Jun 03 2022

Utah Bicycle Accident Lawyers Answer Key Questions on Bike Crashes

If you’ve been hit by a car while riding a bike, you suddenly face new challenges and concerns. The experienced Utah bicycle accident lawyers at William R. Rawlings & Associates are all too familiar with the devastating toll a bike crash can have – and you shouldn’t have to suffer due to the actions of a careless driver.

Dealing with the aftermath of a car-on-bike collision isn’t easy, particularly when you have serious injuries. To ease some of your worries, we’re sharing the answers to questions Utah cyclists commonly personal injury attorneys ask about bike crashes.

Utah bicycle accident lawyers

What Should You Do if You Get Hit By a Car While Cycling?

The steps you take after a car-on-bike collision can have a significant impact on the outcome of your accident case. To protect your rights, do the following:

  • Contact the police and wait for them to arrive
  • Get the contact info of the driver and any witnesses
  • Snap photos to document the bike crash scene
  • Seek medical attention – even if you think it isn’t needed
  • Consult with an experienced Utah bicycle accident lawyer

Is Hiring a Utah Bicycle Accident Lawyer Really Necessary?

While legal representation isn’t required in Utah, hiring a bicycle accident lawyer is in your best interests. In case you aren’t aware, injured bike crash victims who work with attorneys tend to receive quite a bit more in compensation than those who represent themselves. And, letting a lawyer take over your case will decrease your stress, allowing you to focus on recovering rather than your mounting medical expenses.

How Long Should You Wait to Contact a Bicycle Accident Lawyer?

Anyone who is injured in a car-on-bike collision should get in touch with an experienced local lawyer as soon as possible. You do have a little leeway, as the statute of limitations in Utah for a bicycle accident case is four years from the date of the crash. However, working with an attorney early on is best, as they’ll be able to conduct an investigation while the evidence is fresh.

What If You Can’t Afford to Hire a Bicycle Accident Lawyer?

With most local legal professionals, your initial consultation is free of charge, with no obligation. If a Utah bicycle accident attorney takes your case, their legal fees will likely be contingent upon the outcome – and if they don’t recover any compensation, you won’t be charged for their services. If your lawyer wins or settles your case, you’ll pay for their work and the upfront expenses they covered out of the money you receive.

How Can You Pay for Medical Care After a Utah Bicycle Accident?

If you get hit by a car while cycling and you don’t have health insurance, you may be worried about getting slammed with medical bills. Bicycle accident lawyers suggest talking to your doctors, as they may be willing to provide treatment on a lien basis, meaning that they’ll wait to be paid out of your case proceeds. And if your medical providers aren’t agreeable, ask your attorney for help securing lien-based treatment.

Do You Need to Talk to the Insurance Company After a Bike Crash?

Speaking with representatives from the insurance company of the careless driver who hit your bike isn’t required – there’s no law in the state of Utah that says you must have a conversation. And, don’t give in to the pressure to give a recorded statement, because anything you say could be twisted and used against you. Instead, tell any insurance adjusters who call that they need to contact your bicycle accident attorney.

How Much Compensation Are You Entitled to After a Bike Crash?

In all honesty, this is a question that has no easy answer. Asking this is like asking how much money does it usually take to compensate an injured cyclist for their losses – and every case is unique. That said, an experienced bicycle accident attorney will pursue all possible damages, which may include:

  • Past, ongoing and future medical expenses
  • Costs of any required household or personal services
  • Repair or, more likely, replacement of your bike
  • Lost income and loss of earning capacity
  • Reimbursement for any personal days taken
  • Pain, suffering, mental distress and emotional strain
  • Loss of enjoyment and reduced qualify of life

Schedule a Free Consultation at William R. Rawlings & Associates

If a car-on-bike collision has left you with injuries, you should get advice from an experienced Utah bicycle accident lawyer soon. The legal team at William R. Rawlings & Associates has been representing injured cyclists for over 35 years – and our expertise gives us the ability to secure the maximum in compensation for our clients. Turn to our law firm, and you’ll have the help you need to get through this difficult time.

Let us protect your rights and fight for every dollar you deserve. To schedule a free consultation with an accomplished Utah bicycle accident lawyer, contact William R. Rawlings & Associates today.

