Feb 18 2019

Basics on Auto Accidents and Whiplash

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.

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Feb 11 2019

Determining Liability for Multi-Car Accidents, Part 2

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.

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Oct 10 2018

Elements of a Settlement Release

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.

Confidentiality

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.

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Sep 03 2018

Social Media and Personal Injury Cases

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:

  • Privatize all your social media accounts, or at least narrow down who is allowed to see and share your posts.
  • Ask friends and family to refrain from posting anything with or about you while your personal injury case is ongoing.
  • Think carefully about every single post you make, even if it’s supposed to be private. If you’re unsure, don’t post it.

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.

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Jul 20 2018

5th Annual #EndNF with Travis Classic Charity Golf Tournament

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!

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Feb 21 2018

Uber Car Accidents

 

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.

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Feb 21 2018
Feb 20 2018

Car Accident Lawyers Giving Back

William Rawlings & Associates works diligently to help car accident victims and their families.  As your  auto accident lawyers we strive for great customer service regarding your auto and truck accident case.  We also make sure we give back to our communities.  How do we do this?  We take part in Fundraising events.

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Dec 08 2017

What Kind Of Injuries Are Common In Rollover Accidents

Some of the most dangerous vehicular crashes include rollover accidents. The fatality rate for rollover accidents is the highest with over 10,000 deaths every year. A rollover accident is the one in which a vehicle turns upside down on its roof or either of the two sides. The causes of rollover accidents vary depending upon various factors including composition of vehicles. Vehicles that are more likely to undergo a rollover accident are Sport Utility Vehicles and Light Weight Trucks. Because of a higher center of gravity, these vehicles are more susceptible to rollovers.

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Oct 31 2017

Utah Car Accidents: 51% Rule

Accidents are bound to happen. If you’re injured in an accident how do you figure out who is at fault?  How do you determine how much your injury claim is worth?  Our legal system in Utah uses negligence claims as a way of determining fault.  Finally, it also outlines how to determine how much the responsible party should pay. Let our experienced car accident and truck accident lawyers help you get you life back on the right track.

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