Oct 20 2018

Important Facts on Drug Liability

The pharmaceutical world is a huge one, with remarkably high demand in many areas and companies that are notably ruthless about making their profits no matter what. This often leads to the rushed release of certain medications on the market, including those that are regularly prescribed to numerous patients, and this in turn can cause unsafe interactions, overdoses and even death or serious injury in some cases.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, we’ve helped many clients receive their due compensation after complications from prescription medications. This falls under product liability, which is a significant part of the personal injury world. Let’s look at all the important factors here, including what qualifies for these kinds of cases and what you should do if this happens to you.

important facts drug liability

Drugs and Personal Injury

If you’ve been experiencing unexpected or uncomfortable side effects from a prescribed medication, chances are you’ve called your doctor already to ask about these. The most common response here is to just ride it out – some drugs are like this, with a little time needed while the body adjusts to the new medication.

The problem is, these side effects that may seem normal in some cases might not be in others. They might have severe results, such as severe medical complications or even death in some cases, but it might be too late to totally ward off these complications. If this is the case for you, and either you or a loved one has been affected or even killed as a result of prescription drug complications, know that you have legal recourse available.

Types of Defects

With any product liability case, there are a few different types of defects that might lead to harm. These types are:

  • Design defect: A design defect refers to any drug with unsafe ingredients or an unsafe method of delivery for the target population. One prominent example that’s taken place on more than one occasion in the past is antidepressants designed to help with anxiety actually causing an increase in suicide rate among the population who takes them.

  • Manufacturing defect: In some other cases, the actual ingredients and delivery method of a drug are perfectly safe – but the manufacturing process itself has issues. Perhaps the production line where the drug is stamped is contaminated, or maybe the manufacturing plant received a batch of subpar ingredients.

  • Marketing defects: In still other cases, the design and manufacturing processes were just fine for a drug, but it’s marketed improperly in one of several ways. This could mean incorrect dosage or ingredient information on the bottle, or improper directions for taking the medication.

Personal Injury Attorney

If you think any of the above defects have taken place for your medication, resulting in harm to you, speak to a personal injury attorney right away. We can help you determine whether there’s enough evidence to prove liability, plus advise you on the proper steps to take as you move forward.

To learn more about this or any of our other personal injury lawyer services, speak to the pros at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.

-->
Oct 10 2018

Elements of a Settlement Release

With any personal injury case, the potential for a settlement is always present. Most cases tend to end this way rather than making it all the way to court, as it simply makes more sense for all parties involved unless there’s a serious dispute about the facts of the case.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, our personal injury attorneys can help you determine if a settlement is the right way to go if you have a case pending. We can work with you to determine your damages sought, plus assess the position the defense is taking and decide whether a settlement might be best.

If you do end up settling, chances are you will be required to sign a release document that spares the defendant and their insurance company from any future claims against them for this same incident. It’s important to know all the elements that might be present in this release before you sign – here are some basics.

Release of Claims

The settlement releases the defendant, their insurance and any other parties from any further liability in this case. This includes all damages and losses, both past and future. Once signing, you will be forbidden from bringing these kinds of claims that are listed.

Indemnity and Hold Harmless

To take things a bit further, you may also have to indemnify and hold harmless the defendant from claims from outside parties attempting to take some part of the proceeds or profits in the release. This includes Medicare, Medicaid, health care and health insurance, court and attorney fees from third parties, and more. This is an acknowledgement that satisfying these claims and liens is your obligation.

Confidentiality

In many cases, a confidentiality clause will be included that prevents all parties from disclosing the release, terms or settlement amount. You’re instructed to only give bland responses such as “the matter is resolved” when asked about it moving forward. Be aware that exceptions to this clause exist when it comes to certain situations, such as when you’re speaking with your hired accountant.

Attorney Fees for Enforcement

Settlement Amount and Tax Implications

If any legal action is needed in the future to enforce any part of this release, you also agree that the prevailing party will be entitled to reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.

One area that will always be included in the release is the total amount of the settlement. This includes all losses, injuries and damages related to claims against the defending party. You will also be responsible for all taxes relating to these payments, including the local, state and federal levels.

Jury Waiver and Court Approval

The release also waives your right to a jury trial for any litigation related to this incident. In addition, certain cases will require a court order approving the settlement before the release becomes effective.

