16 Feb2016Perhaps it is our culture. Perhaps it is the fear of looking like a malingerer. Whatever the reason, Americans generally do not like to admit when they are injured. This can even be true when the injury is caused by an accident. An automobile crash can be a terrifying event. A person’s emotions are at their peak. People sometimes break into tears despite having no injuries. Others may behave withdrawn and unaffected, despite serious physical injuries. One’s outward appearance may not tell the whole story. In fact, the emotional impact of a car accident can last for years and even include anxiety and mood changes, according to WebMd.com. So, even if you think you are fine, here are three very important reasons why you should still seek immediate medical care. Reason #1 – Document the Cause The biggest reason to seek immediate medical attention is to properly document and preserve a record of your injuries at the time of the event, whether a car accident, work related injury, or other type of injury. Often, those x-rays and other test performed in the hours just after an injury can be just the evidence you need to prove that the accident actually did cause the injury. This can be the difference between recovering compensation or not. Plus, the longer you wait, the more an insurance company can argue that the injuries might have been caused by something else. Reason #2 – Document the Severity Without medical evidence, it is hard to prove that an injury is severe. Sure, you can show up to a court appearance in crutches and complain about how bad your back hurts, but nothing compares to a signed medical report from a physician who treated you on the day you were injured. It is true that your personal injury attorney will hire experts to review your records and possibly even testify about how your injuries were caused. However, juries know these experts are paid. And although their expertise is often crucial to winning at trial, juries tend to pay more attention to the treating physicians and other healthcare providers who are considered neutral. Put yourself in a juror’s position. Who would you consider more reliable – the emergency room physician who just happened to treat the plaintiff or the physician his lawyer hired two years later to explain the injuries? If you are like most people, you would pay close attention to the treating physician’s opinion. Reason #3 – Document Your Pain Juries and insurance companies typically have a hard time believing that pain and suffering have gotten worse over time. Even though many injuries do indeed get worse with time, people tend to be skeptical of a victim who tells a paramedic he feels fine after a rear-end collision but two years later asks a jury to award him compensation for severe, long-term injuries that caused him great pain and suffering. In other words, if it was not bad enough to go to a doctor or the hospital right away, why should we give you money? Although the logic is flawed, human nature plays a role in winning your case. How to Seek Care If you are injured due to someone else’s negligence, you should use common sense. Get help and seek medical attention at the earliest possible opportunity. Take notes or have a loved one do it for you. Make note of everything you are told about your condition, medications, or procedures. As soon as you are medically stable, you or someone you trust should contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can explain your rights and review your case. Contact the skilled Tucson personal injury attorneys at Hofmann Law Offices for a free consultation today.
13 Jan2016Thanksgiving is a time of family reunions, sharing meals, and enjoying the holiday season with those we love. However, like many holidays, Thanksgiving has begun to take on a new reputation – a great time to drink. Accident lawyers often see many alcohol-related car crashes around the holidays, including Thanksgiving. Recent news articles have focused on Thanksgiving Eve as one of the biggest drinking nights of the year. This Thanksgiving, here are a few tips to avoid turning a fun family evening into disaster. Tip #1: Travel Early A little common sense will tell you that traveling on the busiest days for traffic will increase your chances of being in an automobile accident. Days like Christmas Eve, New Years Eve, New Year’s Day, Fourth of July, and the day before and after Thanksgiving are all high traffic days to traverse the highways. The more cars on the road, the better chance you have of being in an accident. Tip #2: Avoid Night Travel Avoid driving at night on or around the holidays. Obviously, in some cases this cannot be avoided, but to the extent you can reschedule things to allow you more daytime driving, you should do so. Most people drink in the evenings; bars are usually letting out around midnight or shortly thereafter, and on holidays, most people find themselves consuming alcohol after the evening meal. Therefore, drunk drivers are usually out in force in the later evening hours. Do not share the roadway with them if at all possible. Get what you need earlier in the day and stay in one place with family for the evening if you can. If you must travel, look for less crowded routes and consider eating earlier and heading out before dark. Tip #3: Stay Sober This may seem a bit obvious, but it is shocking how many drunk driving accidents occur between two drivers who are both intoxicated. While you cannot control the reaction time and judgment of other drivers on the road, you certainly can improve your ability to avoid a crash by remaining sober yourself. Tip #4: No Last Minute Runs It has happened to all of us. We are sitting around the dinner table waiting to cut the turkey, and then someone notices that there is no cranberry sauce. Or perhaps there is no more wine. Some unlucky person is nominated to make the last minute run to the store to pick up the missing items. This can create a problem. The person driving is in a hurry and wanting to get back to the party as quickly as possible. The trip is usually very short. Studies repeatedly show that most car accidents occur within a mile from home. This is because people are most comfortable in the area near home and thus more likely to ignore signs and be overconfident. Therefore, the “last minute run” equates to a hurried dash across one’s familiar neighborhood around the early evening hours while others are doing the same. This can create a prime scenario for an accident. While it is impossible to avoid last minute runs entirely, consider a few ways to prevent the need to “run” to the store during dinner. First, make a list well in advance. Second, designate a cut-off time to double-check everything, usually at least an hour before dinner will be served. Finally, consider foregoing the missing item if not essential to dinner success. After all, is that cranberry sauce really worth leaving all your family and friends? Enjoy the stuffing and get the cranberry sauce tomorrow for a nice light snack. Ultimately, the holidays should be a time for love and laughter with family and friends, not a time to spend in an emergency room. Nevertheless, drunk drivers are out on the road in swarms during holidays, especially holidays when people are off work the next day. If you cannot avoid an accident and are seriously injured by a drunk driver, you need an aggressive Arizona trial lawyer who can fight for your rights.
