Category: Car Accidents

Diminution in Value Claims in Car Accident Lawsuits

If you’ve been involved in an Arizona car accident, then you may not only be entitled to bring an action against the defendant for damages related to your injuries, but you may also be entitled to claim property loss as a component of your overall damages.  In fact, many plaintiffs are unaware that their injury claim may include a purely economic, property loss component, and are surprised to learn that those damages can be significant, depending on the overall circumstances. The Basics of Property Loss in the Context of Car Accidents  In any injury lawsuit, there are both economic and non-economic damages.  Economic damages are objectively measurable and related to specific financial losses.  Non-economic damages, by contrast, are subjective in nature and are somewhat more speculative than economic damages.  Property loss claims fall within the category of economic damages, and are quite commonly encountered in the car accident context. Suppose, for example, that you suffer serious injuries in a car accident — more specifically, you have suffered debilitating back and shoulder injuries, for which you have had to see many medical specialists and have had to undergo surgery.  Naturally, you would be entitled to assert damages for pain and suffering, medical expenses, emotional distress, wage loss, and various other losses. You would also be entitled to fold your property loss into your overall damage claim.  If your car was totaled in the accident, then you might be entitled to recover the full value of the vehicle at the time of […]

Category: Car Accidents

Unsafe Vehicle Design Can Expose the Manufacturer to Liability

In the majority of motor vehicle accident lawsuits, injury victims initially focus their attention on obvious defendants — other negligent drivers who contributed to the accident, or perhaps the government agency that failed to maintain the roadway in a reasonably safe condition.  In reality, however, the vehicle manufacturer may be a potentially liable defendant worth bringing an action against, depending on the circumstances. All product manufacturers — in Arizona and elsewhere — have a duty to ensure that their products are not defective and are reasonably safe for their foreseeable uses.  Failure to adhere to this duty could expose the manufacturer to significant liability.  This could prove especially useful in cases where the other defendants (i.e., the drivers) are uninsured or underinsured and therefore not equipped to cover your damages in full. There are a number of different product liability claims — defective manufacture, defective design, failure to warn, and breach of warranty — but for now, let’s focus on defective design in the motor vehicle accident context. Defective Design Liability Arizona implements strict product liability, which is a boon for injured plaintiffs involved in litigation with a vehicle manufacturer.  Stated simply, the plaintiff need only prove that the vehicle is defective in some way, and that the defect substantially contributed to the injuries they suffered in the accident.  It is not necessary for the plaintiff to prove the manufacturer’s negligence. Of course, this does not mean that litigation is easy.  Arguably, the implementation of strict liability simply puts the […]

Category: Car Accidents

Does Receiving Workers’ Comp Benefits Affect Your Recovery for Damages?

In Arizona, many employees are covered by workers’ compensation coverage that pays out for wage loss and medical expenses in the event that an employee suffers an injury in the workplace or while otherwise performing their duties. Workers’ compensation is an exchange that is often sensible for both parties.  Employers agree to provide no-fault coverage, which gives employees the right to obtain workers’ compensation benefits even if there was no negligence or wrongful conduct involved, while employees agree to give up their right to sue the employer (and thereby obtain damages through standard litigation). Many employees understand the basics of workers’ compensation, but aren’t quite sure what to make of “borderline” situations where they are also entitled to sue a third-party that is liable for their injuries. Suppose, for example, that you are injured in a car accident while using the company vehicle to deliver products to a warehouse.  Though the accident was not the fault of your employer, you would be entitled to submit a claim for workers’ compensation to obtain benefits that account for your wage loss and medical expenses. Now, even though you are not entitled to sue your employer, you might be entitled to sue a third-party — perhaps the negligent driver that collided with you — to secure a more extensive range of damages. Oftentimes, injured employees are incentivized to bring an action against a liable third-party as workers’ compensation benefits can be quite limited — workers’ compensation benefits may only cover medical expenses and […]

