Pima County Memorial Day DUIs

injury lawyer Tucson AZ

Memorial Day DUIs in Pima County

Memorial Day DUIs are so common in Pima County, that the police departments  offer over time for their officers and employ more officers than on a typical non-holiday weekend. Checkpoints are set up throughout the County stopping every driver to see if they have had too much to drink. The checkpoints are set up during the early afternoon and continue throughout the night.

The checkpoints are Constitutionally valid and help to stop hundreds of motorists throughout the Memorial Day weekend. Further, hundreds of other motorists are motorists are stopped throughout Sahuarita, Oro Valley, Tucson, South Tucson, Green Valley and other municipalities.

Avoiding DUI accidents

This means that drivers should be very careful and should take precautionary measures to avoid being victims of a DUI accident. Driving after 10:00 pm on Pima County roads during Memorial Day weekend has proved to be dangerous and sometimes even deadly. Wrongful death motor vehicle accident cases multiply during a weekend when are supposed to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect this county, or who served honorably in the armed forces. The Memorial Day weekend should be reserved to respecting, honoring, and remembering all the soldiers that have selflessly left their hometowns, their families, and their schools to serve in the military. Many times this weekend turns into tragedy with families spending time at the hospital or eventually in a funeral home.

Victims of DUI Accidents in Pima County

Two years ago, on Memorial Day weekend, we received a heartbreaking phone call. A young man from Tucson was leaving for training for the military, or boot camp. He came back to Tucson one last time before entering the USMC Marine Corps Boot Camp. On his way from the Tucson International Airport he was injured to the point that a military doctor declared him to be “disabled” and unable to serve. DUI accidents destroy lives, families, and the health of young and innocent victims. Don’t drink and drive, and counsel others to avoid any drinking before driving. Unfortunately, stories like this one are prevalent throughout Arizona and the rest of the country.

Contact a DUI Accident Lawyer in Pima County if you were a victim of such an accident.

Documenting your losses after the accident

noting your injuries

Noting your injuries and losses

As bad as a car accident may be, you still have to protect yourself by securing medical care and noting all of injuries and losses.  Write down your medical expenses, out of pocket co-pays, mileage, limited activities, and the loss of your wages.  Present all of this information to the insurance adjustor, or to your Tucson attorney if you are represented.  You are entitled to be compensated for all of these losses.  Activities that are limited should be written because you are likely to forget what you were not able to do 4 weeks after the accident, after a lawsuit is filed and your deposition is taken 2 years after the accident.

Talk to your doctors about the accident

A common problem that we have seen is that an accident victim will not speak about the injuries that they sustained to their primary care doctor.  Typically the appointment with such a doctor was set prior to the motor vehicle accident, so the injury victim does not mention the accident at all and the medical record does not note that an accident occurred!  This is a problem because insurance adjustors will ask why the accident was not mentioned at all.

Keep a diary

Keeping a diary may be the best solution to document every one of your problems after the collision.  Write down how the accident negatively affected your life.  Talk about how your time with your family is now different since the collision.  Everything that you can think of can help you.  Pictures and video of your condition can also be used to illustrate your injuries.  We once had a client that videotaped her inability to walk after the accident.  This was presented to a mediator who was deeply saddened by her condition.  You can paint the right picture when it comes to describing your injuries.  Work with your attorney and do not leave any losses undisclosed.

By: Lawyer Adolfo Lara Tucson Arizona

Meeting with your Lawyer Before Mediation

car accident and lawyers

Understanding Your Injury Case

Both you and your attorney must know the accident case very well before you attend a mediation. The mediation is a process wherein all attorneys and all parties join to discuss a possible settlement of all claims from all parties. Typically, the mediator is either a very experienced attorney or a very experienced (and retired) judge. The mediator is not free, unlike a Settlement Conference, but it is a great way to discuss every issue and how to end litigation all at once. The mediation will take about 3 to 4 hours and the mediator is paid by the hour.

