Hiring a Wrongful Death Lawyer

When a family member is killed as the result of another person’s negligence, it may be appropriate to consider hiring an attorney, like an Arizona personal injury lawyer, to investigate and pursue the case.

Was there negligence, how could the tragedy have been prevented? What are the losses and damages to the decedent’s survivors?

The attorney should have the necessary experience, resources and commitment to competently represent the interests of the survivors and deal with the other party’s insurance company. Investigation issues include who may be at fault, getting witness liability statements, determining applicable insurance coverages and limits. In a motor vehicle crash, were there commercial coverage, underinsurance, uninsured motorist policies. Litigation may be necessary to obtain the best possible result.

The law in each state will vary. In Arizona, the general rule is that a wrongful death claim may be brought by a surviving spouse, child or parent of the decedent, on behalf of the spouse or children, or parents of the decedent.

The amount of damages that a surviving spouse, parent or child may recover will differ from case to case, there are many variables.

Damages that are considered may include the following:

  • The loss of love, affection and companionship since the death of the decedent and in the future.
  • The pain, grief, sorrow and mental suffering experienced since the death, and in the future.
  • The lost income sustained as a result of the death.

In Arizona when a governmental entity or employee may be responsible for the wrongful death there are Notice of Claim requirements that need to be properly satisfied. There are time limits within which a claim shall be filed against a public entity, the claim must contain sufficient facts outlining the basis of the claim. The claim must also contain a specific amount that it may be settled for, representation by an attorney is critical.

Recently, the issue of distracted driving has gotten more attention, given its potential deadly consequences. Cell phone use and texting while driving are frequent causes of fatal crashes.

Impaired drivers are another common cause of fatal crashes. There has also been more publicity regarding fatalities caused by wrong way drivers, many of who are also impaired.

A wrongful death attorney may also look into where the drunk driver consumed alcohol, was there overservice by a bar, before the crash, there may be liability for the crash by the driver, or the bar, this is also called a dram shop claim.

 


 

Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Offices of Paul Englander for their insight into wrongful death lawyer.

Personal Injury FAQ: Is It Okay to Speak with the At-Fault Party’s Insurance Company?

If you have been injured in an accident caused by the negligence or recklessness of another party or parties, you are likely going to have to deal with that other party’s insurance company. This is what usually happens in car accident claims, premises liability claims, slip and fall accidents, and more. One of the first things a personal injury attorney will advise their clients is to never speak with the other party’s insurance company without the knowledge of your attorney. To do so could seriously jeopardize your claim. There are several reasons for this advice.

Your symptoms may be delayed. It is not uncommon for symptoms of injuries to be delayed for a couple of days after the incident. If you speak to an insurance adjuster within a day or two after the accident, you may be experiencing mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. This could lead you to tell the adjuster that you suffered no serious injury in the incident. Now your statement is on the record. But several days later, painful symptoms begin and your doctor confirms a serious injury. However, you are already on record telling the insurance adjuster you are okay, which they can now use as evidence against you to deny your claim.

Not enough information about your injuries. Even in situations where you know you have been injured, the extent of those injuries may not be known until you have been fully evaluated by a doctor.

Emotional and/or physical condition: One of the reasons why insurance companies contact victims within a day or two of an incident is they know that many times these victims may not be thinking clearly so soon after the accident, either because of physical pain and/or the traumatic experience they have experienced. You may even be on strong painkillers. This could lead you to say something that could be used to deny your claim.

Your guard may be down: Insurance adjusters are trained to manipulate victims into saying things that could actually hurt their case. They act friendly and concerned about your condition when the reality is that their primary concern is to save their company money by not paying injury claims. You may say something that could make it sound as if you are admitting fault to the incident, such as saying you are sorry the accident happened.

Another tactic an insurance adjuster may try is to tell a victim that they need to make a statement in order to start the claim. But keep in mind that the insurance adjuster cannot force you to make a statement nor can he or she record any conversations with you without your permission. When the insurance company contacts you, it is in your best interest to tell the person on the other end of the phone that you will be consulting with a Glendale personal injury lawyer before you make a statement to them.

