4 Basic Elements of Negligence

At the core of personal injury law is the legal principle of negligence. Negligence must be proved to find that someone is responsible for the damages or injuries caused in an accident, and contains four basic elements:

The first element that must be proved is that the defendant owed a legal duty to the plaintiff under the circumstances of the accident. Legal duties can also be thought of as our civic responsibilities, such as the responsibility of a driver to be sober, alert, and cautious. Another example would be the duty that businesses have to maintain safe walkways for customers and safe working conditions for employees.

The second element is that the defendant failed to perform their duty as a responsible person would. This is known as a “breach of duty” and can be either acting irresponsibly or neglecting to act at all. In the example of a driver on the roads, a breach of duty would be choosing to driving while intoxicated or while distracted.

The third element to prove in court is that the defendant’s breach of duty, their failure to perform as expected by them in their role, was the actual cause of the plaintiff’s injury. This means that someone cannot be sued just for driving under the influence by a person who merely watched them get into an accident. Another aspect of this element is that the defendant must have been able to reasonably see that their actions would have caused damages to the plaintiff. A defendant will likely not be found negligent if plaintiff’s injuries were caused by a random and unexpected chain of consequences.

The final element of proving negligence is the existence of damages. It is crucial that the damages caused by the defendant’s breach of duty be real, and that plaintiff can be compensated for these damages. The court will usually rule that for the defendant to pay compensation to the plaintiff for the injuries, but other forms of compensation can also be requested depending on the case.

Though the concept of negligence is simple, its application in the courtroom is far more complicated. Without the assistance of a skilled Dekalb County personal injury attorney, getting the outcome you need can be near impossible. If you find yourself in an accident where you believe another person was negligent, take your case to an experienced attorney and trust in them to put together a solid case, and ensure that you are fully compensated for the negligent actions of others.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Andrew R. Lynch P.C. for their insight into negligence.

Will I have to go to court if I make a personal injury claim?

This is a question I get all the time. People generally don’t like the thought of going to court and having to speak in public. This is especially true when they think of having to talk about personal details of their lives like their injuries. Understandably then, most people don’t want to go to court. The truth is, most personal injury cases settle without anyone having to set foot in a courtroom. Hopefully this article will shed some light on how and when cases end up in court.

No one has to go to court if your case settles in the pre-litigation phase of a personal injury claim. That’s more or less what pre-litigation means: before a court case. In this phase of a personal injury claim, you or your Fort Collins personal injury lawyer will communicate with the insurance company directly to try to resolve your claim without having to file a lawsuit. If you can settle your case for a fair amount, no one has to go near a courtroom.

If you don’t settle your case pre-litigation, the it’s likely someone will have to go to court, but it may not be you. A lawsuit is started when someone (usually a lawyer) files a complaint. After that, the defendant has to file an answer. Then, discovery happens. During discovery, you would be asked to answer written questions from the other side and possible attend a deposition. A deposition is essentially an interview where you are under oath. The opposing attorney would get to ask you questions about the case and your medical treatment, and you have to answer those questions honestly.

However, even cases that go to litigation rarely end up with the client in a courtroom. The lawyers will probably have to go to court at least once during the course of a lawsuit, but clients typically only have to go if the case goes to trial. That’s a very small percentage of cases. Most cases settle before trial even if they go to litigation.

Another thing you might have to attend in the course of litigation is a mediation. That is a chance for a third party (usually an experienced lawyer or former judge) to discuss the case with each side and try to settle it. I’ll talk more about mediation in another post, but it’s an important part of many litigation cases.


CHThanks to our friend and blog author, Sam Cannon of Cannon Hadfield, LLC for his insight into personal injury cases.

Does my personal injury award count as marital property?

As a law firm who practices both personal injury cases and divorces, we know that people going through a divorce are concerned about their assets and how the assets will be divided in a divorce. A common question for those who have been involved in a car accident case, or any other personal injury case is what happens to the personal injury settlement check? Is that considered part of the community property and will your spouse get any of it? The answer will depend on which state you live in.

There are two approaches to the division of personal injury claims in a divorce: the Community Property Approach and the Equitable Division Approach.

Community Property Approach:

There are 9 states that follow the community property approach of the division of personal injury settlements in a divorce. Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin all follow the community property approach. In these states, depending on the way personal injury settlement is awarded, the money is generally considered community property if it is rewarded for lost wages, and separate property if rewarded for pain and suffering.

Be Careful Not to Commingle Separate Property Portion of Personal Injury Settlement.”

Even if you live in a state that follows the Community Property Approach to the division of personal injury settlement and the fund distributed are for your pain and suffering and considered separate property according to your state’s laws, if you commingle the funds to an extent that will prevent a court to clearly differentiate what portion of the commingled funds are separate property, your separate portion of the personal injury settlement may still be considered community property and divided equally with your spouse. For example, money received for pain and suffering as a result of a broken arm that was eventually put in a joint account, and used to purchase items or to make improvements on the marital home may still lead to the items purchased or improvements in the marital home to be considered as community property. Because the party asserting a separate property claim generally has the burden to prove that property is separate and not community, it is important to always be careful how you handle your personal injury settlement.

Equitable Division Approach

Most states other than the 9 listed above follow the Equitable Property Approach to the division of personal injury settlements in a divorce. In these states, the division of a personal injury settlement is considered on a case by case analysis and what is fair for both parties.

California and New York

If you live in California or New York, those states have their own rules. In California, all of the settlement is often considered community property and in New York, the exact opposite is true.

If you are looking for a great divorce attorney have any further questions or concerns about your divorce process and how your personal injury settlement may be divided in a divorce, contact a divorce lawyer in North Houston today.


ATThanks to our friends and contributors from A.T. Law Firm for their insight into division of personal injury settlement in a divorce.

What Kind Of Lawyer Do I Need After An Uber Accident?

Hiring an Uber driver and their vehicle is fast becoming one of the most popular methods of travel in and around the United States. This peer-to-peer business model has proven to be very successful, with riders paying through an app and no money exchanging hands.

However, what happens if you are injured in an accident while riding in an Uber? Below is an overview of personal injury law and how it pertains to Uber accidents. If you have been hurt in an accident while riding in an Uber vehicle or due to an Uber driver’s negligence, it may benefit you to speak with a lawyer for advice.

What Type of Injuries Do You Have?

Personal injury law provides accident victims with a way to obtain compensation if they are injured due to someone else’s negligence. The most common injuries people sustain in car accidents include:

  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Brain Injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Broken Bones
  • Back Injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Facial Fractures And Lacerations

If you have sustained serious injuries, a car accident lawyer Phoenix AZ trusts may be able to help you obtain a fair settlement for these injuries.

Damages

Accident victims may be awarded certain types of damages after an automobile crash if they are successful in a lawsuit. Some of the most common types of damages include:

  • Emergency Room Bills
  • Ambulance Fees
  • Hospital Bills
  • Surgery Costs
  • Cost of Medical Devices Such As Crutches Or Wheelchairs
  • Pain And Suffering
  • Lost Income
  • Emotional Distress
  • Therapy Fees
  • Future Lost Wages If You Are Disabled Due To The Accident

Who Pays For Your Injuries?

It is not always easy to determine who will pay for a passenger’s injuries in an Uber accident. While Uber does carry insurance policies in the amount of $1 million dollars, the driver’s personal insurance policy may be required to help pay for a passenger’s injuries and medical bills. It may be even more difficult to determine who will pay if your vehicle was hit by an Uber driver who was not carrying passengers at the time.

Hiring A Lawyer

If you have been injured in an accident with an Uber or other type of rideshare vehicle, you may benefit from speaking with a personal injury attorney for advice. Personal injury attorneys who specialize in accident related injuries should be familiar with the laws associated with your state.

Being injured at the hands of a negligent Uber driver can be a traumatic experience, especially if you sustained serious injuries and cannot return to work. Contact a personal injury lawyer for a consultation to discuss all of the options available to you under the law. Many cases are settled out of court without the need for a lengthy trial, which means it is important to choose a lawyer who is an excellent negotiator and advocate for you. It is also important however, to choose a lawyer who has trial experience in the event a settlement cannot be reached. Hiring a lawyer is one way to take control of your situation, so you can look forward to moving on with your life.


ASThanks to our friends and contributors from Alex & Saavedra, P.C. for their insight into uber accident cases.

Will an Injury Settlement Affect My Child Support Payments?

Answering the question of whether an injury settlement will affect child support payments hinges on two separate legal issues. The first issue involves whether the personal injury settlement could be construed as income. If the settlement is viewed as income, the question then becomes whether the parent has child support payments that are past due.

In short, if a personal injury settlement is legally viewed as income and child support payments are past due, then the court may take part of the settlement income to make child support payments. Here are key details that should help you determine whether an injury settlement may impact your child support payments.

Is the Personal Injury Settlement Considered Income?

As a general rule across most states, personal injury settlements can be viewed as income when calculating a parent’s child support obligations. Of course, state laws vary, so it is wise to discuss how state law applies to your situation with a child support lawyer Tampa FL trusts.

That said, if the personal injury settlement is paid out monthly, it is very likely that your state will view the injury settlement as income for child support purposes. Similarly, a large settlement amount that accrues interest may result in the interest being viewed as income for child support purposes. A lump sum payment, however, can quickly complicate the analysis.

State laws can greatly differ on whether a lump sum payment from an injury settlement can count as income. When state statutes are silent on the issue — as many state laws are — the lump sum issue is then decided by state courts. Even then, courts within a state may have different rulings on the lump sum issue.

Some states have held that single payments like lump sum injury settlements are not income because they are a one-time payment, not a recurring payment. Other states, such as California, have had courts rule that any part of an accident settlement that compensates for lost wages can be viewed as income and taken as child support.

Is the Parent Past Due for Child Support Payments?

In any state, courts can go after a parent’s income to pay for child support if the parent has past due child support payments to make. If an injury settlement is viewed as income in your state and your child support payments are past due, the court may use the settlement proceeds to make those payments.

If you have past due child support payments and believe your injury settlement may be viewed as income, contact a family law attorney to discuss how your state’s laws apply to the facts of your case.


downloadThanks to our friends and contributors from The Mckinney Law Group for their insight into injury settlements and their effects on child support payments.

 

Why Office Workers May Suffer From Upper Back Pain, Too

Many workers run the risk of developing an upper back pain injury, and office workers are included in this group. These types of injuries are actually more common among office workers than many people realize. Even though desk jobs are typically not labor-intensive, sedentary jobs have been known to cause significant stress to muscles throughout the arms, neck, and back.

Repetitive Stress Injuries

Most types of repetitive stress injuries involve repetitive motions. For example, employees who work primarily on computers may develop a condition called carpal tunnel syndrome, which occurs when the hands and wrists are under constant stress. Upper back pain may manifest as a repetitive stress injury if a worker is required to sit or stand and perform the same job task for a long period of time.

Documenting the Injury

These types of injuries rarely occur in a single accident. Rather, they tend to develop over time and slowly worsen. This can make it difficult for employees to provide concrete documentation of their injury but it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to file a workers’ compensation claim.

There are certain ways that an employee might be able to provide adequate documentation of the development of a repetitive stress injury. A long employment record and description of job responsibilities, for example, may serve as important documentation. Alerting the employer of a potential stress injury is another way to create documentation.

Finally, seeking medical attention is an important form of documentation in any workers’ compensation case. First and foremost, it’s a good idea to have a medical professional examine your injury and provide any necessary treatment, so as to lessen the pain and help the injury heal. It’s also important to have a medical examination so that you may have proof that you were experiencing worsening symptoms over a period of time.

Contact a Work Injury Attorney New York Trusts

It may not be wise to attempt working through pain in the upper back area, because it could easily become a detriment to ongoing health. Pain is always an indication that something is wrong physically, and it is important to respond to the message. As soon as you realize there is a medical problem, it may be important to consult with an attorney. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney may be able to help you file a claim successfully.

Don’t ignore a potential injury compensation claim, especially when it could be a component of a disability claim. You work for your compensation rights, and your attorney can do the fighting for you while you focus on rehabilitation.


PSRThanks to our friends and contributors from Polsky, Shouldice & Rosen P.C. for their insight into workers compensation claims.

Responding to Requests for Disclosure

Many state courts have requirements similar to the federal requirements to provide initial disclosures to all other parties in the case.  Texas is one of those states, and although responses to Requests for Disclosure aren’t required automatically, many Defendants are beginning to add a paragraph in their Answer requesting responses to Rule 194.2 Requests for Disclosure.

Of course, as Plaintiff’s attorneys, one of our biggest assets is having access to all necessary witnesses and exhibits prior to filing the case.  This means that in order to take advantage of this asset, we must know every single fact from every single witness before filing suit.  A skilled personal injury lawyer Texarkana TX relies on will already have exhibits identified and marked, along with prepared jury instructions before suit is filed.  Once suit is filed, it is our duty to obtain a trial date as quickly as possible to provide justice to the client.  This means being prepared before suit is filed.

Therefore, once the Requests for Disclosure are made by the Defendant, the responses should already be prepared (or can be prepared with ease).

Witnesses

You should already have each lay witness’s name, address, telephone number, and anticipated testimony summarized, so this requirement will be simple.  Don’t forget to identify each law enforcement officer present on the scene of any accident or the custodian of records for each medical provider who treated your client.

Expert Witnesses

It is always smart (and required in cases of medical negligence) to have experts retained and ready prior to suit being filed.  Be both broad and specific when outlining the opinions of your experts in your responses to Requests for Disclosure.

Calculation of Damages

All of your past medical expenses, claim for lost wages, future needs, and non-economic damages should be calculated prior to filing suit.  Provide what information is necessary to preserve all claims you have listed in the claim for damages paragraphs in your Complaint or Petition, and be sure to review authorized jury instruction to confirm that you are maximizing the allowable damages for your client.

Exhibition of a Prepared Plaintiff

Defense lawyers, judges, jurors, and even insurance adjusters know, or can easily identify, a prepared Plaintiff’s attorney.  Being prepared drives up the value of a claim, and it makes presenting the case to a jury much easier than the alternative.

For these reasons, it is always best to be as prepared as possible prior to filing suit.  This will make responding to Requests for Disclosure a simple task, and it will help confirm that you are seeking the maximum compensation for your client’s injuries.


SHThanks to Steve Harrelson and our friends and co-contributors from Harrelson Law Firm, P.A. for their added insight into pre-suit organization of personal injury cases.

Don’t Get Fooled: Getting Fair Value for Lost Wages in Your Accident Case

Thorough documentation of lost income is a powerful weapon in preparing a car accident injury claim.

And while pain, suffering and emotional distress are valid pieces of an injury claim, they are difficult to quantify with the dollar value.

Lost wages however can be itemized to the penny.

Insurance adjusters are impressed by cold hard numbers. By thoroughly preparing the lost wages component of your claim you not only maximize the dollars you’ll get for the lost wages but also the entire value of your claim.

Yet for whatever reason we see car accident lawyers in St. Petersburg near us who don’t put the time and energy into prepping up the lost wages claim. Worse still, some lawyers will give up on the lost wages claim if the injured party has received disability benefits or sick, vacation, or leave pay.

This is a costly mistake.

Lost Income versus Lost Compensation

Car accident lawyers often forget that a lost wages claim includes additional compensation above and beyond any direct loss income.

For example, consider the situation where you are forced to take a week off from work but you had to use seven sick days while you are recovering from your injuries. Your employer gives you set numbers of sick days and when you use them your set number goes down in accordance with how many of you stop.

While you may not have lost income because your employer paid you out for your sick days that you’ve accumulated, you have lost compensation. You lost financial benefits that you had with your employer but you had to use them up because of the accident. This is reimbursable as part of a lost wages claim.

Types of Employment Compensation

Sick Days:  many employers provide designated sick days that can be utilized for a variety of reasons.  If you had to use up sick days to get to treatment for your car accident or otherwise recover, this is reimbursable.

Pay Bonuses: employers will pay bonuses often if certain targets are met. But what if you had a certain sales target that you had to reach for a quarterly bonus and you just missed out on it because of the accident and because you couldn’t go to work when you would otherwise would have.

If you can prove that you’ve lost a pay bonus because of your accident, then you may be entitled to lost wages for the value of the bonus.

Bonus Days: Bonus days can be national holidays, birthdays, or any other sort of days that your employer provides you that you had to use up to keep income flowing because of the accident. Bonus days are recoverable as well.

Vacation Days:  Much like sick days and bonus days, if you had to use of vacation days because of your accident then you may be entitled to recover value for the vacation days.

Proving Lost Wages

If Employed, Sitting Down with Human Resources to Determine Lost Income

While you certainly can have, your attorney pull your employment file, sometimes the quickest and easiest way to get the best information to prove up lost wages is to sit down with the human resources guy at your company.

