Oct 02 2020

Calculating Lost Earning Capacity in a Car Accident Claim

If you were in a collision and suffered serious injuries that affect your ability to work, filing a car accident claim can enable you to get compensation for your financial losses. And, lost income due to needing time off work for treatment and recovery isn’t the only type of damages you can pursue – you may also be entitled to compensation for lost earning capacity. For an explanation of what that means for you and your case, read on.

Car Accident Claim

What is Lost Earning Capacity?

Loss of earning capacity is a reduction in the ability to earn an income. So, if your car accident injuries make returning to your current job position impossible – and if you’re unable to switch to a different line of work that pays just as well – you can seek compensation for the impairment of earning power and loss of future income.

How are Damages Calculated?

While the amount of lost income awarded in a car accident claim is based upon the specific wages you weren’t able to earn as a result of the collision, loss of earning capacity is based on a projection. The damages haven’t yet been suffered, and calculating the overall impact of your injuries on your financial future isn’t an exact science.

We can tell you, though, that car accident lawyers consider several factors in determining appropriate compensation. Your past work history, skills and expected years of employment may be instrumental, and your lawyer may also investigate possible promotions and future raises you might have enjoyed if you hadn’t been seriously injured.

Proving Lost Earning Capacity

Compared to lost income, loss of earning capacity is much more difficult to prove. Working with an experienced car accident lawyer is to your benefit, as proving your claim may require all of the following:

  • An extensive review of your employment record, your educational background and your work-related skills
  • A thorough calculation of your past earnings history and exactly how much your income decreased after the collision
  • A detailed analysis of today’s labor market and wage rates as well as economic projections and what the forecasts mean in terms of your future earnings
  • Expert medical witnesses to provide testimony on the extent of your injuries and their impact on your ability to earn an income in the future

William R. Rawlings & Associates, a long-standing and top-ranked law firm based in northern Utah, can help you fight for the maximum compensation in your car accident claim. We’ve collected millions of dollars in damages for clients in Utah, Idaho and California, and our highly experienced lawyers are successful in obtaining compensation in 98 percent of the cases we handle.

Work with us, and we’ll fight to get you every dollar you deserve for lost income, lost earning capacity and all of your other losses. Contact our office and schedule a free consultation or to discuss your case with a Utah car accident lawyer today.

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Sep 18 2020

Why Should You Hire an Auto Accident Attorney?

After a car crash, you might think you don’t need help from an auto accident attorney. And if the collision wasn’t all that serious, that could be true – the insurance company of the other driver may offer a fair settlement.

With a major accident involving severe injuries and vehicular damage, this isn’t the norm. In these cases, insurance companies often fight tooth and nail to provide as little compensation as possible. For that reason, if you’re a victim, you may be better off working with an auto accident lawyer. Here’s why.

How to find the best Utah auto accident attorney for your case

Get Expert Help Investigating Your Auto Accident

If you’ve been seriously injured, you may not be able to take pictures at the accident scene or interview witnesses after the collision – and trying to collect proof to support your claim later on isn’t going to be easy on your own.

Experienced auto accident attorneys understand how to build a successful case. Hire a lawyer, and you’ll have an expert gathering evidence on your behalf. You can focus on your recovery, with the peace of mind in knowing that no stone will be left unturned.

Have a Legal Professional on Your Side

Many car accident victims don’t fully understand their legal rights. Insurance companies tend to take advantage of this, making lowball settlement offers on legitimate claims.

By hiring an attorney who specializes in accident claims, you’ll be protecting your rights and interests. You won’t have to worry about meeting the deadline for filing a lawsuit in Utah. Plus, your lawyer will act as your advocate in dealing with the insurance company, handling the negotiations and, if necessary, taking your case to court.

Collect the Maximum Compensation for Your Injuries

It’s easy to underestimate the effect an auto accident can have on your life. You might see the medical bills piling up and know that your vehicle needs to be repaired or replaced, but those aren’t the only concerns. Your injuries might cause you to lose the ability to earn an income, perhaps, or you may end up needing ongoing medical attention. And, the collision could have resulted in psychological damages.

All of these situations may or may not apply in your situation, but an experienced auto accident attorney will ask the right questions and be realistic in estimating your losses. As a result, a lawyer can develop a strategy to get you every dollar you deserve.

