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.

Jan 03 2020

Eggshell Plaintiff Rule and Pre-Existing Conditions, Part 1

If you’ve recently suffered an injury that you believe was the fault of another party’s negligence for which you might be due compensation, you might be worried about being able to collect damages based on a pre-existing condition. Those who have dealt with insurance companies in the past know they will try to find any excuse to avoid paying out damages, and one such area is pre-existing conditions in patients that they will claim were the cause of their issue rather than a personal injury situation.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, we’re here to ensure your liability claim does not get denied based on a pre-existing condition that was exacerbated or worsened due to someone else’s negligence. We handle a wide variety of personal injury cases, from car and truck accident injury lawyer services to wrongful death and numerous other case types. In this two-part blog, we’ll go over everything you need to know about pre-existing conditions and the role they may play in your case, including a vital area known as the Eggshell Plaintiff Rule that often applies.

eggshell plaintiff pre-existing conditions

Insurance, Personal Injury and Pre-Existing Conditions

Sadly, as we noted above, most insurance companies are not really here to help plaintiffs or those injured in these cases receive their just compensation. Rather, they’re looking for any and all potential reasons to avoid paying out such settlements.

In cases where the plaintiff in a personal injury case has a pre-existing medical condition, this is often the primary area the insurance company will seize onto as they try to fight the charges. They will attempt to claim and prove that injuries suffered in the case were only due to the pre-existing condition, and not due to anything that happened during the incident in question.

Eggshell Plaintiff Rule

However, in most such cases, you as a plaintiff will have an important rule on your side, one known as the Eggshell Plaintiff Rule. This states that any defendant in a personal injury or liability case must take the victim in question “as they are found” – this means that if the victim happens to be someone who is at a higher risk for injury than average, including those who have pre-existing conditions, the defendant remains liable for all damages.

It’s important to note here that this rule holds true even if it’s highly likely the defendant would have paid far less in an identical case where the victim did not have increased injury risk. Damages covered by the Eggshell Plaintiff Rule can include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and often even punitive damages or damages for emotional distress.

In part two of this blog, we’ll go over examples of the Eggshell Plaintiff Rule, plus examples of pre-existing conditions and how to ensure they don’t create an issue in your case. 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.

Dec 20 2019

Taking Pictures to Document an Auto Accident Scene

If you’re involved in a vehicle accident, especially one where you believe there’s even a chance another party was at fault, the time period directly after the accident is very important. While we realize this is a stressful and potentially traumatic period, it’s also the very best time to collect evidence that may prove extremely valuable in your upcoming liability case.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, we’ve been providing auto accident injury attorney services and other personal injury solutions for many years. We’re happy to provide you with tips or expertise on the value of evidence obtained from the scene of an auto accident, particularly one of the most important types out there: Photographs. In today’s day and age where virtually everyone has a smartphone that can take pictures, it’s vital to document the scene of the crash in visual detail. Here are some important areas and themes to ensure you take detailed pictures of at the site of a vehicle accident.

pictures document auto accident

Overall Scene

First and foremost, you should take broad pictures of the entire accident scene, showing the entire area in full. Look for wide-angle shots from a few different perspectives, allowing anyone who views the pictures to have a simple understanding of the scene plus the positioning of things like stop signs, traffic signals and road markings.

If the incident caused skid marks or other items on the road, take pictures of these as well. Look for any missing vehicle parts or other pieces of evidence that will help establish the pattern that led to the accident.

Any Visible Injuries

Another vital area to ensure you have visual documentation of is any injuries you’ve sustained as a result of the crash. We’re talking cuts, scrapes, bruises and any other injuries that can be easily seen. If you are incapacitated or must receive medical attention for injuries, ask either a friend or family member – or even medical staff, if necessary – to take pictures for you.

One note here: Always seek medical attention for any serious injuries before you attempt to take pictures. Your health comes first.

All Vehicles Involved

To whatever degree possible, take pictures of the cars involved and the damage that occurred to them. Note the positions they’re in and try to take pictures from multiple angles so there is no doubt about the contents of the documentation. Be sure to take pictures of both the damage to your own car and that to any other vehicles involved in the accident, as both could be relevant for your case.

