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For anyone involved in a wrongful death suit involving the death of a family member or friend, these are tragic situations that may involve plenty of emotion. Anything that further complicates things here should be avoided, and one example is the realm of myths and misconceptions that have cropped up over the years regarding wrongful death cases - having the right information allows families and individuals to proceed ideally with no confusion.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, we're proud to offer caring, compassionate wrongful death attorney services to clients around Salt Lake City, Provo and nearby parts of Utah - this in addition to our numerous other personal injury solutions. Sadly, we've heard a number of harmful misconceptions about wrongful death cases that may misinform clients or, in the worst cases, cause them to give up on their pursuit of justice altogether. Here are some of these frequent myths, plus the proper information in each area so you can be informed.

myths wrongful death cases

Myth #1: Wrongful Death Claims Are Only for Medical Malpractice

While it's true that medical malpractice is one major reason for wrongful death claims, it's by no means the only one. A wrongful death claim may ensue from any kind of negligence that causes a fatal injury, including in areas such as car accidents, work-related fatalities, defective product deaths and more.

In fact, anyone who tries to tell you that wrongful death cases are limited to only one small area probably doesn't know what they're talking about. These claims absolutely can arise in any instance of wrongful death.

Myth #2: Only Family Members Can File

Once again, while family members are indeed the most common filers of wrongful death claims, this isn't a requirement in every state. In certain states, you may be able to file even if you weren't related to the decedent. More commonly, though, states do allow family representatives or personal representatives to file these claims in many cases.

It's important to check with your local legal team for specifics here - they'll know exactly who is eligible to file based on current laws and regulations.

Myth #3: You Must Prove Intentional Wrongdoing

Another frequent misconception here is that the accused party must have acted with intention - in other words, they meant to cause harm. In reality, most wrongful death claims are based on negligence or careless behavior. The only times you may need to prove intent usually involve situations such as murder and assault.

For instance, if a driver was speeding and caused a fatal accident, you would not necessarily need to prove intent. So long as negligence can be established, that's usually enough to form the basis of your claim. Again, speak with an experienced legal team for further explanation on this specific point.

Myth #4: Only Medical or Funeral Expenses Can Be Covered

As you can see, many of these myths fall in the realm of attempting to restrict the types of compensation you can receive - in this case, suggesting that only medical and funeral expenses can be paid for.

In reality, you may be able to pursue much more than this. You could potentially demand coverage for lost wages, pain and suffering, burial expenses or even punitive damages if appropriate. It's impossible to guess precisely what you'll be eligible to receive until you speak with a qualified attorney, but don't believe anyone who tells you that only medical and funeral expenses will be covered.

Myth #5: You Have an Unlimited Time Period to File Wrongful Death Claims

This myth is potentially quite harmful to victims, as it suggests that they can wait indefinitely to file. This is absolutely incorrect - while time limits may differ from state to state, you usually have a specific period in which to act after the death has occurred.

Once this limit passes, you will be barred from filing your claim and receiving compensation. So don't take chances here - be sure to consult with a legal team as soon as possible after the death has occurred.

By being aware of these myths, you can ensure that you don't waste time or make bad decisions based on misinformation. With the right understanding and approach, you will be better equipped to handle your wrongful death case in an ideal manner.

Don't hesitate to reach out to the offices of William Rawlings & Associates for help in this area. Our experienced wrongful death lawyers are ready and willing to answer your questions and work with you to achieve the best possible outcome for your unique situation, or to help you with any other personal injury case in SLC, Provo or surrounding parts of Utah.

Perhaps the worst kind of auto accident to be in is a hit-and-run, which describes an incident where a driver hits another car, then flees the scene before authorities can arrive to collect information. State law in every part of our country requires drivers to stop after being part of an accident that involves another vehicle, and there can be serious consequences for those who do not comply here. Unfortunately, though, those consequences might also spill over to you if you’re the victim of a hit-and-run.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, LLC, however, we’re here to help. Our personal injury attorney services include, all types of truck and car accidents, helping you navigate through a hit-and-run and receive the compensation you deserve despite the complications. Here are some basic steps to follow if you’re the victim of a hit-and-run.

what do victim hit-and-run

Safety Always Comes First

No matter what, your safety is the number one priority. If you’re still on the road, move away from traffic to a safe spot so that you can assess the damages and start collecting information.