At William R. Rawlings & Associates, our legal team understands how traumatic it is to be injured in a car crash – and we’re here to provide the help you need to get back on your feet. For a free case evaluation, contact our Draper or West Valley City office today to schedule a free case evaluation or to speak to an experienced Utah auto accident attorney now.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Nov 08 2019

Understanding Timing Requirements for Auto Accident Injury Claims

If you believe you’ve been the victim of negligence or any other issue that puts another party at fault for personal injury or property damage after a car accident, one of the first things you may be wondering about is how soon you have to file such a claim. Various laws have their own sets of statutes and limitations, and some worry they have to file quickly or else risk letting the statue expire.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, LLC, we’re here to help with this and any other auto accident attorney services you may be requiring. Let’s go over our basic recommendations on filing your claim, what the Utah statute of limitations is for these kinds of issues, and some documents to ensure you have in order when preparing to file.

timing requirements auto accident claims

General Recommendations

Generally speaking, we always recommend you file a claim for a vehicle accident as soon as realistically possible following the event. Insurers and the at-fault party will try to use any tactic they can to hurt your case, and one such tactic might be muddying the waters by claiming they can’t accurately determine how much damage was caused since you took so much time to file.

While this is generally a spurious argument to begin with, it begins to hold a bit more weight if you wait too long to file. Our attorneys will advise you on the precise timing you should consider for your claim.

Utah Statute of Limitations

The Utah statute of limitations for personal injury cases involving personal harm or property harm in a vehicle accident is four years. If you do not file it within this period of time, the Utah court system is within their rights to refuse to hear it whatsoever. For more specifics on this, you can view the Utah Code with the full text on injury cases and their statute of limitations.

Important Documents for Filing a Claim

There are a few important documents to ensure you have in order for your filing, something our personal injury lawyers will help you with. Here are the most vital:

  • Police report: You should have filed a police report at the time of the accident, plus ensured you took the report number. This is to ensure the proper evidence is brought to court and the case isn’t decided by your word against another’s.
  • Medical documents: If you have to go to the hospital or emergency room as a result of your injuries, or even have to have a future medical appointment due to lingering whiplash issues, keep all the paperwork for your filing.
  • Insurance information: Be sure you get insurance information from the other driver, plus their contact information. Record their license plate as well.

For more on the timing involved in filing auto accident injury claims, or to learn about any of our personal injury attorney services, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates 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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Sep 20 2019

Injuries and Liability Concerns With Malfunctioning Vehicle Airbags

As another recent round of airbag recalls is making big news, this time through a manufacturer called Takata, it’s a good time to remind readers that while airbags are meant to function in a way that promotes your safety, this isn’t always the case. Airbags are present in several varieties within a given vehicle, and while they often save lies, they can also be the cause of injury themselves when they’re defective.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates LLC, not only do we provide comprehensive car accident attorney services, we’re also here to serve you if you believe a defective airbag has caused you injury or harm. Let’s go over some of the basics of airbag malfunctions, the common injuries that are sustained as a result, and whether you might have a liability case if this happens to you.

injuries liability malfunctioning vehicle airbags

Airbag Malfunction Concerns

While some consumers might think of airbags as soft, airy items that provide a nice little cushion after a collision, this simply isn’t the case. Rather, airbags deploy quickly and with great force when they’re called into action, providing a significant barrier that stops what can be very strong forward human motion after a vehicle accident.

While this force is often valuable for safety, it can also cause bodily harm. Especially in cases where an airbag is faulty or deploying based on a malfunction, those near them can be seriously injured in some cases.

Possible Airbag Malfunction Injuries

Due to the force exerted by a malfunctioning airbag, plus the related complete surprise that’s often brought on people in the vehicle, some of the following injuries are most common during these incidents:

  • Facial injuries: The face is the most common location to be impacted by a malfunctioning airbag deployment. Airbags can cause injury to the face, nose, mouth and eyes. In the worst cases, malfunctioning airbags have led to broken facial bones and even permanent blindness.
  • Neck or back injuries: Whether due to a direct impact or some kind of a rocking sensation, neck and back injuries – including concussions – can take place due to a faulty airbag. Neck injuries often progress into worsening pain issues for months or even years into the future.

Chest injuries: The airbag deploys fast to stop you from slamming into the steering wheel or dashboard, but a faulty product may do so incorrectly or when it isn’t needed, leading to upper body soft tissue and possible broken bone issues in the chest.

Liability and Attorney Services

While we would never accuse any company of intentionally placing faulty airbags in their vehicles, the fact remains that these issues do take place – and the manufacturer is often liable. If you’ve been injured by a faulty or malfunctioning airbag, contact our auto accident attorneys right away to determine if you might have a liability claim to make.

