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Auto Accidents: How to Avoid Admitting Guilt

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Driver horror

When you are in an auto accident, you will be flustered, but what you say right after the accident can be used by an insurance company to establish your liability in the case and can affect potential insurance claims or personal injury cases.

Phrases like “I’m sorry” or “I didn’t even see you,” are often knee-jerk human reactions to an accident. However, these phrases can be seen as admissions of fault and an insurance agency may use the phrases against you in insurance claims or personal injury lawsuits.

 

It is likely that you will not know all of the circumstances surrounding the case at the time of the accident. Perhaps the other driver was speeding or had run a red light and you didn’t see that. What you say at the scene could have negative effects on you.

Driver Suffering From Whiplash After Traffic Collision

Your best bet is to hold your tongue after an accident. Make sure that everyone is safe and stick to exchanging contact and insurance information with the other party and getting the names and contact information of any potential witnesses. Do not take part in any conversations about what may or may not have happened. Don’t express your opinions and don’t encourage anyone to jump to conclusions about what may have happened.

If you feel that you may have a personal injury claim, speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Our attorneys at Young and Young have decades of experience handling these types of claims. Contact our offices if you have any questions and we can offer you a free consultation.

Articles with this disclaimer may not represent the beliefs or core values of Young & Young. The above is simply a summary taken from the industry’s general community to help readers stay up-to-date on what people are talking about.

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Tyler’s Thoughts: Analyzing a Case

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Just recently, a terrible accident occurred when an 8-year-old who was spectating at an off-road race in Mexico was struck and killed. Spectators say that the boy and his mother were standing next to the course, when the driver, the CEO and founder of Vivint Smart Home, lost control of the truck he was driving, failing to negotiate a turn.

In reading an account of this accident, it is easy to jump to conclusions and assign fault for this tragedy. Consider, however, that news reporters often unintentionally share incorrect facts or highlight facts that will elicit emotions in their readers. It may not be the reporter’s intention, but the way they present the story can lead readers to believe that the celebrity who was involved was responsible for the wreck, whether or not the facts support that conclusion. A news report can incite demands for a lawsuit against the celebrity who was involved.

The story about this tragedy failed to mention any precautions that the event presenters took to protect the safety of the participants and spectators. Did the race organizers conduct any engineering studies regarding the location where they were directing the onlookers? What safety measures were in place to prevent what could be a foreseeable accident? Should the government take any responsibility for what happened?

While the story in itself is an awful one, the biggest takeaway must be: What needs to happen to prevent future accidents like this from occurring? Rather than blaming one participant who very well may have been following the course as it was laid out for him, we need to think about what changes need to be made at future similar events.
By not jumping to conclusions, we may be able to find answers to the questions that will reveal other possible causes of the accident and prevent future accidents from occurring.

Articles with this disclaimer may not represent the beliefs or core values of Young & Young. The above is simply a summary taken from the industry’s general community to help readers stay up-to-date on what people are talking about.

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When to File a Medical Malpractice Suit

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A doctor’s first responsibility is to his or her patient. Caring for the patient is a doctor’s primary concern. But what happens when the doctor makes a mistake? What constitutes medical malpractice?

malpractice

What is Medical Malpractice?

A simple mistake on a doctor’s part is not sufficient to establish medical malpractice. Doctors are, after all, human and will make mistakes. To determine if a mistake rises to the level of medical malpractice, four factors must be considered.

  1. Was there the existence of a doctor-patient relationship?
  2. Did the doctor’s treatment of the patient fall below the accepted and regulated medical standard of care? For an attorney to establish medical malpractice, the attorney will need to be able to not only show and explain the normal standard of care for a patient in the same situation, but the attorney must also be able to show how the doctor’s care fell short of the normal standard of care. This evidence will likely need to be established by expert witnesses presented by the plaintiff and his or her attorney.
  3. Was there a specific, direct link between the doctor’s actions and the harm caused to the patient? The plaintiff’s expert witness will also needs to be able to show a direct link from the doctor’s treatment and care for the patient and the harm caused to the patient. The expert will need to be able to show that the worsening of the patient’s health was a direct result of the doctor’s actions.
  4. Was the harm that the patient suffered something that was measurable and quantifiable? If the plaintiff’s attorney is unable to show the court that there are specific measurable damages, the court will not be able to assign a value or penalty for the doctor’s actions.

