How To Make Sure You Get Fair Compensation When You Are Dealing With A Personal Injury

How To Make Sure You Get Fair Compensation When You Are Dealing With A Personal Injury

A personal injury can cause many problems in your life. It can cause serious financial problems if you have extensive medical bills, not to mention the physical toll it can take on your body. You can file a claim against the responsible parties to recover what you have lost. You should know how to make sure you get fair compensation when dealing with a personal injury.

File a Police Report

The first step is to file a police report if you were injured. Give the police a factual description of what happened. Be careful not to admit fault. A police report is critical because your claim could be questioned or denied if you do not have an official accounting of what happened. Insurances companies also require a police report.

Collect Evidence from the Scene Quickly

Collect evidence from the scene as quickly as you can. If you are seriously injured, then try to get a friend to do this. You want to get the names and contact information for any witnesses. Take pictures of the scene including the property, vehicle or other causes of your injury. This will make it much easier to prove your case.

Save All Documents, Bills and Paperwork

Document everything after a personal injury. This should include letters from insurers, medical reports, bills and changes in income. Request documentation if you have expenses or contact with medical professionals relating to the injury. Documentation will clearly show many of your basic damages.

Get Professional Medical Treatment for Problems Right Away

Get medical treatment right away if you think you were injured. If you delay, then the other party could argue the injuries did not occur from accident or incident. Get a full examination. Return to the hospital later if you experience new or changing symptoms. Keep a good record of dates you go to the doctor and any related expenses.

Never Talk To Insurance Company Representatives Alone

Insurers will attempt to offer you very low settlements after an injury. They could also try to trick you into admitting liability. Never talk to insurance company representatives alone. Always have representation and never sign any documents without fully understanding them first.

Always Talk To an Attorney

Always talk to an attorney after a personal injury. An attorney can help you to get fair compensation for things like future lost income, pain and suffering and other damages that you might not know about. Lawyers can handle insurance companies and litigate if necessary. Hiring an attorney is your best chance of winning fair compensation.

You need to act fast after a personal injury. You have to file a claim before a certain deadline. You want to be certain to document everything and speak with a lawyer, say the experts at Kitchen Simeson Belliveau Llp. You can get the fair compensation you deserve if you take the right steps.

This article is courtesy of Anita Ginsburg, a freelance writer from Denver who often writes about home, family, law and business. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family when she isn’t writing.

In a Car Accident? Seven Things To Do Next

In a Car Accident 7 Things to do Next

No one plans to get into a car accident, but sometimes they happen despite your best efforts to drive safely. It’s very important to stay as calm as possible after an accident and to handle the situation as rationally as possible. The following are the seven actions you should take immediately following any type of car accident, even a minor one.

1. Remain at the Scene

No matter where you have to be, you have to remain at the scene of an accident until the authorities show up. This includes even minor accidents where no one is injured. Driving away, even if you weren’t at fault, is against the law and can make you liable for civil and criminal charges.

2. Assess Damages and Call the Police

Your first priority is to see if anyone in your vehicle or the other vehicle has been injured. You should then call the police and/or an ambulance and describe what happened. Regardless of the seriousness of the accident, it’s necessary to fill out a police report for your insurance company.

3. Photograph Any Damages

If possible, you should take pictures of the scene. This will document any damages that have occurred and prevent the other driver from making false claims.

4. Exchange Information With the Other Driver

You should exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. If he or she refuses to cooperate, wait for the authorities. If the other person drives away, make note of the vehicle’s license plate.

5. Contact Your Insurance Company

You should notify your insurance company right away if you’ve been in any kind of accident. Waiting too long can affect your ability to collect on a claim.

6. Seek Medical Attention

It’s always a good idea to seek medical attention after an accident, even if you don’t think you’ve been injured. Certain types of injuries, such as whiplash, don’t always show up right away. A doctor can examine you thoroughly and take X-rays to make sure you haven’t been internally injured.

7. Contact an Attorney

You never know what the legal consequences of an accident might entail. An attorney who specializes in auto accidents can defend you from legal charges or in case the other driver sues you (Source: Owen Law Firm). He or she can also help you make a case if the other driver was at fault.

Car accidents are upsetting events but quite common all the same. If you stay calm and follow the above recommendations, you can keep any medical, legal and financial repercussions to a minimum.

This article is from Lizzie Weakley, a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. She enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her three-year-old husky Snowball.

Doctor’s Visit: Malpractice and What Rights You Should Know

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Medical malpractice, by definition, is when a healthcare provider causes injury to a patient through either a negligent act, or through omission. Because medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in the United States, it’s important to know your rights before a medical mistake occurs. When medical mistakes that are a result of negligence do happen, taking legal action can be a difficult process. Some insurance companies will try to settle to avoid going to court, but those settlements are usually for lower amounts than the courts would award. There are certain things you can do, and certain rights you should be aware of, that can help your case whether or not you decide to go to court.

