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Most Common Personal Injury Claims

Light blue sedan rear-ends a grey SUV

Personal injury cases can range from minor accidents with few damages, like a fender bender, to multi-million-dollar cases with hundreds of parties, such as product liability claims. Regardless of how large or small a claim is, it is important that accident victims receive the compensation they are owed for their losses, including medical expenses, property damage, and more. Many personal injury lawyers understand this and make it a priority to represent multiple case types. Below are the most common types of personal injury claims in the United States.

Car Accidents

Car Accident
Millions of people are injured in motor vehicle accidents every year in the United States. The causes of these accidents can vary greatly, but often they are the result of negligence or recklessness behind the wheel. Auto-related crashes include motorcycle and truck accidents, as well as those involving bicyclists and pedestrians. Some of the ways a motorist might cause a crash include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Failure to yield
  • Drunk driving

People who are injured in auto accidents due to someone else’s carelessness often choose to file a personal injury claim to be compensated for their damages. Because car accidents are so prevalent in the US, they are the most common type of personal injury cases.

Slip and Fall Accidents

Slip and fall accidents can occur anywhere at any time. These kinds of incidents are especially dangerous for elderly people. In fact, thousands of Americans over 65 are treated for injuries related to slipping and falling each year. Common injuries stemming from slip and fall accidents include:

  • Broken bones
  • Concussions and traumatic brain injuries
  • Lacerations and bruising
  • Sprains or strains
  • Back injuries

Uneven footing, wet floors, and improper signage can all create a hazardous environment. People who have been injured in a slip and fall accident, whether on public or private property, may be entitled to compensation for their losses.

Medical Malpractice

Negligence by medical professionals can cause serious injuries to patients, and unfortunately, it is far too prevalent in the United States. It is estimated that more than 250,000 people die each year from medical errors. Medical malpractice injuries can be devastating physically, emotionally, and financially.
Examples of medical malpractice include:

  • Misdiagnoses
  • Birth injuries
  • Medication mistakes
  • Surgical errors
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Improper treatment
  • Premature discharge

If a healthcare professional takes improper or negligent actions that result in injuries to their patient, the patient may file a medical malpractice claim. On average, there are more than 12,000 paid medical malpractice claims in the US each year.

Workplace Accidents

Even with modern labor laws in place, unsafe working conditions exist at a variety of companies all across the country. In fact, there are over one million nonfatal work-related injuries and illnesses in the United States each year. Businesses may provide insufficient training to employees, neglect to fix broken equipment, or fail to provide proper safety equipment for their workers in the interest of saving money. All of these actions can directly result in employee injuries.
The occupations with the highest rates of workplace injuries include truck drivers, nursing assistants, construction workers, janitors, and maintenance workers. Employees who have experienced a workplace injury due to dangerous conditions at their job often file a worker’s compensation claim. The laws regarding these claims vary from state to state, so it is a good idea to hire a worker’s compensation lawyer to navigate the process of filing a claim.

Wrongful Death

Wrongful death claims are brought about when a person is killed due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness. Car accidents, medical malpractice, construction site accidents, and defective products are all common reasons for wrongful death suits.
Wrongful death claims are unique compared to other personal injury claims, in that the damages are often different. Wrongful death settlements help the family of a victim cover the costs of funeral expenses, lost wages of the loved one, and non-economic damages, such as lost companionship. All states allow immediate family members, such as spouses, children, and parents of unmarried children to make wrongful death claims. Some states also allow life partners or distant family members to file these suits.

Assault and Battery

Most personal injury cases arise from accidents and cases of negligence. However, assault is also a common reason for people to file claims. Assault is defined as an intentional act that causes the victim to expect they will be hurt in some way. In most states, the reasonable fear of imminent harm is enough for an act to be considered assault. Battery, on the other hand, requires harmful contact to be made with the victim.
Not all assault and battery incidents result in serious injuries, but some can be life-threatening, necessitating medical attention or even hospitalization. When someone is injured by the intentional harmful acts of another, they may have grounds to file a claim. Some damages that can be recovered in an assault claim include medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.

Product Liability

Product liability claims are not quite as common as some of the others on this list, but they can be just as dangerous. They can also affect far more people than other types of personal injury cases and require much larger payouts from the at-fault parties. If a product manufacturer releases defective or dangerous products into the market, consumers who were injured by the product may be able to file a claim.
For example, one of the most famous product liability claims is the “hot coffee” incident involving McDonald’s. In this case, a consumer purchased a cup of coffee from the McDonald’s drive-thru. The coffee accidentally spilled on her legs, giving her third-degree burns that required extensive medical treatment. The consumer brought a claim against McDonald’s for not warning her about how hot the coffee was.
Some types of product liability cases, such as those against pharmaceutical companies or car manufacturers, can have thousands of plaintiffs and result in millions of dollars paid in settlements.

Premises Liability

Premises liability claims happen on other people’s property, whether public or private. If dangerous conditions are present on the property and the property owner does not warn others about the danger, someone could be injured. The injured person could then file a premises liability claim against the property owner.
Examples of this could include injuries from dog bites, toxic chemicals in the area, or exposed electrical wiring. Potential dangers in an area should be properly marked or announced, and then fixed as quickly as possible to avoid injuries.

How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

Injuries of any kind, whether they are from a car accident, improper medical treatment, or assault and battery, can be incredibly stressful. When paired with vehicle repairs or property damage, things can quickly become overwhelming.
An experienced attorney can help by providing legal advice, helping you build your case, and negotiating with insurance companies. The Advocates personal injury law firm is a team of competent, compassionate attorneys who are ready to help you recover as fully as possible.
An Advocate can help you:

  • Access medical treatment
  • Find body shops for vehicle repair
  • Get into a rental car if needed
  • Understand your medical bills
  • Communicate with your employer regarding your injuries
  • Gather evidence for your case
  • Negotiate a settlement
  • File a personal injury lawsuit if necessary

With a team of skilled representatives behind you, the recovery process can be much easier than if you try to go it alone. Call or chat with a live attorney online for a free consultation. The Advocates are ready to help you get back on your feet.

Personal Injury Case Timeline

Helping Client

If you’ve been injured and are considering filing a personal injury claim, you may find yourself wondering how long the whole process will take. Every personal injury case is different, so there is no definite amount of time from the day of the accident to the day you receive your settlement.

Car Accident

How Long Do Personal Injury Claims Take?

The length of time a personal injury claim takes depends on a number of factors. The first is the severity of your injuries and how long medical treatment takes. Your attorney will wait to file a claim until your injuries have been fully treated, in order to ensure your settlement covers all your expenses.

If the insurance company is willing to settle before a lawsuit is filed, a personal injury case may take
less than a year. If the case goes to trial, it may be years before it is settled.

 

What to Expect When Filing a Claim

Filing a personal injury claim can be overwhelming and stressful, particularly if you aren’t familiar with the process. Here are a few things you should know before filing a claim.

Shot of a doctor showing a patient some information on a digital tablet

Seek medical treatment quickly

A settlement from a personal injury claim is intended to compensate accident victims for losses and damages related to their accident. This includes medical bills, vehicle repairs, and loss of wages, as well as non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. This means that you need to seek medical attention and vehicle repairs as soon as possible following your accident.

Hiring an attorney can increase your settlement

Studies have shown that accident victims who hire an attorney can receive settlements up to 3.5 times larger than if they filed the claim on their own. An experienced personal injury attorney can navigate the legal process and ensure you don’t miss out on compensation you are legally entitled to.

Time will run out

If you plan to file a claim, you should do so sooner rather than later. Each state has a statute of limitations, or a designated time frame, for filing a claim. Once the statute of limitations has expired, you will not be able to file. For that reason, it is important to reach out to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible so that they may evaluate your claim and help you avoid missing the deadline.

There are two ways to win a case

Once you file a claim, it can go a few different ways. In most cases, your attorney and the at-fault party’s insurance company will be able to settle out of court. If negotiations are unsuccessful or the other party’s offer is too low, your case may go to trial.

Initial Investigation

Once you have met with an attorney and made the decision to file a claim, the initial investigation into the accident will begin. Your attorney will ask you questions about the accident, read the police report, and look over any evidence you have. They will gather medical records, document your damages, and speak with eyewitnesses. They will also be responsible for communicating with insurance companies. The investigation process can take more than a year, depending on how long your recovery takes and how long it takes your attorney to gather evidence.

It is important that you continue to receive medical treatment and document all new symptoms or pain. The associated expenses will be added to your claim.

Settlement Negotiations

When the investigation process is complete, the attorney will send a settlement demand letter to the other party (typically to their attorney or insurance company). The demand letter will ask for a certain amount of compensation for your injuries, depending on your expenses and the policy limits.

Lawyer and client discuss a lawsuit

At this point, negotiations may begin between your attorney and the other party’s insurance provider. The insurance company may respond with a lower offer than what was asked for in the demand letter. It may require some back-and-forth between your attorney and the other party, but most injury cases are settled before they ever go to trial.

If negotiations are successful, a settlement agreement will be drafted and signed by both parties. You will receive the agreed-upon compensation to pay off bills and reimburse your own insurance provider for anything they covered.

If the two parties cannot agree upon a settlement during negotiations, your attorney will file a personal injury lawsuit, and the case will move into the litigation phase.

Litigation

During litigation, there are several steps that must be taken before your case ever makes it to a courtroom. In fact, the lawsuit may still be settled out of court. Below are some of the steps in the personal injury lawsuit timeline.

Discovery Process

To file a lawsuit, you must formally file a complaint with the court. The complaint outlines your claim and the amount of money you are asking for as compensation. The complaint is then served to the defendant, who then typically has 30 days to file an answer to the complaint.

After the lawsuit is filed, the discovery phase begins. During this time, each party investigates what evidence the other party has. This evidence may include medical records, video footage, police reports, and other relevant information. The two parties will send interrogatories, or lists of questions, for the other party to answer. Depositions, or testimonies given under oath, are taken from each party as well as witnesses of the accident. Discovery can, and often does, last several months.

Mediation and Negotiations

Negotiations continue to happen throughout the litigation phase as well. Settlement negotiations can happen over the phone between the two attorneys, or they may be more formal. Your attorney always has to get your approval before accepting a settlement offer.

If negotiations aren’t working, other means of reaching a resolution, such as Mediation, might be explored. Mediation is where both clients and their attorneys negotiate with the help of a neutral third party. In many cases, mediation works, and the case is settled before it goes to trial.

Microphone with attorney in the background

Trial

If mediation is unsuccessful, your case will go to trial. During the trial phase, there are several steps that can potentially drag a trial out. Some cases last a matter of days, while others can go for more than a week.

First, a jury will be selected. Evidence will be presented to the jury, including expert testimony. The jury must weigh all the evidence before coming to a verdict. Once the jury has come to a conclusion, they will decide whether you have won your suit or not and how much compensation you will be awarded.

Other Factors That Affect the Case Timeline

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to a personal injury case, therefore, each case will take a different amount of time to settle. Some of the factors that play into the timeline of your case include:

  • The severity of your injuries
  • How long treatment takes
  • The amount of compensation being sought
  • The defendant’s willingness to settle
  • The court’s caseload

When to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney

If you have sustained serious injuries in an accident due to someone else’s negligence (such as a car accident, a case of medical malpractice, or a slip and fall), and your damages exceed the amount allowed in small claims court, it is a good idea to contact an attorney. The claims process is long and complex, and a competent lawyer can make sure nothing is missed.

Contact The Advocates for a Free Consultation

The Advocates understand that your recovery is priority number one and are ready to help you every step of the way during your accident case. Call today for a free case evaluation. The sooner you contact an attorney, the more quickly you can get on the path to recovery.

The Burden of Proof in Personal Injury Cases

You’ve likely heard the term “beyond a reasonable doubt” when referring to evidence in criminal cases. However, civil matters have a lower burden of proof. In a personal injury case, the injured party must prove that the defendant is liable for the damages listed in the claim. The extent to which a plaintiff must prove fault differs depending on what kind of damages they are seeking.

What is Preponderance of the Evidence?

In personal injury claims and other civil cases, the standard of proof is often referred to as the “preponderance of the evidence.” This standard requires that the plaintiff have better or more convincing evidence than the defendant does. The plaintiff must have enough evidence to show that there is a greater than 50% chance that the defendant caused the damages the plaintiff suffered.

For example, if a car accident victim is able to prove that the other driver ran a stop sign, causing them to collide, this evidence might meet the burden of proof for their case. Evidence for this claim might include eyewitness statements, traffic cameras, or body damage on the two vehicles. If the victim’s injuries were a result of this car accident, they would likely be entitled to financial compensation for their medical bills and other expenses related to the accident.

Other types of evidence that can help substantiate a plaintiff’s claims:

  • Photographs from the scene of the accident
  • Police reports
  • Statements made by the at-fault party after an accident
  • Medical records regarding the victim’s injuries and medical history
  • Testimony of health care providers

In general, people in public owe each other a “duty of care,” or a reasonable amount of attention, caution, and prudence. Each person has the responsibility to avoid causing harm to others or their property. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant violated their duty of care to win the case.

Microphone with attorney in the background

 

The Issue of “More Likely Than Not”

You may also hear the preponderance of the evidence in civil cases referred to as “more likely than not.” This is because the plaintiff must prove that it is at least 51% likely that their version of events is true. In a personal injury case, if the jury is convinced that the defendant’s negligence more likely than not caused the plaintiff’s injuries, the plaintiff will win the case.

What are Punitive Damages?

In most personal injury settlements, the money involved is a form of compensation for the damages the victim suffered. These are referred to as “compensatory damages.” They are meant to pay for the victim’s medical bills and other expenses, as well as compensate them for non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering.

However, punitive damages are also sometimes awarded in personal injury lawsuits. Punitive damages are meant to punish the at-fault party for extreme or intentional dangerous behavior and discourage others from participating in that same behavior in the future. Punitive damages are rarely allowed in personal injury cases, unless the victim can prove that the defendant acted with gross negligence or intentional malice.

The evidence standard for punitive damages differs between states, but it is higher than the standard of proof for compensatory damages. Rather than simply needing the preponderance of the evidence, the plaintiff must provide clear and convincing evidence for their version of events.

What is Clear and Convincing Evidence?

In order to prove a fact by clear and convincing evidence, a plaintiff must show that it is highly more likely to be true than untrue. For punitive damages, a 51% likelihood is not enough evidence. The plaintiff’s version of events must be highly probable in order for punitive damages to be awarded.

For example, if a drunk driver caused an accident that killed another motorist, punitive damages may be awarded on top of the compensatory damages in the wrongful death claim. However, the plaintiff would need clear and convincing evidence that the defendant was, in fact, under the influence.

In order to meet the “clear and convincing” standard of proof, the plaintiff will need more or better evidence than they would for compensatory damages.

Does the Defendant Have to Meet a Burden of Proof?

In general, the defendant in a personal injury case does not have the burden of proof. The plaintiff is the one bringing the case, so they must prove their story is true. However, a defendant will likely provide evidence of their own in order to introduce doubt into the minds of the jury regarding the plaintiff’s version of events. There are also certain cases where the burden of proof is shifted onto the defendant.

Shifting the Burden of Proof

There is one circumstance where the burden of proof shifts to the defendant. An affirmative defense is a set of facts that acknowledge the plaintiff’s claims, but mitigate the consequences for the defendant’s actions. If the defendant presents an affirmative defense, the burden of proof is shifted to the defendant. Some examples of possible affirmative defenses are:

  • The statute of limitations has expired
  • The plaintiff assumed the risk of being injured
  • The jurisdiction of the court does not extend over the case
  • The defendant’s actions were done to avoid greater harm

The defendant must provide evidence for these claims to meet the standard of proof.

What to Do After an Accident to Help Your Case

After any accident, it’s important that you take the following steps to protect yourself and provide evidence for your eventual personal injury claim:

Check for and document injuries

Make note of any pain you are feeling and take pictures of any visible injuries. Seek medical attention as soon as possible. If an ambulance is summoned to the scene of the accident, the medical team can check your injuries for you. If injuries are minor and no ambulance is called, you should still see a doctor as quickly as possible. Some injuries may be hidden or may progress gradually. A doctor will check for any injuries you may not see or feel immediately. They will also document your treatment.

Take pictures of the scene

Photographs provide compelling evidence in personal injury claims. Take pictures of any vehicles involved from multiple angles. Be sure to also get pictures of the accident scene as a whole. Make note of weather and traffic conditions at the time of the accident.

File a police report

Many insurance companies require a police report in order to file a claim. Even if the accident does not seem serious, call your local non-emergency line and ask for a police officer to come to the scene. The officer will ask questions of those involved and document the facts surrounding the accident.

Exchange information with the other party

Be sure to get the other party’s name, phone number, address, and insurance information. Gather the contact information of witnesses to the accident, in case they need to provide a statement later.

Report the accident to your insurance provider

Even if you end up filing a claim against the other party’s insurance company, you need to report the accident to your own insurance. Depending on your policy, they may cover some expenses until you receive a settlement and are able to repay them.

Consider hiring a personal injury lawyer

An experienced personal injury attorney has the knowledge necessary to offer legal advice, build your case, file a claim, and negotiate a settlement. You can file the claim yourself, but an attorney can make the process easier and less stressful as you recover from your injuries.

How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

After an accident, it’s easy to feel stressed and overwhelmed. You are likely trying to deal with pain, property damage, medical bills, and insurance companies all at once. A personal injury lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve for the following:

An attorney can help you access adequate medical treatment, get into a rental car, navigate the recovery process, and understand what evidence is necessary for your case.

The Advocates personal injury law firm is a team of caring, competent professionals who are ready to help you throughout your entire case. When you hire an Advocate, you get up-front, honest communication, compassionate care, and fierce representation. Call or chat online with a live attorney for a free consultation. Don’t go through tough times alone. The Advocates are here to help.

 

Do I Need a Lawyer After a Minor Car Crash?

Car accidents can be upsetting and dangerous for everyone involved. Serious accidents can cause life-threatening injuries and devastating damage to your vehicle. Minor collisions, where the associated injuries and property damages aren’t severe, may seem like no big deal in comparison. It may be tempting to just walk away. It is important, however, to take the accident seriously. Even after a fender bender, you should report the accident to the police and your insurance company, seek medical attention, and consider contacting a car accident lawyer.

What Is Considered a Minor Car Accident?

The severity of a car accident depends on your injuries, the damage to your car, and the amount of money involved in any potential settlements. If no one involved in the car crash was seriously injured and the vehicles are still operable, the accident was likely a minor one. Some examples of minor vehicle damage may include:

  • A broken headlight or taillight
  • A cracked windshield
  • A small dent or scratch to the body of the vehicle
  • A broken side view mirror

Minor car accidents usually occur at low speeds, like being rear-ended in a parking lot. After a minor crash, you should be able to drive your car away from the scene of the accident.

What to Do After a Minor Car Accident

Every auto accident, even ones that don’t seem major, should be taken seriously. Regardless of the severity of your accident, you should follow the guidelines below after any vehicle collision

Check for injuries

Check your body for any visible injuries as well as any pain you may be feeling and be sure your passengers do the same. If anyone has serious injuries, seek medical care immediately. Even if no one appears to be injured, see a physician soon after your accident in case of hidden injuries. Tell your doctor you were in a car accident so they know what to look for. This will also ensure that your injuries are documented.

Move vehicles out of traffic if possible

If your car is operational, move it to the shoulder of the road or even into a nearby parking lot. This will allow traffic to continue to move and keep everyone safe as you deal with the accident.

Take photos of the scene

Document the accident with pictures. These can be used as evidence when determining who was at fault. Take pictures of all vehicles involved in the collision from multiple angles, as well as the scene of the accident itself. 

Report the accident to the police

Many insurance companies require a police report in order to file a claim. Even if you do not need an ambulance, call your local non-emergency line and ask them to send a police officer to the scene. Give the officer a factual account of the incident without speculating on whose fault the accident was.

