Personal Injury Basics with Hastings & Hastings

Here at Hastings & Hastings, we have been practicing personal injury law for over 36 years. We are official approaching four full decades of service here in the Valley of the Sun. In this time, we have represented thousands of accident victims. When it comes to personal injury law, we take a client-focused approach to everything we do. This begins from the moment you step foot into one of our 11 convenient office locations to the moment we shake your hand and congratulate you on closing your case and reaching a favorable settlement.

One of the things we have learned over our many, many years practicing personal injury law, is that many people aren’t sure what personal injury law is all about! They may think that personal injury law is just about car accidents or they may think that they would never be able to afford the services of a skilled and experienced personal injury attorney. Both of these ideas are incorrect!

At Hastings & Hastings, we are YOUR discount accident lawyers. We offer representation across a wide range of personal injury cases and best of all, anyone can afford representation. In today’s blog, we want to clear up any misconception that people may have about personal injury law by going over some personal injury basics.

What is Personal Injury Law?

We will begin by defining personal injury law. First off, all personal injury cases are civil matters, rather that criminal matters. The differences between civil and criminal law are very important.

Criminal Law: Criminal law is applied when an individual is accused of committing a crime and breaking the law. In criminal law, the government prosecutes the cases on behalf of the people of the United States. If a federal law has been broken, the cases is prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office. If a state law has been broken, the case is prosecuted through the state.

One of the primary differences between criminal and civil cases comes down to the role of the victim. In a criminal case, it is not the victim’s responsibility to pursue the case. In fact, in some criminal cases there may not even be a specific victim. An example of such a case would be an instance of driving while intoxicated.

Civil Law: In a civil case, one person (the plaintiff) files a claim that another person or entity (the defendant). Unlike in criminal law, the government is not involved in the prosecution of a civil case. In a civil case, the plaintiff alleges that they have been wronged in some way. In a personal injury cases, they are making the claim that the defendant, either through negligence or knowing action, caused their injury.

A second major difference between civil and criminal law comes down to the burden of proof. In a criminal case, the prosecution must establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the highest level of proof required in the United States legal system. It requires that there is no doubt that the defendant is guilty.

In a civil case, the burden of proof required is a “preponderance of the evidence.” This is a less much less severe requirement than “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

In a personal injury case, the plaintiff has suffered an injury that they believe the defendant is legally responsible for. Often, a personal injury is resolved before a formalized court proceeding is necessary. This is termed a “settlement,” and typically follows a series of negotiation resulting a formal written agreement of terms.

How do I Know if I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?

If you have been involved in an accident of any kind that resulted in an injury, you should explore your legal options. From car accidents to dog bites, every type of injury case is different. The first question most facing most individuals following an accident is, do I need a lawyer? To answer this questions, we encourage individuals to ask themselves – can I handle this case on my own?

Let’s look at a basic car accident case involving two drivers. We will consider a hypothetical incident of medium severity. In this accident, both vehicles suffer body damage, and you (the potential plaintiff) suffered a broken leg, some bruising, and possibly a concussion. What do you do immediately following the accident? First, it is important to begin gathering evidence immediately. You may believe that the other party was responsible for the incident, but you are going to have to prove this.

Handling this case will involve pulling police reports, gathering evidence, compiling medical documentation and billing, coordinating with insurance providers, making statements on the record, negating, arranging rental vehicles, all while recuperating from injuries.

A personal injury attorney will coordinate and manage all of these elements and more. Hiring a personal injury attorney allows you to focus on the important matter of healing from your injuries and recovering.

It is also important to note, insurance providers will want to close any insurance claim quickly and cheaply. They may not have your best interests in mind. A personal injury attorney will be invested in your case in ways that insurance provers will not be.

Can I Afford a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Almost all personal injury lawyers charge what is called a “contingency fee.” In a contingency fee arrangement, the lawyer is paid a percentage of the value of the settlement when it is reached. If a settlement is not reached or the case goes to court and doesn’t win, at Hastings & Hastings, the plaintiff will not owe the lawyer anything.

