Criminal and Civil Liability in Hit and Run Cases

Hit & Run accidents are often portrayed in a wildly dramatic way on TV or in the movies. Someone is driving recklessly and rams into another vehicle or drives onto a sidewalk causing property damage before accelerating off into the distance. But the reality is a hit and run can be any accident where there is property damage or injury and you leave the scene before exchanging information with others involved and contacting law enforcement. In other words, a hit and run charge involves your duty to report. In any accident, you must exchange driver’s license, address, and registration information with other drivers involved and when serious, report the accident to law enforcement. If you are criminally charged with Hit and Run, you should immediately consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Property Damage

In minor accidents the priority is to move the cars out of the way so as to not obstruct traffic and then exchange information with the other driver. In more serious accidents, as in, you cannot just drive away, you must also wait for law enforcement to arrive on the scene.

Personal Injury

If you or the other driver(s) involved, or any of the passengers are injured then in addition to your duty to exchange information and report you also have a duty to assist. This means offering reasonable assistance, contacting help, like the police or an ambulance, and remaining on the scene until injured parties are safely transported and you are given approval to leave.

Unattended Vehicles or Property

If you strike an unattended vehicle then you must make an effort to find the driver. Failing actual contact with the driver then you must leave your personal information for them someplace where they can find it and you must also report the accident to the police if the damage is substantial. If you hit and damage highway property, like signals or signs, then you have to report your accident to the highway or road authority. That information is usually available on the sign.

Criminal and Civil Liability

In cases where there is injury or death you may face criminal penalties. An accident that results in injury is usually considered a class 1 misdemeanor traffic offense; if the injury is considered serious this may become a class 4 felony offense; if the accident resulted in death then there may be a class 3 felony charge. Felony charges mean that you are facing potential jail time so it is vital to seek good representation in such matters.

Fleeing a scene also has civil consequences. Because the act of leaving without performing your duty to assist and report is a crime, this also opens you up to responsibility for civil damages. Leaving is also an intentional act and this could in effect increase the punitive damages you face. Sometimes claims are handled through insurance alone, but it is important to understand how a hit and run makes you liable for civil damages too. As with criminal charges, if you find yourself facing liability for a hit and run accident, contact a civil attorney.


HBThanks to our friends from Hebets & McCallin for their blog contribution and insight into criminal and civil liability in hit and run cases.

What Are Damages?

Whether it be the result of a car accident or slip and fall, in every personal injury case there are generally two things that the victim must prove-liability and damages. Liability means fault, so the first thing the victim must prove is that the other person or company was at fault for the accident. If the victim can prove that the other party was at fault, then the victim must prove their damages.

As a car accident lawyer Delray FL trusts can explain, damages are generally broken down into two different areas – economic damages and noneconomic damages. Economic damages are things such as past and future medical, nursing, rehabilitation and supportive care expenses. For example, if someone is injured and can no longer clean their house or maintain their yard, not only are their ongoing medical expenses an economic damage they can recover for, but the cost to have someone take care of their house and yard is also considered to be an economic loss for which they can seek recovery in their personal injury case. If the victim’s injury is significant enough to affect their ability to work, then any lost earnings or loss of earning capacity is also considered to be an economic damage that can be recovered in a personal injury case. Reports or testimony from medical experts are necessary to establish the limitations an injury will likely have on the victim’s ability to work and sometimes a vocational rehabilitation expert will also be hired to discuss how the injury impacts the victim’s employability. The age of the victim is critically important in determining their future economic damages – the younger the victim, the longer they are more likely to live and thus, their future damages are likely to be greater than someone who is much older. A person who is significantly injured at age 25 is going to have more medical expenses and lost wages over their lifetime than someone who has the same injury who is 65. It is often necessary to hire an accountant or an economist to project the economic loss suffered by an injury victim. Such damages usually need to be reduced to “present money value,” meaning the amount of money needed in a lump sum amount today to provide a stream of income over the life of the victim to compensate them for their economic damages.

In addition to the economic damages discussed above, an injury victim is also entitled to recover for their non-economic damages, including any past and future pain and suffering, loss of ability to enjoy life and mental anguish. Just as with economic damages, the non-economic recoverable depend on the significance of the injury and the age of the victim. Obviously someone who has been left wheelchair-bound as a result of an accident has suffered a much more significant impact on their quality of life than someone who has suffered a broken arm. Likewise, someone who is injured while in their twenties has a much longer time to live with the consequences of their injury than someone who is in their eighties, and generally speaking, if the injury is the same, the noneconomic damages recoverable by a younger person will be greater than those recoverable by an older person.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Luckman Law for their insight into wrongful death suits.

