How Contingency Fee Arrangements Can Create Win-Win Situations

Serious Injuries Lawyer in Phoenix, AZ If you’ve been harmed in a motor vehicle accident in Arizona due to the negligence or wrongful misconduct of another party, then you may be entitled to significant compensation under the law.  Litigation can be an overwhelming prospect for first-time plaintiffs, however. As you begin to explore your options for litigating a motor vehicle accident claim, or any other personal injury claim, you may be somewhat confused by “contingency fees” and what it means for your case.  First-time plaintiffs are often unfamiliar with the contingency fee dynamic. Not to worry!  Let’s explore the basics to clarify the essential elements of a contingency fee arrangement. What is a Contingency Fee? Typically, plaintiff’s-side personal injury litigators are paid on contingency, not through an hourly or flat fee.  Contingency fees are rather straightforward — the litigator does not get paid unless they help you secure compensation, whether through a negotiated settlement or a favorable case verdict. So, for example, if you take your case to trial and “lose” the case, failing to secure any compensation, then you will owe nothing to the litigator.  On the other hand, if you do secure compensation, then you will owe the litigator a percentage of the overall recovery. Contingency Fees Create Favorable Dynamics for Plaintiffs Contingency fees are positive for most plaintiffs, and for a number of reasons.  First off, most plaintiffs do not have the funds (or willingness) to sustain long-term litigation against a defendant when the result is uncertain.  […]

Damages for the Loss of Domestic Services

Wrongful Death Lawyer in Phoenix, AZ If your loved one has died due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another party, then the state of Arizona may give you a legitimate right of action for wrongful death.  Wrongful death litigation is critically important, as it gives the surviving family members of the deceased an effective tool for securing the compensation they need to cover their various losses. Here at Hirsch & Lyon, we are compassionate advocates that understand the many challenges that families face in the wake of their loved one’s death.  It is perfectly normal to feel trepidation about moving forward with litigation.  We encourage you to contact us to learn more about what wrongful death litigation entails, and how we can help. Understanding Wrongful Death Damages Wrongful death damages are paid out to cover the losses sustained by the surviving family members of the deceased — not the losses sustained directly by the deceased individual themselves. For example, if your spouse dies in a car accident caused by a drunk driver defendant, you would be entitled to bring an action for wrongful death damages that account for the losses that “you” (as the surviving individual) sustained in the wake of their death, which may include the loss of their financial support, loss of guidance, loss of marital companionship, and the loss of domestic services and support. The Loss of Domestic Services Domestic services are a form of support that is accounted for by Arizona courts in […]

Factors Contributing to Poor Road Visibility

Car Accident Lawyer in Phoenix, AZ If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident — whether you’re a pedestrian, driver, or passenger — then Arizona law may give you a right to sue and obtain compensation for your various losses.  There is significant diversity from case-to-case in terms of the fact patterns and how the dispute must be litigated. In many cases, there are issues involving defects with the roadway itself (such as poor road visibility) that contributed substantially to the accident.  These defects can be influenced by a number of factors. Consider the following non-exhaustive list. Grading and Sudden Elevation Changes Sudden elevation changes can have an enormous effect on road visibility.  When a crosswalk is placed at a plateau between sharply-graded roads, then rising traffic may have their visibility significantly impeded. Elevation changes need not be sudden to have an impact, however.  Even roads with a more gradual vertical grade can influence visibility — for example, if a road is graded upwards at a low degree, this could have an inhibiting effect on drivers at a distance, preventing them from easily identifying crossing pedestrians further down the road.  With the assistance of a road safety expert, you can identify the potentially negative consequences of such elevation changes. Adjacent Property Interference Adjacent property can quite easily interfere with road visibility.  For example, if a home built next to a road has an overgrown tree in the yard that extends out into the street, then the branches might cause […]

