This week (May 17-23, 2015) is National Dog Bite Prevention Week, and as personal injury lawyers, we take this matter very seriously. Dog bite victims are most often children and the elderly, and the injuries sustained can be very serious—even fatal when the victim is an infant. This week may not be as talked-about as upcoming Memorial Day weekend, but we’d like to shed some light on this serious and devastating injury.
Are Dog Bites Really that Serious?
Many people wonder why firms like Curry, Pearson & Wooten talk about dog bite injuries as part of a personal injury practice. They may assume that dog bites simply aren’t that common, or even that serious—but the insurance and medical industries sing a different tune.
There are thousands of dog bite injuries each year, and annually over 1,000 are serious enough to warrant injury claims through State Farm Insurance alone. The insurance giant has paid out over $528 million in dog bite injury claims over the last five years, many of which have been serious enough to warrant reconstructive surgery. Did you think homeowners insurance claims were primarily water damage and fire damage repair payouts? Dog bite liability payouts actually made up over one-third of total claim payments.
With the uptick in personal injury cases and insurance claims, one would think that the trend would reverse at some point, but dog bites were up considerably in 2014. Postal carriers are another demographic that are at high risk of dog bite injuries, and dog bite injuries to these individuals rose from 5,581 cases in 2013 to 5,767 in 2014.
What Can Be Done?
Dog bite prevention lands squarely on dog owners’ shoulders, and it is always important to remember that no matter how mild-mannered your dog, there is always a risk of injury to others. As a dog owner, ensure that:
- Your dog is always supervised around children or new people
- Ensure that your dog receives regular exercise, care, and socialization
- Always follow leash laws
As a pedestrian or house guest, other tips can be followed to protect yourself from a dog bite injury, but remember—the dog’s owner is ultimately liable for their dog’s behavior. To avoid unnecessary injury, however:
- Ask permission before approaching or petting an unfamiliar dog
- Do not tease or play unnecessarily rough with a dog
- Approach with caution when a dog is eating, sleeping, or injured
If you have been injured in a Phoenix dog bite injury, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries—and we can help. Contact our office today to schedule your free consultation, and learn whether you have a case against the dog’s owner.
The City of Scottsdale has been approved to nearly double their contract with a defense attorney representing the city in a lawsuit brought by two Kansas men, increasing the amount from $275,000 to $525,000.
The lawsuit was brought on behalf of two Kansas men who were injured in a pedicab accident in Scottsdale last year. The pedicab that the men were riding in, both 21 years old at the time, was struck by a vehicle driven by Joseph Spano. Spano was sentenced to four years in prison on a plea deal that dropped his DUI charges for pleading guilty to two counts of aggravated assault and one count of endangerment.
The men, Cody Clark and Michael Tysver of Great Bend, Kansas, both suffered severe injuries in the crash. Tysver experienced a serious spinal injury and spent several weeks in the hospital; Clark was left with severe brain injuries that left him hospitalized for over a year, and has difficulty communicating and understanding.
The crash, which happened on Scottsdale Road near Rose Lane, led Scottsdale to create regulations for pedicab operators where none previously existed, requiring the operators to have Arizona driver’s licenses and liability insurances. The plaintiffs are bringing suit claiming that the city’s lack of regulations for pedicab drivers led to their injuries; the damages sought include $40 million for Cody Clark, $3 million each for his two parents, and $5 million for Michael Tysver.
The City has denied liability for the men’s injuries, but the new regulations have seemed to have an impact on the pedicab business, which was previously regulated in Phoenix and Chandler.
While regulations are important in maintaining safety for public transportation, the larger danger by far to pedestrians and pedicab drivers has been drunk drivers in areas jam-packed with bars, nightclubs, and restaurants. If you have been injured while enjoying Scottsdale, Tempe, or Phoenix nightlife, contact our firm today to learn how you could be compensated for your injuries.