In our experience 98% of all cases have settled through a mediator before both sides want to settle at some middle ground, rather than litigate for another year. Hence, an understanding of the case with your attorney can help both the client and the attorney.

 

What to discuss with your Attorney

The topics to discuss well in advance of the mediation are: damages, potential theories to be presented at trial regarding liability, causation of damages, and the real strengths and weaknesses of your case. Understanding all of these topics will guide the client, the mediator and the attorneys to reach an amicable resolution. The client must “know” their case in the sense that they must know the details of how much time they lost from work, how the accident affected their daily activities, and how the medical bills will be paid at the end of the case (either through the settlement, health insurance, and whether there are any liens on your personal injury settlement).

While this process can give you a big headache, this is the time when you have to discuss every potential issue with your client. Nobody asks to be involved in a motor vehicle accident, but once you are injured you have to mitigate your damages, weigh your options when going to trial, and ask yourself what result you would expect to walk away from the lawsuit.

Talk to a Tucson attorney today to receive a free evaluation of your case.

How to Deal With Pre-Existing Conditions

Car Accident and Your Pre-Existing Injury

A common problem faced by car accident victims is the fact that they do have a prior injury before the car accident took place.  This information is used by insurance adjustors to allege that you were not injured at all and that your injury was simply already there before the collision.  This argument really does add insult to injury because a person with a prior condition, such as a bad hip, will have an aggravated injury after a car accident, such as being tied down to a wheelchair due to the extreme hip pain after the motor vehicle accident.

In any event, talk to your attorney about what you were suffering from before the accident, and how your life and the quality of your life is now different since the accident.

 

Health Requests from Insurance Companies

After a lawsuit is filed, insurance companies (and their attorneys) have the right to inspect your medical records, typically for the last 5 years.  The request is made with the hope that your medical records show pre-existing injuries that are similar or overlap with your complaints of pain in those certain areas of your body.

 

The Truth About Pre-Existing Injuries

Most of us have engaged in some physical activity that may have injured us in the past.  The military, sports, or work injuries may have injured us at some point in our lives.  Such injuries can be severely aggravated with more damage such as the blunt trauma experienced during a car accident.  Our clients have suffered many different injuries, some where the person with a prior hip injury could no longer walk, one where a teacher could no longer speak fluently to her students after the collision, and some where the prior football injury became unbearable after the car accident and such client could not return to college football.  Thus, it is extremely important to communicate your very personal injury to your insurance company.

Talk to your doctors too so that they also document the new injuries or how the prior conditions became severely aggravated after the accident. Documentation and argument is of the essence in these cases!

Preparing for Your Injury Claim Settlement Conference

Pima County Judge Pro Tem

Preparing and Attending Your Injury Claim Settlement Conference

You should meet with your attorney once or twice before the settlement conference.  If you cannot attend the meeting prior to the settlement conference, at least call your attorney to discuss your injuries at length before attending the settlement conference.  The settlement conference may be the last time that you may be able to express your point of view, present your medical billing, lost wages, and future damages.  Some of my clients are still in medical treatment at the time of the settlement conference and a future medical care report is presented to the Settlement Conference Judge (or Judge Pro Tem).

An Inexpensive Resolution of Your Injury Case

The settlement conference is a very inexpensive manner of resolving your personal injury case.  Unlike a mediator, a Settlement Conference Judge does not have to be paid.  Further, the Superior Court will make some courtrooms available for the litigants at no cost to you.  The Settlement Conference will take about 3 hours or less and the courthouse does not receive any payment.  In Pima County, the Position Statements submitted to the settlement conference judge is confidential and is not filed with the Court.  This means that there is no filing fee for submitting your memorandum and the exhibits to the Judge Pro Tem.