In this scenario, you have your lawyer contact human resources to tell them exactly what they need to prove the claim. Then, you sit down with human resources and can have them pull definitive records of the exact days and times that you missed work. Human resources going to have your schedule and it will leave nothing to chance.

Pull Your Previous Wage and Pay History

if you have traditionally missed very little or no time because of sickness and illness then pulling your previous wage and pay history can help illustrate that this lost time because of this accident is the real deal.

The key is that you are getting written documentation from your employer that helps confirm the exact days you missed, the exact amount of money that you make, any special projects that you’re working on, any lost bonuses because of the accident, or any other perks and benefits that you lost.

If Self-Employed, Review Several years of Financial Documents

For the self-employed proving lost wages can be a bit more problematic.

Consider that some self-employed people who work for themselves may not even keep accurate tax records. And for others, the tax records may be prepared in such a way by an accountant to artificially reduce your income.

Nonetheless the documentation is almost always there. Start with tax returns, a couple years would be best. Next, we can use bank statements for the business to help show income coming in and expenses going out.

When the values high enough in some cases we may hire a forensic accountant to help us prove exact values for lost wages.


DDThanks to our friends and contributors from Denmon & Denmon for their insight into lost wages and personal injury practice.

Three Common Factors in an Auto Accident Case

Being involved in an auto accident can be a tough situation for anyone to have to go through. Most individuals do not know what to do when they are involved in an accident and they may not know what to look for. Here are a few coming factors that can be very important in dealing with any auto accident.

1. Whose Fault Was the Accident?

This can be one of the most important factors in any accident claim as it will relate as to whether or not you have a viable claim against the other driver’s insurance company.  One of the biggest keys in determining who is at fault for the accident is a Traffic Crash Report. Generally, the responding law enforcement representative will decide of the facts of the accident to determine which party is at fault for the accident. However, there are instances where, even if you the other party is found to be at fault, their insurance company will still try and deny the claim on the basis that their insured should not be found at fault.  In these situations, a good Westerville car accident lawyer can help fight for your case to make sure the other party is found at fault.

2. Was Anyone Injured in the Accident?

Not all injuries are going to be the same in every accident.  Some injuries may require minimal treatment, while other injuries may require months of rehabilitation to get an injured party back on their feet. The level of injury that an injured party sustains will affect how long the case takes because all of the medical costs need to be incorporated into the case.

3. Evidence That Can be Used to Build A Case

The general rule of thumb when it comes to any accident case is, the more evidence that is compiled, the better the attorney can help to evaluate your case. Attorney’s do not necessarily need every single piece of evidence but it certainly does not hurt to be over inclusive. It is always a good idea to prepare and anticipate what to do if you are in an accident, and what types of things may be important to capture.  A few things that you should keep at the forefront if you are in an accident are:

  • Call the police immediately, even if the other party does not want you to
  • Take photos of the vehicles involved and the accident scene
  • Get the information of the other driver, including their insurance card
  • Get information of any eyewitnesses that may be at the scene

This list of factors should not be treated as a step-by-step guide to handling an auto accident case. If you or a loved one are involved in an accident, it is always best to contact a auto accident attorney to learn about the rights you have when going through this situation.


HLThanks to our friends and contributors from Heit Law, LLC for their insight into three common factors in auto accident cases.

Uber Accident: Who is liable?

With the convenience and popularity of peer-to-peer ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft, there is a very good chance you have experience more than one ride – or at the very least, we all have that one friend who rarely drives anymore and does nothing but sing the praises of Uber because of the ease and safety.

Or, as a frequent rider, you may have shared a horror story of untimeliness, getting lost or even reckless driving.

Company spokespersons say all drivers must undergo background checks and drivers who demonstrate patterns of unsafe behavior will no longer be able to drive for Uber or Lyft.

Even so, vehicle accidents can and do happen. For those who use ridesharing companies like Uber, it is important to know what to do if you are ever in an accident, understand who is at fault in the event of a ridesharing crash, and how to receive payment for any injuries or other losses you sustain.

Understanding Coverage:

Uber, for example, has a three-part insurance structure to cover their drivers and passengers. When the drivers are not available to pick up passengers, they’re covered by their own personal auto insurance. When drivers are available but haven’t yet picked up a passenger, they’re covered by their own personal insurance plus additional contingent liability coverage. That coverage goes up to $50,000 per injury for a total of $100,000 and up to $25,000 in property damage, if the driver’s personal insurance doesn’t cover the issue. Finally, drivers who are on a trip with a passenger are covered by a $1 million liability coverage policy and a $1 million uninsured/underinsured coverage policy in case of accidents with un- or underinsured drivers.

So you’re covered, right?

The answer is…maybe.

The biggest question: who pays for damages after a ridesharing accident?

Peer-to-peer ridesharing companies are a relatively new service. Uber, for example, started in 2009 and when it comes to liability and financial responsibility for Uber accidents, insurance policy protocols and legislation are still in the Wild West, so to speak.

If you are a passenger in an Uber and become injured in a car accident, their insurance theoretically covers this up to $1 million. It theoretically covers the passenger’s injuries, even if the other driver caused the crash and the other driver didn’t have insurance. However, Uber maintains that you cannot sue the company for damage that exceeds $1 million even if the Uber driver was reckless or negligent. In other words, you can’t claim damages from Uber in court if your driver turned out to be drunk and crashed. You could sue the driver, but the driver is unlikely to be able to pay much by way of damages.

Uber classifies its drivers as independent contractors, or third-party service providers. In other words, they’re not Uber’s employees.

That being said, the outcome is dependent on Uber’s own classification of its drivers as independent contractors. A lawsuit may result in a decision that Uber’s drivers are actually its employees, meaning that Uber would be liable for their actions.

Or not.

Legislation regarding accident liability for peer-to-peer transportation services is currently under development and we will likely see many changes as legislators iron out the rules in the next several years.

If you find yourself in an accident while riding with Uber, treat it the same as if you were a passenger in a private vehicle with a friend or someone you know – call 911 if necessary and seek medical attention as quickly as possible.

If you do not think your injuries are serious at the time, and as with any car accident, it is a good idea to seek a medical evaluation to rule out any internal injuries, as well as to protect you legally if an in injury comes up later.

If possible, use your phone to snap photos and videos of the crash scene and of the damaged cars. It is also a good idea to jot down as much information as you can, including:

  • Your driver’s name and information
  • Any other involved parties’ names, contact information, and insurance information
  • The contact information for any bystanders who saw the crash

If issues arise when you file a claim, the information that you collect can be very helpful in proving your case. Contact a Dallas car accident lawyer today for more information if you think you may have a case.


RBRThanks to our friends and contributors from Reyes Browne Reilley Law Firm for their insight into uber accidents and liability.

DUI Laws Are Unnecessary

MJVThanks to our guest contributor and friend, Marc J. Victor of Marc J. Victor Law Office for his insight into DUI practice. Below are his brief thoughts on DUI laws:


My position on DUI laws probably differs from most criminal defense attorneys in that I think all DUI laws should be abolished.  This does not mean I support the act of operating a motor vehicle while being impaired.  I think it’s foolish to drive while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or any intoxicating substance.  If you are impaired for any reason, you should always take an Uber or use a designated driver. You not only place yourself and others at great risk of harm or death, but you are also gambling with what could be many years of your life if someone is killed due to your negligence.

So why would I want to see all DUI laws abolished?  Because, this law is not needed, it’s too broad, and we already have several other laws that make the crime of driving under the influence unnecessary.  Any one of these other laws is sufficient in dealing with this crime.  In my article entitled, “Abolish All DUI Laws”, I lay out my reasons for doing away with this unnecessary law.  I challenge you to read beyond the scary title and find out why my position makes sense.

Although I think we should abolish all DUI laws, we should enforce the laws of reckless driving and aggravated felony assault.  A driver who operates their vehicle with reckless disregard for the safety of others or their property is guilty of the crime of reckless driving.  If those actions result in serious injuries to others, they will most likely be charged with aggravated felony assault.  If someone is killed by another driver’s recklessness, they will be charged with either murder or manslaughter.  Indeed, we already have several laws in place that address the issue of driving under the influence already; the creation of DUI laws do not enhance public safety and add to our already overburdened justice system.

The best advice I can give someone is to avoid a DUI or even a much more serious felony crime by not drinking at all prior to driving.  In Arizona, you can be guilty of a DUI if you are impaired to the slightest degree.  The cause of impairment does not matter.  You can be guilty of DUI no matter if it’s alcohol, drugs (legal or illegal), even over the counter medications such as cough syrup.  Also, Contrary to what some people believe your blood alcohol level does not have to be .08 or higher to be guilty of a DUI.

The bottom line is, it’s just not worth the risk!  If you have ingested anything or had anything at all to drink or smoke that has inhibited your ability to operate a motor vehicle, do not drive; you are risking much more than a DUI.  But, if you are charged with the crime of DUI in Arizona, call an experienced DUI lawyer Chandler AZ trusts.


The Worst Celebrity Car Accidents of 2016

Sadly, car accidents and celebrities have a long, tragic history. As PROOF has reported previously, James Dean’s fatal car crash is one of the most well-known examples. Unfortunately, 2016 had its share of celebrities involved in car accidents. Here are two of the most heartbreaking:

Anton Yelchin

By far one of the saddest pieces of celebrity legal news stemmed from the June 2016 accident involving actor Anton Yelchin. Yelchin had recently starred as Chekov in Star Trek Beyond, a character he had played in previous Star Trek films and was enjoying a very successful career. The day of the accident, June 19, 2016, Yelchin had just backed into his driveway and exited his Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Jeep rolled backwards and pinned Yelchin against the brick pillar of his entry gate.  He died from the impact. He was only 27 years old. Yelchin’s parents filed a wrongful death suit against Fiat Chrysler, the Jeep’s manufacturer. Fiat Chrysler has counterclaimed arguing that Yelchin was at fault because he misused the SUV. Note though at the time of Yelchin’s accident, other Jeep Cherokee owners had reported that their vehicles have have rolled away unexpectedly. So the vehicles became part of a global recall because the gear shifter was confusing drivers. As a result of this confusion more than 260 crashes have occurred and more than 65 people have been injured. This seems very similar to what happened to Yelchin. A concerned friend went to check on him having not heard from him, and found Yelchin’s Jeep  in neutral. This supports the theory that perhaps Yelchin too had mistaken neutral for park as had other Jeep drivers.

Watching Yelchin’s parents talk about the suit and the loss of their son is horrifying. Yelchin did not need to die. His family, his friends, and his fans did not have to say goodbye to him at such a young age. With Yelchin’s death, Hollywood has certainly lost one of its brightest, young stars. PROOFwithJillStanley will be following the Yelchin lawsuit as well as other related cases and will keep you apprised of what happens in connection with this terrible loss. As an attorney who has handled similar cases, I can tell you that it will be years before this matter is resolved.

Nick Lashaway

Perhaps less well-known that Anton Yelchin but no less loved was actor Nick Lashaway. He too was enjoying success in Hollywood and had landed roles in Girls, In Time, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and The Last Song. when he was involved in a multi-car accident on May 8, 2016 in Framingham, Massachusetts. Like Anton, Nick was young at the time of the accident–28 years old. And also like Anton, he was driving a Jeep.   Note though there have been not been any allegations that Lashaway’s vehicle malfunctioned or that the accident resulted from gear shift confusion. When he was pulled from his vehicle, it was on fire. Despite CPR being performed on the scene, Lashway did not survive the crash.

The cause of Lashaway’s accident is still under investigation and at this point it is unknown whether the actor’s family will file a lawsuit in connection with it. Because it was multi-car accident potential causes are many.

I have spent much of my career litigating catastrophic injury cases and these two are among the saddest. Rest in peace Anton Yelchin and Nick Lashaway you will be forever missed.

Proof with Jill StanleyThanks to our friend and contributor, Attorney Jill Stanley from Proof with Jill Stanley, for her insight into the worst celebrity car accidents of 2016.

Main Benefits in Worker’s Compensation

The Wisconsin worker’s compensation system has two main types of benefits, for which an injured worker can claim compensation: indemnity and medical benefits.

First, indemnity benefits refer to claims for compensation that are owed to the injured worker. These benefits contain three main categories: temporary disability benefits, permanent disability benefits, and loss of earning capacity and/or retraining benefits. These three benefits are the main indemnity benefits in Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation.

Temporary total or partial disability benefits (i.e. TTD) refer to benefits that are owed to an injured worker when he/she is completely off of work or on some type of restriction that prevents him/her to work his/her complete work schedule. For example, let’s say a worker injures her low back when she lifts up a bucket at work and sees her primary care physician, who takes her off of work for one month. The injured worker would have a claim for temporary total disability benefits during this period of time she is off of work. A different scenario presents itself if the worker is released with a restriction that limits her number of hours. If this happens, then she would have a claim for temporary partial disability benefits.

Permanent partial disability benefits (i.e. PPD) refer to benefits that are owed to an injured worker for a functional impairment to the body part which was injured in the work event. This functional impairment is in the form of a percentage that can only be assigned by a medical doctor. For example, let’s take the same worker that lifts up a bucket at work and hurts her low back. If her doctor assigned 2% PPD to her low back as a result of this injury, then she would have a claim for permanent partial disability benefits against the worker’s compensation insurance company.

Loss of earning capacity benefits and/or retraining benefits (i.e., LOEC, DVR, schooling) refer to benefits that are owed to an injured worker who cannot return to his/her date-of-injury employer due to permanent restrictions, which prevent his/her ability to do his/her job. For example, let’s go back to our example of the injured worker with a back injury. If her doctor releases her with a permanent restriction of no lifting, and her date-of-injury employer cannot accommodate this restriction, then she may have a claim for loss of earning capacity and/or retraining benefits. However, only a certified vocational rehabilitation counselor can determine such a vocational impairment.

The second main benefit in Wisconsin worker’s compensation is medical benefits. These are claims for medical expenses that owed to a medical provider for treatment rendered, to an injured worker for out-of-pocket medical expenses paid, and/or to a health insurance provider for medical claims paid. Let’s once again use our example of the lady that has a back injury from work. If she underwent surgery for this condition and the bills were processed by her health insurance company, then she would have a claim against the worker’s compensation insurance company for her health insurer to be reimbursed the money they paid out.

Indemnity and medical benefits are the main benefits in Wisconsin Worker’s compensation. However, every case is different, so call an experienced worker’s compensation attorney Milwaukee WI trusts in order to see what benefits are available to you.


Hickey & Turim logoThanks to our friends and contributors from Hickey & Turim, SC for their insight into workers’ compensation practice.

Levels of Traumatic Brain Injury

The brain is one of our body’s most complex areas. So is it any wonder Traumautic Brain Injury (TBI) does not always show up on standard medical tests. Medical breakthroughs are being made every day, and today’s advanced technology allows doctors to detect and treat previously undetectable TBI.

That also means that TBI can be proved in court so that you can get the compensation you need to pay for the best treatments and have the best hope of a full recovery. However, you need to work with an attorney that understands brain injury and has experience with brain injury cases in order to gain access to the right specialists and tests. Here at BACKLINK one of our staff has advanced training in Neuropsychiatry and worked in psychiatry for over a decade.

Long-term Costs

The quality of your treatment and the gradual pace of recovery can quickly add up to large bills. While the most advanced treatments for TBI come at a high initial price, they are the best chance for a full or partial recovery and a reduced need for long-term care. In fact, the right treatment could even mean that you will be able to return to your career and, function well in daily tasks.

Living with TBI

The outward signs of TBI are not always clear and visible. Symptoms can come and go, and most TBI survivors have symptoms with physical and behavioral effects. This is confusing to victims and their loved ones. It can make it impossible to hold down a job, even when the good days are very good.

Radical personality changes, unexplainable emotional outbursts, and even sudden blackouts can be frightening for TBI survivors and those around them. When TBI has gone undiagnosed, some survivors believe they have “lookalike” disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), or aphasia.

More than half of all TBI survivors will develop epilepsy, putting them at risk for more accidents and injuries. This seizure disorder can lead to dizziness, and loss of coordination as well as falls. Unfortunately falls related to a loss of consciousness can worsen the head trauma.

For these reasons, it is very important to get quality assessment and care. Seek several opinions.

Some professionals to consider being treated by include: Chiropractors, Neuropsychologists, Psychiatrists, Neurologists. Some cities even have specialty Concussion Clinics.

TBI can also affect your ability to concentrate and your memory. Some of these problems can be offset by learning coping skills. Many people get back to a normal way of life by implementing elaborate reminder systems.

No Brain Injury Is Mild

If you have been told that you suffered a “mild” brain injury do not be misled. When the term “mild” is used it is referring to the rating on the Glasgow Coma Scale between 13 to 15. This scale measures the initial assault on the brain and basically tells you how long you were out. In the range of 9 to 12, is classified as Moderate Brain Injury. Scores of 8 or below are considered Severe Traumatic Brain Injury. Regardless of your rating on these scales, your injury may have devastating long-term consequences. That is why it is so important to get the compensation you deserve for the injury. More resources often lead to higher quality healthcare.