It is important to be absolutely clear about the details of a lawyer’s contingency fee before agreeing to hire them. Some lawyers will raise their fee should the case need to be filled and again should it need to go to court. Some lawyers may charge should a case go to court and fail. Spend time speaking with a prospective lawyer ensuring you know we exactly how their contingency fee works.

It is also important to know exactly how high their contingency fee is. Typically, a personal injury lawyer will charge anywhere between 33-40 percent of the total value of the settlement.

Here at Hastings & Hastings, we do things a little differently. Hastings & Hastings is home to the Discount Fee, which means more money for you when a settlement is reached. If no there is no recovery from a case, we do not charge a fee. All costs are waived. In addition, our Discount Fee does not go up even if the case has to go to court.

So, what does this mean when answering the question – can I afford a personal injury lawyer? It means you CAN afford a personal injury attorney. It means anyone can afford quality representation regardless of their financial status.

What is the First Step in Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney?

The first step in hiring a personal injury attorney is scheduling a legal consultation. At Hastings & Hastings, we offer free legal consultations. Just click HERE to schedule one! At a free legal consultation, you will have the opportunity to talk about your case with an experienced and qualified attorney. They will be able to advise you on the best course of action to take.

A final note, most personal injury matters have a statute of limitations of just TWO YEARS. This means if you wait too long to file a case, you will lose your legal right to do so! The statute of limitations is even shorter if you have been injured by a dog bite. It is just ONE YEAR.

If you have been involved in an accident, do not hesitate. Begin exploring your legal options today. Schedule a free consultation with Hastings & Hastings.

Who is in Charge of Vehicle and Road Safety?

Every year thousands of people perish as a direct result of motor vehicle crashes. According to the most recent statistics, 32,675 people died in the United States in 2014 as a direct result of a motor vehicle crash. The economic cost of these fatal crashes totaled more than $242 billion. Annual non-fatal car accidents often number in the millions. Alcohol, distractions, speeding, and other negative driver behaviors all contribute to the ever mounting total of annual accidents.

While these numbers may be startlingly high, the total number of annual fatal accidents has routinely decreased from year to year. 2014’s totals were the second lowest recorded by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration since 1975. Accident statistics are high, but it appears that overall safety is improving, which raises the question, who is in charge of vehicle and road safety? Is there one sole governing body responsible for keeping us all safe out on the road?

At Hastings & Hastings, our experienced team of attorneys and legal professionals are constantly handling accident cases while fighting for the rights of accident victims. With over 35 years of experience in the personal injury field, we have spent time interacting with many of the organizations who bear responsibility in keeping roadways and vehicles safe. Today, we will look at these organizations and institutions.

The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration

The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, which is part of the larger Department of Transportation (an organization we will cover later) was founded in 1970 and holds jurisdiction over U.S. motor vehicles. The mission of NHTSA is to “save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce vehicle-related crashes.” Or, as they like to say, the NHTSA is about “people saving people.”

The current head of NHTSA is Administrator Mark R. Rosekind, who began serving his term as the administration’s 15th administrator on December 22, 2014. Dr. Rosekind was nominated to the position by President Barack Obama and approved by the United States Senate. Before taking the position, Dr. Rosekind was credited as one of the world’s foremost experts on human fatigue. He has a passion for educating about the dangers of driving while fatigued or drowsy.

One of NHTSA’s primary responsibilities is to write and enforce Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. The administration also oversees regulations for fuel economy and motor vehicle theft prevention. The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards regulated the design, durability, construction, and performance requirements for motor vehicles. FMVSS also regulated motor vehicle safety-related systems and components. The first regulation adopted into the FMVSS was Regulation No. 209 which stipulated the requirement for vehicles to have seat belts. The regulations are divided into three primary categories. These categories are crashworthiness, crash avoidance, and post-crash survivability.

NHTSA also creates and maintains a large database of accident and crash statistics. Their Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) has become one of the most commonly used resources for research and learning from crash statistics. FARS has become such a success that it is used by foreign and domestic researchers.