Understanding All of Your Damages and Your Case

Understanding of all your damages, the theories of liability, comparative negligence, and strengths and weaknesses of your case before attending the settlement conference is a must.  At the settlement conference, the Judge Pro Tem speaks with the parties in separate conference rooms and thus becomes the only person that can be a voice for your client.  The settlement conference judge needs to know everything about your claim and why it is better for the opposing party and attorney to settle the case rather than spending thousands of dollars on a trial.  This is especially important in a case with multiple parties or a wrongful death claim.

judicial officer pima county

Pursuing Other Parties After an Injury Claim Settlement Conference

In Arizona, you  may pursue a claim against all parties involved in the accident.  The adverse vehicle owner provides the primary auto insurance coverage for your losses.  The adverse vehicle driver provides the secondary excess coverage for your injuries.  Then, you may still pursue compensation through your own underinsured motorist policy or uninsured motorist policy that you purchased before the accident.  Hence, the Settlement Conference will most likely involve a written settlement that does not have to include the other parties or other insurances policies that can be used for your benefit.

Proper Auto Insurance Coverage Before an Accident

proper auto insurance in Arizona

Young family who is getting insurance coverage

Getting Proper Auto Insurance Before a Collision

Nobody wants to be injured in a collision, but the reality is that Phoenix and Tucson have too many accidents every single day.  The odds of being involved in an accident are high if you have a regular job from Monday to Friday and you commute to work.  As such, it is important to pay a little more in insurance premiums than to be stuck with a ton of medical bills to pay after an accident.  The Arizona legislature has recognized this problem and may change that problem this year.  Currently (as of February 2017), Arizona has a $15,000 / $30,000 minimum insurance limits.  The Arizona legislature will vote to see if we can increase that limit to $25,000 / $30,000.

The Problem of Low Auto Insurance Limits in Arizona

Our neighbors in New Mexico have the $25,000 per person / $30,000 for 2 people or more limits in place.  Arizona’s limits are too low and they have not been changed since 1972.  If we think about inflation and the rising cost of medical care and hospital visits to the emergency room, then the change should take place soon.  However, as always, there are opponents to the change in legislation who think that an increase in the rates of insurance will leave many people uninsured and with more penalties to pay after they are cited with no mandatory insurance.  Nevertheless, the problem of low insurance limits leads some injured victims with hospital bills that cannot be paid and without proper medical care after a collision.  The hospital liens for medical care will frequently exceed the $15,000 limit and those without proper health insurance are left with no compensation and a collections bill.

What Insurance to Buy Before an Accident

The proper insurance to buy before an accident includes:

  • Uninsured motorist coverage
  • Underinsured motorist coverage
  • Collision coverage
  • Rental insurance
  • Medical payments coverage
  • Comprehensive coverage
  • *Personal Injury Protection (this may have a different name in your State)
  • Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance
  • Life Insurance (some insurance companies have this type of coverage available in addition to accidental death insurance)

These types of insurance coverage will add to your monthly premiums, but they protect you and your family in this world of accidents and injuries.  I have met injured parties and families who have lost their businesses, their jobs, and even their family dynamics after an accident.  Inform yourself and meet with a competent insurance agent who will give you all of these options at a good rate.  Nobody wants to write a Last Will and Testament and nobody wants to think about an accident or life insurance, but these policies can make the difference between securing your family’s future and the downfall of your family’s well being.

Super Bowl Day DUI Citations and Accidents

DUI citations and accidents

Super Bowl Day DUIs

The local police departments in Arizona along with the Arizona Department of Public Safety have already begun to roll out their DUI vans for the big football day.  Super Bowl Sunday presents an unfortunate day for victims who are struck by drunk drivers. The DUI citations during the 2017 Super Bowl 51 are likely to increase, just like prior years. Super Bowl Sunday is one of the highest days for alcohol consumption, along with St. Patrick’s Day, New Year’s Eve and Cinco de Mayo.  Super Bowl Day DUI citations and DUI accidents will be at a high without a doubt.

