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.

What Are the Top 5 Most Common Workers Compensation Claims?

Workplace injuries are unfortunately far too common. The causes of these injuries vary depending on the workplace environment and the circumstances of the accident.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, which tracks workplace injuries, released its most recent findings for the year 2014. They determined that the five most common types of injuries that resulted in lost work time are:

Common Types of Injuries

33.2 % — Overexertion and bodily reaction

27.4% — Falls, slips and trips

22.2% — Contact with an object or equipment

6.3% — Violence and injuries caused by other persons

5.4% — Transportation incidents

Common Categories of Workers Comp Claims

There are five common categories of workers compensation claims. This determination is based on data maintained by the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Liberty Mutual, and the National Academy of Social Insurance. These five most common claims are:

OVEREXERTION is the most common workers compensation claim. These injuries can be caused by a range of physically exerting activities including pushing objects, lifting objects, holding and carrying, or pulling objects. Claims for these types of injuries account for more than 25% of the financial compensation of all workers compensation claims nationally.

A FALL ON THE SAME LEVEL is the second ranking injury claim, and account for 15.8% of the total compensation cost of all claims. These claims are particularly common because they can occur on any surface, especially when there is ice, sleet, or snow present. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, in 2014 there were 34,860 such falls caused by ice, sleet or snow.

FALL TO A LOWER LEVEL is the third most common claim. These falls account for 10.5% of injury compensation claims. Although these accidents account for a smaller proportion of compensation claims than falls to the same level, there is a greater potential for injury and lost work time. As a result, these injuries account for the second highest number of missed work days per fall. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, these falls account for a median number of 19 missed work days per fall.

BODILY REACTION is the fourth most common claim. These injuries account for 10% of injury claims and are caused from reaching, standing, bending, climbing, or sitting.

STRUCK BY AN OBJECT is the fifth most common claim. These injuries, which are the result of any object striking a worker and causing injury, account for 9% of injury claim compensation amounts.

Workers who have suffered injuries understand the impact and strain that their jobs can have on their bodies. They also know that recovering from these injuries can be very difficult and can take a long time. In some cases, workers who are injured on the job are not aware of their right to file workers compensation claims. As a result they put more effort into continuing their work than they do in their recovery.

Regardless of the cause of a workplace injury, injured workers deserve a Palm Beach County workers compensation lawyer with extensive knowledge and experience who can inform them and fight for appropriate compensation for their injuries.


F&KThanks to our friends and contributors from the Law Offices of Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt for their insight into workers compensation practice.

Navigating the Pre-suit Texas Medical Malpractice Minefield

“The first order of business,” says Steve Harrelson, a skilled Texarkana medical malpractice lawyer, “is to conduct a thorough review of all relevant medical records by a medical professional.”  Once they have provided the valuable green light, says Harrelson, then it’s time to build the case.  Overbuild the case.  Our most valuable benefit as Plaintiff’s lawyers is to have the case ready to go in front of the jury before contact is even made with the defense.

In the event your case is a death case, ensure that you’ve taken the appropriate steps to have someone named as the personal representative of the estate, that you have obtained Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration, and although not mandatory, it’s also prudent to obtain an order in probate court authorizing the personal representative to file suit against the tortfesor that caused the decedent’s death.

Notice 

Before you can file a medical malpractice petition in many states, including Texas for example, you are required to provide formal notice to the Defendant.  Failure to do this is fatal to your case.  Check the statute for the required inclusions to this letter, or email the author of this article for an example of a notice letter.

Second, some state codes require that any healthcare provider who is put on notice of a potential claim provide complete and unaltered copies of the patient’s medical records. This language should be included in the notice letter, along with a HIPAA-compliant Medical Authorization.  Recall that by this point, if your case is a death case, you should already have a personal representative appointed with authority by the probate court who can execute a Medical Authorization.

In addition, some state codes require the patient providing the is notice to give the Defendant an authorization to obtain his or her relevant medical records.  As you will see by statute, you will also be preparing (1) a list of all of the patient’s medical providers who evaluated or treated the patient in connection with the claim (with address), and (2) a list of medical providers (with address) who evaluated or treated the patient within five years preceding the incident giving rise to the claim.