For more on what will be in a settlement release for a personal injury case, or to learn about any of our personal injury attorney services, speak to the staff at William Rawlings & Associates today.

-->
Oct 01 2018

Different Types of Distracted Driving

As cell phones and other in-car devices have become more common, so has the rate of distracted driving and accidents resulting from them. But while these devices understandably get a lot of the blame for these increases, there are actually several kinds of distracted drivers out there who are endangering others as they drive.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, we can provide comprehensive attorney services if you’ve been injured in an auto accident featuring a potentially distracted driver. Let’s go over the different types of distraction that can cause distracted driving so you’re aware of all the possibilities here if you’re in an accident.

different types distracted driving

Visual Distractions

As the name suggests, visual distractions are those that take your eyes away from the road and onto something else, even for a brief period. It’s curious and a bit ironic that perhaps the single most common type of visual distraction is in fact a car accident on the side of the road – and yet, this kind of rubbernecking is exactly what often causes these accidents to begin with.

It’s vital for drivers to remember at all times that the most important thing to focus on is the road. An outside distraction may seem important in the moment, but it’s definitely not more important than your life or safety.

Manual Distractions

Manual distractions are a broad category that refer to any action that takes one or both hand away from the steering wheel or other driving mechanisms. Many visual distractions are actually manual distractions also – think of things like checking your cell phone or changing the song on your iPod. Not only do these actions require looking away from the road, they require the use of at least one of your hands.

There are others that aren’t necessarily visual, but they’re similarly dangerous. Eating, drinking, fixing makeup or hair, or reaching into the back seat for a variety of reasons are all good examples. Even if these don’t necessarily cause you to take your eyes off the road, they can still serve as distractions. And if you cause an accident while distracted in this way, you could easily be liable for damages caused.

Cognitive Distractions

Cognitive distractions are a bit more of a vague category, referring not to any specific event but rather to any loss of focus while behind the wheel. The most common example of cognitive distraction is actually dozing off or falling asleep, and some people have issues with daydreaming or staring into space. These areas can be tougher to prove during personal injury cases based on the trouble with ascertaining what a driver was focused on at the time of an accident, but they’re still dangerous and often result in serious incidents.

For more on the kinds of distracted driving, or to learn about any of our personal injury attorney services, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.

-->
Sep 27 2018

Wrongful Death Versus Homicide

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, LLC, one of the areas we’re most proud of is our wrongful death services. We have a fantastic 98 percent success rate in getting surviving victims their maximum compensation, and you can rest assured knowing you have a wrongful death attorney fighting for you.

We regularly see bits of confusion from clients when it comes to the details of a wrongful death case. Many simply assume that, like homicide or manslaughter, it’s a criminal charge tried through the criminal court system – in reality, this is not the case. Wrongful death is part of the civil tort system. What does that mean, and what are some of the important differences?

Who Files

The biggest up-front difference between wrongful death and a homicide case is who files the charges. Criminal acts like murder, manslaughter and other homicides are brought by a prosecutor, then tried by a criminal court system at this prosecutor’s behest (barring a settlement, that is).

On the flip side, wrongful death cases are brought voluntarily by a plaintiff. These are most commonly surviving family members of the deceased looking to get due compensation for the death.

Amount of Evidence

The different court systems these areas are tried in come with very different levels of evidence required. Criminal cases require proof “beyond a reasonable doubt” – this is a high burden of proof that allows for no doubt left in the mind of a jury. Attorneys in this realm use evidence and witnesses to attempt to make this case to the jury.

With a civil case, though, the bar for proof is lower. The plaintiff’s goal is to prove that the defendant is liable based on a “preponderance of evidence,” which simply means that most evidence must point to the defendant being responsible for causing an avoidable death.

Due to these differing levels of proof, wrongful death cases are more likely to succeed than homicide cases. Some families who don’t get the verdict they want through the criminal justice system will find it later through a wrongful death case.

Statute of Limitations

Another big difference between wrongful death cases and homicides or other criminal charges is the statute of limitations. With very few exceptions, major crimes like murder or homicide have no statute of limitations – they can be investigated and tried at any point in time, regardless of how long ago the event took place.

Wrongful death cases, though, often do have a statute of limitations. In Utah, this statute requires that wrongful death claims be filed within two years of the death, or within one year if the claim is being filed against any government entity.

