Apr 05 2019

Sporting Events and Personal Injury Liability Concerns

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

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

Assumption of Risk

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

Exceptions to Risk Assumption

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

Unforeseeable Events

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

Safe, Secure Facility

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

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

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Mar 08 2019

Staying Safe As a Winter Driver in Utah

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

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

safe winter driver Utah

Clean Vehicle

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

Speed Concerns

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

Passing Snowplows

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

Understanding Brakes

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

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

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Dec 13 2018

Rideshare Accident Liability, Part 2

In part one of this blog series, we went over some of the basics when it comes to rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber when their drivers are involved in accidents. Liability can be tough to necessarily place in some of these cases, and the auto accident attorneys at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates are always here to help if you’re involved in such an incident.

Today, we’ll go into a few more details when it comes to this process. There are, in fact, several current lawsuits in place based on gaps in liability in these areas, and these may play a huge role in how these sorts of incidents are litigated in the future. Let’s go over some important liability areas for drivers, rideshare companies, and even third parties involved in accidents.

rideshare accident liability

Possible Driver Liability

If you’re hit by a negligent or reckless driver employed by a rideshare company, and you’ve suffered a permanent injury or one that exceeds your no-fault insurance policy, the driver may be liable even if they were not on the clock for Uber or Lyft at the time. There’s an issue here, though: Many drivers only carry state minimum insurance required by law and Uber.

This means that you may not be able to recover enough to pay for your injuries in these cases. Plus, if the insurance company was unaware that their driver was contracting to carry passengers, the driver’s own insurance company might reject the damages from an accident.

Possible Rideshare Liability

As we noted above, there are some lawsuits currently in play or recently completed in this area – and they relate to parties who feel Uber and Lyft should be more responsible for these gaps in liability. In 2015, Uber settled a case where one of their drivers struck and killed a young girl in a crosswalk while logged into the Uber app and waiting to accept a ride.

Multiple other similar suits have been brought through recent years, including incidents where rideshare drivers have run red lights, T-boned cars in intersections, or even those where the plaintiff was the passenger in an Uber itself. Some have alleged that Uber does not provide adequate safety and training procedures.

The main point to take away here is this: Even if you’re in one of these accidents and it appears standard insurance coverage won’t help you recoup all your injury damages, there’s a good chance a separate suit can bring you the results you want if you have a strong case.

Possible Third Party Liability

Just like in any accident situation, third parties could also be at fault here – or fault itself could be impossible to place. Road conditions may contribute to crashes in some cases, and vehicle inspections for ridesharing companies are another big crux point. Finally, if a third party driver causes an accident with an Uber or Lyft driver, that party will likely bear liability.

For more on handling liability claims after an accident involving a ridesharing vehicle, 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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Dec 03 2018

Rideshare Accident Liability, Part 1

Over the last several years, companies like Uber and Lyft have become wildly popular based on their convenience and the ability for anyone to both utilize and work for them. At the same time, these companies have had to deal with significant issues when it comes to their drivers and any accidents they’re in – who is liable in these cases, for instance?

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, LLC, we can help answer questions like these if you’re involved in such an auto accident. In this two-part blog, we’ll go over everything you need to know about how claims work when it comes to these incidents, including Utah’s insurance laws and how they’re relevant.

rideshare accident liability

Utah and No-Fault Insurance

Utah is one of 12 states that has what are known as no-fault insurance laws in place. These laws require all Utah drivers to keep at least $3,000 in “personal injury protection,” which is also called no-fault coverage. This coverage eliminates the potential for compensation for pain and suffering or other non-monetary damages – to step outside this, your injuries have to meet certain thresholds (this is only for physical injury – car damage claims can be made against an at-fault driver with no limitations at all).

To pursue a liability claim after any accident in Utah, then, you must have incurred at least $3,000 in medical bills or have suffered specific serious injuries. These injuries include:

  • Permanent disability
  • Permanent impairment
  • Permanent disfigurement or dismemberment

If your injuries surpass any of these thresholds, you are not limited by no-fault claims.

Rideshare Drivers Are Contractors

Companies like Uber recognize that their insurance could be liable for certain issues, so they’ve taken significant steps to distance themselves from their drivers – most importantly, naming all their drivers independent contractors. This creates a legal separation between these companies and their drivers, which can often transfer to legal issues in the case of an accident caused by the driver. However, there are still situations where Uber or Lyft insurance will come into play, which we’ll go over below.

