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Get the Compensation You Need For Auto Accident Injuries

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) finds that 52% of all personal injury lawsuits in this country are car accident cases. Indeed, every year there are more than 5.5 million auto accidents in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Of those, about 35,000 or so are fatal, and thousands more end in mild to severe injuries. There are many things that cause auto accidents — texting, distractions, running past stop signs, etc. — but the most prevalent is excessive speeding. More than 40% fatal car accidents are due to speeding. Moreover, about 20% of all car accidents, fatal or not, are due to distracted driving. Unfortunately, the NHTSA maintains that about one out of 10 drivers in the U.S. consistently used their cellphones while driving. This is a serious risk factor, so much so that many states such as New York have banned using your cellphone while driving outright. Still, that doesn’t prevent millions of drivers around the country from using their cellphones while driving, which, as a result, leads to serious road accidents. If you are ever in a car accident due to the negligence of another driver, auto accident injury attorneys can help. Auto accident related injuries can be very serious. From broken bones and damaged organs to nerve and brain damage, auto accidents are by far one of the worst, and frequent, accidents in the U.S. today. Accident attorneys — that is, licensed attorneys who concentrate on auto accident cases — can get you the just and fair auto injury claims you deserve. Auto injury claims can provide you and...

The Top 10 Most Important Steps To Take After A Car Accident

Experiencing a car accident can be absolutely devastating, and you may feel disoriented if you’ve been hit. However, there are some simple steps that you can take afterwards to make sure that you and your passengers get the care you need and to make sure that the parties responsible for the crash — not you — will be liable for the damages. Stay in your car. Whether your crash happened on the highway or at a busy intersection, it is important for you to stay where you are. Many fatalities occur on roadways after the initial accident, where people may have stepped out of their cars and are hit by passing vehicles. These make up a significant portion of the 4,432 pedestrian deaths each year. Observe how others are behaving. Take notice of whether or not other people involved in the accident are injured or appear to be hurt. In some incidents, injuries can manifest after an accident. Whiplash, for example, occurs about 120,000 times per year, and because it results from soft tissue damage, the injury may occur later. However, it’s also crucial to note how other drivers and passengers act after an accident, so you can prevent fraudulent injury claims later. Request a police report. After any sort of accident, you should always ask for a police report — and make sure to file one. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, around 10 million or more crashes go unreported annually. Get names and contact information of witnesses. If witnesses were present at your accident, you should be sure to exchange contact information with them. In...

The 5 Types of Wrongful Dismissal Compensation

Variously referred to as wrongful dismissal, wrongful termination and unfair dismissal, wrongful dismissal cases deal with the illegal firing of employees. If you believe that your employer fired you because of your inclusion in a protected group, for example, or because you blew the whistle on illegal practices, then you may be eligible to file an unfair dismissal claim. Employee lawsuits in general have increased by around 400% in the past 20 years, and wrongful termination lawsuits have gone up by around 260% over that same period of time. Can you win your case? It’s impossible to know until you try, although qualified wrongful termination lawyers can help you assess the strength of your claim. Among employee lawsuits that actually go to trial in state courts in the U.S., about 67% are won by the employee. But before you get started with a legal process, you’ll want to educate yourself on the reasons for filing such a lawsuit — including the wrongful dismissal compensation you may be eligible for. These damages, as monetary compensation is called, generally fall into five categories: Lost Pay The biggest aspect of wrongful dismissal compensation is generally based on how much you would have earned had your employer not improperly fired you. Keep in mind that this figure will be adjusted if you have earned any money since your firing (and you are expected to look for equivalent employment in order to have a strong case). So if you were able to find a new job but it pays $1,000 less per month than your old job, you could ask for $1,000 per month...

This Study Will Make You Think Twice About Using Your Phone in the Car

Experienced personal injury attorneys know that any new information regarding the causes or prevention of car accidents is relevant to personal injury law; more than half, 52%, of personal injury lawsuits each year in the United States are auto-related, meaning auto accident lawyers spend a lot of time looking at data about car accidents. Any behavior that could put you at fault in an accident is one that could also end up fueling a car accident injury claim or lawsuit (since auto accident injury claims are generally filed with the insurance company of the at-fault driver). It should come as no surprise to you that driving while distracted is one of the top ways you can end up on the wrong side of a car accident injury claim. About 20% of all auto accidents in the U.S. are caused by distracted drivers. And it should also come as no surprise to you that a major source of that distraction is the use of cell phones. The National Highway Transportation Safety Authority has estimated that about 11% of drivers in the U.S. not only use their cell phones while driving, but use them frequently. Now, a new study is claiming that the percentage of accidents caused by cell phone use is actually much higher than what is represented by federal data. More Than a Quarter of Crashes Caused by Cell Phones A study recently released by the National Safety Council has found that cell phone use is causing more and more accidents, accounting for more than a quarter of all accidents in the country as of 2013. About 21% of...