For more on wrongful death cases versus homicides and other criminal charges, or to learn about any of our personal injury attorney services, speak to the pros at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, LLC today.

-->
Sep 12 2018

Basics of Slip and Fall Accidents

As those who have experience in the legal field will know, personal injury is a wide category that contains a number of different possible circumstances. There are a number of different ways one can be injured or experience harm due to negligence or liability on the part of another person or entity, and we’re lucky to live in a system that allows people to be justly compensated when this happens.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, we have a personal injury lawyer available to you regardless of your specific injury or issue. Whether you’ve been injured in a car accident or through some other cause, we’ll represent you aggressively and help you get the compensation you’re owed – almost always without the hassle of a trial, too.

One type of personal injury that’s more common than you might think? Slip and fall injuries, which cause over 1 million hospital visits every year that often come with significant resulting costs. There might be times where a fall you sustained was simply your own fault and there’s nothing that can be done, but in other situations, your fall and resulting injuries may have been caused by negligence. Let’s look at some steps to take and important information if you think your slip and fall was caused by negligence of an outside party.

Immediate Steps to Take

Some of the most important moments for your potential personal injury case will come directly following the injury itself. Make sure to immediately seek medical attention for any injuries, and to also notify the manager or entity in charge of the property so they can fill out an accident report. Make sure you get records of each of these things.

One important note: Even if you don’t feel major pain at the time of the accident, you should still take the steps we just listed. Some medical symptoms may not show up until later, and even if they don’t, documenting the fact that you sought this attention could be important for your case.

Proving Property Liability

To receive compensation for a slip and fall injury, you have to be able to prove that the property owner failed to create a safe environment. This might mean a restaurant with wet floors, for instance, or a hardware store with blocked aisles or falling products. You have to not only prove that these conditions existed, but that management either knew or should have known about them.

For this reason, a few different evidence types may be used:

  • Incident reports from the scene
  • Statements from witnesses
  • Photo or video evidence available
  • Documentation such as bills, reports, emails or others that help prove management was or should have been aware of possible dangers on the property

Statements and Information

One important note here: Like in many other kinds of personal injury cases, you have to be careful about who you talk to in the immediate aftermath of the accident. You should speak to medical professionals and any law enforcement, of course, but be cautious beyond this. Any statements you make can be used against you, and some insurance companies will preemptively try to contact you to get you to make statements that they’ll then attempt to use to limit their own liability.

Our best advice: Once you’ve spoken to the proper first responders, immediately contact the offices of William Rawlings & Associates for a personal injury attorney. To learn more about slip and fall accidents or any of our other personal injury services, contact our offices today.

-->
Sep 03 2018

Social Media and Personal Injury Cases

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, we specialize in personal injury cases of all kinds. Whether you’ve been in an accident, injured by a dog bite or harmed in a number of different ways where another party may be liable, our personal injury attorneys will help you get the compensation you deserve by law.

This includes walking you through the entire process of a personal injury case, plus helping you avoid any factors or behaviors that might detract from your case. One such possible detractor in today’s modern age? Social media. How could this be the case, you ask? Let’s look at how the wrong uses of social media can cost you the successful completion of your personal injury case, plus some precautions to take to ensure this doesn’t happen to you.

Privacy Entitlement

There’s an unfortunate reality we often find when it comes to Facebook, Instagram and other forms of social media: Many users of these services seem to think they’re entitled to far more privacy than what reality actually dictates. Virtually anything you put online through these networks can be found, including posts, pictures, messages or shares.

There have been numerous instances recently of private online information becoming exposed – even if you think your messages to friends are only for them, this might not be the case. In general, you should simply assume that anything you’ve put online can be discovered.

Social Media and Proving Suffering

Within the world of personal injury cases, the above information has some direct consequences. Defense attorneys and insurance companies will absolutely use information posted on social networks to help poke holes in your case – we’ve seen this torpedo more than one personal injury case in the past.

Consider a basic example where you were injured in a car accident by a driver you’re claiming was negligent, one you’re attempting to receive compensation from for your injuries. You claim serious back pain that’s preventing you from working and obtaining wages…but then just a few days later, you post an Instagram video of you playing basketball at the gym. Insurance companies or defense attorneys are absolutely within their rights to use this post against you during trial or out-of-court negotiations, and this could dramatically lower the compensation you end up with if it’s proven that your injuries or hardship are far less than what you claimed.