It is also the duty of the NHTSA to disseminate information regarding product recalls. Recent recalls are updated on a daily basis. If drivers believe they have a vehicle that has been recalled, they can enter their vehicles VIN into NHTSA’s search database to find out if it has been part of a safety recall sometime in the last 15 years.

The NHTSA’s website can be found at www.nhtsa.com. It contains a wealth of information touching on many aspects of vehicle safety.        The primary sections of the web site touch on driver safety, vehicle safety, research, data, and laws and regulation. It is an excellent resource for people with a mind on driver safety.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Unlike the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is an independent, nonprofit organization. It is a scientific and educational organization whose stated mission, “to reduce the losses – death, injuries, and property damage – from crashes on the nation’s roads,” is similar in nature to NHTSA’s. It also shares this mission with the Highway Loss Data Institute who supports the mission through analyzing insurance data.

IIHS was founded in 1959 by three of the nation’s largest insurance agencies. Initially, IIHS purpose was to support the highway safety efforts of other individuals and organization. However, within a decade, it began to assume its current identity as an independent research organization. IIHS help to lead a paradigm shift. Where previously highway safety efforts were focused solely on accident prevention, IIHS believed in a more modern, scientific approach was necessary.

IIHS’ modern approach included research into the human factors involved in accidents such as inexperience, impairment, fatigue, and distraction. It also incorporates vehicle research focused on crashworthiness and crash avoidance. To these end, IIHS conducts extensive crash tests at its Vehicle Research Center. Finally, IIHS conducts research into the role that physical environments play in motor vehicle collisions.

One of the most notable results of IIHS’ extensive research is its annual list of top safety picks. IIHS spends the year determining the crashworthiness of vehicles by assigning them good, acceptable, marginal, or poor ratings on five performance tests. These tests are moderate overlap front, small overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints.

IIHS also publishes its own set of accident statistic called Fatality Facts, although their reporting is based on data from NHTSA’s FARS. IIHS website, www.iihs.org contains a wealth of information on a wide range of highway safety topics from red light running to roundabout safety.

Law Enforcement

The mission of the Arizona Department of Public Safety is, “to protect human life and property by enforcing state laws, deterring criminal activity and providing vital support to the State of Arizona and its citizens.” The Highway Patrol Division of DPS is the agency’s oldest and most storied division. It is the mission of HPD “to ensure the safe and expeditious use of the highway transportation system for the public.”

HPD is one of the primary law enforcement agencies in charge of vehicle and road safety. The officers of HPD patrol thousands of miles of Arizona highways to ensure that drivers are following the law and driving in a manner that is both safe and responsible. They protect drivers from other individuals who would break the law by speeding, driving recklessly, or driving while intoxicated.

It is the duty of local police officers to patrol and uphold traffic laws within individual cities and towns. They also work towards theft prevention. If a vehicle is stolen, you should immediately report the event to law enforcement officials.

Arizona DPS participates in an operation called Combined Accident Reduction Effort (CARE). CARE brings the Arizona Department of Public Safety, State Police agencies, the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, and NHTSA together in one organization dedicated to reducing the loss of human life on the highway. CARE focuses its efforts on the three most common causes of highway fatalities: speeding, impairment, and failure to use safety restraints.

Although no one likes to get a traffic ticket, the enforcement of such laws is a crucial element of the fight to keep our roads as safe as possible.

Personal Responsibility

When it comes down to it, organizations like NHTSA, IIHS, and Arizona DPS can perform research, create safety regulations, enforce laws, and push forward vehicle safety, but the most powerful agent in charge of vehicle and road safety is YOU.

Drive safely. Be courteous on the road. Avoid speeding, driving while intoxicated and driving while overly fatigued. When purchasing a new vehicle, spend time researching safety ratings.

As always, if you are involved in an accident of any kind, you should seek out legal guidance as soon as possible. You have rights as an accident victim. At Hastings & Hastings, we make it our duty to defend your rights and help you put your life back together.

Call (480)706-110 today to schedule your free, in-person legal consultation with one of our experience lawyers.