You Have the Right to Take Your Case to Court
You have the right to take your case to court. Three billion dollars’ worth of payouts went to victims of malpractice during 2012 alone. While doctors don’t want to be sued, and insurance companies don’t want to pay victims large sums of money, getting fair compensation is important. Some medical mistakes can permanently limit a person’s ability to earn income. It may be tempting to settle with insurance companies out of court, but if there is enough evidence to take a case to court, this is often going to lead to a larger amount of money being awarded (1). Don’t let an insurance company make you forget that have you a right to have your case heard in a court of law.

You Have the Right to Speak Up
You have the right to express any concerns you have about your treatments, your medical condition, and your care. It’s always advisable to bring a trusted family member or friend along with you to important medical appointments. In hospital settings, a patient advocate can also help if there is a dispute about your care. Their job is to make sure everything that gets done is in a patient’s best interest. They can also help ensure that all rules and procedures are being followed properly.

You Have the Right to Continued Medical Care
Some people worry they will no longer be able to receive medical care if they sue, or they fear that their insurance premiums will be raised. Neither of these concerns should prevent a person with a legitimate case from taking legal action: Insurance companies do not charge more after a legal claim has been filed or if a settlement is agreed upon.

You Have a Right to Get a Second Opinion or to Change Doctors Entirely
When a serious medical condition is involved, always get a second opinion. This can provide reassurance that you are receiving proper care if the doctors agree, and it can help you make sure there hasn’t been a misdiagnosis (2). When going for a second opinion, it is usually wise to keep the first doctor’s opinion to yourself until you learn what the second one has to say. That way, the doctor you are getting the second opinion from won’t be influenced in any way by the first doctor’s.

You Have a Right to Learn About Your Doctor’s Malpractice History
While there’s no law that requires doctors to disclose their history of malpractice, there are databases where this information can be found. You have the right to learn your doctor’s malpractice history through these resources, and no laws are in place that limit your right to do so. Knowing this information might cause you to change doctors or treatment facilities, but being aware of a negligent history can keep you from choosing a doctor that makes frequent mistakes in their practice. It can also be reassuring if you find nothing of concern in those files.

Know that Your Rights are Affected by the Statutes of Limitation
Each state has different statutes of limitation. This means there is a limited time-frame during which legal action can be taken. Bachus & Schanker Law says after that time has passed, there is usually no legal recourse for a person who was the victim of negligence or malpractice. If you think you have been the victim of medical malpractice, it is important to talk to a Denver lawyer who specializes in malpractice lawsuits to make sure you know how much time you have to take legal action (3).

Knowing your rights with regard to medical malpractice can help you take correct and timely action if you think you have been the victim of a negligent mistake. Contact a lawyer from a reputable law group as soon as possible if you suspect you might have a case. You will be able to obtain legal counsel and obtain professional advice about how long you have to decide whether or not you want to sue before the statute of limitation runs out.

1. http://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2013/05/16/10-things-you-want-to-know-about-medical-malpractice/2/

2. http://www.abpla.org/what-is-malpractice

3. http://www.coloradolaw.net

This article is from Brooke Chaplan, a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.

Road Rage — Never a Good Idea

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Surely we all know by now that road rage is never a good idea. This funny video drives home the point:

Photo by Naypong, via freedigitalphotos.net

Five Ways to Prove Fault After a Major Accident

5 Ways to Prove Fault After a Major Accident

Personal injury lawyers and insurance companies wrestle with fault issues whenever there’s a major accident. According to Kenneth Cristall Law Corporation, if you want to hire a personal injury lawyer for an accident, you’ll need evidence of fault. Experienced accident lawyers won’t take your case without somebody else being at fault. Both injury lawyers and insurers look for the following evidence in proof of fault.

Police officers
It’s highly likely that the police were called to the scene of a major accident. Police officers are trained in accident investigation. After assessing the scene, the damage to the vehicles and interviewing the drivers, the investigating officer writes up an accident report. All officers have received training in accident investigation. Some have received more than others. Accident reports are relied on heavily by both sides.

Independent witnesses
Witnesses might be bystanders going about their daily affairs and suddenly a major accident unfolds in front of them. They’re ordinarily unbiased and objective. That’s the beauty of the independent witness. Many police officers are on the road all day. Sometimes the investigating officer is the independent witness to an accident.

Passengers
Passengers might be the best witnesses against either driver. Passengers often make injury claims against both drivers. Passengers have no control over how the accident occurred or might have been avoided. It’s unlikely that passengers will be accused of comparative negligence either. Passengers might have a personal or financial stake in fault though.

Cameras
Cameras are even more objective and unbiased than independent witnesses. Cameras don’t have personalities, psychological prejudices, or stretch the truth. Intersection and security camera footage is sought out by attorneys and insurers, particularly if the other indicators of fault might be inconclusive.