Exchange information with the other driver

Calmly and professionally exchange contact information with the driver of the other vehicle. Be sure to get their name, address, phone number, and insurance information. Ask any witnesses for their contact information as well, in case they need to provide statements later.

Notify your insurance provider

Report the accident to your auto insurance company. Even if it is determined that you were not responsible for the accident, your insurance policy may cover initial damages until you receive a settlement from the at-fault driver’s insurance provider. It is important that you notify your insurer as soon as you can to protect yourself and any insurance claims you may be entitled to.

Consider contacting a car accident lawyer

Not all car accidents require the assistance of an attorney. However, you may be entitled to compensation for any injuries or damages you suffered due to the accident. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you with your car accident case.

What NOT to Do After a Minor Car Accident

What you don’t do after an accident is just as important as what you do. Saying or doing something you shouldn’t can harm your case. You may even enable the other driver to file a claim against you.

Don’t admit fault

It may seem natural to apologize or say “it was my fault,” after a car accident. Do not do this. Insurance companies may see something as simple as an apology as an admission of fault. When giving the police a report of the accident, simply state the facts of the event. Do not give opinions or speculations on what happened. Do not admit fault to the police, the other driver, an insurance adjuster, or anyone else involved in the case.

Don’t leave the scene

In many places, leaving the scene of an accident is against the law. Regardless of how minor the accident may seem, stay put until law enforcement clears you to leave.

Don’t discuss the accident on social media

Anything you post on your social media page can be used against your claim. Avoid talking about the accident, your injuries, or your case in a public way.

Common Injuries From Minor Car Accidents

Immediately after a minor accident, you may feel fine physically. This might mean that you are uninjured, but it could also mean that you have hidden injuries. Thanks to the adrenaline produced by your body after an accident, you may have suffered injuries that you won’t notice for hours, days, or even weeks after the crash. 

In the time following the car accident, pay close attention to your body. Take note of any new symptoms or pain you are feeling, and get them looked at by a medical professional as soon as possible. Some common car accident injuries include:

  • Whiplash
  • Concussion
  • Muscle strains or tears
  • Internal organ damage
  • Spinal cord injuries

While you may not have suffered broken bones or large lacerations, it is important to seek medical treatment immediately after a car accident, even if you believe you are not hurt. Some serious injuries, such as back pain, may progress gradually. This can make them difficult to notice. Easily overlooked injuries can cause serious physical and emotional distress if left unchecked.

What Damages Can I Recover After an Accident?

Even after a fender bender, you may find bills and expenses piling up around you. If you were in an accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for the following damages:

  • Medical bills, including ambulance rides, doctor visits, chiropractic care, and physical therapy
  • Vehicle repairs, tow truck fees, and rental car costs
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Pain and suffering

A car accident attorney can help you determine whether you have a case and what damages you may be owed according to the law.

Insurance Companies Are Not Your Friend

Insurance providers will often do anything they can to avoid offering fair compensation for injuries and other damages. They have a number of tactics to get out of paying a full settlement. Some things an insurance adjuster might do to try and minimize your settlement are:

Deny liability

An insurance company may try to insist that their client was not at fault for the accident. Documenting your crash thoroughly can help you provide evidence for your claim.

Offer a quick settlement

By giving a settlement offer quickly, the insurance provider may hope to satisfy you with less money than you deserve. Your medical treatment needs to be completed before receiving a settlement so that you know the full extent of your damages.

Claim that your injuries were not a result of the accident

An insurance company may try to claim that your injuries were pre-existing conditions, not caused by the car crash. This is why it is crucial to seek medical care after your accident and have all your injuries documented by your doctor.

Diminish the severity of your injuries

Insurance adjusters will use any evidence they can to assert that your injuries are not as bad as you say. Avoid posting anything on social media that could give the insurance provider proof that you are not hurt. For example, a picture of you participating in physical activity could serve as evidence that you are not in pain.

Attempt to be friendly

The insurance adjuster may ask you questions about your injuries or recovery. This might seem like a kind, caring thing to do. Avoid talking to the adjuster about these things– they are likely trying to gain your trust and gather information from you.

Encourage you not to hire an attorney

Insurance companies know that accident victims who hire a personal injury lawyer are more likely to receive a larger settlement than if they were not being represented by an injury attorney. They do not want you to have legal representation that can negotiate your settlement for you.

When Should I Hire an Attorney?

If you have medical expenses, vehicle damage, or ongoing pain as a result of your motor vehicle accident, it is a good idea to contact an attorney. If your damages were due to another driver’s carelessness, you may have a legal right to compensation. A car accident lawyer can help you understand the claims process and receive the payout you deserve.

The Advocates are a law firm of compassionate, competent attorneys who can help you receive the car accident settlement that you are entitled to. An Advocate can help you access medical care, find a body shop for car repairs, build your personal injury claim, and negotiate a fair settlement.  

Call or chat online with a live attorney for a free consultation. You deserve a legal team that communicates openly, cares about your recovery, and doesn’t take a dime unless you win your case. You deserve an Advocate!

The Top 5 Most Dangerous Roads in Montana

With few dense urban centers, most people are surprised to learn Montana is the most dangerous state to drive in. With a record 22.6 car accident deaths per 100,000 people, Montana’s roads and highways are some of the most deadly in the entire country. The biggest reasons why are due to low seat belt use, only 74% compared to the national average of 87%, and a culture of drinking and driving. Too often, driving in Montana is a gamble for too many commuters. Below is a list The Montana Advocates have compiled of the top 5 deadliest roadways in all of Montana.

5. US Highway 191: An Icy Gauntlet of Death

During the winter US Highway 191 is so dangerous that locals suggest avoiding driving through the Canyon despite it being the quickest route to Bozeman and the Yellowstone National Park. Running north to south from Bozeman down to West Yellowstone, US 191 is a snaking and twisting reach of carnage and destruction during the snowy season and is responsible for plenty of car accidents each year. Built in the shadows of two mountain ranges and long known as the preferred route for hurried 18-wheelers that skid and slid as they rush to deliver their cargo, driving through this expanse of Montana asphalt is a little like running the gauntlet. Traveling down an iced US 191 is without a doubt a white-knuckle, panic-inducing experience. Any motorist prone to heart palpitations or a weak bladder should probably just take Highway 287 instead.

4. US Highway 12: The Road of Treachery

From forest fires to rock slides to moose crossings, US Highway 12 surely has its fair share of treacherous obstacles for drivers to overcome. But what earns this roadway a spot on this list is the winding and bending dangers of the infamous Lolo Pass. Located on the border of Montana and Idaho, Lolo Pass is a sky high mountain roadway twisting through the Rocky Mountains at an eye-popping elevation of over 5,000 feet. With few guardrails and sharp turns that seem to pop up out of nowhere, Lolo Pass is a dizzying experience that requires absolute attention of any driver willing to test the mettle of its asphalt. Do yourself a favor when traveling on US 12 and just ignore any texts you receive while driving and try not to blink too long because a moment of distraction is all it takes to send you careening off the road and down into the chasm below.

3. US Highway 93: Where the Wild Things Are

Reaching south from the Canadian border straight through Missoula and all the way down to Idaho, US Highway 93 is one of the most deadly roads to travel on in the United States due to the enormous amount of animal crossings. With over 3,000 wildlife crashes reported in Montana for the year of 2015, Highway 93 is ground zero for animal car accidents in the US. The most dangerous section, however, is the 20-mile stretch between the 90 and 110 mileposts, which studies have shown to have the highest concentration of deer, elk, and even bears lumbering across the roadway. So if you ever find yourself traveling down northwest along Flatlead Lake on US 93, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for any lonely moose crossing the road.

2. US Highway 2: The Lonely Road

What lands the infamous US Highway 2 in the penultimate spot on this list is how remote much of this roadway is at times. Indeed, the Center for Excellence in Rural Safety lists Highway 2 as one of the most dangerous roads in the country due to its abnormal fatality rate, which is easily the highest in the nation. The reason for Highway 2 is due to how long it takes for emergency vehicles to respond to an accident. Car accident victims must often fend for themselves while they wait on average of 80 minutes for ambulances arrive. And considering that Montanans have a propensity of not using seat belts, Highway 2 is deathtrap just waiting to spring.

1. Interstate 90: Don’t Let the Good Times Roll

It’s little surprise that Interstate 90 sits atop the rankings for most dangerous Montana roads. In fact, I-90 is considered the most dangerous stretch of highway in all of the United States. And the reason why has nothing to do with the road itself or any wildlife wandering over its paved lanes.

Unfortunately, I-90 owes its reputation of recklessness to one thing and one thing alone: drunk driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration there was an average of 5 drunk-driving-related deaths per 100,000 people between 2004 to 2013 along Interstate 90. Heavy drinking is a big part of Montana culture and when you mix this with the usual distracted drivers, excessive speeding, and a statewide habit of not using seat belts, Interstate 90 is, by far, the de facto highway of mayhem and destruction in the entire United States.

Call the Attorneys with the Advocates Today

And there you have it. The worst roads and highways in all of Montana. Automobile accidents are a grim reality of the road for far too many people. If you’ve been hurt in an accident through no fault of your own you will need an Advocate on your side. Our car accident lawyers have decades of experience helping victim of an accident victims recover what they are owed according to Montana law. Don’t wait to get back on the road to recovery. Contact the Montana Advocates today. You can either call our office at 406-534-7179 or chat online with a live car accident attorney right now from our homepage. You deserve an Advocate!

Tips For Driving Safely on Rural Roads

More than half of all accidents occur on rural roads while only 13 percent of the country’s population lives in rural areas. Here are some tips to avoid accidents on these potentially dangerous roads.

1. Slow Down

While rural roads may give you the impression that you are all alone on the open road, you must be watchful for other drivers. Follow the speed limit. If you do not see any signs go a reasonable speed – slower than freeway speed.

2. Watch for Blind Curves

Rural roads can be difficult to navigate because they are not as well kept as urban roads. They may not be graded like urban roads, and the visibility may be limited. If you are driving around a curve where you may not be able to see other drivers. Stay as far right as you can without sliding off the road. Go slow enough that you have time to react and respond to anything that crosses your path.

3. Pass carefully

Some rural two-lane roads allow for passing on the left. Always approach these areas carefully. As you pass you will be moving into the path of oncoming traffic. Always check to make sure your path to pass is clear.

4. Watch for slow-moving vehicles.

Rural roads can be home to certain slow moving vehicles like tractors and farm trucks. Tractors move slowly and may be wider than other vehicles, but it is legal for them to be on the road. Treat them like you would any other vehicle. Give them space to travel, and do not follow too closely.

Statements To Avoid After an Accident

After an accident, you may be feeling shaken and confused. This is a common reaction for most people. The scene of a collision can be a very hectic place. Many factors come into play and emotions are usually running high.

Despite your efforts to do everything right behind the wheel, some accidents are simply out of your control. When you’ve been involved in a crash due to another driver’s negligence, there are certain statements you should avoid saying at the scene of an accident.

In the following article, we will outline what words can hurt your legal claim and stop you from getting maximum compensation for your injuries and losses. Don’t worry. Our car accident lawyers with The Advocates are here to guide you through the aftermath of a collision.

What Not to Say After a Car Accident

One of the most common mistakes people make at the scene of an accident is unintentionally giving an admission of fault, especially in situations where you are not the driver responsible for the crash. Some statements can accidentally allude to an admission of guilt. These words often include:

 

1. Do not say “I am sorry” after the accident– While it’s human nature to want to reconcile a very stressful environment, you should not apologize for something you didn’t do. Even though this advice can be used in most life situations, you certainly do not want to say you are sorry at the scene of an accident because this is considered an admission of fault.

2. Do not speculate or give inaccurate information– Giving information that may or may not be true about the exact cause of your accident can potentially hurt your legal claim. If the statements you give prove to be inaccurate, the at-fault party’s insurance company may misinterpret your words or even portray a new narrative suggesting that you are the driver responsible for the crash.

3. Do not say “I am okay” at the scene of an accident– Even if you don’t feel like you’ve been injured, you should avoid stating that you feel fine. Some accident injuries take several days or even weeks to notice. If you plan on filing a personal injury claim, this type of statement can be used against you and the legitimacy of your injuries.

4. Do not say the accident was your fault– Unfortunately, we sometimes admit to things that are not our fault to simply de-escalate a tense situation. However, if you are ever involved in an accident that is not your fault, you should avoid saying this at all costs. It may help to take a few seconds to collect your thoughts right after the collision occurs before speaking to the other driver, any witnesses or the police.

In addition to the above statements, you should keep communication at the scene of an accident very limited to what is absolutely necessary, i.e. contact and insurance information.

When to Contact a Montana Attorney

If you or a loved one were involved in an accident through no fault of your own, you will need an Advocate on your side. Our car accident attorneys know the ins and outs of determining fault and getting you the recovery you are owed.

Don’t wait to contact our law firm. You can call The Advocates today at 406-534-7179 or chat directly with one of our lawyers on our homepage.

Records You Should Keep After A Car Accident

Records have an immense importance in a car accident case. There is no doubt that the moment immediately after a car accident can be very confusing. However, if you have decided to file a claim for a car accident, you might require to give prove from two dimensions. Firstly, the damages you have suffered. Secondly, the driver was at fault. Let’s have a look at the certain type of records you will be needed in order to have a fair chance of proving above cited two things. Hence, in such a situation, it is imperative to have an experienced car accident lawyer by your side to get the maximum financial coverage for the injuries you have sustained in the car accident.

1. Accident Records

It is advisable to keep the records of the accident, as they are critical to your claim. These are as follows:

  • Pictures– Taking the pictures of the damaged car and the accident proves to be a strong point in the long run. Further, take the pictures of the injuries sustained in that accident and how they progress.
  • Police Report– The accident report given by the police contains valuable information in it. It is not only that a law enforcement officer has indicated his/her opinion about how the accident occurred but also it shows that the driver received the ticket or not. Besides this, it also includes statements from the witnesses such as weather conditions or location of the crash.
  • Repair Records– Keeping the car records related to the damage to your vehicle is important. As the records indicate the value of the vehicle before the accident and the probable financial loss.
  • Car Accident Journal– yet another important thing which can be used as an evidence is a car accident journal. It is advisable to the victim from his/her attorney to write down everything about the accident while your memory is fresh. This journal can help the potential victim or the insurance adjuster or the jury get a better sense of what you have been through after the accident.

2. Medical Records

  • After the car accident, the victim normally sustained severe injuries. In such a scenario, their medical expense makes up a significant portion of their demand for the compensation. While you wait for the accident claim to be resolved, medical bills may pile up. Therefore, keep the records of the following medical information:
  • Diagnostic records related to your injuries
  • Emergency medical service records, such as paramedic expenses or ambulance
  • Emergency room treatment records
  • Test results, lab reports, MRI Scans, and other pictures or visual depictions of your injuries
  • Medical reports prepared by your physician as well as notes from medical consultations
  • Physical therapy records
  • All of your medical bill receipts

Hence, it is advisable to keep a detailed summary of your medical records as you receive them, as they are often quite exhaustive.

The bottom line is if you are injured in a car accident, call Santa Fe Springs Personal Injury Attorney who can help you identify as well as gather important documents related to your claim.

Top 5 Most Scenic Drives in Montana

Few things are more quintessential Americana than the road trip. A veritable scenic wonderland awaits intrepid motorists across our great nation. Those lucky enough to call Montana home are surrounded by some of the most diverse and amazing scenery to be found anywhere. Lewis and Clark described its natural beauty as “scenes of visionary enchantment.” If you’re ready to pack up for some spectacular natural beauty via the highways and byways then here are some of the most scenic drives in Montana from the car accident lawyers at the Advocates.

Going-to-the-Sun Road

No list of scenic drives in Montana could be complete without including this spectacular route through the heart of Glacier National Park. The 50-mile passage originally opened in 1933 and was the first National Park route specifically designed with the automobile tourist in mind. Passing by luscious cedar forests and waterfalls as it winds its way up toward ancient glaciers and the wind swept alpine circa of Logan Pass at 6,647 feet. Mountain goats, bighorn sheep and even grizzly bears are common sights.

Snowplow crews take around 10 weeks to clear the upper road of 80 feet or more of snow allowing motorists access. The road typically opens in early June and stays open through mid-October. The visitors center at Logan Pass is also a very popular stop offering amazing day hikes and ranger led activities as well as education about the local animals and geographic features.

Beartooth Highway

Designated an “All-American” road in 2002, this amazing 68-mile route reaches heights of nearly 11,000-feet and features breathtaking views of snowcapped peaks, glaciers, alpine lakes and plateaus. Running between Red Lodge and the northeast entrance of Yellowstone National Park, Beartooth Highway features numerous scenic lookouts allowing an in-depth appreciation of the views.

The highway famously follows the 1872 footsteps of General Philip Sheridan over Beartooth Mountain returning from inspecting the newly formed Yellowstone National Park. Understandably so, snow storms can happen year around at the upper altitudes, so checking the local road conditions is always a good idea before heading out. Normally the road is open from May until October before turning into a popular snowmobile route in the winter months. This drive was famously described as “the most beautiful drive in America,” by late CBS correspondent Charles Kuralt.

Paradise Valley

This 62-mile paved loop south of Livingston meanders along the Yellowstone River in one of Montana’s most scenic valleys. Flanked on the east by the looming Absaroka Range and on the west by the Gallatin Range a few miles off is a wonderful contrast to the open fields and grasslands of the valley, making it one of the most scenic drives in Montana. The picturesque Mallard’s Rest Fishing Access Site is a very popular spot to take a break and try your luck with the fish just picnic down by the river.

Off a gravel road about a block near milepost 42, you’ll find the Yellowstone River in a lazy horseshoe around the campground with the Absaroka mountains as the backdrop. If you’re headed to Yellowstone on Highway 89 then this side trip through the valley offers a respite from the heavy traffic and some of the prettiest views in the area.

Lake Koocanusa Scenic Byway

Connecting Libby and Eureka, this 67-mile route follows the Kootenai River and Lake Koocanusa. Formed in 1974 by the Libby Dam, the narrow gorge of the lake extends all the way north into British Columbia. The name sounds like it has Indian origins but actually a local woman from Eureka combined the first three letters from the river and Canada then adding U.S.A. to win a naming contest hosted by the Corp of Engineers.

Wedged between the Purcell Mountains and the Salish Mountains the steep and rocky canyon walls are perfect habitat for bighorn sheep which are frequently seen in the area. Set aside some extra time If you are a fisherman as Lake Koocanusa is famed as one of the best landlocked salmon fishing spots in the northwest and the Kootenai River is considered a blue-ribbon trout stream with trophy-size rainbow trout. Other popular attractions include sightseeing in local ghost towns and Libby Dam, rock climbing, boating and numerous campground and picnic spots including one on an island.

Kings Hill Scenic Byway

Starting just southeast of Great Falls and heading 71-miles down to White Sulphur Springs, this popular byway passes through the Lewis and Clark National Forest and Little Belt Mountains. Pristine mountain lakes, wild streams and deep forests offer a wide variety of terrain and wildlife habitat encompassing this byway. For adventurous drivers the gravel roads seen crisscrossing the main road leads to over 450 miles of rugged mountain scenery, high lakes, trailheads, campgrounds and many old historic mines.

Much of the wildlife present when Lewis and Clark made their passage still live in the area including mountain goats, bighorn sheep, elk, cougars, lynxes, wolverines and black bears to mention a few. The Showdown Ski Area sits just south of Kings Hill Pass as well some interesting historical museums littering the small towns makes this byway one with something for everyone.

The Montana Advocates

Car accidents can be traumatic for anyone involved. Worrying about insurance claims, lost wages and the headache of an ongoing legal case is a lot for anyone to have to deal with, let alone a family with a member recovering from a serious medical condition because of their accident. The best personal injury attorney who specializes in car accidents is a life saver in overwhelming situations like that.

