What Is A Medical Lien?

After being in an accident where you’re injured, you will file a claim with your insurance company or the faulty party’s insurance company to pay for the medical costs incurred by the accident, as well as any property damage and other compensation. However, there are times when a third party may make a claim for part of your settlement, which is referred to as as lien. Generally speaking, a lien is considered a demand for payment from the settlement amount you receive after an accident. For example, if you owe money to an individual, company, or organization, this party may file a lien against your settlement.

When it comes to a medical lien, this party is usually the one who provided you with medical services. The fact is that you are obligated to repay the lien. Otherwise, the party filing the claim will take you to court to receive the money owed. However, in the event that you require emergency medical care after a hospital or other medical practice places a lien on your settlement, it is important that you speak with an experienced attorney who will help you through this time.

Which Parties Can Place a Lien on Your Settlement?

There are a couple of different parties that can place a lien on your settlement. This includes your insurance company who may seek repayment on your medical care costs. However, the amount of the lien will depend upon the accident’s circumstances and the extent of medical treatment you received. Oftentimes, even when the accident is not your fault, your insurance company will step up and pay for your medical costs with the expectation that you will file and win a claim against the party at fault. The reason your insurance company may pay upfront costs is because they can put a lien on your settlement, guaranteeing they will get their money back. If you need medical treatment right after an accident has occurred this is usually the process that will come about.

The other entity that can place a lien on your settlement is the medical provider or providers who treated your injuries. Sometimes, however, your insurance company may put off paying your medical bills as you wait for you settlement to hit your bank account. Either way, it’s important to receive medical treatment for your injuries right away rather than waiting for a settlement award. The treatment you do receive will cost money and if your insurance company won’t take care of the bill right away, the medical practice will place a lien on your settlement for all outstanding medical bills.

How Common are Medical Liens?

In reality, medical liens are quite common. This is because hospitals and other medical facilities find it easier to treat you right away and then place a lien on your settlement rather than waiting for the settlement to hit before treating you. Medical professionals understand that delaying care after a car accident can lead to increased medical bills by letting your injuries go untreated. For this reason, you can expect to receive medical care right after your accident.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Negotiate a Lien?

In some cases, an experienced lawyer will be able to reduce the amount of the lien.  A good lawyer will negotiate with your medical providers to lessen the amount of the lien. Sometimes, although rarely, the lien you owe can be more than what you received in your settlement.  If this happens, your attorney will negotiate a smaller pay off amount. This is not something you can or should do on your own. Instead, use a lawyer who is experienced in handling these kinds of personal injury cases.

What To Do If You Are In An Accident With An Uninsured Driver

Having car insurance is a law in Arizona. Still, there are those who choose to drive without car insurance and sometimes these drivers cause accidents. The question then is, “What do I do if I’m involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver?”. This is a very good question and one that needs to be answered immediately if you’ve found yourself the victim of an uninsured driver car crash.

In Arizona, approximately 20 percent of drivers are uninsured. This is a big number when you think about it and doesn’t include those who are underinsured. It means that there are thousands of people driving on Arizona roads without car insurance or with not enough coverage. While uninsured drivers have absolutely no coverage, underinsured drivers have some coverage, typically only the state minimum that is required. When considering the numbers, the chances of your being involved in an accident with one of these drivers is one-in-five. While the odds may still be in your favor, accidents with these drivers do happen and present some challenges.

Filing a Lawsuit Against an Uninsured Motorist

When an uninsured motorist causes an accident that involves you, there are many questions you are probably asking, such as who will pay your medical bills, cover your lost wages, and atone for any trauma and suffering the accident caused, especially when there is permanent injury damage.

Sometimes, it is your insurance company who ends up paying compensation. However, they may be reluctant to do so. In this case, your best option is to work with an experienced attorney who has dealt with many of these cases. Your attorney will help by filing a claim against the uninsured motorist as well as negotiating with your insurance company.  Because this type of case can prove complicated, it is best to leave it up to an established attorney. At Hastings and Hastings, we work for your best interests. Therefore, if you’ve been the victim of an uninsured motorist’s negligence in Arizona, call our team today at 800-975-0080.

