Jun 14 2019

Getting Just Compensation After Motorcycle Accidents

For those who ride motorcycles as a primary form of transportation, safety is vital. Motorcycle riders are eight times more likely to be injured in an accident than passengers in a vehicle, and these injuries are often severe due to limited protection for those riding them.

At the Law Offices of William Rawlings & Associates, LLC, we’re here to help if you have a motorcycle accident injury and believe you may have a case for damages against a liable party. Unfortunately, there are a few strange misconceptions out there that may impact the way your case goes – let’s clear these up and look at some common statistics and case values for motorcycle accidents, plus how you can get your just compensation.

just compensation motorcycle accidents

Motorcycle Injury Statistics

There are a high number of motorcycle accidents in the United States each year, and while precise figures vary based on the source, there’s no question that over 5,000 drivers die each year due to motorcycle collisions. Nearly another 90,000 will be injured in such accidents.

As we noted above, these accidents often come with major injury risks. Even minor motorcycle collisions pose significant such risks to those riding them, especially if any safety equipment is lacking at the time.

Common Prejudice Against Motorcyclists

Unfortunately, there’s a common prejudice that may make its way into certain folks’ opinion of motorcycle-related accidents. Like it or not, some people view motorcycles as inherently dangerous or flashy, and thus will attempt to pin the blame for any accident involving them on the motorcycle driver – even if the incident clearly was not their fault in reality.

Speaking of reality, it doesn’t line up with this perception. A high percentage of motorcyclists are at least 40 years old, not the daredevil youths some are imagining, and well over half of all collisions involving motorcycles are actually caused by drivers of other vehicles. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to highlight these important realities to all necessary parties during your case.

Case Value Potential

Per information form Jury Verdict Research, motorcycle injury verdicts are often quite high, with a median approaching $75,000 per case for years in the early 2000s (amounts that have gone up since due to inflation and other factors). Know that if you’ve been injured in such a situation, you could potentially have a claim for a high dollar value.

Dealing With Insurance Companies

Unfortunately, like with other car accident formats, your insurance company is not actually always trying to help you here. Rather, they’re trying to find reasons not to pay out compensation for an accident, such as attempting to prove you were at fault when this isn’t the case. Luckily, our attorneys are here to represent your interests to these bodies and get you the compensation you deserve, whether through a fair settlement or even a trial process.

For more on motorcycle accidents and liability, or to learn about any of our personal injury lawyer services, speak to the staff at the Law Offices of William Rawlings & Associates, LLC today.

-->
Jun 07 2019

Understanding Passenger Van Accident Liability

While certain car accident injury cases are relatively straightforward when it comes to assigning blame and liability, many others are not. There are numerous situations that lead to and cause car accidents, possibly including multiple parties and liability areas, and it can sometimes be more complex to determine precisely who was at fault or is liable.

At the Law Offices of William Rawlings & Associates, our auto accident injury attorneys are here to help no matter the complexity of your case. One area that may require a careful hand? Passenger claims, or cases where passengers in a given vehicle type have liability claims against the driver of either their own vehicle or others involved. One such issue is when a passenger van is involved in an accident – here are some important facts and themes to understand for these cases.

passenger van accident liability

Passenger Van Definition and Risks

Passenger vans are defined as those that can accommodate between 12 and 15 occupants, or sometimes even more. They’re commonly used by many different groups, from resort and tour companies to airport shuttles, church groups and many others. They’re also regularly used for daycare, senior care and similar areas.

Passenger vans, by definition, are larger than other vehicle types. They’re longer, taller and wider, meaning driving them requires different skills than most other cars. Side mirrors are required more often for changing lanes, for instance, and braking needs to be applied more liberally during all situations.

And unfortunately, passenger vans are also at greater risk for collisions. Rollover risk are much higher due to the weight of people in the van, and other factors like negligence or improper maintenance may play a role as well.