Steps to Take

There are a few basic steps you can take to prevent this from happening to you:

  • Privatize all your social media accounts, or at least narrow down who is allowed to see and share your posts.
  • Ask friends and family to refrain from posting anything with or about you while your personal injury case is ongoing.
  • Think carefully about every single post you make, even if it’s supposed to be private. If you’re unsure, don’t post it.

For more on preventing social media from torpedoing your personal injury case, or to learn about any of our car accident, dog bite or personal injury attorney services, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.

-->
Aug 20 2018

Wrongful Death Versus Homicide

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, LLC, one of the areas we’re most proud of is our wrongful death services. We have a fantastic 98 percent success rate in getting surviving victims their maximum compensation, and you can rest assured knowing you have a wrongful death attorney fighting for you.

We regularly see bits of confusion from clients when it comes to the details of a wrongful death case. Many simply assume that, like homicide or manslaughter, it’s a criminal charge tried through the criminal court system – in reality, this is not the case. Wrongful death is part of the civil tort system. What does that mean, and what are some of the important differences?

Who Files

The biggest up-front difference between wrongful death and a homicide case is who files the charges. Criminal acts like murder, manslaughter and other homicides are brought by a prosecutor, then tried by a criminal court system at this prosecutor’s behest (barring a settlement, that is).

On the flip side, wrongful death cases are brought voluntarily by a plaintiff. These are most commonly surviving family members of the deceased looking to get due compensation for the death.

Amount of Evidence

The different court systems these areas are tried in come with very different levels of evidence required. Criminal cases require proof “beyond a reasonable doubt” – this is a high burden of proof that allows for no doubt left in the mind of a jury. Attorneys in this realm use evidence and witnesses to attempt to make this case to the jury.

With a civil case, though, the bar for proof is lower. The plaintiff’s goal is to prove that the defendant is liable based on a “preponderance of evidence,” which simply means that most evidence must point to the defendant being responsible for causing an avoidable death.

Due to these differing levels of proof, wrongful death cases are more likely to succeed than homicide cases. Some families who don’t get the verdict they want through the criminal justice system will find it later through a wrongful death case.

Statute of Limitations

Another big difference between wrongful death cases and homicides or other criminal charges is the statute of limitations. With very few exceptions, major crimes like murder or homicide have no statute of limitations – they can be investigated and tried at any point in time, regardless of how long ago the event took place.

Wrongful death cases, though, often do have a statute of limitations. In Utah, this statute requires that wrongful death claims be filed within two years of the death, or within one year if the claim is being filed against any government entity.

For more on wrongful death cases versus homicides and other criminal charges, or to learn about any of our personal injury attorney services, speak to the pros at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, LLC today.

-->
Aug 10 2018

Spotting Signs of Drunk Driving

A staggering and unfortunate number of auto accident cases and deaths every year are caused by impaired or drunk drivers. Despite major efforts from major organizations to curb this issue, it still remains a large one on roads across the country.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, LLC, we’re here to help if you’re ever part of a car accident caused by a drunk driver, and particularly if you’ve sustained injury. The best way to avoid this kind of emotional and physical pain, though, is to avoid the drunk driver altogether. With that in mind, here are some common signs to look out for that might signal an impaired driver on the road with you, plus how to react if you notice these signs.

Signs of Impaired Driving

We can’t always physically see someone consuming alcohol and then getting in the car to drive, so we often have to base this on driving and behavior. Here are some signs that a person might be intoxicated behind the wheel (these are the kinds of signals police and other law enforcement agents look out for):

  • Quick accelerations or decelerations
  • Weaving or swerving across lanes of traffic or into the shoulder
  • Erratic braking
  • Tailgating
  • Failing to signal
  • Driving in more than one lane at a time
  • Near-miss collisions with other vehicles or other objects
  • Driving more than 10 mph below the speed limit
  • Not turning on headlights at night
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road
  • Making illegal or abrupt turns

How to React

Even if you aren’t 100 percent sure that the above signs signal a drunk driver on the road with you, they clearly signal an unsafe driver. So how should you respond if you see them?

The first and most important response is staying clear – behind the erratic vehicle. Don’t try to pass them or interfere in any way. If you’re able to obtain their car info, such as make and model or license plate, take this information and then alert police from a safe and stopped location (unless you have a passenger with you in the car who can call while you drive).