Uber Accident Insurance

We’ll use Uber as our test example here, and the crux point often comes down to whether the driver is logged in and actively working for Uber at the time of the accident. If not, the driver’s personal insurance is on the hook.

If so, things are a bit more complex. Uber offers no collision coverage if the driver is logged in but hasn’t actively accepted a ride at the time of the accident, but does offer liability coverage for third parties involved in these accidents – up to $50,000 per injury, and up to $25,000 for property damage beyond the driver’s personal insurance.

Finally, if the driver is actively transporting a paying customer, Uber’s full $1 million collision and liability policy will kick in. It will have the following coverage:

  • Third party liability coverage for all other drivers, pedestrians, and their property.
  • Contingent comprehensive collision coverage for the Uber car, regardless of driver fault.
  • Uninsured or underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage, if the Uber driver is not at fault and the other driver does not have enough coverage or cannot be identified.

For more on ridesharing companies and how liability works if you’re involved in an accident with one, 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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Apr 13 2017

SHOULD I SETTLE MY CASE OUT OF COURT?

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When an accident or wrongful death occurs, the injured party has a legal right to compensation. Most individuals assume that the best way to collect this compensation is by taking their case to court and letting a judge or jury decide. If you have a good lawyer, this can be a valid option, but it would be wrong to assume that it’s your only one.

Many people have received just compensation and avoided the hassles of courtroom trials by negotiating a settlement. Recent studies indicate that as many as 95 percent of American civil cases never make it to trial. An experienced and aggressive lawyer, like those at William Rawlings & Associates negotiate a compensation agreement, settlement is made and both parties leave satisfied.

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Mar 28 2017

Avoiding Auto, Truck and Pedestrians Accidents

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The standard Safe Practices for Motor Vehicle Operations defines defensive driving skills as “driving to save lives, time, and money, in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others.” This definition is taken from the National Safety Council’s Defensive Driving Course.  It is a form of training for motor vehicle drivers that goes beyond mastery of the rules of the road and the basic mechanics of driving. Its aim is to reduce the risk of collision by anticipating dangerous situations, despite adverse conditions or the mistakes of others. This can be achieved through adherence to a variety of general guidelines, such as following the assured clear distance ahead and two second rules, as well as the practice of specific driving techniques.

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Feb 27 2017

Injury Lawyer Tip: What to do after your FREE CONSULTATION

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You’ve been hurt in an auto accident in Utah or perhaps another state and, unfortunately, the accident was caused by another party’s negligence. Soon, it becomes clear that you will need to hire a lawyer to ensure that you’re fairly compensated for your troubles.

You have located a reputable personal injury law firm, you’ve arranged for a free consultation. Before speaking with an auto accident attorney, you’ll want to be prepared to get the most out of your free consultation. Before you go into that consultation here are a couple of tips for making certain that a positive interaction occurs.

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Jan 30 2017

We Are Your Award Winning Utah Accident Lawyers

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William Rawlings & Associates as your accident lawyers give free consultations to injury victims throughout the State of Utah almost every day.  We are also licensed in the state of California and Idaho should your travels take you there.

Some people have either tried handling their personal injury matter on their own, or are very reluctant to get a lawyer involved because of what they have heard about lawyers, or are unsure about how the legal system works.  Most of these people usually end up getting legal representation in the long run because they find out sooner than later that the responsible party’s insurance company is not playing fair.

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Dec 28 2016

Utah’s Most Experienced Injury Attorneys

As Utah’s most experienced personal injury attorneys, with over 35 years experience, we have recovered millions of dollars in damages for accident victims who have been injured due to the negligence of others. We handle everything from the simplest injury cases to catastrophic injuries even leading to death.   Here are some of our most recent settlements and Jury awards:

Rear-End Accident – Suffered Neck Injuries

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Oct 05 2016

POKEMON GO —STOP!

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The mania surrounding “Pokemon Go” is escalating as more users find themselves in precarious situations while playing the augmented reality game.  Two California men fell off a bluff while playing the smartphone game, while another player was stabbed by group of men in a park.

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