NHTSA Areas

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is an overview body that helps govern several related areas here, and it treats passenger and commercial vans as something of a gray area vehicle. While the NHTSA recommends that passenger vans have commercial driver’s licenses, this is not a legal requirement in most areas.

The NHTSA has other areas it recommends as well, but again, no hard requirements. It highly advises checking tires for proper inflation levels to prevent rollover issues, especially on longer trips. It also recommends proper cargo placement within these vehicles – too much reliance on roof-top luggage racks will increase rollover risks. Finally, passenger vans should never tow anything, and all passengers should remain seated with their seatbelts on at all times while in these vehicles.

Getting Proper Compensation

If you’ve been part of a passenger van accident that left you injured, you could have a case for compensation from the party liable for the accident. Our attorneys are here to go over the details of your case and advise you on your next steps.

For more on passenger vans and liability, or to learn about any of our personal injury attorney services, speak to the staff at the Law Offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.

-->
May 17 2019

Types and Impact of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Known medically as an intra-cranial injury, a traumatic brain injury is a significant traumatic event that leads to damage in the human brain. Most often seen in car accidents, but also possible in several other situations, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can have a wide range of symptoms.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, our personal injury attorneys are here to help if you fear you or a loved one sustained a TBI during a vehicle accident or any other situation where another party may be liable. Let’s go over some basic facts on these injuries, the symptoms you may notice, and the multiple areas where you may see the impact of these injuries in your daily life.

impact traumatic brain injuries

Basic Numbers on Traumatic Brain Injuries

Brain injuries can range from mild to extremely serious, and on the far end of this spectrum, they are responsible for about 200,000 American deaths each year. They’re also largely responsible for roughly another 500,000 non-death hospitalizations each year, including many that lead to future issues, often permanent ones.

Unfortunately, many TBI cases simply go undiagnosed, even some of the more severe ones. Many who suffer from them try to cover them off as nothing but headaches or similar symptoms, often because they don’t want to believe anything more serious is happening.

Types and Related Conditions

As you might expect, auto accidents are one of the top causes of traumatic brain injuries. Here are some specific types or related conditions to be aware of:

  • Closed head injuries: In most cases, TBIs are what are called closed head injuries. This refers to injuries where the trauma or impact causes the brain to go in motion inside the skull, slamming into areas of the skull due to the force being put on it. These collisions will form contusions and swelling in the brain.
  • Axon damage: As the brain is involved in this same movement, it may also twist and stretch outside its normal positioning. This, in turn, can damage axons, the parts of the brain that carry impulses from neuron to neuron, and this lowers brain function.
  • DAI: When axon damage becomes significant enough at the cellular level, a condition called diffuse axonal injury (DAI) may occur – it doesn’t damage blood vessels or main structures, so it won’t be detected by MRIs or CT scans, but it has a major impact on overall brain function.

Impact of TBIs

It’s important to note that with TBIs, there’s both a physical element to consider and a cognitive/emotional one. In addition, there are often delayed symptoms – people might feel completely normal after a traumatic injury has occurred, before showing symptoms hours, days or even weeks later. In cases like vehicle accidents where another party might be liable for the injury, it’s vital to retain the services of an auto accident attorney even if symptoms seem minor or nonexistent after a head impact (or many other injury types, of course).

For more on traumatic brain injuries and liability, or to learn about any of our other personal injury attorney services, speak to the pros at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.

-->
May 10 2019

Causes and Liability Issues for Wrong-Way Vehicle Accidents

Certain kinds of car accidents are inherently more dangerous than others, and on the very riskiest end of this spectrum sits wrong-way accidents. As the name suggests, these are accidents where vehicles collide, usually head-on, after one driver begins driving the wrong way on a given road or highway.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, LLC, we have experienced auto accident attorneys who will help you receive proper compensation if you or a loved one has been impacted by a wrong-way vehicle accident or any other type of car or truck accident. Let’s look at some simple statistics behind these accidents and what makes them so dangerous, plus how many jurisdictions will respond harshly and punitively to these kinds of incidents.

causes liability wrong-way vehicle accidents

Basic Statistics

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, abbreviated NTSB, nearly 400 highway deaths are caused per year by wrong-way driving accidents in the United States alone. As we noted above, nearly all such incidents are head-on collisions between the driver going the wrong way and other driver(s) going the correct direction.

