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Posted by on May 19, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Passengers In Truck Accidents Have Multiple Ways To Collect

Colliding with a big rig is, perhaps, one of the scariest accidents a person can be involved in. If you are passenger in a vehicle, however, you may have an easier time collecting compensation for injuries and losses you sustain than if you were the driver, because you don’t have to prove liability for the accident; you just have to know who to sue. Here are the various avenues for recompense available, and what you need to do to collect.

Suing the Driver of Your Vehicle

If the person driving the vehicle you were in was responsible for the accident, then you can file a claim for damages against the individual’s insurance. You would essentially treat the situation like any other accident, and request the person’s insurance information and file a claim.

However, there are two hiccups you may run into in this situation. If the driver of the vehicle doesn’t have sufficient insurance or any insurance at all, then you’ll have to file a claim under your own policy’s uninsured/underinsured coverage or sue the person directly for the damages if the individual has sufficient assets.

Being closely related to the individual (e.g. spouse or child) and living in the same household will also present a problem. Typically, you may not be able to submit a claim against the insurance company because you may already be covered by the policy, and you cannot submit a liability claim against your own insurance company. You’ll only be able to use the same recourse for compensation as the driver of the vehicle.

Suing the Other Driver

If the driver of the other vehicle is liable, then you can tap his or her insurance policy for your damages. Like before, you would simply get the insurance information and submit a claim or take the person to court (if he or she doesn’t have insurance).

If you live in a comparative negligence state, though, you’ll only be awarded the percentage amount the person was found liable. For instance, if the court or insurance company finds the person was only 60 percent liable for the accident, the individual will only have to pay 60 percent of your bill.

The good news is, as a passenger of the vehicle, you can file claims against both drivers and recoup the full amount owed. So if the driver of your vehicle was found 40 percent liable, then that person would be liable for paying the 40 percent of your bills still owed.

However, you cannot collect more than what’s due. If you are hit with $10,000 in medical bills, you cannot submit a $10,000 claim to both insurance companies and expect to get paid the full amount by both ($20,000). The insurance companies (or drivers) will only be jointly responsible for paying their share of the $10,000.

Suing the Trucking Company

You may have a lawsuit against the trucking company as well if the driver of the big rig was acting on behalf of his or her employer at the time the incident occurred. Employers can be held vicariously liable for employees’ acts if those acts occur while the employees are performing their job duties. For instance, if the truck driver was making deliveries for the company and caused the accident, you can hold the employer responsible for the damages the employee caused.

If the driver of the vehicle you were riding in is also suing the trucking company, you’ll need to decide whether you will join that person’s suit or launch your own. Joining up with the driver can lower the cost of litigation since you’ll be using the same attorney and only have to worry about getting through one trial. At the same time, testimony and other factors in the case may hurt your chances of recovering the right amount of compensation.

For more information about getting compensated for injuries and losses you sustained in a vehicle accident with a truck, contact a personal injury lawyer from a firm like Gabrielson Law Offices, Ltd

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Posted by on Apr 30, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

What Happens If You’re Injured after Your Flight Is Grounded Due to a Natural Disaster?

The recent tragedy in Nepal has left thousands of travelers stranded, awaiting a route home as airlines and other carriers have focused on the evacuation of those most closely affected by the earthquake. If you’re injured after your flight has been re-routed due to a natural disaster, what are your options? What if your only “injury” is to your pocketbook–are you entitled to recover financial damages resulting from your unplanned layover?  Here is how some principles of personal injury law may apply if your flight has recently been re-routed, as well as the accommodations an airline is required to provide upon redirecting your flight.

What must an airline provide upon re-routing your flight?

If you’re traveling on a US carrier and your flight has been re-routed to an alternate airport (or even country), the airline is required to reimburse you for the unused value of your ticket. However, in many cases, you’ll also need to secure accommodations for an overnight stay before the next outgoing flight is available. In this situation, the airline may provide–however, depending upon the specific contract language contained on your ticket, you may be entitled only to a voucher for a reasonably priced hotel, rather than reimbursed for the full costs of the hotel you use. 

If your airline carrier has exempted ‘”acts of God” from the situations for which it is required to reimburse passengers, you may even need to provide your own hotel room. Using this rationale, because the natural disaster was caused by unforeseen elements, rather than the airline’s action (or failure to act) the airline should bear no financial responsibility for any resulting inconvenience. However, in an effort to improve customer relations, an airline may still opt to cover some of these costs.

Is the airline responsible for any injuries or financial damage you suffer as a result of a re-routed flight? 

If you’re injured while stationed at an alternate location, or if you miss a once-in-a-lifetime event because your flight has been re-routed, you may have a legal claim against the airline–but only in certain situations. 

In general, the airline will not be responsible for injuries (or financial damages) you’ve suffered if its course of conduct was deemed prudent and reasonable under the circumstances. For example, if your flight path took you through an earthquake-affected area and your plane needed to continue past the affected area to safely land, it’s likely this action will be deemed reasonable — and it’s unlikely you’ll be able to collect from the airline if you’re injured by a vehicle or suffer other injury while traveling to your temporary hotel. 