 


 

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Hickey & Turim for their insight into personal injury.

Food Poisoning at a Catered Event: Who’s Liable?

By: Jory Lange

Food poisoning lawyerFood poisoning outbreaks occur in many different scenarios – from restaurants to packaged products eaten at home. But a common source of food poisoning outbreaks are catered events. Many weddings and holiday turkey dinners have been ruined by foodborne pathogens. Outbreaks like these leave those who have become sick to wonder: (1) who is liable for this; and (2) should I pursue a claim?

The Liability Story

When it comes to foodborne illness, liability can be tricky.  It all starts with finding the root source. Typically, a local health department or another federal agency (like the Centers for Disease Control) will start an investigation of the outbreak. They will often interview those who have become sick. They may test the food items for dangerous bacteria. In some cases, they may test food service workers to see if they were sick when handling the food. They may test the temperature of the food, interview the food service workers to see how the food was prepared, they may do traceback to see where the food came from, and they may communicate with other agencies to see if there are similar issues.

Depending on the findings, the root cause may be found.

When the root cause is found, that is when liability can be determined. If the root cause is a sick employee or improper food preparation methods, the caterer may be the one liable. If the investigation determines that there was a contaminated food item involved, from a food manufacturer for instance, there may be liability against that manufacturer.

As determining liability is complex and often requires a great deal of investigation, it is recommended that someone who has become ill from a catered event consult with a food safety attorney to determine if they have a claim and who is liable for their illness.

How to Keep Yourself Safe at a Catered Event

As common as outbreaks linked to catered events are, you may be leery of eating at one. But the good news is that there are some simple things you can do to protect yourself and your family from getting sick.

  1.     Hot foods should be hot and cold foods should be cold.

If you have ever attended a catered event, you may have noticed that hot foods are often placed in sternos over small flames to keep them warm. These contraptions keep hot foods at the proper warm temperatures to avoid the growth of harmful bacteria. Likewise, cold foods are often served over ice or on top of a cold unit to keep them at their proper temperature.

When hot or cold foods feel lukewarm or room temperature, it is a good idea to avoid eating them. These foods may have already begun to grow harmful bacteria.

  1.     Do not eat food that has been left out longer than 2 hours.

Two hours inside (or one hour in warm weather) is the longest food should be left at room temperature. Any longer than this, harmful bacteria begin to grow.

  1.     Observe the people serving the food.

By looking at the food service workers, someone can usually tell if that person is sick. If someone serving you food is sick, it is best not to eat that food. Many outbreaks are started from a sick employee.

  1.     Avoid the usual suspects.

At any event, it is a good idea to steer clear of the usual items that lead to foodborne illness. These include:

  •      Raw oysters
  •      Items made with raw eggs – like some salad dressings or hollandaise sauce
  •      Raw sprouts
  •      Unpasteurized milk or dairy products
  •      Undercooked meats

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Make Food Safe for their insight into food poisoning claims.

Will my totaled motorcycle be covered?

If your motorcycle was totaled in an accident caused by another driver, you may have a lot of questions regarding not only compensation for injuries, by its compensation for your totaled motorcycle. Tort Law is a common law in the United States used when injuries, damages, or any type of loss comes out of an accident.  Tort is an act that result in harm to another individual and is considered to be a horrible wrongdoing in which many courts are able to force liability on the driver that caused the accident and damages. When this law is used, you will receive compensation for your totaled motorcycle.

 

How the Motorcycle is Determined to be Totaled

 

Obtaining compensation that is fair for any damage on a motorcycle can be tough because many factors come into play when determining if they motorcycles totaled.  If the bike cannot be repaired in a safe and cost efficient manner, it is deemed to be totaled. If the cost associated with repairing the bike is greater than the value of the bike itself, and the damage done to the motorcycle is so severe that is not considered safe to associated regulations of the state laws, it is deemed totaled.