If you or a loved one has experienced a Traumatic Brain Injury, please contact a skilled personal injury lawyer Chicago IL trusted today.


sherThanks to our friend and contributor from The Law Offices of Konrad Sherinian for their insight into TBI cases.

Truck Accidents: Fatigued Drivers, Walmart and Tracy Morgan

No one is immune from becoming involved in a car accident. If you drive on roadways, are a passenger in a vehicle, or walk on sidewalks you can be a victim of one. So, in the category of celebrities, they’re just like us, this time it is completely true—celebs get in car accidents just like we do. They range from minor accidents to major accidents involving catastrophic injury and even death. Celebrity legal news outlets, like PROOF with Jill Stanley often cover these accidents. One such tragic accident lead to serious injury for comedian, Tracy Morgan and very sadly, to the death of his friend and colleague, James McNair as well as serious injury to another comedian Ardie Fuqua Jr. and Morgan’s assistant, Jeffrey Millea.

In June 2014 Morgan and six others were in a limo bus on the New Jersey Turnpike when Kevin Roper, a WalMart tractor trailer driver plowed into the rear of Morgan’s limo bus sending it into other vehicles and then causing the limo bus to tip onto its’ side.  Six vehicles were involved in the accident. Roper was charged with causing it and, after an investigation, the National Transportations Safety Board (NTSB) agreed. Reports showed that Roper had been awake for 28 hours and that had he slowed his vehicle to 45 mph, the posted limit, the accident might have been prevented. The NTSB also noted that Morgan and the other passengers were not wearing seat belts and had adjusted the vehicle’s headrests which contributed to the severity of their injuries.

Morgan sued Walmart for his injuries and the case settled for an undisclosed amount. If there is some good to come out of this tragedy it is that the dangers of driver fatigue and truck safety have been highlighted. So maybe Walmart will now think twice, or, even better perhaps they have instituted new procedure as to when they their drivers are assigned to drive on the nation’s roadways. Maybe now they do more to ensure that their drivers are alert and not fatigued before sending them out to the very same streets on which are children and loved ones travel.

It should be noted that in February 2016 Roper plead not guilty to criminal charges connected with this accident.

Why Most Personal Injury Cases Settle Before Trial

According to one estimate, there are over 2.35 million automobile collisions that cause an injury every year in the United States. Most of these result in the filing of an injury claim with an insurance company. Yet the vast majority of these claims are settled before a lawsuit is filed, and over 90% of lawsuits settle before trial. Why?

1. Insurance companies push hard to settle claims early.

If you are injured in a car crash and file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company, and the company recognizes that its driver is clearly at fault, the insurance company will probably try to settle the claim with you before you hire aBaltimore personal injury lawyer. Insurance companies have a financial incentive to settle your claim before you rack up a lot of medical expenses. So if you are in a crash, don’t be surprised when an insurance adjuster offers you $500 to settle the claim before you’ve even been checked out by a doctor. (And you know how little $500 buys in terms of medical treatment.) Why? Because in order to get the $500, you have to sign a document called a release. The release says that you cannot sue the driver who caused the crash, and prevents you from recovering a penny more in the future ­ even if your injury gets dramatically worse. This is one reason why it is important to hire a lawyer to represent you when you’ve been injured in an automobile crash. A good lawyer will not let you be taken advantage of by an insurance company looking to settle your case on the cheap.

2. Trial is expensive.

It costs money to go to trial. In many cases, the injured party (called “the plaintiff” in a lawsuit) must hire a doctor to testify that the plaintiff’s injuries were caused by the car collision or dog bite or slip and ­fall that led to the lawsuit. Doctors aren’t cheap. Sometimes the plaintiff also has to hire so­-called experts to explain how the defendant’s conduct was negligent. For example, the plaintiff might need to hire an engineer to testify that his deck collapsed because a contractor used improper hardware to secure it to the home. In another case, a plaintiff might need an expert to explain that he was injured because the manufacturer of a product knew the product was dangerous but sold it anyway. These experts cost a lot of money. Most personal injury lawyers pay these expenses up front, and then are reimbursed from the amount that the plaintiff recovers at trial. A plaintiff’s lawyer should be willing to have a candid conversation with his client about the likelihood that going to trial will result in the plaintiff receiving more money after these expenses are deducted than he would get if he settled before trial.

3. Trial is difficult.

Putting on a trial is similar to producing a movie. It takes a dedicated lawyer to prepare the case, arrange for all of the witnesses to be in the right place at the right time, design and produce the visual exhibits that will be shown to the judge and jury, and make sure the plaintiff is prepared to testify. Many lawyers simply aren’t very good at this, and are therefore reluctant to go to trial. Good lawyers are willing to go to trial, provided they have a good case. Trial is also difficult for plaintiffs. Most people do not enjoy getting on the stand, taking an oath, and testifying in front of a room full of strangers. Many plaintiffs would prefer to take less money for their claim if it means they avoid going through trial. A good lawyer should be willing to spend as much time with you as it takes to make sure you are prepared to testify comfortably.

4. Lawyers and insurance companies are fairly good at predicting the value of cases.

Insurance companies and good lawyers have seen many cases and have access to jury verdict data in similar cases. Armed with that information, coupled with their assessment of the credibility of the witnesses who will testify and how dramatic the injury is, good lawyers on both sides can predict with some certainty the range of possible verdicts in a given case. They aren’t always right, but they’re right often enough that they can have some confidence in the outcome before trial occurs. This allows the parties to work toward a settlement that makes sense for all involved.

With that said, if a lawyer is 80% sure that a case is worth a certain amount, that means he thinks there is a 20% chance that he will be totally wrong. It is this risk, along with the expense and difficulty of trial that lead to most settlements of cases in which a lawsuit has already been filed. To paraphrase Kenny Rogers, good lawyers know when to hold ‘em, and know when to fold ‘em, and will advise his client accordingly. Taking all of this on by yourself can be very difficult. That is why it is important to hire a lawyer to handle your personal injury case for you. Put your trust in an experienced lawyer who has made these decisions before.


CaptureThanks to our friends and contributors at Greenberg Law Offices for their insight into personal injury practice.

What Kind of Damages Can You Pursue After a Car Accident?

A car accident can change a person’s life numerous ways.  Physical injuries, mental anguish, and lost jobs often follow a car crash.  When you are not at fault for the car accident, you can seek what are referred to as damages in a lawsuit.  Generally, when you have been injured in a car accident, it is in your best interest to speak with a Chicago personal injury lawyer who understands the types of damages that you are entitled to.

Broadly, Chicago personal injury lawyers separate damages into two categories:  1) Compensatory Damages, and 2) Punitive Damages, which are only available in the rarest of cases.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are intended to compensate the plaintiff in a lawsuit for the harm that she actually suffered in a car accident.  These include:

  • Repair or replacement of your vehicle
  • Past and future medical treatment, including psychiatric treatment
  • Past and future lost earnings
  • Quality of life goods and services
  • “Pain & suffering”

Repair or replacement of your vehicle is exactly what it sounds like.  If someone is at fault in an accident, you are entitled to have your car repaired to the same state that it was in prior to the accident.  If your car cannot be repaired, you should be paid its replacement value, generally as determined by reference to the Kelley Blue Book.

Past and future medical treatment is also straightforward.  However, many victims of car accidents do not realize that all medical expenses, including psychiatric expenses, can be recovered.  Many persons involved in car accidents suffer significant mental trauma, and require significant psychiatric treatment.  The law allows an injured person to recover these fees.  In addition, an injured person can recover future medical treatment, to the extent that it is known.  Car accident victims often do not know the full extent of their injuries for some time, which is one reason why it is so important for them to seek medical treatment and to comply with their medical providers’ treatment plans.

Medical bills are often subject to insurance liens.  However, Illinois limits the amount of a settlement that can be subject to liens, so an injured person can often recover a portion of these fees even when liens are accounted for.

Persons injured in car crashes often miss work, and in some cases, are unable to work for extended periods.  These lost earnings, including future lost earnings, can be recovered.

In certain cases, a person injured in a car accident may not be able to perform important functions, such as walking.  In such a case, the person may require extensive changes to their living arrangements to stay safe.  For example, ramps may need to be installed on all levels to accommodate a wheel chair, and special arrangements may need to be made to evacuate the injured person in the event of a fire.  These types of damages can also be recovered, although extensive legal and other expertise is required to properly prove them up.

Finally, damages for pain & suffering can be recovered.  Pain & suffering, which insurance companies euphemistically refer to as “inconvenience,” is extremely fact dependent.  However, in general terms, it is an amount sufficient to compensate you for the amount of pain and suffering that you have suffered and will suffer as a result of the accident.

Insurance

Insurance companies generally will pay for damages to your vehicle without too much issue.  However, without the involvement of an attorney, they will generally only offer minimal amounts for any other types of damages, even where liability is crystal clear.  In cases where you have injuries, it is generally in your interest to contact a Chicago Personal Injury Attorney.


Thanks to our friends and co-contributors at The Law Offices of Konrad Sherinian, LLC for their added insight into motor vehicle related personal injury claims.

4 Things to Keep in Your Car in Case of a Motor Vehicle Accident

You never know when you might be involved in a motor vehicle accident, but you’re always at risk of something happening when you get behind the wheel and hit the road. Luckily, keeping these four things in your car can help you ensure that you are prepared in the event that you are involved in a wreck.

1. Cell Phone, Battery and Charger

You’ll need to be able to call for help if you’re involved in an accident. Make sure that you always have your cell phone on hand when you’re in the car (just make sure that you don’t talk or text and drive!) and that you have a spare battery or a car charger on hand. If you don’t like to use a cell phone, you can always purchase a cheap prepaid phone with limited minutes on it; then, you’ll have it in case of an emergency, but you won’t have to worry about being saddled with a monthly plan.

2. First Aid Kit

You can purchase a first aid kit that is fully stocked from a pharmacy or mass market retail store, or you can make your own. Either way, you’ll want to have bandages, alcohol pads, an emergency blanket and other essentials on hand in case you or someone else is hurt in a car accident and has to wait for help to arrive.

3. Camera

A camera can come in very handy in the event of a car accident, since you can take pictures of both vehicles, any street signs or road construction and other things to use as evidence. You may need this when talking to the insurance company or when working with a Denver personal injury attorney.

4. Notepad and Pen/Pencil

Jotting down what happened while it’s fresh on your mind is important. You may also need to be able to write down witness statements and contact information, insurance information for the other driver and other valuable info. Keeping a notepad and a pen or pencil in your glove compartment or center console can help make this easier.

It’s important to always be prepared for a potential accident when you hit the road. Luckily, having these four things on hand can help.


Thanks to our friend and contributor, J. Todd Tenge of The Tenge Law Firm — serving Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins, CO, for his insight into serious personal injury and motor vehicle accident cases.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

“NOT AN OPPORTUNITY TO CUT COSTS”

When deciding what kind of coverage is “necessary” most people look to get the best deal possible.  To cut costs they may:  raise the deductible, cut property damage coverage, eliminate rental car coverage, take the minimum in no-fault medical coverage, and finally lower their liability coverage.  Most people worry about low liability coverage limits because they are afraid that an accident, which is their fault, may ruin them financially.  Robert Miner, a top Salt Lake City personal injury lawyer, agrees, this is a worry, but it is at best a remote possibility.

WHOSE LIFE IS DESTROYED IN A SERIOUS MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT?

Every day, countless people’s lives are permanently transformed and ruined by motor vehicle accidents.  These people don’t simply suffer financial ruin but physical and emotional ruin as well.  Ask yourself:  what type of at fault driver am I most likely to have an accident with?  As an experienced personal injury lawyer, Miner can tell you:  it isn’t the person responsibly going over his auto insurance requirements.  It is:  an uninsured, or minimally insured person with nothing to lose.  Sure you can sue this person, but if he doesn’t have anything, nothing is what you are going to get.  It is the person with nothing to lose in life that is the most likely person to harm you, and the person you need to insure yourself against.

UNINSURED AND UNDERINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT COVERAGE TO OBTAIN

Getting adequate uninsured and underinsured coverage is vital.  What does this insurance provide?  This coverage basically insures you against injury from the most likely person to harm you.  Your own insurance basically gives you protection from people who may not only be uninsured, but basically uninsurable.  These people include those driving on alcohol suspended licenses or with no licenses at all.  The catch to getting adequate uninsured and underinsured liability limits is to have high liability limits.  Insurance companies are protected, for example, in Utah by statute.  §31A-22-305.3 of the Utah Code provides that insurance policies in Utah must provide uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage in amounts equal to or lesser than the insured’s liability limits.  It allows for people to opt for lower limits; but why would you knowing the risks?

UNINSURED AND UNDERINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE IS THE ONLY TRUE BARGAIN IN YOUR COVERAGE

All other parts of your insurance coverage are based on you, your driving record, your vehicle, your age, your sex, and in some states your credit rating.  The fact that you are a responsible person struggling with coverage questions already may make you a relatively low risk to harm someone else.  Imagine the cost of trying to insure a drunk or unlicensed driver on your policy; the cost would be prohibitive. That is basically what you are doing by getting high limits on liability and consequently uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.  Don’t miss out on a bargain in your coverage!

For more information, or if you’ve been injured in an accident contact a local personal injury lawyer, today.

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CaptureThanks to our friend and blog author, Robert Miner of Rasmussen & Miner, for his insight into uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.

Automobile Accidents

Accidents are a fact of life, and so are car accidents. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute, IIHS-HLDI, the number of motor vehicle crashes differ widely among the 50 states. Statistics also show that more than 4 people are injured in motor vehicle crashes every minute nationwide. Although many of these accidents are minor, causing little or no harm, there are other accidents that turn into a complicated mess. People involved in these crashes may be severely injured and the automobile may be completely damaged or crashed. Serious accidents may also lead to fatalities.

In automobile accident cases, the legal system may be able to help the parties sort out who is at fault for the accident. It can help determine which party was at fault and needs to pay the medical and repair bills. Most automobile accident cases usually involve a combination of traffic law as well as personal injury law. The person who has been injured in the automobile case may want to hire an attorney to determine fault and the cause of the accident. Some obvious causes of car accidents are distracted driving, speeding, drunk driving, reckless driving, running a red light, unsafe lane change, wrong-way driving, improper turn, tailgating, driving under the influence of other intoxicants, drowsy driving and so on. Other causes of automobile accidents may include unfavorable weather conditions such as rain, snow, ice, fog, along with potholes, animal crossings, deadly curves, as well as design defects in the vehicle.

In most auto accident cases, the parties have to come to an agreement and decide who was at fault and by what percentage. They also have to determine if the vehicles involved were insured or underinsured. Usually, if there are multiple cars involved, there is often a disagreement about who was at fault. Based on all this, the insurance company will decide the amount of coverage and compensation the injured party is entitled to. In other cases, the insurance company may simply deny coverage or compensation for medical bills, lost wages, property damage as well as pain and suffering.

To deal with car insurance companies and the other party and their attorney, it is important to get in touch with a qualified car accident attorney to represent you. That will make a difference between getting compensated justly as opposed to settling for lesser damages. It is also important to contact an attorney at the right time to represent you. If the process is delayed and the other party’s insurance company contacts you and records your statement before you seek legal counsel, then things may not be in your favor. Whatever the case, we strongly suggest you contact an attorney as soon as possible to get the compensation you deserve in terms of medical costs, lost wages, and property loss.


Thanks to our friends and blog authors from Bugg Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into auto accident claims.

The Legality of Fixed Bikes

Riding a bike is a popular, healthy, and environmentally friendly way to get around, but even with all its benefits, it is not without controversy. Fixed gear bikes, known as ‘fixies’, have become a hot topic locally and throughout the nation over safety concerns over a lack of brake systems. In the event of a bicycle accident resulting in personal injuries, the fact that you were riding a fixie could prevent you from getting the compensation you deserve. If you ride a fixie or have been thinking of investing in one, the following is important information to be aware of regarding these bikes, as well as how they could potentially affect a bicycle accident claim.

Fixed Bikes Increasingly Popular With Cyclists

According to Bicyling.com, fixies or fixed gear bikes are enjoying a surge in popularity. A type of single speed bike with no free wheel to allow a rider to coast, many types of fixies are also not equipped with braking systems. The only way to stop a fixie is the old fashioned way, by pedaling backwards or by actually using your feet to stop the bike. Similar to beach cruisers, they were once used mostly by bike messengers, but their classic design and old school appeal have made them increasingly popular with urban cyclists of all ages. Fixie enthusiasts cite benefits such as fewer parts for repairs, increased traction and balance, and better speed adjustment through direct access with the pedals.

