Hastings & Hastings’ Guide for Insurance Claims

Here at Hastings & Hastings, we are fully immersed in the world of personal injury law. It has been over 35 years since we first opened our door and began defending the rights of accident victims here in Phoenix, Arizona. From day one, our mission was to give accident victims the help and support they needed as they began the process of recovery and putting their lives back together. What’s more, we committed to doing this while saving our clients money with our legendary Discount Fee.

Our legal team has over 150 years combined experience handling personal injury claims. An essential part of handling personal injury claims is interacting with insurance companies. For most people, insurance is something of an afterthought. They accept that it is part of life. They are paying their monthly premium while hoping they are never forced to make a claim. In effect, they almost never interact with their insurance provider. This results in a situation in which most people don’t know how to interact with their insurance provider when it is time to make a claim. They don’t know how to protect their best interests.

If you have suffered an injury as a result of an accident it is always best to contact a legal professional to begin exploring your options. Lawyers are incredibly skilled at building a case, presenting evidence and entering into negotiations with insurance providers, helping their clients receive favorable settlements.

Today, we will provide a guide for dealing with insurance claims and give you a peek into the inner workings of insurance providers, illustrating how they establish the value of a claim while discussing the tactics they use while handling you (the injured party).

When to Contact Your Insurance Provider

The events following an accident are always stressful, chaotic, and confusing. Accident victims are left disoriented, not sure what they should be doing, what actions they should be taking. Whether you were involved in a car accident or suffered an injury as a result of a slip or a fall in public or in a private residence, your primary concern should always be your health.

Seek medical attention immediately even if you do not believe you have suffered any major injury. Often, injuries can present themselves hours or even days after an accident. Experiencing an accident will cause your body to release adrenaline. It could even throw you into a state of shock. Adrenaline and shock both mask pain which could cause injuries to go unnoticed.

Many insurance policies contain notification deadlines which state that the insurance provider must be notified by the policyholder of an accident within a “reasonable time.” Typically, this window of time is within 72 hours of the incident occurring, however, this will vary policy to policy.

It is important to be familiar with the terms of your specific insurance policy. There are situations in which you will want to put off contacting your insurance provider. For instance, if you plan on employing a personal injury attorney. If you choose to go this route, the attorney you retain will handle all communications with the insurance company. There is a myriad of benefits to this which we will discuss later.

Your insurance provider should be contacted any time you are involved in an accident/incident in which you or other parties were injured. They should also be contacted if the accident resulted in property damage. Often, the resolution of insurance claims comes down to establishing fault. If you are at fault in the accident, things will be handled by your insurance company. If another party is at fault, damages will be paid out by their provider. There are instances in which you will want to file a claim with your insurance company even if you believe another party to be at fault for an accident. For example, if you are involved in an automobile accident with another driver who does not have insurance. In this instance, you may need to make a claim using your policy. Next, we will discuss the claims process. L

Navigating Insurance Claims: The First Call and On

If you have chosen to retain the services of an attorney all communication with the insurance company will be done by them. When you retain the services of a firm like Hastings & Hastings, you employ a legal team that possesses intimate knowledge of the claims process. We know exactly how an insurance adjuster handles your personal injury claim. Our experience and knowledge enable us to maximize the value of a potential settlement.                 Next, we will offer tips for interacting with a claims adjuster and detail some of the tactics insurance companies utilize when handling your claim.

You may find yourself speaking with a claims adjuster within a matter of hours following an accident, even if you did not reach out to your insurance company. Your first conversation may be with an adjuster or representative from another party’s insurance company. If you are not employing the services of an attorney, you will have to handle these phone calls on your own.

It is important to remain calm and polite when speaking with insurance adjusters. Establishing goodwill with them could payoff in the long run.

During and phone call following an accident, you want to have a clear idea exactly who you are speaking with. Before anything else happens, ask them to identify who they are, who they work for, and who they represent. Take down all of this information.