Who is Liable in a Pile Up Accident?

There’s no question that every car accident is dangerous and that most have the ability to result in injuries; however, pile-up accidents are unique. In these situations, it is extremely rare that no one gets hurt.

Knowing who is actually liable in these types of accidents is crucial to ensuring you have the resources to recover the compensation you deserve. Unfortunately, determining fault in a pile up is especially challenging. In most cases, while two cars actually start this type of accident, as more and more cars are added to the mix, it can become confusing who hit who.

In the end, it is often left up to the insurance companies, along with the court, to figure out who was actually responsible for the accident that occurred. The good news is, there are some things you can look for.

Liability Explained

Car accident liability means that the party who was negligent or who was actually responsible for the accident that occurred is the one who will be liable, and they will have to pay for any damages that occur in the case. If a particular person is deemed to be the “at fault” party, then in some cases, insurance companies will actually cover the damages.

However, when pile-ups, where there are many injuries and multiple damaged vehicles, not everything is always covered. Figuring out how to determine fault is crucial in these situations to ensure that you receive the full amount of compensation that you deserve.

Liability that Occurs in Multi-Vehicle Accidents

A traditional rear-end vehicle accident is considered much easier for you, the police or the insurance company to determine liability in. It’s pretty straightforward – the person who hits someone else from the back is at fault (while there are some exceptions). In a multiple car accident, the car is still going to be considered at fault when they hit another vehicle that is already crashed or stopped, unless it was pushed by another vehicle. In these situations, the first vehicle that did not stop and that results in the chain of vehicles hitting one another is going to be the one considered liable.

Sometimes, there is the misconception that the party that actually caused this type of accident to begin with, is the party that is actually responsible for the entire accident. While, in some cases, this may be the case, there is usually more than one party that is at fault. Even if someone is targeted, they may not be the individual responsible for the injuries or damages you suffered.

Vehicles that are involved after the fact may be the ones that are actually liable for the injuries that you suffered. In some situations, there may be several different parties responsible for a single person’s injury or damages. One example of this is if a person has stopped their vehicle in a pile up and then it is hit by two other cars after this happened. Each of the cars that actually hit them are considered responsible. In this situation, it may require that you contact several insurance companies to make a claim and there is one that may pay 60 percent of the total damages while the other only pays 40 percent.

Regardless of the situation, there are steps that you can take to ensure you receive the most compensation for your claim possible. Being informed and knowing what to do is the best way to get the compensation you deserve.

In some situations, the best thing you will be able to do is hire an attorney. They will be able to make sense of the situation and ensure you receive the compensation that you rightfully deserve.

How To File A Car Accident Report In Arizona

If you are involved in a car accident in the state of Arizona, you need to know how the process of filing a car accident report with the police in the state works. To help you along the way, use this list of helpful do’s and don’ts.

Do be prepared to provide the officer or the other driver with your actual driver’s license, your car insurance information and your vehicle registration.

Don’t argue with any of the officers or interfere with what they need to do. Even if you think that they are somewhat biased in the other driver’s favor, you need to remain cooperative and respectful at all times.

Do make sure to report the accident if there was any other vehicle involved, even if the person claims they aren’t injured. While the law in Arizona doesn’t always require a police report if there is only damage, you will be better protected if you opt to report the incident.

Don’t admit any type of wrong doing in the situation. You can describe the event and all the details of the accident while still remaining honest and truthful. However, the key is to limit yourself to only facts. Don’t try to add your opinion regarding legal liability. The fact is, there may be some contributing factors that you aren’t aware of, which means you should never accept the blame.

Do make sure to document the roadway, as well as the weather conditions. Use anything you can, such as pictures on your phone or written notes.

Don’t answer any type of question that may wind up incriminating you. You are not required to answer questions about your physical or mental condition, or if you were driving while under the influence.

If you are involved in a car accident in the state of Arizona be sure to keep the do’s and don’ts listed here in mind.

