Category: Car Accidents

How to Calculate Your Potential Damages for a Phoenix Accident Claim

If you have been injured in an accident due to the fault of another, you may be entitled to sue and recover damages under Arizona law.  Plaintiffs often forego pursuing litigation, primarily because they are uncertain about whether it is worthwhile to go through the effort for a small recovery. Until you consult a qualified Phoenix accident attorney about the case, you will not have an accurate appraisal of the damages.  We therefore encourage you to contact Hirsch & Lyon for a case evaluation so you can learn more. For now, let’s explore some of damages typical of a personal injury dispute. Identifying Losses and Gathering Evidence In the context of personal injury, your losses are likely to vary significantly on a case-by-case basis.  For example, if you suffer injuries in a car accident that are not “catastrophic” and you are able to return to your career after a few months without any significant impairments in your ability to perform your job responsibilities, then you may have a significant damages claim for wage loss accounting for those few months of being unable to work, but not for the loss of earning capacity, as your earning capacity was not, in fact, diminished. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident and subsequent injuries, your losses may include the following: Medical Expenses In the wake of an accident, injured plaintiffs may recover for all their health-related expenses, including doctor visits, prescription drugs, diagnostic exams, counselor appointments, chiropractic exams, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and […]

Top 5 Mistakes You Can Make After a Phoenix Car Accident

Car accident lawsuits appear straightforward to those who are unfamiliar with the litigation process — and in some cases, naturally, the “legal” issues are relatively straightforward.  What many plaintiffs do not realize, however, is the various ways in which one’s injury claims can be undermined and weakened by one’s actions in the wake of an accident.  Seemingly minor decisions can have disastrous consequences. We’ve tallied up five mistakes commonly made after a car accident.  If you’ve been in a car accident and are intending to pursue a claim for damages, contact a skilled Phoenix car accident attorney and be careful to avoid making these mistakes! 1) Failing to Secure Medical Care Securing timely and adequate medical care is critical.  If you have been injured, you should actively seek out medical care necessary to treat whatever symptoms you have.  Even if you are not expressing any symptoms, you should make an appointment with a physician and have diagnostic tests performed.  In some cases, the injury may be pernicious and undetectable except with advanced medical equipment. Failure to secure medical care in a timely manner could weaken your claim and lead to difficulties, as the defendant may argue that they are not responsible for your injuries (i.e., that the injuries developed due to your delay), and that your delay is proof that any injuries they caused were not serious. 2) Waiting to Seek the Assistance of a Phoenix Car Accident Attorney Seeking the assistance of a qualified attorney is not only important […]

How to Tell if the Insurance Company is Giving You the Runaround for Your Motor Vehicle Accident Claim

Insurance companies are fundamentally opposed to their policyholders.  Though pernicious advertising has sold insurance companies as “allies,” the truth is quite a bit different from the marketed fantasy.  Our Phoenix personal injury lawyer knows that insurance companies benefit when they take a position that is adverse to claimants.  When legitimate claimants are denied coverage, paid out less than expected, or choose not to pursue their claims, then the insurance company gets to keep money that they would have otherwise been required to hand-over to the policyholder. Given this dynamic, insurance companies are incentivized to act (in sometimes devious ways) so that they can avoid having to payout legitimate claims, or at the very least, to reduce the amount they have to payout. Fortunately, the law shields policyholders.  Insurance companies have a duty to act in good faith towards their policyholders, and that duty is broadly applicable — if your insurer fails to act responsively (with respect to your accident claim), loses important documentation, or has made an adverse decision on your claim without proper justification, then you may have an actionable bad faith claim against them for damages. So, how can you tell that if an insurance company is giving you the runaround on your motor vehicle accident claim?  Let’s take a look at some common tactics utilized by insurance companies. Active Investigation of Your Claim When an insurance company communicates to you that they are actively investigating the claim at-issue, then there is a high likelihood that they are […]