It is important to avoid making any statements on the record. Do not give them any detailed information regarding the accident or the extent of your injuries. They only need to know the bare essentials: who, what, when, and where. Often, an insurance adjuster will attempt to obtain details about the incident by engaging you in casual conversation. Avoid engaging in discussion. Reiterate that you will not be making any statements on the record and minimize the length of the conversation. The adjuster may even offer you a settlement. Do not take this. It is simply too early in the process. You may not even know the full extent of your injuries, let alone the full value of the claim.

Detailed information regarding the accident will be provided when you submit a demand letter. The letter will contain the details of the accident include the extend of the property damage as well as a summation of your injuries. Finally, it will have a dollar amount representing what you believe (or your attorney) believe to be a summation of damages. This will be the starting point for negotiations.

The Benefits of a Lawyer

The benefits associated with retaining the services of a lawyer through this process are quite extensive.

  1. Accurately calculating the value of a settlement

With extensive experience handling personal injury claims, a lawyer will be able to understand fully the cost and the impact of your injuries. The value of a settlement should be more than just the total of your medical bills. It should account for lost wages, pain and suffering, physical therapy, lost future income, and much more. Without the assistance of a lawyer, it is almost impossible to account for all the extensive costs and damages which should be factored into your claim.

  1. Expertise handling negotiations

Insurance companies want to minimize the amount of money they pay out. They will negotiate fiercely attempting to lower the value of the settlement. If you retain a lawyer, they will handle these difficult negotiations ensure you lose as little ground as possible.

  1. Familiarity with insurance company tactics

One of the reasons a personal injury attorney will be so adept and handling negotiations, is their familiarity with the tactics use by insurance companies. The adjuster will attempt to minimize the value of the settlement by employing tactics such as linking injuries to preexisting conditions. Fighting these tactics on your own can be nearly impossible.

  1. Ability to go to trial

In determining what to offer, the insurance company will consider your chance of winning a case in court. If they believe you have a good case and fear that the jury may award you with a large settlement, they will be more inclined to offer a larger settlement themselves. If you have not retained the services of a lawyer, they probably won’t be very fearful of losing the case in court.

Insurance claims are complex and multifaceted things. Fully understanding them isn’t easy. If you have another other question, contact Hastings & Hastings at: (480)706-1100

 

 

 

Selecting a Personal Injury Attorney and Preparing for an Initial Consultation

If you have been the victim of an accident, it is important to consider exploring your legal options. You have rights which should be defended. Here at Hastings and Hastings, we have over 35 years of experience in personal injury law. We have fought for the rights of accident victims in a wide variety of cases, from dog bites to slips and falls, to automobile accidents, to wrongful deaths. Our highly experienced legal team is adept at handling every aspect of a personal injury case from initial consultations to finally closing the book on a successful settlement.

Personal injury law suit are complex issues which make it very important to enlist the aid of the right lawyer. You need someone who has extensive experience dealing with your specific type of case. They need to know how to maximize the value of the settlement making sure you receive all the compensation you deserve. They must also be prepared to bring the case to trial should that be necessary.

Finally, selecting the right personal injury attorney often comes down to fit. You are going to be entering into a partnership you want to feel comfortable with. In today’s blog, we will talk about the process of selecting a personal injury attorney. We will also help you prepare for an initial consultation, arming you with the questions you need to ask and equipping you with the knowledge you need to help you make the best decisions for you.

Understanding Your Needs

Personal injury attorneys are not quite like any other legal professional. They have experience and expertise practicing in a very specific type of law. First, it is important to know what personal injury law is. This way you know that you are indeed looking for the correct type of lawyer. Now the question is what exactly is personal injury law?

Personal injury lawsuits occur when one individual brings a claim against another individual holding them accountable for an injury. Often, these injuries are a direct result of an accident. Common types of personal injury cases are those involving car accidents, dog bites, slips and falls, premises liability or product liability. Personal injury cases are civil proceeding, not criminal matters, however often settlements are reached without the need to go to court. Settlements are reached as both parties negotiate, coming to an agreement finalized in writing. Both sides agree to forgo any further action. Typically, settlements will result in financial compensation for the injured party.

A personal injury attorney assists accident victims in several ways. They possess an in-depth knowledge of personal injury proceedings and legal precedents enabling them to navigate through the labyrinthine and intricate tangle of paperwork, documentation, negotiation, communication and orchestration necessary to reach a favorable settlement. Further, a quality personal injury attorney is more than prepared to take their client’s case to court should they be unable to reach a settlement.