Circumstantial evidence
Jurors weren’t born yesterday. They’re allowed to draw conclusions from trial evidence based on their own life experiences. Injury lawyers and insurance adjusters weren’t just dropped off on the last bus either. The law permits admission of circumstantial evidence. Fault in many major accidents is proven or bolstered by circumstantial evidence. Some police officers for major departments are specifically trained in circumstantial evidence and accident reconstruction.

Amongst other elements required to establish negligence, personal injury lawyers are required to prove fault. Be prepared to discuss proof of fault when you want to hire a quality personal injury lawyer after an accident. It might be proved in any of the above ways.

This article is from Lizzie Weakley, a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. She enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her three-year-old husky Snowball.

Friday Fun

Do you need any more proof than this video of “Oil Field Dodge” to know they don’t build cars now like they used to?

Five Signs Your Workplace Injury Was Due to Employer Negligence

5 Signs Your Workplace Injury Was Due to Employer Negligence

It is often difficult to tell who is at fault for a workplace injury. Employers will often try to save money by blaming the injury on the person who was harmed. However, there are five key signs that your workplace injury was due to your employer’s negligence.

Your Employer Failed to Document Correctly

There are a few things that must happen after a workplace injury of any kind, however minor it may be. You must immediately notify your employer so they can file a First Report of Injury. You should then be given a copy of this form and directed to get medical treatment. The doctor will give you a Report of Work Ability form that will tell your employer whether and to what extent you can work.

If your employer does not follow this process precisely, they may have something to hide. You should be suspicious if their report is not thorough, has discrepancies, or even has blatant lies. Do not agree to any account that is not a thorough and complete representation of your injury.

Your Injury Was Caused by a Known Hazard

Employers often will ignore hazards rather than deal with them. This could be leaving a wet floor unmarked, failing to provide safety equipment such as glasses, or anything that makes your workplace less safe than it should be. Your employer is required to maintain a safe workplace to industry standards. If they fail to do so and you get hurt as a result, they are guilty of negligence. If your work injury was due to a known hazard, you may have an employer negligence legal case if you choose to pursue it.

Your Injury Could Have Been Prevented With Better Training

Your employer is required to hire people capable of performing their duties safely and providing adequate training for each task. If you were harmed because you couldn’t handle one of your duties safely, negligence may be involved.

Your Injury Was Caused by a Coworker

If a coworker harmed you with equipment, left an area in a dangerous situation, or otherwise contributed to your injury, your employer may have been negligent. Your employer is responsible for training your coworkers to act safely and holding them to high standards. You deserve a safe workplace, including trained and vigilant coworkers.

If any of these factors were present in your workplace injury, your employer may be guilty of negligence. This entitles you to compensation and damages. Contact a workers’ compensation attorney today if you suspect employer negligence contributed to your workplace injury.

About the author: A recent college graduate from University of San Francisco, Anica Oaks loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.

Know Your Rights: How to Respond to a Search or Seizure

Know Your Rights How to Respond to a Search or Seizure

Though it’s not something most people like to think about, the possibility of a police encounter can be a stressful experience. Whether you have a criminal record or you’re squeaky clean, police officers may want to search your person or your vehicle in some instances. The good news is that you have rights in these situations. It’s imperative that you understand them and assert them in those situations when police might be breathing down your neck. Here’s an overview of how to respond in these situations.

Understanding “search” Distinctions

There are many rules that govern how and when police officers can conduct a “search.” However, not everything the police do will constitute a search. In general, a police investigation becomes a search when police are infringing upon a reasonable expectation of privacy. While this is something of a moving target, you generally have a privacy expectation in your home, with your vehicle, and with the personal property on your person. In order for an officer to gain access to those areas, he must either have probable cause, your consent, or some other exception that allows the search.

Answering the Consent Question
In general, in order for a police officer to search your property, they will need probable cause. This means they will need to have a reasonable belief that the search will uncover evidence of a crime. In some cases, this will require a warrant. In others, like when they have seen a crime take place, a warrant is not necessary. However, if you give consent to the officer, the probable cause requirement goes away. Police officers will often ask for consent to make their job easier, putting pressure on property owners. It is never a good idea to give consent to a search, even if you are sure that police will not find anything. Remember that even if they find something unrelated to their search purpose, like the remnants of drugs, for instance, they can charge you with a crime.

Speak to a Lawyer Before Making a Decision

When police officers cannot conduct a search right away, they will threaten to come back with a warrant. This is certainly their right and when this happens you would be wise to speak with an attorney before proceeding with the police. Lain T Donnell, a Newmarket lawyer says that if you are not under arrest, police officers do not have to read you your rights, or provide you with an attorney. They can simply ask questions. Because you are not under arrest you are under no compulsion to answer those questions. If police officers are not placing you under arrest, and if they do not have probable cause or a warrant to conduct a search, you should politely excuse yourself and immediately speak to an attorney.

