Who Causes Car Accidents?

For mutually assured safety, drivers are responsible for making the right decisions on the road. Unfortunately, responsible driving isn’t always a reality and an at-fault driver can cause the death or injury of another.

Car accidents are a sadly common occurrence in the United States, standing in as a cause of 35000 annual fatalities according to Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. This averages to about 3,287 deaths per day and a tragic 20-50 million cases of injury and or disability daily. Auto accidents can be caused by many factors, from bad weather and automobile malfunction to drunk driving and speeding. While not all auto accidents are fatal, they can lead to debilitating injuries, costs, or damages.

In many cases, a lawyer can help gain deserved compensation for those who were injured or involved in an accident due to the irresponsibility or negligence of another party. In the cases of driving error, speeding, irresponsible driving, mechanical or highway defects, or drunk driving, the victim might want to seek a lawyer to earn compensation, especially if the victim’s or the offender’s car insurance doesn’t help to cover all costs of the accident. If involved in an accident, contact a car accidents attorney to get the deserved settlements.

The process for pursuing such compensation can vary depending on the case. The injured party is considered the plaintiff and the negligent driver, the defendant. In the preliminary phase, the option to settle might be the first and last step, if the at-fault driver agrees to pay the compensation in order for the lawsuit to be dropped. Many cases actually end in settlement, especially if the at-fault driver is clearly in the wrong and they or their lawyers admit to this wrong. If the settlement isn’t agreed upon, however, the lawsuit can continue and the parties will go to trial. If the lawsuit goes to trial, then the attorneys will fight to prove why the defendant was negligent or irresponsible in the operation of the motor vehicle. There are a lot of reasons to decide to go to trial or not, including how probable it is that you will win, how much money you’ll get out of the lawsuit if you do win, and how immediately you need compensation.

Negligence in driving can take the form of ignoring traffic signs or laws, unsafe driving, use of drugs or alcohol, or negligence of speed limits. However, there are many other sources of negligence or situations that might place the plaintiff in a position to press for compensation.

If the accident is not caused directly by another driver, another party might be at fault. If the accident was caused by a malfunction in the car itself, for example, the automobile manufacturer might owe compensation for the incident. Defective products such as airbags or safety accessories as well as mismanagement such as improper signage or road maintenance may allow the injured driver to press for payment. These malfunctions can either come from design or due to a bad manufacturing batch.

Paying You the Highest Amount is not Your Insurance Company’s Priority

All states in the U.S. require drivers to carry proof of financial responsibility, that is, a proof that they are capable of compensating anyone they might injure in a motor vehicle accident wherein they are at fault. This financial responsibility may be shown by:

  • Carrying auto liability insurance, which is the requirement in 48 states;
  • Paying the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) the required uninsured motor vehicle fee if they decide to register their vehicle as uninsured (paying this fee in lieu of purchasing an automobile liability insurance policy, obtaining a self-insurance certification, depositing money or securities, or securing a surety bond is a practice allowed in the state of Virginia; in the event of an accident, the at-fault driver would be held personally liable in compensating the person that he or she injures); or,
  • Depositing securities or money with the state treasurer or filing an SR-22 (these are alternatives to purchasing an auto insurance policy, a practice allowed in the state of New Hampshire).

The purpose of financial responsibility, or liability coverage, is to compensate an accident victim for the bodily injuries that he or she has been made to suffer and for all other costs or losses resulting from the injuries.

Some of the types of auto insurance coverage include:

  • This pays for injuries to others and damage to their property if were at fault accident.
  • Personal injury protection (PIP), also known as “no-fault.” This type of coverage pays for your and your passengers’ medical bills by your own insurer even if the accident is not your fault, and may also pay for lost wages, funeral expenses and other losses.
  • This will pay if your car was stolen or damaged by something other than an accident.
  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist. This pays for damages resulting from an accident caused by an uninsured, underinsured or hit-and-run driver.

In the 48 states where carrying auto liability insurance is required, the type of insurance coverage that drivers need to carry depends on the “liability” system recognized in the state where they reside. In states where the “fault” system is recognized (also called “at-fault” or “tort liability” system), the tort insurance coverage is what drivers will need to purchase.

