Understanding the Standard of Care for Motorcyclists

Let Our Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Help If you are a motorcyclist who was injured due to the fault of another, then Arizona law may give you a right to sue and recover damages as compensation for the losses that you suffered as a result. Motorcycle accident litigation — not unlike other motor vehicle accident litigation — can become quite complicated when the facts are “messy.”  In some cases, the injured motorcyclist may not be entirely absent of fault.  It’s not uncommon for a motorcyclist to have acted negligently and thereby contributed to the accident in their own way. So, how does this affect the dispute?  Let’s dive in for a closer look. Comparative Fault in Arizona In Arizona, pure comparative fault rules apply.  What this means is that an injury plaintiff is not barred from recovering damages even if they have acted negligently (and this negligence has contributed to the injuries at-issue).  Instead, the plaintiff’s overall damages will be reduced in accordance with their fault contribution. For example, suppose that a plaintiff was hurt in a motorcycle accident and has suffered overall damages equivalent to about $100,000.  If the plaintiff is found 40 percent at-fault for their injuries, then they will be entitled to recover $100,000 minus $40,000, or $60,000 in total. As the plaintiff, it’s not only important that you “win” your case (i.e., negotiate a settlement or obtain a favorable verdict), but also that you secure the maximum possible compensation given the circumstances.  An effective litigation strategy […]

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 […]

Commercial Truckers Are Held to a Higher Standard of Care

If you’ve injured in an accident due to a commercial truck driver’s negligence, then Arizona law may entitle you to significant compensation. When litigating a claim against a commercial truck driver — and thanks to the application of vicarious liability principles, their employer — you may find that establishing negligence is somewhat “easier” to do than litigating a claim against a non-commercial driver.  As a general rule, professionals in all walks of life are held to a stricter standard of care in skill/knowledge areas than the average person. Let’s take a quick peek at why this dynamic exists. Negligence Basics and the Standard of Care In order to prove the defendant’s negligence, you will have to show that they violated the applicable standard of care under the circumstances, and that in doing so, they substantially contributed to your injuries.  The standard of care (in truck accidents and in other contexts) is that of a reasonable person under the same or similar circumstances. How does this work? When a defendant injures you in an accident, for example, the court will evaluate what a reasonably prudent person would have done had they been put in the same or similar circumstances.  This is a rather “fuzzy” determination, depending on the case.  Suppose that a driver gets into a collision after quickly changing the channel on their radio player — it may not be obvious that a reasonably prudent person under the same or similar circumstances would not have taken their eyes off the […]

Recovering for Injuries Sustained in an Uber or Lyft

Ridesharing is a form of transportation in which the customer connects to an independent driver who is registered on a mobile app.  The customer requests a ride, and the app links up one of the rideshare drivers to the customer.  The company takes a cut of the ride’s overall cost. In Arizona, and elsewhere, ridesharing services (such as Uber and Lyft) have become increasingly common over the years.  Still, despite its ubiquity, many injured plaintiffs are unsure of their rights under the law and how they can secure adequate damages in a rideshare accident scenario (car, truck, etc.).  If you’ve been injured in an accident involving a rideshare vehicle, then you may be entitled to damages, but the dispute may be complicated by a number of issues. Let’s take a peek at some of the basics. Insurance Coverage Whether you are likely to receive damages will depend — in many cases — on the insurance coverage.  In Arizona, rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft pay for liability insurance coverage of up to $1 million to cover accidents involving their drivers.  This liability insurance may vary depending on the circumstances. For example, suppose that you are riding as a passenger in an Uber when the driver crashes the car.  Given that the driver had already picked you up and was taking you to your destination, you would be entitled to the full $1 million of insurance coverage. Now, if a driver has not yet picked their passenger up, but is […]

Logging Devices Can Help You Successfully Litigate a Truck Accident Claim

Though truck accident claims can be a challenge to litigate, there are a number of unique opportunities available to those who are plaintiffs in such litigation. For example, if you’ve been injured in an accident involving a commercial trucker, then you could be entitled to bring an action for damages against their employer pursuant to vicarious liability principles. Among these various opportunities is the electronic logging device (ELD) that has been federally mandated for commercial drivers who are required to prepare hours-of-service records for their work. Let’s take a closer look. What is an Electronic Logging Device? Recently, federal legislation (that has been in the works since 2012) has come into effect.  The legislation mandates that an ELD be installed for commercial drivers — including truckers — to keep track of various data points that are intended to help manage driver “cheating” and minimize the safety risks typical of the industry, such as over-scheduling.  An ELD keeps track of a driver’s hours logged (and speed), among other data. How does an ELD help? Drivers cannot drive more than 11 hours a day, nor can they work more than 14 hours a day total.  Previously, drivers could “fudge the numbers” on their paper sheets by logging less than they actually worked, thus enabling them to travel a farther distance (so that they can be eligible for compensation bonuses) while remaining within the hourly maximum.  Now, with the ELD system in place, commercial drivers cannot log more than the maximum amount.  If […]

Settlement Should Not Be Your Only Option

If you’ve been injured in a car accident that was caused by the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another party, then Arizona law may give you a right of action against the defendant for damages.  As a general rule, most cases end in a settlement — rather than allow a case to proceed all the way through to trial, the defendant will typically negotiate a monetary compromise with the plaintiff. Effective negotiation is critical to successful car accident litigation, but it’s important that your attorney be a capable trial litigator as well.  Each of these skillsets have a significant impact on one another during litigation. Let’s take a closer look. Basics of Settlement Negotiation Settlement negotiations are fundamentally about “uncertainty.”  When you bring a lawsuit against the defendant(s), there is almost always an element of uncertainty.  For example, the defendant may be able to circumvent liability altogether.  Importantly, even if you can strategically corner the defendant and prove that they are liable, there may be uncertainty about the damages amount that you are entitled to receive. Now, this uncertainty has an effect during settlement negotiations, as a settlement is essentially an approximation of the risk to each party (and referenced against the total damages). How does this work? Suppose that you are injured in a car accident and have damages of roughly $100,000.  The defendant cannot avoid liability, but they argue that your damages are only $50,000.  All else being equal, the settlement compromise is likely to hover around […]