Unfortunately, the numbers also showcase how much more dangerous these wrong-way collisions are than average. While only about 1 percent of standard vehicle accidents involve a fatality, over 20 percent of wrong-way collisions include a death, making them over 20 times more likely to result in a fatality.

Wrong-Way Collision Causes

There are a few possible causes of wrong-way driving accidents, including some that may overlap with others. A few of the most common include:

  • Alcohol or impairment: According to a 2012 report from the NTSB, over 50 percent of all wrong-way driving accidents and deaths involve alcohol or impairment on the part of the driver going the wrong way. An even higher percentage, over 60 percent in fact, had a blood alcohol rating of at least 0.15, or nearly double the legal limit in most states.
  • Age: About 15 percent of wrong-way accidents are caused by drivers over 70, who may have cognitive or vision issues that contribute.
  • Road configuration and mistakes: Many of these accidents take place when a driver enters the wrong road or highway, mistaking it for their exit- or on-ramp. Cities will take steps to help resolve any confusing signage or side-by-side ramp issues, but it should be noted that these kinds of obstacles are not generally viewed as a viable justification in court to prevent a wrong-way driver from being liable for an accident.
  • Darkness: Almost 80 percent of wrong-way accidents take place between 6 PM and 6 AM, or generally at night when there’s less light.

Punitive Penalties

For many years, the NTSB has recommended that judges and juries assign strict, punitive penalties to those who contribute to wrong-way crashes, particularly those who do so while impaired. If you’ve been injured by such a driver, consult with one of our car accident attorneys, who can prepare you for the kinds of damages you’ll be able to seek.

For more on wrong-way driving accidents, or to learn about any of our personal injury attorney services, speak to the pros at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.

-->
May 03 2019

Understanding Common Forms of Distracted Driving

There are several potential causes to vehicle accidents on the road, and one of the most common and dangerous is distracted driving. Distracted driving is a broad category that can refer to several specific types of distraction, from visual ones to manual or even cognitive issues.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, LLC, we’re here to tell you that regardless of which type of distraction was the cause, you could be owed damages if you were injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver. Here are some basics on defining this term, how an auto accident injury attorney can help, plus an investigation into a few specific examples of distracted driving – including a couple that some people mistakenly think don’t put them at risk for liability if they cause an accident.

common forms distracted driving

Defining Distracted Driving

Simply put, the law defines distracted driving as any behavior or activity that turns the driver’s attention away from the task of driving. Many of the basics here come back to simple science: Even a single second spent looking away from the road in front of you will cause you to be unaware for a huge amount of ground covered, particularly if your vehicle is traveling at a high rate of speed.
For this reason, anything that causes this sort of diversion of attention could be considered a distraction. While we’re about to lay out a few specific examples of the most common forms of distracted driving, know that a far greater number of potential actions or distractions could also fit the bill, and you should be aware of them at all times when operating a vehicle.

Cell Phones and Texting

In today’s modern day, texting on cell phones is considered the single most dangerous type of distracted driving facing US drivers. It is responsible for literally thousands of deaths on the road every year, plus untold additional thousands of injuries. This is extremely straightforward: Not only does texting require a driver to move their eyes from the road to a phone, it takes at least one hand off the wheel and uses it for another purpose.
In addition, several other phone behaviors outside texting may cause distraction. Talking on the phone can apply if you aren’t using fully hands-free devices, and even voice commands may distract the brain. Those looking to fully avoid distractions will not use their phones at all while driving.

