Apr 28 2020

Car Insurance Importance and Selection Themes

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, LLC, our single most common case type when providing personal injury attorney services to a variety of clients is a vehicle accident. Our auto accident injury attorneys have assisted numerous clients with receiving just compensation when injured in a car, truck, motorcycle or other vehicle accident at the fault of another party.

One of the most important factors at play during such situations and resulting liability suits: Car insurance. Insurance companies will play a central role in nearly all such incidents, whether we’re talking about your insurance, the insurance of the party who caused an accident or any other situation. In today’s blog, we’ll go over the basics of why you need car insurance, some basic requirements and factors we recommend you consider while selecting it, plus some detailed data compiled by Consumers Advocate on many of your top car insurance company options out there today.

car insurance importance selection

Basic Insurance Benefits, Themes and Selection Factors

Car insurance is important for anyone who drives a vehicle to maintain, both for your own protection and in cases where you are involved in an accident or any kind of on-road incident with another driver. Not only are you leaving yourself open to potential financial exposure and major related issues if you are driving while uninsured, you are almost certainly breaking at least one state law and may be arrested as a result (and on the flip side, most insurance policies carry coverage to protect you against uninsured motorists).

It’s important to note that anytime you move, and often when you change vehicles, you should consider shopping for new insurance coverage. Even if you haven’t left the state and are just moving to a new city or area, your rate may change in major ways based on these tweaks to your daily life.

State Requirements and Expression Formats

As we noted above, car insurance is generally a legal requirement, one regulated by the state you live in. Each state has created its own set of guidelines for minimum requirements that must be held by all drivers in that state, and you’ll usually see this broken down into three numbers with slash lines between them – a common such expression would be something like 200/400/50. Here’s what each of these numbers represents:

  • 200: The first number refers to the cost per person for bodily injuries, with the number multiplied by 1,000 – in this case, 200 means $200,000 of coverage
  • 400: Cost times 1,000 per accident for bodily injury
  • 50: Cost times 1,000 per accident for property damage

Thorough Insurance Company Reviews

While you should take the time to compare and shop between various insurance companies anytime you need new coverage, there are many resources out there to make this process easier for you. One such resource is this data compiled by Consumers Advocate, which uses detailed information on various insurance companies and their pricing, discounts, customer experience, automation and overall financial strength to help you differentiate between many of the most popular insurance companies out there.

For more on car insurance and why it’s so important, or to learn about any of our auto accident injury attorney or other personal injury attorney services, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.

Apr 03 2020

Modern Drone Usage and Injury Liability, Part 1

While the majority of personal injury cases brought in the United States center around a few common areas, such as vehicle accidents and various forms of property or premises injury liability, there are also many brought in fairly unique areas you may not have even considered. Some such areas revolve around recent advances in technology, and one specific piece here has made some waves in the personal injury world in recent years: Drones.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, we’re proud to offer personal injury attorney services for a wide variety of case types, including more unique and modern technological areas like drones. In this two-part blog series, we’ll dig into everything you need to know about using a drone safely and in a way that does not risk liability, plus what might happen to those who do not heed these warnings.

drone usage injury liability

Regulations and Usage

As we noted above, drones and related regulations are all relatively new to society. In fact, the first national set of regulations for drones was not brought until December of 2015, when the Federal Aviation Administration required that all drone owners begin registering their drones.

This was due to several problem areas with drone misuse and annoyance. Not only have there been privacy issues raised, which we’ll get into later in this series, there have been major safety risks, including near-misses with drones almost striking passenger airplanes. There have also been concerns with first responders, wildlife and even illegal smuggling risks.

Injury Liability

Likely the most common risk drone operators must be concerned about during the usage of their drones is causing serious injury to themselves or another person. While details in terms of negligence here are still being worked out in courts and precedents are still being set, those who do not take the proper safety precautions are often held liable for such injuries.