Category: Car Accidents

Negligent Entrustment and Car Owner Liability in Arizona

In Arizona, and in all other states, the doctrine of negligent entrustment gives injury victims in motor vehicle accident scenarios the opportunity to bring an action for damages against the owner of the vehicle (if the owner is different from the driver).  Negligent entrustment is not always applicable, of course, but it can be quite a powerful tool for securing maximum compensation. What is Negligent Entrustment? Negligent entrustment occurs when the defendant vehicle owner allows another person — the driver — to operate the vehicle at-issue, despite the fact that the permitted driver is physically or mentally unfit to do so without exposing others to an unreasonable risk of injury. Broken down into its component elements, a successful negligent entrustment claim requires that the plaintiff prove: The driver was incompetent to drive safely at the time that they were given permission to operate the vehicle; The defendant vehicle owner (the entrusting individual) knew or should have known that the driver was incompetent; The defendant vehicle owner entrusted the driver with the vehicle; and The driver’s incompetence is what caused the plaintiff to suffer injuries. Let’s use an example to clarify. Suppose that you are injured in a motor vehicle accident.  The driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident.  After consulting with an attorney, you begin the investigation process, and you find that the vehicle was entrusted to the driver by the owner (a friend of the driver).  Further investigation reveals that the defendant vehicle owner entrusted the car […]

Category: Car Accidents

Poor Intersection Design Can Lead to a Collision

Intersections tend to be hotspots for motor vehicle and pedestrian accidents, in Arizona and throughout the country at-large.  According to a 2008 study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were roughly 2.31 million crashes that occurred at intersections in that year alone. If you suffer injuries in a motor vehicle accident that occurs at an intersection, and the intersection was designed in a way that contributed to the accident, then you are entitled under Arizona law to sue the person or entity that owns or possesses the intersection property. Whether an intersection represents a hazard depends on a number of factors, but ultimately rests on a determination that the intersection presents an unreasonable risk of danger to users of the intersection.  There are a number of different factors to consider, of course.  Let’s take a look at a few. Obstructed Visibility Oftentimes, intersection accidents occur due to problems with visibility — whether caused by inadequate lighting, narrow or otherwise constrained sight lines leading up to the main intersection, and various physical obstructions such as poorly placed signage, trees, and other items.  When designing and maintaining an intersection, those responsible must consider the ability of drivers and pedestrians to identify the presence of the intersection (and others near the intersection) in advance, thus giving them the time necessary to make adjustments. Non-Functioning Traffic Signals Intersections must be properly maintained to ensure that the traffic signals are in good working order.  In some cases, for example, an errant traffic […]

Category: Car Accidents

Collecting Damages After a Judgment in Your Favor

In Arizona (and throughout the country), even once you have secured a court judgment in your favor, the task is not yet complete — you must still collect the damages which you are owed by the defendant.  The type of case is irrelevant to collection.  Whether you were involved in a car accident lawsuit, or some other lawsuit, will have no effect on the procedure that you are required to follow. Unfortunately, defendants can be challenging.  Though in most cases the defendant will honor their responsibilities and — having lost the case — will pay the damages that you (the plaintiff) are owed, in some cases, the defendant will maneuver around the judgment and create roadblocks to collection. The defendant may ignore your request for damages, costs, and legal fees.  Alternatively, they may outright refuse to pay the judgment.  As a general rule, these are a clever application of stalling tactics.  If the defendant can stall for a long enough period of time, then they may be able to hide or otherwise relocate their assets so that you — as the judgment creditor — cannot seize them. What can you do to ensure that you collect your damages in full, after a judgment has been entered in your favor? Let’s take a look at some of your options. What is a Court Judgment? A court judgment is essentially a formal document that gives you, the successful plaintiff, the unrestricted right to seize the assets of the defendant in order to […]

Category: Car Accidents

The Duty to Mitigate: What Injured Individuals Need to Know

In Arizona, and throughout the country, injured plaintiffs are entitled to recover damages for damages they incur due to the negligent, reckless, or intentional acts of others — whether they are injured in a car accident or a slip-and-fall accident, or some other accident scenario.  This right to recovery is not absolute, however.  Injured plaintiffs must act in accordance with their various duties and responsibilities under the law, which includes the duty to mitigate their losses. What is the Duty to Mitigate? Defendants cannot be held liable for losses that they do not actually cause.  This “causation” requirement is fundamentally linked to the duty to mitigate. How so? The duty to mitigate requires that the injured plaintiff exert “reasonable efforts” to reduce their total losses — failure to do so will result in a proportional decrease in one’s recoverable damages.  Losses can be quite varied, and as such, mitigation must cover all the losses that the plaintiff intends to claim.  This can all be somewhat confusing to understand, so let’s use a quick example to clarify. Suppose that you are injured in a motor vehicle accident by the defendant, who was excessively speeding at the time, thus causing the accident.  You sustained significant neck and back injuries during the accident, and as a result, you can no longer work.  Now, suppose that you seek adequate medical diagnostics and treatment as soon as possible.  Your doctor asks that you sign up for long-term physical therapy sessions in order to regain some […]