Controversy Over Fixed Bikes

While many young, urban hipsters sing the fixie’s praises, use of the bikes has raised controversy in many areas due to the lack of a separate braking system. In some states, like Oregon for example, the court system and law enforcement agencies have not always agreed on whether the bikes are legal or not, resulting in controversial ticket policies that have earned protests from cyclists through the city. In 2007, an Oregon bill was introduced requiring all bikes to have brake systems except for fixed gear bikes. The bill went back and forth for months before the language concerning fixies was eliminated. As it stands now, some Portland police continue to ticket fixie riders.

Unfortunately, if you are involved in an accident while on a fixie without a braking system, the legal status of fixies could make it more difficult and even prevent you from being able to get compensation for your injuries. While operating an illegal method of transportation itself may be enough to disqualify you from receiving damages, an at fault driver could also argue that the  accident itself would not have occurred if your bike had been equipped with a braking system.

Get Help From A Bike Accident Attorney

If you or someone you care about is injured in a bike accident, contact an experienced Portland personal injury attorney today.


 

Thanks to our friends and blog authors from Johnston Law Firm for their insight into the differences between libel and freedom of speech.

5 Things You Should Do At The Scene Of A Car Accident

As a Phoenix AZ personal injury lawyer, I understand that the moments following an accident are very difficult for clients. Adrenaline is pumping and emotions run high as you try to figure out what just happened and what to do next.

Taking proper actions to protect your rights at this crucial time can make your case significantly stronger. If you are involved in an accident here are 5 things you should try to do at the scene:

1.      Protect the scene.  If possible the vehicles involved in the accident should not be moved, but, while it is imperative to protect the scene of an accident, it is more important to stay safe. If necessary move your vehicle to a safer location. Ensure that you do not leave the scene of an accident and if you are moving to a safer location, communicate this to the other driver.

2.      Call the Police and Exchange Information. A police report will make it easier to establish what happened and who was at fault. Even if there is not substantial damage to the vehicles it is still a good idea to call the police and get a report done. You also want to get as much information as you can from the other driver including driver’s license, insurance card, and license plate number. This information will make it easier, for your personal injury lawyer or yourself, to open a claim with their insurance company. You also want to ensure you get contact information for witnesses if possible.

3.      Take pictures. Because of the intense feelings one has after an accident it is common for people to forget or misremember key details. Pictures of an accident scene help tell the story of what happened in a way people sometimes cannot. Take pictures of both cars and the damage to each. This can really help your personal injury lawyer explain the impact and damage to the other driver’s insurance adjustor.

4.      Seek Medical attention. Ensure you seek medical attention as soon as possible including emergency treatment if necessary. Many people do not feel the effects of the accident until a day or two later. If this is the case you want to ensure you seek and get proper treatment to determine your injuries.

5.      Call a Personal Injury Lawyer. It is very important to contact your attorney as soon as possible after an accident. Insurance companies will seek a recorded statement from you following an accident, and you want to ensure you speak to a lawyer to ensure you know your rights and are protected. An attorney can assist you in gathering evidence, communicating with insurance companies, and helping get your vehicle repaired. These steps are important to protect your rights and ensure you are properly compensated for your losses.


pasted image 0Thanks to our friend and blog author, Freddy Saavedra of Alex & Associates, P.C., for his insight into car accident and personal injury practice.

5 Things You Should Know About Soft Injury After A Car Accident

  1. The amount of damage to your car does not always equate to the amount of damage to your spine.  Despite what your insurance company tells you, many times, minimal damage to your car from a crash can still cause major damage to your spine.  It all depends on the physics of the crash.  Meaning, if the cars are moving, at rest, the surface (i.e. rain or ice) and/or the position of your body during impact.  If the forces of the crash are not absorbed by the car (i.e., minimal damage) then they are absorbed by the person or persons in the car.
  2. Early intervention.  Your body will start healing itself immediately.  Modern rehabilitative techniques in chiropractic and physical therapy can help reduce the effect of soft tissue injuries.  The sooner you start therapy the quicker the healing.  It is very important to address the symptoms of a whiplash injury with a top chiropractor or medical care provider as quickly as possible.
  3. Mechanics versus Medicine.  Whiplash, also known as cervical acceleration-deceleration injury, is a mechanical occurrence.  The forces involved in a car accident are much greater than our muscles can resist.  This often results in a deep soreness due to ligamentous injury.  Treating the symptoms with medicine (i.e. painkillers and anti-inflammatories) can inhibit the body’s natural ability to begin the healing process.  Addressing the mechanical cause, along with early intervention, results in much better long term results.
  4. Whiplash injury can lead to early disc degeneration.  Studies show that whiplash injuries can lead to early degenerative conditions such as degenerative disc disease, degenerative joint disease and osteoarthritis.  Joints, discs and the entire body function best when moving.  Whiplash injuries not addressed early or as mechanical problems of the spine often result in stagnation of movement in the spine.  This inhibited movement of the spine leads to early degenerative processes of discs, ligaments, muscles and bones.
  5. Healing takes time.  We are accustomed to a quick fix and the truth is the only thing you get is quick and no fix.  Imagine how much damage it creates if you were to get hit by a professional football player (200 lbs or more).  Small cars weight 2000 lbs-that’s ten times more force of a professional football player.  We must be patient and understand that full healing of an injury of this magnitude takes time.  Please note, there should consistent improvement throughout a course of treatment regardless of the type of intervention.  If healing is not occurring, further testing or a different approach may be warranted.

Our bodies were not designed to handle these types of impacts.  This is why it’s so important to receive early intervention that addresses the mechanical injury.


Thanks to our friend and author Dr. Bryan Paris for is insight into soft tissue injuries as a wellness expert at Advanced Spine & Wellness Center.

Dental Injuries As a Result of An Auto Accident

As a  car accident lawyer DC residents can trust, Cohen & Cohen, P.C. is no stranger to seeing clients that have suffered a dental injury as a result of an auto accident. While not generally the injury most imagine after car accidents, dental injuries can be just as damaging — and costly.

Hundreds of crashes occur every year in and around the Washington DC metro area. Many of these accidents result in catastrophic injuries. If you’ve recently been injured in a car accident and you’re looking for a reliable and knowledge car accident lawyer DC drivers turn to for dental injury claims, Cohen & Cohen, P.C. should be your first call.

A Collision Could Change Everything

Car Accident Lawyer DCHead-on collisions are typically the types of crashes that lead to injuries to the face, neck, and teeth. Regardless of the type of accident, injuries to the face can be very traumatic; not only from a physical standpoint, but emotionally as well. Not to mention, the financial cost of getting these injuries treated and/or fixed cosmetically can be very high. If you’re looking for a car accident lawyer DC drivers trust for facial injuries, one of the most common reasons why accident victims pursue injury settlements is to cover the costs of treating and healing these injuries.

Common Types of Facial Injuries and Dental Injuries

Dental injuries resulting from car accidents can be very severe, even if the crash itself is very minor. Whiplash resulting from a small fender bender can easily lead to cracked and chipped teeth — and this is just the beginning.

Other common injuries affecting a person’s dental health can include:

  • Fractured or broken lower jawbone (mandible)
  • Fractured or broken upper jawbone (maxilla)
  • Broken nose
  • Fractured cheekbones (zygomas)
  • Lacerations and/or bruising to the lips, tongue, and inner cheeks
  • Persistent toothaches
  • Persistent migraines
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems resulting from misaligned teeth

Dental injuries specifically related to the teeth can be very traumatic, painful, and expensive to treat. In addition to finding a car accident lawyer in DC, you may need to see a professional dentist for a dental examination if you believe you’ve experienced any of the following:

  • Avulsed tooth: When a tooth is completely knocked out of the socket with the roots attached. It’s possible to “reattach” this tooth if a dentist tends to the injury immediately, but after a few hours of being separated from the jawbone, there is little chance that the original tooth can be reattached.
  • Luxated tooth: This is a tooth that has been loosened in its socket but not knocked out completely. A dentist may need to tend to this injury so that the tooth can be positioned in the socket correctly.
  • Fractured tooth: There are a few different classifications for fractured teeth, and in most cases, these can be repaired or replaced. Even a small fracture can be very painful, especially if the crack extends to the root.

If you’ve sustained any of these dental injuries, it’s important to see a dental professional who can assess the damage and provide any necessary emergency treatments. It’s important to remember, too, that dental injuries may not present themselves immediately after an accident. It’s common for accident victims to search for a car accident lawyer DC can provide months after an accident has occurred, but remember that most states have a statute of limitations prohibiting injury lawsuits from being filed too long after an accident has occurred.

Cohen & Cohen, P.C.: Your DC Car Accident Lawyers

If you have any questions about possibly filing an injury lawsuit for dental-related car accident injuries, contact our firm today to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our lawyers. We understand that dental injuries can be very traumatic and expensive, and we aim to provide accident victims with every penny of financial compensation possible.

When you need a car accident lawyer DC residents can rely upon for dental injury cases, the legal team at Cohen & Cohen, P.C. is here to help.

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A huge thank you to our friends at Alliance Dentistry for their contribution to our look into dental injuries as a result of car accidents.

Five Tips for Talking to Your Insurance Company

Car Accident Lawyer Washington DC

Car Accident Lawyer Washington DCInsurance companies aren’t concerned with paying you the money you deserve after you’ve been injured in a tragic accident; enlisting the aid of a car accident lawyer Washington DC residents have trusted for many years is the only way that your rights will be protected. With this in mind, we’ve come up with a list of five very important tips for talking to your insurance company after an accident:

Tip #1: Don’t Give a Recorded Statement

A recorded statement — or, a statement of any kind — can be used against you in a court of law. For this reason, you should never give a recorded statement to an insurance company, even if they insist that doing so is “routine,” because you can jeopardize your rights without even realizing it. It is only in the presence of a car accident lawyer Washington DC is proud to have fighting for its community that you should give any kind of recorded statement. In this way, you ensure that your rights are protected.

Tip #2: Don’t Admit Fault

An experienced DC car accident lawyer will be the first one to tell you that, when you speak to your insurance company right after the accident happens, you should avoid discussions of fault. If you must talk to you insurance company without the help of counsel, be sure that you only relay the facts of the accident or incident. Personal anecdotes or analysis of the facts can be misconstrued and misused against your claim.

Tip #3: Don’t Settle Right Away

As was mentioned earlier, the insurance company’s job is to protect their bottom line. For this reason, their first offer is generally lower than what your claim deserves. While it may be tempting to accept such a low settlement, especially if you’ve been without a paycheck for a while and the medical bills are piling up, you need the representation of the type of experienced car accident lawyer Washington DC residents look to for solid legal advice.

Tip #4: Don’t Sign Medical Authorization Forms Without Counsel

Thanks to the new HIPPA laws, the only time the opposing party’s insurance company can get any medical information from you is if you sign their provided medical authorization forms. While the insurance company may be entitled to review your medical history should your file a claim, regulations around medical information can be complex. It is best to contact a car accident lawyer Washington DC trusts before you sign anything.

Tip #5: Don’t Discuss Your Case

Sharing details and information about your case before you’ve talked to you attorney may be damaging to your ability to recoup damages if your information is misconstrued by the wrong person. You shouldn’t openly discuss any factors of your case prior to talking to your attorney.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, talk to a car accident lawyer Washington DC relies on to get results — they may be your best chance at getting the compensation you deserve.

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Thanks to our friend and car accident attorney, Michael Borneo of Rispoli & Borneo, P.C., for his insight into talking to your insurance company after an accident.

Ocular Trauma and Motor Vehicle Accidents

Ocular Trauma is a condition with a bimodal age distribution occurring more frequently in the adolescent years and in the later years in life 1-3. Eye trauma is a significant cause of visual loss in both the developed and underdeveloped world despite it being largely preventable [4]. Work-related injuries and sports trauma are the most prevalent.

Motor Vehicle Accidents (MVA) are a source of ocular trauma and although passengers (and drivers) are more likely to survive a severe MVA today (because of increased safety features in autos today), ocular injury is especially common. With increased survival however, there is a higher incidence of associated injury that requires treatment.

Ocular injuries from motor vehicle accidents can be as severe as loss of an eye or as minimal as a small abrasion. There can be foreign body penetration, laceration of the cornea or sclera or even globe rupture from blunt force. When severe injury occurs, the prognosis for visual potential is poor. Once the patient is transferred to the hospital, the life-threatening injuries are attended to first and then primary repair of the eye may be necessary (once medically stable). Primary repair is often followed by a secondary retina surgery if there is retinal involvement from the trauma.

Studies show that although airbags seem to decrease the incidence of severe ocular trauma, there is an offsetting increase in minor ocular injury from their deployment [5]. Since the mandated use of airbags in 1997, the number of fatal injuries have been reduced by 31-32% (significant improvement over the reduction by seatbelts) [6]. The various injuries related to airbag deployment include (not limited to) corneal abrasions, corneal burns, periocular burns/bruising, orbital fractures, corneal lacerations, hyphemas, uveitis, retinal detachment and ruptured globes [7].

The treatments of the various ocular injuries is case dependent. Some patients require only antibiotic drops to reduce the risk of secondary infection (after an abrasion or laceration). Others require major surgery to close the wound or even subsequent retinal detachment repair. In some instances, removal of the eye (evisceration or enucleation) may be required.

Fortunately, the life-preserving benefits of the airbags outweighs the risks of bodily trauma but the incidence of ocular trauma from these deployments is not uncommon. Furthermore, the increased safety technology in more recent automobiles has preserved life in major MVA’s at a level never seen before.


AMP_Eifrig-Glasses-2_RAOC_Photography_2000px-231x300Charles WG Eifrig, MD, a Laguna Hills Eye Doctor with the Retina Associates of Orange County, with locations in Newport Beach, Laguna Hills, and Santa Ana, California, offers valuable information regarding ocular trauma injuries as a result of an automobile accident.


References:1. Banta JT. Ocular Trauma. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders. May 2007.
2. klopfer J, Thiersch JM, Vitale S, et al. Ocular trauma in the United States: eye injuries resulting in hospitalization, 1984 through 1987. Arch Ophthalmic 1992; 110-838-842
3. Wong TY, Tielsch JM. A population-based study on the incidence of severe ocular trauma in Singapore. Am J Ophthalmic 1999:128:345-351.
4. Dannenberg AL, Parver LM, Brechner RK, Khoo L. Penetrating eye injuries in the workplace, the national eye trauma system registry. Arch Ophthalmol 1992;110-843-848.
5. Duma SM, Jernigan MV, Stitzel JD, et al. The effect of frontal airbags on eye injury patterns in automobile crashes. Arch Ophthalmic 2002;120:1517-1522.
6. Serrano JC, Chalela P, Arias JD. Epidemiology of childhood ocular trauma in a northeastern Columbian region. Arch Ophthalmic 2003;121:1439-1445.
7. Miller DM, Eifrig CWG, Banta JT. Open Globe Injuries: Ruptures and Lacerations. In: Banta JT, ed. Ocular Trauma. Philadelphia , PA : Saunders; 2007: 163-180.

Protect Yourself By Carrying Uninsured Motorist Coverage. You Never Know When You Will Need It!

Car Accident Lawyer DC

Car Accident Lawyer DCLet us imagine that you are driving to the grocery store and another driver runs the red light and hits you from the side. Do you know what to do after a car accident? This type of accident is called a T-bone, and they are known to cause great damage based on the way the cars collide. Right away, your neck starts to hurt, and it appears your car is a total loss. The other driver approaches you and tells you that they do not have insurance coverage. Now what are you supposed to do? You have insurance, but you have no idea what to do at this point. Will you be protected, and who is going to pay for this massive mess? You will no doubt have medical bills and then there is your pain and suffering? Everyone is supposed to have insurance, but that does not mean that everyone does. This is why it is imperative to have uninsured motorist coverage.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

It is the state law in Arizona, and most other states, that all motorists must carry at least liability coverage. Unfortunately, there are always those people who negate what the law says, and due to their own financial restraints; they lose their coverage. If you are unfortunate enough to get into an accident with this uninsured motorist, the best way to protect yourself is by having a policy to cover the uninsured motorist.

What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage? Well, it will pay for damages caused to your vehicle by others who do not carry at least the state minimum coverage. Additionally, it can provide you with coverage in the event of a serious accident, where there are major injuries involved. The requirements to carry liability insurance are minimal. Typically, a motorist has around $15,000 extra for this type of coverage.

Underinsured Coverage

Uninsured motorist coverage will provide you with additional coverage in the event of a major accident. However, it will also protect you in cases where the other motorist is underinsured as well. If the driver who hits you only has $25,000 in coverage, and the accident was $30,000; your underinsured policy would kick in and pay the rest of the amount. This means you would not have to pay the costs out of pocket. This insurance policy will help you to pay for medical bills, loss of income, as well as pain and suffering.