Safety precautions include a variety of areas, to be clear. They refer to basic training and understanding on how to safely operate the drone, plus on areas of use and off-limits locations.

Drug or Alcohol Influence

One area nearly all states have attended to already with regard to drone operators is operation while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Most states treat this similarly to vehicle restrictions in this area, including many that use the same blood-alcohol level as the threshold for us. Drugs and other substances are also covered under such rules, which often carry similar or identical penalties to traditional DUIs.

For more on drone operation and liability risks, or to learn about any of our personal injury or auto accident injury attorneys, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.

Mar 26 2020

Physical Therapy Telehealth Programs During COVID-19 Outbreak

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, our hearts go out to all those impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak in our society. Our team of personal injury and auto injury attorneys is available via phone, video conferencing or email to assist you with any legal questions or needs you may have, and we remain committed to serving our clients during this difficult period.

One group of our clients who might be particularly concerned during this period is those who have recently been in a car accident or any other type of traumatic injury event and require physical therapy as part of their treatment. Social distancing practices have made concepts like physical therapy much more difficult given the general need for in-person services.

However, numerous regulatory bodies, from the US government to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), have taken major strides toward relaxing regulatory restrictions and allowing for telehealth services – or services carried out over the phone, for those unfamiliar – to fill much of this void. Today’s important blog will go over some of the flexibility areas here that relate to physical therapy, including how you can still receive the beneficial services you need during this difficult time via phone and online methods.

physical therapy telehealth COVID-19

CMS Flexibility Areas

For starters, CMS and other agencies have implemented numerous relaxations of existing health standards to help combat the COVID-19 outbreak. One of the primary such actions here, at least as it pertains to physical therapy and telehealth, is the temporary waiving of Medicare and Medicaid requirements for that out-of-state providers hold licenses in the state where they’re providing services. This allows those who require physical therapy to have many more outlets available to them in terms of telehealth, as they can work with providers from other states if needed.

And while certain minor areas of physical therapy are not possible over the phone, most can be approximated fairly easily. Video-calling technology makes it easy for a therapist to view a patient’s range of motion or give them various stretches and exercises to perform, and checking on pain symptoms becomes a matter of individual reporting.

Physical Therapy and Telehealth

Now, it should be noted that the government actions did not specifically speak to expanding Medicare coverage to include telehealth services for physical therapy. But many individuals have reported varying circumstances here, and payment processes for commercial insurers will vary.

For this reason, we highly recommend contacting your insurer, whether Medicare or another, in advance of procuring such services. Doctors and therapists will also have gone through this process, which involves various site regulations and other factors.

Ethical Areas

Know that if you choose to participate in these forms of telehealth for physical therapy or any other health area, all the same ethical codes and practices are in place as would have been previously. All healthcare professionals must account for biological, social, psychological and cultural needs of the patient while working to improve their health. In addition, HIPAA requirements are not altered and must be met in the same ways, meaning you will have no privacy or related concerns in this realm.

If you’ve recently been injured and require physical therapy, we highly recommend utilizing these and other resources available to you – including contacting physical therapists in your area to find out which programs are available. To learn more about this or any of our personal injury attorney services, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.

Mar 13 2020

Schools, Child Injuries and Liability Claims, Part 2

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the basics on schools and child injury liability. When children are injured or otherwise harmed on school grounds, it’s important for parents to understand how potential liability and negligence claims are made – against not only the school but possibly other parties as well.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, we’re here to help with a wide variety of child injury cases, including those sustained while on school grounds or during school programs. In part two of our series, we’ll go over several specific areas of school liability here, plus certain cases where schools may be exempt or protected from injury liability.

schools child injuries liability claims

School Preparedness

As we touched on in part one, it’s the responsibility of teachers and other school staff members to care for the students who are in attendance during school periods. This includes many areas, but the broad theme stays the same: Preparedness to prevent students from being harmed or harming one another.