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Jan 25 2022

Collecting Evidence for a Utah Motorcycle Accident Claim

If you’re involved in a Utah motorcycle accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you have the right to pursue compensation for your injuries and losses. Immediately after the crash, your primary focus should be on recovering – but the reality is, you’ll need to gather evidence to support your claim in order to stand a chance of obtaining a fair amount of monetary damages.

What evidence do you need to collect? An experienced Utah personal injury attorney with expertise representing motorcycle accident victims can take the lead in gathering the necessary evidence, but if possible, you’ll want to provide the following.

Utah motorcycle accident claim, personal injury attorney

Evidence to Collect at the Motorcycle Accident Scene

After being involved in a Utah motorcycle accident, you should seek medical attention for any serious injuries. Then, if you’re physically able to do so, you can start the process of proving negligence, liability and damages by collecting evidence at the scene of the crash.

Photos of Every Vehicle Involved

Use your cell phone to take pictures of the other vehicles involved in the motorcycle accident. Be sure to capture their relative positions and any areas of damage – and snap photos from multiple angles, heights and distances to ensure you don’t miss anything important.

Photos of the Entire Accident Scene

Providing a complete view of the crash scene helps others understand what happened. To that end, take wide-angle photos of the entire area from a few different perspectives, then zoom in for close-up shots of traffic signs, skid marks, roadway hazards and vehicle parts on the road. And, don’t forget to document the weather conditions.

Photos of Any Visible Injuries

If you suffered any scratches, abrasions, road rash, puncture wounds, lacerations or other visible injuries as a result of the motorcycle crash, they’ll need to be documented. Take photos of each injured area, and make sure your pictures clearly show the size, severity and location of your accident-related injuries.

Witness & Motorist Contact Information

After a Utah motorcycle accident, talk to people at the scene. Get the names, phone numbers and vehicle information of the other drivers involved and any that of any passengers and witnesses to the crash – opinions as to what happened may vary, but a personal injury attorney may need that information to prepare your claim.

Evidence to Preserve for Your Motorcycle Accident Claim

In Utah motorcycle accident claims, victims bear the burden of proving that another party was at fault for the incident. As such, providing your motorcycle accident attorney with the following evidence can be instrumental to protecting your right to compensation.

Your Motorcycle

Personal injury attorneys and accident experts can look to your damaged bike to demonstrate how the crash happened. Store your motorcycle in a safe place for potential later use as evidence – or, if you must get immediate repairs, take detailed photos of the damage to show the intensity of the collision.

Your Protective Gear

In Utah, motorcyclists who are at least 21 years of age aren’t required to wear a helmet, boots, gloves or other protective gear – and if you weren’t, that can’t be used as evidence against you in a Utah motorcycle accident claim. But if you did wear any such gear, keep it, as damage to the items could help prove that the accident was severe.

Your Recovery Journal

You should start a daily journal to document your recovery, noting the pain you’re feeling as well as the mental struggles you’re facing – a day-by-day chronical could help your personal injury attorney establish a strong motorcycle accident claim.

Evidence of Damages Resulting from the Motorcycle Accident

An experienced Utah personal injury attorney can help you recover the maximum in compensation for your losses, but the amount you’ll be able to obtain is largely dependent upon the particular damages that apply to your motorcycle accident claim.

You’ll need evidence of the actual, measurable monetary losses you’ve incurred as a result of the motorcycle crash. Referred to as economic damages, these losses can be proved with:

  • Medical bills and receipts for medical treatment related to injuries sustained in the motorcycle crash
  • Pay stubs, benefit documentation or a letter from your employer that details your salary and dates of work missed
  • Estimates or receipts for the cost of repairing or replacing your bike and any protective gear or property damaged in the crash

You may also be able to include non-economic damages, or intangible losses resulting from the crash, in your motorcycle accident claim. This includes pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment and loss of consortium – none of which are easy to prove. Doing so may require the use of expert witnesses, like medical specialists, mental health professionals and vocational rehabilitation experts. Rest assured, an experienced Utah personal injury attorney will know how to evidence to support a claim for compensation.