Category: Car Accidents

How a Hit-and-Run Affects an Injury Claim

If you have been injured by a driver who fled the scene — whether you were a pedestrian or in a car, truck, or motorcycle at the time of the accident — then you may not only be entitled to compensation for your injuries under Arizona law, but your claims may also be affected by the fact that the defendant did not remain on the scene. Though Arizona law expressly forbids hit-and-run conduct — drivers must remain at the scene of an accident (which involved property damage and/or injuries) until authorities give them permission to leave — these scenarios are unfortunately common.  The shock of a hit-and-run can give some plaintiffs pause.  As such, it’s worth getting in touch with a qualified Phoenix injury lawyer for guidance. Hit-and-run accidents can significantly influence how litigation plays out — in many cases, the conduct of the defendant could undermine their arguments and make it easier for you to recover.  On the other hand, the defendant might have successfully evaded authorities, making it a challenge to identify them and thereby secure compensation. Let’s briefly explore some of the ways in which a hit-and-run accident can influence your injury claims. Identifying the Driver Drivers sometimes feel guilty after initially fleeing, and either return to the scene of the accident or turn themselves into police soon thereafter.  In many cases, however, the driver may simply flee without intending to contact the injured victim or relevant authorities.  If the defendant-driver successfully evades authorities, then this can […]

Category: Car Accidents

Damages for Vehicle Property Loss

In Arizona, and in other jurisdictions throughout the country, those who are involved in a motor vehicle accident (caused by another’s fault) are entitled to recover damages as compensation for property loss.  Property loss damages are particularly relevant in cases where the value of the motor vehicle is quite high, and are given further import when the injuries sustained were relatively minor. If you have been injured or have otherwise been involved in a car accident, truck accident, or motorcycle accident in which you sustained losses with regard to the value of your vehicle, we can help secure full and adequate compensation on your behalf.  Get in touch with a Phoenix accident attorney here at Hirsch & Lyon for further guidance on how to proceed. Property loss may seem like a simply claim at first glance, but the recovery process can be complicated by conflicts with the defendant over the cost of repairs, diminution in value, and loss of use, among various other issues. Let’s take a look at each of these property loss considerations, in turn. Recovering for Property Loss — Aspects of the Claim In the personal injury and motor vehicle accident contexts, property loss falls under the umbrella of economic damages.  There are (generally speaking) two forms of damages: economic and non-economic.  Economic damages — such as property loss, wage loss, and various medical expenses — are more objective and easier to measure, as they are based on actual financial losses.  Non-economic damages — such as pain […]

Category: Car Accidents

Road Debris and Hazards Must Be Fixed to Protect Motorists From Risk of Injury

Motor vehicle accidents are often caused — in whole or in part — by the presence of unexpected road debris and various other roadway hazards.  In the state of Arizona, for example, the Department of Transportation estimates that road debris alone is responsible for 1,000 crashes on an annual basis.  Road debris accidents can be particularly disastrous, as drivers may not be prepared for If you have been involved in an accident that was caused by road debris or some other roadway hazard, then you may be entitled to damages, as it the existence of the dangerous condition may be indicative of another’s negligence.  You’ll therefore want to get in touch with a Phoenix injury lawyer as soon as possible for an evaluation of your car accident claims and how best to proceed with litigation. Though the existence of a roadway hazard may not always be the fault of another party, there are many cases in which the negligence of the defendant — typically the possessor of a particular roadway (i.e., the government, or some private entity) — has contributed to the hazard at-issue.  If the defendant fails to correct the hazard or fails to warn motorists of the existence of the hazard so that it can be avoided, then liability may attach under prevailing Arizona law. Roadways Must Be Maintained in a Reasonably Safe Condition Claims arising out of injuries sustained due to road debris (or other roadway hazards) generally come under the umbrella of premises liability.  Premises liability […]

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