Phoenix Personal Injury Lawyer Blog

ACCIDENTS INVOLVING UBER AND LYFT DRIVERS

Posted by Jay L. Ciulla | Jan 26, 2017 | 0 Comments

Ridesharing has become an extremely popular gig or side-job for someone looking for flexible work. I have represented many Uber and Lyft drivers who were involved in car accidents in Phoenix, Arizona. Unfortunately, these cases have some unique issues. Does your auto insurance cover you while you are working for a rideshare company? Some insurance companies will cancel you if they find out that you are an Uber/Lyft driver. Other companies, will continue to cover you, but will deny the claim if you are involved in an accident while working – they cite their business use exclusions in their policies to deny coverage. However, there now several major companies that sell coverage for rideshare drivers in one form or another.

Rear-End Crashes

Posted by Jay L. Ciulla | Aug 04, 2016 | 2 Comments

Rear-end crashes are one of the most common scenarios that I see in my Phoenix personal injury practice. These rear-end collisions are especially egregious because they typically whip the victim’s neck back and forth, causing cervical strain/sprain, and sometimes serious injury including concussion. This happens because our necks are simply not strong enough to sustain the force of moving forward, stopping and then being forced backwards. In order to sustain forces of a rear-end crash effectively humans would basically not have a neck (See the simulated crash proof humanoid Graham – he has no neck!).

WHAT TO BRING TO THE INITIAL MEETING WITH AN ATTORNEY

Posted by Jay L. Ciulla | Jun 07, 2016 | 0 Comments

Eighty percent of success is showing up. - Woody Allen You are going to meet with your attorney for the first time after a personal injury. You are apprehensive because you have never consulted with an attorney before. You are not sure you will understand legal terms. You are not even sure you have a case. How do you prepare for this unfamiliar experience? First, it is most important that you bring yourself on time for your appointment, but after that, bring everything you have pertaining to the case, including: Arizona Crash Report (can be obtained online for free or for a small fee depending upon the police agency at http://www.azdps.gov/services/records/) Medical records or bills (if you do not have these, the names and addresses of your medical providers; take a business card every time you go to a physician) Photographs of damage to both vehicles (including the VIN and the inside of the vehicle) Photographs of your injuries (including weekly photographs while healing) Your health and automobile insurance information (Including declaration page and identification cards) Contact information from any witnesses to the accident (Do not count on the police to obtain these; if you are able, write down names and telephone numbers yourself) Record of mileage to and from related physician appointments, hospital visits and physical therapy appointments. If you do not have all this information, bring everything you have to the initial meeting, and the law office will obtain the remainder of the information, including the Arizona Crash Report and medical records and bills. You will be asked to fill out a form that requests basic information: date of accident, name of the at-fault party, location of accident, and nature of your injuries.

WILL YOUR INSURANCE RATES GO UP IF YOU ARE IN A CAR ACCIDENT THAT WASN'T YOUR FAULT?

Posted by Jay L. Ciulla | May 24, 2016 | 0 Comments

You are stopped waiting for a light to change and you hear the dreaded crunch of a rear-end collision. You are T-boned by an SUV running a red light. You are struck by a careless driver exiting a private driveway to turn left. It wasn't your fault. Do your insurance rates go up if you report a claim? The short answer is NO! According to A.R.S. § 20-263(A): No insurer shall increase the motor vehicle insurance premium of an insured as a result of an accident not caused or significantly contributed to by the actions of the insured. Any insurer which increases the premium as a result of accident involvement shall notify the insured of the reason for such increase.

CAN YOU BE CITED FOR DRIVING TOO SLOW?

Posted by Jay L. Ciulla | May 18, 2016 | 0 Comments

Are you aware that it is a traffic offense to drive too slowly in Arizona? Older drivers or newcomers may find it difficult to drive at the accustomed speed on our highways. When a driver cannot keep up with the speed of the other drivers on the highway, he presents a danger to himself and others. Sometimes, this results in car accidents. According to A.R.S. § 28-704(A): A person shall not drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic (with stated exceptions). If you are driving on a major highway, and cars are following close to your bumper, you may decide to ignore them if you are driving at the posted speed limit and allow them to go around you. If you are going under the posted speed limit; however, you ought to speed up.