 

What to Ask Your Attorney

 

If you feel that you have suffered from medical malpractice, you must consider that there may be a time limit for filing a medical malpractice suit. Speak with an attorney as soon as possible, and keep in mind that many attorneys take medical practice cases on a contingency basis, meaning that you will not need to pay any fees up front and the attorney will simply collect a portion of the award, should you win your case. Our attorneys at Young and Young are well-versed in medical malpractice lawsuits and offer free consultations. Contact us today .

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Articles with this disclaimer may not represent the beliefs or core values of Young & Young. The above is simply a summary taken from the industry’s general community to help readers stay up-to-date on what people are talking about.

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Social Media Do’s and Don’ts for your Personal Injury Case

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In a world where social media is prevalent, it is important to consider how what you post on your various social media channels can affect your personal injury case.

 

Often there are no questions what occurred at the scene of an accident. There is a police report and photographic evidence of what happened. There are doctor reports and estimates for vehicle repairs. However, consider what is at stake if you are requesting compensation for long-term injuries or mental anguish as a result of an accident.

road-people-street-smartphone

It is impossible to know everyone who has access to the information you post on social media sites. Whether the defendant, an insurance company, or any potential witnesses come across or are provided with information you post may have significant ramifications on your legal case.

 

Consider if you are requesting compensation for long-term injuries that you received to your arm in an automobile accident. If you post photos of yourself bowling or playing baseball in the weeks after your injury, your claim that the accident caused long-lasting or even permanent damage is seriously flawed and you can be seen as unreliable or as untrustworthy.

 

If you are claiming mental anguish as a result of an accident, posting photos of yourself appearing happy or commenting positively about your life may call into question the extent of your mental anguish.

 

There is no reasonable expectation of privacy when it comes to your social media. Even if you have your settings set to “private,” the courts have found again and again that you have no right to expect privacy regarding what you post.

 

It is good practice to limit what you post, especially after an accident and while any legal action is pending. Never post information about what you discuss with your attorney, never post information about discussions you’ve had with other parties or witnesses regarding the case, and do not post information about your medical diagnoses.

 

This is all information that you should review with an attorney you consult with regarding your personal injury case. Our attorneys, here at Young & Young, are well-versed in personal injury law. Call our offices for a free consultation today.

 

Articles with this disclaimer may not represent the beliefs or core values of Young & Young. The following is simply a summary taken from the industry’s general community to help readers stay up-to-date on what people are talking about. 
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Who’s at Fault? Cycling Accidents at the Intersection

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Though there are relatively few intersections on any given bicycle route, statistics show that the highest rate of bicycle and vehicle accidents occur at intersections. It is vital that cyclists know and understand the rules of the road, as well as the basic legal liability.

 

It is important to take extra precautions when in an intersection because cars are not always looking out for or expecting bicyclists. The driver may misjudge how quickly you are traveling on your bike, or the driver may just not see you.

biking

The first and easiest steps to take to protect yourself while riding your bike is to increase your visibility.

 

  • Wear brightly colored clothing.
  • Add lamps to the front and rear of your bike.
  • Ride defensively.
  • And know how to execute emergency maneuvers to help avoid collisions.

 

But in the event of an accident these tips may help you out!

 

Who is Liable?

Cyclists must understand that in the majority of states, bicycles are considered “vehicles” and must therefore follow the rules of the road. Often the issue of liability in the case of an accident boils down to who had the right of way?

 

Right of Way: No Traffic Signal

When approaching an intersection, the rule of thumb is whichever vehicle (remember a bicycle is considered a vehcile) gets to the intersection first has the right of way. If the vehicles arrive at the intersection at the same time, the vehicle to the right has the right of way.

 

Right of Way: Traffic Signal

Right of way when there is a traffic signal present is determined by the traffic signal. If your bike is not recognized by the sensor in the traffic signal, your options are to reposition yourself so the sensor recognizes the bicycle, or simply cross at the crosswalk when the traffic signal allows.

 

Accidents at Stop Signs

Even if you come to a complete stop at a stop sign, if you pull out in front of a vehicle that has the right of way, you, as the cyclist, will be liable.

 

Bike Fails to Yield

Remember that bikes are considered vehicles. If you as a rider and you do not follow traffic rules and fail to yield, you will be liable.

 

Cars Turning Left or Right

If the cyclist is following traffic rules and a car turns left or right and hits the cyclist, the driver of the car will be at fault.  Limit the possibility of being hit in this scenario by increasing your visibility as described earlier.

 

Liability matters because even if you are hit by a car while riding your bicycle, if you are found liable for the accident, you may not be able to recover for your damages or injuries. Consult with an attorney if you have any questions following an accident.