Get Expert Legal Help from William R. Rawlings & Associates

If you’re the victim of a motorcycle crash, you’ll need substantial evidence to secure monetary damages from the at-fault party’s insurance company or in a Utah court of law. Working with a seasoned personal injury attorney is in your best interests, as a lawyer who routinely handles motorcycle accident claims will have the resources to conduct a thorough investigation and to gather the proof you need to get every dollar you deserve.

For expert legal help with a Utah motorcycle accident claim, turn to William R. Rawlings & Associates. Our personal injury attorneys have decades of experience helping injured motorcyclists recover compensation – and when insurance adjusters fail to provide favorable settlement offers, we’re prepared to take the matter to court.

To discuss your Utah motorcycle accident claim with a highly skilled personal injury attorney, contact William R. Rawlings & Associates and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today.

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Nov 12 2021

Lost Your Job Due to a Draper Bicycle Accident? A Lawyer Can Help

Car-on-bike collisions can be devastating for cyclists, as the injuries incurred can make returning to work impossible. If you’re facing that situation, a bicycle accident lawyer could have the remedy you need. By building and filing a strong personal injury case, an attorney can pursue compensation for all of your financial losses, including those related to income.

If you lost your job because a cycling accident has left you unable to perform the required duties – or if you’ve been forced to change career paths as a result of the collision – turn to the legal team at William R. Rawlings & Associates. Here’s a look at what our experienced Draper personal injury attorneys can do to help.

personal injury attorney Draper

Recovering Lost Income in a Personal Injury Case

A key factor in any Utah personal injury case is the calculation of any lost income that may be recoverable. As an injured cyclist, you have the right to pursue compensation for the following from the party at fault for the collision:

  • Income lost as a direct result of the bicycle accident and the injuries you sustained
  • Wages lost when you had to miss work to undergo medical treatment for your injuries

To be compensated for lost income, you’ll need to have documentation that shows the time you missed from work and the amount you would have earned during that time. Your bicycle accident lawyer can explain what types of documents can be used as evidence in a personal injury case.

What if you took sick leave or used paid vacation days to cover the time you missed at work? You’re entitled to compensation for that, too – you earned those benefits, and an experienced bicycle accident attorney can help you recover their full value.

Proving a Claim for Loss of Earning Capacity

The severity of the injuries you sustained may have impaired your ability to earn the same income as you did prior to your bicycle accident. If you lost your job and can’t switch to a line of work that pays as well, you may have a claim for loss of earning capacity.

But while you have the right to pursue compensation for your diminished earning power, proving lost earning capacity can be a challenge. Establishing how your injuries have compromised your ability to earn an income in the future may require all of the following:

  • A detailed review of your employment history, work-related skills and educational background
  • An extensive analysis of how your past earnings history compares to your earnings after the bicycle accident
  • A thorough evaluation of the current labor market and what the future holds in terms of your earning power
  • Testimony from expert medical witnesses who can explain the impact your injuries have on your ability to earn an income

In a personal injury case, calculating loss of earning capacity – and determining an appropriate amount of compensation – isn’t an exact science. Having an experienced bicycle accident lawyer on your side is to your benefit, as an attorney will investigate every possible avenue, including possible promotions and raises you may have earned, to bolster your claim.

Fighting for the Maximum in Financial Compensation

In addition to lost income and loss of earning capacity, you can pursue compensation for lost work opportunities resulting from your Utah cycling accident. Essentially, this refers to commissions and bonuses earned on a regular basis – and if you missed out on any such prospects to make money because of your bicycle accident, a lawyer can help you prove lost work opportunities.

Several other types of compensation may also be awarded in Utah personal injury cases. An experienced bicycle accident lawyer can work to get you compensated for all of your losses. Depending upon your specific circumstances, your attorney may pursue compensation for:

  • Past, ongoing and future medical treatment
  • Repair or replacement of damaged property
  • Necessary household and personal services
  • Pain, suffering and emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment and loss of consortium
  • Permanent disfigurement and mobility impairments

Punitive damages are available in the state of Utah, but they are rarely awarded and generally only apply to cases involving gross negligence. Your bicycle accident lawyer will let you know if you can make a claim for punitive damages.