Be Polite and Courteous
Understand that there might be times when police have a legitimate ability to conduct a search. There will be other times when they do not have this right, but will search your home, car, or person anyway. These situations could be potentially dangerous if you are not careful. The best approach is to be kind and courteous to the officers, not saying anything that could get you into trouble.

Consulting with an attorney is always a good idea in these situations. Search and seizure issues can be complex, even if you have not committed a crime. The important thing is to know that you don’t have to give consent or answer officer questions. When in doubt, say nothing until you speak to your attorney.

This article is from Brooke Chaplan, a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.

Medical Malpractice Tort Reform Runs Wild in Texas

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Well, Texas voters, you can’t say that the trial lawyers didn’t warn you this would happen. Once you let the tort reformers get a foot in the door they’re going to shove it wide open.

Now a Houston appellate court has ruled that when a retirement home hires a valet parking service, and one of the drivers runs over a pedestrian, that is a health care claim covered by the medical malpractice tort reform laws. Does that make even a tiny bit of sense to you? Not to me, but apparently it does to the Texas system. The end result is that the pedestrian, now deceased, must obtain a written opinion from a medical expert stating that hiring a valet driver who runs over a pedestrian is medical malpractice. Good luck finding a doctor willing to write that type of expert report.

This case was reported in Texas Lawyer. Here are the opening paragraphs:

Texas’ 12-year-old medical malpractice tort reform law was originally aimed at protecting doctors and hospitals from frivolous health care liability claims. But that same law also protects them from slip-and-fall cases, workers’ compensation disputes—even a negligent hiring claim involving a valet driver, according to a recent appellate court decision.

On Feb. 10, Houston’s Fourteenth Court of Appeals issued Brazos Presbyterian Homes d/b/a The Hallmark v. Lander, which dismissed a case that plaintiffs filed against a retirement home. The court held that the plaintiffs’ negligent hiring claim was really a “health care liability claim” under Chapter 74 of the Texas Civil Practices & Remedies Code, even though the dispute involves an elderly woman who was allegedly injured by a contract valet driver who was parking the woman’s car outside the home.

In another recent case, a retired doctor is also arguing that the Chapter 74 tort reform law can be used to dismiss a personal injury claim filed against him by a plaintiff who was allegedly injured after hitting the defendant’s loose cow that had wandered onto a road. [See "How Is Hitting a Cow in the Road Med Mal?" Texas Lawyer, Jan. 19, 2015.]

The Fourteenth Court’s decision in Lander is just the latest example of an appellate court dismissing a claim filed against a health care provider that has no relation to health care.

“It’s unsettling, to say the least,” said Stephanie Hamm, an associate in Houston’s Dow Golub Remels & Beverly who represents the family of the now deceased Betty Lander. Hamm plans to appeal the Fourteenth Court’s decision to the Texas Supreme Court.

“Your average person doesn’t understand the implications of tort reform. They are surprised, to say the least,” when you explain it to them, she said.

Photo by scottchan, vie freedigitalphotos.net.

Going to Court: Rights You Should Know in the Courtroom

Going to Court Rights You Should Know in the Courtroom

At one time or another, almost everybody will be involved in the legal system. It could be anything from a speeding ticket to a major accident. Whatever the case, there are some common threads that all cases share under due process of law. Be aware of these rights as you prepare to walk into the court room.

The Right to an Attorney
Whether the case is civil or criminal, you have the right to be represented by an attorney. It’s constitutional. Any judge in the country is required to give you a reasonable time to retain an attorney. However, you have no right to a public defender in a civil case.

The Right to a Trial
Even if it’s jaywalking, you have the right to a trial. In a bench trial, the judge hears all of the evidence and decides the case. In a jury trial, anywhere between six and 12 jurors will decide the case. If it’s a personal injury case, they’ll also decide on the amount of damages to be awarded.

Witnesses
You have the right to compel the presence of any witnesses at a trial by timely issuing, and serving them with a subpoena that designates when and where they are to testify. According to Johnston Law Firm, if there are witnesses against you, you also have the right to cross examine them at trial.

Discovery
In civil cases, misdemeanors, and felonies, you have the right to obtain copies of every piece of paper your opponent has against you except for their work product. Discovery is a reciprocal right, so in civil cases your opponent also has the right to everything that you have. Discovery becomes particularly complicated in personal injury cases. This is ordinarily in the realm of the personal injury lawyer, as written questions are usually exchanged between the parties. They’re to be answered in writing under oath. Depositions are also taken where oral questions are asked of the witnesses in the presence of the parties’ attorneys and a court reporter. If at trial, your answers to questions are contradictory to either your interrogatory answers or deposition testimony, you can be impeached with your prior inconsistent statement that you made under oath.