 

Our Young & Young attorneys have been handling personal injury cases for decades and are happy to offer free consultations to answer any questions you may have.

 

Articles with this disclaimer may not represent the beliefs or core values of Young & Young. The following is simply a summary taken from the industry’s general community to help readers stay up-to-date on what people are talking about. 
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Bike Accidents: Steps to Take After You Crash

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Any accident involving a bicycle and a car is scary and often leads in someone being injured. If you are the bicycle rider, there are several important things you need to do to preserve your rights and help you recover for your injuries and the damage to your bicycle.

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Wait for the Police to Arrive

Leaving the scene of an accident can damage your case. Seemingly minor injuries may turn out to be more serious later on. Not obtaining a police report may prevent you from being able to recover from an insurance company or driver.

 

Your Statement to Police

Police officers often interview the driver who has been involved in an accident, but may overlook taking the statement of the rider. Make sure you give a full accounting of what happened to the police officer so your side of the story can be documented.

 

Contact Information from the Driver and Witnesses

Get names, addresses, and phone numbers of the driver, and anyone who may have seen anything. Make sure to get the driver’s license number of the driver, as well as the license plate of the vehicle that hit you. Your insurance company will need this information, and it will also help you in any future legal action.

 

Write Down What Happened

Memories can fade, and sometimes it can be difficult to remember exactly what happened, even after a traumatic incident like an accident. Take some time as soon after the accident as you can to write down everything that happened. Write it down and date it.

 

Document Your Injuries and Damage to Your Bicycle

Take photos of your injuries, your bicycle, your helmet, and any other property that suffered any damage. Make sure to not wash any clothing, or send anything off for repair until you have fully documented each item. You want to preserve as much evidence as possible.

Consult with an Attorney

Meet with an attorney to discuss your legal rights. You are not required to sign any paperwork the insurance company gives you. Make sure your rights are protected by discussing your case with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

 

We, at Young & Young, are just those people who can help you! We have practiced personal injury law for decades. Contact our offices for a free consultation and let us help you protect your rights.

 

Articles with this disclaimer may not represent the beliefs or core values of Young & Young. The following is simply a summary taken from the industry’s general community to help readers stay up-to-date on what people are talking about. 
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What to Do When You are Involved in an Accident?

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So, you’ve been involved in an automobile accident. Regardless of who is at fault, there are several things should do immediately after the accident and in the weeks and months to follow. These following steps will help you next time you are in an automobile accident.

driving a car

Stay at the Scene

First, never leave the scene of an accident until you have been given permission by the police. There are potential criminal charges that may be filed against you for hit-and-run if you do not follow the proper procedures.

 

Check on the Other People in the Vehicles

Make sure the passengers in your vehicle and the people in the other vehicle are okay. Any necessary medical attention should be addressed immediately.

 

Call the Police

It is important to report the accident to the authorities while everyone is still present. An officer will come, assess the situation, and may issue tickets to the drivers. Make sure to get a copy of the police report that is filed because your insurance company may need that information.

 

Exchange Insurance Information

Be sure to not only exchange information about insurance coverage, but also to get full names, addresses, phone numbers, as well as driver’s license numbers and license plate numbers. Your insurance company may need any and all of this information to follow up on the claim you will file.

Make sure that while you wait, you are not apologizing or admitting any fault. Things you say during this period may cause you to be liable for damage or injuries.

 

Talk to Witnesses

Ask people what they saw. Try to get the witnesses’ names, addresses, and phone numbers, if they will give them to you. This information could be helpful later on.

 

Call Your Insurance Company

File your claim and notify your insurance company of the accident promptly. Provide your insurance company all of the information you have collected, especially information regarding the other driver and the other vehicle, along with the police report.

 

Take Pictures of the Damage

You want to have documentation of all of the damage that occurred, in case you need to present that information to the court or to insurance adjusters. Having tangible proof is important to provide evidence supporting your claim for damages. So make sure to take as many pictures as you can of the vehicles.

 

Keep Copies of All Documentation from Your Doctor

Should you (or anyone else in your car) suffer any injuries, keep all documentation from your doctor and any specialists you see. Keep copies of test results and any information the doctor provides that describes your injuries or any reasons you are required to be out of work.

 

Get Estimates to Fix Your Vehicle

You will need to have documentation to provide to the insurance companies, sometimes more than one estimate, for the work that is going to be required to completely repair your vehicle.

 

Be Wary of Initial Offers from Insurance Companies

Keep in mind that insurance companies are trying to settle all claims for the lowest amount of money. If an offer seems too low, do not accept it. You are not required to sign any paperwork the insurance company presents to you.