Diminished Value Property Damage Claims after Car Accidents

Posted by Jay L. Ciulla | May 09, 2016 | 0 Comments

Would you pay the same price for a used car knowing that it had been in a serious collision? No, of course not! In this day and age, most educated car buyers utilize a Carfax report and/or a mechanical inspection of a used car which likely reveal significant auto body repairs due to car accidents. This concept is easy to understand from a car buyer’s perspective. After a vehicle is repaired due to a car accident, the value is often greatly diminished. This is one part of a property damage case that is often over looked and insurance companies certainly will not bring this up. Under Arizona law, property damage claims for a negligently damaged vehicle include compensation for the cost of repair, residual diminution in fair market value after repair, and loss of use. Farmers Ins. Co. v. R.B.L. Inv. Co., 138 Ariz. 562, 564-65, 675 P.2d 1381, 1383-84 (App.1983).

You Hit a Parked Car!

Posted by Jay L. Ciulla | May 04, 2016 | 0 Comments

Okay. You backed into a parked car in the parking lot. What do you do now? Look around to see if there were any witnesses? Look for the owner of the car? Drive away and hope no one noticed? Leave a note on the car with your name and telephone number? The Golden Rule advises that you treat the owner of the struck car as you would want to be treated. You know how you feel when you come out of a store and find a dent, scratches or a broken taillight. You know how you feel about the person who did it and fled the scene. But the consequences of shirking your duty could result in a fine, up to 30 days in jail, and definitely higher insurance rates. Of course, the consequences of leaving the scene of an injury accident are much more serious. According to A.R.S. § 28-664, your duties upon striking an unattended vehicle are:

MAY - MOTORCYCLE SAFETY AWARENESS MONTH

Posted by Jay L. Ciulla | May 02, 2016 | 0 Comments

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Sometimes sarcastically called “murdercycles,” these fun rides can be and should be safer than they are. The fault with the high incidence of injuries and fatalities lies on both the motorcycle rider and the other motor vehicle drivers on our highways. When a crash occurs, the motorcycle rider has very little protection other than any protective clothing he may be wearing; consequently, fatalities and serious injuries are much higher among motorcycle riders. According to NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), the number of deaths on motorcycles was over 26 times the number of fatalities in other motor vehicles (2013).

CAN YOU BE FINED FOR OPENING A VEHICLE DOOR?

Posted by Jay L. Ciulla | Apr 29, 2016 | 0 Comments

Few think the act of opening a car door as hazardous. Even fewer realize that Arizona Revised Statutes address the act in Title 28 – Transportation: A.R.S. § 28-905. Opening vehicle door. A person shall not open a door on a motor vehicle unless it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic. A person shall not leave a door open on a side of a motor vehicle exposed to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload a passenger. The door zone is a 5-foot wide area in which the bicyclist is in danger of being struck by the car door when it is opened suddenly. When a driver-side door is opened, the bicyclists either strikes the door and flips over and to the left into traffic, or the bicyclist swerves into traffic in order to avoid hitting the door. When a passenger-side door is opened, a bicyclist riding on the sidewalk is likewise struck and/or loses control of the bicycle trying to avoid being struck. We have assisted bicyclist clients who were injured by people negligently opening car doors.

Left Turn Accidents - Go Right Instead?

Posted by Jay L. Ciulla | Apr 25, 2016 | 0 Comments

Left turn accident are one of the most dangerous types of car crashes. In many instances, it is more time consuming, but safer to make a series of right turns. Left turns at intersections are a relatively difficult driving maneuver involving many split second judgments made simultaneously. A driver must judge the speed and distance of approaching vehicles, look for pedestrians or bicyclists crossing in the crosswalk, monitor their own traffic signal and making a judgment ab:out whether it is safe to turn. Unfortunately, these are often head-on or t-bone collisions which result in high impact and serious injuries.