Hit-and-Run Accidents: 

Hit-and-run accidents often are those who have no insurance or are running from the law. If you are involved in this type of accident, and you have uninsured motorist coverage, the law enforcement needs to file a police report regarding the incident. You should immediately contact your insurance company and report what has happened. Some policies stipulate that you must report an accident within 24 hour of its occurrence. Check your policy to make sure you understand their regulations. You must know the steps you need to take in the event of this scenario.

Pedestrian Accidents: 

If you are walking down the street, and you are struck by a motorist who is either underinsured or uninsured, this motorist coverage may protect you during this type of incident too. As a pedestrian, your insurance policy usually covers you when another car is involved.

Property Damage: 

There is really no reason why a driver should not carry uninsured motorist coverage. It is generally not expensive, and the benefits of having this coverage more than pay for itself. Many people do not understand or have any knowledge of this type of coverage, as they have not had to use it. Review your auto policy and make sure that you have uninsured coverage that will span for both bodily injury and also property damage.

This article specifically is written for Arizona laws. However, laws in other states may differ. You should note that 48 of the 50 states do require drivers to have some sort of insurance coverage on their autos. The only states who do not require this is New Hampshire and Virginia. This was written for educational purposes and is in no way to serve as legal advice. If you have an issue that involves an uninsured or underinsured motorist, you need to contact an experienced Phoenix injury lawyer to discuss the specifics of the matter.
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Special thanks to our friend Aaron Cantor, of Cantor Crane, Law Offices of David Michael Cantor, Cantor Law Group, for providing some insight into car accident and uninsured motorist practice in Phoenix, Arizona.

Company Picnic May Turn Into Compensation For an Employee Injured En Route

An Alabama attorney may successfully assert a client’s claim for workers’ compensation benefits when the client was involved in an accident while traveling to a work related event.

Employee John is headed to a company picnic held that evening. The event is to be held at a local park after the work day has concluded. After John clocks out and heads to the park, he is hit by an 18-wheeler and breaks his collarbone requiring a hospital visit, medical care, and a lengthy absence from work.

Workers’ compensation benefits are available when an employee is injured on the job, but what happens when an employee is injured on the way to a company event after hours? Is that employee eligible for workers’ compensation benefits despite the company event being held after hours?

When determining whether a client’s injury may be compensable under a state’s workers’ compensation laws, a court will look to whether the employee had a choice in participating in the after-hours event.  Where the employer requires attendance at the event, the injured employee may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

On the other hand, If the employee has an option of attending the event, then workers’ compensation does not provide benefits for the employee’s injury. However, an employer can expressly or implicitly require participation in the event, even though it is technically “after hours.” An express or implied requirement may arise where an employer places expectations on employee attendance, or applies pressure to convince employees to attend. As a result, a court may conclude that the event was mandatory and allow the employee to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

The degree of involvement which the company puts into the event also has an impact on an employee’s eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. If the company schedules the event, promotes the event, pays for food, or even creates t-shirts for employees to wear during the event, an injured employee in route or in attendance may be found eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

A court will also look at the primary purpose of the event. If the event is purely recreational in nature, the court may find the event to be solely in the interests of employees and outside the scope of employment for which no workers’ compensation benefits will be available. However, if the event is a celebration of outstanding sales where company executives give speeches on performance and how to improve in the future, the employer is incorporating work into the equation and an injured employee may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

An attorney in Alabama will have to examine the particular facts of the case in order to determine whether his client may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits for an accident that occurs on the way to an after-hours work event.


bernard-d-nomberg-birmingham-alabama-workmans-compensation-attorney-240x300Special thanks to our friend Bernard Nomberg, from The Nomberg Law Firm, for providing some insight into workers’ compensation practice in Birmingham, Alabama.

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Were You in a Serious Car Accident?

Car Accident Lawyer Washington DC

Car Accident Lawyer Washington DCSo, you’ve been in a serious auto accident. There’s so much to deal with – recovering physically, getting your vehicle repaired or replaced, dealing with all of the financial considerations, and the headache and hassle of the insurance companies. One thing that can easily get lost in the shuffle is your relationship with your partner.

Like many other major stressors, personal injury can have a negative effect on personal relationships. Care taking is rewarding (and, of course, necessary), but over time can also feel unfairly taxing. An injured partner will likely start to sense this fairly quickly, causing a potentially problematic dynamic. It is helpful for both partners to keep in mind that they are both burdened by the results of the accident. Uniting against a common challenge is much more constructive than allowing one person to feel like s/he is the problem. Both partners should be allowed to give voice to their complaints without feeling worried about hurting the other person’s feelings—the key is to not make it personal. Don’t say, “This has been a really tough month because we’ve spent so much time dealing with your accident and injuries. Instead, use language that unites you, such as “This has been really tough for both of us, but I know we can get through it together and support each other through it.”

Another important thing to remember is that the best way to get what you need from your partner in any situation is to ask for it, clearly and kindly. Too often, we get caught up in distorted thinking like, “If my partner cares, she will ask me what I need…” or “If my partner really knew me, he would know what I need without my having to ask.” This is totally unproductive and almost guaranteed to result in discord. No matter what, your partner cannot read your mind. So if you’re having a hard time brushing your teeth, say to your partner, “I would love your help brushing my teeth. I can do it myself, but it makes me sore for several hours afterward. Would you help me, please?” This is infinitely better than stubbornly doing it yourself, being in pain afterwards, and silently resenting your partner for not providing help that s/he may not have known you needed.

Finally, try not to get so caught up in the care taking dynamic that you lose sight of the foundational connection that sustains your relationship. Continue to tell each other “I love you,” “You look nice today,” “I appreciated that you…” Everyone thrives on being noticed in a positive way by their partner, and though this may become more challenging in the aftermath of a serious accident, it is still possible and integral to maintaining a healthy connection. Furthermore, if you have been involved in a serious car accident, contact a car accident lawyer Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia trust.


Bethesda Couples Counseling Therapist Lindsey HoskinsBethesda Couples Counseling Therapist Lindsey Hoskins shares her thoughts on what you can do to uphold your relationship after being in an accident.

Automobile Accidents and Dental Injuries in Washington DC

Seek Immediate Treatment

Auto Accident Lawyers Washington DC | Car Accident Attorney Washington DCIf you have experienced dental injuries from a car crash, contact the best car accident lawyer Washington, DC has to offer. Dental injuries are common in car accidents. Chipped teeth, broken teeth, and loosened teeth can occur when the face comes in contact with the steering wheel. If you have experienced dental injuries, you should immediately pursue restoration dentistry Washington, DC treatment. In some cases, immediate treatment can prevent further damage like tooth loss.

Prompt Treatment is Necessary to Restore Your Smile

Dental injuries must be treated properly to restore your smile and the use of your teeth. In addition, dental injuries can be very painful. That’s why prompt treatment with a dentist in Washington, DC is important. After you have received treatment for your dental injuries, contact the best automobile accident lawyer Washington DC has to offer. Our experienced lawyers will stand by your side as we help you through the claims process. We understand that your smile is important to you, and your teeth are critical to your overall health and wellbeing. When injuries impact your smile or the use of your teeth, the results can be devastating. Fortunately, with proper restoration dentistry, Washington DC dental injuries can be treated quickly and appropriately.

Anyone who has ever experienced a bad toothache can understand just how painful dental problems can be. Worse still, sometimes recovery can take an extended period of time, as in cases where the jaw is affected or inflamed. Insurance adjusters may make light of your injuries and urge you to settle for less money than you deserve. No matter how tempting, remember these tactics are often used to get you to accept far less money than you are due. We will consider the full impact of your injuries so that we can help you get the maximum compensation due in your case. If you have experienced dental injuries from a crash, contact the firm that strives to be the best car accident lawyer Washington DC could ask for.

I Got Hurt While Working On The Water, What Do I Need To Know?

In short, the name of an experienced attorney.  Injuries that occur at work for those men and women who work on or around the water can be broken into two classes of cases: Longshore and Jones Act.  Undoubtedly, you’ve seen attorneys advertise on television about Longshore and Jones Act cases, but what are they?  How are they different from one another?  More importantly, how do they affect you?

The Longshore and Harbor workers’ Compensation Act (Longshore for short) is a federal law that requires employers to purchase and carry workers’ compensation insurance – the purpose of which is to ensure that injured workers are compensated for their injuries.  Longshore applies to land-based individuals who work on or around the navigable waterways of the continental United States, but spend less than 30% of his or her work time aboard a vessel or company-owned fleet of vessels.  The period for filing a claim is one year from the date of injury or death, and must be filed with the Longshore and Harbor workers’ Compensation Commission.  Benefits under the Longshore Act include payment of medical bills that relate to the injury, as well as disability or “indemnity” payments.  These payments are calculated based on 2/3 of your average weekly wage and include temporary partial, temporary total, permanent partial and permanent total disability.  The downside to a Longshore case is that there are remedies for which an injured employee will not be eligible, i.e. pain and suffering, punitive damages, etc.; however,  the upside is that proving a Longshore case requires only “more than a mere scintilla” of evidence.  Universal Camera Corp. v. NLRB, 340 U.S. 474, 477 (1951).

The Jones Act, also a federal law, applies to those workers who spend at least 30% of their time working aboard a vessel.  For purposes of the Jones Act, these workers are called “seamen.”  If a seaman is injured while on the job, as a result of the negligence of his employer or fellow employees, the Jones Act will allow that worker to file a lawsuit and have his claim heard in front of a judge and jury.  The period for filing a Jones Act claim is three years from the date of injury or death, and can be filed in state or federal district court.  If successful in his claim, the seaman is entitled to monetary compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and future damages.  The standard of proof is higher than a Longshore claim, but lower than what one would face in a regular negligence cause of action.

Workers Compensation Lawyer Rogen K. Chhabra25rogenwebsite1 shares insight on what you need to know if you’ve been hurt while working on the water.

Keywords: Workers’ Compensation Lawyer, Boating Accident Lawyer, Cruise Accident Lawyer, Personal Injury Lawyer

DC Car Accident Lawyer Tip: Check Your Wipers

Advice from a DC Car Accident Lawyer

Many of the accidents our DC car accident lawyers see are due to improper vehicle maintenance. Most drivers are responsible when it comes to changing the oil and checking the tires. However, there are some smaller aspects of maintenance that can make a big difference when it comes to road safety. The one we address here is: windshield wiper replacement.

Our Washington DC Car Accident Lawyers Have the Experience

Our Washington DC car accident lawyers have handled many cases in which people are injured as a result of a driver losing control of the car due to inclement weather. While we are all aware– especially in winter months– that weather affects driving safety, we may not be taking all of the necessary precautions we can to reduce accidents resulting from snow and rain. Checking and replacing windshield wiper blades is a quick and simple act that can keep us from seriously injuring ourselves or others on the road. If you are in an accident due to limited visibility, and your windshield wipers malfunction due to improper care, you may be found at fault, especially if you are the owner of the vehicle or responsible for the vehicle’s upkeep. If this happens to the driver of a company vehicle, this can lead to a serious work-related injury, as many workers compensation lawyers in Palm Beach and work injury lawyers in Elizabeth NJ can attest. Nobody, not the company’s insurance provider, the company, the employee driver, etc wants this happen especially when such an easy fix is an option.

Haven’t had your wipers checked in a while? With this year’s winter storms and heavy spring rains along the east coast, this is the perfect time to do so. How often should you change your wiper blades? It depends on your location and the season. Hot summer sun exposure can affect the rubber of the wiper blade. Grit and salt from winter road treatment may also cause the blades to disintegrate. These rules apply even if you do not have to use your wipers often. And, note that if you live in the Washington DC metro area, it may be best to check your blades every 6 months for wear and tear, but to fully replace them once a year.

Contact our DC Car Accident Lawyers Today

Checking and changing your wiper blades is a simple and easy process. However, if you prefer, you can ask a professional to do this the next time you have your oil changed. If you wish to do it on your own, follow the instructions provided in your car owner’s manual, or speak to your mechanic about the best technique for your vehicle. For more information on car accident safety, we invite you to look around our website, and, if you have been injured, contact Cohen & Cohen PC for a free case evaluation.

Motorcycle Accident Tip – Seek Medical Attention

Tips from Washington DC Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

As most drivers are aware, injuries associated with motorcycle accidents can be the most traumatic of all vehicle accidents. A car naturally affords more protection than the open ride of a motorcycle, and without proper protective gear, motorcycle drivers can be seriously injured in an accident. If you are a motorcycle owner or have been in a motorcycle accident in PG County, you should be aware of the importance of medical treatment.

Our DC Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Advise You Seek Medical Attention

Foremost, seeking medical attention immediately following a motorcycle accident is important for your physical health and peace of mind. The types of injuries often associated with vehicle and motorcycle accidents may not be felt by the victim immediately – usually due to a rush of adrenaline brought on by the shock of the collision. You may walk away from your accident feeling extremely lucky, until that adrenaline dissipates. Even if you do not feel any initial pain, it is prudent to seek medical attention at an Emergency Room or with your primary care doctor. You could have a soft tissue or spinal injury as a result of your accident. Another injury common to motorcycle accidents that may not seem serious initially is known as “Road Rash.” This is the colloquial term for the abrasions that motorcyclists can suffer, caused by extreme friction. Without timely treatment, Road Rash can cause infections and lead to permanent scarring. If you suspect that you have road rash, see a medical professional to have your wounds cleaned and treated immediately. Proper dressing is the best way to avoid scarring.

If you need to file a claim, Contact our DC Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

If you have been in a motorcycle accident, you may decide that you need to file a personal injury claim. Treatment immediately following your accident is important not only to your health, but also to protect any claim you may pursue. The longer you go without medical attention, the more difficult it becomes to prove that any injuries are related to your accident. In order to get the best from your potential claim, you need to establish a treatment history as quickly as possible.  If you wait too long and find out that you need physical therapy, injections, surgery, or other costly procedures, insurance companies may dispute these claims, and it can be difficult to prove that your injuries were indeed caused by the accident.

Even if your injuries do not seem serious, contact a Maryland personal injury attorney if you have been in a motorcycle accident in PG County. An accident attorney may be able to help you find appropriate medical treatment, and can evaluate your claim to help you move forward.

Winter Driving Safety Tips from Our Car Accident Lawyers

As car accident lawyers in Washington DC, we see many weather related accidents each year. Winter may not officially begin until December 21st but many parts of the country are already experiencing severe snow. If the snow storms of last year and this year’s prediction for a long, snowy winter are any indication, we suggest you prepare for dangerous weather conditions on the road. Our car accident lawyers in Washington DC hope that you will avoid driving in inclement weather as much as possible, but we recognize that this is not always practical. Check the forecast and radar before you get in your car this winter and also consider our strong advice to follow the below safety guidelines issued by AAA:

  • Before driving:
    • Avoid warming up your car in a closed garage. Even when a garage door is open, it only takes two minutes for your car to emit a lethal amount of carbon monoxide. You may be cold, but leaving the heat off for the first few minutes of your drive could save your life.
  • During snow:
    • Avoid using cruise control in the snow, rain and ice. It may seem smart to keep your car at an easy, consistent speed during inclement weather but it is best if the driver does this him/herself rather than relying on cruise control. If a car starts hydroplaning—as sometimes occurs on wet, slushy roads—and the car is in cruise control mode, the car will accelerate to dangerous speeds and can cause serious or even fatal road accidents.
    • Drive slowly. As we stated before, do not use cruise control for this purpose, but make sure you are obeying the speed limit to maintain better control of your vehicle.
    • Do not use radial and non-radial tires on the same vehicle. Different kinds of tires make vehicles harder to handle consistently; the dangers resulting from this inconsistency are exacerbated in slippery, winter driving conditions.
    • Consider avoiding the use of parking brakes whenever possible. Parking brakes may freeze as result of the cables being exposed to cold temperatures. Attempting to defrost them can be highly risky especially if heat or a flame from a blow torch is used and brought too close to the gas tank.

Cold, snowy, wet winter weather can pose several risks for drivers but if you are cautious, you will decrease your chance of being in a serious weather-related accident. If however, you are injured as the result of a negligent winter-weather driver, you may want to seek medical attention and consult with a personal injury lawyer. We invite you to view our Cohen & Cohen PC website for more accident tips  or, you may contact our car accident lawyers in Washington DC for a free consultation.

 

After Sustaining a Soft Tissue Injury

If you experience whiplash from a car accident in Washington DC, you have a soft tissue injury. If you sustain bruising from a Washington DC truck accident, you have a soft tissue injury. If you suffer from muscle strain after lifting heavy objects at work, that, too is a soft tissue injury. Do not let the word “soft” fool you, however: the damage from such an injury can be severe. What is a Soft Tissue Injury? A Soft tissue injury—or STI—is an injury to the muscles, tendons or ligaments in the body. It is usually the result of spraining, straining, overusing any part of the body, or contusions from a blow. Sometimes Soft Tissue Injuries have life-long effects. If you sustain such an injury due to another’s reckless driving, you may be entitled to compensation and should consult with a DC car accident lawyer. It may also behoove you to visit a doctor, both for your healing and because medical documentation can aid you in pursuing a personal injury claim.

