Why Are Truck Accidents Increasing?

According to federal regulators, the number of accidents, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks continue to occur at historically high levels. In its April 2017 report summarizing crash statistics from 2015 (the most recent year available), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) concluded that: The number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes increased by 8 percent from 2014. The number of large trucks involved in injury crashes decreased by 1 percent from 2014 (but that small decrease followed a more than 60% increase from 2009 to 2014). The number of buses involved in fatal crashes increased by 11 percent from 2014. The number of vehicle miles traveled by large trucks was basically unchanged from 2014 to 2015. Overall, large truck accidents cause about 4,000 fatalities and 100,000 injuries in the US on an annual basis. As technology continues to improve passenger vehicle safety, why have large trucks become an increasing hazard on Phoenix highways and other US roads over the last decade? Deregulation Trucking industry experts point to various regulatory changes that could improve safety but Congress has consistently resisted imposing additional restrictions on the industry. Even worse, Congress has proposed rolling back some existing trucking company regulations and weakening FMCSA’s oversight abilities, such as: Increasing the maximum permitted workweek for truckers from 70 to 82 hours during every 8-day period. Discouraging FMCSA from investing in wireless technology to improve the monitoring of trucks and drivers. Permitting longer and heavier trucks on the road while lowering the minimum […]

Personal Injury Damages Explained

In any personal injury claim or lawsuit, the plaintiff alleges that the defendant engaged in conduct or took actions (or failed to take actions) that caused injuries and other damages to the plaintiff. The defendant’s conduct is usually characterized in the litigation as negligent, careless, reckless or illegal. The goal of the lawsuit is to obtain compensation for the plaintiff — a monetary award or settlement — so that she is “made whole” for those damages. The damages claimed in a lawsuit can be economic (for example, plaintiff was forced to incur medical expenses) and non-economic (plaintiff experienced pain and suffering). The idea is that the damages should restore the plaintiff to her condition before the injuries took place — or at least appropriately compensate the plaintiff for the permanent changes to her life. The exact mix of damages claimed in any lawsuit depends on the circumstances of the case, the types of injuries sustained and the relevant state law. To ensure that you receive the most up-to-date information that is specific to your situation, we encourage you to contact a Phoenix personal injury lawyer at Hirsch & Lyon today. The following are the most common types of damages claimed in a personal injury case: Medical Expenses This form of damages compensates the plaintiff for the out-of-pocket doctor bills and other medical expenses (testing, treatment, therapy, hospital stays) that she has already incurred and those expenses the plaintiff will need to pay in the future because of the injuries. If […]

Wrongful Death Claims – The Basics

The goal of any personal injury lawsuit is to obtain compensation for the plaintiff — a monetary award or settlement — so that he or she is “made whole” for the damages caused by the injuries. Usually the plaintiff is the injured person, so the damages are those directly suffered by the plaintiff – for example, medical expenses paid by the injured person, pain and suffering endured by the injured person and income lost by the injured person. But what happens if the injured person dies because of the accident caused by the defendant’s negligence or misconduct? In the absence of the injured person, who can file a lawsuit and for what damages? A claim for wrongful death is the law’s answer to this problem. It allows the deceased victim’s estate and his or her family members to bring a lawsuit for the decedent’s damages AND the damages suffered by the family. Contact a skilled Phoenix injury lawyer if you need help with your case. Who can claim damages? In Arizona, wrongful death claims can be brought by the deceased victim’s surviving spouse, children or parents, and by an executor or personal representative on behalf of the victim’s estate. What damages are recoverable? Wrongful death damages can be thought of as falling into 2 categories. The first category compensates the decedent’s estate for the damages the victim suffered, including: Funeral/burial expenses; Medical expenses incurred prior to death; Income lost prior to death; Lost future income (based on the idea that […]

