Personal Injury

Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers:

If you have been injured as the result of someone elses negligence or wrongdoing, please consider contacting my office before you talk to the responsible party, their attorney or their insurance representative. Personal Injury


While you may not need legal representation for every situation, you should obtain information regarding your rights and the law before discussing your case with anyone, especially individuals with adverse interests.  Also, if you have been injured, but are unable to obtain medical treatment and care, I will be able to provide you with names of several physicians who may be willing to assist you on a lien basis (in other words, under certain circumstances, the physicians may be willing to wait until your case has concluded prior to being paid).

I provide representation in these types of cases:

  • Car Accident, Truck Accidents, Motorcycle Accidents, and Boat Accidents
  • Slip and Fall
  • Dog Bites

I will be happy to explain case procedures to you and answer any questions you might have. Give me a call at (480) 926-8600 ext 3. for a FREE CONSULTATION.

HOW I CAN HELP YOU

I have been practicing law for over many years and keep up with current laws and procedures that may affect personal injury cases.  I understand the legal process and will provide guidance to you as you go through this process.  I may be able to settle your cases without any court intervention.  On the other hand, I may have to take your case to arbitration or trial before a judge or jury due to questions regarding liability (who is at fault) or damages (the amount of money to which you may be entitled).  Having my firm in your corner may make the difference between a successful case and one that results in an inadequate or unsatisfactory settlement or judgment.

FOR MY SPANISH SPEAKING FRIENDS If you, a friend or loved one, feel more comfortable speaking Spanish, please call me at (480) 926-8600 ex 0 ask to speak with Gabrielle.  She will be able to assist you. 

 

 

CONTINGENCY FEES/COSTS

Many people are wary of hiring an attorney because of the anticipated expense.  However, I handle personal injury claims on a contingency fee basis.  With a contingency fee agreement, I agree to defer my fee until the case is resolved.  The fee is based on a percentage of the recovery obtained by me on your behalf.  If there is no recovery, then no attorney fee is owed.  My contingency fees are usually twenty-eight percent (28%) of the settlement or recovery obtained which is less than the standard contingency fee rate in Arizona of thirty-three and one-third percent (33-1/3%).

Contingency fees allow people to hire lawyers, like me, without regard to their financial resources.  In other words, you do not have to pay me out of your pocket to have me help you.  This helps to level the playing field because insurance companies will usually retain some of the most experienced defense attorneys to help deny, delay and/or defend a claim.

Costs associated with a claim are different than fees.  The term “costs” refers to those expenses that are incurred while investigating a claim and, if necessary, prosecuting it in court.  Examples of typical costs include expert fees, court costs, filing fees, deposition fees, etc.  In Arizona, I am permitted to advance all costs and then deduct them from the recovery at the conclusion of the case.  The contingency fee/advanced costs arrangement enables lawyers to help victims no matter what their financial circumstances.

TYPES OF CASES HANDLED

 

 

A. Vehicle Accidents (Auto, Truck, Motorcycle, Boat)

The law in Arizona is that every person operating a vehicle must do so with reasonable care.  Unfortunately, many individuals do not follow the law.

Everyday in Arizona, hundreds of individuals are injured as a result of the negligence, carelessness and inattention of other drivers.  The victims not only suffer physical and emotional injury, but also financial problems.  Our firm has seen first hand the effects of vehicle accidents involving automobiles, motorcycles, trucks, busses and other commercial vehicles.   We have even represented individuals who have been injured in boating accidents.  We know what the affects of injuries have on the health and well being of our clients.  We have seen the financial difficulties that our clients and their families and friends have had to bear due to the inattention or negligence of another.

Vehicle collisions and accidents occur as a result of many factors.  These factors may include such things as drunk driving, drowsiness, cell phone misuse, poor road conditions, mechanical failure, speeding, etc.

Oftentimes, the most devastating vehicular accidents involve our clients being on a motorcycle or being struck by a large car or truck.  Due to the greater impact associated with such accidents, the injuries and subsequent medical bills are usually very high.  You need an attorney with whom you can work to help you resolve insurance problems, health care, lien issues, medical payment availability, etc.  I am available to help you with these difficult questions.  If you, a friend or a loved one has been involved in or is the victim of a vehicular accident, please do not hesitate to call me at a time convenient for you to discuss your legal rights.

B. Slip and Fall:

Slip and fall accidents happen much more often than you might think.  Slip and fall accidents usually involve premises liability.  A person can slip and fall anywhere…home, business, church, playground, sports facility…anywhere.  What happens after the fall is where the problem comes up.  In a slip and fall claim, the burden is on the injured party (you) to prove that the premises owner knew there was a hazard and did not remedy that hazard, which contributed in some way to the injury.  The fact that you may have slipped and fallen does not automatically constitute negligence on the part of the property owner.