 

Losses Commonly Compensated

 

When financial compensation is given in an accident case it actually depends on the circumstance of the accident itself what will be rewarded. Medical bills, physical disability, any kind of property damage or loss, emotional distress, physical disfigurement and general pain and suffering are the main examples in which conversation is often rewarded. Negligence plays a huge part in determining whether not you will be compensated for a total water sample.

 

Contacting an Attorney

 

If an insurance company intends to declare a motorcycle as totaled, it does not always guarantee that you’ll receive a fair and just settlement.  Insurance companies are in business because exists to make money for the shareholders, and not those filing claims against them. A way in which insurance companies increase their profits is to limit the amount of money that they can spend on claims, including the claims that seek payment for totaled vehicles and motorcycles.  You may want to contact an attorney so that you can be sure to get a fair compensation for your claim. Many people who do not involve a lawyer, like a motorcycle accident lawyer Fort Collins, CO trusts, in their motorcycle accident cases end up with less money than those who do even after attorney fees are taken into consideration.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Cannon, Hadfield, Stieben & Doutt, LLC for their insight into motorcycle accident cases.

Insight on Letters of Protection

Should you treat under a letter of protection? In this blog we will discuss the pros and cons of treating under an LOP. A letter of protection is a specifically worded document that delays the collecting of medical expenses from a medical provider. Insurance companies do not pay for medical treatment as you are treating. Once treatment is complete, your attorney, like a personal injury lawyer Arlington, TX trusts, will gather all of the necessary documents with bills and records. It will be put into a formal demand and sent to the opposing insurance company. They will then evaluate your claim and make an offer. So what are the pros and cons of treating under an LOP?

The biggest pro would be that the cost of medical treatment is delayed until the end of your case. Depending on the length of your case this could be 2+ years. If the accident has put you in a hard place financially, this would be beneficial as it would come out of the settlement at the end and you do not have to pay out of pocket for the expenses.

Not only does treating under an LOP help with out of pocket expenses but the doctor could possibly significantly lower the bill. Sometimes up to fifty percent. Which will also give you more in your pocket money. Most LOP doctors will also provide trial testimony, whereas regular doctors that you visit do not want to close down their practices for a trial as they may be the only doctor.

While the doctors are willing to go to trial for you, the opposing counsel could also try to argue that the doctor will give the testimony in favor of the patient because there is a relationship with the attorney and they want to get paid. In some cases doctors who work under an LOP do not have the same credibility as doctors who do not treat patients under an LOP.

A letter of protection does not protect you from paying the bill at all, it just delays the payment until after your case has been completed. In the unfortunate case that you do not win, the medical expenses are still there and you are still responsible for paying.

In conjunction with all of the listed benefits of a letter of protection there are others. Medical records are by far easier to retrieve as well as affidavits. This absolutely cuts down on the time frame of your case. Even scheduling appointments are easier with a letter of protection. Your attorney and the doctor usually have an established relationship and along with that the benefits of both parties.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into letters of protection

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Preliminary Steps to Filing an Insurance Claim

 

  1.      Determine the Extent of Damage.

An insured has a duty to investigate its loss before filing a claim. This investigation does not need to be overly detailed but should include a determination of where your property has suffered damage. For example, following a hail storm it should be determined whether the roof, gutters, downspouts, and even garage doors have been impacted. This is also a good opportunity to take photographs of the damage to be used as support later. It is important to accurately convey the scope of damage early so the insurance company does not approach your claim with the preconceived notion that the loss is insignificant.

  1.      Mitigate your Damages.

Insurance policies require an insured to mitigate their damages following a loss. Mitigation is the immediate repairs that are performed to reduce the severity of damage and prevent further damage from occurring. The proper level of mitigation is unique to each type of loss. A hail storm may require the tarping of a roof, a fire may require window boarding, and an interior pipe burst may require moisture mitigation. These are just a few examples of the immediate mitigation steps that should be taken but, as always, the proper contractors or professionals should be contacted to determine the extent of necessary work and to perform the mitigation.