It’s highly recommended that you retain an attorney before ever walking into a courtroom. These are only few of the many rights that you have in court. To the experienced attorney, they’re only the tip of the iceberg.

“Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.”

Four Signs Your Doctor is Guilty of Medical Malpractice

4 Signs Your Doctor is Guilty of Medical Malpractice

Due to variations in human anatomy, immunologic responses and healing variances, it’s quite possible for problems to arise with your medical condition even if your doctor did everything perfectly. However, some negative outcomes are caused by ignorance or carelessness. How can you know if your doctor has committed malpractice in your specific case? Here are four serious red flags.

Records are Difficult to Obtain or Missing

You have the right to full and complete copies of your medical records, including surgical reports, images and clinical notes. If your doctor will not release a copy of everything in your chart to you, you have reason to suspect something is wrong. This is especially true if there is no good reason for the delay. If you are being denied your medical records or the copies provided are not complete, you may want to contact a lawyer who specializes in malpractice.

You’re Ignored or Brushed Off

If your condition has not resolved and your doctor has no further ideas for treatment, he or she should be referring you to a specialist and keeping tabs on your progress. An ethical physician will not shove a ‘problem’ patient onto another provider. If you are getting the brush off or your complaints are being ignored, your doctor may be trying to hide something. If you suspect this may be the case, you may want to contact Tanner Law Firm or a similar specialty law office in your area for a consultation.

You Received a Delayed Diagnosis

For some medical conditions, a diagnosis comes only after months of meticulous testing. This is certainly routine, especially for more uncommon diseases and syndromes. However, if you received a diagnosis of stage four cancer after years of repeated visits for the symptoms, you may be the victim of malpractice. Diseases such as cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis are usually quite easy to detect with routine tests and blood work. If you suffered with a common or easy-to-identify condition for months or even years, your doctor may have made a serious error in judgment.

Your Doctor Bristles at You Seeing Other Providers

Ethical physicians know that another set of eyes may be just what their patient needs. If your doctor doesn’t want you to see anyone else, this is a huge red flag that there is something he or she does not want discovered. For example, a surgeon who used the wrong size implant in your hip might not want another orthopedic surgeon to see the error on an x-ray.

Sometimes, a bad result is without fault. Even the best efforts possible don’t always produce a cure or a great surgical outcome. A doctor making a careless or ignorant mistake, however, is malpractice. If you think your doctor may have made a mistake and isn’t owning it, contact legal representation.

About the author: A recent college graduate from University of San Francisco, Anica loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.

Is Google Your New Insurance Agent? A Look at Google’s Plans for the Car Insurance Industry

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At times it feels as if Google grows more and more all-powerful with each passing day. In keeping with that trend, all indications appear to show that Google will be entering the auto insurance industry sometime in the near future. It looks like it’s going to start with the car insurance market in California. Take a look at the current developments Google has in the works to help them break into the car insurance game.

They Have an Agent

Google has already purchased an interest in CompareNow.com which is an auto insurance website. CompareNow.com is associated with 31 insurers and operates in 48 states and Washington, D.C. A Google employee in California recently became a licensed insurance agent. The soothsayers are telling us that the employee became an agent for purposes of Google’s plan to begin buying California insurance. Should Google actively participate in the auto insurance industry as an agent (which seems likely), it could be paid a commission like other agents.

They Have Licenses

They’ve also set up a business called Google Compare Auto Insurance Services. That business has been licensed to sell auto insurance in 26 states. Six automobile insurers have authorized Google to sell their policies.

CoverHound

The corporate treasurer for Google is now believed to have become an insurance producer for CoverHound. Despite suspicions, Google won’t comment on any direct or indirect association with CoverHound. Maybe Google adjusted the compensation of its officers, and now they need to moonlight as insurance agents to make ends meet.

Phasing Out Agents

Should Google actively become an agent, the traditional agent might start being pushed out. They did the same thing with travel and shopping. GEICO has already started eliminating agents, and Allstate has purchased Esurance which is involved in direct online sales of auto insurance. Costs are obviously lower for insurers that can sell online, which could prove interesting for the future of this profession.

Google Compare

Google has already been in the auto insurance business in Great Britain for two years with Google Compare and the insurance comparison technology behind it. That technology allows the consumer to obtain comparison quotes from multiple insurers without the necessity of going from website to website. Google’s partnership with CompareNow will permit consumers to compare premium costs in the United States in the same way they’re compared in Great Britain.

In recent years Google has expanded far beyond its original purpose as a search engine and advertising medium. Expect the company to be active in the car insurance business and picking up an agent’s fee in the United States in the very near future.

The information for this article was provided by the professionals at Thomson Schindle Green Insurance & Financial Services, who provide custom built car insurance in Medicine Hat.

This article was written by Dixie Somers, a freelance writer who loves to write for business, finance, women’s interests, and technology. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters.

