than 36,000 of those crashes resulted in injuries. If you are in a motorcycle accident, instead of just being another statistical, you should retain a skilled lawyer to help you recover compensation for your injuries even if the other driver was uninsured or underinsured.
A skeptic will tell you that the odds are against you and that you simply should not ride, but the freedom that your bike represents and the hundreds of miles of open Arizona roads and highways will always make a stronger argument for riding. Your best preparation for riding where (like in Arizona) your odds of encountering an uninsured motorist are high is to review your own insurance to make sure that your own medical costs would be covered if you are involved in an accident. If your policies are confusing and you cannot get a straight answer from your insurance agent or the company’s help lines, you can consult with an attorney who will help you review and understand your policy. Some policies offer a separate insurance rider that increases your coverage when another party is uninsured or underinsured.
Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can help you recover damages from another party for losses and injuries even if the other party has no insurance. A lack of insurance is not the same thing as an absence of assets. A driver can forego insurance out of forgetfulness or neglect. He might simply assume the risks of having an accident on a belief, mistaken or otherwise, that he can avoid a judgment against him if he has no money to pay the judgment.
As with all motor vehicle accidents, the first order of business after the accident is for you and the other driver to exchange contact information. By doing this, you will quickly determine whether the other driver is insured and what kind of insurance he has. Call an attorney as soon as is possible after the accident. If the other party does not have insurance, he might begin to take steps to hide his assets or to file bankruptcy to defeat any judgments that you might obtain against him. Involving your attorney sooner rather than later will prevent dissipation of any assets that might be used to pay your claims.
A good attorney will also know whether any other parties can be named in a lawsuit. Your motorcycle accident may have been the result, in part, of faulty roads, or by the negligence of a driver who was not involved in the accident but who created some unsafe condition. The sooner your lawyer can investigate the accident, the more likely it will be that he can find the correct parties to name in a lawsuit.
Arizona’s law enforcement authorities are working hard to reduce the number of uninsured and underinsured motorists on the State’s roads, but this problem will not disappear any time soon. The attorneys at Schenk Podolsky represent riders in Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler and the Phoenix metropolitan area to recover the maximum possible amount of monetary damages to compensate for injuries suffered in motorcycle accidents. Please see our website or call us to schedule a consultation on how we can assist you.
To learn more about What Topics are Involved in a Motorcycle Accident take a look at our blog post.