Sleeping Pills Raise Risk of Car Accidents as Much as Alcohol, Study Finds

Most drivers know that drunk driving is extremely dangerous, both for individual drivers and for anyone else on the road with them. There are around 5.5 million car accidents each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; the Centers for Disease Control estimate that about a third of all fatal accidents involve drunk driving, and approximately 1.4 million arrests are made annually for drunk driving. Now, a new study is suggesting that certain sleeping pills can impair drivers as much as alcohol can. That’s relevant news for drivers who want to be responsible in their driving habits, as well as for auto accident injury attorneys or anyone else involved with auto injury lawsuits and personal injury law (52% of personal injury lawsuits are filed in response to auto accidents, according to the Bureau of Justice statistics). Study: Sleeping Pills Impair Drivers As Much as Alcohol A new study led by the University of Washington’s pharmacy school used data from medical and driving records to determine that patients on three prescription sleep aids have a much higher risk of car accidents than those who are not — even after the pills should no longer be affecting them. Patients on the medication Restoril were shown to have a 27% higher risk of being in a crash (over a period of five years). Patients on Oleptro had a 91% higher risk. And Ambien users were more than twice as likely to be involved in a crash during that five-year period. As the researchers noted in the study, those risks are roughly equivalent to drivers with a blood alcohol concentration level...

Helping Teen Drivers Navigate the Deadliest Season of the Year

Driving can be dangerous. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, around 5.5 million car accidents take place in the United States every single year. Teen drivers, in particular, are likely to get into accidents — and now that school’s out for the summer, we’re entering the most dangerous days of the year for teen drivers. As a parent, you probably have dual concerns regarding your teen or teens’ driving. First and foremost is their safety. But you also need to be thinking about your own personal injury liability, since it will be you and your insurance company who will bear the brunt of an auto accident injury claim or accident injury lawsuit should your teen driver cause an accident. Carrying adequate liability insurance and having accident injury attorneys can mitigate those legal effects, but it’s still best to avoid them in the first place. With that in mind, here’s what accident injury attorneys wish all teen drivers and their guardians knew about preventing teen driving accidents and injuries: There’s No Such Thing as “Safe Speeding” Speed limits are put in place to protect drivers and pedestrians, and there’s no way to safely exceed the speed limit. Speeding is a factor in a full 40% of fatal accidents in the U.S. — and it’s better to be late than to not get there at all. Texting Isn’t Safe Even Where It’s Legal Texting has been shown, time and time again, to be an extremely dangerous activity in the car. For that reason, most areas have hands-free laws banning the use of cell phones and similar electronic devices. Still,...

The Details of Demand Letters

If you’re pursing an accident injury claim or accident injury lawsuit in the U.S., it’s highly likely that your case is related either to an auto accident (which, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, are at the center of 52% of personal injury cases in the nation) or to medical malpractice (which is the cause of about 15% of personal injury cases in the nation). You might also need to file a claim or lawsuit for cases related to workplace injury or a slip and fall on someone else’s property. The details of your case will, of course, cause you to adjust some of your strategies. If you’ve been hurt in a car crash, it makes sense to hire experienced auto accident injury attorneys, for example, whereas if you’ve been hurt by a medical error, it makes sense to hire experienced medical accident injury attorneys. But some aspects of personal injury cases stay consistent regardless of how you’ve been hurt. One of those aspects is that you’re highly likely to end up agreeing on an informal settlement long before the case gets to trial; in the U.S., only about 2% of personal injury cases end up making it to court. Starting the Negotiation Process So how do you initiate the settlement process? The vast majority of negotiations are begun by what’s called a demand letter. That’s a letter that you, the injured, send to the party you think should be paying the settlement. In most cases, that will be the insurance company of the negligent driver or other party in question. An insurance adjuster then reviews the letter...