Here at the Advocates, our car accident lawyers believe everyone deserves a dedicated and diligent professional to help guide you through the difficult process of obtaining just compensation after a car accident. From handling insurance adjusters and compiling medical records to assist in renting a car, our Montana personal injury lawyers will be there to assist every step of the way. Call the Advocates today 24/7 at 406-272-6986 or use our live online chat right away on our homepage. You deserve an Advocate!

3 Ways to Prevent Slip and Fall Accidents

At some point in everyone’s life, gravity sends you sprawling unto the floor. Whether you slip on a spilled liquid, trip due to an electrical cord, or fall because of an icy patch outside of the post office, slip-and-fall incidents are one of the most common types of accidents, as well as one of the most dangerous. According to the US Department of Labor, slip and fall accidents are some of the most typical injury-producing incidents to happen in the workplace.

The following is a list of the most frequent causes of accidents involving slips and falls according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration:

  • Wet and slick floors
  • Broken or uneven walkways and sidewalks
  • Improper matting or a complete lack of mats
  • Unkempt or unspooled extension or electrical cords
  • Slips caused by inclement weather, such as sleet, ice, snow or frost

Thankfully, the Montana Advocates have assembled this explainer about the top 3 ways anyone can prevent slip and fall injuries in your home or place of work.

1. Where the Rubber Meets the Ground: How To Stop Slip and Fall Accidents

Easily the best  way to prevent a slip and fall incident in your workplace or home is to put down rubber mats specially designed to grip and keep shoes from slipping and sliding when they are trodden upon. Multiple studies have shown that well over 25,000 slip and fall incidents occur every day in the United States, and the best way to prevent such incidents from taking place at all is by putting down proper matting designed to help reduce needless slips and falls. It’s wise to only us floor matting determined to be of ‘high traction’ by the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI). Anything less than this standard will likely not be adequate enough to keep people standing on their own two feet.

2. Sign For The Times: Use Safety Signs To Prevent Slips

The next best way to prevent slip and falls is to deploy warning signs. After you mistakenly spill a liquid or food item on the floor, the very first thing you should do is post a safety sign warning the area is a hazardous for anyone who may be walking nearby. Such signs are typically colored bright yellow and are easy to see from a distance. Regardless of whether you quickly clean up the slick surface, you should still station a warning sign as a reminder to other people that they should put safety first and always be attentive to any potentially dangerous surface.

3. Slip Shoes: Safety Before Fashion

The most proactive way to prevent landing on your backside and becoming a victim of a slip and fall incident is to buy a dependable pair of slip-resistant shoes. Technology has come far over the last generation and slip-resistant shoes are now able to grip and grab onto the floor in almost any slick situation. So the next time you’re shopping, do yourself a favor and pick up the best pair of slip-resistant shoes you can find. Trust us. You’ll thank me later.

Contact The Montana Advocates Today

Did you know that each and every year over 8 million people are injured in slip and fall incidents just in the US alone? Often, such injuries could have been avoided if common sense precautions, like the ones above, had been taken ahead of time. If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident due to another person’s recklessness, you will need an Advocate on your side to deal with the legal aftermath.

The attorneys with the Montana Advocates have decades of experience helping slip and fall accident victims just like you. Don’t hesitate to get back on your feet again. Contact the Montana Advocates today for a free case evaluation. You can either call us at (406) 534-7179 or chat online immediately with a live attorney from our homepage. Don’t wait. Contact us today. You deserve an Advocate!

Tips For Driving Safely on Rural Roads

More than half of all accidents occur on rural roads while only 13 percent of the country’s population lives in rural areas. Here are some tips to avoid accidents on these potentially dangerous roads.

1. Slow Down

Snowy road in the Montana Rockies

While rural roads may give you the impression that you are all alone on the open road, you must be watchful for other drivers. Follow the speed limit. If you do not see any signs go a reasonable speed – slower than freeway speed.

2. Watch for Blind Curves

Rural roads can be difficult to navigate because they are not as well kept as urban roads. They may not be graded like urban roads, and the visibility may be limited. If you are driving around a curve where you may not be able to see other drivers. Stay as far right as you can without sliding off the road. Go slow enough that you have time to react and respond to anything that crosses your path.

3. Pass carefully

Some rural two-lane roads allow for passing on the left. Always approach these areas carefully. As you pass you will be moving into the path of oncoming traffic. Always check to make sure your path to pass is clear.

4. Watch for slow-moving vehicles.

Rural roads can be home to certain slow moving vehicles like tractors and farm trucks. Tractors move slowly and may be wider than other vehicles, but it is legal for them to be on the road. Treat them like you would any other vehicle. Give them space to travel, and do not follow too closely.

Should I File a Zantac Lawsuit?

Over the last year, the FDA has requested that all products containing ranitidine, more commonly sold under the brand name Zantac, be pulled from the market immediately.

The recall was ordered due to concerns that ranitidine medications may contain dangerously high levels of a cancer-causing chemical called N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). The FDA has ordered that all prescription and over-the-counter ranitidine drugs must be taken off the shelves.

If you or a loved were developed any kind of cancer after taking Zantac, you should speak with a Zantac lawyer to see if you can file a lawsuit.

What Type of Cancers are Linked to Zantac?

In 2019, an online pharmacy in Connecticut reported that it had found the cancer-causing chemical NDMA in several batches of Zantac and its generic brand, ranitidine.

Less than a year later, the FDA announced that the medication shows a risk to public health and may be causing different types of cancer in consumers. Exposure to NDMA can cause any of the following cancers:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Stomach cancer

Many doctors have diagnosed people with cancer after taking Zantac. The list above is not limited to the different types of cancer caused by the prescription drug. If you developed any kind of cancer after taking Zantac, it’s in your best interest to speak with an attorney right away.

Do I Qualify for a Zantac Lawsuit or Settlement?

In order to potentially quality for a Zantac lawsuit, you have to first prove use. This means that you have to show that you took Zantac or ranitidine. If you were prescribed ranitidine, then it can be easily proven that you took the medication in a copy of your pharmacy records. If you regularly took Zantac, you will need any medical records or even receipts/statements that support this.

Second, you will need to prove an injury was caused by taking the medication. If you were diagnosed with one or more cancers listed above, you can request a copy of your medical records from your doctor or hospital (or you can work with an attorney to obtain your medical records for you).

Considered the most important part of filing a Zantac lawsuit is being able to prove that your medication use and cancer diagnosis are related. There are many factors that go into this, which is why it’s vital to at least speak with a Zantac lawyer about your case.

Speak with a Zantac Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one were recently diagnosed with cancer after taking Zantac, you will need to speak with an attorney right away. You may be entitled to compensation for any injuries associated to the use of taking the medication.

Our Zantac lawyers at The Advocates can provide the legal knowledge you will need to determine if you qualify to file a lawsuit. Should you qualify, we will represent you and your case until you get the recovery you are rightfully owed. You can contact us today at 307-271-6404 or use our Live Chat Here.

You deserve an Advocate.

Most Dangerous Safety Issues with Airbags

Car Accident

Did you know that millions of cars have been recalled due to faulty airbags? Airbags are designed to help keep drivers and passengers safe from serious injuries, but what happens if they don’t work?

In the last 30 years, car manufacturers have worked tirelessly to make motor vehicles safer to drive. For the most part, airbags have helped save many lives. In fact, airbags dropped the number of traffic fatalities by 29% in the U.S.

While they are certainly one of the most important safety features in a vehicle, defective airbags can cause serious, if not life-threatening, injuries.

In the following article, we will outline what can go wrong with airbags, common airbag-related injuries and how we can help you recover compensation for an airbag injury.

What are the Top 4 Airbag Defects?

Car Accident

A defective airbag can pose an imminent threat to a driver or passenger’s safety during a collision. But before we discuss some of the most common defects, it’s important to understand just how airbags work.

When a vehicle collides with another object, the speed of the vehicle reduces significantly. In those few seconds that your car decelerates, an accelerometer (which is an electric chip that measures acceleration or force) detects this rapid change. If the change in speed is drastic enough, then the airbag is triggered to deploy.

When this sensor stops working properly, the results can be alarming. Here are 4 common airbag defects you should know:

  1. Airbags can deploy at the wrong time
  2. Airbags can fail to deploy at all
  3. Not all airbags deploy
  4. Airbags can release too aggressively

If an airbag deploys incorrectly during an accident, you can suffer serious injuries from this malfunction. Even worse, a well-known airbag brand named Takata created a faulty airbag that exploded at the time of deployment and ended up claiming the lives of 16 people, leaving hundreds more injured. All of which could have been avoided with the proper safety inspection during the manufacturing process.

Common Airbag-Related Injuries

There are a number of factors that can cause airbag-related injuries. A few being the speed in which the airbag is deployed, the chemicals used in the device and the timing and effectiveness of deployment.

Below are the most common types of airbag injuries:

  • Burns to arms, hands and chest
  • Damage to the lungs
  • Abrasions to the upper part of the body
  • Spine injuries
  • Bone fractures
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Eye injuries

If you recently suffered an injury due to a faulty airbag, you should speak to a medical doctor right away. These injuries can worsen over time and create even more problems later down the road.

How to Sue for an Airbag Injury

You have the right to pursue a legal claim if you were injured by a defective airbag. This type of injury claim is called a product liability case, where our attorneys will hold the people responsible for your injuries accountable for their faulty product.

Here at The Advocates, we know the ins and outs of product liability law and will make sure you are fairly compensated for your pain and suffering. Your initial consultation is on us. Simply call our office today at 307-466-0003 or Chat with Us on our homepage. Don’t wait.

Your recovery is our top priority.  

COVID-19 Personal Injury Lawsuit FAQs

With nearly 7.5 million cases of COVID-19 in the U.S, it’s no doubt the pandemic has reshaped society in many ways. The amount of negligence that continues to arise due to the virus has caused even more people to contract Covid-19 and either experience long-lasting symptoms or worse, they pass away.

As we continue adjusting to the norms of the pandemic, an increasing number of personal injury lawsuits are being filed against companies throughout the country. For example, many employees and customers are seeking recovery for financial and emotional damages caused by the drastic effects of COVID-19.

If you recently contracted the virus at work, you may be wondering whether or not you speak with a personal injury lawyer. In the following article, we will go over some of the most common questions involving COVID-19 personal injury lawsuits in the workplace.

1. What should I do if I was infected at work?

For people who are infected with COVID-19 at work, your best option to recover any damages is to speak with a workers’ compensation attorney right away. Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance provided by companies to cover employees who suffer any work-related injuries or illness on the job.

A workers’ compensation lawyer will help you determine whether your sickness arose during the course of employment and how to retrieve fair compensation for medical bills, lost wages or emotional distress you endured due to the virus.

2. How long do I have to file a COVID-19 personal injury lawsuits against an employer?

Like most personal injury lawsuits, states require civil tort claims to be filed two years after an injury. For injuries or deaths that occurred early in the pandemic, the statute of limitations will not expire until March of 2022.

3. If I file a lawsuit for a workplace transmission of COVID-19, will workers’ compensation exclusivity apply?

To put it simply, it depends on the state your job is in. State laws vary greatly when it comes to determining whether illness or death from COVID-19 is exclusively covered by workers’ compensation programs in your state. Several states, such as California, have adopted a rebuttable presumption that certain employees who test positive for COVID-19 contracted the virus at work for workers’ compensation purposes.

However, most states have not adopted a reputable assumption and instead can deny claims suggesting employees contracted the virus outside of the workplace. Although, many states are starting to recognize an exception to workers’ compensation exclusivity in instances where negligence or intentional harm is inherent. These instances include:

-Employees were denied access to proper protection equipment

-Employees were given false information about the safety of the workplace and the likelihood of contracting the virus

4. Can my employer receive tort immunity if they follow mitigation guidelines?

While most state laws vary depending on the type of business involved, several states have passed laws limiting tort liability for in-state business. However, the laws pertaining to the extent at which tort immunity applies greatly depends on whether the business followed local health department guidelines as well as if gross negligence or intentional torts are involved. Many COVID-19 complaints contain allegations of intentional wrongdoing on behalf of the defendant businesses.

5 Steps to Take During Your Personal Injury Case

If you were injured and plan to file a personal injury claim, you should continue reading. The key to building a successful personal injury case is being fully prepared for any possible outcome along the way.

Here at The Advocates, our personal injury attorneys will guide you through the aftermath of an being injured due to someone else’s negligence. Even though the legal claims process can feel overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. Our attorneys know the ins and outs of personal injury law and have the experience you will need to build a strong legal case.

While no two personal injury cases are exactly the same, the following article outlines 5 steps every injury victim should take so that your injury claim has the best chance of success.

What Steps Can Help Strengthen Your Legal Claim?

Much of the personal injury claims process is time sensitive, so it’s important that you start taking the steps necessary as soon as possible. These steps include:

1. Speak With an Experienced Attorney Right Away

If you were injured due to someone else’s negligence, you will need to contact an experienced personal injury attorney right away. Once you contact The Advocates, we will work diligently to make sure you are fully compensated for your injuries and losses in a timely manner.

Being injured by another person can cause a range of issues for everyone involved, including you and your family. While you focus on recovering, our attorneys will fight for fair settlement to help cover your medical bills, lost wages and any other damages from your accident.

2. Only Speak to Your Attorney About Your Case

This is one of the most important steps you can take to help strengthen your legal claim. Whether you’ve been contacted by an insurance adjuster or simply have questions about your case, you should keep all communication about your personal injury case between you and your attorney.

Oftentimes, insurance companies will contact you about information regarding your accident. Speaking to insurance without your attorney present, if at all, can seriously impact the outcome of your case.

3. Don’t Post About Your Claim on Social Media

We can’t stress this one enough. Defense attorneys and insurance companies are trained to look at your social media accounts and potentially misinterpret anything you say about your injuries online.

The at-fault party’s legal team will look for any reason to diminish the seriousness of your case. Put simply, don’t post on social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

4. Continue Visiting Your Doctor

If you were injured by another person, you should continue going to your medical appointments. Going to these visits will help strengthen your legal claim and prove that your injuries are serious. However, if you stop going to your appointments, the party responsible for your injuries will hold this against you and insurance will likely offer the lowest compensation amount, knowing that you haven’t been receiving treatment.

5. Fight for Maximum Compensation for Your Injuries

It’s a very common tactic for insurance companies to offer the lowest settlement amount for an accident victim’s injuries. Our attorneys won’t settle for less and neither should you. We encourage you to fight for full compensation for your injuries and losses.

When working with The Advocates, you can receive up to 3x more in compensation than without the legal experience of our law firm. Get your free consultation today and we’ll help you retrieve the recovery you are owed. Don’t wait. Contact our attorneys at 307-466-0003 or use the chat form fill on our homepage.

What Not to Say at the Scene of an Accident

The scene of a car accident can be a very hectic place. Nerves are usually jangled, emotions are running high and trying to remember all the right things to say isn’t exactly first on the agenda when dealing with a collision.

Sometimes you can do everything right behind the wheel only to end up having another car crash into yours, causing significant damage and stress. It’s important to understand, however, that there are some statements you should mindful of in the aftermath of a crash. What you say can potentially come back to haunt you if you decide to seek compensation for your injuries and losses later down the road.

In the following article, we will explain what words may hurt your legal case, how your statements can be misconstrued or misunderstood and when you should call a car accident lawyer with The Advocates.

What Shouldn’t I Say at the Scene of a Crash?

One of the most common mistakes car accident victims make at the scene of a crash is giving an admission of fault. Even if you don’t directly admit you were at-fault, there are certain statements that can allude to an admission of fault. Here are a few words you should avoid:

  • Do Not Apologize After the Accident by Saying “I’m sorry” While apologizing after a collision occurs, whether it was your fault or not, may come as instinctual for most people, it can be considered an admission of fault. If the other driver is responsible for the accident, then you have nothing to be sorry for and you should let your car accident attorney determine liability with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
  • Do Not Say the Accident Was Your Fault This may seem like an obvious statement to avoid, but it can be easy to accidentally admit fault in the heat of the moment. In fact, many drivers unintentionally blurt out to the other driver that the collision was their fault. Sometimes we do this out of anxiety or mid-panic, but easing tension with an admission of guilt can impact how you are compensated later on.
  • Do Not Say “I am okay” or “I am fine” After the Accident Another simple mistake accident victims often make is saying that you are okay or giving any statement along those lines. If you plan to file a personal injury claim, this phrase can be used against you and the validity of your injuries from the accident. It’s true that some accident injuries take days or even weeks to notice. You may not have symptoms at first but this does not mean they aren’t there.
  • Do Not Speculate or Give Inaccurate Information Accidents occur for many reasons, the most common being a driver’s negligence. However, you should never speculate about the exact cause of the crash without concrete evidence. Your statements can be misconstrued and turned into a different narrative portraying you as the at-fault driver. Leave the speculation up to the insurance adjusters and the accident investigators.

In addition to statements you should avoid saying at the scene of an accident, it’s possible that even correct statements can be misinterpreted. Car accident witnesses might mistake a statement such as “I was paying attention” for “I was not paying attention.” It’s important to only speak about what is absolutely necessary, such as insurance and contact information.

When to Contact a Wyoming Car Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one were recently injured in a car accident, you should contact The Advocates right away. Determining liability is the most important step in building a successful personal injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company.

Here at The Advocates, our car accident lawyers are dedicated to you and getting the recovery you deserve. Don’t wait. Contact us today at 307-466-0003 or use our Live Chat feature on our homepage. You deserve an Advocate.

Who is Liable for a Blown Semi-Truck Tire?

What is a Tire Blowout?

Did you know that tire blowouts cause over 75,000 traffic accidents each year in the U.S? If you’ve ever experienced a tire blowout, you understand first-hand just how dangerous and scary it can be.

A blowout is a rapid, explosive loss of air pressure in any kind of inflatable tire. Blowouts can occur in a matter of seconds or slowly accumulate over time, depending on the cause of the blowout.

When a tire blows out, drivers face the sudden danger of losing full control and maneuverability of their vehicle. According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, tire blowouts kill more than 400 people each year.

Tire blowouts most commonly occur when drivers haul an overloaded vehicle, a sharp object punctures the tire or a massive cut or tear goes unnoticed in the tire for a long period of time. Each of these causes, no matter how quickly they come to fruition, increase the risk of being injured in a serious accident.

In the following article, our Wyoming semi-truck accident lawyers with The Advocates will explain the process of determining liability for defective tires in a truck accident. If you have any legal questions about being injured in a truck accident due to defective, you can call The Advocates 24/7 at 307-466-0003.

Determining Liability for Defective Tires in Truck Accidents

It’s no doubt that for truck drivers, tire blowouts are nothing short of catastrophic. For this reason alone, truck drivers have to think about swapping out old or defective tires on a daily basis, as well as constantly be on the lookout for sharp objects in the roadway.

That being said, the federal government mandates that all truck drivers must complete daily inspections before their trip. This includes a thorough inspection of all tires on the truck. But even with these regulations put in place, defective tires continue to cause problems in the trucking industry.

If you were involved in a truck accident due to defective tires, you may be wondering which party is responsible for the collision: the truck driver, the trucking company, or the tire manufacturer.

In most cases, tire manufacturers are responsible for providing faulty products. In 2019 alone, U.S. tire manufacturers listed 14 different tire recalls from several major companies. Cooper Tire and Rubber Co. was one of the major brands to issue a recall that affected over 4,000 commercial trucks. The company, like many others, stated that this defect that could “develop into a tire failure in the sidewall.”

When it comes to proving negligence in a defective tire case where determining fault can be tricky, it is pivotal to work with an experienced semi-truck accident lawyer.

When to Hire a Wyoming Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer

Whether you were driving in a passenger vehicle or are the truck driver who was injured by faulty tires, you will need the best legal representation on your side. The Advocates are here to determine who is responsible for your injuries and losses and make sure you are fully compensated for your accident.