 

Drive Safe and Early

Protect your family and yourself during Super Bowl Sunday by driving at a prudent time (keep in mind that most DUI citations take place from 11:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.).  Super Bowl Day DUI Citations are expected to yield over 200 DUI citations and arrests in Pima County. Unfortunately, fatal crashes also increase during this sports event and 1/5 of all fatal car accidents involve the use of alcohol.  We can all make a difference by moderating our intake of alcohol or deciding not to drink at all.

 

The Effects of Alcohol under the Legal BAC

The effects of alcohol can take place before a person reaches the legal blood alcohol content (“BAC”) of 0.08 percent.  Hence, even drinking a little can have an effect on your ability to drive. Further, you can be cited for being impaired even if your BAC is less than 0.08 percent.  If an accident occurs, the breathalizer test and the blood test can also be used against you when insurance companies and attorneys get involved. Choose to stay safe and choose not to drink instead.  Super Bowl Day DUI citations and DUI checkpoints will be commonplace especially at major intersections throughout Tucson, South Tucson, and Marana.

 

If you are hit by a drunk driver, call the local police and retain counsel.  You have the right to victim restitution and legal representation in the civil lawsuit against the defendant.

Automated Vehicle Laws and Safety

automated vehicles

Are Automated Vehicles Safe?

The first thing that comes to mind when automatic vehicles are discussed is their safety.  According to the studies conducted thus far, automated vehicles are in less accidents than the vehicles that we drive.  However, the thought of numerous automated vehicles traveling on our streets and highways is a shocking image for most of us.  A high count of these vehicles traveling alongside our vehicles, and malfunctioning street lights and sensors, may cause car accidents and injuries.  This new technology opens a new industry and a new wave of legal claims and lawsuits for defective products.  Also, the reaction to emergency situations is unknown at this point because it is likely that a human will react in a more reasonable manner to an emergency (robbery, storm, objects falling from other vehicles) than a computer.

Counties and cities will be responsible for maintaining sensors and street lights and signs that these vehicles will read.  One has to wonder if a personal injury claim and lawsuit against a government entity will be filed as a result of negligent maintenance of a street traffic light.

 

What Laws Apply to Automated Vehicles?

Liability

Some states have already begun to define what an automated vehicle is an how it can regulated.  The automated vehicle laws will have to be standardized at some point since the we typically cross city, county, and federal lands while driving to our jobs or to family members’ homes.  Google and other companies have made significant progress toward placing these vehicles on our roads.  If they are successful, the drivers will be liable for their actions while they are actually driving the vehicles.

The software companies and manufacturers may be liable for accidents caused by their vehicles while the driver is not engaged in driving.  Lastly, the drivers will have to report to the Motor Vehicle Department when they disengage their driving and the vehicle becomes self-operating.  The liability may be joint in some states between the driver and the software company and manufacturer, and the liability will be separate and severable in Arizona (between the driver/software company/manufacturer.  It will be interesting to see if a jury will place liability on a driver that “could have and should have” regained control over the automated vehicle before it caused an accident.

Insurance

The three States that have tackled insurance requirements for automated vehicles have required a $5 million insurance policy or a $5 million deposit for proof of financial responsibility.  This amount is meant to cover possible liabilities for damage to persons and/or property from the use of an automated vehicle.

 

When Will Completely Automated Vehicles be Accessible to Consumers?

Fully self-driving automated vehicles are not available at this time.  But, the constant improvements in technology will make semi-autonomous vehicles fully automatic in the near future.  The U.S. Department of Transportation should make these manufacturers report their test results and their failures before these vehicles are placed on the road.

 

Child Injury Auto Accident

Child Injury Auto Accident

Do You Need a Child Injury Auto Accident Lawyer?

No one wants to think of a child getting injured in an auto accident. The situation is even worse when an insurance company fails to pay the medical bills. Because minors cannot file a lawsuit, a parent must act on their behalf to help them receive compensation. Accident lawyers have experience with these matters and can get a settlement offer from the insurance company or pursue a case in court.

 

What should you do post-accident?