Daydreaming or Preoccupation

This is a bit more of a nebulous category, but distraction can also be easily caused by our own mental picture. Daydreaming or distraction are particularly common for tired drivers, part of the reason you often see reminders to pull over and rest if you feel tired while driving.

Rubbernecking

It’s often used as the butt of jokes due to it’s silly-sounding name, but rubbernecking – or slowing down and losing focus on driving so as to view accidents or other things happening on the side of the road – is extremely dangerous. It’s the cause of numerous additional accidents, in fact, and is a form of distracted driving that is not viewed favorably by courts.

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

-->
Apr 19 2019

Taking Prompt, Proper Action After a Dog Bite

Hopefully this never happens to you, but if you’re ever bitten or otherwise injured by someone else’s dog, it’s possible this party will be liable for your injuries. Dog owners are generally liable for these kinds of injuries with a few exceptions (trespassing, abuse or taunting of the dog, etc.), and this liability may extend all the way to future pain and suffering just like many other personal injury case types.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, we our personal injury attorneys are here to help if you’ve been injured in a dog bite case. How should you respond if you’re bitten or otherwise injured by a dog that isn’t yours? Here are some important areas to make sure you cover.

proper action after dog bite

Seeking Medical Attention

The most important thing after any injury is your own health and safety, and you should see to this first. Seek medical attention right away if your injuries justify it – this includes any puncture wound, even if it doesn’t seem too serious. This is because you never know the cleanliness of that dog’s mouth (it’s likely not great), and you could be at risk for infection even for smaller wounds that aren’t bleeding much.

Wherever possible while seeking medical attention, look for ways to document the services you receive. If you have to attend a hospital or doctor’s office, ask for copies of your bills with detailed lists of the injuries treated. In cases where your face is injured by the dog, you might consider a plastic surgeon for cosmetic areas that standard doctors are not trained on.

Collecting Information

As quickly as possible once you’ve addressed any injuries and are sure you’re safe, begin to obtain information on the incident. The most important piece of information here is on the dog itself and its owner, which will enable you to find out whether there’s a rabies risk or the possibility of other disease.

You should also, however, collect information on the entire circumstance. If any witnesses were present, take their names and ensure they speak with any investigators on the scene – if none are present and witnesses are looking to leave, try to convince them to stay or take their statement yourself.

Reporting to Animal Control

While all dog bite incidents should be reported to animal control, this is of particular importance if you’re not able to identify the owner of the animal. In these cases, it’s imperative that the animal be located and tested for rabies or other conditions that could harm the public.

Legal Assistance

And finally, if you feel you may have a liability case against the dog’s owner, you should immediately contact our offices. We have several great dog bite lawyer options available for you, with significant experience in the field and proving fault to help you get the compensation you deserve.

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

-->
Apr 12 2019

Important Photo Documentation After Car Accidents

If you’ve just been involved in a vehicle accident, particularly one where another party could be at fault, one of the most important things to consider in the immediate aftermath is documentation. While ensuring you and anyone with you is safe is the top priority, the very next set of steps you should take includes assessing the damage and beginning to document it for vital future use.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, a personal injury attorney can help you understand the kinds of documentation that are important for any car accident situation. In today’s modern age, with smartphones in most pockets, pictures are some of the most detailed and valuable pieces of evidence you can collect – but what exactly should you be taking pictures of? Here are some details on the major areas to make sure you snap good pictures of.

photo documentation car accidents

Full Scene

For starters, you should try to capture as much of the overall crash scene as you’re able to. The goal here is to include as much detail as possible, so look for both wide-angle shots that cover most or all of the scene plus more specific photos of individual areas.

These photos shouldn’t just be on the damaged areas of the vehicle, either. They should also include any pertinent road signs or stoplights, plus any skid marks, broken glass or other results from the crash that may have ended up on the road. These kinds of materials can often help investigators understand the pattern that led to the accident when determining fault.