Our semi-truck accident attorneys have decades of experience working with insurance companies of manufacturers and are ready to fight for your legal obligation to justice. Don’t wait to contact The Advocates. You can call us today at 307-466-0007 or speak with an attorney using our Live Chat Feature on our homepage. You deserve an Advocate!

COVID Traffic Drop Doesn’t Mean Fewer Deaths

A strange paradox has emerged with the recent Coronavirus quarantine: fewer cars on the road has caused more deaths.

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), while miles driven during the pandemic have dropped by a whopping 18%, motor-vehicle deaths only dropped by 8%. This translates to an increase of “motor vehicle fatalities per miles driven” by 14% compared to this time last year. Indeed, there were 1.22 deaths for every 100 million miles driven in March compared to just 1.07 in March of 2019.

If there are less cars on the road due to the quarantine, then why is it suddenly more dangerous to drive on the roads? What gives? Ken Kolosh, the statistics manager for the National Safety Council, is just as confused when he spoke to NPR.

“What really strikes me is the incredible speed of the changes we’re seeing on the roadways. Looking at other recessions what you usually see is a decrease in the number of deaths, or the injuries and fatality rate holding steady or decreasing slightly.”

Experts believe that empty stretches of highway encourage motorists whom are out and about on the road to speed and drive recklessly.

“Per mile traveled, our roads are less safe than they were prior to Covid-19,” said Kolosh. “A lot of drivers are taking the open roads as an invitation for an open season on speeding and other dangerous behaviors.”

The most likely cause of the uptick in motor-vehicle deaths is due to lead-footed drivers blowing through posted speed limits. The president of the NSC Lorraine Martin sees the rise in deaths as an “apparent open season on reckless driving.” Martin pressed the need for responsibility during the quarantine.

“Right now, in the midst of a global pandemic and crisis, we should take it as our civic duty to drive safely. If we won’t do it for ourselves, we should do it for our first responders, our law enforcement and our healthcare workers, who are rightly focused on coronavirus patients and should not be overwhelmed by preventable car crashes.”

The National Safety Council provided safety tips for drivers over the Memorial Day on how to avoid automobile crashes during the pandemic:

  • Follow all posted speed limits, regardless of the density of traffic
  • With more people staying home, watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists
  • If you are a pedestrian or bicyclist, remain vigilant; reduced traffic doesn’t mean no traffic
  • Drive defensively by wearing a seatbelt, not driving inebriated or with little sleep, and avoid distractions such as your cell phone
  • Lecture your teenage drivers about safe driving

If you are unlucky and are involved in a car accident, be sure to contact The Advocates about your legal options. Our attorneys have the expertise and experience you need to make the best recovery possible following your accident. No need to settle for second best when you can have an Advocate looking after your legal needs. Contact our Casper office today to find out how an Advocate can help your case. You can either call us at (307) 466-0003, fill out the form below, or chat right now with a live attorney from our homepage. You deserve an Advocate!

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Who Is At Fault In A Car Accident?

Identifying the responsible party for a car accident is critical at times. There is a significant difference between the person who legally is at fault and who actually caused an accident. The one who is at fault will have to face serious consequences as in he/she has to pay for damage to vehicles as well as properties. Besides this, which driver will be held liable for personal injuries! Generally, the one responsible for an accident will have to pay for all the damages caused due to the accident. Moreover, there are multiple states that have complicated systems of determining fault, there, a fraction of the blame is thrown on each driver that had any part in causing or failing to avoid that accident. Hence, such a situation lead to different monetary obligations on each party for an accident and their respective insurance providers.

Generally, any driver who violates traffic law is responsible for a resulting car accident. If any of the drivers are issued a citation for speeding, violation or running a light then he/she will most likely be at fault and carries the heaviest burden of the resulting liability. However, this is not the rule of thumb. A case in point is a car driver who cuts across several lanes of traffic to turn, and causing cars behind him to slam on their brakes. Meanwhile, another driver fails to stop in time, resultantly, colliding into another vehicle. Now, in such a scenario, the accident was caused primarily by the recklessness of the first driver, who may be cited; however, the driver who failed to stop the other one in time will also be primarily at fault, as it was too closely following the other car.

Therefore, it is highly advisable to begin collecting evidence at the scene, to support your defense or claim regarding fault in the accident. Besides this, try to record any comments made by the other drivers after the accident. Also, the witnesses present on the spot often have a definite opinion about a fault in an accident, irrespective of the legal requirements or who is ultimately quoted by the police. Further, record witnesses names as well as their phone numbers. Ask them to relate their account of the accident as well as adding the reason why they think one or the other of the drivers are at fault.

Summarizing the above discussion, the ultimate determination of who is at the fault will be decided by the combination of admissions by the drivers, citations by the police, statements by witnesses, and the prudent reasoning of a judge or jury. Anyhow if you build a strong defense, it is likely possible to settle a case well before a final determination on the due merits of the court. It is advisable to immediately contact an experienced Florida car accident attorney. As these skilled people help you not only in avoiding jail time but also a time reducing the penalties or fines.

Top Five Worst Truck Accidents in Montana

Trucks and semis are vital components of commerce and the economy. They provide an invaluable option for countless businesses from coast to coast. The never-ending flow of goods does, however, have a dark side. When truck accidents occur, the sheer magnitude of their size and weight become fatal liabilities.

Statistics show that in traffic accidents involving cars and trucks, passengers in the car are four times more likely to suffer fatal injuries than operators of the big rigs. Weighing in upwards of 80,000 pounds and with twice the needed stopping distance of a car, trucks are dangerous to share the road with and Montana, especially, is notoriously known for its truck accidents. Here are the five worst truck accidents in Treasure State history from the Montana truck accident lawyers with The Advocates.

Fiery Collision Near Whitefish, Montana

Truck-driver talks on cell phone at the wheel of his big rig

One of the most tragic truck accidents in Montana history occurred when a school bus collided with a fuel tanker truck during a January snow storm in 1984. The local high school wrestling team was returning from a match on Saturday evening when the double tanker truck jackknifed across the highway right in front of them.

Nearby onlookers said a large fireball completely surrounded the bus as soon as the truck hit with flames quickly engulfing the interior. Although the driver of the truck survived, nine people in the school bus, including a coach, his wife and small child, sustained fatal injuries while another 19 people were injured as well. This is the worst truck accident in Montana State history.

Great Falls Collision Blamed on Foggy Wet Conditions

Fort Benton High School lost five students and their musical director who were en route to a music competition in March of 1957. The head on truck crash occurred at 7:30 am on a foggy, wet morning. While the driver of the truck escaped with only minor injuries, unfortunately none of the passengers in the car survived.

The front end of the truck was severely damaged but newsmen arriving on the scene reported the passenger car was utterly demolished. Too often, these roadway giants severely damage smaller vehicles, leaving behind a trail of destruction.

Five Truck Pile-up with a Fatal Twist

A flatbed truck hauling lumber lost control on eastbound I-90 in the early morning hours of December 19, 2018.  The truck broadsided, spilling its load and completely blocking the eastbound lanes. Neither the driver nor passenger sustained injuries, however, moments later a second semi-truck veered left trying to avoid the crash and jumped the median landing across the westbound lanes. This driver exited the truck and, fearing being struck by westbound traffic, he jumped over the guard rail. Tragically, the semi truck driver did not realize it was over a 100’ drop and sustained fatal injuries in the fall.

At this point, a third semi-truck went into a broadside skid, partially ejecting the driver, who was left with serious injuries. Two more semi trucks soon followed and crashed right into the carnage, killing one of the truck drivers. The icy conditions also led to a first responder slipping and falling 40’ off the bridge deck, also sustaining serious injuries.

Passing Lane Error Leads to Head On with Oil Tanker

Trucker does a safety check on his tires.

Just outside of Roundup, Montana on April 29, 1955, one of the most tragic truck accidents occurred on Highway 6 that evening.

In an ill-advised attempt to pass a second automobile, the driver in the first car of the truck accident leaned into oncoming traffic and collided head on with an oil tanker. The head on collision left three passengers with fatal injuries including the driver’s sister and two others. Both the driver of the second car and oil tanker truck escaped without injury.

Truck Spills Military Projectiles on Highway 212

One of the most recent tragic truck accidents in Montana closed over 60 miles of highway for more than 24 hours. On February 9th, of 2019, Highway 212 was shutdown for an entire day when a pileup of three semi trucks occurred. The truck accident happened between Hammond and Boyes when two semi-trucks collided head on, forcing a third truck to swerve and wreck into a ditch.

According to Montana sheriff officers, one of the trucks spilled military projectiles across the roadway. The truck spill forced a wide and lengthy closure of Highway 212. Nevertheless, crews worked fast and diligently to clear the scene. The military even had to detonate some of the ordinance. Miraculously, no injuries occurred in this potentially explosive situation.

The Advocates of Montana

Being in a truck accident can be incredibly traumatic for anyone involved. Worrying about insurance claims, lost wages and the headache of an ongoing legal case is a lot for one person to deal with alone. A truck accident attorney who specializes in truck and semi truck accidents will be able to help you navigate the ins and outs of building a strong truck accident claim.

We at the Advocates believe everyone deserves a dedicated and diligent truck accident lawyer to help guide you through the difficult process of obtaining just compensation after being in a truck accident. From handling insurance adjusters and compiling medical records to assisting in renting a car, your truck accident attorney will be there for you every step of the way. Call us today 24/7 at 406-272-6986 or take advantage of our live online chat on our homepage. You deserve an Advocate!

The Top 5 Best Motorcycle Rides in Montana

 

Without a doubt, Montana has some of the most scenic countryside you’ll find in the continental United States. From the towering mountains of the Rockies in the west to the expansive skies found above the eastern prairies, Montana is the perfect place to take a tour on your next holiday. Just remember to be safe and avoid being injured in a motorcycle accident. We’ve compiled a list of the 5 best motorcycle rides you can take in the Big Sky Country of Montana.

#5. US Highway 12 – Onward From Missoula to Lewiston

Coming in at number 5 is the curvy highway of US 12 running through the Lolo and Nez Perce-Clearwater National forests. What makes this motorcycle route so scenic is that it closely follows the winding bends of both the Lochsa and Clearwater rivers. On this ride you’ll take in rolling hills, rocky mountain cliffs, and the dense and lush pine forests of Orofino. There are plenty of camping spots and opportunities to see all of the wildlife Montana has to offer from deer to elk, bears, moose, to eagles and hawks, and maybe even a gray wolf if you are lucky. US Highway 12 from Missoula to Idaho is a true sight to see from the seat of a motorcycle.

#4. The Secret Backroads of 141

This especially scenic motorcycle ride begins in the town of Avon, just west of Helena, and ends 32 miles north at Highway 200. On this route you’ll come across the true heartland of the great state of Montana. Along Route 141 you’ll come across lush farmland with roaming cattle, the beautiful Garnet Mountains, rolling hillsides, and enough picaresque landscape views that you’ll be surprised how often you pull over to take a photo of the skyline. Route 141 is one of Montana’s best kept secrets.

#3. The (Pre)Historic Highway 89

Mile for mile, you won’t find a more spectacular route to take than Highway 89 from Yellowstone National Park to the northern Glacier National Park. The motorcycle ride is certainly a long one, taking 6 to 7 hours to travel the route’s 350 miles, but it’s more than worth it. Not only will you get a chance to behold Montana’s current natural wonders—green pastures, mountain backdrops, and crystal lakes—you can experience wonders of the past as well. Stop in the town of Choteau to take in marvels of the prehistoric age where you can see the very first dinosaur egg ever discovered. This motorcycle ride is the perfect way to spend time at two of the world’s most beautiful and renowned national parks. Be sure not to miss out.

Snowy road in the Montana Rockies

#2. Beartooth Pass

Beartooth Pass is easily the most dangerous of the motorcycle rides to be featured on this list. With its extreme ups and downs (nearly 12,000 feet in some stretches of road), US Highway 212 will surely leave your knuckles white with nervousness. Don’t expect many guardrails to keep you from careening off the side of the road, so take it slow and steady when you can. On your way up the 50 or so miles from Red Lodge to Silver Gate, you’ll see all Montana has to offer. From frigid tundra to secluded forests, snaking rivers, and absolutely stunning mountaintop views. Find out why many riders consider Beartooth Pass to be the quintessential motorcycle ride in all of Montana.

#1. The Glacier National Park Loop

Whether you start in the town of West Glacier or further east in Saint Mary, riding the looping circle through the Glacier National Park will be one of the best motorcycle experiences of your life. Stretching close to 150 miles along Highway 2 and Highway 89 and then back along the Going-To-The-Sun Road you’ll see the Glacier National Park as few people get to see it. Just riding upon the Going-to-the-Sun Road alone is worth the price of admission for motorcycle riders up to the challenge. With a small window during the summer to traverse this road, you won’t want to miss the Mount Everest of motorcycle rides. Just be sure to plan carefully and be ready for steep and dangerous ascents through the Rocky Mountains. Happy trails!

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Top 5 Worst Dog Attacks in Montana History

While Montana is certainly known for its wild animals—bears, wolves, and even the occasional angry moose—common dog attacks remain a problem in the Big Sky Country. Indeed, the state of Montana sees hundreds of dog bites each and every year. Many people may find it hard to believe but dogs remain a greater threat in Montana than any other type of animal. With so many dogs running about, dog bites are a continued health risk for all Montanans. Here are the top 5 dog attacks in Montana history:

#5. Livingston Dog Bite, Montana, 2013

aggressive barking dog behind fence guarding garden

One restaurant employee got a nasty surprise when he decided to return to work late one night. After grabbing a drink at a bar after a long shift, a local Livingston man returned to the restaurant he worked at to grab his laptop before returning home. After preparing a late-night salad, the man came face to muzzle with a trained police dog. The man attempted to assuage the dog by greeting it with, “Hey, puppy.” But the K-9 unit attacked anyway, biting down on the man’s thigh. When he tried to pull the dog off of him, the dog bit down on his wrists. After the dog’s partner determined the man wasn’t a dangerous burglar attempting to thieve away croutons in the middle of the night, the man was rushed to the hospital. Remarkably, the police department refused to apologize for the excessive use of force. It’s no wonder that the man soon filed a lawsuit against the police department after being discharged from the hospital.

#4. Missoula Dog Attack, Montana, 2017

Every once in a while, police officers are the ones who suffer a dog bite while on the job. Late one night in 2017, two Missoula police officers noticed a man stumbling drunkenly toward his car. When the inebriated man got behind the wheel of his car and fired up the engine, the officers had no choice but to act. After requesting that the man get out of the vehicle, the man instead stomped on the gas, colliding with the car parked in front of him. When one of the officers attempted to physically remove the man, he was attacked by the man’s dog. The officer involved in the dog attack was bitten twice by the dog and treated at a local hospital. The drunken man fared far worse as he was charged with a felony and several misdemeanors.

#3. Dog Bite in Kalispell, Montana, 2016

A 9-year old girl was bitten by a mix-breed Labrador after mistakenly throwing a ball into a neighbor’s yard. The girl hopped the fence to recover the ball from the dog’s maw, politely asking the animal to drop it. The dog proceeded to drop the ball, but only so it could bite the young girl’s face. The girl was rushed to a local hospital where she was given over 40 stitches to repair her face. Remarkably, the city of Kalispell did not require the dog’s owner to put the animal to sleep, despite the animal leaving the girl with permanent disabilities.

#2. Dog Attack in Bozeman, Montana, 2017

Two pit bull dogs attacked an elderly Bozeman woman in 2017 in an attack that left her brain dead before ultimately taking her life. The victim was one Melissa Barnes, 65, who was bitten by dogs belonging to her neighbor and tenant. Police investigators believe the dogs were likely playing with Barnes when she fell over. The dogs were then triggered and began to attack the woman. Barnes spent several days in a coma before eventually succumbing to her injuries. The dogs in question were euthanized shortly after the attack and the owner was cited for violating the county’s dog control regulations. The story made headlines due to the rarity of dog attack deaths.

#1. Ulm Dog Attack, Montana, 2006

By far the most tragic dog attack in the history of Montana happened in the tiny town of Ulm. A 4-year old toddler named Dominic alone in his relative’s back yard when one of his uncle’s Rottweilers attacked the boy. The boy’s mother checked on him after a few minutes and found one of the Rottweilers standing over his mauled body. The boy was rushed to a nearby hospital where he underwent emergency surgery, but it was too little, too late. The boy soon passed away. The dog was euthanized after the attack at the request of the family.

The Most Dangerous Roads in Nebraska

When thinking of Nebraska, do lighthouses and rainforests first come to mind? Think again! Nebraska is home to the biggest indoor rainforest in the United States and a 75-year-old lighthouse standing thousands of miles away from the nearest ocean.

While the Cornhusker State brings pure country bliss and unusual tourist destinations, there a few roadways you should avoid or at least be weary of. In fact, some of the following most dangerous roads in Nebraska have given birth to this local saying, “The speed limit is 75 but you can drive 90!” Though not encouraged, speeding is the number one cause of accidents in the state.

If you need legal advice about a crash, you can call The Advocates 24 hours a day! Our car accident lawyers are available to answer any questions you may have.

Top 4 Most Dangerous Roads in Nebraska

1. Interstate 80: A Statewide Highway of Terrordangerous nebraska roads

Ranked at the top of our list of most dangerous roads in Nebraska, Interstate 80 is a well-traversed highway that crosses through the many rolling plains of the Midwest. Having seen over 180 traffic deaths in Nebraska in the last ten years, this roadway should be driven with the utmost care.

Risk Factors:

  • High risk of speeding
  • Distracted driving plays huge factor
  • Improper lane changing and merging
  • Frequently used truck route

In 2018, Nebraska lawmakers had intentions to increase the speed limit on several highways throughout the state. However, they excluded I-80 to avoid the possibility of inviting more danger to the roadway. If you’re traveling on I-80, stay alert, slow down and avoid texting or drinking while driving at all costs.

2. Omaha’s Dangerous 72nd and Dodge Street Intersection

While it isn’t the busiest intersection in the city, more accidents have occurred at 72nd and Dodge Street than any other intersection in Omaha. Reports say the biggest reason for this is not only due to distracted driving and heavy traffic flow but to large chunks of roadway missing on the streets.

Potholes and worn asphalt pose a serious safety risk for vehicles passing through this intersection. With more than 50 crashes in 2018, be mindful of your surroundings and follow at a safe distance. Driving too closely can leave you and others left injured from an accident.

3. Highway 81 & 91: Stop Before You Merge

Merging onto any highway can be risky for all parties involved, especially when drivers are required to come to a complete stop before entering the roadway. Unfortunately, not everyone follows these rules. The intersection between Highway 81 and Highway 91 is on our list of most dangerous roads in Nebraska for that very reason. Drivers must come to a full stop on Highway 91 in order to cross or merge onto 81, but they don’t.

With traffic traveling through this area at 70 mph, consider this intersection a magnet for rear-end accidents and T-bone’s. According to a woman who works in the Humphrey area, the high number of speeding traffic has led to many accidents at this intersection.

4. The Perilous 27th and Cornhusker

Named the most dangerous intersection in Lincoln in 2017, 27th Street and Cornhusker is a cross section every driver should be cautious of. Whether you’re a resident or just passing through the capital, there are plenty of exotic gardens to explore as well as visit the city’s notorious state capitol tower.

Due to the heavy flow of traffic and complex turn lanes, some drivers who are not used to this intersection might find themselves in a perilous situation. Proceed through 27th and Cornhusker with a little extra care.

Now that we’ve covered some of the most dangerous roads in Nebraska, it’s important to plan your next trip on these roadways with extra caution. Even the most seemingly harmless roads and intersections can be more dangerous than you think. When you’re traveling on a highway that’s had its fair share of collisions, you should always check your speed and keep an eye on the vehicles around you.

When to Call The Advocates

If you or a loved one were recently injured by another driver, it’s important that you speak with a car accident attorney right away. Being involved in an accident can be a difficult time for anyone involved.