The Most Dangerous Car Models in Accidents

Car safety ratings have become a big deciding factor for most people when they buy a new car. The federal government produces safety ratings through the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the insurance industry’s Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has its 5-star safety scale, and various nonprofits like Consumer Reports and Informed for Life conduct their own safety tests or aggregate test results from other sources. But even with the increased focus on vehicle safety, nearly 40,000 Americans die in car accidents each year and the insurance industry estimates that the annual number of car accident injuries exceeds 2 million. The list of most dangerous car models depends on who you ask. Our Phoenix accident lawyer has found these lowest-ranked vehicles listed in various sources: IIHS List of Vehicles with Highest Death Rates (2014 model year and equivalent models 2012-15) Hyundai Accent Sedan Kia Rio Sedan Scion tC Chevrolet Spark Nissan Versa Ford Fiesta Sedan Kia Soul Dodge Challenger Nissan Titan Crew Cab short bed (4WD) Ford Focus Sedan IIHS List of Vehicles Generating Most Personal Injury Claims (Model Years 2013-15) Mitsubishi Mirage Mitsubishi Lancer 2WD Nissan Versa Kia Forte Dodge Charger 2WD Chrysler 200 2WD Hyundai Accent Chevrolet Sonic Kia Rio Mitsubishi Outlander Sport 4dr 2WD IIHS List of Vehicles Generating Most Medical Payment Claims (Model Years 2013-15) Mitsubishi Mirage Mitsubishi Lancer 2WD Nissan Versa Chevrolet Sonic Chrysler 200 2WD Chevrolet Spark Kia Forte Nissan Sentra Hyundai Accent Dodge Charger 2WD IIHS List of Vehicles Generating Most Bodily […]

Dealing With the Other Driver After a Car Accident

A car accident is an inherently upsetting experience. It is usually sudden, surprising, loud and scary. Your vehicle has sustained some sort of damage and you may be injured – even if you initially don’t think you are. But if you do your best to remain calm and rational, you can have a civil, constructive conversation with the other driver and avoid making an already bad incident even worse with poorly chosen words and actions that can lead to a protracted battle with the insurance companies (yours and the other driver’s). So, in the immediate aftermath of a car accident, how should you deal with the other driver? Keep Conversation to a Minimum Try to speak with the other driver only to the extent necessary. People often react to an awkward social situation by filling the silence with idle chatter. But the last thing you want to do is mistakenly admit that the accident was your fault or minimize your injuries or the damage to your car. Simply put: After asking if everyone is okay, any Phoenix car accident lawyer will tell you that your best course of action is to say as little as possible. Don’t Argue and Don’t Apologize Don’t argue with the other driver about who was at fault. If the other driver caused the accident, you may be mad and want to yell, but a calm demeanor will keep you from saying something at the scene that can damage your legal rights. Rather than making accusations, […]

Proving A Car Accident Case

Not long after the cars are towed away after an accident, the drivers and their insurance companies start pointing fingers at each other. In a traditional fault-based car insurance state like Arizona, an injured party cannot seek compensation against the other driver’s insurance coverage unless that driver is determined to be at “fault.” Fault in the car accident context means that the driver committed some kind of negligent or careless act (texting while driving, not stopping at a red light) which is usually – but not always — a violation of state traffic laws.  Since a car accident case is a civil lawsuit, the plaintiff has the burden of proving that his allegations (his version of the facts) are true “by a preponderance of the evidence” or “more likely than not.” If the plaintiff meets that burden, the defendant is liable for the plaintiff’s damages.  In some cases the circumstances of the accident will make it readily apparent that the other driver acted negligently (and was therefore at fault) but if the facts of an accident are more ambiguous, these are some of the ways to prove fault:  Police Reports  A written accident report from the police can be powerful evidence of which driver was at fault. If the police came to the scene of the accident and were aware that someone was injured, they probably prepared a fairly detailed report containing their account of the accident. (If the police thought there was only damage to the vehicles at the scene, their report may be less detailed and not as helpful.)  Payment of a small fee to the municipality may be required to obtain a copy of the report.  Sometimes the police report clearly contains […]

