Documenting your losses after the accident

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

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.

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.

Understanding Neck Injuries Sustained in Auto Accidents

 Understanding Neck Injuries Sustained in Auto Accident

Understanding Neck Injuries Sustained in Auto Accidents

Getting injured in an accident can be a life changing experience.  When you suffer from neck injuries due to car collisions, it might range from minor, to serious and can be even fatal.  There are many individuals who are the victims of car accidents have to cope with the outcome of serious neck injury.

 

Years of medical treatment may be needed after a serious auto collision

Suffering from neck and the spine injuries can be physically and emotionally exhausting that requires years of medical treatment, a number of surgeries, and even rehabilitation programs.  There are instances where the vehicle collision victims never get the chance to recover, making daily lifestyle challenging and difficult.  Hence, an experienced and a qualified legal attorney may be needed in order to protect your interests in a car accident where it was someone else’s fault.

 

A personal injury attorney can help you to claim your entitled compensation

When you get in touch with a reliable personal injury attorney, a free consultation will be scheduled at your convenience.  Your case will be discussed after investigating the circumstances of the accident and thereby present to you the best legal outcome.  Our goal is to help you with recover the maximum financial compensation that you are entitled to.  Understanding neck injuries sustained in auto accidents is essential to getting the proper medical care and eventually the compensation for your pain and suffering.

 

What can a car collision do to your neck?

During a serious car accident, there is a forceful impact.  Thus, there is a real threat to the integrity of your spine and neck.  The spine features a wide number of nerve fibers, carrying the signals to and from the brain.  It is one of the most delicate parts of our bodies.  Hence, when there is an injury, your different body parts and organ functions can get affected after the whiplash or ligament injuries.

 

Long term outcome of an auto collision

The long term effects of neck and spine injuries can require an ongoing program  of medical care and attention.  Moreover, you may also suffer from your ability to work in terms of the wages lost, or even the loss of employment, or career.  Auto collisions can completely transform your life, from leading an active life to being restricted to a wheelchair or being bed ridden.

 

Get in touch with a legal expert today

The neck injuries are commonly caused by someone else’s negligence who is involved in the car collision.   The person at fault might have to make the compensation to the victim.  This is where a Tucson auto injury lawyer can help you with your claim and to resolve your lawsuit and in understanding neck injuries sustained in auto accidents.

 

Border Patrol Agent Fatal Motorcycle Accident

U.S. Border Patrol in a deadly accident

 

Officer Manuel Alvarez, a USBP Agent, lost his life in an accident yesterday when he collided with another Border Patrol Agent near Sells, Arizona.  The news is very saddening for all of our Arizona community and the BP force.  More so since Officer Alvarez was married and he had four children.  Officer Alvarez was only 37 years old and he had a great future ahead of him in law enforcement.  Further, Officer Alvarez had been with the USBP for 13 years and he was an experienced ATV rider.  His loss is both tragic and shocking.

 

border patrol accident

Other Fallen U.S. Border Patrol Officers

 

Other fallen USBP Officers include Officer Jose Daniel Barraza who was fatally injured when his Ford F-150 truck collided with a semi truck.  The crash took place on I-10 near Esperanza, Texas.  Officer Barraza was headed home after working the midnight shift.    Agent Barraza, a canine handler, was assigned to the Sierra Blanca station of the Border Patrol’s Big Bend Sector.

 

An Officer from El Paso, Texas, Border Patrol agent Leopoldo Cavazos Jr., was also killed in an ATV crash near Fort Hancock, Texas.  He was only 29 years old at the time of the accident.  Officer Cavazos, was originally from Houston, and he was a six-year veteran of the U.S. Border Patrol.  Officer Cavazos was assigned to the Fort Hancock Station, where he worked as a field intelligence agent, safety officer, and as a first responder.

 

Border Patrol Agent Fatal Motorcycle Accident

 

Congresswoman Martha McSally shared her condolences with the family and stated “I’m deeply saddened to hear of the death of Border Patrol Agent Manuel Alvarez.  Agent Alvarez put his life on the line so that others could be kept safe… the [agents] deserve our constant and unwavering gratitude. My sincere condolences go out to Agent Alvarez’s family…”

 

Value our law enforcement officers as they risk everything for us.

 

Teenagers Lose Their Lives in Multiple Fatal Accident

Fatal Accident in Tucson

 

Tucson is witnessing a very bad year in car accident fatalities.  This time two teenagers, the driver and the passenger, were fatally injured after the driver lost control of the vehicle and crossed the median.  As soon as the vehicle crossed over the median it was hit by oncoming traffic twice.  The first time it collided with a Jeep, and the second time it hit another truck.

 

The teenagers were identified as Travis Childress (driver) and Madisyn Bertsch (passenger).  The cause of the young driver’s inattentive driving behavior is unknown at this time.  Speed did not appear to be a factor in this collision, and no arrests or citation were issued.  The investigation by the Tucson Police Department is ongoing.  Next of kin of the teenagers were notified.

 

fatal accident Tucson

Statistics for Fatal Accident in Tucson

 

Car accidents such as this one have caused 32 deaths this year, thus far.  This is more than 5 fatalities than that seen last year in Tucson.

 

Arizona Law on a Fatal Accidents

 

This tragic accident is another example of negligent driving that can cause permanent losses to families and our communities.  Please drive carefully when you drive on Arizona roads.  Unsafe driving can lead to accidents that destroy property, injure victims, or lead to a loss of lives. Under Arizona law, victims of car accidents can seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, loss of property, and pain and suffering.  Tort law allows the decedent’s estate (and his family members) to sue for the loss of the deceased family member.  Arizona allows the parents, children, or spouses of a fatal accident victim to sue the responsible party in our state courts.

 

Please protect our communities and your families by driving sober, paying attention to all traffic signs, and within the speed limit to avoid any more fatal accidents in our city.