In addition, check with anyone else in your vehicle if applicable to make sure they’re okay. Also, make sure to call 911 and report the incident immediately.

Seeking Medical Attention

If anyone in the vehicle is hurt, even in a very minor way, medical attention should be sought from first responders. Some injuries may seem minor only to become more significant later on, particularly whiplash or other back injuries, so report any symptoms immediately even if they don’t seem like a big deal.

If anyone in the vehicle does receive medical attention, document this. Write down the kind of attention received, any medications given, and take the information of the responder who gave the assessment.

Call the Police

Another vital step is to call the police. Depending on where you are and how quickly they can respond, a hit-and-run may be treated as attempted murder, or a felony hit-and-run. As such, it’s important to have the incident reported and documented in order to begin the process of seeking justice against whoever committed this crime.

Cooperate With Responders

We know this is a stressful time, but you have to comply with all first responders and law enforcement officials. Take any medical care they recommend, and comply with their requests. Only speak to these officials about sensitive details of the scene – no one else. This is because anything you say to an insurance company or anyone else could be used against you in court, so it’s important that your statements are made to the right people.

Documenting Everything

We've touched on it a couple times already, but it's worth repeating: document everything. Write down all the details you can remember about the driver, the vehicle, its make and model, and any other information that could be helpful to law enforcement in their search for this driver.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer

Finally, contact a personal injury lawyer who specializes in auto accidents. At William Rawlings & Associates, LLC, we have extensive experience representing clients who have been victims of hit-and-runs, and our legal team is here to help you get the justice you deserve. We'll take care of filing claims with insurance companies, handling negotiations with defense attorneys for any criminal cases involved, and pursuing civil lawsuits when necessary.

Who Pays for Your Damages?

In most hit-and-run cases, a common question arises: Who is going to pay the extensive medical expenses and time off work or sadly, who will pay for the funeral expenses for your loved one killed in the incident?

In the state of Utah, PIP coverage is a required element of all motor vehicle insurance policies. This coverage can be used to pay for your immediate medical expenses up to the limit of coverage. The minimum limit for this coverage is $3,000.00 and an ambulance ride and visit to the emergency room can exhaust your coverage quickly. Your next recourse is to make a UM or “uninsured motorist” claim against your own policy to cover all other expenses up to your available limits. Sometimes, these cases are not easy to prove and your insurance will have specific guidelines as to what qualifies as a “UM” claim.

Most insurance companies require that you file a police report within 24 hours of the incident. Canvas the neighborhood for witnesses and check your car for any signs of paint transfer as this will be good solid evidence that a collision took place. Your UM coverage will reimburse you for any bills not paid through PIP and will compensate you for surgeries, future medical, loss of income, etc. up to the policy limit available. The minimum coverage for UM cases is $25,000, but we have seen in far too many cases that this is not enough money where you have sustained serious injuries especially in cases where surgery is required.

With the right legal representation, you can receive the compensation you need and deserve after a hit-and-run accident. William Rawlings & Associates, LLC has decades of experience representing car accident victims in Utah, so contact us today to schedule your free case review.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, we’re proud to provide high-quality personal injury attorney services for every type of vehicle accident out there. We handle everything from car and truck accident liability cases to motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents and even bicycle accidents when they take place.