  1.      Report your Claim.

The loss should be reported to your agent as soon as possible. You should report that you have suffered damage and provide the contact information for your public adjuster and/or attorney if you have retained one. If you do not have an agent, you will need to file the claim with your insurance company directly. Most of the major insurance companies allow claims to be filed online but each company should allow you to file by phone. If you are in possession of your policy the phone number to call in the event of a loss should be listed. The important thing is to get your claim on file as soon as you can.  Any delay may jeopardize your claim and potential result in a denial for late notice.

You should be cautious of any questions asked of you by your agent or the insurance company when reporting your claim. It is important to only say what you actually know about the damage and not try to guess the cause of damage. Questions asked while reporting a claim are often an attempt to lead the claim to an exclusion within the policy and your answers may result in a denial. All the insurance company needs to know is that damage has occurred to your covered property. It is their duty to investigate the loss further.

  1.      Follow up.

You should receive some form of contact from your insurance company within a few days of reporting your loss. If three days have passed and you have received nothing you should immediately follow up with your agent or insurance company to confirm that the claim has been filed.

  1.      Gather Support.

The most important characteristic you can have during your claim is to be proactive.  Do not wait for the insurance adjuster to unilaterally determine the extent of damage. You should begin organizing the proper documentation for your loss (i.e. maintenance records, financial records, receipts for mitigation repairs etc.). If repairs or replacement will be necessary, you should obtain a proposal or bid from a contractor of your choice. Finally, for insurance claims where you are unable to represent yourself, you should retain a public adjuster or attorney such as the Insurance Attorney Chicago IL locals trust.
Thanks to authors at Childress, Lous & Plunkett for insight into Insurance Law.

 

 

Challenges in Filing a Wrongful Death Claim

Many wrongful deaths result from the negligence and thoughtlessness of another individual, business, or party. There are no two wrongful deaths that are exactly alike, and each has its own contingencies and challenges. Because each state has its own laws associated with wrongful death lawsuits, a case by case basis is associated with determining who can file a wrongful death claim. Often times, you must be a surviving spouse or child of the victim, a direct descendent or immediate family member of the victim or the parents of the deceased. In the event you have any personal questions, do not hesitate to contact a wrongful death lawyer Phoenix, AZ relies on to ensure your case is getting the attention it deserves.

When to File

You are required to file your claim within two years of the victim’s death, and if you fail to do so you will most likely have a dismissed case. If the deceased survived the accident, but died later because of it, the survival statute of limitation that allows you to file for wrongful death anyway. You should make yourself mindful of your state’s laws surrounding wrongful death and the survival statute. You should contact an attorney so that they can further explain deadlines to file your claim. If evidence in a wrongful death case is not preserved correctly, it can be lost forever. Witnesses may lose memory of what occurred or the scene of the crime may change. It is advised that you do not wait more than a few months to file, even though it may be traumatizing and you may not be fully over the death of your loved one just yet. However, the most important thing that you can do after losing your loved one is contact an attorney for the purpose of investigating and keeping evidence in tact.

Proof

Proving a wrongful death can be extremely difficult. Because insurance companies and their defense attorneys will do whatever they can to avoid paying for a wrongful death, you must provide proof of wrongful death. You will need to show that the deceased passed as the direct result of negligence. You must also show that surviving members of the victim’s family or beneficiaries need compensation because of this.

Eligible Damages

Damages deemed to be economic are financial losses like financial support and income that the victim would have contributed if they had not been killed in an accident. Noneconomic damages are grief and sorrow, loss of companionship, and heartbreak. The rules of civil procedure and evidence are huge challenges involved in proving damages in a noneconomic damage case. You should definitely contact an experienced lawyer if you are considering pursuing a lawsuit against the business or individual that caused the wrongful death. They can help further assist you in court, in your claim, and make sure that you receive a fair compensation in the settlement.


Thank you to Kamper Estrada, LLP for providing their insight and authoring this piece on wrongful death challenges.

Why Lying can turn a Personal Injury case into a Nightmare

What exactly is personal injury?