Hastings & Hastings Address Four Recent Safety Concerns

Here at Hastings & Hastings, accident prevention is one of our primary missions. We have spent over 35 years diligently and tireless protecting the rights of accident victims here in the Valley of the Sun. We understand that suffering an accident can impact your life for years down the road. Severe accidents may even change your life forever.

We understand that accident victims need something more than a lawyer who is just there to help them cash a check. Accident victims need someone who can help them put their life back together. At Hastings & Hastings, we shoulder the burden of handling all legal and insurance matters for you. We handle all communication with the authorities, the other parties involved in the accident, the insurance companies, and any other entities that may become part of your case. We do this so that you can focus on the important business of recovery. As a client focused law firm, everything we do is centered on you.

While we do everything we can to help you reassemble the broken pieces of your life following an accident, we know there is no going back in time. We cannot make it as if the accident never happened.  What we can do is reemphasize our commitment to accident prevention. With that idea in mind, we would like to address five of the most important safety concerns currently facing individuals. Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Continental Automotive Systems Airbag Recall

Continental Automotive Systems, a German company that manufactures and supplies electronic components that control vehicle airbags has recently announced a massive recall of defective airbags. It is believed that this recall could affect as many as 5 million vehicles. Honda and Fiat Chrysler are among automakers who known to be participating in the recall.

The defective airbags contain semiconductors which corrode over time. This may cause the airbags to either deploy inadvertently or fail to deploy entirely in the event of an accident. Continental Automotive Systems first became aware of this defect in 2008. A spokesman for Continental Automotive Systems stated they informed automakers of the defect in 2008 and that it was then up to the automakers to initiate a full recall of the defective airbags. According to federal regulations, a manufacturer must report a safety concern to the proper regulating body within five business days of discovering the issue. In this case, the regulating body is the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration.

It is further believed that vehicles manufactured by Volvo Trucks and Mazda may feature the defective airbags. To date, neither manufacturer has issued a recall although Mazda has stated that it is investigating the issue.

At least nine injuries have been directly linked to the defective Continental Automotive Systems airbags. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration began an inquiry into the matter in August 2015 as a result of an accident involving a 2008 Honda Accord, which was brought to court. The accident had occurred three years earlier.

According to Continental’s records, they first became aware of the defect in 2008 when they analyzed a Daimler whose owner reported that the airbag warning light remained illuminated even after maintenance. Continental reported that the defective part was fixed in 2008. However, the part number assigned to the airbags was not updated, so automakers were unaware of the fix.

Honda has reported recalling 341,000 Accords, model years 2009 and 2010.

Vehicles recalled by Fiat Chrysler include the 2008-2009 Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Town & Country, 2009 Dodge Journey, and Volkswagen Routan.

Individuals who believe they may have an affected vehicle should inquire with their manufacture at the earliest convenience.

Child Passenger Safety Laws

As fall ends, summer settles in, and schools close, the number of child passengers on the road rises steadily. There is no better time to address the very important topic of child passenger safety. Standard vehicle safety features such as seatbelts and airbags are not properly designed to keep children and infants safe. In fact, deployed airbags can harm or even kill a child. This summer, make sure you are aware of child passenger safety laws.

Although child passenger safety is not regulated by federal law, all states and territories have a law regulating child passenger safety. Further, all states and territories have laws stating that safety seats must be used for infants and children. The exact criteria of these laws will vary from state to state. Typically, the regulations will dictate age, weight, and height requirements which a child must meet before they can ride as passengers without a child safety seat. All states but Florida and South Dakota require children who have outgrown safety seats to use booster seats until they are large enough to use a standard adult seat belt. Next, we will discuss specific child passenger safety laws here in Arizona.

From birth to the age of one or for any weight under 20 pounds, infants are required to use infant only rear-facing safety restraints.

From age one to five or for any weight between 20 and 40 pounds, children are required to use forward-facing safety seats.

From age five to eight or for any weight between 40 and 80 pounds, children are required to use a booster seat.

Once children graduate from the booster seat they are required to use standard seatbelts.

The first-time penalty for violating child passenger safety laws in Arizona is a fine of $50 and one point against the driver’s license. Fines will rise with repeated violations.