Here at The Advocates, our car accident attorneys will guide you through each step of filing a legal claim. We will make sure you are fully compensated for your pain and suffering from your accident. Call The Advocates today at 406-534-7179 or speak to an attorney on our Live Chat. You deserve an Advocate!

Statements to Avoid After an Accident

After an accident, you may be feeling shaken and confused. This is a common reaction for most people. The scene of a collision can be a very hectic place. Many factors come into play and emotions are usually running high.

Despite your efforts to do everything right behind the wheel, some accidents are simply out of your control. When you’ve been involved in a crash due to another driver’s negligence, there are certain statements you should avoid saying at the scene of an accident.

In the following article, we will outline what words can hurt your legal claim and stop you from getting maximum compensation for your injuries and losses. Don’t worry. Our car accident lawyers with The Advocates are here to guide you through the aftermath of a collision.

What Not to Say After a Car Accident

One of the most common mistakes people make at the scene of an accident is unintentionally giving an admission of fault, especially in situations where you are not the driver responsible for the crash. Some statements can accidentally allude to an admission of guilt. These words often include:

 

1. Do not say “I am sorry” after the accident– While it’s human nature to want to reconcile a very stressful environment, you should not apologize for something you didn’t do. Even though this advice can be used in most life situations, you certainly do not want to say you are sorry at the scene of an accident because this is considered an admission of fault.

2. Do not speculate or give inaccurate information– Giving information that may or may not be true about the exact cause of your accident can potentially hurt your legal claim. If the statements you give prove to be inaccurate, the at-fault party’s insurance company may misinterpret your words or even portray a new narrative suggesting that you are the driver responsible for the crash.

3. Do not say “I am okay” at the scene of an accident– Even if you don’t feel like you’ve been injured, you should avoid stating that you feel fine. Some accident injuries take several days or even weeks to notice. If you plan on filing a personal injury claim, this type of statement can be used against you and the legitimacy of your injuries.

4. Do not say the accident was your fault– Unfortunately, we sometimes admit to things that are not our fault to simply de-escalate a tense situation. However, if you are ever involved in an accident that is not your fault, you should avoid saying this at all costs. It may help to take a few seconds to collect your thoughts right after the collision occurs before speaking to the other driver, any witnesses or the police.

In addition to the above statements, you should keep communication at the scene of an accident very limited to what is absolutely necessary, i.e. contact and insurance information.

When to Contact a Montana Attorney

If you or a loved one were involved in an accident through no fault of your own, you will need an Advocate on your side. Our car accident attorneys know the ins and outs of determining fault and getting you the recovery you are owed.

Don’t wait to contact our law firm. You can call The Advocates today at 406-534-7179 or chat directly with one of our lawyers on our homepage.

Common Airbag Safety Issues You Should Know

Did you know that more than 41 vehicles in the US have been recalled due to faulty airbags? Airbags are designed to help protect you from a serious injury during a collision, but what if they don’t?

Over the last 30 years, car manufacturers have worked tirelessly to make motor vehicles safer to driver. It’s no doubt that when airbags work properly, they do save lives. In fact, frontal airbags have helped reduce driver fatalities by 29%.

However, sometimes airbags deploy too forcefully or fail to deploy at all. In the following article we’ll discuss some of the most common airbag safety issues you should know about and what you can do if you were injured by a defective airbag.

What can go wrong with airbags?

Car Accident

It’s important to first understand that when airbags are deployed during an accident, they’re released out of the dashboard at an extremely high speed. Unfortunately, if something goes wrong with this safety feature at a high velocity, this can cause significant, if not fatal, injuries.

While most airbags function properly, here are 4 of the most significant airbag defects to know:

  1. Airbags can fail to deploy
  2. The airbag sensor can deploy too aggressively
  3. One airbag might deploy, but not the other
  4. They can deploy at the wrong time

Timing is everything. If an airbag deploys just a second too late, the driver or passenger’s head is often too close to the airbag, causing a serious injury to the face or head.

Some airbag brands, such as Takata, have even exploded at the time of deployment due to a mere defect. A defect that claimed the lives of 16 people and left hundreds more with severe injuries. Other brands, like Fiat-Chrysler, recalled more than 1 million vehicles due to faulty wiring, causing airbags to deploy randomly.

Mazda recalled 60,000 vehicles due to the opposite problem: failure to deploy in the event of an accident. Airbags that deploy at the wrong time, too abruptly or not at all can be deadly.

What are common airbag-related injuries?

A malfunctioning airbag can cause a range of injuries. These injuries include:

  • Bone fractures
  • Lacerations
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Abrasions or burns
  • Eye injuries
  • Damage to the lungs or airways

If you suffered an injury due to a faulty airbag, you should seek medical attention right away. Your safety is a top priority. If you believe your injuries were caused by an airbag malfunction, it’s best to preserve your vehicle so that a team of accident experts can determine what happened.

Can I sue for an airbag-related injury?

If you were injured by a defective airbag, you have the right to pursue a legal claim for your pain and suffering. Car manufacturers are responsible for the effectiveness of their products. Airbags are an automotive product, so if the airbag was defective you can pursue a product liability case.

It’s in your best interest to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible, so that you don’t have to pursue this claim alone. Here at The Advocates, our accident lawyers know the ins and outs of product liability law and are ready to fight for your recovery. You can chat with us here on our homepage or call us at 406-780-3982. 

Don’t wait. You deserve an Advocate!

2020 Montana Car Accident Statistics

2020 Montana Car Accident Facts

Unfortunately, car accidents are all too common in Montana. From drunk driving to distracted drivers, a car crash can occur when you least expect it. Indeed, each year in the United States there are upwards of 6 million car crashes. While Montana sees but a fraction of these crashes, suffering an injury due to a car accident remains a very real threat for motorists in the Big Sky state. The Advocates have compiled the above statistics to help inform Montana drivers and passengers of the risk they face on the state’s roads and highways. The best practices a motorist can implement whenever they get behind the wheel is to drive defensively, never drink and drive, and to always buckle your seatbelt. Stay safe, Montana.

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Tips to Prevent Road Rage Accidents

How to Handle Road Rage and Potential Dangers

1. Leave in plenty of time.

The best tip for avoiding road rage is to avoid stressful situations, which lead to an annoyed, angry, easily tipped off driver. If it is in your control, leave in enough time to get your destination on time with plenty of wiggle room. If you are not worried about being late, you may be less agitated when you run into thick traffic or an annoying driver.

2. Move over if someone is tailing you.

Drivers who follow too closely are annoying and rude. It can seem like they are impatient to go faster, trolling you, or just being plain stupid. Instead of slamming on your brakes or going exactly the speed limit to give the trailing driver a dose of their own annoying medicine, just pull over and allow the vehicle behind you to pass you. Sudden braking and following too closely are some of the most common causes of auto accidents. If you can avoid those situations, you will have a safer time on the road.

3. Give up trying to be the fastest car on the road.

Some people just want to be the fastest, best, coolest car on the road. Increased speed is another of the most common causes of automobile accidents. Remember that traveling is not about status and reputation. It is more important to get to your destination alive and in one piece.

4. Do not take it personally.

If you are late, you cannot stop someone from tailing you, and you are having a hard time giving up your reputation as a street racer, avoid road rage by staying calm. Do not get angry because people do stupid things. The actions of other drivers are their actions, and they have nothing to do with you. Do not worry about things you cannot control. In other words, do not allow other drivers to damage your calm.

The 5 Most Dangerous Roads in Maine

Maine is the crown jewel of the northeast. Roughly the same size as the other 5 states in the region and is steeped in a rich history with breathtaking natural beauty. The rocky and mountainous shoreline is littered with open beaches, blowholes and caves to explore. Acadia National Park is the only national park in the northeast and lies offshore on Desert Island featuring Cadillac Mountain, the highest peak on the east coast.

From slick, foggy conditions on the coast to wandering moose on the rural stretches, Maine highways pose their own unique hazards. Winters this far north are especially brutal on the driving conditions as well as deluges of summer drivers on vacation. Here is The Advocates list of 5 of the most dangerous roads in Maine to help make your trip a safe one.

Here are the most dangerous roads in Maine: 

United States Route 1

Winding up the craggy Atlantic coastline before turning north along the St. Croix river separating Maine from Canada is U.S. Route 1. From the storied Maritime Museum in Bath to the Portland Head Lighthouse or Acadia National Park, there is no shortage of amazing things to see and do along this route. Maine boasts over 5,000 miles of shoreline and U.S. Route 1 is the main access for all of it.

Risk Factors

  • Fog and slippery conditions are possible year around
  • Infamous northeast winters bring hazardous road conditions
  • Moose and other wild animals live near this route
  • Summer traffic from the flood of beach goers pack this route

Maine does have the largest Moose population in the United States and with over 90% of the state blanketed in forests, they are not the only animals you have to watch out for. Stay alert during rural stretches and scan off to the sides of the road as well what is up ahead. Pulling over to enjoy sightseeing gives the driver a chance to take in the vistas while keeping everyone safe.

Interstate 95

Generally following a northeastern path through the state, I-95 is the main highway running from the southern tip across from Portsmouth, New Hampshire to the Canadian border at Houlton. As a busy highway connecting Portland to the largest non-coastal city of Bangor and beyond, I-95 sees heavy commercial traffic. Explore the lush forests to the west or check out the northern end of the famed Appalachian Trail at Baxter State Park.

Risk Factors

  • Heavy commercial and commuter traffic causes congestion
  • Moose and other wild animals are common in the rural stretches
  • Road is rutted North of Argyle and in need of repair
  • Intersections in Augusta and West Gardiner are the most dangerous in the state

Use caution where busy I-95 intersects with roads in the cities as these are well-known hot-spots for traffic accidents. Black ice is also a common hazard in winter and I-95 routinely racks up quite a few multi-car pileups every year. Busy traffic and hazardous intersections make this route one of the most dangerous roads in Maine.

Interstate 295

While only 53 miles long, this stretch of highway from Scarborough to West Gardiner is a very busy alternative to I-95. As a more direct and toll-free route from Portland to the capital of Augusta, I-295 is an important traffic thoroughfare for both commuters and commercial traffic.

Risk Factors

  • Congestion commonly slows down traffic
  • Short lanes for on and off ramps disrupt traffic flow
  • Has reputation for drivers navigating at excessive speeds

The well-known deficiencies of the on and off ramps being too short for safe merging is a problem the state has acknowledged. The top speed of 70, heavy traffic and dangerously short merge lanes together make this one of the most dangerous stretches for traffic accidents in the state.

State Route 15

From the small fishing village of Stonington, SR 15 traverses northwest across the state to tiny Jackman near the border of Canada. From the bastions of stone and lobster deep into moose territory, this route is famous for its scenic beauty and access to the rugged wilderness of the Maine Highlands.

Risk Factors

  • Northern section of road in disrepair with potholes, buckling and ruts being common
  • The rural sections are dark, narrow and offer little in the way of guard rails
  • Moose and other large animals are common especially near dawn or dusk

Conditions are so bad up north it recently won the dubious honor of being voted as having the worst road conditions in the entire state, hence being on our list of most dangerous roads in Maine. Don’t let the conditions keep you from enjoying the amazing sights along this road but consider leaving the town-car at home for this trip in favor of an SUV.

United States Route 201

Large Elk Crossing the road in Wyoming

Nicknamed “Moose Alley”, US 201 stretches north from Brunswick near the coast to the Canadian border. Following the Kennebec River that connects to Dead Rivers at the Forks, Maine’s best whitewater rafting is here. This interconnected river passage was famously used by Benedict Arnold to lay siege to Quebec during the Revolutionary War.

Risk Factors

  • With a nickname like “Moose Alley”, stay alert for wild animals on or near the road
  • Some stretches have fallen into disrepair so look out for potholes and ruts
  • Elevation changes can make slick or wintry road conditions worse

Slide-offs are a major cause of serious accidents across Maine, more so in these routes cutting through the wilderness as they often offer little to no protection in the way of guard rails and dividers. Even with no traffic to slow you down, stay vigilant and use caution on these roads through the wilds as help could be slow in arriving.

When to Call a Car Accident Lawyer – The Advocates

Regardless of how careful a driver you are, car accidents unfortunately can strike anyone, anywhere. If you or a family member has been injured in a traffic accident through no fault of your own, hiring an experienced Wyoming car accident lawyer is an important first step in securing the compensation you deserve.

As a leading personal injury law firm in Wyoming, our professional staff here at The Advocates is ready to fight for your rights. We’ll stand up to the insurance companies to ensure you receive the maximum settlement for your case. Let us deal with the claim’s adjusters, hospital bills and legal paperwork while you focus on recovery. Call The Advocates today at 307-466-0003 or discuss your case confidentially online here. You deserve an Advocate!

Ways to Prevent Coronavirus in Wyoming

Doctor comforts patient with hand on shoulder

 

How Best to Stop the Coronavirus (Covid 19) From Spreading in Wyoming

As the novel coronavirus, known also as Covid-19, continues to spread across the United States, people in Wyoming are beginning to worry about how they can help stop an outbreak in their community. The best way to get ahead of the Coronavirus is to get ahead of it as much as possible. Thankfully, the Center for Disease Control (the CDC) has provided detailed instructions about how you and your family can help stop the spread of the highly contagious virus. Below are the top 10 most effective ways to prevent further spread of the coronavirus from The Advocates law firm:

#1. Wash Your Hands…and Wash Them Some More

Now is the best time to pick up the habit of frequently washing your hands. According to the CDC, you should “wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.” This includes whenever you visit a public place, after you sneeze or cough, or if you have physical contact with other people or with a potentially contaminated surface, such as a countertop or a table. A helpful rule of thumb to remember is to vigorously wash your hands for as long as it take to sing the song Happy Birthday, which is roughly 20-30 seconds. Reports indicate that coronavirus can live on a surface for up to a week or possibly longer so routinely washing your hands is the best way to prevent infection.

#2. Don’t Talk to (or Touch) Strangers

During the pandemic you should, obviously, avoid encountering anyone, friends or family members, who are sick or show symptoms of the virus. But you should also strongly consider avoiding strangers completely until the curve of outbreak has flattened. Granted, such advice may prove difficult for those living in Casper or if you work in an office around people. In all honesty, however, you do not know if the strangers around you are infected with the virus or not. So for the time being, practicing social distancing measures by maintaining 6 feet of space between yourself and others is a practical way to remain healthy until the virus is finally contained.

#3. Too Much of a Good Thing? Not When it Comes to Sanitizer

If you find yourself with a bar of soap nearby, hand sanitizer is the next best solution. When you choose a sanitizer, though, make sure you pick up a brand offering an absolute minimum of 60% alcohol. Completely cover your hands with the sanitizer, rubbing them together until they are dry again. You can also use the sanitizer on any surfaces you believe might be infected, so be sure to buy the biggest bottle possible.

#4. Touching Your Face is Bad

On average, a normal person touches their face up to 23 times every hour. Most people aren’t aware of this fact, but face touching is one of the most common practices people do automatically. Once you know you’re a face-toucher, breaking the habit is more than a little difficult. Even professional healthcare workers find it difficult to break the habit, so don’t feel bad if you struggle at first. Here are a few tricks you can use to keep your fingers away from your face:

  • Keep your hands occupied with a stress ball or even a rubber band
  • Wear a bracelet or a ring to help remind you not to touch your face
  • Break other bad habits like fingernail biting or anything to do with your nose
  • Deploy the buddy system by having someone point out each time you touch your face

#5. Scrub It Down! Scrub It All Down!

As of today, the CDC believes that the coronavirus can live on virtually any common surface for up to weeks at a time. This includes not only your own skin but also kitchen counters, bathroom surfaces, blankets and bedding, and even in carpet fibers. While many people focus on cleansing their bodies, they neglect all the other surfaces the coronavirus can infect. You may not be able to clean everything in your home or office. But you can certainly focus on the more heavily-touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, light switches, desks, phones, toilets, sink faucets, and keyboards and mice. Most over-the-counter disinfectants work, but you can also dilute bleach in warm water if you prefer. A basic rule of thumb is 5 tablespoons of bleach per every gallon of water.

#6. Get Help If You Experience Covid Symptoms

Shot of a doctor showing a patient some information on a digital tablet

Now is not the time to sleep on a trip to the doctor. If you feel ill at all, you should seek out medical assistance ASAP. According to the CDC, symptoms of a coronavirus infection begin to manifest after just 2 days following exposure. Below are the relevant symptoms you should be on the lookout for:

  • A persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • A fever

If you experience the above symptoms, you should follow the advice of the CDC and “restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care.” You should also restrict your contact with any pets as well. While human-to-animal transmission of the coronavirus hasn’t been discovered as of yet, contagion remains in the realm of possibility. Nobody wants to see their faithful companion fall ill with the coronavirus when they could have been quarantined.

#7. Contain Your Coughs and Sneezes, Too

Even if you do not believe you are sick with the coronavirus, you should cover your mouth and nose whenever you cough or sneeze. The coronavirus thrives in saliva and nasal projectiles. So even if you are merely suffering an allergy attack, pay the favor forward by covering your face before sneezing. Your efforts could help contain an outbreak.

#8. Face Masks Aren’t Just For Superheroes

Real talk: You probably don’t need to wear a face mask. While the news is full of stories about price gouging on Amazon and retailers like Wal-Mart running out of face masks, you really only need a face mask if you are already sick or plan to be in close proximity to a person who is sick with the coronavirus. If you simply follow the the above steps, your chances of avoiding contracting the virus are about the same as they are if you wore a mask 24/7. If you are healthy, push aside the urge to stock up on face masks which would be better used by a medical professional or someone who is infected and needs to keep their germs under lock and key.

#9. How to Self-Quarantine Like a Pro

If you feel ill and your job allows it, you should strongly consider self-quarantining in your home until you feel better. Coronavirus spreads most easily by direct human-to-human contact, so quarantining yourself until your immune system destroys the virus completely is the most effective way to halt the virus’ spread. If you do decide to self-quarantine, be sure to stock up on groceries, paperback novels, and toilet paper beforehand. You’re going to need it.

#10. Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3?

As of today, March of 2020, coronavirus testing kits are not readily available to the public for a variety of reasons. Hopefully, more tests will be available as the virus continues to spread across the country over the next few weeks. When they do become available, however, you should definitely get tested if you think you might have contracted the virus. Ignorance may be bliss, but not when it comes to your health and well-being. Stay safe out there, Wyoming.

Top 5 Things to Do After an Accident

Top 5 Accidents in Montana History

Despite having a statewide population of just over a million, Montana sure has seen its fair share of dramatic crashes. Indeed, did you know that the highway death rate in Montana currently ranks as the third highest in the entire United States? Montana, also, has the unfortunate distinction of being the deadliest state for teenage drivers involved in car accidents. In fact, Montana’s teen driver crash rate surpasses the national average by over 200 percent.

Montana has a long history of crashes, however. From planes to trucks to buses and even trains, here are the top 5 most dramatic accidents in the history of Montana.

The Great Custer Creek Train Wreck of 1938

Known unanimously as the worst train disaster in all of Montana railway history, this horrendous accident killed 47 train passengers and caused nearly twice as many injuries. The train accident occurred when the bridge supporting

the Milwaukee Road train company’s Olympian collapsed about Custer Creek just outside of Saugus, Montana. The bridge collapsed after a flood had washed away many of its foundations.

The train accident took place shortly after midnight as the Olympian was carrying over 150 passengers from Chicago to Tacoma at around 50 miles per hour. The train accident happened so quickly and with so little warning that when emergency personnel retrieved the body of the train’s engineer, he was still in his seat with his hands still on the controls of the train.

The 1957 Great Falls Truck Crash

Easily one of the saddest accidents in Montana took place in 1957 when five local high school students and a music teacher were killed in a tragic collision with a truck. The students and the teacher were from Ford Benton high school and were traveling to a music festival to perform when their vehicle collided with a freighter semi-truck. The driver was survived the semi truck accident the only person to survive the crash, suffering a minor injury to his knee. To this day, the residents of Fort Benton still talk about the tragic loss of life that terrible day in March.