Improper Cargo Loading and Truck Accident Liability

Phoenix Truck Accident Lawyer In the realm of motor vehicle accidents, truck accidents are uniquely dangerous — particularly those that involve large trucks that may be loaded with cargo.  Trucks tend to be heavier than other vehicles, and as such, the impact forces in an accident are likely to be much more severe.  The aggregate force of impact can lead to serious (if not catastrophic) injuries or even death. Truck accidents can occur for a number of reasons, but among the more common types of truck accidents are those that are caused by improper cargo loading.  Improper cargo loading involves cargo that is not adequately secured (and is therefore prone to sliding or tumbling in the back of the truck), or cargo that has been placed in such a way that it creates a structural imbalance. Let’s examine this issue more closely. Improper Cargo Loading Can Create a Substantial Rollover Accident Risk Improper cargo loading — whether the cargo has not been secured properly or has been placed in a manner that creates a fundamental weight imbalance — can lead to a rollover accident in many cases, particularly situations where the driver is taking a sharp turn. Drivers may be additionally liable for failing to take into account their cargo load.  For example, if a truck driver is carrying a full load of cargo, they should be careful to slow down when taking turns and shifting lanes so as not to create a rollover accident.  Drivers must be considerate of […]

Do I Have a Responsibility to Make Myself Obvious as a Motorcyclist?

Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Motorcyclists have good reason to be paranoid while operating their vehicles on America’s roadways.  Motorcycle accidents — in Arizona and elsewhere — are often caused by car and truck drivers who fail to drive in a manner that accounts for the possibility of two-wheelers on the road, or who otherwise fail to “notice” the presence of a two-wheeler.  This can expose motorcyclists to an unreasonable risk of harm. Given the risks, it’s not surprising that many motorcyclists wonder whether they have an affirmative responsibility or duty to make themselves more (in the visual and auditory sense) obvious to others. Let’s explore some of the basics for a clearer understanding. Motorcyclists Must Exercise Reasonable Care — There is No Special Responsibility to Make Oneself Obvious Motorcyclists have no affirmative responsibility or duty to make themselves obvious.  In fact, it could be reasonably argued that attempts to make themselves more visible or otherwise obvious to other vehicles could expose the motorcyclist to additional risks of harm.  For example, many motorcyclists swerve within their lane to make themselves more visible to passing cars, but this activity can confuse other drivers — they may not be aware that you are intending to stay in your own lane. As a motorcyclist, your mind should be focused on exercising reasonable care given the circumstances.  If the actions necessitated by the circumstances involve making yourself obvious, then that would justify you doing so.  Otherwise, it’s not required to take additional or special actions […]

Negligent Hiring Claims and Commercial Vehicle Liability

Phoenix Accident Lawyer If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident due to the fault of another, then you may be entitled to recover damages pursuant to Arizona law.  It’s worth noting, however, that the lawsuit may change depending on whether the defendant was operating a “commercial vehicle.” If the defendant-driver was operating the vehicle for a commercial purpose — in other words, if they were an employee acting within the course and scope of their employment — then you might have legitimate, actionable claims against their employer on the basis of vicarious liability and negligent hiring theories of liability.  Claims against an employer are valuable for a number of reasons, chief amongst them the fact that employers tend to have deeper pockets and more to lose by going through litigation (i.e., their commercial reputation), and as such, you’re likelier to secure full and adequate damage recovery in litigation against the employer. Let’s explore negligent hiring claims. Independent Employer Negligence and Negligent Hiring Negligent hiring claims are “independent” claims brought against the employer for their own contribution of negligence in a commercial vehicle accident — they are quite unlike vicarious liability claims, which impose liability on the employer for the negligence perpetrated by the employee. In Arizona, you can hold the employer liable for both negligent hiring and for claims falling under the vicarious liability umbrella. Thus, in order to succeed in establishing liability in a negligent hiring lawsuit, you’ll have to show that the defendant-employer actually acted in […]

Hit and Run Accidents

Hit and run accidents are more common throughout the United States than you might think.  A recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety report indicated that an average of 682,000 hit and run crashes occur annually (based on data recorded since 2006).  If you’ve been injured in a hit and run accident, then you may have a right of action for damages, even if the other driver cannot be found.  If the driver can be found and depending on the circumstances, your case may be strengthened by the fact that the defendant fled the scene. Reasons Why a Defendant May Flee the Scene There are a number of reasons as to why a defendant may flee the scene of an accident, some of which are more “egregious” than others.  Consider the following: Lack of insurance coverage Underinsured Concern over potential liability Driving while intoxicated (and want to avoid being arrested and charged) Fear of reprisal Shock Unaware of collision If a defendant flees the scene, you are not entirely without options for litigating your injury claims.  You may be able to identify the defendant by gathering and evaluating surveillance footage, speaking to eyewitnesses or by monitoring the accident scene after the collision, as most drivers tend to stick to a pattern of travel if the collision occurred on a daily commute. Civil Liability for a Hit and Run Accident Hit and run accidents may not only expose the defendant to criminal liability, but may also expose them to potential civil liability, […]

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