Ikea Issues Safety Warning

Ikea has repeated safety warnings regarding its Malm budget furniture range after a third child was crushed to death as a result of a chest of drawers falling on him. In this latest incident, 22-month-old Ted McGee, who had been put down for a nap, woke, wondered over to the chest of drawers and tipped it over onto himself. His mother stated she had been checking on him every twenty minutes. The statement issued by Ikea noted that the chest of drawers was not affixed to the wall. It reiterated the importance of this safety measure.

This most recent death came after two other independent incidents in 2014 involving a two-year-old and a 23-month-old. Federal safety regulators have begun an investigation into the accident. Ikea has stated that millions of the Malm budget furniture chests may be at risk for tipping and falling. The company stated:

“We wish to emphasize that the best way to prevent tip-over of chests of drawers is to attach products to the wall with the included restraints and hardware per the assembly instructions. Ikea has included restraints with our chest of drawers for decades, and wall attachment is an integral part of the assembly instructions.”

Drowning Awareness and Prevention

It is not even summer, and there have already been 17 drowning deaths in Maricopa and Pinal Counties in 2016. Of these 17 deaths, 5 of them were children under the age of 5. Drowning deaths are tragic and almost completely avoidable. And yet, every year, many Phoenix children tragically die due to drowning.

Most drowning occur in the backyard pool. For this reason, pool safety is of paramount importance. Proper pool safety is built upon three primary pillars: block, watch, and learn.

Block: It is essential that there is a proper barrier around a pool or spa. This barrier should be up regardless even if the pool/spa is covered. Further, and windows or doors leading outside should be kept locked at all times. Finally, barriers such as fences should have self-closing, self-latching gates. The latches must be placed high out of the reach of children.

Watch: Children should never be left unsupervised around a pool or spa for even one second. Keep toys away from any bodies of water. Do not assume children are drown-proof even if they have had swimming lessons. Finally, do not be lulled into a false sense of security by barriers or fences.

Learn: Finally, teach your children to swim. Learn how to perform lifesaving techniques such as CPR and mouth-to-mouth. Education children on the dangers of drowning. Teach them proper safety procedures as well, such as calling emergency services.

 

If you would like to learn more about accident prevention or if have been involved in an accident, contact Hastings & Hastings today to schedule a free consultation and begin exploring your legal options.

Hastings & Hastings Guide to Wrongful Death Claims

Hastings & Hastings, founded by David Hastings in 1981, has been protecting the rights of accident victims in Phoenix for over 35 years. At Hastings & Hastings, we know that suffering an accident can be one of the most stressful events someone will go through in their life. Accident victims need someone by their side, helping them put their lives back together while fighting for their rights. Insurance companies do not have your best interests in mind. They want to resolve your case quickly and cheaply.

At Hastings & Hastings, we spare no effort as we fight to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve for suffering an accident or experiencing a hardship. We understand that recovering from an accident is about more than just healing from injuries. Accidents cause mental, emotional, and physical distress. Without proper representation, you may not be fully compensated for the scope of the damages that have been inflicted.

Every personal injury case is different and thus requires the personal attention of an experienced, dedicated, and skilled attorney. At Hastings & Hastings, we have experience handling a wide variety of personal injury cases including but not limited to car accidents, slips and falls, dog and animal bites, motorcycle accidents, and wrongful deaths.

One of the primary obstacles facing accident victims often preventing them from pursuing a personal injury claim is a lack of knowledge that they have a valid case. At Hastings & Hastings, we believe that nothing should hold accident victims back from pursuing compensation and protection. To that end, provide detailed information regarding the types of personal injury claims for which we provide representation. Today, we will go over wrongful death claims.

What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

To begin with, we will explain exactly what a wrongful death claim is. Wrongful death lawsuits are claims brought against a defendant who has allegedly caused, whether through negligence or intentional harm, the death of another individual. Wrongful death claims are put forth by a representative of the estate of the deceased individual.

But, what exactly is the “estate” of a deceased individual?

