On April 18, 2019, Arizona legislators gave final approval for a comprehensive statewide ban on the use of hand-held cellphones for motorists. The bill will now travel to Governor Doug Ducey for his anticipated signature. With the passage of this bill, Arizona joins 47 other states in banning texting while driving. After the bill is signed by the governor, it will override the anti-texting ordinances of 27 Arizona cities and 2 Arizona counties and give Arizona drivers certainty on what they can and cannot do while driving. Right now, we have a hodgepodge of ordinances from town to town. I have seen this confusion in many car accident cases where texting was the cause or a contributing factor.
I am often shocked that this misunderstanding of Arizona law still routinely comes up. I am still encountering bicyclists, motorists, police, insurance adjusters and sometimes lawyers who are confused about the law in Arizona on this issue. Bicycles can lawfully ride in either direction in a crosswalk and can ride in either direction on sidewalks (except in a few cities with strange ordinances prohibiting it or limiting it) in Arizona. I first wrote about this problem, five years ago
In summer, the nearly empty streets of metropolitan Phoenix resemble the old days on Main Street in small town America with light traffic and courteous drivers waiving to one another. No, not really, but in the autumn, the change in traffic conditions is dramatic. Anyone who commutes or drives...
I have successfully represented too many bicyclists who were initially blamed by police or insurance companies for riding their bicycles in the crosswalk. The law in Arizona is clear – bikes can lawfully ride in the crosswalk (in either direction).
According to Arizona Governor’s Highway Safety Association, pedestrian deaths have increased by 27 percent between 2007 and 2016! During the same period, all other traffic fatalities decreased by 14 percent. Maricopa Country was second in the number of pedestrian fatalities in 2016 – second only to Los Angeles County. Why do we have such a high number of pedestrian fatalities?
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 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!).
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.
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.
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.
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).
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 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).
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 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.
determining liability for a car accident in Arizona is not as simple as looking to see if the police gave a citation.
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.
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
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
Here at our Phoenix law firm, we often represent victims of DUI collisions; people who through no fault of their own are injured by the selfishness of others who are driving drunk or high on other drugs. This happens all too frequenly.
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.