After an auto accident involving a child, it is important to get a copy of the police report and proof of the accident. An accident lawyer uses this information to establish fault and to help the adverse driver’s insurance company pay for the damages to the young passenger.  This also places all of the responsibility to pay the medical expenses on the other driver’s insurance. Unfortunately, an insurance company might refuse to pay these bills initially, or more compensation may be required.  At this point an attorney may need to file a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of the child.  The child’s guardian or parent(s) are named on the lawsuit as their legal representative.

 

How to sue on behalf of the child?

Personal injury cases can usually only be made by the person who suffered the injury through no fault of their own. Compensation in these cases is designed to cover pain and suffering, as well as medical costs and loss of future earnings. A child is unable to legally bring their own claim against a third party, although the law allows a parent or guardian to do so on the child’s behalf. This parent or guardian, or legal representative, must be of fault for the accident. An accident lawyer can help a parent learn about filing a lawsuit for the child after an auto accident.  Unlike adults, a minor has 2 years after becoming an adult (18 years of age) to file a lawsuit.

 

Should you accept a settlement after a child injury auto accident?

After a lawsuit is filed against a third party insurance provider, it is not uncommon for the company to offer a settlement. These settlements also release the company from any further liability. When an offer is received it is crucial to consult with an accident lawyer to make sure the amount offered is enough to cover all medical costs as well as other expenses to care for the injured child.

Although no parent wants to consider what will happen if their child is injured in an accident, it is necessary understand that the law has set up a way for parents to receive compensation on their child’s behalf. Accident attorneys often specialize in cases like this and help parents and guardians receive a settlement to take care of their child.
The funds of the child are left in a secure account 

After the settlement of a minor’s injury case, a conservatorship must be opened where a probate judge has to approve the settlement, attorney’s fees and costs.  The judge may reject the settlement and force the parties to go to trial.  Thus, the plaintiff’s representative (the minor’s parent or guardian) must be prepared to explain why this amount was accepted on behalf of a minor.  Once approved, the funds of the minor will go into a protected bank account.  The funds cannot be withdrawn before the minor is 18 years of age, but the minor’s parent or guardian may petition the court to release the funds before that time for the child’s benefit (school, medical needs).

Contact our office if you family has experienced a child injury auto accident.

 

Accidents with Senior Citizen Drivers

Senior Citizen Drivers

Know more about Accidents with Senior Citizen Drivers

A car accident happens whenever a passenger car is involved in an event or series of events which causes harm, such as property damage, traumatic brain injury or even death. Such incidents involving senior citizens are on the rise – and the numbers show an alarming increase with every passing year.

 

Why do you need a lawyer after an accident with senior citizen drivers?

Several accident related suits involving senior citizens are being filed each day and in most cases people are not attaining the benefits that they are entitled to receive. In each state, the timing for filing claims for accident may be different and only a personal injury lawyer may know all the details for attaining maximum benefits from a claim.

All car accident lawyers are giving free consultations for accident victims to determine how much compensation they are eligible to obtain.  If the victims proceed with filing a claim through them then they can agree on a contigency fee.  When an accident occurs, usually the culprits will quickly engage their lawyer or adjustor who in turn provides information for intimidating the victims.  And therefore, a car accident lawyer who is specialized in the field of accidents can help you achieve a better result.

 

 

What to expect?

When a lawyer is engaged with your case, he analyzes the issues related to that accident as soon as possible. It is necessary in order to proceed with formulating the procedures to go about as that is legally approved.  To make this easy and smooth as possible, the victims should contact their lawyer immediately so that he or she may take the fresh details of the events leading to the accident.  The lawyer can carry out his or her own additional investigation and make claims for compensation.

 

How to search for the an attorney in Tucson

Try to consult with a layer that focuses primarily on injury law (Arizona tort law).  You want someone who knows car accident cases and civil procedure extremely well.   Be sure that your lawyer has a strong record for litigating cases with a focus on client service and great results.