Photo credit: commons.wikimedia.org via Nyshita Talluri.

Friday Fun

Have you ever seen any commercials for “This is Sports Center“? They’re some of the most clever around — even if you’re not a big sports fan. Here’s a compilation of some of the best ones:

Distracted Driving and the Risks of Ride-Hailing Services Such As Uber

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There may be a hidden danger in being a driver for a service such as Uber or Lyft. At least that’s the point made by an article in the New York Times recently. Here are the opening paragraphs:

It Can Wait. The buzz phrase, popularized by AT&T in a public service campaign, urges drivers to show restraint with their phones.

But a growing number of drivers who make their living behind the wheel can’t wait. These are the drivers for Uber and its competitors, including taxi services, who, to make money, must respond nearly instantly to their smartphones, without regard to road conditions or safety.

When a service call comes in from Uber – by way of a loud beeping on the phone – a driver typically has 15 seconds to tap the phone to accept the fare. That can mean looking at the phone, seeing how far away the customer is and then making a decision. Failure to respond in 15 seconds means the fare goes to a different driver. In some cities, including New York, failure to respond to several calls in a row can lead to Uber’s temporarily suspending a driver.

You need not be a neuroscientist or safety advocate to see the potential for danger when the phone, a potential source of driver distraction, becomes an essential means of transaction. But Uber is not alone, given that a similar system is used by Lyft and, arguably, an even more demanding one is used by a growing number of taxi drivers.

In San Francisco, the home of Uber and the hub of car-service innovation, taxi drivers use software called Flywheel that aims to allow competition against Uber. It works like this: When a customer calls for a taxi, a message goes out to a handful of cabs nearest the customer; the fastest to touch the Flywheel phone app in response gets the fare.

If no one responds within 20 seconds, the call goes out to another set of drivers. Think of hitting a game show buzzer, but perhaps while winding through dense urban traffic, with fog or rain and cyclists and pedestrians.

Scholars and policymakers who study driver distraction say the system puts drivers in a tough spot: answer or lose money.

“It’s conditioned. You get a ding, you respond, you get a ride, you get money, you get paid,” said Deborah Hersman, chief executive of the National Safety Council, a nonprofit, and former chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board, a federal agency. Responding to the device takes visual, manual and cognitive attention, she said. “There’s not a whole lot of debate this is distracting.”

Automatic E-Brake: How Emergency Braking Technology is Giving Us Safer Cars

Automatic E-Brake - How Emergency Breaking Technology is Giving us Safer Cars

These days, we are seeing technology increasingly implemented into our cars. While many worry about drivers becoming distracted by the technology in their vehicles, there are a few types of car technology that are designed to protect the distracted driver from their own behavior. Automatic braking technology is becoming rapidly more advanced as technology presses forward—making cars even safer. Keep reading to learn how emergency braking technology is giving us safer cars, and safer roads.

Quicker Reaction Times

When it comes to computers and humans, computers usually win on the reflex contest. Using lasers, radar, video, and GPS, computers can continuously monitor traffic (and other things, such as wildlife) in front of your car. Where as you might not notice a car slowing or stopping until after its brake lights illuminate, your car will notice the change in speed almost instantly. Basically, your car can tap the brakes and begin slowing down before you do.

Intuitive Software

Not only are the lasers, radar, video, and GPS contributing to safer cars, but the software being used to run these systems is becoming precise, too. Understandably, people are usually fairly accurate in assessing their driving situations. They have brains that can differentiate between traffic on the Interstate and a car at an upcoming four-way stop. Computers need a little help. Newer cars are equipped with software that analyzes all of the information from the sensory input with information from GPS and maps. It can then weigh this information between real-world scenarios, such as when you should be applying more pressure on the brakes than you currently are.

Decreased Risk

As of now, automatic braking systems don’t completely stop your car and for good reason. They’re not meant to. What they are meant to do is slow down your car enough to give you, and other passengers/drivers, lesser risk of fatality or injuries. Sometimes, stopping a car completely can be more dangerous for the other cars around you, especially on the highway. However, with a system that slows the car down, the risk of injury drops dramatically at lower speeds. Even 10 miles per hour difference on the Interstate can mean the difference between death and injury.

Safer Vehicles/Roads

This might seem like a no brainer at first, but this technology does more than make your car safer — it makes other cars and roads safer. Other cars equipped with the automatic braking means that more cars are decelerating. It also means that pedestrians are less likely to be struck by cars, or at least struck at dangerous speeds. (Not that being hit by a car at any speed is favorable.)

Creating Competition

When anti-lock brakes came out, they were a wonderful improvement on the old brakes that people used to pump. Eventually, almost every manufacturer began installing anti-lock brakes on their vehicles. This is the hope with automatic e-brake technology—that one day it will be a standard feature on every car, once manufacturers catch on. It may take years before this happens, but as more designers start incorporating the technology into their cars, it will create steep competition between brands.