Our team is also well aware of several emerging technologies in this and related areas, and the world of electric scooters is a great example. These vehicles, which have been around for about a decade but are only becoming popular transportation devices within the last few years, come with uncertain laws and regulations regarding their safe use – and this can mean that when accidents take place involving these machines and resulting injuries, parsing out liability and personal injury claims can be a bit different than other vehicle accidents. Let’s go over what we know about scooter accidents, including the potentially liable parties and how to handle making a claim.

injury liability electric scooters

Causes of Scooter Accidents

Electric scooters are not even properly classified as vehicles in all states, but they can still be part of accidents and cause injury. Some of the common causes of scooter accidents include:

·       Young, inexperienced or distracted drivers

·       Drivers using mobile devices or other distractions

·       Potholes, bumps, litter and other forms of debris on the road

·       Mechanical malfunctions to the scooter

·       Pedestrians walking in front of the scooter

·       Scooters parked incorrectly or dangerously

·       Riders swerving to avoid traffic conditions and falling

As a result of scooter accidents, injuries may range from minor or nonexistent all the way up to severe, including potential head injuries. But as we noted, determining liability here might be a bit tougher due to limited regulations in play.

Assessing Scooter Accident Liability

There are three broad parties who could be responsible for an accident involving an electric scooter:

·       Rider: Riders are often responsible, especially if they’re riding while distracted, riding in crowded areas, or riding without a helmet on. They can be liable for damage or injuries caused to others or their property during these situations.

·       Others on the road: In other cases, negligence by another driver, motorcycle rider or even pedestrian could cause the accident, and this party may be at fault.

·       Scooter manufacturer: If a scooter accident takes place and the cause is found to be related to unsafe manufacturing or defective parts, the manufacturer may be held liable.

Law and Claims

As we’ve discussed here, the law for scooter accidents is not fully defined yet in most areas. Some localities consider them closer to bicycles and prefer their use in bike lanes, others term them as normal vehicles, and still others have no regulations in place whatsoever at this point. For this reason, it’s vital to retain a personal injury attorney if you or someone you love is injured in a scooter-related incident – whether the scooter is theirs or someone else’s.

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

Whiplash is one of the most common symptoms experienced by those who are in a car accident of any kind, and yet there are some who question whether it’s even a real medical condition. Because it’s not a proper medical term always used by doctors, some are confused about what the term actually means.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, we’re here to tell you that whiplash from a car or truck accident is very real. In fact, the term and condition existed before cars were even invented. And if it happens to you in a car accident, one of our personal injury attorneys is standing by to consult with you about whether you might seek compensation from another party. Here are some basics to know on whiplash, including signs that you have it and how it’s treated.

basics auto accidents whiplash

Whiplash Basics and Causes

Whiplash is a broad term that actually describes a set of medical conditions that involve the ligaments, vertebrae and muscles in your neck and shoulders. It generally happens when the neck is extended forward suddenly by a violent force, such as a car accident. Your head is thrown backward but then forward, which stretches or tears the anterior longitudinal ligament – the ligament responsible for stability on the outer surface of the spine.

During whiplash, the spine may take an S shape, which leads to muscle injuries as well. The trapezius or supraspinatus muscles are common injury areas here, and often retain pain for weeks or months after.

Whiplash Symptoms

Now, it’s important to note that you don’t necessarily always have whiplash just because your head snapped back and forth. Rather, look for any of the following symptoms appearing within 24 hours:

  • Stiffness or increasing neck pain
  • Headaches or dizziness
  • Limited range of movement in the neck
  • Numbness in the arm
  • Blurred vision
  • Memory problems
  • Sleep issues

See a doctor right away if you experience any of these symptoms – both for health reasons and because there may be a limit on your personal injury case if you wait too long.

How It’s Diagnosed

When you see a doctor, they will assess your reflexes, range of motion in the neck, and your limb strength. They may also order an X-ray, CT scan or MRI to confirm the diagnosis – this may reveal no whiplash in some cases, or in others may reveal a more significant injury like a fractured vertebrae.

How It’s Treated

The majority of treatment for whiplash will be rest and pain management, which can include heat or ice treatment, pain medications and possibly muscle relaxants. Exercise and stretching of the head and neck area may also be recommended. One big myth area to avoid during whiplash treatment: The foam collar around the neck that some people wear. This actually immobilizes the neck and delays recovery – the muscles in these areas need to move and stretch out to recover properly, and the foam collar doesn’t allow this.