Man Arrested For Not Returning VHS Rental 14 Years Ago - When Corporations Write the Laws

Posted by Jay L. Ciulla | Mar 24, 2016 | 0 Comments

A North Carolina was arrested for allegedly failing to return a 14 year old VHS rental of the 2001 dud, Freddy Got Fingered. This is a an example of the kind of frivolous cases that are pursued by corporate interests in this country every day. In Arizona, just as in state legislatures across this country, corporate money interests, such as the American Legislative Counsel and the chambers of commerce dominate the law making process and create these stupid laws. In addition, to the so-called tort-reform bills pushed by out of state insurance companies, these industries attempt to reclassify all types of civil disputes and debt collection matters, such as failure to return rental property, into criminal matters. I thought we did away with debtors prisons.

Traffic School Can Improve Your Driving

Posted by Jay L. Ciulla | Jan 14, 2016 | 0 Comments

Here at our Phoenix law firm, we see many personal injury clients who have been hurt in car accidents. If you have not had a driving course in 3 to 5 years, you might consider attending a AAA driving course online or in person, for example: RoadWise: Designed by AAA for 55+ drivers; however, anyone can register to take the course. The course teaches you how to hone your night driving skills, the intricacies of new vehicle technology, and driving tips geared to making you a better, safer driver. The Roadwise Driver course also covers: Extending your driving career Distractions, drowsiness, aggressive driving & road rage Managing visibility, time & space Alcohol & medications Comfort and safety tips

NHTSA’s 5-Star Safety Ratings

Posted by Jay L. Ciulla | Jan 07, 2016 | 0 Comments

Here at our phoenix personal injury law firm, we often bemoan the number of motor vehicle accident-injured clients we see every week. We help our clients get compensation for their pain and suffering; however, we would be happier if there was a way to avoid motor vehicle accidents and the accompanying injuries and suffering. Since 1978, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has offered 5-Star Safety Ratings to aid consumers purchase safer vehicles to better protect them on the road. NHTSA crash-tests vehicles and assigns “star” ratings on how they perform. Today, technology is advancing at a rapid rate, and NHTSA has realized that it is time to update their 5-Star Safety ratings to reflect those advances. The updated 5-Star Safety Ratings will include the following: The most advanced, human-like frontal crash test dummy in

Tips for Stress-Free Holiday Travel

Posted by Jay L. Ciulla | Dec 23, 2015 | 0 Comments

Here at our Phoenix personal injury law firm, another year is winding down, and we send best wishes for safe and stress-free holiday travel. In Arizona, our winter roads and highways are subject to varying temperatures and conditions during the holidays, and planning ahead for snow, ice or desert heat is not unwarranted. We want to share these travel tips with you:

SHOULD SCHOOL BUSES HAVE SEAT BELTS?

Posted by Jay L. Ciulla | Dec 11, 2015 | 0 Comments

Here at our Phoenix personal injury law office, we sometimes have cases involving school buses and city buses. Fortunately, we have not had a case in which a child has been seriously injured or killed in a bus accident. Perhaps this is because school buses are among the safest vehicles on the road. School buses weigh much more than the family vehicle, the passengers sit much higher than most other vehicles on the road, and designers have used a passive design technique called “compartmentalization.” School bus seats are placed tightly together and covered with a 4-inch-thick foam to form a protective bubble. The theory is that the child will fly against the seat in front of them, absorbing most of the impact on the foam backing.

Car Accidents and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Posted by Jay L. Ciulla | Dec 02, 2015 | 0 Comments

Here at our Phoenix Personal Injury Law Firm, our clients often complain of symptoms of concussion (or Traumatic Brain Injury) after a motor vehicle accident. Even with current safety devices, occupants of a car can strike their heads against a hard surface and sustain a mild to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). In some cases, the person does not strike their head but the rapid acceleration/deceleration causes the injury. In fact, motor vehicle crashes were the second leading cause of TBI-related deaths (26%) during 2006-2010.