While not necessary, it is also prudent to load up a set of the patient’s medical records onto a CD and include these with the notice.  Send the notice before the expiration of the two-year statute of limitations by certified mail, return receipt requested, restricted delivery to all Defendants.

Statute of Limitations

If you’re up against the two-year statute of limitations period, remember that you only have to send the notice out before the statute of limitations runs.  This act tolls the statute of limitations for up to 75 days.  After 60 days have expired you may file the medical malpractice petition in a court of competent jurisdiction.  If the statute of limitations has been tolled due to the mailing of the notice, file the petition immediately after the 60 days have expired.

For these reasons, it is imperative to hire a veteran litigator and experienced trial lawyer who has experience in medical malpractice cases.


SHThanks to Steve Harrelson from Harrelson Law Firm P.A. for his added insight into medical malpractice claims in Texas.

Misinformation about malpractice litigation in Tennessee

personal injury lawyer memphis tnOur friend John Day posted an informative blog post about Misinformation About Malpractice Litigation in Tennessee. John points out:

[an article] purports to list the number of filings per state per 100,000 residents and ranks Tennesseans as the 5th highest filers of malpractice lawsuits – at the rate of 33 per 100,000 people.  That would mean that Tennesseans file about 2145 such lawsuits per year (we have a little over 6,500,000 people living here).

But that number is wrong.  Information compiled by Tennessee’s Administrative Office of the Courts demonstrates that there were 374 medical malpractice suits filed in 2013-2014 and 356 suits filed in 2014-2015. (Data is kept on a July 1 – June 30 fiscal year; 2015-2016 data is not yet publicly available). My guess is that the number of suits filed in all of 2015 was down from what it was in fiscal year 2014-2015, but even assuming that it was the same (356), the rate of filed suits was less than 5.5 per 100,000.  That simply didn’t happen.

Lesson: Don’t believe everything that you read.  Some people would like for you to believe that Tennessee residents are “lawsuit happy” and that there are tons of frivolous lawsuits filed against our physicians. And it’s not true.

Need a lawyer in Memphis? We’ve got the perfect one for you.

WISEMAN BRAY PLLC

8001 Centerview Parkway, Suite 103

Memphis, Tennessee 38018

(901) 372-5003 Office

(901) 383-6599 Fax

www.WisemanBray.com

Can I get sued for a DUI?

This is an important question with a simple answer. Yes. For purposes of this article the term dui, or driving under the influence, includes driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both.  All states have both civil and criminal laws addressing the consequences of being caught driving a motor vehicle under the influence.

 

There are as a rule in these types of cases two possible lawsuits.  The first is a criminal prosecution brought by the government for violating state driving laws; the second is a civil lawsuit brought by a private party who may have been injured as a result of the dui.  The consequences of each are significant, and if the dui also involves an accident with injuries the dui driver will in all likelihood face both a criminal lawsuit brought by the prosecutor, and a civil lawsuit for damages brought by the injured party.

 

The dui laws nationwide are becoming increasingly more complicated, and, if a criminal prosecution is brought, the punishment increasingly more severe. Colorado, for example, requires the court to impose mandatory jail time on a 2nd lifetime conviction for dui, or any lesser alcohol or drug conviction, even if the time lapse between a first and second conviction is 25 years!  A 3rd such conviction requires a mandatory 60-day jail sentence, and a 4th lifetime conviction is a felony with the possibility of up to 4 years in prison. Also, it does not matter in Colorado if the prior dui was in Colorado, Virginia or California.  All prior convictions count.

 

Similarly, if someone has caused an accident because of a dui in which other people have been injured, there will most certainly be a civil lawsuit for damages filed. These suits are also complicated and can be expensive to defend.  Most states require that as a condition of the right to have a driver’s license you also have some form of minimum liability insurance. The insurance policy usually requires the insurance company to defend you if there is a lawsuit.  However, the obligation only goes as far as the limits of the policy.

 

Again, in Colorado, to comply with the insurance provisions of the law you only need to have minimum liability coverage of $25,000.00.   After that amount has been exhausted you are on your own.  It is possible that a judgment could be entered against you for many times the amount of your policy.  The injured parties to collect on the amount owed could expose you to a variety of unpleasant legal efforts, including having your wages garnished and other assets (including your home) seized.