If you have been frequenting Old Town Scottsdale or the Tempe Mill Avenue district, you may have noticed that over the last few years, transportation has changed a bit. Where cabs used to rule, many patrons are now turning to pedicabs and golf carts as a quick, convenient way to get from place to place, including bars, restaurants, and sporting events. Most drivers operate strictly for tip money, so for many, this has become the best way to enjoy a night on the town without the risk of a DUI.
Until recently, however, these modes of transportation were minimally regulated in Scottsdale, and just about anyone could operate a pedicab. Last January, this all changed after a horrific accident involving a pedicab and drunk driver ended in one of the pedicab’s passengers suffering a severe spinal injury, and one coping with the lifelong effects of a brain injury. The city of Scottsdale now faces a $51 million dollar lawsuit from the pedicab occupants, claiming that the city should have regulated the industry more closely.
What Was the Status Quo on Pedicab Regulation in the Valley?
Glendale was the first Valley city to regulate pedicabs, requiring a city-issued license since 2007. Glendale also limits the hours of operation and roadways that pedicabs can use. Phoenix followed suit in 2008, requiring pedicab operators to obtain inspections and inspection stickers from the Phoenix police department. Phoenix also requires each operator to carry at least $1 million in liability insurance.
Scottsdale now requires pedicab operators to have a valid Arizona driver’s license, liability insurance, and compliance with lighting and visibility for each pedicab. Inspections have not been made mandatory, but operators will be subject to fines for noncompliance.
Golf Carts Can Be a Problem, Too
Golf carts have always operated under a stricter set of guidelines, but accidents and injuries—namely from people falling off of the cart—have become fairly common. Golf carts must be insured, inspected, and have front seatbelts, and are restricted to roadways that have a posted speed limit of 35 mph or lower.
While it can be challenging determining whether the cart or pedicab transporting you is up to code, a quick look at the following can tell you a lot:
- Is the vehicle properly lit, and visible to other cars?
- Has the operator loaded it within safe capacity?
- Does the vehicle appear to be in good condition?
Use caution during the holidays and upcoming events in the Valley when choosing your transportation to and from bars, parties, and other locations. If you have been hurt in an accident involving these vehicles, you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries. For more information, contact our Phoenix personal injury attorneys today by calling our office or filling out the online contact form.
The city of Scottsdale has seen an uptick in pedestrian accidents in its bustling downtown area this year, and town officials may be turning to a crosswalk that was developed right here in Arizona to improve safety.
Just days ago, two women were crossing E. Camelback Road near The Mint nightclub when there were struck by a car driving east. Neither the driver nor the pedestrians were impaired by alcohol at the time of the crash, but the women were not crossing the street at a marked crosswalk. Both suffered from broken bones, but are expected to make full recoveries.
This accident is one of several pedestrian and vehicle accidents that have occurred in downtown Scottsdale in recent years as the area continues to attract nightclubs, bars, and restaurants along with large crowds. Because of the prevalence of pedestrians crossing the road midblock on E. Camelback Road, the city has considered installing traffic signals that could help people navigate across the road safely.
The HAWK: A Crosswalk Designed With Safety in Mind
The HAWK, or High Intensity Activated Crosswalk, was first used in Tucson in the 1990s, and has since swept the nation as it continues to lower pedestrian/vehicle accidents—up to 69%, according to the Federal Highway Administration.
You may have already seen HAWKs around the Valley, and you may soon see many more. Appearing midblock, the crosswalks are activated by pedestrians waiting to cross. The lights above the crosswalk will turn yellow, then a steady red as the pedestrian crosses the road. The lights will flash red when it is okay to proceed if the crosswalk is empty, and will go dark after the road is clear.
While these systems are far from perfect, and still require attentive drivers and pedestrians in order to be fully effective, they may be a good answer for busy areas like downtown Scottsdale and around school zones where heavy foot traffic could benefit from added safety.
Have You Been Injured in a Pedestrian Accident?
If you have been injured by a negligent or distracted driver while walking in the Valley, you deserve compensation for your injuries, pain, and suffering. For a free, no-obligation consultation with our Phoenix personal injury attorneys, contact Curry, Pearson & Wooten today by filling out our easy online contact form.