DANGER - CAR ACCIDENTS ON RURAL ROADS

Posted by Jay L. Ciulla | Oct 30, 2015 | 0 Comments

Here at our Phoenix personal injury law firm, we often represent clients who were injured on the rural roads surrounding Phoenix. In 2012, 19 percent of the U.S. population lived in rural areas, but rural road fatalities accounted for 54 percent of all fatalities on our nation’s highways. The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration attempts to identify high risk rural roads (HRRR) and research ways to reduce fatalities. A new HRRR Special Rule was created under 23USC 148(g) that requires states to set aside a certain amount of funds for high risk rural roads if the HRRR fatality rate appears to be increasing.

4 CAR INSURANCE MYTHS

Posted by Jay L. Ciulla | Sep 21, 2015 | 0 Comments

Here at our Phoenix personal injury law firm, we deal with auto insurance companies and policyholders on a daily basis, and we realize that our clients are often confused about the reality of their policies. Here are some of the most common myths and the reality of what exactly your auto insurance will do for you. The longer you stay with an auto insurance, the lower the premiums.

THE TERRIBLE TRUTH ABOUT CAR INSURANCE

Posted by Jay L. Ciulla | Sep 01, 2015 | 0 Comments

In our Phoenix personal injury law firm, we work every day with insurance companies, especially car insurance companies. Their business models are often opaque, even labyrinthine. Consequently, if you think you are paying too much for car insurance, you are probably right.

WHY YOU NEED UNINSURED AND UNDERINSURED INSURANCE COVERAGE IN ARIZONA

Posted by Jay L. Ciulla | Jun 23, 2015 | 0 Comments

In our Phoenix personal injury law firm, we often have clients who are victims of careless drivers who do not carry motor vehicle insurance, or sometimes only a small policy. They are left with no recourse if they do not have uninsured and underinsured coverage in their own motor vehicle insurance policy; all their medical bills will have to be paid out of pocket.

Arizona's "Move Over" Traffic Law

Posted by Jay L. Ciulla | Jun 01, 2015 | 0 Comments

Have you heard of Arizona’s “Move Over” law? A.R.S. 28-775, or the “Move Over” law, was enacted in 2005 due to an increase in injury and fatality in police officers and emergency personnel. The motivation for this law was to ensure safety while stopped on the side of the road. A.R.S. 28-775 states: If a person who drives a vehicle approaches a stationary vehicle and

Arizona Auto Booster Seat Law - Required For Most Children Ages 5 to 7

Posted by Jay L. Ciulla | May 22, 2015 | 0 Comments

In our Phoenix area personal injury law firm, we see the dire consequences of motor vehicle crashes involving children all too often. In August, 2012, the Arizona child passenger safety laws were updated to include booster seat provisions. In the prior legislation, the safety laws allowed children to transition from a child safety seat to a seat belt alone when they reached 5 years of age. Most caregivers and parents would agree that trusting the safety belt to protect small passengers does not offer the safest option. The revised law requires a booster seat for children, 5-7 years old, and under 57” inches height.

Arizona Car Buying Awareness

Posted by Jay L. Ciulla | May 15, 2015 | 0 Comments

Buying a car is a huge financial investment. It is important that buyers and sellers alike do their due diligence for any transaction. Schemes are all around where criminals are looking to make a quick buck by defrauding innocent buyers and sellers. Scams can be simple or elaborate. You make be dealing with a seller rolling back the odometer. There could be a sophisticated schemer who pays cash for a vehicle to have a title clear of financial liens, then obtains a duplicate title with which they receive a title loan, and finally sell the cleared title with the vehicle to an unsuspecting buyer. The innocent buyer is then left unable to properly title or register the vehicle until the lien is paid off or the lien holder may just repossess the vehicle. Sellers can be scammed by people paying cash using counterfeit money or a check from a bogus bank account. A seller could allow a buyer to test drive the vehicle alone and they never return. ADOT issued a list of precautions for buyers and sellers to take before making a transaction so innocent people do not become the victim of fraud. These tips include:

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