Whatever specific damages apply to your case, you can count on your lawyer to fight for every dollar you deserve. After all, most attorneys who handle personal injury cases do so on a contingency fee basis – meaning that they only get paid if they recover compensation. And, their payment is typically a percentage of the amount awarded. As such, your bicycle accident lawyer will have a tremendous incentive to maximize your claim.

Talk to an Experienced Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Draper Today

You need an attorney who will stand up for your rights and fight to get the money you deserve – and William R. Rawlings & Associates has what it takes to make that happen.

We’ve been representing injured cyclists in Utah, Idaho and California for more than 35 years, and we understand how to maximize compensation in personal injury cases. Our legal team includes former insurance adjusters, former insurance company attorneys and lawyers who enjoy the sport of cycling, giving us a unique perspective that works to our clients’ advantage.

William R. Rawlings & Associates is the law firm you want in your corner if you lost your job because of a Utah car-on-bike collision. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Draper, contact our office today.

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Nov 05 2021

Types of Compensation in Utah Personal Injury Cases

Were you seriously injured in a car crash, dog attack or some other type of accident? Utah personal injury cases hinge on the concept of negligence – so if the incident wasn’t your fault, you have the legal right to pursue compensation for your losses.

An experienced Utah personal injury lawyer can help you fight for every dollar you deserve, but the amount you’ll be able to recover depends largely upon the specific damages that apply to your case. Here, we take a close look at the types of compensation available in Utah personal injury cases.

personal injury lawyer Utah

Economic Damages

Also referred to as special damages, economic damages are intended to compensate accident victims for actual, measurable monetary losses related to their injuries. Some of the most common types of economic damages are:

Medical Expenses

Personal injury cases almost always address the cost of medical treatment related to the accident. In Utah, injured victims can seek out reimbursement for past expenses as well as compensation for future medical care.

Lost Income

Injuries resulting from an accident often force people to take time off from work. When filing a personal injury claim, accident victims in Utah can ask to be compensate for any and all missed wages.

Lost Earning Capacity

Serious injuries can compel accident victims to take a different job – and sometimes, seeking any type of employment simply isn’t possible. In either case, a personal injury award can include the loss of future income.

Property Loss

Accidents that cause severe injuries often result in property damage as well. Under Utah law, victims have the right to pursue compensation for repair costs or the fair market value of any damaged item.

Household Services

While recuperating from their injuries, accident victims may be unable to take care of their regular duties. For those who need to hire someone to help with cooking, cleaning, child care or other tasks, compensation may be awarded.

Non-Economic Damages

In personal injury claims, non-economic damages compensate victims for the intangible losses they have incurred as a result of an accident. Also known as general damages, non-economic damages are not easy to quantify. Examples include:

Pain and Suffering

Severe injuries often involve a great deal of physical pain. Accident victims in Utah may be entitled to compensation for their discomfort and any ongoing pain and suffering attributable to the incident.

Emotional Distress

Involvement in a serious accident can have a major psychological impact. Damages may be awarded to Utah victims who are in mental anguish, suffering from anxiety, depression, guilt or another form of emotional distress.

Loss of Enjoyment

Many Utah accident victims are unable to take part in the hobbies and recreational activities they formerly enjoyed. When engaging in regular day-to-day pursuits is no longer possible, a personal injury award may offer compensation.

Loss of Consortium

Being seriously injured can have a definite impact on the relationship a person has with their spouse. For a loss of companionship, love or affection or difficulty with sexual relations, victims can bring a claim for damages.

Disfigurement

Considerable scarring, permanent injuries and mobility impairments can harm self-esteem and cause a loss in quality of life. Disfigurement can have a lasting effect, and for injured victims in Utah, compensation is available.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages, or exemplary damages, are awarded infrequently in the state of Utah. This type of compensation isn’t intended to compensate victims for losses – it’s meant to punish the at-fault party for their actions and deter others from acting in a similar manner.

In Utah personal injury cases, punitive damages are only applicable when the party responsible for an accident is guilty of gross negligence. In other words, their conduct must be extreme, egregious or intended to cause harm – engaging in careless or reckless behavior isn’t typically enough to meet the standard for punitive damages.