For more on whiplash or whether it might impact your auto accident case, speak to the attorneys at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.

In part one of this two-part blog, we went over some of the complexities of a multi-car accident. These situations are a bit tougher to deal with when it comes to liability and damages than two-car collisions, and it’s important for anyone in this situation to know the options available to them.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, our personal injury attorneys can help with this and all other questions about car accidents. Part one mostly focused on insurance and specific factors that may contribute to multi-car accidents (and their resulting damages); today, we’ll go over important information on mental trauma and how that’s considered, plus the steps for receiving compensation if you’re part of a multi-car accident that you believe you’re due damages for.

liability multi-car accidents

Mental Trauma Symptoms and Considerations

Like with any vehicle accident, multi-car collisions may involve mental trauma in addition to any physical injuries suffered. All car accidents are highly stressful in this manner, but those involving multiple cars – and potentially multiple successive dangerous scenarios – might make trauma symptoms even more severe. These symptoms may include the following areas:

  • Association issues: Your mind will try to protect itself from trauma by avoiding anything that associates it with the accident, such as driving by that same area or even, in some cases, getting behind the wheel of a car at all.
  • Sleep issues: The mind and body need rest to recover fully from a trauma, but this can be difficult to achieve due to stress. Some people find they can’t stop going back over the accident in their heads, and may find this creeping into sleepiness or fatigue during the day. If this is the case, speak to your doctor about solutions.
  • Eating concerns: Some people are focused on other things and struggle to eat due to anxiety. Others, however, may stress eat or emotionally overeat.
  • Anxiety: Some people become more anxious in general after an accident.
  • PTSD: Short for post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD may be triggered by various memories or similarities to the accident. In some cases, PTSD can last for many years or even your entire life.

It’s important to note that anyone involved in an accident can experience this sort of trauma, even passengers who were not driving. It’s important to seek help for any of these concerns, and to document such help in detail – you may be eligible for damages in this area.

Receiving Compensation

In Utah, as we mentioned in part one of this blog, the first bit of coverage for your various accident-related expenses will come from your personal injury protection insurance, which is required under the state’s no-fault insurance laws. For this amount, it does not matter who was responsible.

However, once you exceed this limit, you may be due additional compensation in several areas:

  • Medical bills over the personal insurance limit, which can quickly be moved past.
  • Compensation for pain and suffering, including future quality of life.
  • Payment for hours missed at work, and resulting loss of compensation.
  • Any funeral and burial expenses associated with the accident if someone is killed.

For more on how liability works in multi-car accidents, or to learn about any of our personal injury attorney services speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.

With any personal injury case, the potential for a settlement is always present. Most cases tend to end this way rather than making it all the way to court, as it simply makes more sense for all parties involved unless there’s a serious dispute about the facts of the case.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, our personal injury attorneys can help you determine if a settlement is the right way to go if you have a case pending. We can work with you to determine your damages sought, plus assess the position the defense is taking and decide whether a settlement might be best.

If you do end up settling, chances are you will be required to sign a release document that spares the defendant and their insurance company from any future claims against them for this same incident. It’s important to know all the elements that might be present in this release before you sign – here are some basics.

Release of Claims

The settlement releases the defendant, their insurance and any other parties from any further liability in this case. This includes all damages and losses, both past and future. Once signing, you will be forbidden from bringing these kinds of claims that are listed.

Indemnity and Hold Harmless

To take things a bit further, you may also have to indemnify and hold harmless the defendant from claims from outside parties attempting to take some part of the proceeds or profits in the release. This includes Medicare, Medicaid, health care and health insurance, court and attorney fees from third parties, and more. This is an acknowledgement that satisfying these claims and liens is your obligation.