What to Do After a Minor Car Accident

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, the United States incurs losses of more than $230 billion owing to the over seven million car crashes annually. This results to over two million individuals injured and a further 40,000 killed. Insurance statistics place minor accidents at a 75 percent threshold, with losses considered as more of property damage as opposed to injury accidents. Such matters are easily resolved, and the following are the steps you can take after being involved in a minor incident.

  1. Keep Calm

The instinctual actions that kick in when you are in an accident include tempers flaring, yelling and engaging in a blame exchange. It is important that when in such a situation, stay calm. Get out of your car and do not confront the other motorist. Instead, determine if yourself or anyone in the other vehicle was hurt and if so, seek medical attention immediately.

  1. Safety First

Before doing anything else, it is wise to inform other road users of the impending danger. Turn on your hazard lights, and put up the caution triangle at a safe but visible distance from the scene.

  1. Document the Accident Scene

This step is important if an accident investigation becomes necessary. In this step, you will want to ensure the following areas and information are documented, possibly with the camera and/or video camera on your cell phone;

  • The two cars’ damaged areas.
  • Your license plate as well as that of the other driver’s.
  • The insurance details of the other driver
  • The surrounding environment. With this, you may find skid marks, signs of a faulty road, or it could be that actual place the first impact occurred.
  1. Get Witness Accounts

At this stage, all the information is critical. You should ask them if they would be willing to make a written or a verbal statement as to the events that unfolded. If they would be willing to talk, get all their contact details. If possible, also photograph and videotape them using your cell phone. All of this helps in making sense of the crash as well as strengthening your car claim.

  1. Get In Touch With the Police

In several situations, accident victims have fallen prey to the thought of not involving the police in the accident. However minor the crash is, get in touch with police. Please note that insurance payment claims are only effected with a police report attached to the claim request.

  1. Call Your Insurer

Get in touch with your insurance provider as early as possible. They can begin the process of documenting the accident and determining liability. They may send a claims adjuster to assess the damage and confirm which party is at fault.

  1. Admission of Guilt

Under no circumstances should you admit any fault in the accident, either to anyone on scene, other drivers who were involved, or even your insurance company. It is the duty of the police and the insurance agents to determine the liable party and not you.

  1. Seeking Medical Assistance

As minor as the crash may seem, you should get checked by a doctor to ascertain that you didn’t suffer any internal or hidden injuries. Do this immediately.

car accident lawyer DC counts on can help you recover your damages from the liable person should your injury be more serious than you initially thought.


Thank to our friends and contributors from The Law Firm of Frederick J. Brynn, P.C. for their insight into car accidents and personal injury cases.

Lang Wiseman Named Vice-Chair of TSC Rules Commission

business litigation attorney memphis tnWiseman Bray PLLC is proud to announce that the Tennessee Supreme Court recently named Lang Wiseman to the prestigious position of Vice-Chair of the Advisory Commission on the Rules of Practice and Procedure.

The Advisory Commission meets periodically to study, and to advise and make recommendations to the Supreme Court, regarding the various rules of practice and procedure in the trial and appellate courts. Commission members are appointed by the Supreme Court pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §16-3-601.

Do You Have a Medical Malpractice Claim? What You Should Know

A study from Johns Hopkins Medical suggests that errors and omissions from medical malpractice are the third leading cause of death in the United States. Medical malpractice cases are some of the most strenuously defended claims in the law of personal injury. They’re time consuming, and they’re expensive to bring and win. In order to prove that medical malpractice occurred, you’ll need to show:

There Was a Physician and Patient Relationship

Establishing a doctor and patient relationship is more contractual than medical. You’re required to show that you wanted to hire the doctor, and the doctor agreed to be hired. The question of whether there was a physician and patient relationship might get confusing if the doctor was a consulting physician who didn’t directly treat and care for you.

Negligence

The mere fact that there was a bad result doesn’t mean that a doctor was careless and negligent in treating his or her patient. There are several important points to keep in mind:

  • We’re required to show that the physician who treated you or your family member breached the standard of care and caused harm. That standard of care is consistent with the level and type of care that a reasonably competent and skilled physician with similar training in the same geographical area would have provided under the same or similar circumstances.
  • The care and treatment need not be the best possible. It need only be reasonably careful and skillful. That level of care and any alleged deviation from it are what the facts of most medical malpractice cases turn on.
  • Each side almost always hires its own independent expert to testify on the standard of care and any breach of it. Sometimes the parties have more than one expert.