When you sustain a soft tissue injury, you may wish to employ what is commonly known as the PRICE method. Always check with a doctor to be sure. PRICE stands for Protect, Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate. If someone around you sustains a soft tissue injury (STI):

  • Protect this person from further harm or from movements that will exacerbate the soft tissue injury.
  • Rest the injured region as much as possible. The injured party should refrain from any activities that will put pressure on the injury site and use any aids a doctor has prescribed. For example, if one sustains a soft tissue injury to the foot or leg, one may have to use crutches.
  • Ice the injured area as early as possible to suppress any bleeding and minimize swelling to the injury site. The suggested practice is to apply an icepack to the area for 15 minutes at four hour intervals for the next 72 hours after the injury.
  • Compress the injury by applying pressure at the injury site. This will slow bleeding and swelling in the area. You may use compression tape, a bandage or an elastic band. It is advised that you apply this pressure as quickly as possible.
  • Elevate the injury to slow circulation and thus, bleeding and swelling to the injured area. This will, in turn, stem blood loss and inflammation. For the first 72 hours following the injury, keep the injured area high above heart level as often as possible.

Once you have minimized the pain and potential for further damage, you can begin the healing process. This will be easier if you receive compensation with the help of a Washington DC car accident lawyer. Financial compensation can help with both short and long term medical expenses as well as the financial losses you have incurred from missing workdays. If you have sustained a soft tissue injury, you may peruse our website for more Washington DC car accident tips and consult with our Washington DC car accident attorneys to receive compensation for your pain. Serious DC car accident injuries deserve serious DC car accident attorneys.

Personal Injury Lawyer – When Should You Hire One

Personal Injury Lawyer – When Should You Hire One

What is a personal injury lawyer? A personal injury lawyer — like the Washington DC car accident attorneys at Cohen and Cohen — is someone who will fight for your compensation if you have sustained severe physical or mental harm at the hand of another negligent party. Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia law dictate that you must prove such avoidable harm occurred before you can collect compensation. A personal injury lawyer is the best bet for doing so, so that you may pay for financial losses and medical expenses.

If someone has lost a limb, one of the five senses, or been disfigured or scarred as a result of a personal injury, or sustained mental harm such as anguish, trauma, embarrassment or loss of enjoyment, (s)he should consult with a personal injury attorney. A personal injury case can be the result of many mishaps including car andmotorcycle accidents. Let us explore these scenarios:

Vehicular injury is a common instance that calls for apersonal injury or car accident attorney. These range from ATV accidents to hit and runs and across land, water and air. Washington DC is the number one city for car accidents according to a recent study.Car accidents result in loss of funds and time as a person must go to have the car repaired, find alternate transportation and deal with insurance companies. This is if a person is lucky enough to go unscathed. If, however, you have sustained an injury, it is wise to obtain a personal injury lawyer, to see that the insurance company gives you the maximum benefits for your claim in a timely manner. A strong Washington DC personal injury lawyer will fight for you with all the necessary expertise.

As the sales of motorcycles in the US continue to increase, so do the number of motorcycle-related accidents. Despite the stereotype that motorcycle drivers are reckless thrill seekers, motorcycle drivers are in general much safer drivers. This is because, without the protective framework of a car, someone on a motorcycle is far more likely to sustain a serious injury if an accident occurs. Usually such accidents are at the hands of another driver. However, due to the misconceptions about motorcycle culture, fault can be hard to prove. This is one such instance in which a personal injury lawyer can help the injured party seek compensation.

These are some of the many instances where one should have a personal injury lawyer. If you or a loved one has sustained physical or emotional harm from someone else’s reckless behavior, consult with a Washington DC personal injury lawyer to seek maximum compensation.

 

Personal Injury Lawyer – When Should You Hire One

What is a personal injury lawyer? A personal injury lawyer — like the Washington DC car accident attorneys at Cohen and Cohen — is someone who will fight for your compensation if you have sustained severe physical or mental harm at the hand of another negligent party. Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia law dictate that you must prove such avoidable harm occurred before you can collect compensation. A personal injury lawyer is the best bet for doing so, so that you may pay for financial losses and medical expenses.

If someone has lost a limb, one of the five senses, or been disfigured or scarred as a result of a personal injury, or sustained mental harm such as anguish, trauma, embarrassment or loss of enjoyment, (s)he should consult with a personal injury attorney. A personal injury case can be the result of many mishaps including car and motorcycle accidents. Let us explore these scenarios:

Vehicular injury is a common instance that calls for a personal injury or car accident attorney. These range from ATV accidents to hit and runs and across land, water and air. Washington DC is the number one city for car accidents according to a recent study.Car accidents result in loss of funds and time as a person must go to have the car repaired, find alternate transportation and deal with insurance companies. This is if a person is lucky enough to go unscathed. If, however, you have sustained an injury, it is wise to obtain a personal injury lawyer, to see that the insurance company gives you the maximum benefits for your claim in a timely manner. A strong Washington DC personal injury lawyer will fight for you with all the necessary expertise.

As the sales of motorcycles in the US continue to increase, so do the number of motorcycle-related accidents. Despite the stereotype that motorcycle drivers are reckless thrill seekers, motorcycle drivers are in general much safer drivers. This is because, without the protective framework of a car, someone on a motorcycle is far more likely to sustain a serious injury if an accident occurs. Usually such accidents are at the hands of another driver. However, due to the misconceptions about motorcycle culture, fault can be hard to prove. This is one such instance in which a personal injury lawyer can help the injured party seek compensation.

These are some of the many instances where one should have a personal injury lawyer. If you or a loved one has sustained physical or emotional harm from someone else’s reckless behavior, consult with a Washington DC personal injury lawyer to seek maximum compensation.

 

Tracy Morgan Lawsuit

Most drivers in D.C., Maryland and Virginia out late at night are looking out for drunk drivers. Unfortunately, drunk drivers are not the only threats on the road: sleep-deprived driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Sleep deprivation causes similar effects to drunk driving – reaction time is slowed, judgment may be impaired, and drivers are less alert. As a result, fatigued drivers can be just as lethal as drunk drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that one in six fatal auto accidents are caused by tired drivers.

The issue was brought to the forefront just 6 weeks ago, when actor and comedian Tracy Morgan was critically injured in an auto accident caused by a driver who had allegedly been awake for over 24 hours. The limousine he was riding in was rear ended by a Walmart tractor trailer as traffic slowed in a construction zone.  Several other passengers were injured, and comedian James McNair was killed.

On July 10th Morgan, along with two other passengers, filed a complaint against Walmart, claiming that the company’s negligence contributed to their injuries. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey, where the accident took place. The driver has also been charged with vehicular homicide and assault by auto.

Plaintiff’s counsel is alleging that Walmart was aware, or should have been aware, of the dangerous circumstances their driver was in before the accident.  The driver went from his home in Georgia to his shift in Delaware, an 11 hour drive. He then proceeded to work for an additional 13.5 hours, which the complaint states was a violation of federal regulations on how many hours a person can drive a truck in a single day. In addition, the safety equipment in his truck may not have been in working order – the truck was equipped with automated brakes that should have activated when traffic slowed. Walmart may have neglected to properly test and maintain the system before letting the truck onto the road.

As personal injury attorneys know, truck accidents can be incredibly destructive. The drivers work long shifts that are not always regulated properly. More often than not, truck accidents involve multiple cars and serious injuries. If you are a driver in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area, be aware of trucks when driving. If you’ve been the victim of a truck accident or car accident in DC, Maryland or Virginia, you may be entitled to compensation due to driver negligence. Contact the car accident attorneys at Cohen & Cohen, P.C., for a case evaluation today.

What To Do After A Motorcycle Accident

What To Do After A Motorcycle Accident

Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

Many motorcycle accidents occur in Maryland, Washington, DC and Virginia and result in motorcycle accident injuries each and every year. If you, unfortunately, happen to get into one, it is imperative that you know what to do.

The first step, of course, is to check for injuries. If you are able to, see if anyone is in need of medical attention. If you or a motorcycle injury victim is seriously injured, dial 911 immediately.

The next thing that you need to do is get out of the roadway! Being in the middle of the road is one of the most dangerous places to be and it is crucial that you get yourself and others out of harm’s way. Be sure to use hazard lights or other modes of alerting others to notify oncoming traffic of the accident and injuries. After taking yourself out of harm’s way of new accidents and injuries, it’s time to gather information. Exchange information with all of the other drivers involved, such as name, address, phone number, insurance information, and license numbers. Additionally, take note of the other driver’s plate numbers, car makes and models, as well as description. Then, call the police. This should only be done if anyone is injured or property damage is severe. The ensuing step taken should be to take note of your surroundings where the accident and injuries occurred. That includes where, when, how, road conditions, speed limits, and weather. After this occurs, talk to witnesses, if you aren’t too severely injured by the accident. Record their comments immediately because memory fades.  If they refuse to get involved, try to write down their license plate number.

Finally, do not admit fault or discuss the motorcycle accident!  Some things should not be done after a motorcycle accident. Do not make any statement regarding the accident to anyone other than the police. Do not apologize to other drivers, no matter what. Do not argue with other drivers about what happened. Do not sign anything from any other driver that means to relay the events from the accident. Do not sign anything from any insurance company.

While operating a motorcycle in the Maryland, DC, and Virginia area, it is very important to know what to do if you happen to get into an accident. These steps need to be taken to ensure that the actions following the accident are properly completed.

How to Prevent a Car Accident in the Rain

How to Prevent a Car Accident in the Rain

Rainy weather isn’t just inconvenient; it creates dangerous road conditions and increases the chances that you’ll be in a car accident.  Roads can become slippery, visibility becomes lower, and let’s be honest, not everybody knows how to drive in the rain. Due to overlapping jurisdictions, auto accidents that occur in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia can be especially tricky.  The lawyers at Cohen & Cohen, P.C. want to provide some tips to help you prevent a car accident in the rain, as well as the resulting frustration, injuries, and trauma.

Routinely check your tires

The film of water that rain creates on the pavement can be really slippery, especially after dry periods when engine oil builds up on roads.  Ensuring that your tires are properly inflated and not worn out will help you maintain control of your car in inclement weather.  While checking your tires, be sure to check your windshield wipers to confirm that they are functioning properly.  If a wiper blade is cracked or damaged, be sure to replace it immediately.

Be aware of your surroundings

Often, car accidents occur at no fault of your own, and those may require you to hire a car accident lawyer.  While there is no way to make other drivers more cautious, being alert and aware of the cars and pedestrians around you can help you react more quickly.  Cell phone use while driving is always dangerous, but can be particularly dangerous when in rainy conditions (remember that texting while driving is illegal in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia!)

Give yourself extra travel time

Even if you feel comfortable driving in the rain, you should drive at a slower pace.  Traffic often moves more slowly when it is raining, but resist the urge to weave in and out of traffic, as other drivers may not be as alert.  Also be sure to leave more space between you and the car in front of you in order to avoid having to slam on the brakes and will be able to give the car behind you enough time to react, as well.

Turn on your headlights

Even if it’s only drizzling, turning on your headlights helps you see better and helps other drivers, as well as pedestrians, see you.  It’s also crucial that you use turn signals when turning and changing lanes.  This warns other drivers and helps avoid rear-end accidents.

Please remember these tips the next time you have to drive in the rain.  You can keep yourself safe, make the roads safer for everybody else and prevent a car accident in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia!

What To Do After A Car Accident

What To Do After A Car Accident

Any driver who has been in a car accident knows that the experience can be jarring, confusing, stressful, and scary. Even low speed car crashes can cause a surprising amount of damage to both car and driver. After an automobile accident, the most important thing to do is remain calm. Immediately following an accident, you must take several steps to protect the possibility of a claim for your injuries or the damage to your car.  To keep an accident claim viable, it is imperative to prove that the property damages and physical injuries came from the accident in question. For this reason, you need to document the accident as must as possible and act promptly to seek treatment if needed.

First and foremost, check the safety of yourself and your passengers. If you are able to move your vehicle to the roadside, do so immediately.

Next, call the local police and report the accident. In the event of a liability dispute, it may be helpful to have an accident report that was generated by the police. The police will also facilitate the exchange of insurance information among involved parties.  If police do come to the scene, write down the name of the officer and the report or case number. If you are injured, inform the officer immediately. He or she will be able to call Emergency Medical Services so that anyone who is injured can be transported to the hospital.

Third, take pictures of the damage to your car, the other car involved, and the overall scene of the accident. If you decide to contact an car accident attorney, these pictures will help him or her to evaluate your case. Pictures of your car will also establish the damage that was done during the accident.  If the at-fault party denies liability or describes the accident differently, pictures can also help show how the accident happened.

The next step is to speak with anyone in the area who has witnessed the accident. Make sure to get full names and contact information. Witnesses can often help corroborate important details about the accident. Attorneys who handle car accidents will contact witnesses to get statements about liability that can be used to bolster the case.

Following any car accident, it is crucial to seek treatment at an Emergency Room, Urgent Care Center, or with a primary care physician. People involved in car accidents often experience shock and don’t notice any injuries for several hours, or even days. Get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible to confirm that you are healthy. If you do notice any signs of pain or discomfort, see a doctor immediately. The longer you delay medical attention, the more difficult it becomes to claim that the injury is related to the accident. Insurance adjusters will question the cause of the injury or argue that the injuries were not substantial enough to need treatment.

After an auto accident, remain calm and remember the above steps to protect yourself from injury and to protect your potential insurance claim.

Car Accident Tip: Exchange Information

Exchanging Information after a Car Accident

Most people know the first thing you should do after a car accident, after assessing personal injury, is exchange information with the other person or people involved. Of course you do, that’s what you’ve been told since you first started driving. However, do you know which information to share? Recent studies show that over half of people involved in car accidents give out the wrong information, or rather too much information, which could actually lead to identity theft and fraud. Make sure that you are giving out the right amount of information.

What to Give

After a car accident, it is important to give the other drivers involved your name and insurance information. Insurance information includes the name and phone number of your insurance provider. Of course it is also imperative that you get this information from the other people involved as well. For most accidents, those three things: name, insurance provider name, and insurance provider phone number, are all you need to give. That is enough information for your car insurance company to contact theirs, or vice versa, and anything more than that should be handled by a car accident lawyer or the police.

What Not to Give

After a traumatic car accident, the instinct is to give any information the other drivers want because willingness to share communicates innocence. However, in the age of identity theft, you need to turn that instinct off. Although you may be asked by the police officers handling the accident for your phone number, home address, and license number, there is no reason to give any of that information to the other drivers involved. After your social security number, your license number is one of your most important identifiers. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners or NAIC say that giving more than insurance information and name puts you directly in jeopardy of identity theft.

A surprising amount of people and car safety companies still encourage drivers to exchange license number and insurance policy number with each person involved. However, this is simply not safe with the amount of insurance fraud today. If you are involved in a car accident, do not let the other people involved coerce you into making what you know to be a bad decision. You can assure them that the police involved will have all of that information and will be able to find you if for some reason your name and insurance information is not enough.

In car accidents involving extreme property damage or personal injury, a car accident lawyer might eventually be needed. This being said, it is extremely important that you keep the information you collect from the people involved in your car accident in a safe place. If there is a personal injury, make sure it is attended to even before you exchange information. Anyone, including a police officer or a car accident lawyer will tell you that exchanging information is mandatory, however over sharing is not. Don’t make the mistake that so many others have.

Car Accident Tip: Obtain a Police Report

Don’t Leave the Scene of the Accident without a Copy of the Police Report

If you were recently involved in an automobile accident, especially a serious one involving personal injury, you should consider contacting a car accident lawyer immediately. Even if you are not set on filing a lawsuit, consulting a car accident lawyer is a great way to become completely aware of your options based on your situation. Experienced car accident lawyers can also give you advice that will help you act in a way that protects your rights as you deal with your car accident.

Keeping a checklist of what to do in case of a car accident is often helpful because although there are many things to remember during the chaos of the aftermath of a car accident they are all important, especially if you plan on filing a lawsuit. The most important thing to remember is to obtain a copy of the report written up by police after your car accident. However, even before you obtain a copy, you need to make sure to call the police so that they will come to the scene of the accident and write a report. If there is no police report or you forget to get a copy of the police report, it can be difficult to correctly identify witnesses, the date and time of the car accident, the location of the accident, and the other involved party.