A personal injury attorney shoulders the entire legal burden facing an accident victim, allowing their clients to focus on the one thing that matters most, recovery.

Selecting a Personal Injury Attorney

Once you begin your search for a personal injury attorney, one thing will quickly become apparent; there are lot personal injury attorneys out there. How do you make sure you find the attorney who is the best fit for you, who will ensure that you receive a favorable settlement? We will begin by making a list of specific traits and factors you should be looking for.

  1. Experience

You want to find an attorney who has experience practicing in personal injury law. The more experience the better. An attorney who has been practicing personal injury law for years will be able to properly asses the value of the claim while expertly navigating red tape. In personal injury law, experience matters.

  1. Good Reputation

It is important to look into the reputation your potential personal injury lawyer. Reputations are not something that can be bought or faked. A good, genuine reputation has to be earned. Speak with other individuals who have been involved in an accident and employed a personal injury attorney. Ask them what their experience was like. What the positives were and what the negatives were. This can also help you organize your own personal list of priorities.

Consider contacting the state or count’s bar association. They will have specific lawyer referral services which you should utilize. There are also resources such as lawyers.com which compile databases of attorneys with phone numbers and links to their websites.

  1. Trial Experience

While most personal injury matters are settled without the need to go to trial, it is important for your attorney to be prepared for that eventuality.

  1. History of Success

Don’t be afraid to ask them if they have a history of success. If they shy away from the subject, you may wish to dig deeper.

Ask About Their Fee Structure

Typically, personal injury attorneys charge what is called a “contingency fee.” A contingency fee is paid out if, and only if a settlement is reached. The personal injury attorney will then be paid a percentage of the total value of the settlement. Other lawyers may charge a flat fee or have an hourly rate.

Most personal injury attorneys will charge a contingency fee of between 33%-40%. You should also ask if other expense such as filing fees will be added on should they be deemed necessary. The fee may also rise if a settlement cannot be reached and the case has to be taken to court.

Preparing for an Initial Consultation

Some personal injury attorneys will offer initial consultations for free. This is an excellent opportunity. One you want to make the most of, which means being well prepared for the consultation. Now we will talk about what you should expect at an initial consultation and what you should do to prepare.

What to Bring

  1. Relevant Documentation

Make sure you bring any documents that may be relevant to your case, including insurance information, police reports, witness contact information, information regarding medical treatment, or even photos. Make copies. Keep the originals at home and give the others to your attorney. These documents will help them gain a complete understanding of your case enabling them to advice you accordingly.

  1. Pen and Paper

Your potential attorney will likely begin offering you advice on how to best proceed. Be prepared to write everything down. This does not mean you are obliged to retain their services. This information should factor in to your decision to retain them however.

  1. Prepared Questions

This is your opportunity to pick the brain of a legal professional. You more questions you have prepared the more you will get out of this consultation. Ask what they think of your case. Ask them to give you a timeline based on other cases they have handled in the past. Definitely ask about their fee structure.

Following the Consultation

Once you have taken consultations, it is time to make your decision. Consider the many factors we have discussed here today. At Hastings & Hastings, our combination of experience, reputation, infrastructure, and our history of success makes us an ideal candidate to represent you in any personal injury claims. If you want to learn more, or would like to start the path towards representation with a free initial consultation, visiting hastingsandhastings.com or call us at (480)706-1100.

 

The Facts About Crashes: Statistics and Analysis of Motor Vehicle Crashes in Arizona

Hastings and Hastings has more than 35 years of experiencingfighting for the rights of accident victims in Arizona. Our client focused approach is aimed at helping people put their lives back together after suffering an accident. While we cannot turn back time and erase the accident, we can fight to see that accident victims receive that financial compensation they deserve for their hardship.

Every year hundreds of thousands of car accidents occur, resulting in tens of thousands of fatalities and billions of dollars of property damage. At Hastings & Hastings we are fierce supporters of accident prevention. An accident can change an individual’s life forever. While financial compensation can help accident victims going forwards, it cannot fully wipe away the physical, emotional, and mental hardship accident victims have suffered.