C. Wrongful Death:

The death of a loved one is devastating.  It may be at this time that you need the assistance of an attorney more than ever.   While no one likes to think about lawsuits or legal actions shortly after the death of a loved, you should be aware that assistance is available.  I am prepared to assist you in a compassionate and caring manner, but also in a manner that will protect your rights.  If you or a friend has lost a loved one as a result of the negligence of another, please call me today so that we can meet and discuss your options.

D. Dog Bites:

Many people are injured in Arizona every year as a result of being bitten by a dog.  In these types of cases the owner is strictly liable for the injuries you sustain.  There is no “one free bite” law in Arizona.  Because many dog bite cases involve psychological/emotional injuries, puncture wounds and scarring, the actual medical bills may be less than in a typical automobile accident, even though the actual damages may be as bad or worse.  For this reason alone, you need to obtain competent legal assistance, such as can be provided by my office, to help you document and prove all of your injuries.  Please call me if you have any questions.

PROCEDURES IN A PERSONAL INJURY CASE

In the event you are required to file a lawsuit against an adverse driver as a result of injuries you sustained and the unwillingness of the adverse driver and/or his/her insurance company to pay for your damages, you need to be prepared to do some or all of the following:

A.  File a Complaint within the appropriate time frame from the date of the accident.  You need to make sure that you name the proper party or parties, that you have them served with a Summons and Complaint and that the Complaint is filed and served in a timely manner.  You need to be aware that certain time frames apply as to the date by which you have to file your Complaint (called a Statute of Limitations) or else your claim and request for recovery for injuries is barred.  Some limitation periods may be as short as six months, but the general time frame is two (2) years.  After you have filed your Complaint, you have a specific time within which to serve the Defendants or be prepared to file appropriate motions with the court to enlarge the time within which you can serve the adverse party(ies).

B.  Prepare a Disclosure Statement.  Pursuant to Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 26.1, you are generally required to disclose specific information regarding your case within forty (40) days after the filing of a responsive pleading to a Complaint, Counterclaim, Crossclaim, or Third-Party Complaint.

C.  You may also desire to serve the adverse party with interrogatories (written questions), requests for production or requests for admissions.  You can serve these discovery documents on the opposing party or they may serve them on you.  In any event, these discovery documents should be responded to within a specified period of time.

D.  You may take the adverse party’s deposition or they may take yours.  A deposition is a proceeding whereby one party (usually through their legal representative) sets up a conference with a court reporter and asks the other party questions pertinent to the case.  T

E.  The court may also direct the parties to a Settlement Conference.  Usually a Judge Pro Tem (an attorney acting on behalf of the Judge assigned to the case) oversees this aspect of the case and tries to help the parties resolve their differences without further court intervention.

F.  If the case has a value of less than fifty thousand dollars, the court usually orders the parties to arbitrate the case.  This procedure is like a mini trial, takes less time and expense and will usually be completed in a few hours rather than a few days.  Unfortunately, unless there is a prior agreement between the parties, arbitrations are not binding and thus, after the arbitration, a dissatisfied party may file a Notice of Appeal and request that the judge or a jury hear the case.

G.  In the event that a settlement conference does not help the parties resolve their differences and an arbitration either has not been ordered or there has been an appeal, the parties will be required to attend a trial.  The trial may be before the judge or a jury.  Usually, most trials in personal injury cases are before a jury.  I will be happy to explain the pros and cons of a judge versus jury trial and all of the procedures involved in having a case have to be tried.

FOUR THINGS THAT I WILL NEED TO PROVE

FOR YOU TO RECEIVE A RECOVERY

These four elements of a negligence claim need to be proven on your behalf:

A.  That the person or entity (i.e. company) who you accuse of causing your personal injury had a legal duty to perform or act in a specified manner (or to not act as they did).

B.  That the person or entity responsible for your injuries actually violated duties required by law (through conduct or inaction).

C.  That your injury was caused by the violation committed by the adverse party.

D.  That you sustained compensable damages and the total amount of those damages (including lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, etc.).

 

 

NINE THINGS TO DO IF YOU ARE IN A CAR ACCIDENT

An automobile accident, even a minor one, is a very serious matter.  Many people brush off accidents without seeking proper health care.  Injuries can take hours or even days to fully affect you after an accident.  You may feel fine immediately following a crash, but have serious underlying injuries that could leave you hospitalized a few days later.  Several injuries may even cause death!

It is essential to your physical health and well being to act quickly after an accident.  Quick action will also insure that you can maximize any potential personal injury settlement to which you may be entitled.  If you are in a car accident, you should follow these nine steps:

A.  Pull your vehicle over to a safe area if possible.

B.  Immediately call the police to report the accident.  Do not leave the scene of the accident until the police take a report.  Many people fail to insist on a report, especially if the other party admits fault.  However, be aware that even if the other party admits fault to you, they may provide a completely different story to their insurance company.  A police report will help insure that incriminating statements are written by a police officer at that time.