An estate is the body of property, money, and other assets which have been left behind by a deceased individual. The representative of an estate is either the deceased’s “executor”, or “administrator.” The representative is termed “executor” if they were expressly granted power of the estate in a valid will. Elsewise, they are termed “administrator.” In the case that there is no valid will or no will at all, a court of law will have the power to appoint a qualified individual as an administrator.

In the case of a wrongful death claim, the administrator or executor of the estate files a claim on behalf of the family and estate of the deceased.

Of course, not all deaths are wrongful deaths. How is a death deemed a wrongful death? As we have previously discussed, a death may be considered a wrongful death if the cause of death can be attributed to another individual’s negligent behavior or intentional actions. We will go into more detail regarding wrongful deaths by negligence and intentional action next.

Wrongful Death Caused by Negligence

As we have previously discussed, wrongful death cases are often attributed to the negligence of an individual which resulted in an accident which caused the death of the victim. In most states, including Arizona, if a case would have been deemed a personal injury matter except that it resulted in the death of the victim, the matter is then one of wrongful death.

Essentially, wrongful death lawsuits are often directly linked to a personal injury matter. One such matter that may result in the death on an individual is a car accident. If a victim dies as a result of a car accident, or as a result of injuries suffered during a car accident, a wrongful death lawsuit may be brought forth. However, negligence must be proved.

Proving Negligence

Proving negligence in a wrongful death case is much the same as proving negligence in a personal injury matter. The plaintiff, with the assistance of an attorney, must establish three things: duty, breach of duty, as well as causation and damages. Next, we will cover how to establish each of these three elements.

Duty: For a defendant to be found liable it must be established that they owned the deceased a duty of “due care.” The exact definition of due care will change based on the circumstance of the instance. In effect, an individual obliged to provide due care has a duty to keep another individual safe or to avoid actions which would cause harm to another individual.

When proving negligence in a car accident, a plaintiff will argue that the defendant held a duty of due care to the deceased individual to operate their car in a safe and responsible manner. Essentially, everyone on the road possesses a duty of due care to ensure the safety of others.

Breach of Duty: Once a plaintiff has established that the defendant did indeed possess a duty of due care, they must then establish that the defendant then failed to uphold that duty. In the instance of a car accident, a breach of duty may mean that the defendant failed to keep their eyes on the road, or drove while intoxicated, or drove aggressively or recklessly.  Proving breach of duty is similar to proving fault.

Causation and Damages: Depending on the exact facts of the case, proving causation can be straight forward, or quite complicated. Essentially, in proving causation, the plaintiff must establish that the defendant’s breach of duty caused the death. If the incident was a straight forward accident involving two vehicles, this may be easy. If it was more complicated collision, perhaps involving more than two vehicles, this could become more complicated. Damages in a wrongful death lawsuit are presumed, although the process of establishing the exact value of damage is more involved.

Establishing Damages in a Wrongful Death Case

It is important to note that wrongful death cases are strictly civil matters, which means that damages will be expressed in financial or monetary loses. Damages will not result in jail time or other legal penalties as with a criminal case. Damages in a wrongful death case are typically divided into two categories, those inflicted upon the estate of the deceased, and those inflicted on the deceased’s family. In many cases these categories will overlap.

Damages which may only be inflicted to the family include but are not limited to emotional pain and suffering, the loss of care, companionship and guide, and the loss of household services.

Damages which may affect the family or the estate include funeral expenses, value of lost wages and benefits, pain and suffering endured by the deceased, as well as any property damage that may have occurred in the accident. If the deceased did not die immediately, additional damages may be allowed under survival laws. Under survival laws, damages may continue to accrue during the period of time between when the individual suffers fatal injuries to the time they pass away. These damages may include medical expenses, as well as pain and suffering.