Any and All Injuries

Another vital area to document in detail, even if it’s a little gross, is any injuries you sustain during the accident. These can be as minor as scrapes or cuts or much more significant – as we noted in the introduction to this blog, serious injuries should be attended to as the first priority.

While it’s only partially related, know that injury documentation involves elements well beyond just photographs. Certain injuries cannot be seen immediately or at all, such as concussions or whiplash, and medical records will be another vital part of this documentation.

Vehicle Damage

It’s also important to take specific, detailed pictures of the vehicles involved in the crash and the damage they incurred. This includes not only your vehicle, but also any others involved, no matter how minor their involvement may have been. Try to get photos from multiple angles if possible, while of course remaining at a safe distance from any hazards like fire or broken glass.

For more on the kinds of pictures you should be taking to document a vehicle accident scene if you’re involved, or to learn about any of our car accident attorney services, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.

-->
Apr 05 2019

Sporting Events and Personal Injury Liability Concerns

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, we’ve seen virtually every variety of personal injury case out there. While the most common in this category are car accidents and those involving other vehicle types, we also handle cases involving various other injuries, dog bite claims and even trampoline-related injuries.

The moral of the story here: You can be injured in many situations, and just because yours isn’t one of the most common for a personal injury case doesn’t mean you can’t receive compensation if another party was at fault for your injuries. One great example of this is with injuries sustained at a sporting event – let’s go over when you may or may not have liability claims in these relatively unique circumstances.
sporting events personal injury liability

Assumption of Risk

It’s important to note that when you attend a sporting event, particularly one put on by a professional-level team like the Utah Jazz or Real Salt Lake, there’s a legal element known as “assumption of risk” that you are taking. This assumption will generally be expressed in several areas: On your tickets themselves, plus at multiple locations within the arena or stadium. They will also generally be repeated by a public service announcer at some point before the event begins.
Generally speaking, these assumptions cover the reasonable, inherent risks presented by whatever sport you’re viewing. If you’re at a baseball game, then, it’s reasonable to expect that baseballs may fly into the crowd at some point, and you have to be watching for them – if you’re hit by one and weren’t paying attention, you won’t have a claim against the ballpark, for instance. This same level of reasonable assumption applies to any sport based on the basic rules, fields and materials used during play.

Exceptions to Risk Assumption

Now, assumption of risk is not a cover-all rule for arenas or the groups putting on these events. There’s also a reasonable expectation that the venue provide the adequate protections that should be in place.
Take a hockey rink, for example, which in recent decades have all installed protective nettings behind each goal to stop speeding pucks from flying up into the crowd and hitting spectators. If this netting is faulty in a rink you attend and results in a puck injuring you, you very well might have a liability claim against the venue.

Unforeseeable Events

There are other cases where events no one could have predicted lead to injury cases. Often these are incidents between fans, such as fights or similar events. If you’re unsure whether such an event qualifies, ask one of our personal injury lawyers, who can clarify for you.

Safe, Secure Facility

Finally, as we touched on above, it’s the venue’s responsibility to provide a safe and secure facility. This means well-maintained premises, including proper lighting and a maintenance staff that keeps walkways and other public areas clear. It also means hiring and maintaining proper security – certain personal injury cases involving sporting events related to issues where non-adequate security was present to prevent an incident.

For more on whether or not an injury sustained at a sporting event might leave you with a personal injury claim, or for information on any of our personal injury attorney services, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.

-->
Mar 15 2019

Emerging Future Trends in Personal Injury Cases

Through our years of assisting clients with a variety of personal injury cases at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, we’ve noted a number of trends. Whether due to changes in technology, laws, or some combination of other factors, there are stretches where certain kinds of cases become much more common.