The Wrestling Team Bus Crash of 1984

Ask anyone in Whitefish about the worst crash in the town’s history and they’ll likely point to the 1984 bus crash involving the local wrestling team. The infamous bus crash claimed the lives of 9 people and injured nearly two dozen more. In a town of less than 5,000, the 1984 bus accident was a shock to nearly everyone in Whitefish.

The bus accident, itself, took place in the middle of a snowstorm in the dead of winter when the bus carrying the local wrestling team collided with a fuel tanker. The bus, carrying wrestlers, cheerleaders, and several other Whitefish High School students, was returning from a match when it hit the fuel tanker head on. The bus driver was killed instantly, as were several of the wrestlers sitting near the front of the bus. At the time it was considered one of the worst accidents ever in Montana, one people from Whitefish still remember to this day.

2009 Cemetery Plane Crash

Without a doubt the most tragic plane crash happened in 2009 when a single-engine plane carrying 14 people crashed in a nearby cemetery. What’s so tragic about this plane crash accident is that half of the victims were children.

A witness to the plane crash said the plane looked like it was doing stunts as it jerked wildly from side to side before coming down in the cemetery. Investigators later said the plane was likely exceeded it’s weight limit due to overcrowding. Typically, this model of plane can carry no more than 10 people at a time. The purpose of the plane trip was to take the children on a ski trip to Bozeman. No one in the cemetery at the time of the crash was injured.

Christmas Eve Crash of 2016

One of the worst crashes anyone on the Montana Highway Patrol ever witnessed happened on Christmas Eve in 2016. During the middle of the afternoon on Highway 93, a pickup truck attempted to pass the cars in front of him by crossing the center line and collided with a massive semi-truck. The collision was so violent and was with so much force that it ejected the driver of the pickup, killing him instantly.

Indeed, the pickup truck hit the semi truck so fast that investigators found debris from the truck accident over 500 feet from the crash site. Even the local sheriff admitted that he hadn’t seen a truck accident so violent in all of his 25 years working for the police force.

Call the Attorneys With the Advocates Today

There you have it. The top 5 accidents in the history of Montana. Crashes and accidents on the road are an unfortunate reality for far too many people. If you’ve ever wondered what it looks like to be involved in a real life accident, the Montana Highway Patrol put together this instructional video.

If you’re ever the victim of an accident through no fault of your own, you will need an Advocate to help you during the aftermath. The car accident attorneys with the Advocates have decades of experience helping accident victims just like you. You can either call our office at 406-629-1194 or chat online right this minute with a live attorney from our homepage. Don’t wait to get back on the road to recovery. Contact us today for a free evaluation of your case. You deserve an Advocate!

Speak with an Advocate Today!

The Most Dangerous Roads in South Dakota

Semi-truck driving in the right lane on a desert highway.

Home to expansive prairie grasslands and the iconic Mount Rushmore, there are quite a few jaw-dropping scenes in South Dakota to explore. However, if you’re traveling through the Midwest for the first time, you should consider the most dangerous roads in South Dakota before venturing into the natural beauty of this state.

According to the South Dakota Highway Patrol, traffic fatalities as a total have recently increased to 129 deaths in 2017, which is up 13 percent from the previous year. Even in sparsely populated regions such as this one, every state has its grim history with car accidents. See the following most dangerous roads in South Dakota provided by the car accident attorneys with The Advocates.

What are the 5 Most Dangerous Roads in South Dakota?

While South Dakota is a jewel for obscure rock formations and home to one of the nation’s oldest national parks, there are some routes that should only be traveled with the utmost caution. No matter the season, roads in this state can be tricky and difficult to navigate at times, especially the ones leading up to the national parks. Majority of them are not well-lit and have serpentine curves that will put you through a whirl.

Iron Mountain Road

A uniquely designed route that showcases the Black Hills and Mt. Rushmore, Iron Mountain Road is a true white-knuckle drive. Hugging closely to the rocky edges of Custer State Park, this highway is on our list of most dangerous roads in South Dakota for its hairpin turns and snaking course through natural rock tunnels and pigtail bridges.

Risk Factors:

  • 314 sharp curves throughout the entire drive
  • Rapid-climbing lengths of roadway
  • Limited access during winter months
  • Minimal shoulder space to park and view scenery
  • Watch out for speeding drivers trying to pass

With over 300 winding curves, 14 switchbacks and 3 tunnels, Iron Mountain Road is worth trekking as long as you take your time. Plus, it’s the only route that passes through Custer State Park and offers a view of Mount Rushmore without a fee station.

Needles Highway

Locally known as Needles Highway, Highway 87 is a 37-mile route through the southwestern portion of South Dakota that traverses through the Black Hills. Deemed impossible to build in the early 20th century, the road came to fruition by 1922 after workers blasted through several solid granite “needles” on its course.

Risk Factors:

  • Dangerously sharp turns
  • Narrow tunnels through rock formations
  • Unsafe travel during winter months
  • Proceed with caution if roadway is wet

Considered one of the most epic routes in South Dakota for sightseers and nature-lovers, be prepared to experience the rugged hills and wicked turns of this roadway. Don’t turn a blind eye to the road, of course!

 

Catron Boulevard and Highway 16 Intersection

Nestled in the shadow of Black Elk Peak, Rapid City is a frequented western hub for vacation activities and summer travel. However, with several national parks right around the corner (Badlands, Devils Tower, Jewel Cave and Crazy Horse Mountain), it’s important to note which travel routes are the most dangerous.

One of the most common drives to the Black Hills National Forest from Rapid City is Highway 16. Unfortunately, the intersection where Catron Boulevard meets the freeway is considered the most dangerous in the state. With countless injuries and fatal crashes, only turn onto this highway with the most precaution.

Wildlife Loop State Scenic Byway

A trip through pine-covered hills and rolling prairies doesn’t sound so bad, right? Well, the reason this scenic byway is on our list of most dangerous roads in South Dakota has little to do with the road itself. Instead of worrying about deer leaping across the highway, you must prepare for something much larger: bison.

The Wildlife Loop certainly lives up to its name, but drivers are cautioned to not only traverse the route at the appropriate speed limit (25 mph or slower), you should also stay in your car and avoid approaching the bison too closely. These animals can charge at any moment, with intentions to harm anything in their way. Be courteous and safe on this several hour loop and you’ll have a grand ole time.

Interstate 90

A transcontinental freeway stretching from Boston to Seattle, Interstate 90 is the deadliest stretch of highway in South Dakota. Known as the longest Interstate Highway in the U.S, I-90 has seen nearly 40 traffic fatalities between 2015 and 2017. Unlike the other dangerous roads on our list, this highway is a major travel route even during the winter months.

Snowy road in the Montana Rockies

Risk Factors:

  • Frequent speeding along this route
  • Black ice, slush, mixed rain during winter
  • Distracted driving plays a deadly factor
  • Constant weather advisory warnings/closures

Driving on any major highway can be deadly. However, northern freeways such as I-90 require extra caution during the wintertime. This roadway can see up to 30 inches of snow in a year. Drive carefully and always be prepared for an emergency.

There are plenty of reasons to visit the Mount Rushmore State: uninterrupted sky views, colossal monuments and wildly unique rock formations. Knowing the most dangerous roads in South Dakota can help pave a safer pathway for your next trip through all its stunning vistas.

When to Call a Car Accident Lawyer – The Advocates

If you or a loved one were recently injured in an accident, we understand how difficult this time may be for you and your family. The car accident attorneys with The Advocates are here to guide you through the aftermath of a collision and help you get the compensation you are rightfully owed. Working with one of our personal injury lawyers can play a huge factor for you in your recovery process.

While you focus on healing, The Advocates will take care of the rest. Our goal is to help you retrieve lost wages, negotiate with insurance adjusters on your behalf and build you a winning legal claim. Your car accident lawyer will communicate with you each step of the way. Call The Advocates today at 307-466-0003 or click on our Live Chat to speak with an attorney right away. You deserve an Advocate!

Most Dangerous Animals in California

Not only is California the most populous state, with close to 40 million people as of today, but it also has the richest biodiversity in the entire United States. Indeed, the Golden State is so bio-diverse, due to its wild and varied landscape, that it even surpasses the diversity of entire countries.

With so many animals, birds, and insects living side by side with 40 million Californians, problematic encounters are bound to happen between humans and wildlife populations. The following is the definitive list of the 10 most dangerous animals in the great state of California:

#10: Sharks

Despite their vicious portrayal in Hollywood movies, shark attacks, particularly in California, are incredibly rare. In fact, the last reported shark attack in California was all the way back in 2012 when a surfer was bitten by a Great White. The victim, Francisco Solorio, died shortly after being bitten in his upper torso. Considering how sharks almost exclusively attack surfers and body boarders, mistaking them for seals, sharks are certainly frightening to behold. But, in reality, the actual threat of an attack remains little more than Hollywood fear mongering.

#9 Black Bears

While black bear attacks are even more rare than that of sharks, the furry mammals get the higher spot solely due to the better odds of encountering one in California. Thanks in part to California’s changing climate and endless seasons of forest fires, black bears are more frequently on the move in search of shelter and food. So, if you’re hiking out in one of California’s astounding national parks, be wary of bumping into any black bears. They may seem cute and cuddly from afar, but when you see one crashing through the tree line, claws thrashing and teeth bared, you better hope you know what to do to protect yourself.

#8 Mountain Lions

Whether you know them as mountain lions, pumas or cougars, these cats are ubiquitous throughout the western United States. Similar to shark attacks, mountain lion victims are usually mistaken for another type of prey: deer. Bicyclists, hikers, and even skiers are the most common victims of these elusive cats. In fact, the last known Californian to be killed by a mountain lion was attacked as he was repairing the chain on his bicycle in the Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park.

#7 Rattle Snakes

Anyone who has visited the renowned Joshua Tree National Park knows rattlesnakes are a danger for the sandal clad who make it a habit to not look down often. Named for its characteristic rattle, rattlesnakes are fairly common in California, with 6 species calling the Golden State home. On average, a total of 221 people are bitten by rattlesnakes each year in the Golden State. Considering how all 6 of these species are venomous, campers, hikers, and nature-enthusiasts should at least consider packing an anti-venom kit during their expeditions into what many Californian locals consider to be “rattlesnake country.”

#6 Black Widow and Recluse Spiders

While there are over 60 species of spider to be found in California, you should do all you can to avoid these two extremely venomous spiders. Black Widows and recluse spiders (Brown and Chilean) can be deadly to children, the elderly, and the sick if not treated both immediately and properly. Luckily, these spiders are rare in California, but you should be wary nonetheless, especially when it comes to black widows since they tend to live in closer proximity to humans.

#5 Hornets, Wasps, Bees

You may think these flying insects are more of a pest than a swooping aerial terror of doom and destruction. Unfortunately for too many people this assumption is wrong. Gram by gram, these winged insects are the deadliest creatures many Californians face each year. Whereas snake bites kill around 6-8 people annually, flying insects killed a total of 1,109 people between the years 2000 and 2017 for an average of 62 deaths each year. Granted, most of these deaths are due to allergies, but you shouldn’t let this diminish the risk. Many people don’t know they’re allergic until it’s too late. Also, being stung is rather painful, so it’s best just to avoid these winged scourges.

Below are a few of the symptoms to watch out for if you are suffering an allergic reaction:

 

  • Discoloration of the skin, white or red
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Hives
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Low blood pressure
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Diarrhea
  • Sudden unconsciousness
  • Shock

#4 Horses and Cows

For anyone who hasn’t worked on a farm or around cattle, this may seem a rather surprising entry. But, to those in the know, horses and cattle have a rather dangerous reputation. Despite appearing to be slow and docile, cows can be deadly once they begin to stampede and they will surely stampede if they are provoked. If you are a jogger or bicyclist who ventures out into the countryside, be sure to keep your distance from any cattle roaming in the road. And maybe leave your dog at home, too. Dogs tend to spook cattle since they often mistake them for their more predatory cousins, wolves.

As far as horses are concerned…well, the threat they pose is already well documented.

#3 Deer

Deer may be another surprising entry for a lot of readers, given their reputation for being gentle and peaceful. The truth is that they are one of the biggest threats to commuters who live in the countryside. Deer cause so many automobile crashes in California they cost the state upward of $300 million each year. Indeed, statistics show that you are far more likely to die at the hooves of a deer than from the bite of a shark. Some states have even adopted sterilization programs to reduce the number of deer out on the roads. If you still aren’t convinced of the threat posed by the Bambis of the world just pray you never encounter a full-sized buck in the rut. Also, don’t keep an eye out for the ever-present dangers of zombie deer.

#2 Dogs

Yes, yes, we know. Humanity’s best friend. Yada, yada, yada. But the simple fact is that your lovable, furry friend is extremely dangerous for a host of reasons. Data provided by the Center for Disease Control estimates that there are nearly 5 million dog bites every year in the United States. This statistic translates into 1 bite for every 70 Americans. What’s even more disturbing is that 20% of these bites are so severe that the victims require immediate medical attention. So, the next time you feel the need to pet a fluffy little critter on a leash remember that 1/3 of all dog bites become infected. It might be wiser to simply admire Fido from afar than to risk a virulent encounter with a Campylobacter infection.

#1 Humans

Was there ever any doubt that humans would top this list? Just look at the numbers below if you have a quibble about our #1 Dangerous Animal in California:

  • 118,077 Assaults
  • 188,304 Burglaries
  • 54,789 Robberies
  • 174,796 Violent Crimes
  • 1,930 Homicides

What makes these numbers even more harrowing is that they all took place in the year 2016. These statistics not good enough for you? How about 1.25 million people dead from road crashes each year? Or even the 20-50 million people who are injured in car accidents? The plain fact is that, by an incredibly wide margin, you are most likely to be injured or even killed by anoth

 

er human being than any other animal on this list. Combined. And, honestly, it’s not even close. Not that this is any new revelation for those who has spent time in the company of humans.

Thank you for reading our list of the Top 10 Most Dangerous Animals in all of California. If you are ever in need a personal injury attorney, do not hesitate to call The Advocates for a free consultation. You deserve an Advocate!

 

Top 5 Most Dangerous Roads in Minnesota

Minnesota has some of the nicest people in all of the United States, so much so that the state’s reputation for courtesy even has its own reputation: Minnesota Nice. Driving around the North Star State though can, at times, be far from nice. Many of the roads and highways can be dangerous to travel upon due to reckless motorists, inclement weather, and blind intersections. Here are the top 5 most dangerous roads and highways in all of Minnesota:

Most Dangerous Minnesota Road #5: US Highway 10

US Highway 10 is a 275-mile stretch of road that runs east-west across Minnesota from North Dakota through Minneapolis onward to Wisconsin. While recent projects have gone a long way in improving the safety of US 10, the highway still sees multiple fatalities each year. In the last few years, alone, Minnesota police have seen upwards of 14 automobile-related deaths along the stretch of road. Like most roadways in Minnesota, ice and snow can cause hazardous conditions that can be dangerous for commuters. So, if you find yourself cruising along US 10 during a snowstorm, remember to slow down and keep your eyes on the road.

Most Dangerous Minnesota Road #4: Interstate 94

From October blizzards to sudden flooding to runaway turkeys, Interstate 94 has seen it all. I-94 stretches close to 260 miles directly across Minnesota and is routinely closed due to dangerous winter weather. During the colder months of the year, no one is safe on I-94. Over the years, the interstate has seen numerous fatal crashes involving semi-trucks, multi-car pileups, and even bears. Each year, Minnesota sees close to 400 traffic fatalities on its roads and highways and Interstate 94 is ground zero for many of these tragic deaths.

Most Dangerous Minnesota Road #3: US Highway 14

If one were to compile a list of hazards that make a road dangerous then US Highway 14 would check virtually every box. From sharp turns, non-existent shoulders, a total lack of lane dividers, and one blind intersection after another, US 14 is well-known as a deathtrap to Minnesotans. There are so many deaths on the southern highway that one person dies every couple of months traveling along its blacktop pavement. US Highway 14 commuters beware. Driving on the highway may seem like off-roading at times.

Most Dangerous Minnesota Road #2: US Highway 12

Many people consider US Highway 12, which stretches from Minneapolis to the South Dakota state line, the deadliest roadway in all of Minnesota. Indeed, during this decade alone the highway has seen nearly two dozen auto-related deaths. Despite being the shortest entry on this list, a mere 38 Minnesota miles, US 12 is certainly a killer. With its narrow, white-knuckle lanes, poorly lit expanses of road, and blink-and-you’ll-miss-them intersections, US 12 has caused hundreds of car accidents over the years. Just in the last five years, an astounding 820 crashes have been reported to Minnesota State Police. Experts believe the highway’s lack of renovation is to blame for the mayhem. “We have metro levels of traffic on a road,” says Police Chief Gary Kroells, “that’s been left — with a few minor exceptions — unimproved for 35 to 45 years, maybe as far back as the 1960s.” Until the state legislature opens up the purse strings for some much-needed roadway improvements, the chaos on US Highway 12 will continue unabated.

Most Dangerous Minnesota Road #1: US Highway 169

Without a doubt, the most dangerous road in all of Minnesota is the infamous US Highway 169. The highway is so perilous that an average of 6 people die in car accidents on this road each and every year. Running north out of Iowa, US 169 cuts Minnesota neatly in half for just under 200 miles, eventually terminating in the tiny town of Virginia, not far from Duluth. Over the years, US 169 has seen its fair share of road construction closures, blizzards, and even mudslides. US 169’s biggest problems are due to the endless congestion drivers face. As more and more people move into southern Minnesota, US 169 simply cannot bear the additional traffic. And where there’s traffic there’s bound to be accidents. Thankfully, the state government has taken the initiative and begun renovations on the troubled highway, expanding its lanes and addressing some of its more troublesome spots. Minnesota has also started cracking down on distracted drivers with a strict “No Texting” law that went into effect this year. Only time will tell if US Highway 169’s havoc is tempered in the years to come. But as of today, the highway is a risk best not taken if you can find an alternative route.

The 5 Most Dangerous Roads in Colorado

Most people associate Colorado with the high snow-capped mountains of the Rockies. However, it’s difficult to fathom just how densely populated the peaks of Colorado are. Over 75 percent of all land above 10,000 ft. in the entire United States is contained within the Centennial State, making some of the most dangerous roads in Colorado a hazardous nightmare.

Despite its extreme altitude, the state issued America’s very first license plate for a motor vehicle in 1908. And while it is home to widely diverse terrain, Colorado remains most renowned for its famous skiing and opulent alpine villages. Navigating the state’s trademark terrain via car, however, is no easy task and why you should consider avoiding the following most dangerous roads in Colorado.

Here are the most dangerous roads in Colorado:

1. Denver Beltway

Surprisingly, not all dangers on Colorado roads are up high in the mountains. The southwestern portion of the Denver Beltway circling the metro area is State Highway 470. Although a relatively brief ride of only 27 miles, it unfortunately is a magnet for car accidents.

Passing along the Front Range between Alameda and Jewell, SH 470 travels through some very steep terrain. Some say the lack of guardrails heavily contributes to the dangerous environment. In a 2-year period between 2009 and 2010, over 175 people were injured while driving on this road. Heavy traffic coupled with several perilous interchanges also plague this section of the beltway with frequent car accidents.

2. Southern Passage

coloradoEntering the state near the Four Corners Monument and skirting across southern Colorado to the Kansas state line is U.S. Highway 160. This east-west national highway passes over the Continental Divide at Wolf Creek Pass at an elevation of 10,857 ft. During the winter months any of the passes can present difficulties and Wolf Creek is no exception.

Although the drive is mostly arid terrain, this southern route poses other types of hazards. In a 6-year period, 80 fatal accidents were recorded. Ranking 32nd nationally for DUI fatalities and 28th for high emergency service times combine to give this road its unsavory reputation.