When punitive damages are included in a personal injury award, the amount is based on several objective and subjective factors. The wealth of the at-fault party, the reprehensibility of their misconduct and the nature of the victim’s injuries are a few of the considerations. In Utah, the courts may order that the first $50,000 in punitive damages goes to the victim, but any in excess of that amount is divided equally between the victim and the state.

How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

If you’re thinking about bringing a personal injury case, there are numerous advantages to having legal representation. Hiring an experienced lawyer is worth your while because:

  • Personal injury cases are complex, requiring a comprehensive understanding of federal and Utah state laws and a solid grasp of how the local court system works. With a lawyer on your side, you won’t have to worry about missing deadlines or making an error with your claim.
  • Knowing what damages you can pursue is an important part of your personal injury case – and if you have no legal expertise, you may miss out on a significant sum of money. An experienced lawyer will be aware of all of the damages that apply to your case, maximizing your compensation.
  • Handling a personal injury case on your own can be incredibly time-consuming. You’ll need to research the claims process and prepare everything – all while recovering from your injuries. Hire a lawyer, and you’ll save time, reduce your stress level and give yourself the opportunity to heal.

Personal injury lawyers charge fees for their services, of course, but many – including the team at William R. Rawlings & Associates, work on a contingency fee basis. Legal representation costs you nothing upfront, so you can get the help you need without worrying about the expense.

William R. Rawlings & Associates, a highly respected Utah law firm, has decades of experience helping accident victims obtain the financial compensation they deserve. For a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your personal injury case, use our online contact form or call our office in Draper, Utah, today.

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Jul 09 2021

When Should You Consider Hiring a Bicycle Accident Attorney?

If you were involved in a crash while riding a bike, you may need to seek out help from an experienced Utah personal injury attorney.

As the victim of a cycling accident, you have the right to pursue financial compensation for the costs you’ve incurred as a result of the collision. Recovery should be your primary concern, and while hiring a bicycle accident attorney isn’t required, representing yourself may not be in your best interests. Below, we share a few reasons to consider leaving your case in the hands of a lawyer.

Utah personal injury attorney

Serious Injuries

Because bicycles offer little protection, many cyclists who are involved in accidents sustain major injuries. Crashes can result in spinal cord injuries, concussions, bone fractures, traumatic brain injuries and other serious impairments – and in any case, the pile of medical bills can become quite high.

With a good bicycle accident attorney on your side, you won’t have to worry about the expense. You can focus on healing, knowing that your lawyer will work to make sure that you aren’t the one who has to pay for your medical treatment.

Liability Concerns

The success of your bicycle accident claim will hinge upon proof that another party was responsible for the incident. And while the way the event unfolded may seem completely obvious to you, you’ll need evidence – and getting it may not be that easy on your own.

Hire an experienced bicycle accident attorney, and they’ll thoroughly investigate the accident, ascertaining what the traffic and the weather was like at the time, details about the vehicle and driver involved and any other pertinent information. With that in hand, a lawyer can build a strong case for full compensation.

Unfair Tactics

Insurance adjusters may act friendly and sympathetic to your needs, but don’t expect that to translate into a fair settlement offer. Insurance companies are out to make a profit, and they’ll be looking for grounds to devalue your or deny your bicycle accident claim.

Fighting the strong-arm tactics insurance companies use and coming out on top is a challenge without expert legal help. A skilled accident attorney can provide that, keeping the insurance company from taking advantage of you or convincing you to accept less money than you deserve.

Get the Legal Help You Need After a Bicycle Accident

At William R. Rawlings & Associates, our legal team has been advocating for the rights of injured cyclists in Utah, California and Idaho for more than 35 years. We not only understand the laws that protect bike riders, but many of our attorneys also enjoy the sport of cycling themselves – and that, along with our history as former insurance adjusters and lawyers for insurance companies, gives us a unique and valuable perspective.

You can count on William R. Rawlings & Associates to see your case through, making every effort to recover the maximum in monetary compensation. For a free, no-obligation consultation with a highly skilled bicycle accident personal injury attorney in Utah, contact us today.

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Dec 11 2020

What to Do After a Bicycle Accident

The steps you take after a bicycle accident involving a motorist can make a major difference in the amount of compensation you’re able obtain for your injuries and the damage to your bike. Your actions can also have an impact on the outcome of a lawsuit against the negligent driver, should you decide to file one.