This refers to everything from proper hiring practices and staffing requirements to the individual responsibility of each staff member on a daily basis. Such daily responsibilities include all reasonable efforts to maintain student safety. School administrators will be expected to carry out background checks and other proper hiring processes when bringing in new staff members; failure to do so may result in claims against the school if something goes wrong with a staff member who was not properly vetted.

Negligence and Foreseeability

Down similar lines, many cases of injuries that take place on school grounds end up being decided from a liability standpoint in terms of how foreseeable, or predictable, they were. If your child’s school had clear evidence that there were safety issues with a given staircase on the premises, for instance, but failed to take the proper steps to repair these issues, the school would almost certainly be held liable if a child was injured on that staircase.

In other situations, it could be harder to prove negligence or foreseeability. Playground incidents are a common example – certain elements might not have been repaired anytime recently, but did this actually cause an injury, or was the child being too reckless?

Exceptions to School Liability

There are several cases where schools may be excepted from liability for a child’s injury on their premises, including:

  • Non-school hours or events: Many schools make their property available for non-school uses on weekends or outside school hours. If people are injured during such events, schools typically are not liable.
  • Organized sports: Both for outside sports and those sponsored by the school, children participating (and their parents) accept standard risks and usually cannot sue the school for negligence or liability if the child is injured during play.
  • Public schools: While public schools are not exempt from liability cases, there can be some significant red tape involved in them. Many school districts have immunity from certain kinds of liability, though there are detailed rules involved here and there are many cases where public schools can indeed be held liable for negligence.

For more on schools and child injury claims, or to learn about any of our personal injury or auto accident injury attorney services, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.

Mar 06 2020

Schools, Child Injuries and Liability Claims, Part 1

Personal injury and liability cases can arise within many circumstances or locations, including some we don’t often associate with this area. One good example here is your child’s school – one wouldn’t normally think of this as a location where the potential for injury or liability exists, but it absolutely does in a few unique and notable ways.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, we’re proud to offer child injury attorney services in addition to our wide array of auto accident and other personal injury attorney solutions. No parent ever wants to hear that their child is hurt, but in cases where this happens, we’re here to help you manage the crisis and also receive just compensation in cases where another party – including potentially the school itself – was at fault. In this two-part blog, we’ll go over all the factors you might need to know about school liability for student injuries, plus other injury types that may occur at school and how liability works for them.

schools child injuries liability claims

Dangerous School Conditions

For starters, it’s important for all parents to be aware of their child’s school’s responsibility to provide safe property conditions. This is an area known as premises liability, and it’s one that’s present not only for schools, but also other public areas like restaurants, stores and many others where the public congregates.

Essentially, school staff are expected to act in the place of parents while caring for your children. They must present foreseeable issues on their property, such as slippery floors or poor playground equipment They must also prevent harmful or toxic substances from being exposed to children, and must maintain proper sanitary conditions. If these requirements are not met, multiple parents may have liability claims against the school if their children are hurt or harmed in some related way.

Bullying or Abuse

One particular event that’s sadly still common in many schools is bullying, which is considered an “intentional act” carried out by one student or group of students to another. Bullying cases may involve liability from multiple areas: The bully in question or their parents are often involved in such lawsuits, particularly if the behavior is repetitive, but the school itself may also be held responsible if it can be proven that teachers or other staff knew about the bullying and did not take proper steps to prevent it.

In rare cases where teachers themselves are involved in any kind of abuse or bullying of students, this will be looked on extremely negatively by courts. Teacher liability in these cases is often punished punitively by judges or juries.

Shelter and Other Obligations

In addition to the above, schools are required to provide shelter, food, transportation and a safe environment for students. If any of these standards or services is not met, and children are harmed as a result, the school may be held liable.

For more on schools and child injury liability, or to learn about any of our personal injury or auto accident attorneys, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.