Causation

People usually don’t see doctors unless they’re sick or injured. The severity of the illness or injury that brought the patient to the doctor must be considered. The level of severity raises the issue of whether the doctor’s care and treatment actually harmed the patient. This can be a cloudy issue often left to the testifying experts. To prove medical malpractice, we’re required to show that a doctor’s negligence through an error or omission in treatment actually caused the harm. Even a gross deviation from the standard of care isn’t actionable if no serious harm was caused to the patient.

Proximate Cause

Proximate cause in medical malpractice is determined by using a “but for” test. But for the error or omission of the treating physician, would the specific harm that the patient is complaining of have occurred? That specific harm must result in legal damages to the patient. Those damages might be in the form of:

  • Additional medical bills
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Lost earnings and earning capacity
  • Any permanent disfigurement
  • Any permanent disability
  • Funeral and burial expenses in the event of a wrongful death

Common Examples of Medical Malpractice

A wide variety of acts or failures to act can constitute medical malpractice. Some common types of medical malpractice are:

  • Failure to diagnose or a misdiagnosis. There might have been a better result without one of these occurring.
  • Improper treatment or choosing the proper treatment but administering it improperly.
  • Failing to warn a patient of known risks.
  • Surgical errors like operating on the wrong body part or performing the wrong procedure on a patient.
  • Anesthesia errors by administering too little or too much of an anesthetic to a patient.

Medical malpractice laws vary widely from state to state. Anybody contemplating a medical malpractice case should speak with an experienced and respected Phoenix medical malpractice lawyer in their own state before making the decision to take legal action.


ASThanks to our friends and contributors from Alex & Saavedra, P.C. for their insight into medical malpractice claims.

Common Challenges When Pursuing a Slip and Fall Injury Case

Most personal injury attorneys understand from experience that slip and fall injury cases can be challenging for several reasons. Their success is usually dependent on the material case facts and potential problems when establishing the negligent party.

Injuries that occur in remote locations can be particularly problematic when an owner or property manager cannot be located. Many times the accident investigation will include searching property tax and ownership records to pinpoint a responsible party. In addition, remote location injuries also still require a police report to establish the fact of where the injury occurred and establish a timeline of what actually happened. When you add the fact that slip and fall injuries are also usually defended strongly, each juncture of the negotiation process can present challenges.

Establishing the Facts

Personal injury attorneys have a standard requirement in the first stages of any injury claim.

  • They must establish by documentation or testimony that an accident happened resulting in injury to their client and that the accident was the fault or responsibility of the respondent.
  • That alone can be difficult in some instances, but injuries that occur in public businesses or urban residences will usually be easier to establish.
  • Police reports can help as can medical documentation. But, not having solid documentation makes it much easier for the defense.

Some states also allow personal injury attorneys to file “John Doe” lawsuits while attempting to locate a negligent party who could be pursued for damages. This allows the claimant access to the court system before the statute of limitations expires. However, in the absence of establishing who is at-fault, recovering damages is next to impossible.

Proving Liability

Once a respondent is identified, Long Island work injury lawyers and personal injury attorneys can begin negotiations with the respondent and their insurance provider. In the event they do not have insurance or assets that can be liquidated, attempting to collect damages may be futile.

When an insurance company is involved, the company normally provides the legal counsel for the respondent. It is important to remember that insurance companies have significant input regarding proving liability because they have several defenses at their disposal, including claiming the injured plaintiff was personally responsible for the accident. This negotiation is centered around the legal concept of comparative fault, and depending on the state, the case can actually be dismissed if the injured plaintiff has made any contribution to the accident through unreasonable assumption of personal risk. Many times in slip and fall injuries this can only be accomplished through testimonial depositions from witnesses, which can also be contested.

Going to Trial

Another significant challenge for a slip and fall attorney is when a case is defended completely to the trial phase. Going to trial can be requested by either party in a slip and fall injury case. Many times this process presents difficulties with respect to choosing a jury and presenting the case effectively. When insurance companies take the case to trial, they are banking on the jury accepting their argument that they are not liable.

When the plaintiff’s legal counselors take a case to trial, they are banking on the hope that the jury will issue a financial award and in some instances, a punitive damage award in cases of gross negligence. The plaintiff’s lawyer has the charge of proving gross negligence, which can be particularly difficult in slip and fall cases. Most slip and fall injuries are accidents and rarely occur due to an intentional act, although that can happen. The amount of evidence required can matter greatly in a trial where potential gross negligence is a factor.