Common Statute of Limitations Exceptions in Arizona

Speak With a Phoenix Serious Injuries Lawyer Today If you’ve been injured due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another party, then Arizona law may give you a right to sue and recover compensation for your various losses.  When pursuing a claim against the defendant(s), however, it’s important to understand that you do not have an unlimited amount of time — personal injury claims are governed by a statute of limitations deadline.  If the deadline passes before you file your claims, then you will be barred from pursuing compensation in an Arizona court.  The risk of “waiting too long” is therefore substantial. The statute of limitations can vary from case-to-case.  Generally speaking, personal injury claims are governed by a two-year statute of limitations deadline in Arizona, though this period may be shortened under certain circumstances (i.e., the defendant is a public employee or entity, for which the deadline will be just one year from the date of injury). Fortunately, you may not be entirely without options if the deadline passes.  In Arizona, and elsewhere, there are a few exceptions that allow the plaintiff to suspend the statute of limitations countdown, thus extending the deadline.  We encourage you to contact Hirsch & Lyon for an assessment of your case and guidance on how to proceed, particularly if you find yourself in a difficult procedural situation. Absence of Defendant from State According to Section 12-501 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, if the defendant is absent from the state during the […]

First Party Insurance Claims and Wrongful Denial

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, and you have significant liability coverage, then you may be entitled to compensation pursuant to the terms of your insurance plan.  In many motor vehicle accident cases, however, the injured are constantly challenged by their insurer and may not be awarded the benefits they seek.  This can place a significant burden on the injured plaintiff, who may not have any other recourse for compensation. Here at Hirsch & Lyon, we have extensive experience handling motor vehicle accident disputes, including those that require a first-party insurance claim.  Contact us for comprehensive guidance on how to proceed. First Party Insurance Coverage is Invaluable First-party insurance coverage is particularly applicable to motor vehicle accident scenarios in which the defendant-driver lacks sufficient insurance coverage to compensate you for your losses.  For example, if you have suffered damages in excess of $200,000, but the defendant has insurance coverage that pays out only $35,000, then that will be insufficient for your purposes.  You will have to seek full and adequate compensation through other means — in most cases, through first-party insurance coverage. Wrongful Denial and Bad Faith Claims Many plaintiffs do not realize that insurance companies are fundamentally arrayed against them.  It is the insurer’s goal to minimize their payouts so that they can maximize their overall profits.  As such, insurers tend to be aggressive in denying first-party insurance claims made by policyholders.  They may justify the denial in a number of different ways, such as by arguing […]

Sharing the Lane With Multiple Motorcycles

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident due to the fault of another, then Arizona law may entitle you to damages.  Do bear in mind, however, that the lawsuit may be a bit more complicated than it initially appears. Motorcyclists are often — and unfortunately — perceived by much of the general public to be inherently undisciplined on the road.  This perception can be challenged, of course, but it takes skillful and detail-oriented advocacy, particularly in situations where the injured motorcyclist may have engaged in behavior that is violative of the law. Without context, this can all be somewhat confusing.  Let’s explore some basic issues relating to lane sharing and splitting, and how liability is affected. Two Motorcycles May Ride Together in the Same Lane In Arizona, Section 28-903A of the Revised Statutes quite clearly allows for two motorcycles to ride abreast of one another in a single lane.  This “lane sharing” allowance is limited to two motorcycles, however.  If another motor vehicle attempts to share the lane with you, then they could be held liable in the event of an accident. Prohibited Behavior Arizona prohibits a variety of behavior relating to motorcycle lane use: Motorcycles may not ride more than two abreast in a single lane Motorcycles may not ride between lanes of traffic (i.e., lane-splitting) Motorcycles may not overtake other vehicles in the same lane (they must transition into the next lane and back to perform a passing maneuver) By violating any of these prohibitions, you will […]

Wrongful Death and Financial Support Losses

The unexpected and wrongful death of a loved one can leave their family members devastated in many different ways. Though it’s natural to think only of the emotional consequences at first, there are real financial consequences to the loss of a loved one on whom you and the rest of your family have come to rely for support.  Without the income generated by a spouse, for example, a nuclear family may struggle with paying for food, rent, education, and health expenses, among various other necessities of life. Fortunately, Arizona law may provide certain individuals the opportunity to recover for those losses.  If you’ve recently lost a loved one due to the negligence, recklessness, or wrongful misconduct of another, then Arizona law may entitle you to significant wrongful death compensation. How does it work?  Let’s take a closer look. Wrongful Death Basics Wrongful death actions give certain qualified family members the right to pursue damages for the losses they have directly suffered due to the death of their loved one.  For example, a wrongful death plaintiff may recover damages for the mental anguish they experienced (and continue to experience) as a result of their spouse’s death. For a wrongful death lawsuit to succeed, there must be underlying liability.  In other words, the defendant (who is responsible) must have acted in a negligent, reckless, or intentionally harmful manner, thus causing the death at-issue. Calculating the Loss of Financial Support In many wrongful death cases, financial support losses form the largest component of […]