09 Jan2016The Financial devastation that often accompanies a tragic car accident or injury cannot be overstated. Despite some reports of unnecessary litigation, the truth is that thousands of people right in Tucson are seriously injured every year. Who should pay for the medical bills, loss of work and earnings, and emotional heartache caused from careless or intoxicated drivers, negligent physicians, or greedy and reckless business owners? The answer is simple. When someone else causes your injuries, it should be his or her responsibility to pay for it. Unfortunately, some people wait too long to seek justice. Although the law is just, it does not wait forever. Here a just a few key reasons why a victim should not wait too long to call a lawyer. Reason #1: The Statute of Limitations is Strict Under Arizona law, every type of lawsuit has something referred to as a statute of limitations. This is a strict and non-negotiable date on which you are no longer allowed to sue for your injuries. Some attorneys list the time limits publicly, but this can create problems for clients. Some statutes of limitations have odd exceptions that people may misunderstand. For instance, some time limits begin from the date of the injury, while others may begin from the date when you discovered the injury or should have discovered it. Lastly, there are some time limits that toll, or pause, until some other event occurs. Therefore, you absolutely need to call a Tucson personal injury lawyer immediately to find out what time limit applies to your case. Reason #2: Missing Records Can Hurt Your Case While potential defendants are under a legal and ethical obligation to preserve records, you can imagine how motivated they may be when their records prove their wrongdoing. This is often seen in cases of medical malpractice, where a simple “clerical error” means records being shredded or lost somehow just a couple years after the negligent treatment. It can be nearly impossible to prove a malpractice case without records, so some unscrupulous defendants may be tempted to destroy records and face the risk of fines as oppose to paying out large awards to an injured patient. Of course, even the most ethical defendants may make an honest mistake. Records storage facilities can be moved, records can get misfiled, and so forth. Regardless, the scenario, the longer you wait to begin requesting records and having your case reviewed, the greater the risk of records going missing. Reason #3: Eyewitnesses Disappear and Memories Fade This is especially a problem with automobile accidents. America is a big place, and people move around. That key witness in your auto accident case who saw the whole thing clearly may move to Florida without telling anyone. After all, it is not her case. She did not lose her job, her livelihood, or spend months in the hospital. Indeed, even the best witnesses who agree to help you may forget about the case and not keep you or your lawyers updated on changes of address or phone numbers. It can be very hard to track down a witness from two years ago and convince them to travel across country to attend a deposition or trial. By getting a lawyer involved right away, you can secure your witnesses and have a better chance of keeping in touch. Likewise, not only can your witnesses disappear, so can their memories. Under the “decay theory” your memory can fade, too. As years pass, certain key details become fuzzier, and you may lose some of the benefits of fresh recollection. Therefore, if you are involved in a car accident, contact a Tucson car accident lawyer as soon as possible to find out your options.