Slip and fall injury claims can be the most challenging of all civil claims to win because evidence can be difficult to uncover. It is never a good decision to attempt handling a slip and fall claim personally. Always get an experienced slip and fall attorney who knows what to expect for a defense and understands how to craft a solid case.


PSRThanks to our friends and contributors from Polsky, Shouldice & Rosen P.C. for their insight into common challenges when pursuing a slip and fall injury case.

Who Can Be Held Liable In A Truck Accident?

Commercial trucks travel the highways every day, delivering goods we need to states all over the U.S. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were over 500,000 accidents involving commercial trucks in 2016 alone. One reason for these high numbers is the fact that drivers must stick to very tight schedules and often drive while fatigued. The following is an overview of personal injury law and how it may help those hurt in a commercial truck accident. If you have been hurt in a collision with a large, commercial vehicle contact a truck accident lawyer Phoenix AZ trusts to find out who can be held liable for your damages and medical expenses.

Truck Accident Injuries

The vast majority of those traveling in passenger cars suffer very serious or debilitating injuries when involved in a collision with a commercial vehicle. This is due to the large size and heavy weight of the truck. Some of the most common truck accident injuries are:

  • Closed Head Injuries
  • Injuries to the Spinal Cord
  • Paralysis
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries
  • Severed Limbs
  • Burns
  • Neck and Back Injuries
  • Crush Injuries
  • Broken Bones
  • Internal Organ Damage

Common Truck Accident Causes

While driver fatigue is certainly one of the primary causes of truck accidents in the United States today, some others also occur such as:

  • Driving While Intoxicated
  • Road Rage
  • Distracted Driving
  • Aggressive Driving
  • Speeding
  • Improper Lane Changes
  • Tailgating
  • Driving Under the Influence of Prescription or Illegal Drugs

Who Can Be Held Liable?

There are several people that may be held liable for your injuries after a commercial truck accident. Some common examples are:

  • The Trucking Company
  • The Truck Driver
  • The Manufacturer of the Truck or Defective Parts
  • The Shipping Company

Proving Negligence

One of the most difficult aspects of personal injury cases is proving who was negligent and caused the accident. In order to be awarded a settlement, you must be able to show the truck driver, owner, or loader knew a danger existed or ignored safety protocol that lead to the accident. Because this area of personal injury law is complex, it is usually best to speak with a lawyer before moving forward.

How Can a Lawyer Help Accident Victims?

While nothing can change the severity of your injuries after the fact, a lawyer can protect your rights and help secure a financial award that may help you in the long run. After an accident, some things a lawyer can do to help you include:

  • Speaking with Witnesses
  • Asking For a Copy of the Police Report
  • Negotiating with the Insurance Company
  • Talking with Medical Experts to Prove Your Case
  • Filing Court Documents Related to Your Lawsuit
  • Represent You If a Trial Is Necessary

Contact a lawyer today for an examination of your case. Once your lawyer has spoken with you and obtained all of the facts, he or she will recommend how you should proceed. Hiring a lawyer to help you through this difficult time is one way to maximize your results as you recover.


LMThanks to our friends and contributors from Lorona | Mead for their insight into truck accident cases.

Accidental Gun Shootings – How a lawyer helps victims and their families.

Despite what we read about in the papers and hear across the airwaves, people today in the United States of America, generally speaking, are safer now than they were in years past. The one exception to this fact concerns accidental gun shootings, both those that involve injuries and death. These incidents have continued to increase for the past many decades.

Many of these victims, and many of the shooters themselves, are children. Every day, somewhere we hear stories of young children coming across an unsecured gun, and accidentally discharging it with horrific, life changing, consequences. As an attorney who has dedicated his practice to helping victims of accidents, I have learned that much can be done to compensate these victims and their families. In most situations, after such a tragedy, there is no consideration for what can be done for the victims and others affected by bringing a civil claim, but virtually always, hiring an attorney to represent the interests of the family and the child is of utmost importance, and can do a lot of good to help. While different states’ criminal courts vary as to the penalties and punishments that can be given to those who leave their guns where they are easily obtained by children, or for those people who use them in unsafe ways – causing injuries to innocent people, such as by creating dangerous, makeshift shooting ranges, or recklessly handling a gun, the civil courts always allow for the victims to be compensated for their medical expenses and other financial losses. This is where hiring a personal injury lawyer Houston TX trusts can be of real help and value. These cases can exceed hundreds of thousands of dollars, and while often there is not enough insurance money to cover all expenses, as my clients affirm, every little bit helps.