 

Consult with an Attorney

If the insurance company offers you less than you deserve, take the opportunity to consult with a lawyer. Bring all the documentation you have kept, including photos, estimates, medical reports, and the names and contact information for the people involved and any potential witnesses. An attorney will review your case with you and offer you guidance as to how best to proceed.

 

Our attorneys at Young & Young have been practicing law in Utah for decades and have handled a multitude of personal injury cases. Contact us for a free consultation and an attorney will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

 

Articles with this disclaimer may not represent the beliefs or core values of Young & Young. The following is simply a summary taken from the industry’s general community to help readers stay up-to-date on what people are talking about. 

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Stages of a Personal Injury Case

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So, you’ve been in an automobile accident. What happens now? What can you expect from a personal injury case?

Get Medical Care

First of all, get medical attention. See your doctor and any other doctors you are referred to. Keep all documentation you are given, including prescriptions, test results, and diagnoses. These will be beneficial to your future attorney, both during your consultation, during any settlement discussions, and during the potential trial.

Find a Personal Injury Attorney

Your relationship with your lawyer is an important one, so make sure you find one that is a good fit for you. Interview several attorneys and make sure that your communication styles are compatible. You will be working closely with the attorney and his or her office, so make sure you are comfortable with the advice you are given and the people that you will be working with.
Many lawsuits settle without having to go to court, but it is important that you and your lawyer are in agreement with the possible tracks your case may follow. This is also when you and your lawyer will discuss his or her fees.

Assessment and Analysis Phase

During this phase, your attorney will review all documents regarding your case including accident reports, tickets or citations issued, medical records, diagnoses, treatment plans, and the expenses you have already incurred as a result of the accident.

Make a Demand

Once your attorney has had a chance to review the documentation you have provided, he or she will be able to work with you to determine a reasonable demand for settlement. This figure should cover all of your medical expenses, the damage to your vehicle, your lost wages, and any other funds needed to help you return to your life before the accident.

Then, your attorney will present the demand to the insurance company and based upon the insurance company’s response, you and your attorney will determine the next appropriate steps.

Negotiation

One possible step after the demand is made is negotiation between the parties. The insurance company may counter your original demand with a proposed settlement of their own. Communication will occur between your attorney and the attorney for the insurance company.

Filing a Lawsuit

If negotiations are not successful, you and your attorney may elect to file a lawsuit and request damages. Initiating the court proceedings will allow both sides to send discovery requests to the other to obtain the information necessary to prepare for trial. It is important to note that a settlement can be reached even after the lawsuit is filed.

Resolution

The possible avenues for resolution are settlement, mediation, or trial. A settlement can be reached between the parties and their attorneys without court intervention. If you elect to proceed with mediation, the negotiations would take place in front of a mediator who, at the conclusion of both sides arguing the case, would present a recommended resolution to the case. If neither settlement nor mediation are successful, your case will proceed to trial.

Our Young & Young attorneys have over 40 years of experience handling civil litigation, personal injury, and automobile accident cases. Contact our office for a free consultation. We are happy to answer any questions you have about what you can expect from your automobile accident or personal injury suit. We can’t wait to work with you!

Articles with this disclaimer may not represent the beliefs or core values of Young & Young. The following is simply a summary taken from the industry’s general community to help readers stay up-to-date on what people are talking about. 
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Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Auto Accident Case

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There are several mistakes that can ruin your automobile accident case that must be avoided at all costs. This list is certainly not comprehensive, but covers several of the main mistakes we, at Young & Young, see in automobile accident cases.

1. LyingDriver horror

This is a very simple mistake to avoid, but it must be mentioned. Lying is probably one of the most common wrong acts that we do as humans. However, it is important to remember to not lie to your attorneys about the details of the case. Do not lie to the courts about circumstances, injuries, or any other factors regarding your case.

2. Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)

Be careful what you share on social media. You do not necessarily know everyone who can see your posts and you do not know what information that you post is accessible to the insurance companies or the defense. Make the decision to not mention anything about your case, the accident, your injuries, or any details about your lawsuit on social media.

3. Waiting Too Long to File

In Utah, the time limit for filing (or “statute of limitations”) gives you four years to file a personal injury claim with the court. Waiting too long to file may prohibit you from receiving any assistance from the court or legal system.

4. Disposing of Evidence

Do not dispose of any evidence, even if you think it is harmful to your case. Make sure to save all of your evidence. This includes prescription bottles, documentation from any doctor you see, and any accident and repair reports that you are provided with.