Feb 21 2020

Errors to Avoid During Vehicle Accident Liability Cases, Part 2

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the primary errors often made by those attempting to file a personal injury claim based on a car, truck or other vehicle accident. Most such individuals have never filed such a claim before, and may not realize certain behaviors (or lack thereof) could be damaging their case.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, our auto accident injury lawyers are here to ensure this never happens to you if you’re in such a situation. In today’s part two of our series, we’ll go over a few additional mistakes to avoid, including some that come further down the line when you’ve begun the process of negotiation a potential settlement with the opposing side of the case.

errors vehicle accident liability

Limited Evidence Provided

In part one, we went over the importance of remaining at the scene to collect proper documentation and evidence of the accident and what caused it. We’ll reinforce that here: Having things like photos of the scene, statements from witnesses, medical invoices, lost wages and any other documents associated with the incident is vital. These also include documents detailing any repairs to your vehicle.

This means not only collecting them properly at the right times, but also storing them and ensuring they’re all available when it comes time to present them. There’s nothing worse than missing out on your just compensation because you lost an important piece of evidence.

Accepting First Offer

In many auto accident cases where it’s clear another party is at fault, their representatives or insurance company will often make you an initial offer fairly quickly in the process. In nearly all cases, especially when this comes from an insurance company, this offer is intentionally far too low, and is intended to attempt to get you to agree quickly and move on. In most such situations, you’re entitled to far more and should hold out, which our attorneys will advise you of.

Signing Without Reading

Another major mistake to avoid is signing any number of documents without your attorney’s approval. These may come from your insurance company or the defendant’s, or from other sources. If any major body attempts to get you to sign anything, contact your attorney first to make sure it’s okay.

Not Hiring an Attorney

As you may have noticed, several of the mistakes we’ve outlined in this series are the sort that are easily avoided if you have the assistance of an experienced auto accident injury attorney. That’s why our final error we’ll list here is failing to obtain such representation – even if you think the facts of the case are obvious and straightforward, there may be several miscues our attorneys will help you steer clear of to obtain your just compensation.

For more on errors to avoid during the vehicle accident liability claim process, or to learn about any of our personal injury attorney services,, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.

Feb 14 2020

Errors to Avoid During Vehicle Accident Liability Cases, Part 1

While we wish it were not the case, each day in the US features numerous vehicle accidents, some of which are invariably caused by negligence of one party or another. Such incidents will incur numerous bills in areas like medical treatment, vehicle repairs and other kinds of property damage, and those dealing with such issues will often be involved in filing personal injury claims as a result.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, we know many of the individuals involved in these cases are entirely new to this world, and our auto accident attorneys are here to help ensure you don’t make one of several potential mistakes during this process as you attempt to secure your just compensation. This two-part blog will go over several such errors you want to avoid if you believe you’ve been the victim of a vehicle accident due to someone else’s negligence and may have a claim against them, starting with some important themes for the scene of the crash.

errors vehicle accident liability cases

Leaving Too Quickly

For starters, there’s a vital legal aspect involved in vehicle accidents. If you leave too quickly, such as before police or other responders arrive, this could be viewed as a hit-and-run and a warrant could be issues for your arrest – even if you were not the at-fault driver in the accident.

In addition, however, remaining at the scene holds several practical benefits. It gives you time to shake off any shock or discombobulation from the accident, then to collect evidence and document everything you can from the scene. You should have time to take pictures, write down important info (names, license plates, witness contact info, etc.) and otherwise ensure you have the proper information necessary.

Delays on Claim or Medical Assistance

Once you’ve properly documented the scene – or even before, if your injuries are significant enough – you should be seeking proper medical attention, both at the scene and potentially at the hospital following the cleanup. On top of your own well-being, there are legal issues at play here: Your case may not be viewed as strongly if you waited to seek medical attention.

Down similar lines, there may be limits in place on how long you have to file your liability claim. It’s important to move quickly to avoid such limiting statutes.