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

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Aug 09 2019

Basics of EDR Vehicle Systems and Role in Accident Cases

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, LLC, we have a long history with car accident cases and can tell you about one common complicating factor: Hazy, unreliable memories. As authorities (and then later, personal injury attorneys) attempt to reconstruct the events of a given accident and determine who is at fault, imperfect memories – skewed even further by the trauma that just took place, in many cases – can make this process more difficult and complex.

Many know that the air industry has what are called black boxes, event recorders that keep track of important information in case there’s a crash or some other incident. Did you realize that modern vehicles have a version of this same technology as well? It’s called an event data recorder (EDR), and it’s a piece of technology that can often play a big role in auto accident injury and related personal injury cases. Here’s a primer on EDR systems and what you need to know about them.

EDR systems accident cases

EDR Basics and History

EDR systems were first created in the 1990s, and were originally designed as monitors for airbag deployment during vehicle accidents. Since then, they’ve increased their capacity significantly – they now record over 30 different data points, from seatbelt use to vehicle speed, brake usage, seat position, roll angles during a crash, weight of the occupants in their seats, and much more.

In the year 2014, US Congress passed a law requiring that all new vehicles manufactured in the country contain EDR systems. Most manufacturers had been using them well before this, however.

EDR Recording Types

There are two kinds of data recorded by EDR systems:

  • Deployment events: If any airbags in the vehicle deploy during the collision, all data from the event is permanently saved. This data includes information from just before the accident, during it, and then following it (about 20 seconds of data in total).
  • Nondeployment events: In cases where the airbags do not deploy, the same information will be tracked – but will only be stored for a period of time, then eventually overwritten. However, it can still be accessed in the short-term if necessary for investigators.

Reconstructing Accidents

As you might imagine, the data provided by EDR systems can be enormously valuable for helping reconstruct the events of an accident. Instead of working only with physical remnants of the accident and the memories of those involved, which can be hazy and outright unreliable in some cases after trauma, investigators can use the data provided to get a clearer picture. If you’re ever involved in an accident and believe the other party was at fault, contact our auto accident attorneys right away for help with locating and preserving EDR data for use in your case.

For more on EDR systems and how they can assist with vehicle accident cases, or to learn about any of our other personal injury attorney services, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.

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Jun 21 2019

Insurance Companies and Prolonged Treatment After Car Accidents

As anyone who has been through this situation will know, the process of obtaining proper compensation from an insurance company after a car accident can be arduous and stressful. Insurance companies, whether your own or that of a liable party in your case, are always looking for loopholes and excuses that will get them out of paying major funds, and they’ll often go to great lengths here.

At the Law Offices of William Rawlings & Associates, we’re proud to offer you quality car accident injury attorney services that will help balance the scales here. We’ve spent years dealing with both liable parties and their insurance companies, with many former insurance adjusters in the fold who understand exactly how these companies work – and how to fight against some of the tactics they’ll use.

One particularly stressful area in some auto accident injury cases is what’s called prolonged recovery. Lucky car accident victims may recover quickly from physical injury, or may even have very little such injury to begin with, but many less fortunate people will suffer back pain, neck pain or other symptoms that linger on for weeks or months after the accident. In these cases, insurance companies will try a few specific tactics to avoid covering this prolonged care – let’s look at each of these tactics and how we’ll help you fight back against them.

insurance prolonged treatment car accidents

Issues of “Malingering”

Insurance companies often like to put a sparkly bow on even some of their most negative behaviors, and this area is a good example. Representatives are obviously instructed never to tell someone outright that they’re faking or exaggerating an injury – instead, they’ll use the term “malingering.”

Really, though, you know what they mean. This is often the first argument made against providing compensation for treatment that comes weeks or months after an accident, one where the insurance provider claims you don’t actually need the treatment and are exaggerating.

Pre-Existing Conditions

If the malingering excuse doesn’t work, many insurance companies will next move to pre-existing conditions. As the term suggests, they’ll go out of their way to try and prove that your current physical symptoms are not a result of your vehicle accident – rather, that they’re due to a previously present condition of some kind. They’ll dig deep into medical records, even going years back to previous physical therapy or any other evidence that might suggest the injury came from somewhere else.

Unrelated to Accident

Finally, if both of the above are unsuccessful, the insurance company may just argue that the treatment you received wasn’t relevant for accident-related injuries. They may ask why you didn’t go to the ER directly after the accident, for instance, and then use that fact to claim that future treatments are not connected because you clearly weren’t in pain right after the accident (a straw man argument our attorneys can quickly poke holes in, as not all accident injuries are immediately visible).

For more on ensuring you have the proper compensation for prolonged treatment after a vehicle accident, or to learn about any of our personal injury attorney services, speak to the staff at the Law Offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.

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