Cell Phone Usage Prohibited for Teen Drivers in Arizona

Arizona has recently joined the other 48 states regarding placing limitations and prevention of cell phone use while behind the wheel. Today, the only state that has no type of law in place that prohibits calls or texting while driving is the state of Montana.

The new law in the state of Arizona is not quite as restrictive as many of the other state laws; however, it does present a number of important implications for drivers and visitors in Arizona. This law specifically applies to teen drivers. It can also impact legal situations that involve accidents which are the result of teens who use their phones while driving and leads to an accident.

Here, you can learn more about the new teen driver law regarding cell phones in Arizona and how it affects you and your teenager.

The Basics of the New Cell Phone Law in Arizona

This is a law that applies specifically to any new driver that is between the ages of 15.5 and 18. It was put in place to prohibit the use of a cell phone while the individual is driving – except in a “specific emergency situation,” or in order to listen to the “audible turn-by-turn navigation,” or another map app.

Similar to the previously set up laws for various teen drives, the new law makes these drivers subject to what is referred to as “secondary enforcement.” What this means is that a teen cannot be pulled over or even cited just for being seen using a phone while they are behind the wheel. What the law actually means is that the teen will have to be pulled over for some other type of violation before the police officer can issue a citation for the use of their phone. Also, if a teen does not receive a citation for the use of a cell phone, driving at night or for having extra passengers in the vehicle for a period of six months, then they are no longer affected by the law.

In regard to other laws that are currently in place, this one is not very restrictive. However, it does carry a few penalties for any violation, which include:

  • For a first violation the individual can face a fine of up to $75 and a 30-day extension of the six-month period
  • For a second violation, the individual will face a fine up to $100 and a 60-day extension of the six-month period.
  • For three or more violations, the individual can face a fine of up to $100 and a 30-day license suspension.

Why is the Law Targeted to Teens?

There have been several attempts made by Arizona lawmakers to introduce laws that are more stringent for the use of a cell phone while driving. To date, these have not been successful. However, the law for teens received a higher level of support.

If you consider the statistics related to vehicle accidents that involve teens, it is no surprise that this new law has been enacted. According to a recent study from AAA, drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 have the highest level of crashes than any other driver in the U.S.

What to Do if a Distracted Teen Hits Your Vehicle

If you are involved in an accident with a distracted teen driver, then the best thing you can do is contact an attorney. They can help ensure that the needed evidence is gathered to prove your case and help you recover compensation for the injuries and damages you incurred. In the long run, proper legal representation will help in these situations. To find out more, contact the offices of Hastings and Hastings at 800-975-0080.

When to Take Action after a Slip and Fall Incident

Today, slip and fall incidents occur rather often. In fact, according to the National Floor Safety Institute, more than one million of these incidents result in visits to the emergency room each year. In many cases, these types of traumatic injuries are the result of negligence on the behalf of the property owner.

Causes of Slip and Fall Incidents

There are several circumstances that can lead to a slip and fall accident. From puddles to torn carpet, it’s the property owner’s responsibility to maintain easy to navigate and safe conditions that prevent the occurrence of slip and fall accidents. A few of the common causes of a slip and fall accident can be found here:

  • Slippery or wet indoor surfaces

According to information from the National Floor Safety Institute, these types of hazardous surfaces result in approximately 55 percent of all slip and fall incidents. In many cases surfaces are wet, which makes them slippery, due to a spill or having been recently mopped.  Employers and business owners are required to either take action and dry the surfaces or to warn people coming onto the property about the potential hazard present.

  • Bad weather

While it’s not possible to control the weather, any property owner needs to know the proper way to respond to any adverse weather conditions both responsibly and promptly. This means that they must take action to clear away icy or snowy walkways. They must also clean up any debris – such as a fallen tree branch – after a storm comes through. According to Accuweather, the issue of “unnatural accumulation” is a key cause of slip and fall cases.

  • Clutter

Believe it or not, having a bunch of “stuff” lying around is actually quite hazardous. Business owners need to keep their premises free from any obstructions that may injure either employees or customers.