Our ability to learn from the past is one of the best ways to support and promote accident prevention. Every year organizations such as the Department of Transportation and the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration gather statistics documenting every accident that occurred in the United States. By looking closely at these statistics we can learn the common causes of accidents, we can see which accident trends are improving and which are getting worse, we can also learn to reduce accident severity. Finally, we can compare accident trends in Arizona to those of the nation as a whole.

In today’s blog we will be using the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Crash Facts for the State of Arizona (2014) for all statistics.

Focusing On Arizona

In the year 2014, the Arizona Department of Transportation documented 109,554 total car accidents. This number was up 1.93 percent from the year before. These accidents resulted in 774 total fatalities and 50,890 total injuries. A breakdown of these numbers reveal that approximately 2.12 individuals are killed every day in vehicle related accidents on Arizona streets. Almost 140 individuals are injured on a daily basis.

In Arizona, alcohol related crashes account for 4.46 percent of total accidents while causing a troubling 33.62 percent of fatalities. A majority of alcohol related crashes occur in urban rather than rural areas. A quick look at these numbers reveals two clear correlations.

1) Alcohol increases accident severity and dramatically increases the likelihood that an accident will result in a fatality.

2) City drivers are much more likely to be involved in an alcohol related car accident.

We will look closer at the issues later. For now, let’s see how Arizona’s crash statistics compare to the nation as a while.

Arizona v. America

To gain deeper insight into the accident crash statistics for Arizona we must put them into context by comparing them to accident statistics in the United States as a whole. When making the comparison we will be asking questions such as: Do accidents occur in great frequents in Arizona? Are accidents more or less severe in Arizona? Do any patterns present themselves? Do the statistics look different when put in historical perspective?

In 2014, the United States had an estimated population of approximately 320,828,051. Arizona’s population was approximately 6,731,000. The total number of accident related fatalities in the United States during 2014 was 32,675, accounting for just over .01 percent of the total population. The total number of accident related fatalities in Arizona during 2015 was 774, accounting for .011 percent of the total population.

Putting these numbers side by side, we see that they are almost identical. The accident fatality rate for Arizona is closely in line with the accident fatality rate for the nation. This seems reveals the idea that it is no more dangerous to drivein Arizona than the nation as a whole on average. However, when these statistics are framed slightly differently, in terms of fatality rate per 100 million miles travelled, a larger difference begins to appear.

The fatality rate for the United States in 2014 was 1.07 per 100 million miles travelled. This is compared to a rate of 1.24 fatalities per 100 million miles travelled here in Arizona. While the 2014 rate in Arizona is much higher than that of the entire United States, it represents a distinct in-state improvement from the rate of 1.40 from 2013.

Measuring accident fatalities in terms of rate per 100 million miles travelled is useful because it equalizes and normalizes the statistics in terms of population and other external factors.

Economic Losses Due to Motor Vehicle Accidents

Now we will focus on the question, what do these accidents cost Arizona in terms of economic losses and property damage? By looking at this number and analyzing it, we can come to a closer understanding of how we should value damages in individual accidents.

According to the statistics gathered by the Arizona Department of Transportation, the total economic losses in 2014 added up to $3,024,678,318. The bulk of these losses ($1,184,220,000) comes as a result of accident fatalities while the second largest amount ($705,710,970) comes strictly from property damage only accidents.

The loses from accident fatalities are calculated by the National Safety Council and account for estimated wages and productivity loss, medical and administrative expenses, value of damaged motor vehicles, employer costs. On average, a single accident fatality results in economic cost of $1,530,000. Accidents involving injuries range from $24,480 – $76,389 while property damage only accidents have an average economic costs of $9,486.

When and Where

Next, we will look at when and where accidents occur most frequently. We will also explore the correlation between location, time, and severity.

It comes as no surprise that the number of urban crashes (89,352) far exceeds the number of rural crashes (20,202). This is primarily because a majority of the population lives in urban areas. This is where most of the driving occurs. Despite the vast difference in totally number of crashes between urban and rural areas, the total number of fatalities is startlingly similar. In 2014, 397 individuals were killed in urban crashes while 377 were killed in rural crashes. While rural crashes account for merely 18.44% of total crashes in Arizona, they cause 48.71% of the fatalities. This means that a collision in a rural area has a much higher likelihood of resulting in a fatality.