This week, Phoenix will join a number of the nation’s trendiest cities on the way to being green by welcoming its first bike-share program. On Tuesday, GR:D will debut the first of up to 500 bikes and 50 bike rental racks in downtown and central Phoenix. The bikes will eventually be available along the light rail through Tempe and Mesa, as well.
Mayor Greg Stanton has made transforming Phoenix into a bicycle-friendly city a top priority. Phoenix has lagged behind other cities in this regard, and most residents still rely heavily on cars. Stanton hopes that moves like this will help Phoenix appeal to younger professionals who are drawn to walking, biking, and public transportation as a means to get to and from work and social functions.
Don’t Follow the Trend: Avoid Bicycle Accidents With These Tips
An unfortunate trend that many cities have seen when bicycle traffic increases is a subsequent increase in accidents involving bicycles. Much of this can be attributed to newer cyclists hopping onboard the exciting trend before they have become street-savvy to rules of the road.
Some of the most frequent bicycle accidents involve intersections and crosswalks, nighttime riding, cars turning right, and alcohol. To avoid being involved in one of these accidents, follow these quick tips when you are on your bike:
- Always ride with traffic on the right side of the road. Think of your bike as a smaller car—you want to follow the same rules of the road as you would in your own car. This means that traffic lights, right-of-way, and other basic driving rules apply to you, too.
- At night, be visible. Make sure that you are riding with a red light on the back of your bike, as well as a white light in the front. Ensuring that your wheels are equipped with reflectors can also help you ensure that you will be seen in intersections.
- At stoplights, hang back a little. If you and a car are stopped neck and neck at a stoplight and the light turns green, you had best hope that the car is going straight, or else you may be hit. Stop slightly behind the first car and accelerate at a slower rate to ensure that you know the driver’s intentions.
- Ride sober. An overwhelming amount of bicycle accidents involve cyclists who have elevated blood alcohol content levels. If you would not drive, don’t bike—play it safe and call a cab.
Even the most experienced cyclists can be hurt when drivers let their attention wander, and if a negligent driver hurts you, you deserve compensation. For more information, contact our firm today to schedule a free consultation.
You have just been hurt in an accident on one of the Valley freeways on your drive home from work. You think you have followed all the right steps; you immediately notified the police and your insurance company, you went straight to the emergency room, and you have followed all of your doctor’s orders. You are resting at home until the doctor gives you the “okay” to return to work, which should be in a few days. Now you are just waiting for the insurance company to accept your claims—but they only offer you a fraction of what you submitted.
Neither Neighborly nor Good Hands: Insurance Companies and Their Tricks
Most people love their insurance company until they are involved in an accident. Suddenly, the cheerful customer service representatives turn into calculating adjusters trying to low-ball you at every turn.
One of the ways your insurance company will try to pay you less in damages is by claiming you were liable for the accident. Arizona observes pure comparative negligence laws, which means that even if you were partially (or mostly) to blame, you may still collect a certain percentage of your damages. Your insurance company may try to claim that your percentage of fault was higher than it truly was, thereby awarding you less money.
Another trick that insurance companies use is requiring you to see one of their own recommended medical experts for an evaluation. Many people assume that this is par for the course—perhaps the same as sending an insurance adjuster to check out the damage to your car—and go along with it, only to have the insurance company’s approved doctor say that their injuries are less serious than the claim states.
If You Sense Trouble, Call an Attorney
Insurance adjusters are smart, savvy business people. While many mean well, their job is to pay out the least amount possible for each claim. If you sense that your insurance company is trying to poke holes in your claim in order to pay you less, a personal injury lawyer can help bolster your case by gathering concrete evidence of your injuries and the accident.
After an accident, do not risk settling for less that you deserve—contact Curry, Pearson & Wooten to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer today.
Truck accidents are notoriously devastating. Often resulting in serious injury, death, and property damage, accidents involving trucks often leave victims wondering what to do next. As injured parties face significant medical bills as well as lost income, seeking fair compensation is always at the front of their mind.