With automatic braking systems starting to trickle down from the high end cars into more mid-class sedans and even commercial trucks, the option will eventually become standard. And, as competition goes, that means auto manufacturers will have to devise something even better to gain an advantage on their competitors.

While plenty tech-savvy car features today are merely gimmicks or purely for show, features like automatic e-brakes are designed to save lives. When purchasing a new car, your top priority should be safety, so look for truly helpful features, rather than being distracted by bells and whistles.

This article was written by Dixie Somers, a freelance writer who loves to write for business, finance, women’s interests, and technology. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters. Dixie got advice for this article from the Maple Ridge personal injury lawyers at Yearwood & Company.

Financial Security: Tips For Handling The Expenses Associated With An Auto Accident

Tips For Handling The Expenses Associated With An Auto Accident

Going through an auto accident claim process is not easy or pleasant. The article below gives several financial tips to keep in mind that help make the claim settlement process go more smoothly. They may also help give you an advantage in dealing with the financial aspects of a settlement process.

Be Realistic: It’s All About You Versus The Other Side

Being mindful that a “third-party” insurance provider is in business to protect its own interests and that of its policyholder, one must be on guard as to what is stated in recorded conversations. The other party’s auto insurer will do whatever it can to settle quickly and may pay out less than the amount you believe you should receive in compensation. It may also try to discredit your testimony, so be prepared to use a great deal of patience, as well as self-control, during the entire process.

Being Prepared

A camera and a notebook with pencil in one’s auto will go a long way when an accident takes place. You’ll need at least these items to properly record what took place in the accident. The other driver’s insurance appraisers carry these with them at all times and so should you. If you use film, be sure to keep all receipts for developing the prints along with a separate batch of prints as copies. Be sure to save pictures from a smartphone in a separate location in the event that the pictures are deleted or you lose your phone.

Crucial Contact Information

Be certain to get information containing the other driver’s insurance policy number, insurance company’s name and license tag/driver’s license number. Also, the car registration information is equally important as is the name of the presiding police officer, the badge ID, precinct number and the official police report.

Never Sign A Release Until You Are Ready

Unless you feel it’s the right time, don’t sign anything. Be especially cautious with unsolicited phone calls and/or those wanting your personal information. You should talk with a lawyer before signing anything you are unsure about.

Gather All Your Documented Expenses

Gathering all your documented receipts is crucially important. This should include several body shop repair estimates. Also, any hospital billing information with admission date, times and subsequent treatments received should be documented. In some cases, proof of loss of salary due to time off is a must. If transportation is needed, secure car rental agreements and any additional insurance for the rental car. Receipts of taxicab fares plus tips, if any, will be needed. However, not many taxicab drivers offer receipts, so this may prove a challenge.

Personal Injury Attorney

Depending on the amount of damages sustained an the extent of injuries received, legal representation is essential. When injuries result due to the accident, then a personal injury attorney may be the best choice for you.

Consequently, take your time and never succumb to pressure tactics by anyone for a fast or unsatisfactory settlement. Simply following the above advice with the help of a lawyer can help you to receive payment for financial losses due to the accident.

Informational credit to Cantini Law Group Accident and Disability Lawyers.

This article is courtesy of Anita Ginsburg, a freelance writer from Denver who often writes about home, family, law and business. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family when she isn’t writing.

Understanding the Legal Effects After a Major Auto Accident

Understanding the Legal Effects After a Major Auto Accident

Accident cases are handled in two ways. First is the claims stage, and after that is the litigation stage. When a major accident is involved, most lawyers will skip the claims stage and go directly into litigation. Only a judge and a demand for a jury trial will get the serious attention of the insurer of the party that caused the accident. Here’s how a major accident case works its way through the courts.

The lawsuit and summons
The attorneys file suit on behalf of the client (plaintiff), and a summons is issued. The person that caused the accident (defendant) is served with copies of the lawsuit and summons. The summons requires them to file certain legal documents with the court on or before a certain date, or a default judgment might be entered against them.

After the appearance
The defendant turns the lawsuit and summons over to their insurer, and the insurer in turn forwards the papers to insurance defense attorneys. They file their formal appearance on behalf of the defendant, and the adversarial litigation process begins.

Discovery
This is a critical stage in any injury case. Written questions called interrogatories are served on both the plaintiff and the defendant. Interrogatories are to be answered in writing under oath. According to McLaughlin & Lauricella, P.C., the questions primarily inquire into accident witnesses, prior injuries and injuries sustained in the accident. Full and complete disclosure is required. After interrogatories are answered, all appropriate medical records are obtained and the depositions of the parties and any witnesses to the accident are taken. Depositions involve oral questions and sworn answers in a proceeding where the attorneys, the deponent and a court reporter are present.