What is the term “personal injury”? Most people would be quick to confirm that personal injury is any injury to one’s own body causing physical harm. According to Wikipedia.org  personal injury is defined as a legal term for an injury to the body, mind or emotions, as opposed to an injury to property. Personal injury (also known as tort law) is the “umbrella term” to describe some sort of loss (personally and to one’s self) However, there are many categories that fall under personal injury to include: car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, DWI accidents, pedestrian accidents, construction accidents, accidents while working as an employee or contractor, slip and falls, dog bites, assault and battery, defamation of character and medical malpractice. So as you can see from the various examples above, personal injury can arrive in any one of our lives out of the blue and at any time. Therefore, it is extremely important for all individuals to be aware of the different types of personal injury that exist, because you never know when your life can be turned upside down.

Calling the Defendant on their Bluff

Many time’s after we are injured by another in some type of way, we feel hopeless and defeated at that moment. In addition, we may experience pain (literally), frustration, confusion, and a sense that we are alone. Usually, the act itself that has invaded our personal space has us very uncomfortable and in a discombobulated state asking ourselves, what just happened. This is very common. As a matter of fact, it is so common that depending on the severity and swiftness of the injury, an individual may not even remember all of the details. Other times, an individual may remember very clearly what exactly happened, step by step.  Have you ever confronted an individual after they hurt you in some type of way, only to have that person simply deny all wrongdoing? Place the blame on you? Try to convince you that your injury was somehow your fault? Well if you have, then you are already a few steps ahead in understanding the fast pace world of personal injury!

Majority of the time in these types of cases, the Defendant denies all liability or in other words that they are at fault. Yes, yes I know, this is surprising right? You are wondering how could a restaurant deny that they are at fault for a customer falling on a wet spot that was left on the floor. Well, you should definitely regain your composure and be thankful that, that is where attorneys come in. Your attorney is working on your side for you, and will call the Defendants bluff. You have to remember that whomever it is that you hire to represent you, they are putting their business and their name on the line. This is something that you want to keep in mind when moving forward in a personal injury case.

Time to get your hands dirty

I find it so interesting at times that clients who hire an attorney to represent them on a personal injury claim, do not understand why they have to release so much of their personal information. I have had clients ask me: Why are they asking all of these questions about me? Why are they getting in my business? Why are they harassing me as if I am the one that did something wrong? It’s very important to understand that once you hire an attorney who then files a claim for you regarding your injuries, things can get ugly before they get prettier. If your case goes into litigation and a lawsuit is filed on your behalf, that’s when the gloves come off and the hands begin to get dirty. And I’m talking mud dirty. At this stage, pretty much anything goes. You are literally in a boxing ring with the Defendant and each are trying to prove that the other is not telling the truth.

Keep your case alive, and never lie

Do you remember when you were a child and your mother or father accused you some type of wrong doing and you did not want to get in trouble? Do you remember the fear that you had inside of you, while considering your punishment if you were to admit that they were right? Well that is kind of how personal injury cases are. It is imperative that you never lie about anything. We are all human, no one is perfect and everyone has something in their life that they are not proud of. However, in a personal injury case, if you are asked about something, it is best to be one hundred percent honest. In the discovery process, the Defendant’s attorney will try their best to discredit your testimony. Simply saying that you have never been arrested, when in fact you had an arrest three years ago is not a good look. Additionally, it will come out later and actually do your case much more harm than good. Telling the truth will show that you are credible and will at least give your attorney a fair fight on your behalf. Lying during a personal injury claim could also cause the value of your case to diminish sometimes to zero, simply from the act of not telling the truth. The Defendant’s attorney will run with the discovery that you did not tell the truth. If your case goes to trial, a jury can also consider your claim to not be trustworthy due to a simple lie that was discovered.

Bring in the money!