Memorial Day: One of the Deadliest Days of the Year

We don’t typically think of Memorial Day as being a particularly dangerous holiday. But even as we commemorate those who have given their lives serving in the United States’ armed forces, many more lives are placed at risk over the weekend as people — particularly teens — get behind the wheel. Memorial Day Driving Deaths Memorial Day is the first major holiday weekend of the year, and it’s also considered the unofficial start of summer. But the combination of the long weekend and good weather also means that a lot more people are driving — according to AAA, 87% of travel on Memorial Day weekend happens by automobile. There are a few things you can keep in mind to keep you safer on the road: Don’t Drink and Drive Don’t let the holiday spirit tempt you into having a drink or two too many and then getting behind the wheel. An average of 161 people per day are killed in accidents over the three-day Memorial Day weekend, and 40% of those are killed in drunk-driving crashes. Drive Defensively As much as holiday travel is meant to be a vacation, family trips often tend to be stressful, with a car full of people and pressure to get someplace on time. Don’t let yourself get distracted; keep your attention on your driving, plus on all the other cars around you. Remember, other drivers are probably dealing with most of the same stressors as you are, even if they’re trying to make responsible decisions. There are 13.1% more traffic deaths on Memorial Day weekend, on average, than on a regular non-holiday weekend,...

How Depositions Work in Auto Accident Injury Lawsuits

Most auto accident injury attorneys don’t recommend a lawsuit as your first course of action after being hurt in a car crash. But if you’ve filed an accident injury claim with an insurance company or sent a demand letter and have still been unsuccessful in recovering adequate car accident compensation, then it’s probably time to actually file an accident injury lawsuit. One of the most important phases of a lawsuit — because it will greatly influence the outcome of your case — is called “discovery.” And one of the most important aspects of discovery in car accident-related lawsuits is the process of taking depositions. Here’s what you need to know about them: What a Deposition Is A deposition is sworn testimony that is given out of court. It is still given under oath, but the judge or other court personnel are generally not involved. In most cases, a court reporter will administer the oath, record the testimony and provide a written transcript that can be used in court. Not only can the claimant (that’s you, if you file a lawsuit) and defendant (the party you’re accusing) be deposed, but so can witnesses to the accident, medical practitioners and expert witnesses. What to Expect When You’re Deposed If you file a lawsuit, you will almost certainly be deposed by the defendant’s auto accident injury attorney. They will probably ask you to recount your remembrance of the accident, which you should do honestly and without exaggeration. You may also need to answer questions about your medical records and treatment choices, as well as your employment situation (if you are seeking compensation...

Information You Need After an Auto Accident Injury Claim

About 6 million car accidents take place each year in the United States, meaning that most drivers will get into a car crash at some point during their lives. It’s important you know that you, as a driver, can do a lot to prevent crashes by following the rules of the road and focusing on your surroundings; speeding is a major cause of car accidents (and is involved in 40% of all auto accident-related fatalities in the U.S.), and distracted driving is at play in at least 20% of all U.S. car accidents. But even if you drive as carefully as you can, you can’t control other drivers. That means it also pays off to know who to turn to after a car accident and what you should do in an accident’s immediate aftermath. Regardless of whether you’re going to be filing an auto accident injury claim through an insurance company or hiring an accident injury attorney to file an auto injury lawsuit, there’s some information you should try to collect at the scene (assuming you don’t need emergency medical attention, of course) to strengthen your case. Here’s a checklist you can even print out and keep in your glove compartment so you won’t forget anything if you are in an accident. Vehicle and Personal Information If you’re going to be filing an accident injury claim or lawsuit, you’ll want to have as much information as possible about the vehicles and people involved. Be sure to jot down all of the following: The make, model and license plate number of any vehicle or vehicles involved The other driver’s name...

7 Car Accident Facts That Might Change How You Drive

Since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates about 5.5 million car accidents occur in the United States each year, it should be no surprise that car accidents are the most common reason people file accident injury lawsuits (work injuries are the second most common cause for personal injury lawsuits), learn more car accident facts here. Generally, accident injury attorneys only become involved in the car accident process after a crash has occurred, helping to negotiate fair auto accident injury claims or car accident settlements. But because they deal with the aftermath of such accidents every day, auto accident injury attorneys also wish that people knew more about car accidents and how to prevent these tragic and unnecessary injuries and deaths. Here are seven facts all drivers should be aware of every time they get behind the wheel: Drivers Don’t Just Need to Look Out for Cars It’s likely that when you get on the road, most of your attention is on other cars. But according to the World Health Organization, about half of crash victims are other road users who are left vulnerable without the protection of a car: pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. Seat Belts and Car Seats Save Lives — Period All 50 states have seat belt laws of some kind, but avoiding tickets isn’t the only reason to buckle up. According to the WHO, seat belts reduce the risk of death in a crash by 61%, if used correctly. Children should be in size-appropriate protective restraints as well; mandated use of car seats can reduce child deaths by about 35%. Speeding Almost Always Inhibits Safety Auto...