04 Jan2016Personal injury victims often feel that their worlds fall apart during the years following their injuries. They can suffer pain and agony, multiple surgeries, medical debt, crippling financial disasters, loss of employment, and social stigma from scarring and disfigurement. The list of injuries goes on and on. Yet, when they turn to lawyers for help, they are often confronted with a lack of communication and years of waiting. In fact, one of the biggest reasons clients complain about their lawyers is poor communication. Sometimes attorneys are doing a great job and achieving terrific results, but their clients wait forever to find out. As a client, you deserve a Bill of Rights that outlines just exactly what you can expect from your lawyer. When it comes to the lengthy process of getting justice, clients often do not fully understand why their case is taking so long. In general, there are three big reasons why your case might take longer than you expected. Reason #1: Evidence Takes Time Now, to be clear, every case is unique. However, in general it can take a lot of time to gather records, especially from defendants. For auto accident injuries, you may go to several doctors – family practitioners, emergency rooms, and specialists – and undergo multiple procedures. Your lawyer has to request records from each and every related treating provider. After all, your lawyer cannot prove the extent of your injuries without full and complete records and billing statements. For instance, you would not want your lawyer demanding $100,000 for your injuries, only to later realize there were nearly half a million dollars in bills. This would be a disaster. So, it is always best to be patient and let the lawyer spend the time gathering documentation. The same is true of reaching out to witnesses and finding other evidence relevant to your case. When it comes to medical malpractice, some defendants will use every delay tactic possible to avoid turning over records. This is no reflection on your attorney; it simply means things can take a lot longer when dealing with those types of defendants. Reason #2: The Court Controls the Timeline, not Your Attorney Although your choice of lawyer plays a huge role in how your case will proceed and how you will fare if the case goes to trial, when it comes to deadlines and court appearances, the judge is in charge. Defendants may return to court several times seeking more time to reply to allegations or requests for depositions and records. There may be scheduling conflicts that require the court to reschedule things. Your attorney may have to work around witnesses’ schedules. You may be required to wait for new defendants to be added to the case. The Arizona Court System provides a great resource to better understand the process. Finally, defendants may file dozens of motions seeking dismissal of the case, even when there is no valid reason to do so. Many of these attempts are genuine legal tactics used to defend against the case. Others are merely stall tactics used to make you more likely to settle or accept a lesser amount. Regardless, the reasons or purposes, all of these things can make a case go on for much longer than it should, and for the most part, a lot of it is out of your hands and your attorney’s. Reason #3: Litigation is a Tennis Match When you are a plaintiff in a lawsuit, it helps to think of the case like a tennis match. You and your lawyers are on one side, and the defendant and its lawyers are on the other. You serve first by filing the case. Then, the court gives them a chance to respond or “answer.” Once they answer, you must file requests for discovery, which includes requesting documents, depositions, and other types of evidence. The other side will do the same thing. The parties may file motions back and forth. Each time, one side files, the other side replies, then there may be court appearances and arguments. Ultimately, this volley between plaintiff and defendant can last a long time. At each step, your lawyer must keep you informed and seek your input when necessary. Judges can be very generous with time, often allowing a party to take upwards of a month or more to respond. In other words, it can take months to get the ball back over the net. When hiring a Tucson personal injury lawyer, look for someone who guarantees to keep you in the loop and communicate regularly. Your case will seem quicker, and you will ultimately be happier if you know what is going on. Remember, though, no matter what you do, a personal injury case can easily take more than a year from start to finish. So you want to choose your lawyer carefully, because you will be working with that person or firm for a long time.
31 Dec2015Americans love their pets. When it comes to pets, dogs are no doubt the most beloved “best friends” around. Despite the widespread love for dogs, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports over 4.5 million dog bites every year. This astounding number represents a lot of minor nips and superficial bites, but in 2014 alone it included 42 deaths associated with dog bites. When it comes to dog bites, most states have even written laws to hold owners accountable when their dogs attack. Here is what you need to know about dog attacks in Arizona. Children are the Most Likely Victims In 2014, 48% of all bite victims were under the age of 13. Children between 5 and 9 years of age are the most likely victims and most vulnerable for serious injuries. Several things contribute to this. First, children can easily be mistaken for small animals similar to those a dog may naturally prey on. Some dogs are natural predators and may chase and attack squirrels, cats, and even smaller dogs. Normally a very friendly breed, the Jack Russell Terrier was originally bred to hunt vermin. So, small toddlers may be confused for a raccoon or other small creature. Children are also more likely to poke or prod a dog, failing to acknowledge the dog’s warning signs of aggression. An adult may pick up on certain cues, such as snarling, showing teeth, raised hairs, stiffened muscles, or ears tucked back. Children may miss these signs and continue trying to pet a dog that is obviously feeling threatened. Therefore, it is imperative to supervise children when they are playing with or around dogs, especially ones that are unfamiliar. The Law Protects Victims From Irresponsible Owners Like many states, Arizona has a specific law that makes an owner strictly liable for his or her dog’s conduct. In short, the law says that the owner is liable for the injuries when his or her dog bites someone, “regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of its viciousness.” The last part is the key. Even if there is no history of the dog biting people or being aggressive, an owner is still responsible for the injuries. This extends to situations where the owner is on public or private property, so long as the presence is lawful. This means an owner will not likely be responsible for his or her dog attacking a home intruder. He or she would be liable for injuries suffered by a guest. An Owner is not Liable if the Dog is Provoked Under Arizona law, provocation is a defense to liability. This means that an owner is not liable if the victim provoked the dog. What constitutes provocation is a question for the courts to decide and may vary from case to case. In general, the law just says that provocation is what a “reasonable person” would normally think might provoke a dog to bite someone. In other words, in each case where an owner claims provocation as a defense, that owner will have to offer enough facts to prove that the victim did something that most people would agree could provoke a dog to attack. If you or someone you love has been attacked by a dog, contact a Tucson dog bite attorney who can review the unique facts of your case and help you get the justice and compensation your family deserves.