A majority of the interstate, highway, and freeways miles in Arizona fall in rural areas. Vehicles traveling through these areas are typically driving at high speeds (65mph +). Accidents which occur at high speeds are much more likely to result in a fatality. For this reason, fatality rates in rural crashes are much higher than those in urban areas. On average, rural accidents are much more severe than urban accidents.

In 2014, accidents occurred with the highest frequency on Friday (18,759) and with the lowest on Sunday (9,727) while Saturday ranks second lowest (13,268). However, Saturday ranks first in terms of fatalities (150) by a wide margin with Friday coming in second (107). Fatality rates remain rather steady Monday-Friday, while leaping dramatically by almost 50% on Saturday.

Finally, we will look at statistics regarding accident frequency and fatality rate by month. In 2014, the month in which the most accidents occurred was December with 10,373. Following closely behind was October with 10,182. The highest number of fatalities occurred during the month of May (70) while the least occurred during the month of July(42).

In Conclusion

The Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Crash Facts contains an incredible wealth of information, which we have only just begun to touch on. What is important, is the ability to take this data and turn it into actionable advice. For example, we know accidents occur with the highest frequency in the month of December. It is likely that this is because of increased holiday traffic. There is also a correlation with drinking and driving during the holidays.

We therefore know it is important to:

1) Minimize driving during this period of time.

2) Practice defensive driving when out on the road.

Further careful analysis of accident data can reveal other actions which driver may take to increase safety when out on the road.

 

 

 

Learning about Animal and Dog Bite Cases

Hastings & Hastings has been serving accident victims in Arizona for over 35 years. It is our mission to help accident victims begin the process of putting their lives back together. Experiencing an accident is one of the most stressful events a person can go through in their life. Accidents have the potential to disrupt everything. At Hastings & Hastings, we believe accident victims should focus on recovery. For this reason, they need someone by their side who can handle the complex matters surround an accident, such as pursuing legal action and recovering a settlement.

As an accident victim, it is important to look into your legal options in a timely manner. In law, there is a concept known as “statute of limitations.” In Arizona, the statute of limitations regarding most personal injury cases is two years. That means you must file a lawsuit within two years of experiencing an accident. If you fail to do so, the statute of limitations expires, and you lose the ability to pursue legal action.

The statutes of limitations regarding dog and animal bites is shorter than that of most other personal injury matters. In Arizona, the statute of limitations for a dog bite case is one year. This means you have half the time to pursue legal action following a dog bite than you do for typical injury claims. At Hastings &Hastings, we have the legal experience, knowledge, and infrastructure necessary to ensure that your dog or animal bite case is handled if a swift and effective manner.

In today’s blog, we will discuss some basic information regarding animal and dog bite cases such as the difference between “strict liability” and the “one bite” rule. We will also go over specific Arizona laws regarding dog bites and discuss how liability functions in a dog bite case.

One-Bite vs. Strict Liability

Laws regulating dog bite cases vary from state to state. The primary difference comes down to whether or not a state is a “one-bite” state, or has strict liability rules for dog bite cases. Before we go any further, we will illustrate the differences between these two concepts.

One Bite Laws: Currently, 18 states use one-bite liability. Under one-bite liability laws, a dog owner will not be held liable for a dog bite or attack unless they had prior reason to believe that their dog was dangerous. Often this is interpreted as, “dogs get one free bite,” or, until a dog bites someone for the first time, the owner could not possibly have known that the dog was dangerous. While the spirit of this interpretation is correct, the laws are much more nuanced than that.

Essential, under one-bite laws, and theowner will not be held liable until they have aconcrete reason to believe that their dog is in some way dangerous. If they know that their dog is dangerous, they will be held liable for any bites, attacks, or injuries caused by their dog. There are many factors which can be used to determine that a dog is dangerous.