5. Don’t Forget to Take Photos

Take photos or videos. Take photos of your injuries. You will hopefully not still be experiencing the visible effects of your car accident by the time you go to court, so having photos or videos documenting your injuries will give your lawyer more evidence to be able to present to the court. Take photos of the damage to your vehicle. Sometimes repair estimates will not catch everything and you will want to have documentation to present to the judge.

6. Signing Away Your Rights

Do not sign any paperwork presented to you by an insurance company. The insurance company’s main focus is to protect themselves, not you, so they will try to get you to sign papers that say that the insured was not at fault. Do not sign any papers without consulting your attorney.

7. Listening to Advice

Just because your friend or family member has gone through a similar experience does not mean that you should heed his or her advice. Their circumstances are different than yours and following their advice may unnecessarily harm your case.

The only advice you should listen to is that of your lawyer. If you are uncomfortable with what your lawyer is advising, meet with another lawyer to ask for a second opinion, do not rely on the counsel of non-lawyers.

8. Things to Keep In Mind

You may receive calls from insurance adjusters or other people from the insurance company and their messages may be presented to the court as evidence. Make sure your voicemail message is
one that will not offend the judge or jury.

Go to all of your scheduled doctors’ appointments and follow your doctor’s’ instructions. Keep all of the reports and documents your doctors give you as they may help your case.

If your injuries make driving difficult or prohibit you from driving, do not renew any driver’s’ licenses without consulting your attorney.

 

At Young & Young, we have decades of experience handling automobile accident cases. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Articles with this disclaimer may not represent the beliefs or core values of Young & Young. The following is simply a summary taken from the industry’s general community to help readers stay up-to-date on what people are talking about. 
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What to Expect From a Lawsuit

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No lawyer can guarantee the outcome of a case because there are so many variables that go into it. However, this is a simple overview of what you can expect if you win your case. If a judge or jury rules in your favor in your lawsuit, you will receive “damages,” the term for the monetary award given to the injured plaintiff. There are three different types of damages that may be awarded in a civil litigation: general, punitive, or special.

General DamagesDollarphotoclub_81992248

General damages are awarded for pain and suffering or time lost due to the plaintiff’s injuries. General damages may be awarded for physical disfigurement, physical impairment, loss of quality of life, or other such standards.

General damages can be hard to specifically determine, as they are an attempt by the judge or jury to assign an exact dollar amount to what are often major injuries. General damages can also be awarded for mental anguish or embarrassment, which is another reason that there may be different amounts awarded for seemingly similar injuries.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are awarded to punish the offending party. If the defendant is found to have been negligent or to have caused the harm or known about the thing that caused the harm, punitive damages may be awarded to the plaintiff. Words like “malice,” “bad faith,” “wanton disregard,” or “reckless” in the court’s ruling may indicate that the court feels the need to award the plaintiff punitive damages as a direct result of the defendant’s actions (or non-actions). Punitive damages are meant to not only punish the defendant, but also to deter others from allowing the same types of injuries to occur.

Special Damages

Special damages are awarded to cover things like medical bills, legal fees, or loss of future earnings (i. e., if you are permanently injured and can no longer work, the court may award an amount to help offset the monies you would have earned if you had not been injured).

These can sometimes be more easily determined, as special damages are meant to be the culmination of plaintiff’s measurable financial losses. For example, if you are in a car accident and your car is totaled, part of the award of special damages could include the value of your car (something that can easily be determined by using Kelly Blue Book, the NADA value, or some other similar tools).

How Do I get My Money?

Once you win your case, the easiest conclusion to the matter is that the defendant simply pays the amount he or she was ordered to pay to you. However, there are occasions when the defendant refuses or claims he or she is unable to pay. If that is the case, you may need to initiate further legal action against the defendant to enforce the judgement and collect the monies that are owed to you.

One option for collecting your reward is that you can ask the court to garnish the wages (usually no more than 25% of the defendant’s check) or bank account of the defendant. Keep in mind, though, that if the defendant files bankruptcy, you may not receive any of it.

At Young & Young, we have more than 40 years experience in civil litigation. Our clients have won judgments in excess of a million dollars and, in some cases, have settled cases for similarly high amounts. We offer free consultations and would be happy to discuss your case with you. Contact us today!

Articles with this disclaimer may not represent the beliefs or core values of Young & Young. The following is simply a summary taken from the industry’s general community to help readers stay up-to-date on what people are talking about. 
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