 

To return to the question, “can I get sued for a DUI?” the answer from a Denver DUI lawyer is a resounding yes.  If you find yourself involved in a dui situation you should immediately seek advice from a competent and skilled attorney who is knowledgeable about dui law in your state.

 

richard banta law logo
Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Office of Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into DUI related suits.

What is the difference between a DUI and DWI?

In the United States, the terms DUI and DWI are generally used to refer to the same type of offense of driving a vehicle while under the influence of an impairing substance such as alcohol or drugs. However, depending on the various statutes of each individual state, either DUI or DWI may be used to define the offense. DUI is an acronym that stands for the offense of Driving Under the Influence while DWI stands for either Driving While Impaired or Driving While Intoxicated. Typically, both DUI and DWI offenses would include driving while having alcohol, drugs, or any other such substance that could negatively influence a person’s faculties and affect their driving. Drugs in this case can include legal prescribed medications, over the counter medications, or any other illegal substances.

In New York, for example, the terms DUI and DWI are distinctly different charges and the statute actually refers to DUI as DWAI, which stands for Driving While Ability Impaired. The offense of DWI in New York is considered driving while intoxicated beyond the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of 0.08 percent. DWAI is used when a person has been driving while impaired by some other substance such as drugs or while having a BAC somewhere between 0.05 and 0.07 percent. Therefore, DWAI is considered more broad than DWI because a person who is not guilty of driving with a BAC beyond the legal limit of 0.08 can still be charged and convicted of DWAI.

Unlike New York, North Carolina only has one charge for the offense of driving while impaired (DWI), as an experienced DWI lawyer Shelby NC trusts can explain. There is no such charge as DUI or DWAI. However, under the statute defining the charge of DWI (NCGS § 20-138.1), there are three different ways the State can establish the offense has been committed.  A person is guilty of impaired driving in North Carolina if they have driven on any public vehicular area while: (1) having consumed enough alcohol to acquire an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater; (2) containing any amount of a Schedule I controlled substance such as heroine, ecstasy, GHB, methaqualone, peyote, or opiates in his blood or urine; or (3) substantially impaired by an impairing substance. While this is the only North Carolina statute dealing with the offense of DWI, it essentially covers all the same provisions included in the statutes of other states that consider DWI and DUI/DWAI different offenses.


CVThanks to our friends and contributors from Caulder & Valentine, PLLC for their insight into the difference between a DUI and DWI.

3 Myths About Personal Injury Cases

There’s a lot of misinformation being spread these days about personal injury cases. This is because the insurance companies and their powerful friends like to try to poison America’s jury panels against personal injury plaintiffs. This post debunks three of the most glaring untruths about personal injury cases.

  1. Personal injury lawsuits are frivolous

When talking about lawsuits, the word “frivolous” has a specific legal meaning. It means a case without a legal basis. For example, suing congress because you don’t like a law would be frivolous as there is no legal right to sue over that issue. But personal injury cases are just the opposite. When someone has failed to take reasonable care and injured another person, the injured party has a legitimate legal theory justifying their case. If another driver has failed to pay attention and rear-ended you, a lawsuit based on those facts is in no way frivolous. It is entirely justified under the law. So next time you hear a politician or TV talking head refer to frivolous lawsuits, you’ll know they don’t know what they’re talking about.

  1. Injured people win the “lawsuit lottery” when they recover money.

Personal injury damages are supposed to put an injured person in the same position they would have been in had they not been injured. In other words, the injured person is supposed to receive the exact amount it would take to make up for their pain and suffering. But no one in their right mind would accept an injury in exchange for money. Just think, is there any amount of money that you would accept to lose a leg? How about to be paralyzed? No, injured parties are never made whole. They lose time playing with their children and time doing the things they love. They’ll never get that time back. In no way did they win a lottery.