Who Is to Blame? With Truck Accidents, It Is Not Always Clear
Most traffic accidents are caused by negligence, typically that of another driver. In truck accidents, negligence is also commonly to blame, but with commercial trucks the negligent party is not always the driver.
Some of the most common causes of truck accidents in which the driver is to blame include:
- Excessive Speed
- Drug Use & Intoxication
While these are also common causes of many traffic accidents, commercial drivers operate under much higher standards and stiffer regulations than typical motorists. From mandated rest periods and duty limitations to stricter guidelines on over-the-counter drug use, truck drivers found in violation of these rules after an accident will be held liable.
Of course, truck drivers can do everything right and end up in an accident—so how would liability be determined? Many times, equipment failure on the truck or trailer could be to blame, in which case it would need to be determined whether mechanics, a part manufacturer, or a trucking company’s lax maintenance standards are to blame.
There are so many behind-the-scenes players in a commercial truck carrying a load that hiring an attorney after an accident is a must for any person that has suffered property damage or injuries. With several potentially liable parties as well as several insurance companies involved, truck accident injury cases can quickly become messy.
By hiring an attorney that is familiar with the regulations governing the commercial trucking industry, as well as a skilled negotiator, you will greatly increase your odds of recovering maximum compensation. The personal injury attorneys at Curry, Pearson & Wooten have the experience necessary to successfully represent you in your claim—connect with our firm today to schedule your free consultation.
As you head out tonight in Valley cities to take advantage of Halloween festivities, take an extra moment to make sure that your night includes some Halloween safety, as well.
For adults as well as kids, Halloween can be a dangerous evening to be out. Drunk driving incidents are not unusual, especially when Halloween falls on a Friday or Saturday. If you are of age and planning on attending one of Phoenix’s many Halloween celebrations, make sure that you have a plan to get home safely before you step out for the night. Taxi services and ride share programs such as Lyft and Uber have an increased presence all over the Valley tonight, so take advantage of their increased fleet this evening and leave the driving to a sober professional.
For those of you after candy and other trick-or-treating goodies, visibility is key. Pedestrian fatalities in children double on Halloween night compared to average rates, and there are some quick ways to ensure that you and your child are safe tonight:
- Reflective tape or decals: Fasten reflective material to costumes and candy bags to help cars see you.
- Walk this way: Always stick to sidewalk and marked crosswalks, and try to stick to the side of the road that faces oncoming traffic.
- Light up the night: Carrying a flashlight can help you see as well as be seen by cars and other trick-or-treaters.
- Eye-catching costumes: While it may be too late for a last minute costume change, if your child’s costume is very dark, adding reflective details to the front and back can help make sure they do not blend into shadows.
If you are out driving tonight, keep your eyes peeled for ghosts, goblins, and a few dozen Elsas from Frozen; be sure to especially drive slowly and cautiously through residential areas. The Phoenix personal injury lawyers at Curry, Pearson & Wooten wish you all a spooky and safe Halloween!
If you have gained a few pounds over the years, you have probably already heard it all about how it can affect your health and wellbeing. You are not alone, either—more than one-third of Americans are obese and much more are overweight in what is considered one of the greatest health crises in our nation.
It has been well-known for some time that overweight and obese individuals have a greater risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even stroke. What has only been recently discovered, however, is that obese adults run a higher risk of being fatally injured in a car accident—a much higher risk. Those in the lowest stage of obesity (BMI 30.0-34.9) are 21% more likely to die in an accident than a person of normal weight, and those in the highest stage (BMI 40.0 or higher) were 80% more likely to be killed.
What Is the Auto Industry Doing to Address Safety for Obese Drivers and Passengers?
For a long time, it seemed as though the transportation industry was trying to wait out the obesity epidemic before implementing major changes. As obesity only became more prevalent, it has finally come to the point where auto manufacturers must address the issue head-on and offer cars tailored for the majority of our population.