Arizona’s Wrongful Death Statutes

As there are no federal laws regulating wrongful death lawsuits each state must have its own individual statute. In Arizona, a wrongful death lawsuit may be brought to court if the deceased individual could have filed a person injury claim based on the event that caused their death.  Arizona’s wrongful death statute can be found in the Arizona Revised Statutes Section 12-661. It reads as follows:

When death of a person is caused by wrongful act, neglect or default, and the act, neglect or default is such as would, if death had not ensued, have entitled the party injured to maintain an action to recover damages in respect thereof, then, and in every such case, the person who or the corporation which would have been liable if death had not ensued shall be liable to an action for damages, notwithstanding the death of the person injured, and although the death was caused under such circumstances as amount in law to murder in the first or second degree or manslaughter.

 

To learn more about wrongful death lawsuits or to schedule a free legal consultation with one of Hastings & Hastings’ experienced attorneys, call (480)706-1100 today.

Hastings & Hastings Summer Safety Tips (Part Four)

Here on the Hastings & Hastings blog, we have spent the month of June discussing a number of very important summer safety concerns. Living in Phoenix is unlike living in any other city in the nation. The incredible, unique Valley of the Sun is home to a lot of fun, and a lot, a lot of heat. So far we have covered pool safety, dehydration, and the dangers of leaving children alone in the car. Each of these safety concerns results in tragic, preventable deaths every year. Hopefully, by following along with the Hastings & Hastings blogs, you know a little bit more about how to stay safe this summer while still having a lot of fun. Today, we are going to touch on a slightly different type of topic. We to discuss staying safe while getting out of town!

  1. Beat the Heat by Hitting the Road

What is the easiest way to endure the scorching hot summer temperatures here in Phoenix? Opting not to endure at all of course! This summer, if you really want to beat the heat and have some fun, why not head out of town?

One of the best things about living in Phoenix is that there are beautiful escapes just hours away. Merge onto the I-17 and head up north for about an hour and a half and your will find yourself in beautiful Flagstaff. There, you can enjoy a cool breeze, rustling pine trees, and nearly endless outdoor recreation. And the options don’t end there! Payson, Prescott, the Mogollon Rim, and the White Mountains are all just hours away. But before you hit the road, make sure you are prepared.

Always travel with a roadside emergency kit. Make sure your car has received a thorough, proper tune-up before hitting the road. That last thing you want is to experience a breakdown in the middle of nowhere.

Finally, spending time outside has its own safety concerns. Before you go anywhere, make sure you tell someone where you are going!! If you are hiking, it is important to have the proper safety gear. The proper footwear could make all the difference. Apply sunscreen liberally, and remember what we discussed earlier, stay hydrated. But most of all, have some fun. Enjoy the summer everyone!

Hastings & Hastings Summer Safety Tips (Part Three)

Welcome back to the Hastings & Hastings blog! We are spending the month of June touching on a number of important summer safety concerns. For most residents of the Valley of the Sun, summer is all about beating the heat by having fun. June through August, Phoenix pools, and water parks are packed full of happy people having a blast while escaping the heat. This is why we touched on pool safety in our last blog. Drowning prevention is something everyone should keep in mind. Each year, children and adults alike pass away as a result of drowning here in Phoenix. These deaths are tragic and almost always preventable. This summer, focus on drowning prevention and pool safety.

Our next topic for discussion, is the danger of leaving children in a hot car. Here in Phoenix, where summer temperatures can rise above 120-degrees, leaving a child in the car isn’t just dangerous, it is deadly.

  1. The Dangers of the Car

According to the nonprofit safety group Kids and Cars, more than 600 children have died in the United States since 1990 as a result of being left alone in a hot car. The tragic part of these deaths is that they were all 100 percent preventable. Most of the time, the parents or supervisors had no idea they were doing something wrong. Occasionally, these deaths happen when a child gains access to an unlocked car and becomes trapped inside.

To begin with even a minute is too long. “It is never OK to leave kids or pets in a car — even with the windows down. It is an absolute no-no,” says Christopher McStay, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine at New York University Langone Medical Center.

On a day that is just a temperate 72-degrees out, the interior temperature of a car can increase by 30 to 40 degrees in an hour. Most of this increase takes places in the first thirty minutes. Now imagine how quickly the interior of a car will heat up when it is 115-degrees out! Heat stroke can may occur when the body temperature goes above 104-degrees.