Steps to Take After a Car Accident

Car accidents are inherently stressful. After an accident — even a minor one — you’re probably shaken up, you might be injured, and you may be angry at yourself or the other driver (or both). So, what should you do if you’re involved in an accident? Focus on Your Safety You first need to ensure the safety of yourself and your passengers. If your car is movable, drive onto the road’s shoulder and out of the way of moving traffic. If your car is disabled, you and your passengers should exit your vehicle and move away from the road. If you or any passengers are injured, call 911 for an ambulance. If any of the injuries are serious, use your judgment about the safety of moving anyone — it may make sense to remain in the car and wait for first responders. Choose Your Words Carefully What you say to the other driver, the police and your insurance company can be used against you when you file an insurance claim or seek compensation for injuries. Don’t argue with the other driver about who was at fault — let the police and insurance companies sort that out. Try not to apologize to anyone or say that the accident was your fault — just give a neutral, truthful version of facts of the accident to the police and insurance company without admitting that you were careless or negligent. Don’t tell anyone you’re weren’t injured in the accident — injuries can take time […]

How to Take Photos After an Accident

Any car, truck or motorcycle accident (even a minor one) is a stressful experience. But once you’ve made sure that no one has been injured and shared some basic information with the other driver, you should do your best to document the accident scene by taking photos either with a camera or even a cell phone. Why Take Photos? Photos will preserve evidence of the crash before anyone has moved the vehicles or cleared the debris (broken glass, broken car parts, etc.)  This can help the insurance companies (yours and the other driver’s) determine what happened and who was at fault. If you’ve been injured in the crash, the photos will enable your car accident attorney to reconstruct the facts of the accident in any legal claim and refresh your memory when you need to give testimony about the incident in a deposition, court hearing or trial. Documenting the Scene First, make sure that the date/time tagging function is enabled on your camera. Then, start taking the photos by concentrating on the following: Your vehicle and its damage The other vehicles involved and their damage Vehicle parts and other debris on the ground Skid marks The intersection, parking lot or other location of the accident Traffic lights and signs at the scene Any damage sustained by stationary objects at the scene – guardrails, signs, trees, etc. Any visible injuries sustained by you or other drivers/passengers (but obviously only to the extent they consent to your taking such photos) Weather conditions […]

Insurance Company Runaround

If you’ve been involved in a car, truck or motorcycle accident, the insurance policies carried by you and the other driver are two potential sources of compensation for your injuries and vehicle damage. But the insurance companies have financial incentives not to make the claims process easy or fast. Why You Need Insurance Company Cooperation After an accident, you’ll want assistance and cooperation from the insurance companies right away. You may have injuries that require immediate treatment (which means you need money to pay medical bills). You may be losing wages because injuries prevent you from working (which means you need money to pay your normal household expenses). You need to get your car or motorcycle fixed (which means you need help paying mechanics and a body shop). Why Insurance Companies Don’t Want to Cooperate But the insurance adjusters don’t work for you – they work for the insurance companies. And their goal isn’t to quickly provide you with the maximum amount of compensation. The adjuster’s job is to save his insurance company money by: Minimizing the amounts paid to you; and Delaying those payments as long as he can. The easiest way for an insurance company to achieve these two goals is by giving you the runaround. What Does Insurance Company Runaround Look Like? Insurance company runaround can take many forms but the classic signs include: Not answering or returning your phone calls Taking a long time to provide you with basic information or required forms Repeatedly asking for […]

Don’t Be Afraid of Litigation

If you have been injured in a car, motorcycle or truck accident, it is important to recognize that insurance companies have become very sophisticated in handling claims and managing accident victims. These companies know that many accident victims are ill-prepared for the financial hardships that can arise when an injury interrupts their income stream.

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