In many cases, a confidentiality clause will be included that prevents all parties from disclosing the release, terms or settlement amount. You’re instructed to only give bland responses such as “the matter is resolved” when asked about it moving forward. Be aware that exceptions to this clause exist when it comes to certain situations, such as when you’re speaking with your hired accountant.

Attorney Fees for Enforcement

Settlement Amount and Tax Implications

If any legal action is needed in the future to enforce any part of this release, you also agree that the prevailing party will be entitled to reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.

One area that will always be included in the release is the total amount of the settlement. This includes all losses, injuries and damages related to claims against the defending party. You will also be responsible for all taxes relating to these payments, including the local, state and federal levels.

Jury Waiver and Court Approval

The release also waives your right to a jury trial for any litigation related to this incident. In addition, certain cases will require a court order approving the settlement before the release becomes effective.

For more on what will be in a settlement release for a personal injury case, or to learn about any of our personal injury attorney services, speak to the staff at William Rawlings & Associates today.

At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, we specialize in personal injury cases of all kinds. Whether you’ve been in an accident, injured by a dog bite or harmed in a number of different ways where another party may be liable, our personal injury attorneys will help you get the compensation you deserve by law.

This includes walking you through the entire process of a personal injury case, plus helping you avoid any factors or behaviors that might detract from your case. One such possible detractor in today’s modern age? Social media. How could this be the case, you ask? Let’s look at how the wrong uses of social media can cost you the successful completion of your personal injury case, plus some precautions to take to ensure this doesn’t happen to you.

Privacy Entitlement

There’s an unfortunate reality we often find when it comes to Facebook, Instagram and other forms of social media: Many users of these services seem to think they’re entitled to far more privacy than what reality actually dictates. Virtually anything you put online through these networks can be found, including posts, pictures, messages or shares.

There have been numerous instances recently of private online information becoming exposed – even if you think your messages to friends are only for them, this might not be the case. In general, you should simply assume that anything you’ve put online can be discovered.

Social Media and Proving Suffering

Within the world of personal injury cases, the above information has some direct consequences. Defense attorneys and insurance companies will absolutely use information posted on social networks to help poke holes in your case – we’ve seen this torpedo more than one personal injury case in the past.

Consider a basic example where you were injured in a car accident by a driver you’re claiming was negligent, one you’re attempting to receive compensation from for your injuries. You claim serious back pain that’s preventing you from working and obtaining wages…but then just a few days later, you post an Instagram video of you playing basketball at the gym. Insurance companies or defense attorneys are absolutely within their rights to use this post against you during trial or out-of-court negotiations, and this could dramatically lower the compensation you end up with if it’s proven that your injuries or hardship are far less than what you claimed.

Steps to Take

There are a few basic steps you can take to prevent this from happening to you:

For more on preventing social media from torpedoing your personal injury case, or to learn about any of our car accident, dog bite or personal injury attorney services, speak to the staff at the offices of William Rawlings & Associates today.

On June 30, 2018, William Rawlings and Associates participated in the 5th Annual Charity Golf Tournament for the Children's Tumor Foundation, an organization focused on researching treatments for Neurofibromatosis. The most common form of Neurofibromatosis occurs in one of every 3,000 people and causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body. The effects of this may include blindness, bone abnormalities, cancer, deafness, disfigurement, learning disabilities, and disabling pain. The Children's Tumor Foundation provides funding for clinical trials to develop medications to help those affected by this genetic disorder.

We at William Rawlings and Associates were happy to have been a part of this event and to have met the wonderful family behind it. It was inspirational to see so many members of our community supporting the Children's Tumor Foundation and its excellent work. We look forward to seeing everyone next year!


Many of us have used Uber or some other rideshare company.  Did you consider who would be responsible if you are in an accident? Uber claims to require all of their drivers to carry their own personal car insurance.  Uber also provides supplemental insurance coverage if the driver is actively seeking passengers.


William Rawlings & Associates your Salt Lake City auto accident lawyers giving back to the community. Our Practice Manager, Jillian Gallard participated in a Golf Tournament to raise money and awareness for NF.


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