As a rule, if you see a child left alone in a hot vehicle, call 911 immediately. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration states, “if they are in distress due to heat, get them out as quickly as possible.”

Hastings & Hastings Summer Safety Tips (Part Two)

Welcome back to the Hastings & Hastings blog! This month we are touching on a number of important summer safety concerns. In our last post, we talked about the dangers of dehydrations. Dehydration is very dangerous for a number of reasons. First, your body can be dehydrated ever before it presents symptoms. Second, the symptoms of dehydration can easily be confused with the symptoms of other conditions leading to a misunderstanding of the condition. Third, dehydration can lead to death. It can strike very quickly for infants, children, and older adults.

Today, we are going to touch on a summer safety concern that is closely linked to having fun – pool safety. Phoenix has more pools per-capita than any other city in the nation. While jumping in the pool is a great way to beat the heat, it can also be dangerous. Each year, kids and adults die from drowning.

  1. Pool Safety

When discussing pool safety, the topic is typically broken down into three major categories. Access to pools should be blocked. People should be watched at all times. And everyone should learn lifesaving techniques and what to do in an emergency.

Block: All pool should have a fence around them. Home pools are no exception, even if there are no children in the home. A fence should be 4-feet high at a minimum. It should enclose the pool on all four sides. Pool gates should be self-closing and self latching. It is important to avoid treating a pool fence as infallible. Always keep a watch!

Watch: Children should be supervised at all times when in or near a pool. Close supervision has been shown to be the most dependable way to prevent drowning. Children can drown in a matter of seconds. Turning your back for even a moment can be deadly. Adults should also swim with a buddy whenever possible.

Learn: Learning is an essential element of pool safety and drowning prevention. It is recommended that children be taught to swim as early as possible. Children can be enrolled in swimming classes in their first year of age. Teach them the dangers of being around the pool. Adults should learn lifesaving techniques like CPR and mouth-to-mouth. Children and adults should be educated in emergency protocol. It is important to call 911 as quickly as possible if you believe a drowning has taken place.

Hastings & Hastings Summer Safety Tips (Part One)

Summer has arrived in earnest. All around the world, Phoenix is notorious for being one of the hottest, most inhospitable locations on the globe through the months of June, July, and August. Little do most people know, Phoenix is actually a beautiful paradise during the remaining nine months. But, summer can be unpleasant. When temperature rise above 120-degrees, it can even become deadly. Whether you are a long-time, seasoned resident of the Valley of the Sun or you have just recently moved to town, there are always new tips and trick you could learn to make your life a little easier, a few degrees more pleasant, and much, much safer. Today, we are beginning a series of blogs on summer safety tips.

  1. Stay Hydrated

Dehydration is a major safety concern. Our bodies need water to survive. When suffering from dehydration, more water is leaving your body then you are taking in from drinking. Even minor dehydration can have a major impact on your health. The symptoms of dehydration include: heart palpitations, confusion, fainting, inability to sweat, sluggishness, weakness, dizziness, dry mouth, increased thirst, and swollen tongue. It is possible to be suffering from dehydration even before symptoms present themselves. More severe symptoms of dehydration include: fever, delirium, unconsciousness, nausea, rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing, and low blood pressure. If not addressed, dehydration can cause death.

To prevent dehydration, you should constantly be drinking water throughout the course of the day. It is recommended that adults drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per-day.

If you are already suffering from the symptoms of dehydration you should begin by taking small sips of water. Sports drinks high in electrolytes are also a good choice. It is important to take in water slowly as nausea is one of the symptoms of dehydration. If a dehydrated person cannot keep down liquids, take them to the hospital immediately.

Prolonged heat exposure is one of the primary risk factors contributing to dehydration. Avoid remaining outside for more than a few minutes at a time. If you cannot avoid staying outside, find shade and stay there. If you are exposed to heat for a prolonged period of time, increase water consumption.

Infants, children, and older adults are the most at risk for experiencing dehydration. Infants and children have low body weight and are vulnerable to the rapid loss of water and electrolytes. As the body ages its ability to conserve water is impaired, placing older adults at risk as well.