If the airline instead chose to land in a dangerous area, against guidance or professional recommendations, this can establish the negligence or recklessness needed to succeed in a personal injury lawsuit.  

What must you prove in able to recover damages from the airline?

If you feel your injury was due to the airline’s negligence or recklessness, you’ll need to establish a few things in order to recover damages. First, you’ll have to show that the airline owed you a duty of care. The specific language governing the airline’s duties should be on your ticket (or in the documentation you received along with your ticket), and should state that the airline takes responsibility for transporting you from your departing destination to your arrival destination. 

You’ll next need to establish that the airline breached this duty. Although breaches solely due to natural disasters or other acts of God won’t put the airline in violation of its duty, a mishandling of an otherwise routine disruption could constitute a breach. 

Finally, you’ll have to show that the airline’s breach of its duty of care directly caused your personal injury, or placed you in circumstances that caused you to be injured. For example, if you’re struck by a car while crossing the street from the airport to your hotel, your first cause of action will be against the car driver.

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Posted by on Apr 6, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Negligence Laws Lets You Sue For Damages In No-Contact Motorcycle Accidents

Although you may drive your motorcycle in a responsible way, the same can’t be said for other people on the road. If you take action to avoid hitting another vehicle and get into an accident, you can still sue for damages even if the other person doesn’t hit you. Here’s what you need to know about recovering compensation for damages in no-contact accidents.

Suing for Negligent Behavior

People have a legal duty to be careful of other drivers and operate their cars, trucks, and motorcycles in a safe manner when on the roadways. If they fail to do so, they may be found to be negligent and held liable for any and all outcomes that result from their actions (or failure to act).

To successfully sue for negligence in a no-contact accident, you must prove four elements:

  • The person had a duty to exercise reasonable care
  • The person failed to exercise said care
  • Their actions caused harm
  • The harm resulted in actual damages (e.g. physical injuries)

For instance, a person drifts into your lane because he or she was texting and not paying attention to the road. You stomp on the brakes or swerve to avoid hitting them but end up crashing into a tree. The person can be held liable for the damages caused and made to pay you compensation for your losses provided you can prove those losses are the direct result of the crash.

Challenges to Proving Your Case

The first challenge you’ll face is proving the person acted negligently. If the driver of the other vehicle has a valid reason for taking the action he or she did while on the road, the individual may be able to escape liability. For instance, if the person swerved into your lane to avoid hitting a child, they may be able to successfully use the Sudden Emergency Doctrine as a defense against charges of driving negligently.

The Sudden Emergency Doctrine removes the standard of care people must take in cases where they are suddenly faced with an emergency situation through no fault of their own. As long as the person can prove he or she acted the same as any other reasonable person would in similar circumstances, the individual typically won’t be held liable.

Without that assignment of liability, it can be difficult for you to make a case that the person should be responsible for your losses. You may still have a case, though, if the person’s actions were caused by a third-party (e.g. the individual swerved to avoid an oncoming drunk driver). In this situation, you can go after the third-party for your losses.

Another issue you’ll face is proving the events happened as you claimed. This will be particularly challenging if the other driver doesn’t stop and you don’t have any identifying information that could help you track down the perpetrator. Not only will it be difficult to sue the other person for compensation for damages, you may have a hard time convincing your insurance provider to pay your claim.

In this situation, you’ll need to find witnesses who will corroborate your story. These witnesses can be:

  • A passenger riding with you on the bike
  • People who stop to help you on the road
  • Video recordings taken by other drivers, security cameras, or traffic cameras

If you’re able, get the contact information of everyone at the scene of the accident so you, your insurance company, and/or your attorney can follow up with the people to get their version of events, which may help your case.

You should also make note of whether or not there were any traffic or security cameras that may have recorded the event. These digital records aren’t kept forever, so the sooner you can request the footage from surrounding businesses and the local government the better. Additionally, you may want to spend a little time looking on video sharing sites like YouTube to see if anyone recorded the event and uploaded it to the Internet.

For more information about litigating no-contact accidents or assistance with recovering damages in your case, contact a motorcycle attorney from a firm like Hinkle Law Offices in your area.

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Posted by on Mar 19, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Preventing Slip And Fall Accidents From Occurring At Your Business

Personal injury cases can be a big deal for you or your business. If a personal injury case is filed against you, there is an entire litany of problems to deal with: court costs, maintaining the integrity of your business, making doubly sure it doesn’t happen again, etc. The best way to avoid a personal injury suit is just that: avoid it! Of the most common personal injury suits filed against businesses, many involve slip and fall accidents. There are plenty of ways to avoid such cases; these are just a few of the precautions that you can take.

Salting The Outside Of Your Establishment During Icy Weather

The most common time for someone to slip and fall in a public setting is during icy weather. Remember that you can be held responsible for the medical bills of anyone who has a slip and fall accident on your property during icy conditions. Luckily, you can use salt to prevent ice from forming, as well as use salt to make the icy build up melt faster.