After the aftermath of the car accident has been dealt with and any personal injury has been addressed, you need to get a copy of the report. Although all precincts are different, to obtain a copy of the report you will often have to go to the police station and formally request a copy of the police report. In order to request a copy there are often a number of forms to fill out. In most states you also have to prove that you are closely involved in the car accident in order to get a copy of the report.

Once you have proved that you are a party to the accident, you usually have to know the time and date of the accident and the other people involved with the accident. After you fill out the forms and prove these things, the police station will have your request processed. Once they determine that you are eligible to receive a copy of the report from the police station, they will send it to you within two to five business days. In addition to the length of the process, there is also often a fee associated with the request.

Although obtaining a copy of the police report is a hassle, it is also vitally important. If you have incurred a personal injury or if you are considering filing a lawsuit and hiring a car accident lawyer, having the information that the police report gives you is imperative. If you have not obtained the police report from your car accident, do so today.

Car Accident Tip: Seek Medical Attention

Seeking Medical Treatment after an Accident

Car accidents are traumatic and anxiety producing. This being said, it is still extremely important for you to complete multiple steps before going home after an accident. One of these steps is visiting your primary health care professional.

It is important to go to the doctor even if you have extremely minimal symptoms, personal injuries are possible even if you didn’t feel injured right after the accident. Sometimes adrenaline overrides feelings of pain that accompany a personal injury after the trauma of a car accident. Symptoms such as numbness, dizziness, or pain can start days or weeks after the car accident.

In cases where symptoms show up much after the car accident, it is still very important to seek medical attention. Although as you wait longer it gets more difficult to directly attribute your injury to a car accident, it is never impossible. Many people think minor pain after an accident is “normal” or will go away quickly so they ignore it or try to “sleep it off.” However, as these injuries go untreated, they become harder to treat at all and it becomes harder for a car accident lawyer to prove that they occurred because of a car accident. Do not wait for your symptoms to get worse, just get checked out right after the accident.

Before you see the doctor, or as you are seeing the doctor, make sure to visually document your personal injuries. Take pictures of any swelling, bruises, or cuts with whatever camera you have; smart phone camera pictures are totally acceptable. Also make sure to document your visit to the doctor after your car accident. Keep your doctor’s notes about the visit and or prescriptions with the date on them so that it cannot be disputed. It is also important to keep all of your medical bills. If you do decide to file a lawsuit for your personal injury, your car accident lawyer will need to all of the documentation. The medical bills are important to keep so that you know exactly how much you can be reimbursed. Your car insurance company may also need your medical bills as evidence.

If you have children in the car with you when you get into a car accident, it is imperative to have them examined immediately after. Young children especially cannot always accurately communicate their feelings, or may be scared, so you may not know if they are injured. Car accidents are the leading cause of caused disabilities for people under 18. Even if there is no apparent personal injury, or the child thinks that he or she is completely fine, the symptoms might just not be apparent yet. Similarly as for adults, make sure to take pictures of injuries and keep medical receipts in case of a lawsuit. If a child was injured, you should probably involve a car accident lawyer.

After you return home from visiting your healthcare professional after a car accident, it is often important to contact a car accident lawyer. Even if you do not think you will file a lawsuit, its important to know your options.

Car Accident Tip: Take Photos

Don’t Forget to Take Photos After Your Car Accident

It is completely understandable and normal for someone to be stressed out and scared after a car accident. However, in order to give yourself the best possible situation after your car accident, you need to remember to take pictures at the time of the accident. Although you might be reading this now thinking, and hoping, that you will never get into a traumatic accident because you are a safe driver, the fact of the matter is that according to a recent study published by Forbes Magazine, the average driver files a car accident claim about every 17 years. So, although you do not want to “plan” on having an accident, it is imperative to know what to do, just in case. A great strategy is to jot down a few details about what to take pictures of and keep it in your car in case of an accident.

Note #1 – Capture Details

After you get into a car accident, check if anyone needs an ambulance, call the police and ambulance if needed for a personal injury, then immediately start taking pictures. Do not allow anyone to move their car unless they are able and it is interfering with traffic. Whether you are using a cell phone camera or a professional Nikkon, you’re photos will be valuable, so don’t worry about the lighting or the picture’s composition—just start snapping pictures. Make sure to get pictures of property damage, personal injury, skid marks on the road, and the placement of the cars.

Note #2 – Capture Pictures at Various Distances

Make sure to get a variety of pictures of the damage including close-ups, and medium distance shots, about ten to fifteen feet from the vehicle. It is also helpful to get pictures of the car accident from a distance that allows you to see all of the cars involved. Capturing a variety of distances helps to create an understanding of the accident as a whole. If you end up needing a car accident lawyer for a lawsuit or if a lawsuit is filed against you, these pictures will be your first line of defense. The more evidence you can gather, the better.

Note #3 – External Factors

You need evidence of anything that might have contributed to the car accident to prove fault. A car accident lawyer will want to know if it was sunny or raining or if the accident was next to a construction site that emitted a lot of dust, especially if there is a personal injury. Take pictures of the weather, try to capture visibility, and take pictures of the area where the accident occurred.

Photographs are the most valuable things you can have as you try to sort out fault in a car accident case. If or when you go to settlement, photos can make the difference between your car accident lawyer finding fault in the other person or fault being found in you. By taking photos after a car accident you protect yourself from unwarranted penalties and protect your rights as a driver.

Suing Cruise Ship Companies

I’d like to thank personal injury attorney Spencer Aronfeld for providing this guest blog. Spencer is an attorney with the personal injury law firm Aronfeld Trial Lawyers located in South Florida.  I hope you find the blog informative and interesting!

Suing Cruise Ship Companies

My name is Spencer Aronfeld, and I sue cruise ships on behalf of injured passengers.  We receive calls and emails from injured passengers and their lawyers from around the world, asking for our help in suing Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Disney, Holland America, and Norwegian Cruise Lines. Typically a passenger either slips and falls or trips and falls aboard a cruise ship.  Slippery wet decks, dimly lit staircases, and raised thresholds create high risks for fall-down accidents.  They happen all the time on virtually every ship, every day.

It is not uncommon for us to receive a call more than a year after the date of the incident, since the majority of people aren’t thinking about hiring a cruise ship lawyer, and most do not even want to make a claim. They are on these ships looking for a vacation, not a law suit.

But as time passes, medical bills increase, and time is missed from work, they might either consult a lawyer who is not an expert on cruise ship cases, or try to work something out with a Carnival claims adjuster.  The problem is the clock is ticking.  And if an actual lawsuit, not just a claim, is filed in the appropriate jurisdiction–almost always Miami’s Federal Court–their claim will be dismissed.  The statute of limitations is one year.

Therefore, if you have been injured aboard a cruise ship, in port, or on an excursion, it is important to contact a qualified and experienced cruise accident attorney.  I am happy to help, and I offer a free initial consultation to anyone who has been hurt on a cruise.  Please call me toll-free at 1-866-597-4529 or email me.

I have been practicing in South Florida for over 20 years, and I am Board Certified by both the Florida Bar and the National Board of Trial Advocacy.  In 2014 I was named one of Florida’s Super Lawyers. Let me share my experience and passion in holding cruise ship companies accountable when and if they put their profits ahead of their passengers’ safety.

I am honored that Wayne Cohen, my classmate from the University of Miami School of Law, asked me to write a guest blog about cruise ship injury cases on the Cohen and Cohen blog.  Thank you, Wayne and Jill, for this opportunity as well as the many cases we have worked on together over more than 20 years.

Tips for Driving in Snow

Snow Driving Safety Tips From The Car Accident Attorneys of Cohen & Cohen, P.C.

Cohen & Cohen, P.C. handles many different types of car accident cases, including those that arise when the collision occurs in snow. These cases present interesting challenges because they can occur even when the parties involved in the car accident are driving cautiously. Here are some basic tips for driving in snow and ice that may help you avoid a car accident. If you are involved in a car accident while on snow, and the accident occurs in Maryland, D.C., or Virginia, you should consider contacting a law firm to assist with your case.

Tip #1: Slow Down

When driving on snow, always decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. It is recommended that you allow yourself 3-4 times usual space between you and the car in front of you.

Tip #2: Brake Gently

Many cars today are equipped with anti-lock brakes. This helps you stop in a wet surface, such as rain, snow, or ice, because your brakes will pump automatically. Nevertheless, brake gently when driving on snow and this will help you should an emergency arise.

Tip #3: Keep Your Windshield Clean

It sounds basic, but many people don’t follow this simple rule. Salt is generally placed on roads during snow storms. This salt will cake your vehicle and windshield, and this makes it hard to see. Keep your windshield clean, which improves your visibility.

Tip #4: Use Low Gears

All vehicles are equipped with different levels of gears. Many cars will have a low gear, a mid gear, and regular drive. When there is snow and ice on the ground, use a lower gear. This will help you control your speed.

Of course, whenever possible, stay off the roads when the conditions are not safe. Plan ahead so that you do not need to be driving your vehicle. But if you must get into a car and drive on snow and ice, we hope these tips help! Should you find yourself in need of a car accident lawyer, call us today. Our goal is to help you resolve your case amicably, and without the need for litigation or even a deposition!

How Long Will My Car Accident Case Take To Resolve?

“How long will my car accident case take to resolve?” is a question we hear frequently in our office. The legal system is not predictable, so there is no exact answer. But there are some basic principles which, if you understand, will help determine how long the case will take. For this blog, we’re only addressing car accident cases where there has been an injury.

Phase 1: Treatment

The treatment phase begins at the time of the car accident. If you were in a rear-ender on January 5, then that’s the day you should use to begin to calculate the start date for the treatment phase. In many instances an injured person receives medical treatment at a hospital very soon after the collision. Treatment may last weeks, months, or even longer in serious cases. If the injury involved only sprains, the medical treatment might be 120 to 180 days. If the injury involved surgery, the medical treatment might be 12 to 18 months. The treatment phase ends either when (i) the injury has fully resolved, or (ii) the injury has not fully resolved, but the patient has a permanent injury for which the doctor can predict with some accuracy what the future will hold in terms of medical care. Keep in mind that in some rare instances the treatment phase will go on indefinitely, in which case the personal injury lawyer and you will make some important decisions about how best to move your case towards resolution.

Phase 2: Compiling of Records

Once the injured victim has finished the treatment identified in Phase 1, it’s time for the lawyer to get all of the records. This means writing to the hospitals and doctors to collect the notes of the doctors, nurses, and therapists. This also means getting all of the medical bills. Lost wage documentation will be obtained where the injured victim missed work as a result of the car collision. The lawyer takes the records, bills, and other supporting documentation, and creates a settlement package to forward to the defendant or insurance company. Phase 2 typically lasts 1-3 months, but this, of course, may vary depending on the severity of the injury and the complexity of the case.

Phase 3: Initial Settlement

Upon receipt of the documentation, the defendant or insurance company will review the case for possible settlement. Where there is insurance, the adjuster is charged with the task of reading all the materials provided. Photographs of the scene help explain the accident. A police report might identify key witnesses. The hospital records will show the initial diagnosis. And finally, the full medical package highlights the extent of all of the injuries. Each defendant is different, but as a rule of thumb, the initial settlement phase often lasts between 1 and 3 months.

Phase 4: Litigation

Some cases settle at the initial settlement phase. Others do not. Why might a case not settle? There are many reasons. Perhaps there is a dispute over how the car accident occurred. Or, alternatively, maybe the facts of how the accident occurred are clear, but the amount of compensation offered by the defendant to settle the case is too low. Litigation is the next option when settlement is reached in Phase 3.

There are many, many different factors that come into play when it comes to the length of litigation in a car accident case. Each courthouse is different. Some courts have clear limits on the duration of litigation. There may be a strict deadline that spells out the length of time from “file” date (i.e., when the cases is filed) to “trial” date (i.e., when the case actually goes to trial in front of a judge or jury). Your personal injury lawyer will provide advice on how long Phase 4 will take in your particular injury case.

When you combine all of the phases up, here are some very rough guidelines that might apply in your case. Again, consult with your personal injury lawyer, including the lawyers at Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for a specific answer in your case. Don’t rely on this information as anything other than a general guide. These guidelines assume that liability is clear, which means that there is no dispute that the injured person will prevail on how the accident occurred. For these timelines, assume that this was a rear end car accident where the defendant admitted fault:

  • For a small car accident case involving only minor soft tissue injuries, the total time from accident through resolution might take 4-6 months, assuming no litigation. If there is litigation, then resolution might take 12-18 months.
  • For a large car accident with surgery, the total time from accident through resolution might take 9 – 15 months, assuming no litigation. If there is litigation, then resolution might take 18 – 24 months.

Again, keep in mind that these are very, very rough guidelines, and you should rely only on the information provided by your lawyer!

Bus Accidents (Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia)

Bus Accident Attorneys Serving Washington DC, Northern Virginia, & Maryland

In a major metropolitan city such as Washington DC, bus accidents occur very frequently. Many residents of Washington DC navigate the city by taking public transportation, such as a bus. Bus accidents can cause serious injuries to both the passengers on board, as well as other vehicles and individuals. The United States Department of Transportation’s Bureau of transportation statistics reports that there are approximately 900,000 buses in the United States, and more than 60,000 are involved in some type of bus accident each year. Bus accidents can also occur when transporting children to and from school, as well as other situations such as transit buses, Greyhound, and other large, long distance passenger vehicles, can also be involved in bus accidents.

There are many reasons for bus accidents. As DC bus accident lawyers, we sometimes see these accidents caused by passengers who may distract the driver, faulty bus equipment, the impact and influence of alcohol or drugs, driver fatigue, or other driver distractions.

One very famous case that made the headlines at the end of 2013 was a Metro bus driver who was killed. This was an awful situation that potentially could have been avoided. Thomasine Maria Smith, of Laurel, Maryland, was fatally paid by her own boss. Apparently, Ms. Smith, who was 47 years old, was on a break when she exited her bus. She was on New Hampshire Ave., in Silver Spring, Maryland. The bus somehow began rolling, and Ms. Smith, attempted to reach to the window and engage the brake. She ultimately was pinned against the road’s retaining wall. Unfortunately, she did not survive the accident.

If you’ve been involved in a bus accident, you should contact a lawyer immediately. The lawyers at Cohen & Cohen, P.C. represent bus accident injury victims throughout Maryland, DC, and Virginia. If you have suffered such an injury, you have rights, and you need to understand your deadlines that are involved in the case. Cohen & Cohen, P.C. will provide you with a free consultation and help educate you about the next steps.

Car Accidents After a Snowstorm

A Car Accident Lawyer Can Help If You’ve Been in an Accident in the Snow

Whenever it snows, one unfortunate side effect is that there are many more car accidents. In Maryland, Washington DC, and Virginia, we are fortunate to have a pretty short winter. We usually do not get too much snow, and when we do, the accumulation tends to be small. However, when it does snow, it seems that the drivers on our streets are less experienced in how to manage their vehicles. Whether it be identifying black ice, being more attentive to large trucks and the increased chance of a DC trucking accident, or simply paying attention in decreased visibility, Metro area drivers seem to have a learning curve. Accordingly, a lot of accidents do occur!

When there is a car accident during a snowstorm, there are some special considerations that must be evaluated. Let’s take a quick look at an example to see how a car accident in snow may be different than the same accident without the snow. One driver, Danny the defendant, strikes another driver, Paul the plaintiff. Paul was stopped at a traffic light, and was struck by Danny. Paul suffered injuries as a result. If this accident occurred on dry pavement, in most situations Danny would clearly be at fault. However, if the accident occurs during a snowstorm, things may be different. During a snowstorm, the question of whether one party is negligent is essentially whether that party acted reasonably under the circumstances. Did Danny drive properly given the snow conditions? Was he driving cautiously, but still lost control of his vehicle? Did he act improperly, or did the accident just occur?

These are all questions that must be answered before determining whether there is negligence. The same case on dry pavement becomes much more difficult when it occurs on snow. Some of these cases also end up in litigation, with interrogatories, discovery, and even depositions with court reporters. Each state differs in how negligence is proven, but as a general statement, an injured person must provide that (a) the defendant acted negligently, and (b) that the negligence caused the injuries. Car accidents in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia also have special rules of law, so if you’ve been injured you should find an injury lawyer right away. The car accident lawyers at Cohen & Cohen, P.C. offer a free consultation on your case.

What is Negligence?

Proving Negligence Requires 4 Key Factors

Negligence is one word that is often interpreted in many different ways. To many people when someone simply fails to do something they are being negligent; however, the law often holds negligence to a much higher standard. The law defines negligence as conduct that falls below the standards of behavior for the protection of others against reasonable risk of harm. A person is seen as negligent when he or she fails to act as a reasonably prudent, or careful, person would in the same circumstances. In many civil litigation cases, negligence must be established before anything else. There are many different forms of negligence; the list is practically endless. A few examples of common lawsuits based on negligence are: medical malpractice, dental malpractice, hit and run accidents, slip and fall accidents, general auto collisions, etc. Because of its complexity, it is important to consult with a DC personal injury lawyer to help determine if negligence exists.