Under the “fault” system, accident victims can get compensation from their own insurance provider or from the at-fault driver’s insurance company; the victim may also decide to file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Compensation to be paid to the victim will cover cost of medical treatment, loss of income, pain and suffering, and damage to property.

In “no-fault” states, accident victims can recover financial losses from their own insurance providers, regardless of whose fault the accident is. Two major advantages this system has over the “fault” system is that, one, the victim will no longer have to file a lawsuit just to seek compensation (from the at-fault driver) and, two, seeking compensation will also no longer be a problem for: victims of hit-and-run; those whose are hit by a driver in a stolen vehicle; or those who are hit by a driver who is either uninsured or underinsured.

The Chicago car accident attorneys at Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC, explains, however, that despite all the payments you made in good faith to your insurance company, it is pretty safe to assume that your insurer—not to mention someone else’s insurer—will try to avoid giving you any more than they absolutely have to pay you. Unfortunately, even getting the bare minimum can be a difficult task for accident victims.

An article in the website of consumeraction says that tt’s not uncommon for policyholders to disagree with an insurer about the value of their damaged or stolen property, whether a claim should be covered or what constitutes a fair settlement amount. One thing to remember during the claims process: Paying you the highest amount possible to settle your claim is not the insurance company’s priority. If your claim is denied and you believe it should be covered, or if you feel the payment you are offered is insufficient, it’s up to you to fight for what you think is fair.

 

An Overview of Wrongful Death Action

Wrongful death happens when an individual is killed due to the negligence or misconduct of another person. It is worth noting that wrongful death is a civil case even though there may be a criminal prosecution associated with the fatality. For this reason, the standard of proof in a wrongful death is lower than in a criminal case such as murder or manslaughter.

Wrongful death results from a wide range of circumstances such as medical malpractice, motor vehicle accidents, torts, manufacturing defects, or criminal activity. Each state has their own wrongful death statute, criteria and procedure for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Unlike other tort doctrines, wrongful death does not exist in common law. Early English and American courts did not recognize these actions. In those days, when the tort victim dies so is their right to bring a case.

There is a distinction between wrongful death and survivor action. While both pay damages for the surviving members of the family of the deceased, the difference is in the payment of damages. In wrongful death, the proceeds of the damage is directly paid to the qualified beneficiaries of the deceased. In survival action, on the other hand, the damages are paid to the victim’s estate not to the family. However, the damages may eventually go to the family members.

As a civil case, wrongful death is filed by the surviving family members. The decision of the judge is based on a “preponderance of evidence,” and not the “beyond reasonable doubt” ruling for other cases. This means that the defendant may be acquitted of criminal charges but may still be guilty in a wrongful death case. According to the website of Mazin & Associates, PC, wrongful death is governed by a statute of limitations so it is important to file the case within the given timeframe or else all hope of recovering damages is gone.

What Damages Can You Get From a Product Liability Lawsuit?

A product liability lawsuit arises due to injuries or deaths resulting from a defective equipment or product. Most claims are based on some kind of negligence or strict liability theory. When buying a product from a certain store, there is always an assumption that the product is safe and will not be harmful to you or your loved ones. According to the website of Williams Kherkher, any defects in a product may arise during manufacture or assembly, shipping or distribution or from sitting on a store shelf.

Once it has been revealed that the injury or death of a person was due to a defective product, the next question that will come to mind is the possible claims that you will get. If you are looking for punitive damages, forget about it because these types of damages require a purposeful intent on the part of the defendant to harm the plaintiff. Product liability is based on negligence and in claims like these, it is unlikely that the defendant acted on some purposeful intent.

In a product liability lawsuit, one can claim for compensatory damages. It can be divided into economic losses and non-economic losses. The former can be easily calculated into monetary dollar accounts while the latter is more difficult to compute. Economic losses may provide coverage for the following:

  • Medical Expenses to pay for hospital and doctor bills, pharmaceutical and medicine bills, physical therapy.
  • Disability Costs which helps defray any expenses related to disability resulting from injury.
  • Lost Wages as the plaintiff may miss work and hence lose wages
  • Property Damage to help the plaintiff pay for any damages due to destruction of properties in casews of defective garden tools or cars.