  1. Previous Bites

In one-bite states, a single dog bite will put the owners own notice. They will be held negligent for any bite after the first as they now possess the knowledge that their dog has a history of biting. Some courts have ruled that a puppy who playfully nips someone is not considered dangerous, thus puppy bites will may not put an owner on notice for dangerous behavior.

  1. Barking/Aggressive Posturing

An owner will be considered placed on notice if their dog barks, growls, or snaps at individuals who come near it in public as this is deemed aggressive and dangerous behavior. If a dog has ahistory of such behavior, it can be assumed that he has the potential bite, someone.

  1. Breed

In some states, specific breed such as pit bulls have been defined by law as “dangerous.” An owner of a dog who falls into this category in a one-bite state may be considered liability for a bite even if it is the dog’s first.

  1. Jumping on People

A large dog jumping on someone can cause major injuries. If an owner knows that an overly playful or exuberant dog has a habit of jumping on people, they may be held liable for any injuries their dog causes.

The scenarios in which a dog can be considered dangerous or prone to biting are by no means limited to these four.

Next, we will look into strict liability laws for dog bites.

Strict Liability Laws: 32 states, including Arizona, have enacted dog bite statutes which have put into place strict liability for dog bites. Under strict liability, an owner will be held liable for a dog bite even if their dog has no history of aggressive or dangerous behavior. This means that a dog owner will be held liable the first time their dog bites or injures someone.

Each state with strict liability for dog bites has its own dog bite statute. The statute here in Arizona, which appears in section 11-1025 of the Arizona Revised Statutes reads as follows:

The owner of a dog which bites a person when the person is in or on a public place or lawfully in or on a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, is liable for damages suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of its viciousness.

Under the statute, the owner of a dog will be held liable for a dog bite if the bite occurred in a public location or in a private location in which the victim was lawfully allowed to be. This means that a dog owner may not be held accountable for a bite if the victim was trespassing or otherwise illegally in a private location.

The owner may also be free of liability in a scenario in which the dog was provoked in some way. In determining whether or not a dog was provoked, courts look at whether or not something happened to the dog. For example, though provocation would typically be considered teasing, abusing, or taunting a dog, an individual who inadvertently steps on a dog that they did not see, thus prompting a bite, may be considered to have provoked the animal even though they did not do so intentionally.

While provocation is most often employed by the defense, it is not uncommon for a plaintiff in a dog bite case to have to prove that provocation did not happen. Often, this necessitates the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney.

Settling a Dog Bite Claim

An essential element in reaching a settlement in a dog bite case is proving actual harm to the victim. If a victim was bitten but no real harm was done, they will have difficulty reaching a settlement. If they cannot reach a settlement, the case will go to trial where the decision will be left to a jury.

Even if a victim received minor harm, a case could be made that they experienced pay and suffering. Calculating the value of pain and suffering in a settlement can be a difficult and inexact science. Both parties look at similar dog bite cases which have occurred in the past to estimate value.

Final settlements also account for medical bills, lost wages, lost earning power, and other concrete damages.

In Conclusion

Dog bite cases here in Arizona often come down three things:

  1. Proving that there was no provocation
  2. Proving actual harm
  3. Establish the value of a settlement

Doing these things requires the assistance of a legal professional who has experience handling dog bite claims. A personal injury attorney with extensive knowledge of Arizona’s dog bitestatutes, as well as the history of dog bite settlements, will be well equipped to help a dog bite victim receive the financial compensation they deserve for suffering their hardship.

 

Hastings & Hastings Guide to Accident Prevention (Part Four)

Welcome back to the Hastings & Hastings blog. Today’s post will be the last in our series guide to accident prevention. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t more to accident prevention! The key to staying safe, even in the safest of environments, is a diligent commitment to accident prevention. However, even when every safety precaution hasbeen taken, accidents can still occur. That is simply the nature of accidents.

If you have experienced an accident, it is important to explore your legal options. Even a minor injury can have a major impact on our way of life. At Hastings & Hastings, we have been fighting for the rights of accident victims for over 35 years. In that time, we have learned a lot about the nature of accidents and accident prevention.

In our last post, we detailed the differences between slips, trips, and falls. In today’s blog, we offer a few general safety tips for preventing these accidents while at home, at the workplace, or in public.