All personal injury claims are not the same. They vary in facts as much as the many colors you can create from a rainbow. No matter what type of personal injury claim that you may have, there is no argument that you should be reimbursed for everything that you lost. Peace of mind, interest in life activities, your physical and mental strength, and even finances. Your attorney wants to get you as much money as possible to bring you back to this balance. In order to bring you back to balance and to compensate you for all of your pain and suffering, your attorney depends on your credibility. Keep in mind, your attorney, like a trusted Arlington TX personal injury lawyer, would not have even accepted your case, if they did not believe in your case. So to ensure that your personal injury claim turns into a dream come true and not a nightmare, never lie about even the minor details on your claim.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Brandy Austin Law Firm PLLC for their insight into personal injury practice.

 

Defective Playground Equipment

So you’ve decided that you’ve been working out, it’s all good you are ready to show your daughter that you can swing on the newly placed Monkey Bars installed at the new playground on your, just as well as she does.  As you swing from bar to bar, you grab in the place where the next bar should be and as a personal injury lawyer Dekalb County GA relies on can tell stories of other clients experiencing this- it is literally not there.  Because it’s not there, in reaching for it, you fall to the ground chipping your tooth and causing blood to gush from your mouth.  Terrified by the sight of you and what appears to be a river of blood gushing from your mouth (at least that’s what it looks like to a 2 year old).  First things first, you should seek some sort of medical assistance. Whether it is visiting your primary care provider or heading to the emergency room, you have to survey the damages so you can figure out what just happened.

While you may be partially at faulty for deciding to show up a 2 year old, the dental damage done should not be your full responsibility or burden.  It is likely that at least one of the new items on the playground is defective. You will likely take temporary join in the fact that it was you injured and not a child, however, what’s the next step.  Consulting an attorney may be something to consider following an incident in a public place that was due to no negligence of yours. An attorney can assist you by ensuring you have seen a medical care professional, reviewing the facts of the case, and shedding some light on your options.

If you have recently felt the effects of personal injury due to defective equipment on the playground, you may be entitled to financial compensation for any wages loss or medical bills. While showing off is a bit childish and arrogant, it is more times than not, where kids are concerned, it is merely desiring to a see a smile on their faces.  Because you aren’t an attorney, you should reach out to someone who can assist you in determining if you have a claim to seek compensation for any inconvenience you were caused. While it is difficult to digest the injury itself, a skilled, trained attorney will do a good job assisting you with gaining clarity and figuring out the next step.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into finding an attorney.

 

Personal Injury – Water Ski

Water skiing is an exciting sport; but like all sports, as a personal injury attorney Dekalb County GA can attest,  it can be quite dangerous and risky.  With skiers travelling at speeds of up to 50 mph, they must be extremely aware of their surroundings, to include other boats, swimmers, and any obstacle, which can cause them to lose balance and crash into the water.  Any personal watercrafts provide a lot of fun on the lake, but they also pose significant risks for serious accidents and injuries.

Most accidents that include jet skis involve collisions with other watercraft. During accidents that involve jet skis, jet ski riders are frequently thrown into the water, knocked unconscious, and often run over by another watercraft.  In, a number of large cities, lawyers commonly see injuries including broken bones, head injuries and concussions, and brain trauma. Fatalities from jet ski accidents are most often caused by serious head trauma and drowning. Common causes of jet ski accidents include the vehicles being operated by inexperienced operators, drivers drinking or doing drugs which possible lead to speeding which contributes to poor perception and hazy judgment, drivers not paying attention to the water and boaters; the lack of safety equipment and malfunctioning equipment also contribute to water ski accidents.

If you or anyone you know has been involved in a water ski accident, you should contact an attorney to determine what your rights are as a victim.  Reaching out to an attorney could be the best decision you ever made. Although some of injuries are much worse than others, they should all be treated with care and guidance in order to assure that you are getting the financial compensation that you or your loved one deserves for medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.  Even if your injury seems minor, small, or as though it will not have a lasting impact, it is always important to seek medical attention. Many vacationers who are injured don’t want to take away from their family or vacation in order to go to a doctor or medical provider. By waiting to seek medical treatment you will only bolster the insurance company’s argument that your injuries are not related to the accident, and decrease your chance of recovery. Without this initial medical documentation, you may lose the opportunity to recover compensation for your damages completely or at a minimum, recover less than what you are entitled to.

 

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into finding an attorney.