Common Injuries with a Slip and Fall Accident

A slip and fall incident can lead to a number of devastating injuries. Some of the most common seen include:

  • Head injuries
  • Hip fractures
  • Shoulder dislocation
  • Ankle sprains
  • Slipped or herniated discs
  • Lacerations

In severe situations, a slip and fall accident can even cause wrongful death.

When to Take Action after a Slip and Fall Incident

If you were involved in a slip and fall accident that was caused by negligence, then you might be considered responsible for the damages that occur.  For this reason, it is crucial that you seek proper medical attention as soon as you can to help you minimize the damage to your overall health and provide you with the documentation necessary for your personal injury case (if you move forward).

After you have completed the medical evaluation, be sure to contact a personal injury lawyer. An attorney will ensure that all the necessary evidence is gathered to build a strong case and help you get the compensation you deserve for the injuries you suffered. Unfortunately, there are many premise owners who fail to maintain properly safe conditions. The good news is, it is possible to hold these negligent businesses, and these individuals, accountable. To learn more, contact Hastings and Hastings in at 800-975-0080.

Distracted Pedestrian & Bicyclist Deaths on the Rise

According to information provided by the Governors Highway Safety Association, there were approximately 6,000 pedestrians killed in traffic accidents in 2017. This represented an amount that was 11 percent higher than 2016 and 22 percent higher than in 2015.  Every year, approximately two percent of all deaths related to motor vehicle accidents are a bicyclist. In many bicyclist deaths, the injuries that result in the accident being fatal are to the head. This drives home the importance of always wearing a helmet.

In 2015, there were a total of 817 bicyclists killed in accidents with a motor vehicle. This is a 13 percent increase from the previous year and represents the highest number of bicyclists killed since all the way back in 1995. The total number of pedestrian deaths have risen by 10 percent between the years of 2015 and 2016. Each of these are higher than any other category of fatalities related to traffic accidents, according to information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

This trend has been debated quite a bit as far as the cause goes; however, there have been efforts made to help reduce cases of distraction that have led to these high number of bicyclists deaths.  There has been an increase of 60 percent in commuter biking in the past 10 years in the U.S. Unfortunately, with this increase, comes increased risk, too. The deaths that occur among bicyclists over the age of 20 have gone up more than three times.

To ensure someone can be safe, bicyclists are encouraged to follow certain rules. These rules include:

  • Stay aware of all traffic laws
  • Know the capabilities of the bike
  • Ride in the direction of traffic in a single-file line
  • Use hand signals when trying to turn
  • Never hitch onto another vehicle
  • Prior to entering traffic look over both shoulders
  • Ensure the bike is equipped with reflectors
  • Use mirrors

If a person is injured in a pedestrian or cyclist crash, then it is important to remember there are legal resources available to help.

How To Respond After A Truck Accident

Being involved in an auto accident can be extremely scary. If you are involved in an accident with a large truck, regardless of if it is a mid-sized delivery truck, or even an 18-wheeler, then the damage can be even more significant. If you are ever involved in this type of accident, it’s imperative you know what to do and what not to do after the incident occurs. Some tips and information to help you can be found here.

Respond to Medical Emergencies and Injuries

Most truck accidents involve injuries. This includes significant injuries that require immediate medical attention. Prior to taking any steps to protect yourself from a legal standpoint, figure out if anyone involved has been injured. If there are injuries, call for help right away. If your vehicle is in traffic and you can move it, do so right away.

Let the Police Know About the Accident that Occurred

After checking all the people involved in the accident are not hurt, you need to call the police. This is crucial, as you need an accurate and factual police report of the accident that occurred. This is imperative to give to the insurance agency.

Take Photos of the Scene and the Surrounding Area

The more evidence you are able to acquire after a truck accident the better. It will also give you the highest chance of a successful recovery. If you want to strengthen your claim, be sure to use your smartphone to photograph the accident scene. This should include all the vehicles that were involved, as well as the area where the accident occurred.

Contact an Attorney

After tending to injuries, contacting the police and photographing the scene is done, make sure to call an attorney for help. They can ensure that the victim receives the money they deserve for the injuries and damages they suffered.