  1. Maintain a neat environment, at home and work

This may come as a surprise, but cleanliness and safety go hand in hand. This applies to the home as well as the workplace. Companies should have cleanliness and safety programs in place to prevent the buildup of clutter. They also need to have a plan in place to handle spills should they occur. Spills need to be quickly cleaned, and the area of the spill need to be clearly marked to prevent someone from wandering into it.

  1. Be mindful of lighting

Trips and falls are often linked to poor lighting. If you can’t see an obstruction, you just might end up tripping over it. Dim lighting is particularly dangerous in highly trafficked workplaces. Make sure all walkways are well illuminated. Install bright lights around stairs and ramps. Motion activated lights are a great way to ensure no one ever has to walk in the dark.

  1. Proper footwear

Wearing proper footwear is especially important in an active workplace such as a restaurant or a construction site. Many employers make it a requirement that their employees wear slip-resistant shoes. It is also important to consider proper footwear when engaging in activities at home, such as working in the garage or the backyard.

  1. Perform regular safety checks

With our last tip, we return to where we began. The most importance aspect of accident prevention is diligences. Do not take safety for granted. Perform regular safety checks assessing the status of each of the elements we have mentioned. Review the condition of your footwear, replaced burnt out lights, declutter your living space. These safety checks will only take a few moments, and they could make all the differences.

Hastings & Hastings Guide to Accident Prevention (Part Three)

Here on the Hastings & Hastings blog, one of our primary missions is to provide people education across a wide range of topics. There is so much to learn about, from personal injury law and accident prevention to the legal profession as a whole. Often, the more you start learning, the more you see there is to learn. It can be an addicting thing!

Over our last two posts on accident prevention, we have set our sights on the road. We have focused primarily on preventing car accidents through learning about the common causes of car accidents and how to best avoid them. Accidents occur with startling frequency. They are the fourth leading cause of death in the UnitedStates, following heart disease, cancer, and lower respiratory disease.

Looking closely at accident deaths, we see that unintendedly slip and falls account for almost as many deaths annually as motor vehicle accidents. In today’s post, we will look closely at the prevention of slip and fall accidents.

Differentiation Between Slips, Trips, and Falls

As we turn out eye towards prevention, it is important to differentiate between slips, trips, and falls. Theend result of each of these is the same, pain and suffering for the victim of the accident, but each of these accidents comes about in a different way. Taking a careful look at how they occur can help us learn how to prevent them.

Slips: A slip occurs when an individual loses their footing as a result of a loss of traction or too little friction between their feet and the walking surface. Low friction/low tractions surfaces can occur naturally or as a result of a spill. Ice, snow, and rain commonly cause naturally occurring low friction surfaces outside. Indoor surfaces can be naturally sick, or they can become hazardous as a result of a spill. It is the duty of the owner of a private residence or business to maintain a safe environment. This is also true of the individual/group/organization who maintains a public space. Avoid hazardous surfaces whenever possible. Slip resistant footwear can go a long way towards preventing slips.

Trips: Trips occur when your foot strikes an object, halting your forward momentum and throwing you off balance. Trips typically occur in cluttered environments. To avoid tripping, walk only through easily navigable areas free of obstructions. If obstructions cannot be avoided, proceed carefully and slowly. Avoid dragging your feet. When in doubt, find a way around.

Falls: Most falls occur when an individual drops from when level to another. Such conditions commonly occur around stairs or when entering into a hazardous situation such as standing on a chair. Falls also occur outside when individuals engage in activities such as hiking. They to preventing falls is paying attention. Whenever you are using stairs, use available handrails. Never enter into a situation you are uncomfortable in, such as a strenuous hike. If you engage in such activities, make sure you are prepared.

 

Hastings & Hastings Guide to Accident Prevention (Part Two)

Welcome back to part two of Hastings & Hastings guide to accident prevention. At Hastings & Hastings, we represent accident victims in a wide variety of cases including but by no means limited to car accidents, slips and falls, dog bites, wrongful deaths and serious/catastrophic injuries. With over 150 years of combined legal experience across our incredible team, we have the resources and ability to understand how to document an injury which may have ramifications far past the statute of limitations. Accidents and injuries can have ramifications that could last your entire life. You need to be taken care of not just for a year, but for your entire future.