Why You Need to Seek Medical Help After a Phoenix Accident

Have you been injured in an accident in Phoenix — or elsewhere in Arizona — due to the negligence or wrongful misconduct of another party?  If so, the law may give you a right of action against the defendant for damages.  The decisions you make in the wake of that accident can have enormous consequences for your later injury claims against the liable defendant, however. Even if you choose to pursue claims against the defendants, it’s important that you prioritize full and adequate medical care.  Failure to secure such care could undermine your overall legal argument and reduce the potential damages significantly. Contact our Phoenix accident attorney today to discuss the particulars of your situation. Let’s take a closer look. Consequences of a Delay or Failure to Follow-Through on Medical Care In Arizona, and in every other jurisdiction in the country, our Phoenix accident attorney knows that a plaintiff’s inability to secure timely medical care (and to follow-through on medical care) could have a substantial negative impact on the success of their injury claims.  Consequences include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following: The defendant attacks your legitimacy as a plaintiff (i.e., claiming that your injuries were not serious enough, or else you would not have been lax about medical care) Difficulties in separating the foreseeable, accident-related injuries from the injuries that were caused by the lack of immediate and comprehensive medical care Uncertainties as to the damage calculation Statute of limitations deadline issues in the event that you […]

Car Owners Have a Responsibility to Maintain Their Vehicles

Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Phoenix, AZ Many car accidents are not caused by immediate driver negligence (i.e., distracted driving), but instead by system issues, such as malfunctioning brakes.  In such cases, though it may seem that the driver or owner is not responsible, that is not necessarily true. Cars must be properly maintained by their owners, lest they develop issues that could expose others to an unreasonable risk of injury.  Owners must adhere to this duty.  Failure to properly maintain a vehicle — when it contributes to an accident — entitles the injured car accident plaintiff to compensation under Arizona law. Questions?  Contact us at Hirsch & Lyon to learn more about how we can help. Owners Tend to Shift the Burden of Responsibility How parties act during personal injury litigation can be confusing for first-time plaintiffs, but in truth, one must consider that the defendant(s) are acting in accordance with their “survival instinct.”  Unless you can clearly establish that the defendant is not only liable, but liable to the specific degree that you are asserting, their instinct will be to minimize or avoid that liability by shifting the burden to another party — in the car accident context, that burden-shifting may be from the vehicle owner towards the mechanic shop. For example, suppose that you are injured when the defendant’s front tire suddenly blows out, causing them to lose control of their vehicle and slam into yours.  You sustain significant injuries as a result.  In the ensuing litigation, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

You Can Hold Your Mechanic Liable for Negligence

Many injured car accident plaintiffs mistakenly believe that their lawsuit will progress in a simple and straightforward manner.  This is natural, of course.  They may approach the case with their own understanding of what transpired, and who is responsible for their damages.  In truth, however, a car accident lawsuit can develop in a rather non-standard fashion (depending on the circumstances), which can take a plaintiff by surprise. In the car accident context, one of the various non-standard possibilities for recovery is the negligence of a mechanic/auto shop.  Drivers trust their mechanics to perform comprehensive inspections and to correct defects as they are discovered, or to — at the very least — notify them as to the existence of such defects.  If a mechanic fails to do so, then they could be held liable for the damages suffered in a subsequent car accident. How does this all work?  Let’s take a closer look. Negligent Inspection and Maintenance Basics Mechanics have a duty to properly inspect, maintain, and repair vehicles that have been entrusted to them (for such services).  If a mechanic fails to exercise reasonable care in inspecting a vehicle (and thereby fails to identify a defect), or performs a negligent repair using substandard parts, then that may give rise to liability in the event that it contributes to a car accident later on. It’s worth noting that a mechanic’s liability (for negligence) can generally be imposed on their employer, the auto repair shop, through the application of vicarious liability principles.  […]

How the Defendant’s Hit and Run Affects Your Injury Claim

If you’ve been harmed in a car accident scenario in which the defendant-driver fled the scene of the accident — known colloquially as a “hit and run” — then you may be entitled to damages, though litigation may be more complicated than a standard car accident case.  In a hit and run lawsuit, there are a number of unique challenges and opportunities to keep in mind when considering the dispute process. Let’s take a closer look. Identifying the Defendant Perhaps the most significant problem facing injured plaintiffs in hit and run accidents is identifying the defendant in the wake of the accident.  If the defendant gets away without leaving a “trail,” then you might not have an opportunity to litigate your claims against them and obtain the compensation you deserve. Given the risk of a defendant successfully avoiding a lawsuit in a hit and run accident, it’s important to consult a skilled attorney as early as possible — your attorney will work with expert investigators and various stakeholders (i.e., law enforcement, businesses located near the accident) to secure evidence, such as video footage and traffic photos, to secure information that could be used to identify and track down the defendant. Implied Fault When the defendant flees the scene of the accident, they are painting themselves as the liable party, even if their negligence is questionable.  If you can identify the defendant-driver and bring an action against them, they will be fundamentally disadvantaged throughout the litigation process, as they must account […]

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