The 3 Most Important Workplace Discrimination-Related Questions

Since the law is too far-reaching for lawyers to focus on all things equally, most law firms choose just a few areas of the law to practice. Many of these categories cover quite a few issues. Personal injury law covers both car accidents, for example, which account for the majority of injury lawsuits filed in the U.S., and work-related injury, the second-most-frequent cause for personal injury lawsuits. Similarly, employment law covers issues such as wage theft and wrongful dismissal lawsuits in a variety of contexts. Of all the employee laws that protect workers in the U.S., one concept workers should thoroughly understand — and, all too often, don’t — is that of discrimination. This is important because discrimination can play into several workplace situations such as harassment and unfair dismissal claims, and it’s impossible to stand up for your rights as an employee if you don’t know what those rights are. Here are three of the most important questions you should be asking about discrimination, answered: What Constitutes Workplace Discrimination?  People are often surprised by how few things are legally classified as discrimination. Your employer can fire you, for example, because of your shoes, your voice or your height, in most cases. The only classes protected by federal law are race, color, national origin, citizenship status, sex, religion, disability, genetic information, and age (if you are at least 40). Some states provide additional protections for sexual orientation, youth and other factors, but not all. That’s one reason why, if you’re truly considering a lawsuit, it’s important to discuss your case with local employment lawyers rather than relying on general...

What to Do If You Get Hurt at Work

Many people are hurt on the job each year in the United States, and about 6,000 workers die every year due to injuries sustained at work. These types of injuries are varied, and not what you might expect. About 7 million people are injured in slip-and-fall accidents alone; according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data from 2012, 375 employees were even killed in shootings. So what should you do if you’re hurt at work and need coverage for your medical expenses or lost wages? The first thing you should do, seeking help from a work injury attorney if necessary, is determine if the job site was hazardous. If the workplace was in violation of safety regulations and you were hurt as a result, then a personal injury lawsuit may be the best course of action. But in most cases, a workers compensation claim is the appropriate response. Workers compensation is a kind of insurance most employers are required to purchase, and it pays out on a no-fault basis (meaning that you don’t need to establish negligence in order to make an accident injury claim). Here’s what you should do if you are hurt and think you’re entitled to workers compensation: Report the Injury Immediately The reporting period in which you must file a claim for an accident varies from state to state, but can be quite short. That means you shouldn’t wait to report your injury to your employer. Even if you’re not sure if you’ve been injured or not, it’s a good idea to report any accident that might cause injury; at the very least, steps might be...

An Overview of Pain and Suffering Damages in Auto Injury Lawsuits

One of the reasons it’s important to hire experienced personal injury lawyers is because they help their clients prepare for court and avoid costly errors. No part of a case requires this expertise more than determining what kind of damages to seek. In a recent blog, we explained the different kind of damages that might come into play as part of car accident settlements in auto injury lawsuits. Here, we’ll dig deeper into one of the most commonly misunderstood types of car accident compensation: pain and suffering. What Isn’t Pain and Suffering The first thing to understand about pain and suffering is that simply experiencing some pain may not be enough to make a claim, and not all auto injury lawsuits include pain and suffering damages. There is no law that requires insurance companies to award these damages (which is why you’ll probably need to ask for them in a demand letter or go to court — your auto accident injury attorney will help you decide which route is more beneficial). In some states, a threshold is set below which you are not eligible for pain and suffering compensation. What Is Pain and Suffering Pain and suffering covers not only bodily harm, but emotional distress. The latter might cover depression, anxiety, memory loss, the inability to play with your children, the inability to have intimate relations with your spouse or other kinds of mental trauma. Injuries with extended recovery times or permanent effects are also more likely to result in a pain and suffering award. These might include loss of a limb, burning or scarring. Calculating Pain and Suffering...