Pre-trial conference
Throughout the preparation of the case, the experienced injury attorney will prepare as if the case will be going to trial. Trials require considerable time from both the attorneys and the presiding judge. A pre-trial conference is ordinarily held between the judge and the attorneys for purposes of isolating issues and possibly agreeing on what evidence might be heard at trial. It’s also a device where the parties, with the intervention of the judge, attempt to settle the case in its entirety. Most cases settle before trial.

Almost all injury cases that go to trial are heard by a jury that makes a finding of guilty or not guilty. If a guilty verdict is entered, damages are awarded.

This article is from Lizzie Weakley, a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. She enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her three-year-old husky Snowball.

Reasons You Should Take Action If You Have Been Injured Due to Someone Else’s Neglect

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Whether you visit a personal home or business, if the owner hasn’t taken care of an issue that has the potential to cause injury, they are considered to be negligent under the law. You may have also been injured in an auto accident that wasn’t your fault, or were bitten by a dog that wasn’t on the owner’s property. Whatever the specific cause is, taking action should be your first priority to recover losses.

Premises Liability

Premises liability develops when someone comes onto a property and is injured because of a hazard. If, for instance, accumulated snow and ice have not been cleared before you enter a business and you fall, the property owner may be liable for the injuries you suffer.

Personal Injury

You have to be able to prove to a judge that you have been injured. Using the dog bite as an example, have your doctor take photographs that document that injury. You’ll need the photos and copies of your medical records to show to the judge when you go to court to argue your personal injury claim. You also have to show that the property owner was at fault for not correcting the situation that led to your injury. Again, using the dog bite as an example, the property owner should have known that the dog might bite a visitor to their home and put the dog into a separate room.

Having a Personal Injury Claim

The judge has to find evidence that the property owner neglected their responsibility to visitors, thus creating a situation that led to an injury. Even if you go into someone’s home and they tell you, “be careful of Bruno,” if they fail to secure Bruno and you are bitten even if you didn’t do anything to antagonize him, they are liable. It’s important to know when the other party is liable, and a lawyer can help make your case.

Reasonable Conduct and Responsibility

The law says that we have responsibilities to others. If a home or business owner fails to live up to their responsibilities, they will be held legally liable for any injuries you may suffer from their neglect. If you did anything that led to your injury, the court will find you and the property owner responsible. That is, you may be able to win a legal judgment based on the property owner’s negligence, but because you own a share of the blame, your award may be smaller.

Property owners hold legal responsibility to make sure that their businesses or homes are safe for visitors who enter the premises. If they fail to exercise reasonable conduct and neglect an unsafe condition, they can be held legally liable for anyone who is injured as a result of their negligence.

Informational credit to the law offices of Charles P. Dargo.

Image courtesy of Kittisak via freedigitalphotos.net.

This article is courtesy of Anita Ginsburg, a freelance writer from Denver who often writes about home, family, law and business. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family when she isn’t writing.

Friday Fun

When I was a kid I was fascinated by carnivals. One of the few acts I did NOT want to perform was fire-breathing. But if I’d known it looked this great in slow motion, I might have changed my mind.

 

Victims of Malpractice: How to Handle a Personal Injury Suit

Victims of Malpractice How to Handle a Personal Injury Suit

When you are injured through malpractice, a car accident or an accident at work, you need to make sure that you are taking your injury seriously. Most people who are injured tend to take the injury in stride. They move on with their lives and lose the money that they should have made working. They never seek compensation for their injuries, but they deserve this compensation. You need to make sure that you are doing more than taking your personal injury lying down.

Go to the Doctor

There is no way in the world that you can claim you are injured if you have never been to the doctor. Being rushed to the hospital is not an excuse to sue someone for personal injury. You need to be under the care of a doctor at all times, and that doctor needs to be able to testify to the fact that you were badly hurt. If the doctor can vouch for you, then you can start your legal proceedings.

Hire a Lawyer

When you hire a lawyer to help you with your personal injury case, you need to make sure that you submit all the information you have to them. They are going to look into your case, but they are also going to ask you what you want. You may want compensation, you may want your job back or you may want to have your medical bills paid. You must make sure that you are working with your lawyer so that they know what you want out of the suit.

The Settlement

When you file suit against a company or individual, they will likely want to settle. You do not want to spend a ton of money in court costs, and your opponent is not going to want to spend all that money defending a case they will lose. Your attorney can negotiate a settlement that is going to help you get your life back together. They can make sure that you have all the money you need coming in, and they will allow you to get back on your feet.

You deserve compensation when you are injured, and you need to make sure that you are doing everything you need to make that happen. When people are injured, they often ignore the legal angle. You can sue someone for your personal injury, and you can get the money you need to turn your life around.

This article is from Lizzie Weakley, a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. She enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her three-year-old husky Snowball.