What to Do If You’re Injured

In the rare case that you’re part of an accident or injured in any way by a suspected drunk driver, do whatever is in your power to collect all possible documentation. You likely have the right to sue the negligent driver. Once you’ve contacted the proper authorities and received attention for any injuries, contact our offices right away to learn about how our personal injury attorney can help.

For more on spotting a drunk driver, or for any of our personal injury, wrongful death or auto accident attorney services, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.

-->
Aug 01 2018

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, LLC, we’re proud to offer top motorcycle accident injury attorney services to those in need. Motorcycle riders are eight times more likely to be injured in an accident than a rider in a car, and we’re here to protect your interests if this happens due to a fault outside your own.

That said, our preference would obviously be that all motorcycle drivers be able to use the road in safety. With that in mind, here are a few of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents, plus how to avoid them while you’re on the road.

Road Hazards

One of the first things to think about as a motorcyclist is various hazards on the road, including loose gravel, oil slicks, potholes and other obstacles you often have no control over. For starters, having good tires with a strong grip will be important for these looser areas. You should also watch your speeds and even consider avoiding major hazards if they look like a bit too much for your machine. Be sure you can see ahead of you and slow down in time if needed.

Blocked Vehicle Vision

Encompassing about 25 percent of all motorcycle accidents is the following scenario: You’re on your bike driving straight, while a motorist in a car making a left turn onto your road (in the opposite direction you’re moving, usually) doesn’t see you and attempts to make the turn in your way.

This is an unfortunate situation that might leave you with a claim for damages from this driver. But to help avoid these issues altogether, consider more careful monitoring at intersections or areas where such turns are possible and vision might be imperfect for vehicles.

DUI

Over a third of all motorcycle accidents involve alcohol, which impairs the reflexes and vision alike. Reaction time is huge when riding a motorcycle or driving a car. Simply put, never drink and drive any machine.

Rain and Visibility

Slicker roads can be tough for both car and motorcycle drivers, particularly in terms of how these vehicles handle. Heavy rain or fog can also come with major vision effects, so make sure you keep lights on and slow down during storms to ensure a bit more safety for everyone.

For more on the common causes of motorcycle accidents, or to speak to a motorcycle accident injury lawyer about whether you have a case from a motorcycle incident, contact the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, LLC today.

-->
Jul 31 2018

Dog Bite Claims Adjustment Process

If you’re bitten by a dog that isn’t yours, you could be entitled to significant damages and compensation for your injuries and hardship. At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, LLC, we have years of experience providing dog bite attorney services to clients in need.

We can walk you through every step of a process you need to navigate carefully to ensure you receive what you deserve. Let’s go over some of the important steps of the insurance claims adjustment process some of our clients tend to struggle with, plus how to handle them properly.

Call from Adjuster

In most dog bite situations, claims will be filed against the homeowner’s insurance policy of the owner of the dog. From here, this insurance company will likely call you – the person making this call is called a claims adjuster.

During this phone call, you will not be asked to negotiate a settlement – that should never be an option without your dog bite lawyer also present. Rather, this call is to gather basic facts about the incident and prepare the claim for the next steps.

Recorded Statement

During this call, you’ll be given the option to record a statement about the incident where the adjuster asks you questions. Firstly, know this: If you don’t feel you’re ready to do this for whatever reason, you’re within your rights to delay this statement. Your attorney or significant other can pass on the message that you need more time before giving an official statement if you aren’t able to do so. Remember that this statement is binding in court, so you should be fully prepared when you give it.

Staying Professional

Questions during this adjuster call may become relatively personal, and it’s even possible the process could be contentious to some small degree. No matter what, you have to stay professional and smart – we’ve seen cases where frustration or simple misunderstanding has led to a victim misunderstanding and actually proposing illegal or unethical solutions to the adjuster, thereby damaging their case. Your dog bite attorney can explain areas you should avoid or be careful in before your call.

Don’t Exaggerate

Never embellish even tiny details of your case during the adjustment process. If anyone finds out, not only could your claim be in trouble, but you could face legal action for filing a false claim. If you truly were harmed outside your own fault in a dog bite case, the real facts will be enough to get you the proper compensation.

For more on the claims adjuster period within dog bite cases, or to learn about any of our personal injury services, speak to the pros at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, LLC.

-->