Demystifying the Meaning of "At Will" Employment

Most of the time on this blog, we share statistics relating to accidents and personal injury. That’s both because we want victims to know about their rights and because we want to educate people on their responsibilities and discourage them from engaging in dangerous behavior. The majority of personal injury lawsuits, for example, are filed in response to car accidents, and yet people persist in dangerous practices such as talking on their cell phones while driving (11% of drivers do so regularly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates) or even driving drunk (a crime for which 1.4 million people are arrested each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control). But today, we want to talk about another area of the law in which victims are often very under-informed about their rights despite widespread problems: employee laws. Most workers know that their employment is “at will,” meaning that their employers can let them go at any time without their doing anything wrong. But what you may not know is that there are certain cases in which your employer is not allowed to fire you. You’ll need to discuss case details with a wrongful termination lawyer before determining if your rights as an employee have been violated, but you should at least know that you cannot be fired in the following situations: If Your Employer Is Discriminating Just as your employer isn’t allowed to discriminate in hiring based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin, he or she may not fire you for any of those reasons. There are also more limited protections at the federal and some...

3 Things to Look for in a Great Accident Injury Attorney Besides Legal Expertise

Since about 6 million car accidents occur in the United States each year, it should come as no surprise that 52% of U.S. personal injury lawsuits concern auto accidents, according to the Bureau of Justice. (Work related-injury is the second-most-frequent cause for personal injury lawsuits.) One of the greatest dilemmas faced by the people involved in these cases is how to find conscientious and experienced personal injury lawyers to handle their cases. If you’re among them, you’re probably looking for some guidance. When you hire accident injury attorneys, part of what you’re paying for is legal expertise; that’s why, obviously, you want to hire an attorney who is in good standing with his or her local bar association and who has considerable experience in the kind of case you’re considering. But there are also components of finding the right lawyer that have nothing to do with legal knowledge, but are instead about character and integrity. Here are three signs you’ve found an honest attorney you can trust to put your interests first: They Don’t Pursue or Pressure You in Any Way The dreaded “ambulance chaser” label applies to only very few personal injury attorneys, but these are the ones you should definitely stay away from. This doesn’t mean you should be wary of each and every law firm that reaches out to you (after all, they have to advertise or else clients would never find them), but you should never feel pressured to make a decision. A great attorney will offer his or her services, present you with the facts, and then allow you to make your own decision....

The 4 Types of Damages Auto Injury Attorneys Deal With

Personal injury lawyers provide a wide variety of services for their clients, helping to gather evidence, prove injury, file accident injury claims and (if necessary) plead the case in court. But the majority of personal injury lawsuits in the U.S. have to do with car accidents, and many of the questions people ask auto injury attorneys have to do with car accident settlements — and more specifically, how car accident compensation is calculated. Laws vary from state to state, so it’s impossible to give a specific and also universally accurate number. But there are some basic terms you can learn to make sense of the process. There are four types of damages you’ll want to understand: Compensatory Damages Compensatory damages, as their name implies, are intended to compensate the victim for harm caused by the negligent party. In the case of car accidents, these are generally paid by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. In most states, a victim can receive a scaled settlement even if he or she was partially at fault for the accident, though in some places the victim cannot have contributed to the accident at all in order to claim damages.   Economic Damages Economic damages, also called special damages, are a subset of compensatory damages. They commonly include medical expenses, property damage or loss of earnings (if, for example, the victim cannot work for six months because he or she is recovering from the accident).   Non-Economic Damages Also a subset of compensatory damages, non-economic damages (also called general damages) address issues such as pain and suffering or emotional distress. A victim who suffers from...

Fact-Checking Popular Conceptions About Auto-Related Personal Injury Law

Given the number of car accidents that take place in the United States each year — 5.5 million, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration — it should be no surprise that the Bureau of Justice attributes 52% of personal injury lawsuits to automobile accidents. But laypeople often have misconceptions about how to go about getting fair compensation for injuries associated with car accidents. Below are five of the most common myths about car accident injury claims, busted: Auto Injury Laws Are Simple to Understand There is a legal framework that allows victims of car accidents to pursue just compensation (generally from the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier). But the process is far from straightforward, and regulations vary by state. When accident injury attorneys recommend that you hire a lawyer rather than trying to navigate the legal system on your own, they’re not simply trying to drum up business: Knowing the ins and outs of personal injury law can be vital to a successful case, and you can be sure that the insurance company on the other side will have an experienced legal team with the simple goal of saving their employer money. Fighting in Court Is Always the Right Financial Decision You might be surprised to learn that only about 4% of personal injury lawsuits filed in the U.S. go to trial; the vast majority are settled outside of court. If you’re offered a fair settlement by the insurance company, then it’s probably to everyone’s advantage to avoid litigation. There are times, however, when an insurance company is counting on your being too intimidated to pursue a better...