Public Forum Discussion

In the days and weeks following the incident but preceding a trial or settlement in your filed case, you must resist the urge to post about the case on public forums like social media or elsewhere. You never know if something you say might impact the viability of the case or your claim. Defense attorneys will absolutely scour for this sort of thing, and we’ve seen multiple cases directly impacted or even thrown out altogether because of something silly a plaintiff said that contradicted or otherwise undermined their case.

For more on the errors to avoid in a vehicle accident personal injury claim, or to learn about any of our personal injury attorney service, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates.

Feb 07 2020

Answering Common Questions on Truck Accidents and Liability

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, one area we’re proud to assist clients with is any kind of truck accident injury. As former insurance defense lawyers and adjusters, we know all the ins and outs of such cases and precisely how to get you your just compensation if you’ve been injured in such an accident through the fault of another party.

While truck accidents are rarer than normal car accidents, their results can be significantly more significant and damaging – and as such, we regularly get questions from truck drivers or others in the field about important legal areas, both for general driving and for instances where accidents have taken place. For today’s blog, we’ll lay out some of these most common questions, plus some of their basic answers for your information.

common questions truck accidents liability

What Makes Truck Accidents Serious?

We mentioned that truck accidents are often more serious than corresponding car accidents, and the primary reason behind this is the simple reality of the weight and loads involved. A roughly average passenger vehicle on today’s market tends to weigh in the neighborhood of 3,000 pounds – larger truck rigs weigh in excess of 70,000 pounds, and this difference simply makes major damage or injuries more likely in accidents.

This theme is even more significant if you’re dealing with a semi-truck, which is over 50 feet long and will often be carrying all sorts of potentially heavy, movable materials. These vehicles often do not drive or stop in the same ways as others, making potential collisions riskier.

Are There Special Laws or Regulations for Truck Drivers?

Truck drivers for bigger rigs are required to hold commercial driver’s licenses, for one. These must be updated regularly, including through tests.

In addition, truck drivers must abide by specific regulations such as rest periods, load capacity and even often designated speed limits while on the road. Failure to do so could leave truck drivers liable if an accident takes place.

How is Fault Determined in Truck Accidents?

While some of the details for truck accidents may be different than other car accidents, determining fault is generally done in the same ways. Witness statements and other documentation formats of the scene are taken, and a police report is made. In some cases, attorneys for potential victims will investigate both the driver and the company they work for.

In some cases, companies may try to avoid liability by claiming a driver does not work for them or is only an independent contractor. Our attorneys will help you sift through these kinds of claims if you’re involved in such a case.

How Do I Respond After a Truck Accident?

Your first step in any vehicle accident is to ensure you and others in your vehicle are safe and healthy. If you or anyone else has any injuries, immediate medical assistance should be sought.

If you are physically capable, you should also spend this immediate aftermath collecting as much evidence and information as you can. Take pictures, ask for witness names and contact information, and be sure to take down all available info for the other driver(s) involved in the accident. Finally, call our personal injury attorneys right away to get us on the case and assisting you.

For more on trucking accidents, or to learn about any of our personal injury lawyer services, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.

Jan 17 2020

How Drowsy Driving Factors into Personal Injury Cases

There are many potential causes for vehicle accidents that take place on the road, and one that doesn’t get enough attention in general is drowsy driving. A huge percentage of US drivers have driven while drowsy or even fallen asleep while driving a car, a wildly dangerous action that puts not only your own life but other lives in danger.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, drowsy driving cases are just one of many auto accident injury cases our attorneys help handle for clients who deserve compensation based on injury due to another’s negligence. Drowsy driving absolutely counts as a form of negligence; let’s go over the facts behind why it’s dangerous, plus its signs and how it plays in personal injury cases.

drowsy driving personal injury cases

Is Drowsy Driving Really Dangerous?

Simply put: Yes. Drowsy driving is absolutely dangerous, both for you and those on the road around you. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF), which we’ll cite again momentarily for some numbers on drowsy driving, tells us that anyone driving after being awake for at least 18 hours consecutively is driving under effects similar to that of a .05 blood alcohol concentration – that’s the current legal alcohol limit in the state of Utah, one for which you can receive a DUI.