Unique Issues in Cases Involving Catastrophic Injuries

Contact a Phoenix Serious Injuries Lawyer Today for Help If you’ve suffered catastrophic injuries in a motor vehicle accident (that was caused by the negligent, reckless, or intentional misconduct of another party), then Arizona law may give you a right of action for significant damages as compensation.  Catastrophic injury claims are often associated with high damage recoveries, but — while it’s important to remain positive — there are a number of unique challenges associated with such disputes. Let’s take a look. Damages Must Be Sufficient to Cover Losses Catastrophic injury damages must be sufficient to cover all your losses.  These losses can be extensive and diverse, depending on the nature of the accident, the plaintiff’s own circumstances, and the resulting injuries.  It is not “satisfactory” to secure damages that are not enough to cover one’s losses. For example, suppose that you are injured by a truck in a highway accident.  The truck driver lacks adequate insurance coverage to compensate you for the range of losses that you suffered as a result.  Though your damages totaled $500,000, you were only able to recover $100,000.  That would be insufficient, given the circumstances. Now, if your attorney identified that the truck driver was an employee acting within the course and scope of their employment (at the time of the accident), then you might be able to bring a lawsuit against the employer under the vicarious liability doctrine.  The employer would likely have sufficient insurance coverage to pay out your damages in full. Effective […]

Liability in a Multi-Vehicle Pileup

Multi-vehicle pileups (also known as “chain reaction accidents”) are not uncommon on busy roadways in Arizona, and in the United States at-large.  When a motor vehicle accident occurs, then — depending on the conditions of the road and the average speed at which cars, trucks, and motorcycles are moving — a pileup could quite easily develop, causing the initial event to spiral out-of-control and affect a much larger group of people. If you’ve been harmed in a multi-vehicle pileup, you may be feeling confused and somewhat overwhelmed by the prospect of litigation, and for good reason.  It may be unclear where you should even begin — there could be several different drivers who you believe are responsible for causing your injuries. Multi-vehicle pileup liability can be simplified through the application of basic causation principles.  Let’s take a quick look. Understanding the Chain of Causation In multi-vehicle pileups, the core issue is that of the chain of causation.  Defendants may only be held liable if their actions substantially contribute to the injuries you suffered, and if the chain of causation “linking” their actions to your injuries is continuous. Concurrent Causation Arizona law does not shield defendants from liability simply because others were simultaneously negligent, reckless, or intentionally engaged in misconduct.  If there are multiple causes to an accident (as is typical in a multi-vehicle pileup where several cars and trucks might fail to exercise reasonable care and thereby contribute to the pileup), then each defendant responsible for contributing to the accident […]

Can a Defendant Be Held Liable if They Had a Medical Emergency?

In Arizona (and throughout the United States at-large), if you’ve been injured in a car accident due to the fault of another party, then you may be entitled to significant damages as compensation for your losses. What you may not realize, however, is that your ability to recover could be affected by the defendant’s unique circumstances and impairments.  For example, though the defendant-driver may have crashed into your vehicle, if they were experiencing a sudden medical emergency at the time of the accident, then they may be able to avoid liability for your injuries. The sudden medical emergency defense can be confusing, so we’ll explore some of the basics to clarify how it works. Basics of the Sudden Medical Emergency Defense In order for the defendant-driver to take advantage of the sudden medical emergency defense and successfully avoid liability, they must show that: They suddenly lost consciousness, or experienced some other medical emergency symptoms that caused them to lose control over their vehicle; and The medical emergency at-issue was sudden and unforeseeable. Let’s take a closer look at these two elements. Loss of Control The defendant-driver cannot make use of the sudden medical emergency defense if they did not lose control over their vehicle at the time of the accident.  If the defendant was merely impaired, for example, but could still exercise a sufficient level of control that they could have avoided the collision, then they can be held liable for the resultant injuries. Events Were Sudden and Unforeseeable A […]

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