  1. Insurance companies “are on your side.”

We’ve all seen the ads, Peyton Manning humming Nationwide’s jingle. In fact, it seems you can’t watch a football game these days without seeing an ads for half the national insurance companies. All of them pretend to be looking out for you and your family. But make no mistake, there’s only one side these companies are on: their own. They are out there to make money and nothing else. To do that, they will try to deny, delay, or reduce claims whenever they can. Insurance companies are pros at paying less than full value on claims. If you want a pro to fight back, contact a local personal injury lawyer Fort Collins CO trusts as soon as you can.


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

How to prevent and defend against staged car accidents

Staged accidents are a big criminal enterprise, as a personal injury lawyer Phoenix AZ trusts can explain. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, they cost insurance companies about $20 billion per year. They impact you with the headaches of being on the receiving end of personal injury and property damage claims, while significantly increasing insurance premiums. Victims of staged accidents might even suffer legitimate injuries.

Many People Can Be Involved

The participants in staged accidents maneuver their way into crashes that are intended to make the real victim appear to be at fault. Often, the person staging the accident has passengers in the car. Everyone in the vehicle will fake injuries to receive money from the victim’s auto insurer, or even the insurer of the vehicle that they were occupying. It’s not unusual for associates to pose as “independent witnesses” to the accident either. So many staged accidents occur that the FBI has categorized the most common scenarios:

  • Swoop and squat: When the car in front of you gets cut off, and you rear-end it
  • Drive down: When a driver waves you to merge, and then hits you
  • The sideswipe: When a driver intentionally sideswipes you if you drift over slightly
  • The t-bone: When a driver broadsides you, claiming that you ran a red light or stop sign

The Common Factors

A sophisticated staged accident ring may operate in several different states. The conspirators of the ring might consist of drivers, passengers, witnesses, medical professionals, body shop owners, and even lawyers. There are two common threads to these types of accident cases. First, there might be three or four people claiming injury. Next, they happen in no-fault insurance states more often than fault-based states. That’s because the participants are more likely to collect on a claim against his or her own insurance company than an adverse insurer in a fault-based state.

Defend Yourself From Stagers

The most effective measures that you can take to defend against accident stagers is to drive defensively, and stay away from cellular devices when you’re driving. If stagers see you using a cellular device, they may consider you to be an easier target. They may accuse you of distracted driving, and may be able to prove it, too. From that point, it’s just a matter of the nature and extent of the injuries and property damage that the stagers claim.

At The Scene

Always insist that the police come to the scene, no matter how much the other driver protests. Call 911 on your own phone, tell the 911 operator that you believe that you were the victim of a staged accident, and reiterate that information to the investigating officer who arrives on the scene. He or she might investigate the crash more closely with an eye toward that. If you receive a ticket anyway, it is not advisable to plead guilty to the traffic offense. That guilty plea can be used against you in a personal injury case. However, a judicial finding of guilt in traffic court can’t be used against you.

As in any accident, you may want to notify your insurer of the occurrence right away. If you suspect that you were set up in a staged accident, advise your insurance company accordingly. They may have their own fraud unit, and access to law enforcement agencies specifically established for investigating possible fraudulent accident claims.


LMThanks to our friends and contributors from Lorona Mead, PLC for their insight into car accident cases.

Three Key Factors in Truck Accidents

There are several key factors to keep in mind after being involved in a crash with an 18-Wheeler:

First, safety is often lacking in the trucking industry due to profit motive. The trucking industry finds itself hiring less qualified drivers than a decade ago because aspects of the job such as long periods away from family are undesirable. This often results in less qualified drivers being behind the wheel of trucks. It is common for drivers to become drowsy behind the wheel, jeopardizing public safety. Also, at times the training of drivers does not properly prepare them to avoid rollovers and other hazards. Secondly, the industry has a lot of resources at stake with each claim so they use various tactics to try to reach a speedy settlement. Our law firm has both the resources and experience to fully investigate all three aspects of a trucking accident claim:

  • Collision evidence
  • Trucking Industry evidence
  • Injury information

If you or a loved one has been injured by an 18-wheeler, don’t let the trucking company or insurance company take the lead in your crash investigation. They will focus on reducing liability and cutting your post-crash compensation. Our attorneys will protect your rights and negotiate a settlement that covers all damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and emotional distress.