C.  Ask witnesses to wait and provide a statement to police.  If they are not able to wait, ask them to write a statement and have them date and sign it.  Also, obtain their telephone numbers or contact information.

D.  Take photographs of the accident scene, vehicles involved, and any visible injuries you may have suffered as soon as possible.  If you are unable to take the photographs yourself, please have someone you trust take them.  That person should be willing to appear in court, if necessary, to testify to the accurateness of the photographs.

E.  Seek immediate medical attention.  Even if you do not think you are injured, you should follow up with a medical provider.  Sometimes, individuals do not feel pain, but may still have sustained a serious or life threatening injury.  Be advised that many insurance companies will view your lack of medical care (whether it is a fair assessment or not) as proof that you did not sustain an injury even if you suffer from pain.

F.  Do not make any statements admitting liability.  The facts will speak for themselves and there is no reason for you to place blame on yourself because there may be unknown factors that actually caused the accident.

G.  If at all possible, obtain contact and insurance information from the other drivers involved.  Try to obtain the name, address, telephone number, insurance company, policy number, license plate number, VIN number, and driver’s license number of all other involved parties if at all possible.  If you are not able to collect this information, please ask any assisting police officers to do so.

H.  Do not meet with a representative of an insurance company without first consulting an attorney.  While this may sound self-serving, insurance company representatives may approach you and offer a quick cash settlement before you have had an opportunity to know the full extent of your injuries.

I.  Contact me as soon as possible to discuss your rights and any concerns that you may have with respect to your accident.

SYNOPSIS OF ARIZONA PERSONAL INJURY LAWS

A. Statute of Limitations:

The general Statute of Limitations (or time period within which a claim must be filed or forever barred) in Arizona is two (2) years.  However, depending upon the adverse party (i.e. a city, county or municipality), the Statute of Limitations may be significantly less.

B. Types of Liability:

1.  Strict Liability:  A product manufacturer may be liable for injuries caused by a consumer product that is defective.  This theory of liability is often used in legal cases which involve defective products and dog bites.  The legal theory behind this is that the manufacturer and the dog owner are strictly liable for injuries caused by the product and the animal.  In strict liability, it is not important to establish the degree of carelessness of the person so long as his action has caused damage.

2.  Negligence: Recklessness and unsafe behavior of an individual that have caused injuries to another person provide a claim based on negligence.  In this kind of tort, the Plaintiff will need to prove that the Defendant’s negligent act is the direct cause of his injuries.  The theory of liability is often used by people who have sustained injures from a car, truck or motorcycle accident or those who have been hurt because a property owner has failed to practice due diligence.

3.  Intentional Act: A person who causes an injury with the specific intent to cause harm to the victim has committed an intentional tort.  An example of an intentional tort is the deliberate punching of one person in the face by another.

4.  Contributory Negligence: This is similar to comparative negligence in that a Plaintiff’s award may be reduced in proportion to the Plaintiff’s own carelessness if it contributed to the Plaintiff’s injuries.

5.  Joint Liability: In the case of multiple Defendants, each Defendant may be liable for a percentage of the damages as determined by the court or a jury.

C. Damages:

When an individual is injured due to the recklessness of another individual, he or she can file for legal claims that will cover the economic damages such as hospital bills, loss of wages and non-economic damages including pain and suffering.  According to Arizona law, anyone whose action causes injuries to another person should provide relief for the damages.  This penalty is to deter the reckless individual and other individuals committing the same negligent act.

SEVEN CONSIDERATIONS FOLLOWING A “SLIP AND FALL”

 

1.   After you fall, examine yourself to see if you are injured.  If you already know you are injured, notify the owner or manager of the property where you fell.

2.  Try to determine what caused your slip and fall.

3.  If there is a witness to your fall, get that person’s contact information right away.

4.  Seek medical treatment if you have been injured.

5.  Don’t sign anything that a representative of the property owner’s insurance company gives you without having an attorney review it first.

6.  Don’t give the representative of the property owner’s insurance company a statement unless your attorney is present, or at least involved in a three-way phone conversation.

7.  Contact me so that we can discuss whether or not you have a legitimate claim.

 

 

 

 

GIVING STATEMENTS BEFORE OR DURING A LAWSUIT

If you are required to give a statement to an insurance company representative (usually by way of a recorded statement), or to any insurance company’s lawyer (usually during a deposition) please remember these eight points:

A.  Always tell the truth.

B.  Answer only questions asked.

C.  Do not volunteer information; however, fully answer questions that can help your case.

D.  Always think about the question you are being asked before answering.

E.  Do not guess before answering the question being posed to you.

F.  Do not say the words “never” or “always”.

G.  Let the insurance company representative or attorney finish his or her question before answering.  If you do not understand a question, say so.

H.  Do not become angry, no matter how difficult the questions