If you enjoy cycling, knowing what to do in the immediate aftermath of an injury accident is clearly important. Here, the experienced bicycle accident attorneys at William R. Rawlings & Associates explain how to protect your rights.

Bike accident attorney

Wait for the Police to Arrive

You may not think you’re injured or that your bike has been damaged, but don’t leave the accident scene until after the police have taken a report. Injuries can manifest later on, and you might find that your bike does have issues — and you need to make sure that your version of events is documented in the police report.

Obtain Driver and Witness Information

If possible, get the motorist’s name, address, phone number, insurance information, driver’s license number and license plate number. Take down the names and contact information of any witnesses to the bicycle accident as well. All of this may be in the police report, but there’s always a chance that something could be left out.

Thoroughly Document the Accident

Take mental notes on when, where and how the bicycle accident occurred and on the road, traffic and weather conditions at the time of the crash. Jot the details down as soon as you can, and while you’re at the accident scene, snap photos to show the area, your bicycle and the position of everyone involved.

Immediately Seek Medical Attention

Regardless of how you feel right after a bicycle accident, get medical attention right away. The fact that you saw a doctor is proof that you were injured, and your medical records will illustrate the extent of your injuries. This documentation can be crucial to obtaining fair compensation.

Get Advice from an Experienced Attorney

Don’t negotiate with the driver or their insurance company, as anything you say could be used against you later on. Instead, consult with a personal injury attorney with experience handling bicycle accident cases. A lawyer can provide you with advice on how to proceed, help you deal with the insurance adjuster and, if necessary, represent you in a lawsuit against the negligent motorist.

For expert legal guidance in Utah, California or Idaho, turn to the professional team at William R. Rawlings & Associates. Our personal injury attorneys have decades of experience helping accident victims, and many are avid cyclists – so we understand both the law and the dangers associated with cycling.

We routinely handle accident claims for injured cyclists, and you can count on our highly skilled personal injury attorneys to fight hard for every dollar you deserve. If you’ve been in a bicycle accident, contact our office and schedule a free consultation today.

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Nov 01 2019

Determining Liability for Bicycle Accidents With Vehicles

While many are aware of the fact that they can seek compensation if they’re injured in a car accident by a negligent driver, you might not know that the same theme applies for bicycle riders. Unfortunately, a great number of cyclists are hit by vehicles during the course of a given year, and there are many such cases where driver negligence was the underlying cause and the bicyclist might have a liability claim against this party.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, LLC, we’re here to help if you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident, just the same way we would be if you were injured in a typical car or motorcycle accident. We’ve spent 35 years as advocates for victims of such events, and we’ll represent you with vigor and expertise in these and other personal injury lawyer needs. Let’s look at some of the basics on bicycle accident negligence, bicycle hit-and-run situations, and how you should respond in the aftermath of such an accident if one occurs.

liability bicycle accidents vehicles

Bicycle Accident Negligence

In any case where a bicyclist is hit by a vehicle on the road, the goal of the judge and jury in a resulting liability case will be to determine which party’s negligence caused the accident. If a vehicle driver is speeding, running a stop sign, drifting into a designated bike lane or breaking the law in any other way at the time of the accident, this will often be used as evidence of negligence.

For cyclists, on the other hand, negligence could refer to riding the wrong way on a certain street, turning unexpectedly into traffic or running a red light. Cyclists are required to obey the rules of the road when they’re on it just like vehicle drivers – do not simply assume that the other party is liable if the accident was a result of you being reckless or ignorant to your surroundings.

Hit-and-Runs

Just like accidents involving two vehicles, hit-and-runs are a risk in bicycle accidents as well. A driver may flee the scene after, an act that’s a felony if they had reason to believe you were injured by drove away anyway. In these cases, working with police to identify the party responsible will save you from having to use your own insurance to cover any medical bills or repairs.

How to React

If you are involved in an accident with a vehicle as a cyclist, the first and most important step involves remaining at the scene for police to arrive. You should do this even if you don’t believe you are injured, as many injuries don’t show up until hours later. Make sure your version of events are recorded by officers, along with those of any witnesses who can corroborate your story. Also be sure to take pictures if possible.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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