Non-economic losses, on the other hand, are also called non-monetary losses or general damagaes. Depending on the jurisdiction, there are usually caps or limits to the amount of non-economic losses that can be awarded to product liability claims. These types of losses may include the following:

  • Loss of Consortium. This usually pertains to injuries that can have a negative effect on the relationship with a spouse or partner. This may include loss of affection, companionship and support.
  • Pain and Suffering. This includes pain, suffering, anguish, or loss of enjoyment due to injuries.

Manufacturers of products and equipments have the responsibility to ensure the safety of their consumers. At the same time, they have the duty to inform or warn customers about any potential danger to their product. For a company that fails to do so and a customer gets injured or dies, then they are liable to compensate for any damages or liabilities that may happen due to their negligence.

Cruise Ship Dangers: Inclement Weather Conditions

Life is always full of risks. In any activity, all individuals face some degree of potential danger should certain factors align and contribute to an accident. This is true even when one is on vacation. In a cruise, for example, passengers might be looking forward to a fun and relaxing time. However, it can’t be ignored that there are certain risks involved in this mode of travel that might compromise the passengers’ safety. While cruise lines do what they can to mitigate the dangers and set up appropriate safety protocols, there are still some factors that are out of their hands. The weather is the most obvious example of such dangers.

Sea storms, hurricanes, and rogue waves are among the many conditions that some cruise ships will have to navigate through without much warning. While these companies can do a lot to monitor weather patterns and travel according to advisories issued by government agencies, there is no guarantee that a cruise’s crew and staff can properly predict how the sea might treat their vessel once out in the open sea.

Fortunately, cruise ships in recent years have been built with high quality materials and are outfitted with state of the art equipment to prevent any catastrophic accident caused by inclement weather conditions. The sizes of today’s vessels are often large enough to withstand some time in difficult waters as they are often made with heavier steel. Technological advancements also allow vessels to navigate through inclement weather as quickly as possible, preventing any damage caused by the continuous beating of huge and powerful waves.

In most cases, the real dangers in cruise ships are caused by recklessness and negligence on the part of the cruise line operator. As noted on the Vucci Law Group cruise ship attorney website, accidents are more common in excursions taken by passengers off the ship. Accidents caused by improper docking and malfunctioning equipment are more concerning than those that could happen due to rough weather conditions.

Scope Implicated in Superbug Outbreak

Who knew that in these modern times you could get a deadly infection through medical devices meant to help you manage your disease?

The endoscope is a snake-like medical device used in endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). This procedure is for the diagnosis and treatment of liver, bile duct, and pancreatic diseases as well as some types of cancer. The device is inserted through the throat and anus. The problem is, it could also carry a deadly virus called carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) as well as other pathogens from patient to patient. CRE is resistant to antibiotics, so the prognosis for CRE patients is not good. Some have a 50% chance of recovery; others die.

This was the case for two patients in UCLA in February 2015 who died after acquiring the CRE bug through the duodenoscope manufactured by Olympus. Two hundred others may possibly be infected, and one patient who was infected is currently suing Olympus. An article on the Resmini Law website describes a product liability issue along these lines. UCLA routinely carries out half a million ERCPs every year.

Despite stringent sterilization protocols, the risk of infection with endoscopes is still high because of its many grooves, nooks, and crannies, which makes it difficult to clean. The outbreak became more controversial when it turned out that the device, which has been on the market since 2010, did not even have Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. The oversight has sparked outrage among the population as the implications become clear.

It has been revealed recently that more than 30 patients at the Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle may also have been infected with drug-resistant superbugs via an endoscope between 2012 and 2014. Florida, Pennsylvania, and Illinois have also made similar reports, but the patients were not informed at that time. In the Seattle outbreak, 11 have since died but it is unknown if it was due to the superbug. The medical devices involved had different manufacturers including Fujinon, Pentax Medical, and Olympus America.