In some states, it is required that business owners salt pathways leading up to their business; for others, it is not a legal requirement, but it is highly recommended. By salting the pathways leading up to your business before and after icy weather conditions, you will be taking precautions against any potential personal injury suits.

Set Cardboard Down During Rainy Conditions

Rainy days are the most common of crummy weather conditions. They can also be established as a legitimate cause of injury for a slip and fall personal injury suit. A very common trick amongst businesses – especially mom and pop stores like delis, corner stores and family owned restaurants – is to place duct-taped cardboard on the floor of the business. This ensures that the floor will not remain constantly wet, creating a likely place for potential customers to slip and fall.

Make Sure That Your Business Is Adequately Dry After Cleanup

Many times businesses will neglect to make sure that floors are adequately dry after mop cleanups. This is a big no-no for all businesses. Make sure that employees are properly trained regarding mopping up messes and how to adequately dry the floor afterwards. Many employees are under the impression that mopping up an area, placing a wet floor sign near the potential accident, and then moving along to the next task is entirely adequate. It is best to perform a thorough-going mop job – including drying the floor – and then placing a wet floor sign next to the potential slip area in order to ensure maximum safety.

Make Sure That Your Business Is Free From Ground Clutter

Although water and weather-based slip and fall personal injury cases are the most common, there is a long list of other potential hazards that can cause someone to slip and fall at your business. One of the easiest things that you can do for your business is make sure that the floor is free of clutter. This can be a trying task, as many people have so little room for everything they wish to stock in their business. However, it is important to keep inventory of these items – cords, items in stock, etc. – and to keep a close eye on them, such that you keep your customers out of harm’s way.

As you can see, slip and fall personal injury claims may be common, but they need not be. As established, there are plenty of good reasons to avoid being on the defendant’s end of such claims: court costs, maintaining the integrity of your business, making sure that it does not happen again, and so on. However, your best bet is to make sure that you won’t be in the defendant’s chair of such cases to begin with. By taking simple precautions at your business, you can avoid being on the defendant’s side of such court cases. If you are the target of a slip and fall case, many experienced slip and fall attorneys exist that can defend you against any charges. For more information, visit a website like http://www.putnamlieb.com.

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Posted by on Mar 6, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Applying For Social Security Disability: Understanding The Process

Experiencing a disability is a devastating time, and if you are unable to work, you worry about how you’ll pay for your bills and support your family. Luckily Social Security disability is designed to assist disabled people who cannot work. However, the process to apply for benefits is long and may seem overwhelming, so understanding a breakdown of the general process may calm your nerves.

Initial Application

The first step in getting disability through Social Security is to file a claim. Once the claim is received, it is processed by local Social Security Administration (SSA) field offices and Disability Determination Services (DDSs). First, SSA field offices verify your personal non-medical information, including your name, age, marital status, etc.

Once that information has been verified as correct, your claim is passed on to the DDS. It is the DDS’ responsibility to confirm your disability. They use your medical sources to determine the extent of the disability. If there is not enough information, you may have to go in for a special examination. This is usually performed by your regular doctor, but in some cases, a specialist is used. Using all this information, the DDS makes a decision to either reject your claim or approve it and determine the benefit amount.

Preparing for a Hearing

In many cases, this first claim is denied. Even if you genuinely are disabled, you may not have provided enough information. In this event, an appeal hearing is your next step. It’s best to hire an attorney or advocate at this time to help you prepare for the hearing. Firstly, your social security attorneys will work with you on what you should say at the hearing. This is designed to help you clearly state your condition and not mislead or confuse the judge.

During this time, your lawyer will also get in contact with your doctor. The lawyer’s goal is to gather all necessary medical records, test results and doctor statements to create a clear and unbiased view of your medical condition. If there is missing information, your lawyer may have you revisit your doctor, so a clear and complete picture of your disability can be presented.

Attending the Hearing

At the hearing, expect to be questioned on your disability. This is where your work with your lawyer to help form your answers will come into play. However, you won’t be the only person questioned. In many cases, your doctor may be called to answer questions regarding your condition.

This is another reason you need a lawyer or an advocate. They have experience with disability law. They know what questions to ask and what information the judge wants to hear to help make a ruling. During this time, your attorney or advocate will also fight to get a fair disability onset date, so you get more back pay.

Appealing the Claim on a Federal Level

Hopefully, the judge finds in your favor at this first hearing, but if not, you’ll need to appeal your claim on the federal level. If you’ve been working with an advocate, you’ll now need to hire a lawyer as an advocate cannot appeal on a federal district court level.

This process is much like the original hearing, expect you’ll be presenting to the federal district court. Your lawyer may gather additional information or speak with other specialists about your disability to help prove your case this third time around.

Filing for Social Security disability is scary, but it doesn’t have to be. This breakdown shows the steps you can expect when applying. Just make sure to have a good lawyer or advocate who can help you through each step. For more information about applying for disability, contact a disability lawyer in your area today. 

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