After 24 hours of being awake, this number increases to a .10 BAC, double the legal limit for driving in Utah. This means your reaction time will be slower, your judgment will be impaired and you will not make the proper decisions as a driver.

Drowsy Driving Numbers

Per the NSF, the numbers behind drowsy driving are startling and worrisome. Roughly 60% of drivers surveyed in one of their polls said they have driven while drowsy at some point, and a full 37% said they have actually fallen asleep while driving. Many say they cannot tell if they’re about to fall asleep while driving.

Signs of Drowsy Driving

There are many potential signs that you might be too tired to drive. These include common yawning, snapping in and out of attention based on vibrations of the vehicle, and not having a clear memory of the areas you just drove through.

If you fear you are too drowsy to drive, there’s only one solution: Stop driving. Have someone else drive if possible, or take a short nap on the side of the road.

Drowsy Driving and Personal Injury Cases

Unlike DUI cases, where specific blood alcohol or other tests can be used to determine if the driver was impaired and this evidence can be admitted into the resulting personal injury case, there is no such test for drowsy driving. This can make personal injury cases more complex, but there are absolutely still situations where drowsy driving can be proven and the driver in question can be held liable for injuries or damages sustained by victims.

For more on the risks of drowsy driving, or to learn about any of our auto accident attorney or other personal injury services, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.

Jan 10 2020

Eggshell Plaintiff Rule and Pre-Existing Conditions, Part 2

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the basics on personal injury, pre-existing medical conditions and the Eggshell Plaintiff Rule. This rule essentially states that in cases where an injured party in a liability case had a pre-existing condition that may have made the incident worse, the party responsible for the injury is liable for the full extent of the injury regardless.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, we’ve provided our personal injury attorney services to numerous clients with pre-existing conditions looking to receive compensation despite insurance companies’ efforts to deny them based on such conditions. In today’s part two, we’ll go over a basic example of the Eggshell Plaintiff Rule at play, plus how you’ll want to proceed in such cases and some of the pre-existing conditions that may play a role in such cases.

eggshell plaintiff pre-existing conditions

Eggshell Plaintiff Example

As a simple example of the Eggshell Plaintiff Rule, imagine you’re in a vehicle accident caused by your own negligence because you were writing a message on your cell phone. The accident is a small one, with only light vehicle damage that likely won’t cost a ton in a simple settlement.

However, the victim in this case happened to have a pre-existing back condition, one that was exacerbated significantly by the accident’s force. In this case, the Eggshell Plaintiff Rule states that you as a defendant must take the victim as they are found – the victim will have a right to damages for all exacerbation or worsening of their condition due to the accident, even if such costs are far higher than the accident would have cost normally.

How to Proceed

If you’re on the flip side of the above equation and have been injured due to someone else’s negligence in an incident that worsened a pre-existing condition, it’s vital to take the proper steps, which our attorneys will assist you with. Here are some basics:

  • Seek immediate medical attention, during which you fully disclose all pre-existing conditions and ask the doctor to compare past medical records and tests with current ones for an objective picture of how the accident worsened your condition.
  • Do not lie about or exaggerate your pre-existing condition in any way, as insurance companies will research it.
  • Consult with your attorney about the proper argument that the incident weakened your pre-existing condition and made you more susceptible to larger and newer injuries.

Examples of Pre-Existing Conditions

Here are just some of the pre-existing conditions insurance companies may try to use to deny a personal injury claim:

  • Heart conditions
  • Major degenerative disc disease
  • Osteoporosis or osteoarthritis
  • High blood pressure
  • Asthma
  • Depression
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Complications from various recent or historical medical treatments

For more on pre-existing conditions and the Eggshell Plaintiff Rule, or to learn about any of our car accident attorney or other personal injury attorney services, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.