3. Front Range Corridor

Interstate 25 is a north-south highway bisecting the state. This busy thoroughfare starts north of Fort Collins before heading down to Denver and on through Santa Fe. The Front Range Corridor it passes through is home to over 80% of the state’s population. As the main traffic artery, congestion is always heavy regardless of the date or time of day.

Sadly, in just one 4-year period, almost 200 fatalities were recorded. Some maintain that the 75-mph speed limit is too high for the number of vehicles on the road, likening it to a Nascar race with amateur drivers. Colorado State Patrol blames congestion as well as excessive speed and driver behavior as factors leading to many of the car accidents that occur on this highway.

4. Resort Gateway

Connecting Grand Junction to Denver is Interstate 70 that passes over the continental divide via Loveland Pass at an altitude of 11,990 ft. This is the highest point anywhere in the U.S. interstate highway system. The route is known for stretches of steep grades, twisting turns and treacherous winter conditions. The specter of altitude sickness going over the numerous passes poses a hazard as well. Add in heavy traffic laden with out-of-state drivers all headed to the ski resorts and it’s easy to see why car accidents are common.

As the main access from Denver to the famed resorts like Vail and Aspen, this route is notorious for large-scale congestion during the ski season. A route that is 90 minutes in summer can turn into a frustrating 3-4 hours snarled in bumper to bumper traffic. In 2008 alone over 1,900 accidents were reported in the corridor. It has gotten so bad the locals have a saying, “Friends don’t let friends drive I-70.”

5. The Million Dollar Highway

Built in the late 1930s and stretching north to south across western Colorado is U.S. 550. Originally a toll road, the origins of its colorful nickname remain a bit of a mystery. Although often applied to the entire highway, the Million Dollar portion is specifically the 25-mile passage from Ouray to Silverton. This stretch climbs over three mountain passes all at elevations over 10,000 ft. Don’t be tempted by the astonishing views to take your eyes off the road. This treacherous passage is filled with hairpin corners, steep switchbacks and vertigo-inducing drop offs that can make driving through here a real white-knuckle-affair .

The perennial heavy snows that must be removed via snowplow prevent the use of guardrails, despite a narrow shoulder and dizzying cliff sides. Earlier this year the road was closed for 3 weeks after an avalanche buried it under 60 ft. of debris.  Factor in heavy RV and semi-truck traffic, and it’s easy to see why the speed limit often drops to 10 mph. In spite of the weather, of the 412 car accidents over a 15-year period, most were in dry conditions and involved only one car. Miraculously, there were only 8 fatalities over this span. However, regardless of road conditions, this is a challenging route and not to be taken lightly.

Wyoming Car Accident Lawyers – The Advocates Casper

If you’re planning a trip through Colorado, take extra precautions to be ready for the extreme terrain and changing road conditions. If you or a loved one is injured in a car accident through no fault of your own, it’s vital to have the right legal representation. An experienced personal injury attorney can fight on your behalf, ensuring you receive all the compensation you’re entitled to.

As a premier personal injury law firm in Wyoming, the Advocates will assist you through the entire process of filing your claim. Having an attorney who specializes in car accidents takes the worry out of dealing with insurance companies, claims adjusters and hospital bills so you can focus on getting back on your feet. Don’t wait, call us today at 307-240-5317 or feel free to chat today confidentially with an attorney on our home page. You deserve an Advocate!

Symptoms of PTSD After a Serious Collision

If you’ve recently been in a car accident, you may be at risk of developing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Research shows that nearly 10% of accident victims experience symptoms of PTSD at some point in their lives.

PTSD is a mental health condition that drastically alters your perception of a traumatic situation and can increase your fear of specific activities, such as driving. Take a few minutes to understand the risks of developing PTSD, the most common symptoms of PTSD, and how you can effectively receive treatment or compensation for your pain and suffering after your collision.

Causes of PTSD After a Collision

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychological and emotional disorder that develops when a person experiences or witnesses a frightening, or sometimes prolonged, traumatic event. In short, PTSD is the triggered response to a situation or memory that remind trauma victims of the tragic event.

When people experience a tragedy, such as being in a violent collision, those vivid details from the incident are automatically stored in the brain. Unfortunately, the brain can allow these memories to surface at any time, especially when a situation or person reminds them of the event. Accident victims with PTSD might often recall the feeling of being in a crash just by hearing the sound of a horn or a loud car door slam.

Risks of PTSD From a Car Crash – Jackson

Auto accidents can be traumatizing experiences. Almost 3 million people are injured in auto accidents each year in the United States. And while serious collisions are one of the top causes of PTSD in trauma victims, it’s important to note that not everyone will develop PTSD from their crash. In recent years, a team of medical experts have concluded that the following risk factors can heavily influence the likelihood of developing PTSD:

-Experienced a traumatic event in the past

-Lost a loved one in the accident

-History of mental illness in the family

-Amount of support received after the accident

-Suppression of any thoughts related to the collision

-Was the car accident life-threatening or not

If you are an accident victim, other determining factors you should consider are dissociation (which is the total lack of awareness) you experienced during your car accident, feelings of worthlessness or shame due to the crash, or excessively high levels of anxiety while riding in an auto vehicle. These factors have been increasingly known to be a strong indicator of PTSD in car accident victims.

Common Symptoms of PTSD After a Collision

If you have fallen victim to a serious car accident, you may be wondering if you have PTSD. It’s very common for accident victims who have developed PTSD to experience any number of the following symptoms:

-Nervousness while driving or being overwhelmed inside the vehicle; some accident victims who develop PTSD experience tightness in the chest, heavy breathing, or racing thoughts while being in the car

-Having frequent anxiety or paranoid thoughts while being in a car (“What if I get in an accident on my way to work?”)

-Increased awareness of other drivers on the road, such as excessively braking when other drivers are close or driving far below the required speed limit

-Avoiding driving in general; some accident victims with PTSD experience, such as anxiety, avoid the complications of driving altogether

Oftentimes, trauma victims see memories from their accident in the form of nightmares, flashbacks or panic attacks. The best way to recover or work through these anxieties from your crash is to speak with a mental health expert. If you need help finding a counselor, call an Advocate today and we can help you find the assistance you need.

When to Seek Treatment for Symptoms of PTSD

Because symptoms of PTSD can develop months to years after your accident, it’s important to at least speak with a therapist or counselor almost immediately after the crash. This way, if you do begin to develop symptoms of PTSD from the accident, a mental health professional will be able to guide you and help you conquer your anxieties.

Having PTSD from an accident can be debilitating and make it extremely difficult for you to process your fears and trauma on your own. There are numerous types of counseling options for accident victims to benefit from. The following types of therapy treatment have not only been proven successful but have also been known to work exceptionally well for car accident victims with PTSD:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: cognitive behavioral therapy is a psychological treatment method designed to help trauma patients, such as car accident victims, reduce their symptoms of PTSD and change their negative thought patterns involving the situation or the traumatic event.
  • Prolonged Exposure Therapy: prolonged exposure therapy is a type of behavioral therapy that allows trauma victims to gradually approach and address trauma-related memories, feelings or situations that remind the victim of the tragic event.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): EDMR is a fairly new and non-traditional method of treatment that works well for auto accident victims. While the other methods of treatment rely on talk therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing focuses heavily on the individual’s rapid, rhythmic eye movements, whichphysically works victims through their trauma.

Therapy is one of the most common types of treatment methods for trauma victims. The goal for therapy is to help relieve trauma patients of their symptoms of PTSD with the intent to eliminate the disorder altogether.

Your doctor can help you determine what will likely work best for you in the long run.

How a Wyoming Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You

Psychological injuries are classified as injuries to a person’s psyche or mind. While you may not be able to see injuries to the mind, damage to the psyche can be just as exhausting and emotionally painful as physical injuries. By taking early steps, such as seeking out therapy or speaking to a personal injury attorney about your pain and suffering, you can overcome the effects of your automobile accident.

Here at The Wyoming Advocates, we will make your recovery process our top priority. If you need to speak with a personal injury lawyer about your pain and suffering, don’t wait. Call an Advocate today at (307) 466-0003 or speak with an injury lawyer on our Live Chat right now.

The Scene of a Car Accident: Do’s and Don’ts

Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic experience for anyone. Because these incidents can happen in seconds without any warning, it’s perfectly normal for people to feel at a loss for what to do in the immediate aftermath of the crash.

However, these are some of the most crucial moments for you. The things you do or don’t do in this time period can affect your financial compensation options, how the car insurance will handle your case, and the way a car accident lawyer and the courts will examine your incident. Because of that, knowing the do’s and don’ts of an accident scene can make all the difference.

What Should You Do After a Car Accident?

After a crash has occurred, it’s important to act quickly but above all, keep a calm head. There are going to be many things happening at once. Not only will you have to deal with your own disorientation and the possibility of injury or pain, but other people may also be involved, whether they’re well-meaning bystanders or the occupants of the other vehicle.

There are some steps you can take directly after you regain your bearings. In order, after assessing your own personal injuries, you should do the following:

  • Turn the hazard lights on and get out of the way of other vehicles if it’s possible to do so safely
  • Contact the police
  • Document the damages through notes and pictures
  • Exchange information with the other driver in order to deal with insurance later

It can feel like a lot to keep track of in the moment, but these are all crucial steps for handling matters of compensation later on. This is especially true concerning the documentation of the accident. You will want to have as much evidence as possible in order to support your claims. In some cases, sources even suggest interviewing bystanders at the scene to collect statements and information. However, your top priority should be to keep yourself safe and prevent further damage from happening to your car or person.

You should try to maintain a calm and polite demeanor throughout the interaction. Both you and the other driver will likely be stressed, agitated, and upset. This can lead to arguments if the tension boils over, which will likely only aggravate the situation. Deal with the other driver calmly, and interact with any police officers who show up on the scene in a respectful way as well.

What Should You Avoid Doing After a Car Accident?Roadside emergency sign show drivers there is a car on the shoulder

There are a number of things to avoid doing. In terms of behavior, this includes getting aggressive with the opposing driver or acting antagonistically toward law enforcement. You should also avoid inspecting your car in detail on the spot; leave that for a later time and place. You may want to contact your car accident lawyer or insurance company quickly, but you won’t want to have an in-depth conversation at the scene.

However, the biggest thing you should never do is leave the scene of the accident. Even if you feel like it’s taking a long time for the crash to be documented, you should always remain on-site. Leaving the scene of a crash can open you up for the possibility of being accused of a hit-and-run, even if you do not find yourself to be responsible.

It should be noted that you can be accused of a hit-and-run if you leave before the investigation is officially finished, even if you do remain at the crash for some time. It’s of key importance to ask police when you can leave and ensure that everything has been wrapped up before you do.

Finally, you can face additional penalties for leaving the scene even if you aren’t responsible for the accident. It could even jeopardize your chances of seeking compensation.

Hit-and-Run Penalties in Wyoming

Similarly, hit-and-run charges in Wyoming can be considered either a misdemeanor or a felony. The penalties can be severe depending on the specific charges that are brought up against you:

  • Jail time: Wyoming can meter out a year in prison for hit-and-runs, depending on the level of injury sustained.
  • Fines: Wyoming may fine you up to $5,000 if convicted
  • License penalties: Your license can be either revoked or suspended. The period can range from six months upward, all the way to a lifetime revocation depending on the circumstances.
  • Financial penalties: This comes in two different forms: civil consequences and having to deal with insurance. Insurance companies will often cancel the policies of anyone who is convicted of a hit-and-run. Civil consequences relate to any court expenses that will be accrued as a result, as it’s highly possible you may be sued for damages. Note that while a jury may award $10,000 in damages, it isn’t uncommon for judges to triple the amount due to the reckless nature of hit-and-run accidents.

Additionally, car insurance companies will not cover damages wrought by hit-and-run crashes if you are accused of being the cause. This means that all of the expenses will need to be covered out of pocket, which can be a hefty chunk of money.

Should You Contact a Car Accident Lawyer?

It’s never a bad idea to contact a car accident lawyer after getting into an accident regardless of the circumstances behind it. Attorneys can act as your allies when you’re facing your insurance companies or if you have to take the other party to court in order to get the compensation you deserve.

The immediate aftermath of an accident is hectic, but that chaos can last for a long time after the fact. You’ll likely be dealing with plenty of expenses, from car damages to hospital costs and perhaps even lost wages if you need to take time off work for recovery. Dealing with these legal issues on top of convalescence can be stressful and hectic for just about anyone, which is why having an experienced car accident lawyer on your side can be of such crucial importance.

You can contact The Wyoming Advocates here or by phone at 307-466-0003 at any time to speak to an attorney who can help you get the compensation you deserve. Your full recovery is the Wyoming Advocates first priority. You deserve an Advocate!

Sources:

https://www.statefarm.com/simple-insights/auto-and-vehicles/tips-for-what-to-do-after-a-car-accident

https://www.dmv.org/wy-wyoming/accident-guide/

https://codes.findlaw.com/wy/title-31-motor-vehicles/wy-st-sect-31-5-1101.html

 

 

Causes of Distracted Driving in the U.S.

Did you know that distracted drivers kill nearly 10 accident victims every day in the United States? In fact, distracted driving has become one of the primary causes of accident fatalities in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Whether you’re changing radio stations or quickly glancing over at a snow-capped mountain beyond the freeway, distracted driving is a dangerous risk that can be avoided altogether. Our accident attorneys at The Idaho Advocates have worked with numerous personal injury cases involving distracted driving, which is why we’d like to offer some personal insight.

The Idaho Advocates have put together a Top Five Causes of Distracted Driving list below to help ensure your safety.

How to Avoid Distracted Driving Safety Tips:

#5 The Quick Reach ‘N’ Swerve (A Distracted Driving Go-To) 

Whether you’re swatting at a big furry spider on the dashboard or trying to nudge your dog off into the backseat, your hands should stay on the wheel at all times. Reaching for objects or maneuvering other parts of the vehicle that have nothing to do with driving automatically puts you and other drivers at risk of being injured.

One quick grab at your sandal to hit the spider isn’t worth rear-ending another driver in front of you, or worse, slipping into the bed of a pickup truck. It’s extremely dangerous to let go of the wheel, not to mention that spiders can’t hurt you nearly as much as slamming into the back of another vehicle.

#4 The Hunger Pains of Distracted Driving

Man eating an hamburger while driving car

After a long day of work people typically want to get home, relax, and most importantly, eat. But oftentimes we end up grabbing a bite to eat on the way home, which may be quicker but makes it all the more tempting to eat and drive.

Eating or drinking at the wheel requires at least ONE hand to drift away from the road, a huge distraction. And while you may think you’re still concentrated on driving, your mind is probably more focused on that delicious sandwich you just picked up. It’s simple: just wait to eat until you get home.

#3 Car Buddies—The Distractors of all Distracted Driving!

Say you’re carpooling to work or enjoying a Friday night out with a friend, it’s highly unlikely that you and your passenger will be sitting in silence. And while it may be beneficial to have an extra set of eyes on the road, it can also be relatively dangerous.

Because having a passenger distracts and nearly doubles your chances of being in an accident, maybe it IS better to sit in silence, rather than blast your favorite 90’s playlist.

#2 Your Life or The Life of Your Social Media 

Did you know that ONE in every FOUR car crashes involving a teenager is a result of texting and driving? According to Teen Safe, texting while driving increases the risk of a car accident six times more than if a teen had been drinking and driving.

We get it though. Social media is a critical component of social status in the age of technology. But what we don’t get is the enormous amount of risk you put on yourself, your loved ones, and other drivers.

#1 The Daydream Effect, And The Worst of All Distracted Driving

Do you ever leave the office, hop in the car, and then suddenly roll into your driveway thinking, ‘Uh, how did I get here?’ Over the past five years, traffic deaths researchers have found that daydreaming is even worse than using a cell phone at the wheel.

It’s understandable that, on our commutes to and from work, we can let our minds drift into autopilot, but NOT at the wheel. Be sure to keep yourself alert and aware AT ALL TIMES!

What To Do If You’ve Been Injured by a Distracted Driver:

If you’ve been injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, you should report it to the police right away. Keep in mind that if you’re ever injured or involved in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, it’s extremely important to consider the following:

  • Report it to the police
  • Seek medical attention if necessary
  • Gather as much evidence as possible (i.e. location, witnesses, # of vehicles involved)

Our accident attorneys at The Idaho Advocates are able to help you get your life back in order. We represent thousands of car accident victims each year and have decades of legal experience. We know how to get you just compensation for your injuries and losses. Don’t hesitate to contact us today for a FREE case evaluation. You can call us at (208)-995-2444 or chat online with one of our attorneys. You deserve an Advocate!

Idaho Bicycle Laws: A Beginner’s Guide

With so many bicycles on Idaho’s roads today, it’s easy to forget just what the rules are when automobiles share lanes with bikes. Where a bicycle rides depends on how fast the bicyclist is traveling. If the bicyclist is moving at the same speed as traffic then they can ride anywhere they like inside of the lane. But if they’re traveling slower than surrounding traffic then, according to Idaho law, they should ride in the following areas:

  • To the right of the road
  • As close to the outer lane line as possible
  • In a bike lane, if available

Bike on side

Most cities in Idaho do not allow bicyclists to ride on sidewalks, so you should check your city’s ordinances before attempting to do so. If a bicyclist does encounter a pedestrian on a sidewalk, they should yield and give an audible signal as they approach, and the same should be done in crosswalks, as well. When passing a bicyclist riding on the road,

motorists should use always use extreme caution. Remember that bicycles don’t offer the same crash protections, like seat belts and air bags, as automobiles do.

Idaho Helmet Laws

Similar to most other states, Idaho requires all bike riders under the age of 18 to wear a helmet while riding. If an underage bike rider is caught riding without a helmet the rider’s parent or guardian would be considered liable and could face stiff financial penalties or the bike could even be impounded.

Bicyclists should also ensure their bikes have proper headlamps and reflectors before hitting the road. Anyone who rides at night should use a white headlamp for the sake of safety. Brakes should also be in operating order, and the handlebars should be set lower than the bicyclist’s shoulders.

The ‘Idaho Stop’ and Other Unique Bike LawsBicyclist signals that he will be turning left.

Bicyclists in Idaho are not required to come to a full stop at a stop sign if there is no other traffic in the vicinity. This is called an ‘Idaho Stop’ by locals and effectively reduces stop signs to little more than yield signs. Bicyclists, too, are not required to fully honor stop lights if there is no other traffic around. Once they see the road is clear, bicyclists can roll through a red light, treating it as if it were little more than a stop sign.

The following is a list of additional Idaho bicycle laws you should be aware of:

  • Bicycles should be ridden with two hands at all times except when using hand signals
  • You should never ride a bicycle after drinking alcohol or using drugs
  • Hitching a ride on a car or truck is not only illegal, it is extremely dangerous
  • You should avoid wearing headphones while riding a bike

Bicycle Signals in Idaho

While hand signal use is not required by law in Idaho, every bicyclist should know how to use them before riding. The three most important signals are left turn, right turn, and stopping/slowing down. With so many drivers distracted by their iPhones these days, it’s wise for bicyclists to get in the habit of using hand signals whenever they make turns or slow down.

Safety is the best policy when it comes to riding bikes in Idaho. Remember that bicycle laws are meant to protect you from injury or worse. For further information, visit the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

Weekend Kuna Crash Kills 2; Injures 6

A multi-vehicle crash left a Meridian man and a child dead Saturday night in Kuna, Idaho. Six other people involved in the crash suffered injuries and were transported to local hospitals for treatment.

Idaho State Police reported that Thomas Hunt, 18, was driving a 2002 Chevy Blazer north along Robinson Road. When he approached Kuna Road he ran the stop sign and hit Jacob Ware as he was traveling eastbound on Kuna Road in a Subaru Impreza.