While we are dedicated to helping accident victims put their lives back together, we are equally dedicated to the noble goal of accident prevention. Accidents and injuries cause hardship that cannot be reversed. Such hardship could be avoided through diligent accident prevention.

In our last post, we touched on the leading causes of car accidents. Today, we will discuss tactics for minimizing these factors and staying safe on the road.

Accident Prevention Tactics

Distracted Driving: Distracted driving has become such an overwhelming and prevalent problem that many states are enacting legislation in attempts to get this dangers epidemic under control. They key to ending distracted driving is simple – eliminate distractions. Smartphone are the most common source of distraction. For this reason, they are typically the target of preventative legislation. Many states have made it illegal to use a phone while driving. Arizona does not yet have such laws. To prevent distracted driving, eliminate temptation. Put the phone out of reach.

Driving While Impaired: The prevention of alcohol-related accidents is a simple thing. Don’t drink and drive. Never get behind the wheel of a car if you are impaired. While the legal limit is .08 BAC, impairment can happen before this level is reached. Most alcohol-related accidents occur late at night. If you are driving late at night, keep an eye out for impaired drivers.

Defensive Driving: While you may be the safest driver in the world, you still have to be concerned about other drivers. Even incredibly careful drivers can get hit by someone else. Defensive driving teaches you how to anticipate the actions of other drivers and helps you develop techniques for staying safe on the road.

Consider Vehicle Safety: Every car is ratedin terms of vehicle safety. This rating includes a number of factors such as handling and safety features. Consider purchasing a car with excellent vehicle safety ratings.

Hastings & Hastings Guide to Accident Prevention (Part One)

For nearly four decades, Hastings & Hastings has been diligently defending the rights of accident victims. From car crashes to slips and falls, to dog bite cases, Hastings & Hastings helps accident victims put their lives back together. Unfortunately, it is impossible to turn back time to erase the accident from the pages of history.What we can do, is ensure that accident victims receive the financial compensation they are entitled to while given them the tools to prevent such tragic accidents from ever happening again.

At Hastings & Hastings, we are as passionate about accident prevention as we are about fighting for the rights of accident victims. Today, we will begin a multi-part series which we hope will become your go-to guide for accidents prevention. We will start off by discussing automobile accidents which tragically take the lives of over 32,000 Americans every year.

Leading Causes of Car Accidents

When it comes to accident prevention, it is important that we learn from the past. By carefully analyzing the leading causes of car accidents we can begin taking steps to address and prevent them in the future. Let’s look at the three leading cause of car accidents.

Speeding: Speeding, or driving at a speed more than the speed limit not only increase your chance of being involved in a car accident, it also has a direct link to increased accident severity. In short, speeding causes accidents, and it causes accidents to be worse. Further, speeding puts everyone else on the road at risk, not just the speeding driver.

Distractions: It is 2016. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and WhatsApp are ubiquitous. 10-year olds keep in touch using smartphones. Even Grandma knows how to text. The result is a swirling, seductive miasma of distraction. One we all struggle to resists. Distracted driving was direct to 10 percent of fatal crashes in 2014 and nearly 20 percent of injury crashes. Distracted driving is becoming an increasingly prevalent and dangerous problem.

Alcohol Impairment: Despite a decrease of 1.4 percent in alcohol-related-driving fatalities from 2013 to 2014, alcohol impairment is still the leading causes of accident fatalities in the United States. Impaired drivers caused 31 percent of overall accident fatalities in 2014. Since 1995, impaired drivers have caused 30 to 32 all accident fatalities. The frequency of alcohol-related vehicle fatalities has stayed the same for over 20 years.

Aggressive/Reckless Driving: Millions of cars travel up and down our American streets every day. They do so while motoring right passed each other, sometimes within a matter of feet or inches! There is not a lot of room for error. It is important that everyone behave in a safe and predictable way. Driving recklessly or aggressively adds an element of chaos and unpredictability into a system which is already balanced on a knife’s edge.