For more on taking the right kinds of pictures after an auto accident to use as evidence in a liability case, or to learn about any of our other personal injury attorney services, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.

Dec 13 2019

Coverage for Vehicle Repairs During Accident Liability Cases

If you’ve been involved in a vehicle accident where you believe another party was at fault, there are multiple types of damages you could be seeking. These could be to pay for medical bills and other results of your pain and suffering, they could relate to emotional distress, or they might speak to paying for repairs to damage to your vehicle.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, our auto accident injury attorneys are here to help you get your just compensation if this has happened to you. We’ll help you understand all the ins and outs of a car accident case, including vital information on how repairs will be covered and handled depending on the fault in the case. Here are some basics you might need to know about this area moving forward.

vehicle repairs accident liability cases

No-Fault Insurance and Collision Coverage

For starters, it’s important to know that Utah is a no-fault state when it comes to auto accidents and resulting damages. This means that your own vehicle insurance covers your economic damages all the way up to its policy limits – in cases where you believe someone else is at fault, however, you file a lawsuit against that driver.

Because there is not necessarily a guarantee of winning such a lawsuit, however, we highly recommend purchasing collision coverage in addition to your own basic car insurance policy. In situations where your claim is not successful, your basic no-fault insurance does not apply to vehicle damages, rather only to economic ones.

If you do not have collision insurance in this case, you could be on the hook for the entire cost of the repairs. And on the flip side, if you happen to be at fault in an accident at any point, collision coverage will also pay for your repairs in this case.

At-Fault Drivers and Liability

In cases where fault can be proven in another party, the at-fault driver will be responsible for paying for the repairs of any innocent party’s vehicle. This is generally done using the insurance of the at-fault driver, which can range up the policy limits. If this policy comes up short, a claim will be filed against the driver’s insurance company to help cover the difference.

Total Loss Situations

If the estimate for repairs needed on your damaged vehicle exceeds the Blue Book value of the vehicle itself, it’s likely the vehicle will be declared a total loss. In these cases, rather than insurance covering repairs, it will pay you out the Blue Book value on your vehicle from the time of the accident.

For more on how to handle vehicle repairs in auto accident liability cases, or to learn about any of our personal injury attorney services, speak to the staff at William Rawlings & Associates today.

Dec 06 2019

Basics on Utah’s Specific Personal Injury Laws, Part 2

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the specific statutes and laws that govern common personal injury cases in Utah. Every state has different rules and regulations for these areas, and these can vary pretty significantly even between states that share borders.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, our personal injury attorneys are here to help you manage any case within our purview, from auto accident cases to wrongful death, dog bite or attack situations and many others. In today’s part two, we’ll go over a few additional areas to be aware of that pertain specifically to the way Utah state law treats certain kinds of personal injury cases.

utah’s personal injury laws

Dog Bite Liability Laws

There are many states in the US that observe that’s known as a “one bite” rule. This rule allows protection for dog owners for only the very first time their dog bites someone, so long as there is no apparent reason the owner could have suspected the dog to be dangerous.

In Utah, though, there is no such rule. In particular, part of the Utah state code makes dog owners strictly liable for their animal’s behavior, even if there is no past history of aggression or violence. If you are bitten by someone else’s dog, there is no burden of proof required that the dog was vicious or violent or that the owner knew about it – the owner of the dog is liable regardless.

Government-Involved Injury Cases

In cases where you are injured or harmed in some way due to negligence from a government employee or agency in Utah, it’s important to know that a different set of standards will be applied to your case. One major area to note here is the time period, which differs from traditional personal injury cases – you have a full year to file a claim in these cases, plus another year to file an appeal if your claim is denied originally.

Our attorneys can provide you with further information on government-related cases if needed.

Medical Malpractice Injury Damage Caps

Along with many other states, Utah places a cap or limit on certain kinds of damages in personal injury cases – namely non-economic or “pain and suffering” damages for medical malpractice. In such cases, the cap for damages is $450,000 so long as the issue occurred on or after May 15, 2010. If the issue occurred before then, there is a sliding scale used that our attorneys will explain to you. This cap, however, does not apply to economic or punitive damages, and only applies to medical malpractice, not all personal injury cases.

For more on specific Utah laws that govern certain personal injury areas, or to learn about any of our attorney services, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.