Keeping an eye to these kinds of trends is valuable, not only to us but to our clients. With them, we can help advise you on the types of incidents that are on the rise and help you avoid any of their primary risks. With that in mind, here are a few of the areas that many in the personal injury world expect to be some of the biggest emerging sectors in the coming years.
emerging trends personal injury cases

Ridesharing Services

In a process we’ve gone over in this space in the past, ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft continue to be on the rise throughout the country. This is particularly true in larger metropolitan areas like Salt Lake City, where there are tons of drivers working for these services – and not all of them are safe or properly qualified.

These companies do have insurance policies in place to protect customers and drivers, but due to how new these services still are in many areas, there’s still some gray in terms of how settlements and compensation are worked out in cases where a rideshare driver is responsible for an accident. You car accident attorney can help you with the ins and outs here, many of which are becoming clearer with each passing year.

Drone Usage

Also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), drones are also experiencing a huge surge in popularity in recent years. They’re used in both the professional and recreational spaces, with a number of practical and entertainment uses.

But as they continue to become more popular, though, the conversation has shifted in some circles to their safety and regulation. What happens if a poorly piloted drone falls from the air and injures you, for instance? Who is responsible? This gets into areas of product liability and invasions of privacy, all of which our personal injury lawyers can assess for you.

Cell Phones and Distracted Driving

The primary causes of many vehicle accidents have shifted over the years, and one of the top items on the list in recent years is distracted driving due to cell phones. Our smartphones offer more information and entertainment than ever before, and even despite hands-free and car-safe formats, many people still continue to use these unsafely while on the road. Distracted driving itself is not new, of course, but both law enforcement and safety organizations are highly interested in curbing the cell phone usage that often causes it today – and these issues are important parts of resulting personal injury cases, as well.

For more on which areas of personal law are becoming more common, or to learn about any of our personal injury lawyer services, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.

-->
Mar 08 2019

Staying Safe As a Winter Driver in Utah

Negligence is one of the top causes of auto accidents that lead to personal injury cases, and this is particularly true during the winter in places like Utah. Snow, ice, and various other winter conditions make roads much riskier during and after storms, but not all drivers are conscious of this and many take a risky approach on the roads.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, there’s always a car accident attorney available to help if you’re involved in an incident with one such driver. We can ensure you get the proper compensation if your accident was caused by winter-related negligence by the other party, and we’re also here to provide some tips to keep yourself safe from this happening to begin with – driving safely isn’t only about you, but also about protecting yourself from the possibility of poor driving by others sharing the road. Whether you’ve been involved in such a case in the past or not, here are a few important areas for staying safe on the road during winter.

safe winter driver Utah

Clean Vehicle

Both for your own safety and that of others on the road, you should not drive your vehicle if it’s full of snow and ice accumulations on the windshield, windows, rear windows or even the roof. Slabs and chunks may fall off as you drive and make things less safe for other vehicles, especially trucks. There are even situations where you can be fined or cited for driving with roof or other snow accumulation on the vehicle, even if no damage is created. You may also be liable in civil court if these issues cause you to be responsible for an accident.

Speed Concerns

While speed limits for given areas are there for a reason and should always be respected, they may not go far enough when you’re dealing with winter driving conditions. They’re meant for optimal road conditions, not those with significant hazards present.
In these cases, you can absolutely be driving unsafely even if you’re doing a speed well below the limit. The National Safety Council recommends at least a three-second following distance during good driving conditions – you should at least double that when there’s snow or ice on the ground, and you should limit your speed with turning as well.

Passing Snowplows

Never attempt to pass a snowplow on your side of the road for any reason. Stay at least six car lengths behind it and move away from the center line if one is approaching from the opposite side.

Understanding Brakes

The kind of brakes you have in your car should dictate how you use them in snow or ice. If you have antilock brakes, you should maintain steady pressure while braking and never pump for any reason. If you have standard brakes, though, you can pump them to avoid skidding. If the car starts to fishtail in any situation, steer in the direction you want to go, not the opposite one.

For more on staying safe on the road during winter, or to learn about any of our auto accident or personal injury lawyers and what they can do for your case, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.

-->