Investigating A Truck Accident Claim – Collision Evidence

Collision evidence is the first type of information that needs to be collected. Collision evidence is all the information that can be gathered at the scene of the accident. This includes:

  • Police accident report
  • Accident reconstruction evidence
  • Eye witness accounts
  • Photos of vehicle damage
  • Video of vehicle damage
  • Roadway damage and debris
  • Weather information

Trucking Industry Evidence

Truck drivers and trucking companies are governed by strict state and Federal regulations. Evidence that applies to the trucking industry is vital to learning more about the driver , the company, and if they have complied with trucking laws. There are time-limits to making claims, so do not delay. Our attorneys will fight to obtain all the evidence to make a truck accident claim including:

  • Dispatch records
  • Data recorders
  • Service and Maintenance Logs
  • Inspection reports
  • Driver employment information
  • Records of traffic violations
  • Trucking company safety records
  • Driver criminal record

Trucking companies are notorious for attempting to “lose” some of this data after a trucking crash. Evidence that might show negligence on the part of the driver or trucking company is often hidden and difficult to access. The insurance companies are savvy to these tactics, and have strategies of their own for gathering complete evidence after a truck crash.

Injury Information

It is important to gather information on the type of severity of injuries sustained in a trucking accident. Knowing the extent of your injuries can help determine the cost of medical damages that should be recovered in a settlement. If you have been involved in a trucking accident, common injuries fall into four categories:

  • Back, Neck and Spine Injuries
  • Broken Bones and Fractures
  • Head Trauma
  • Burns and Cuts

Protect your rights! Don’t answer questions from the truck-driver’s or trucking companies insurance without calling an experienced personal injury lawyer Naperville IL trusts first. We will guide you in how to work with the insurance while being mindful of your rights.

Sherinian LawThanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Offices of Konrad Sherinian for their insight into truck accidents.

Providing a statement to the insurance adjuster assigned to your claim

Steve Harrelson, a personal injury lawyer Little Rock, AR trusts, has experience with insurance claims and litigating them across the mid-south.  Once a claim for bodily injury and property damage is submitted to an insurance company, they will assign a claims representative or claims adjuster and open a claim file.

Once the adjuster opens his file, he or she is likely to contact their insured for a review of the facts after reviewing the policy.  Once that happens, you can expect that the adjuster will reach out to you, the victim, for a statement.  While many lawyers will advise clients to remain tight-lipped about the incident to the insurance company while the firm investigates the claim, Harrelson takes a different approach. “You want to help the adjuster do his job, which is to complete his investigation and make a recommendation to the higher ups in the insurance company,” says Harrelson. “The more information that can be provided to the insurance company, the better chances of showing them additional compensable portions of the claim, making the claim of higher value.”

The initial statement taken by the insurance adjuster is simply to get a grasp of the overall claim and to determine how different, if any, the perspectives are from the insured and the victim.  The adjuster, at this stage, won’t go into minute detail, as he or she doesn’t have enough information about the claim yet.  In addition to asking facts, he or she very well might ask about glaring differences between statements of any witnesses.   

It’s very important to review your memory in your mind and discuss it with your attorney to make sure you don’t leave out any details.  This is likely your first statement, and this will be a benchmark statement that could be referred to throughout the claim or in trial.  If your story changes even in the slightest from this initial statement, you can be sure that it will be used against you often.

Discussion medical treatment 

In addition to the statement about the facts of the crash or incident that caused you to file a claim, the insurance adjuster will likely want to find out information about your injuries and your medical treatment.  It will be important to maintain a list of every single medical provider who has examined or treated you since the accident, along with a list of each pharmacy where you have purchased your prescriptions.

For these reasons, it is always smart to hire a veteran litigator and experienced trial lawyer who has been involved in these particular issues when filing an insurance claim and even presenting cases to a jury.  Steve Harrelson, a personal injury lawyer Little Rock AR trusts, has successfully navigated insurance claims for years in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas.  If you or a loved one has been injured or killed due to someone else’s negligence, contact a lawyer today.  


Thanks to Steve Harrelson and our friends and co-contributors from Harrelson Law Firm, P.A. for their added insight into insurance claims in personal injury cases.