Be sure to find an attorney that has experience with truck accidents, as they will be best informed to handle the situation and ensure you get the results desired.

In the long run, hiring an attorney is one of the best ways to ensure that you get a fair settlement after being involved in a truck accident.

What is a Split Liability Agreement?

In many accidents, no single person is entirely at fault. This can sometimes make it difficult to get compensation from the other party. In these situations, a split liability agreement may be the best course of action. In simple terms, this agreement proclaims both parties to carry some fault for the accident. However, it does not mean this liability is divided evenly between the two parties involved. If your personal injury attorney feels there is not enough evidence to prove the other party is fully to blame for your injuries, you may need to pursue a split liability settlement.

In an accident where it is unclear which party is truly at fault for the accident, a split liability agreement is the only way to ensure a fair resolution for everyone. If the other party is mostly at fault, you may only see a small reduction in the amount of money you are owed. It all depends on the amount of fault assigned to each party.

When Is This Agreement Best?

A split liability agreement isn’t the best course of action in every car accident where fault isn’t clear. In many auto accident situations, one insurance company may push an injured party for a settlement. These settlements are often unfair to the injured party and may falsely assign blame or provide a much lower level of compensation than is typically required. This is why you should never agree to a settlement without first discussing your options with a qualified attorney. If there is evidence to prove the other party is at fault for your injuries, it’s best to pursue the full compensation. However, in some cases, your personal injury attorney will recommend pursuing a split liability agreement to protect your rights.

Contact an Attorney Right Away

The insurance company is likely to push for a settlement quickly after an accident. They often feel individuals are more likely to settle when they don’t have the time to fully consider their options. However, it’s best to wait until after you consult with an experienced lawyer before you even speak to the insurance company, In fact, if you hire the services of a personal injury attorney, they will speak to the insurance company on your behalf and will make sure you don’t settle for less than what you are owed. If you do decide a split liability agreement is your best course of action for getting compensation, they will be able to guide you through the process and ensure you don’t receive less than w hat you are owed.These attorneys understand how stressful this time can be and strive to make the process as easy as possible so you can focus on your recovery.

How Long Does Whiplash Last?

When you’re involved in a car accident, one of the most common types of injuries is whiplash. This injury occurs when your head jolts forcefully forward or to the side due to the impact. This movement typically injures the neck and can damage sensitive tendons and ligaments, which can be extremely painful and take a long time to heal. Depending on the severity of the injury, it can take a long period of time to fully recovery from this type of injury. However, this is one of the biggest questions most people have about their recovery after an accident.

Symptoms of Whiplash

First and foremost, it can be invaluable to understand what symptoms you can expect to experience if you suffer from whiplash. While most of these symptoms will alleviate within six months, some of them can last years after your accident. In some situations, the symptoms can become permanent. Some of the most common symptoms you can expect to experience include:

  • Stiffness and/or pain in the neck
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches, typically at the base of the skull
  • Range of motion limitations
  • Pain or tenderness in the back, shoulders and arms

While these are the most common symptoms, there are others some individuals may encounter, such as:

  • Depression
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Memory issues
  • Blurred vision

What Is Long-Term Whiplash?

While most people see their symptoms disappear within six months of their accident, there are others who may find they don’t go away for longer periods of time or ever. If you are still suffering beyond the six month time period, you are categorized as having chronic whiplash, which means you will need more extensive physiotherapy to overcome it. You may also need painkillers for a longer period of time. For more severe cases, your doctor may also recommend using a brace to immobilize your neck and head until your neck and the ligaments and tendons can heal. This can mean you will miss more time from work and may have larger medical bills that need to be covered. Because there is no test for whiplash, it’s important to keep a close record of your symptoms and be sure to see your doctor as soon as possible after the accident.

Contact Attorneys

If you are suffering from whiplash due to an accident where someone else was at fault, your doctor should be your first visit. However, after this, it’s important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney. They can help you navigate the often complicated process of filing for compensation for your injuries. Whiplash can be debilitating while the symptoms last and it’s important to get the compensation you deserve as you recover from your injuries.