To prove negligence, four things must be present: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages. First, the person must have a duty to act as a reasonably prudent person would. For example, if you are rear-ended while stopped at a stop light, typically, the person that rear-ended you was negligent for failing to drive in a reasonably prudent manner to avoid a collision. In this example, the driver that rear-ended you had the duty to take reasonable care (i.e. not to speed or text) while driving to avoid an accident. Second, the duty must be breached, meaning that the person failed to act as a reasonable person would in that circumstance. A reasonable driver would allow enough space in front of his or her car to be able to stop in time. Here, the driver failed to leave enough space to avoid the collision. Third, this breach of duty must have caused the injury. Therefore, your injury must be a direct result of the collision caused by the driver that failed to use reasonable caution. Finally, there must be an actual injury, or damages, as a result of the breach of duty. Injuries can be quantifiable through medical bills and property damage can be proven with pictures.

Negligence can result in injuries, to either yourself or someone else, and there are many different factors that go into the question of whether or not you have a case. If an accident occurs, and you are injured as a result of another person’s negligence, it is in your best interest to consult with a personal injury lawyer to discuss your options. You may be entitled to recover for any damages to your property, your injury, as well as pain and suffering.

If you have any questions, please call us today at 202-955-4529 to speak to a legal representative regarding your potential case.

“What is Full Coverage”?

The Car Accident Attorneys of Cohen & Cohen Explain Full Coverage Auto Insurance

 

There are all kinds of categories accident victims can fall under from and insurance perspective: “uninsured,” “underinsured,” or “fully covered” are three main categories. “Full coverage” is a phrase that is frequently thrown around when talking about car insurance. However, there is no such thing as a “full coverage” insurance policy that consistently describes what insurance carriers offer. Depending on the insurance company, “full coverage” can be interpreted in several ways and might require the assistance of a DC personal injury lawyer to properly understand what your policy actually includes.

At the core of what is commonly referred to as “full coverage” are state minimum requirements, comprehensive coverage, and collision. State minimum requirements typically include both bodily injury and property damage liability. This means that if you cause an accident in which you injure another person (or people) or damage someone else’s property, your insurance will cover the costs. The minimum requirement for auto insurance varies by state. Comprehensive coverage includes all damages done to your vehicle caused by something other than a collision, for example theft or fire. Collision coverage is the closest thing to full coverage you can receive. It covers damage to your car in the event it hits, or is hit by, another car. Collision coverage typically cannot be purchased without comprehensive coverage, and so it ensures you will be covered regardless of how your car is damaged.

This all sounds like full coverage, right? While collision coverage is full coverage for damages, there are multiple types of extra car insurance coverage that isn’t covered by state minimum requirements, collision, or comprehensive coverage. For example, roadside assistance is an extra coverage that usually must be purchased separately. Other coverage options that may be considered extra includes uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, Personal Injury Protection insurance, GAP insurance, towing and labor insurance, car rental reimbursement insurance, OEM endorsement, full glass coverage, and vanishing deductible. Remember that the laws vary in every state, including Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia, so seeking advice from a personal injury lawyer is suggested to help you gain the maximum compensation you’re seeking when filing a claim.

What About Other Types of Insurance?

Full coverage for other types of insurance, including property insurance, health insurance, and specialty insurance, is often misinterpreted the same way auto insurance is. For example, health insurance might cover all doctor’s appointments and hospital visits but might only apply to certain doctors, and property insurance might cover all damages to your property except in the event of certain natural disasters, such as earthquakes or floods. It’s important to do your research and be careful to ask your insurance provider exactly what is covered under your insurance plan. If necessary, also make sure to seek advice from an injury attorney. If you need your insurance to cover a specific type of accident, your health requires you to get frequent surgeries, or you live an area prone to natural disasters, you definitely want to make sure you have the exact coverage you need before you need to make a claim with your insurance company.

Collision Coverage

What Does “Collision Coverage” Mean?

When in a car accident, one of the major concerns that many people face is how they are going to pay for any damages to their car. Having “collision coverage” on your policy can help ease your concerns in such a situation. “Collision coverage” commonly refers to optional coverage for damages to your car caused by impact with another vehicle or stationary object (i.e. a tree or telephone pole), minus your deductible, regardless of fault. Collision coverage does not cover the cost for damages to the other car, and it does not cover you for injuries you or someone else sustains in the accident. Additional liability insurance might need to be purchased to cover you in a case involving a lawsuit due to injuries caused in an accident. Your personal injury lawyer will be able to look at your auto insurance policy and advise you on the types of coverage you have.

One key component of collision coverage is the collision deductible. The collision deductible is an agreed upon amount between you and your auto insurance company that determines how much you will pay, out of pocket, in the event you are in an accident that causes damages to your car. The collision deductible varies from person to person and can range between $0 and $1,000. When purchasing collision coverage on your insurance policy, it is important to choose a deductible that is right for you based on what you are comfortable paying out of pocket.

Another key component of collision coverage is the cash value of the car that is damaged. Cash value generally refers to the market value of the car before the accident, minus the salvage value of the damaged vehicle. Remember that as soon as you drive your car out of the dealership parking lot your car loses value. As your car ages it further decreases in value. To help find out the value of your car, you can use the N.A.D.A Guides and Kelley Blue Book. You should take into consideration that these guides may not accurately reflect the exact value of your car because of factors, such as age, mileage, and use.

Unless you choose to lease or finance a car and your bank requires that you purchase collision coverage, it is not required and might not be worth purchasing for some people. When buying collision coverage, you should take into account the age of your car, what the value of your car is, and how much you think repairs would cost. It is also important to remember that collision coverage can be beneficial if the accident results in legal proceedings, if the other driver is at fault but has no liability insurance, or if your accident involves a stationary object that clearly has no insurance to cover the cost of your damages. If you are undecided about whether or not to purchase collision coverage, it is always helpful to speak with your insurance agent to see if this type of coverage is right for you.

If you are involved in a car accident, remember that is important to work with a personal injury lawyer, as well as your insurance agent, to facilitate the aspects of your case. Please call us today at 202.955.4529 to speak with a legal representative about your potential case.

Maryland Personal Injury Protection

What is PIP (Personal Injury Protection) in the State of Maryland?

PIP, or personal injury protection, is insurance coverage commonly associated with auto insurance that provides additional coverage (other than car damage) in the event of a car accident. PIP can include coverage for medical expenses, lost wages, child-care expenses, rehabilitation costs and funeral costs. One benefit of having personal injury protection as part of your insurance policy is that it is a “no-fault” coverage, meaning it’s applicable regardless of which party is at fault for the accident. Additionally, it provides coverage for any passengers in the vehicle at the time of the accident.

Like most insurance coverage, PIP varies from state to state. Depending on the state, PIP can be either a mandatory coverage or an optional coverage for drivers to purchase as an extension of their car insurance policy. As a Maryland personal injury lawyer might explain, the State of Maryland is one of 15 states that mandate personal injury protection coverage. However, unlike other states that mandate PIP, Maryland allows policy holders to waive PIP coverage during the initial policy purchase if they so choose.

There are many benefits to adding PIP to your insurance policy in Maryland. For example, Maryland residents may utilize their PIP even if the accident occurred outside of the state of Maryland. Additionally, it provides coverage for any passengers in the vehicle at the time of the accident. Maryland PIP could also be used by pedestrians who were struck by a vehicle.

Insurers in Maryland can buy PIP coverage at $2,500, $5,000 or $10,000 increments, with $10,000 being the maximum amount of coverage offered. Maryland PIP will only cover up to the amount you have purchased. Those who opt to purchase personal injury protection in Maryland can choose between full or limited PIP. Full PIP provides coverage for you, your family, and anyone in your vehicle, while limited PIP only provides coverage for members of your family under the age of 16.

Having PIP may not automatically guarantee medical and wage coverage following a car accident as insurers must first submit any bills, records and/or employer letters to the PIP providing insurance companies for review. In Maryland, only 85% of total lost wages is covered under personal injury protection. Maryland PIP does not cover any expenses accrued for transportation (i.e. rental car), property damage, or pain and suffering.

If you have been injured in a car accident in Maryland give us a call today at 202-955-4529 to speak to a legal representative regarding your potential personal injury case!

Compensatory Damages

What Do Compensatory Damages Really Mean?

In personal injury cases, the Court will generally allow an injured plaintiff to recover two types of damages: compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages refer to a sum of money awarded to a person for a loss or injury suffered as a result of the negligent conduct of another person. They are meant to compensate a plaintiff for the injuries they have sustained and other related expenses. As a DC personal injury lawyer might explain, unlike punitive damages, compensatory damages are not intended to punish the defendant and they are not based on the wealth of the defendant; rather, they act as a fine to compensate the plaintiff for his or her injuries or losses and nothing more.

In order to recover compensatory damages, the damage must be foreseeable, reasonably certain (not speculative), and necessary to the type of injury sustained. Compensatory damages are the most common type of damages in negligence cases such as automobile accidents, slip and falls, and even medical malpractice.

Recoverable compensatory damages can cover a wide variety of costs, including:

  • Medical costs such as ambulance costs, hospital stays, rehabilitative facilities, doctors’ appointments, physical therapy, home health aides, prescriptions, and medically necessary equipment like crutches
  • Lost wages for time missed from work or for having to take a lower-paying job due to your injuries
  • Pain & suffering associated with your injuries
  • Physical changes to your body as a result of your injuries which may range from scarring to the loss of a limb.

Compensatory damages can include costs already expended, ongoing costs, and costs necessary for future treatment and expenses. Some damages, like medical costs, are easier to quantify because there is usually a bill that reflects the cost of treatment. Other damages, like pain and suffering, can be much harder to quantify, but that is exactly what juries in Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia do on a regular basis. Compensatory damages are a major factor that our lawyers will take into account when evaluating your injuries and the value of your case.

Keep in mind that a plaintiff suffering from an injury has a responsibility to limit the expenses they incur as a result of their injury. For example, the medical treatment received must be reasonable and necessary to the injuries sustained, and if an injury causes you to miss work, you have a responsibility to miss as little work as possible.

If you were in an accident and are looking to seek compensatory damages for your injuries, call us today at 202-955-4529 to speak to a legal representative regarding your potential case.

Will I Win My Car Accident Lawsuit?

The personal injury lawyers at my office are often asked, “Will I win my car accident lawsuit?” This is a very difficult question to answer, regardless of whether the collision occurred in DC, Maryland or Virginia. The legal system is very unpredictable, and no one knows for sure exactly what a jury will do. However, as a DC car accident lawyer might explain, there are some steps that can be taken at the outset of the case to help ensure that you have the best chance possible of winning your car accident case.
If you have been involved in an auto accident, the very first thing you should do is seek advice from a qualified personal lawyer. This can help you with some important steps that must be taken to increase your chance of a victory down the road. Some basic steps that must be taken include interviewing witnesses, preserving evidence, and making sure that you receive appropriate medical care and treatment.

When it comes to interviewing witnesses, the lawyers’ investigator, or the lawyer herself, will track down the witness. In some instances, a statement will be taken. If the lawyer suspects that the witness to the car accident might be essential to the case, and the facts of the case warrant this, steps can be taken to preserve the witnesses’ testimony through a pre-litigation deposition. This is rare, but does occur. Second, it is imperative that evidence be preserved. In the case of a car accident, this usually means photographing the vehicles involved, and taking scene photographs. If it is not possible to get a photograph of the adverse witnesses’ vehicle, then at a minimum you should get photographs of your own vehicle. These photographs can show the point of impact, the amount of damage, and other key facts which may come out in the case. Finally, in order to better your chances of prevailing at trial, or by way of settlement, you should make sure that your medical treatment is coordinated. That is not to suggest that the lawyer should be involved in your treatment. Treatment for a car accident case should be directed by physicians. However, it is important that if you have suffered an injury, you take the time to seek treatment. If you do not have medical documentation for your injuries, it will be very difficult to prove to a jury that you have been injured.

To reiterate, predicting who will win in a car accident case is not always easy. But if you take steps immediately, then you can help improve your chances!

Placing a value on a personal injury case is not easy.

The most frequent question our clients ask is, “How much money will I receive from my case?” Placing a value on a personal injury case is not easy, but there are three simple tips to consider.

First, cases are generally valued based on the extent of the damages. The greater the damages, the greater the value of the case. For example, a person who suffers a broken bone or other serious injury may be entitled to more damages than a person who simply has a “soft tissue” injury.

Second, the strength of the case in terms of liability is also important (i.e., how did the incident occur?). A medical malpractice case where a physician leaves a sponge in a patient may be easier to prove than a different type of case. Accordingly, the stronger case may be more likely to be successfully resolved.

Third, there are many other damages that are to be considered when valuing a claim. These may include (but are not necessarily limited to) the following:

  • lost wages
  • pain and suffering
  • emotional distress
  • scarring
  • disfigurement
  • medical bills

At Cohen & Cohen, we are a bilingual DC law firm consisting of Washington DC personal injury lawyers and Maryland and Virginia personal injury attorneys. We are committed to representing the rights of injured victims. Specifically, our 6-lawyer boutique trial firm represents people who have been injured by a medical mistake, wrongful death, birth injury, product defect, automobile collision and slip and fall.

Cohen and Cohen: Washington DC leads the list for the most automobile accidents in the country

Cohen and Cohen, P.C. wants you to know that Forbes just published Allstate Insurance’s list for the country’s worst drivers. Washington, DC has the worst drivers in the country!  Drivers get into automobile accidents in Washington, DC on the average of every 4.7 years!  The national average for an automobile accident is once a decade.  The #2 spot for automobile accidents is Baltimore, Maryland!

Throughout Washington DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia hundreds of car accidents occur every day. Being involved in an car accident is a traumatic experience. Car accidents sometimes occur through no fault of your own, and can involve rear end accidents, side swipe accidents, and intersection accidents. Any accident has the potential to result in injury to the people involved. Car accidents in Washington, DC involve a number of issues including insurance laws, overlapping jurisdiction and other complex legal issues. Properly interpreting the law and effectively advocating your position is vital if you want to completely recover the damages from your car accident.

Damages for these types of accidents can include property loss, medical costs and lost wages. When trying to recover these damages, you will almost always be dealing with an insurance company. The goal of the insurance adjuster is to settle cases your car accident case and save the insurance company as much money as possible. Without a car accident attorney, the settlement process proceeds completely on the adjuster’s terms. This scenario will never yield the best possible result for you. Your attorney’s job is to level the playing field. Their main goal is to settle your claim to maximize your compensation. If you have been involved in an car accident in Washington, DC, Maryland or Virginia, you should contact a car accident lawyer, Wayne Cohen of Cohen & Cohen quickly to ensure that you receive all of the compensation to which you are entitled.

Cohen and Cohen Is Frequently Asked Do I Have A Case?

Cohen and Cohen, P.C. attorneys are frequently asked the question, “Do I have a case?” The answer, unfortunately, is not always a simple one. Injury cases typically have three elements: a mistake, an injury, and proof that the mistake caused the injury. The analysis can be most clearly illustrated by examining a medical malpractice or product defect case.

In order to evaluate a medical malpractice case, the first item to address is whether the physician, nurse, or health care provider did something improper. In order to prove this fact, the law – in most states – requires that the injured victim introduce evidence from another similar person (i.e., physician, nurse, or health care provider) to testify that there was a mistake made. This is often called establishing that there was a violation of the “standard of care.” There are, of course, some exceptions to the rule. Proving this violation is often viewed as the most difficult part of a malpractice case.

Next, it is imperative to prove that there was an injury as a result of the violation. Although this is sometimes the least difficult element of proof, it maybe sometimes difficult to prove nonetheless. Take the situation where a health care provider fails to advise the patient of the risks of a certain procedure. The health care provider may have violated the “standard of care,” but if nothing actually went wrong during the procedure, then there is no case. Similarly, the situation may arise where a health care provider orders an improper medication for a patient, but the medication mix-up is harmless. Again, there may be a clear violation of the standard of care, but no damages.

Finally, the injured person must prove that her injury was caused by the mistake. This is where claims may get tricky. The injured victim must prove that the particular violation of the “standard of care” caused the victim’s injury. In certain cases the connection may be simple. For example, a basic case might arise in a situation in which a physician leaves a sponge in a patient during surgery, and that patient subsequently develops an infection. By contrast, a more complex matter might involve proving whether a birth injury is necessarily related to a physician’s failure to perform a timely c-section. Did the delay in performing the c-section cause the birth injury? Or was the birth injury caused by genetic factors long before the delivery?

Determining whether a client has a case is a complex matter. You should review your case with a competent lawyer from Cohen and Cohen, and let Cohen & Cohen make the decision as to whether you have a case!