Much of the safety improvements that have been made over the years in cars has been thanks to the ever-improving technology that is being used in crash test dummies. This led Humanetics, the leader in crash test dummy production, to develop a prototype dummy that weighs in at 273 pounds with a BMI of 35.0; the current standard adult dummy weight is just under 170 pounds.
The significance of this new dummy cannot be overestimated. The biggest problem obese vehicle occupants face is that safety restraints do not properly engage with the pelvis until the lower half of the individual has traveled much further forward in their seat on impact, while their shoulders engage the restraints immediately. This often results in fatal internal injuries not seen in smaller occupants.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, along with auto manufacturers, are slow to warm up to the new dummy. Humanetics remains unphased, however, and is continuing to develop dummies that represent petite females and elderly drivers, two other demographics with increased risk of death in car accidents.
What do you think of the new crash test dummies—will they make our cars safer? If you have been injured in a crash, you know how important it is for cars to protect every type of occupant. Call the Phoenix personal injury attorneys at Curry, Pearson & Wooten today at 602-258-1000 and learn if your injuries are eligible for compensation.
Many of us have heard about the prevalence of whiplash in car accidents. Whiplash is soft-tissue damage to your neck that happens when your head is rapidly thrown one way and rebounds back forcefully. In rear-end collisions, as well as side impact collisions, most people will experience symptoms of whiplash varying from mild to debilitating.
Concussions: A “Silent” Injury After Your Phoenix Car Wreck
Car accidents generate a lot of force and energy in a short amount of time, the intensity of which is often very damaging to the vehicle’s occupants. Many people who have been involved in accidents will walk away, feeling generally “okay” and assuming—perhaps based on fairly minor damage to the car—that they do not need to seek medical attention.
After a few hours, they may begin to notice that something is not right. Perhaps they have a nasty headache, or they may suddenly have a hard time remembering things. They brush it off as stress from the accident, but the symptoms persist.
What this person could be experiencing is a concussion. Even if their head did not strike the window or steering wheel during their accident, the force generated by whiplash could be enough to cause a concussion. Have you experienced any of the following after your crash?
- Difficulty with concentration or memory
- Altered sleep patterns and lack of energy
If you have experienced any of the above, you may be suffering from a concussion, and should seek medical care immediately.
After a Crash. See a Doctor—Then Call Curry, Pearson & Wooten
If you begin to feel pain or discomfort after an accident, it is important that you see your doctor as soon as possible. For medical as well as legal reasons, seeing a doctor quickly is a smart decision, and can start an important paper trail that insurance adjusters can use to tie your injuries to your accident.
Did you suffer from a concussion after a Phoenix, Scottsdale, or Tempe car accident? Call the Phoenix personal injury lawyers at Curry, Pearson & Wooten today at 602-258-1000 to find out how you can get the compensation that you deserve.
Last week, a tractor trailer going westbound on Interstate 10 crossed over the median just north of Casa Grande, driving into oncoming traffic in the eastbound lanes and hitting another car head-on. The crash, which happened just after 5 a.m., killed the driver of the car. The first collision between the car and truck set off another three-car wreck that sent another driver (along with the driver of the tractor trailer) to the hospital.
All lanes in both directions were closed for several hours, and cars were rerouted on several detours. This accident was the last in a string that led many Arizonans to wonder—could the design of the highway itself be to blame?
When Roadway Design Is At Fault for Your Accident
In most car accidents, other drivers are typically to blame. Whether someone was distracted, speeding, or driving recklessly, it is usually fairly easy to put blame on a driver that is liable for your injuries.
Even in cases of negligent drivers, road and highway design can aggravate already dangerous accidents. From road grade and pavement conditions to barriers and shoulder width, road design plays a major role in how an accident plays out. In crossover accidents on Interstate 10, many are beginning to question if the lack of a median barrier on major portions of I-10 between Phoenix and Tucson could be dramatically increasing the chance of fatal accidents.
If you have been injured in an accident on an Arizona road or highway, road design could have contributed to your injuries. If you have questions about your Phoenix auto accident injuries as they relate to hazardous road design, call Curry, Pearson & Wooten at 602-258-1000 for a free consultation.