Hiring an attorney who specializes in personal injury law, and advocates for the victims of accidental shootings, must be considered any time something like this happens. Most attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not pay them anything in advance, instead – they share in the recovery they obtain their clients, providing an incentive for us to strive to get as much money as possible for our clients.

However, that is only the beginning. The attorney’s job is to then negotiate all medical expenses to ensure that the money obtained does not go entirely towards medical expenses and that some is set aside to assist the victims of these tragic cases in their recovery.

Every day, these things happen across our country, and this trend will continue until there are stricter gun control laws. If someone you know has suffered an accidental gunshot injury, please encourage them to visit with an attorney. There is absolutely nothing to lose, and everything to be gained.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from the Law Office of Shane R. Kadlec for their insight into accidental gun shootings.

Is there a difference between DUI and DWI?

One of the easiest questions one can ask a skilled Louisville KY DUI lawyer and certainly one of my favorites to answer. If this was all I had to do all day I would be a happy lawyer and very wealthy in both happiness and money!

The easiest answer in the world is – there is no difference!
DUI is an acronym that stands for Driving Under the Influence (of alcohol or other intoxicants), while DWI stands for Driving While Intoxicated (usually just refers to alcohol, in most cases).

Another possibility is DUII, or DWII which is most commonly used in Oregon – Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (kind of combining the former two), or Driving While under the Influence of Intoxicants.

Different states promulgate different laws and legislatures choose whatever acronym or vernacular that fits their needs or interests that day, week or month, so at the end of the day, it does not matter which acronym you are being charged with, so long as you are being actively charged with a driving under the influence charge.

Such charges are heavy, both physically and psychologically, and can be a burden to bear on the person. The key is to not succumb to the system that is solely going after one thing – getting you to plea guilty to the offense as quickly as possible, and kick you to the curb.

All the courts really want at the end of the day is money. There is no justice at these so called “Halls of Justice.” – They are after your wallet. So even if you have a strong case, they are not interested in helping you defend it. They want you to sign on the dotted of the Boykin, which is the guilty plea form, have you plea guilty to the offense in front of the judge and send you on your way, of course, not forgetting to collect their fees before you leave!

So, it does not matter whether you are charged with a DUI, DUII, DWI, or DWII – the answer is simple – you must hire a DUI attorney who knows what they are doing and help you fight the case. If you fight your case, and you have at least a 1% chance of winning, who knows, you might win! But if you plea guilty… you have a 100% chance of being found guilty!
So, don’t drink and drive, and stay safe my friends.

Until Next time.


larry forman law pllc Thanks to our friends and contributors from Larry Forman Law PLLC for their insight into the difference between DUI and DWI.

Parking Lot Accidents

Parking lots are one of the most common places for accidents. Though these collisions are often at low speeds and lead to minor damages, like scratches and dents, they can also be very serious and expensive disasters.

Many drivers trivialize the damage done in parking lot collisions, and drive away from the scene to avoid getting in any trouble. This can often make the most stressful part of a parking lot accident finding who is responsible. To be clear, striking a parked vehicle with your car and driving away without leaving a note or any other way to find you is a crime. If you find yourself in a situation where you have hit a parked car, the best practice is to take pictures and call the police to report the accident. At the least, you must leave a note with your address, name, phone number and insurance information. Doing this will save you a grave deal of legal trouble in the long run.

If you return to your parked car to find it damaged without a clear culprit, the first step is again to call the police. If the person responsible cannot be found, you will have to rely on your own insurance to fix the damage. Most insurance companies will deny your claim unless there is a filed police report that the accident occurred.

In a moving collision, the same rules apply as on the road. After the accident, you have an obligation to check to make sure that no one is injured in the other car, provide your information to the other driver, call the police and stay until they arrive. Failing to do any of this is also a crime and can result in a misdemeanor or felony conviction if there are serious injuries.

Once you have a police report, contact your insurance company and give them your side of the story. Insurance companies settle claims based off the information they have, so it important to give as many details as you can. You should also consult with an experienced car accident attorney Dekalb County GA trusts. An insurance company’s goal is to pay you the least they can, and negotiations with insurance companies can be tricky and time consuming. Without the help of an experienced attorney, you can frequently find yourself facing seemingly endless delays and receiving significantly less from an insurance company than you need to pay for the damage.


AAThanks to our friends and contributors from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into parking lot accidents.