Zachary Newman, also 18, along with another passenger, a juvenile, in Hunt’s Blazer were ejected and died at the scene of the crash.  Hunt along with two other juvenile passengers, Ware and three of his passengers were all injured in the crash and rushed to Saint Alphonsus Medical Center located in nearby Nampa.

According to Idaho State Police no one riding in Hunt’s Blazer was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. Ware’s passengers, however, were all wearing seat belts.

If you’ve been hurt in an accident then you will need an Advocate on your side. Our attorneys have decades of experience helping accident victims just like you. The Idaho Advocates are experts at helping our clients recover just compensation for their injuries and losses. You can reach our office 24/7 for a free evaluation of your case. You can either call us at 208-995-2444 or chat online right now with a live attorney. Don’t wait! Contact us today. You deserve an Advocate.

Boise Drivers Cited for Left Lane Driving

Idaho State Police have begun to ticket drivers who travel too slow in the far left passing lane. A law recently went into effect that levies a $90 fine against slow-moving drivers clogging up the left lane.

Since the law began to be enforced on July 1st, Idaho police have cited two drivers for driving too slowly.

“If vehicles are moving slower, it can cause accidents and crashes,” said Idaho State Police Lieutenant Shawn Staley. “Guys will make traffic stops on it. But it would have to be fairly egregious.”

Idaho is just one of many states to implement so-called “slow poke” laws that reserve the left lane for passing motorists. States such as Indiana and New Jersey charging a maximum fine of $500 for repeat offenders.

Indeed, in late June Indiana Police Sergeant Stephen Wheeles was hailed on social media for pulling over a driver for driving too slowly in the passing lane. Over 20 cars were reported to have been trailing the woman’s vehicle.

https://kfoxtv.com/news/offbeat/2-drivers-cited-for-going-too-slow-in-idaho-under-new-law

Enforcement of the law is left up to the discretion of Idaho police officers. Drivers in the left lane who are traveling at the maximum posted speed limit will not be cited, nor will driver who exceed the speed limit in order to pass another vehicle. Drivers who speed above 15 mph over the posted limit, however, should expect to be cited for excessive speeding.

If you’ve been involved in an accident due to a slow-moving driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. Don’t worry. The Idaho Advocates can help you recover what you are owed according to Idaho law. Our attorneys are available 7 days a week to answer all of your legal questions. Don’t wait to call our office at 208-995-2444 or chat online right now with a live attorney. Contact us today for a free evaluation of your case. You deserve an Advocate!

What to Know About Whiplash in the U.S.

Top 10 Facts to Know About Whiplash in the United States

Whiplash is the most common and well-known injury reported in car accidents across the United States, and yet it is still one of the least understood. The dizzying array of potential symptoms can make charting your path to recovery a serious challenge. Advances in the understanding of this complex disorder have upended traditional methods of treatment. If you have been injured in a car accident and suffer from whiplash, here are the top 10 things you should know:

#10 How Whiplash Really Happens

When the upper body, head, and neck are subjected to a violent back and forth motion muscles, ligaments, and even vertebrae can become injured. This type of injury can lead to wide-ranging symptoms from mild discomfort to chronic, potentially debilitating pain. The medical term for the collective symptoms stemming from an injury of this nature is whiplash-associative disorder.

To date, the most common way to get whiplash is from a car accident. The violent impact lurches the body suddenly and whips the head to-and-fro. However, car accidents are far from the only way to suffer a whiplash injury. You can also get it from taking a hard tumble while skiing, horseback riding, or even a particularly nasty slip-and-fall. Other common ways to get whiplash include contact sports, roller coasters, and, in extremely rare instances, even a particularly violent sneeze.

#9 Symptoms of Whiplash

One of the chief problems in diagnosing and treating whiplash is the unusually diverse list of potential symptoms. The accident can cause pain and soreness in the neck and shoulders that may slowly build in intensity over days or even weeks. Stiffness in the spine and a reduced range of movement is common. Whiplash can strain or even tear muscles and ligaments resulting in pain and weakness. Headaches, dizziness, and problems with balance can persist. Numbness, tingling, burning, and other uncomfortable sensations in the arms, hands, and shoulders are possible. A considerable number of whiplash victims report cognitive and psychological conditions resulting in memory loss, depression, fatigue, sleep problems, and difficulty focusing.

If this partial list of symptoms seems extensive to you, you’re not the only one. The medical community remains hard pressed to explain the direct connection between whiplash and some of these symptoms. This is a why negotiating a settlement for a whiplash injury can be more complex than other types of injuries. A car accident attorney who specializes in litigating whiplash claims will prove invaluable when it comes to collecting the best evidence to support your claim.

#8 More Than Just Rear-End Accidents

Rear-end car accidents typically feature a combination of factors which concoct a perfect storm for whiplash to occur. When someone is rear-ended, they often do not see the accident coming and so are unable to brace themselves in anticipation of the blow. The angle of impact from directly behind plays into the range of motion of the neck allowing the force to have the maximum whiplash effect to the head. However, whiplash is by no means exclusive to rear-end accidents alone.

Head-on collisions, for example, while usually seen in time for the driver to brace themselves, often give rise to whiplash as well. The angle of the force from the impact similarly lines up with the range of motion for the neck, resulting in a more dramatic whipping effect to the head. Facts are that almost any accident featuring a hard-enough jarring impact can result in a whiplash injury of varying degrees.

#7 Low Speed Car Accidents Can Still Cause Whiplash

A serious case of whiplash can occur at surprisingly low speeds. While the average speed of an accident that can cause whiplash is 12-mph, speeds as low 5-mph can also routinely result in a case of whiplash. The reasons why have to do with the physics of automobile crashes. When a vehicle traveling at 8-mph collides with a car that is not moving the force of the impact transfers to the body of the victim in a split second. The sudden jarring motion to the body leaves the head to snap back and forth with up to 5 G-force of acceleration. This violent force happens in the blink of an eye, causing damage before the victim can even react.

#6 Women and People Over 30 at Increased Risk

Due to less musculature support in the neck and shoulder region, women are at a significantly higher risk of suffering from whiplash than men. A recent report from Sweden concluded that contributing to this disparity is that women tend to own lighter, smaller cars and sit more upright and closer to the steering wheel.

After the age of thirty, changes begin to affect the flexibility in our joints, cartilage, and vertebrae. This loss of flexibility leaves us more prone to injury when something traumatic occurs. A whiplash injury is not only more likely after the age of thirty, when it does happen it is more severe in nature. These progressive changes only increase with each passing year.

#5 Neck Collars Can Actually Hurt Recovery

Until recently, the neck-collar was a mainstay of medical treatment for whiplash. Modern studies have cast doubt on the effectiveness of this practice though. Excessive use can even produce a negative effect on your recovery and increase your chances of developing chronic side-effects. At one time, a doctor may have recommended that you use the collar for weeks or more. Today that recommendation is down to just 2-3 days maximum, if at all.

The new medical motto regarding whiplash is ‘rest equals rust.’ Immobilizing the neck muscles decreases strength and interfere with your body’s natural recovery process. Physical therapy and chiropractic treatment can help restore range of movement, alleviate pain, and get you back on your feet faster.

#4 Whiplash Can Be Invisible to X-Rays and MRIs

X-rays can be quite revealing when it comes to dislocations, fractures or other injuries to the bone or spine structure. Soft tissue injuries are simply not as identifiable using this type of imaging, including most whiplash related injuries. That is not to say x-rays are useless. They can be a vital tool to both doctors and lawyers to help eliminate possible causes of specific symptoms.

MRI scans can detect a limited number of soft tissue injuries, primarily those involving the spinal cord, disks, or ligaments. A new advanced MRI technique developed in the last decade studies the fat to water ratio in the muscles in the neck area. Abnormal muscles changes especially an infiltration of fat is an indicator that they will be at elevated risk to develop chronic pain or partial disability.

#3 High Chance of Developing Chronic Symptoms

Regrettably, the risk of developing chronic symptoms with whiplash is high when compared to other injuries. In close to half of all whiplash cases the patient will still be experiencing chronic pain 20 years later. Difficulty in clearly identifying the relationship between the injury and some long-term symptoms can makes treatment a challenge. The hope is that if we can find those at high-risk for chronic symptoms earlier that research coupled with more aggressive treatment plans can help bring the number of chronic sufferers down. Although currently the treatment for those suffering chronic pain from whiplash have proved to have limited effectiveness.

#2 Chiropractic Treatment for Whiplash in the United States

Chiropractic treatment is widely regarded as one of the most effective strategies for treatment of whiplash. Some chiropractors even specialize specifically in treating those suffering from whiplash. Through a personalized treatment plan your chiropractor will use a variety of techniques to help restore range of movement, reduce pain, and get you back on your feet again.

Targeted stretching of muscles and ligaments helps relieve tightness. Manipulation of the spine or joints with a chiropractic adjustment can help return range of movement. Finger pressure applied to trigger points reduces pain. McKenzie exercises are a regimen learned during office visits designed for use at home to help build strength and flexibility. Specialty isolation exercises correct faulty movement in daily routines developing healthier patterns. Chiropractors offer vital advice on ergonomic and lifestyle changes to aid in your continued recovery and health.

#1 U.S. Settlements for Whiplash Injuries

Negotiating a settlement for a whiplash injury can be a complex process. Insurance companies often undervalue pain and suffering or may write off whiplash as a minor inconvenience. Your settlement should include a combination of the following:

  • All your current medical bills
  • Any future medical expenses
  • Lost wages from missed work and opportunities
  • Pain and suffering
  • Compensation for any chronic of permanent damages
  • Loss of consortium

Marshallings the evidence to substantiate all aspects of damage caused by a whiplash injury is a vital step toward winning the settlement you deserve. Choosing an experienced car accident lawyer who specializes in representing whiplash victims is the only proven way to fully protect your interests.

The Advocates is one of the top personal injury firms in the entire United States. As a national law firm we have the resources and experience to stand up for your rights against any caliber of insurance company, whether they be large or small. The Advocates have successfully settled thousands cases for whiplash-related injuries and are dedicated not only to your recovery, but to securing every dollar you are owed for damages according to the law. Find out what The Advocates can do for your case. You can contact our office by calling (888) 565-5277, filling out the form below, or chatting with a live attorney from the bottom or your screen. Don’t wait. You deserve an Advocate!

Speak with an Advocate Today!

What is the Personal Injury Claims Process?

If you’ve been injured in an accident that was likely someone else’s fault, you’re probably wondering what you should do next.

When involved in any kind of collision caused by someone else, it’s always important to remember that you have the right to speak with a personal injury attorney before making any decisions.

The key to recovering full compensation for your injuries and losses is understanding the timeline of a typical personal injury case, which our attorneys will walk you through.

In the following article, we will outline the most important steps in the personal injury claims process, how long this takes and what our accident attorneys can do to help your case.

Here is the personal injury case timeline:

Seek Medical Treatment

The first thing you should do immediately following an accident is seek medical treatment. Even if you’re only experiencing minor injuries, you should always go to a medical provider or the emergency room after a collision. This not only important for your safety and well-being but if you don’t get medical treatment, the insurance adjuster and the jury may undermine the severity of your injuries.

Speak with a Personal Injury Attorney

When speaking with a personal injury attorney, remember that your initial consultation is free of charge. This is your opportunity to explain your situation to get a better understanding as to whether or not you will need an accident attorney to file your injury claim for you. Anytime that you suffer a serious injury, you will absolutely need a personal injury lawyer to represent your case.

Lawyer Begins Thorough Investigation Process

The investigation process is just an initial interview by your attorney to gather as much information about your collision as possible before moving forward. Be sure to answer all of their questions as honestly and completely as you can. From there, your lawyer will help collect your medical bills and any other medical records relating to the accident.

Lawyer Prepares Demand Letter

The vast majority of smaller personal injury claims usually settle before a lawsuit is ever filed. If your lawyer thinks the case can be settled out of court, then they will prepare a demand letter to send to the at fault party’s attorney or insurance company. However, if neither party can come to a fair settlement agreement, the case will move into the “litigation” phase.

Personal Injury Lawsuit is Filed

A personal injury lawsuit is only filed in court when an agreement between both parties can’t be made. This step in the personal injury claims process needs to be completed within strict time limits that each state has in place called a statue of limitations. Under filing a lawsuit in court, each party will investigate the other side’s legal claims, mediate and negotiate and eventually go to trial if neither resolutions works.

Trial (If Necessary)

Mediation is the process in which both clients receive assistance from a neutral third party to help resolve the case. This often works, but if it doesn’t then the case will be scheduled for trial.

Contact a Nebraska Personal Injury Attorney Today!

If you or a loved one were injured by another driver, you should contact a personal injury attorney right away.

You can call our office at 402-275-6980 or use our Live Chat Feature here on our homepage. Don’t wait. You deserve an Advocate.

Popular Songs That Cause Car Accidents

Did you know System of a Down’s “Chop Suey” is one of the most dangerous songs to drive to? As soon as the words “Wake up!” rattle the stereo, it’s almost inevitable to start head banging. Don’t worry. We’ve all been there.

Listening to music in the car can make the drive all the more fun. However, as fun as it to make a performance out of your favorite tunes, even the best tracks can be dangerous to play while driving. A recent study shows that particular songs might actually increase the risk of a car accident.

English psychologist and professor Dr. Simon Moore conducted a study observing Spotify’s 40 most popular tracks of 2017 and how they impact driving skills. Him and other researchers at the London Metropolitan University used the enabled MotorMate app to monitor music’s effect on several participants.

 

Participants first drove 250 miles without music to establish baseline results and then played popular hits from a variety of music styles, such as jazz, heavy metal, hip-hop, and classical, for the next 250 miles.

Person increase the volume of their car radio

Dr. Moore assessed the impact of each song measuring two key elements:

  • Tempo: the speed at which music is played, often known as the beats per minute (BPM)
  • Energy: how intense and loud a song is on a scale of 1 to 10

Dr. Moore found there were some tracks that could induce people to drive faster. In fact, research showed that both female and male participants drove more erratically when classical music was playing as opposed to no music at all.

“Fast beats can cause excitement and arousal that can lead people to concentrate more on the music than on the road,” said the professor. These songs include popular tunes such as The Black Eyed Peas’ “Hey Mama” and Fall Out Boy’s “Dead on Arrival.”

If we follow Dr. Moore’s findings, songs above 100 BPM might be too rowdy for the average drive, but regardless of the style of music, tracks between 60 and 100 BPM are considered the safest to listen to while driving.

We get it. The best songs on the radio are fun to listen to. Although, we can’t let them compromise our driving skills.

What Songs are Dangerous To Drive To?

Here are some of the most dangerous songs to listen to while driving, according to Dr. Moore.

10. “Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin (113 BPM)

9. “Chop Suey” by System of a Down (127 BPM)

8. “Castle On The Hill” by Ed Sheeran (135 BPM)

7. “I can’t drive 55” by Sammy Hagar (135 BPM)

6. “Sandstorm” by Darude (136 BPM)

5. “Top Back” by T.I (160 BPM)

4. “The Pretender” by Foo Fighters (173 BPM)

3. “Notget” by Björk (179 BPM)

2. “The Rock Show” by Blink 182 (193 BPM)

1. “Prophets of Rage” by Prophets of Rage (200 BPM)

You’ll notice that most of these songs are upbeat and a lot of fun to dance and sing to. But maybe tone down the tempo the next time you’re behind the wheel.

What is the Settlement Check Process?

Once your personal injury case is settled, you may be wondering what the next steps of the settlement check process are. There is a standard time period before you can deposit your settlement check.

The average amount of time to receive a settlement check is typically between 30 days to six weeks from the end of negotiations, but there are any number of factors that can slow down or speed up this process. Be sure to speak with your personal injury attorney if there is a delay in receiving your settlement check.

If you or a loved one are waiting for your settlement check, it’s important to understand the settlement process and how to deposit your check. All personal injury cases are unique and The Advocates are here to answer any questions you may have.

What are the Steps in the Settlement Check Process?

While the time it takes to receive your check will vary, settlement checks undergo a specific process before your funds are ready to deposit. This process proceeds as follows”

1. Signing the Forms

Prior to the release of your settlement funds, the defense attorney of the at-fault party will draft a release form for you to sign. These signatures include:

  • Order of Settlement. The Order of Settlement consists of paperwork that must be filled out by both parties. The most important of these documents is the Release.
  • Release Form. The Release must be signed in order for you to receive your settlement check. This form acknowledges that you, the plaintiff, accept the settlement offer from the defendant and understand they are “releasing” are releasing any and all claims against the defendant.

2. Insurance Processes and Releases Check

Once the insurance company receives the signed release forms, they will process them and send your settlement check to your attorney. The check will read as the agreed upon amount, but there are several steps that need to happen before you can put your check in the bank. Checks are usually sent within 7-10 business days.

3. Your Attorney Deposits Check into Trust Account

After your attorney receives your check, he or she will deposit the settlement offer into a trust account until the bank clears the funds. This will ensure that the insurance company has the funds to pay the amount of your check. While this step can be frustrating, it’s required by law to make sure the money is there.

4. Paying Off Debts

If you have liens filed against you, you attorney first pay those liens before sending you the rest of your check. This includes:

  • Unpaid medical bills
  • Attorney’s fees from previous lawyers
  • Reimbursements to your insurance company
  • Child support payments

5. Payment of Legal Fees and Costs

Once your debts and liens have been paid off, your attorney will deduct the agreed-upon fees from your total settlement amount. Prior to hiring your personal injury lawyer, you should have signed a contingency fee arrangement that outlined the percentage your attorney will take out for legal fees.

6. Receiving Your Final Settlement Check

Your attorney will write you a check for the remaining funds after these fees are paid. You’ll likely receive this check within six weeks and can deposit the funds into your personal account.

How to Deposit Your Personal Injury Settlement Check

You can deposit your settlement check like any other check you receive. Most personal injury firms, including ours, still issue paper checks to clients. The bank teller may bring over a manager to authorize the transaction, but other than that you should be good to go.

Speak with a Personal Injury Attorney Near You!

If you or a loved one would like to know more about filing personal injury claims and recovering compensation for your injuries, you can contact The Advocates by phone at 1-888-565-5277 or use our online form fill here. Don’t wait. You deserve an Advocate.

5 Steps to Take During an Injury Case

Two men exchange insurance information after a car collision

 

If you were injured due to someone else’s negligence and plan to file a personal injury claim, you should continue reading. The key to building a successful claim is having a clear understanding of the most important steps you should take during a personal injury case.

Our personal injury attorneys understand that the aftermath of an injury can be frustrating and difficult to deal with alone. Here at The Advocates, we will be there for you each step of the way to make sure you get the full recovery you deserve.

While filing a personal injury claim may seem overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. In the following article, we will outline the simple steps you should take so that your claim has the best chance of success.

What Steps Can Strengthen a Personal Injury Claim?

One of the most important things to consider about filing a personal injury claim is that most cases are time sensitive. With that being said, you should consider taking the following steps sooner than later. These include:

1. Call an Experience Injury Attorney Right AwayMan talks on his smartphone in his office

If you were recently injured by another person’s negligence, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney right away. You will want to have an attorney working on your case as soon as possible.

Not only will a lawyer take care of all your legal needs, but those who hire an attorney receive, on average, up to 3.5 times more in compensation than people without one, according to the Insurance Research Council.

2. Only Communicate with Your Attorney About the Case

This may be one of the most important steps you should take during your personal injury case. It’s very likely that an insurance adjuster will reach out to you with questions about your injuries, the accident and your case in general. Let your attorney do the communicating for you.

Your attorney is there to serve as your legal guide, so it’s imperative that you only speak with them. Any conversations you have otherwise can be misinterpreted or misconstrued, which can greatly impact the success of your case.

3. Do Not Post About Your Case on Social Media

While this may seem like an obvious thing to avoid, people continue to post on social media about their case. What you may not realize is that an insurance adjuster or a defense attorney might monitor your social media accounts from the beginning of your claim to the very end.

Insurance companies are trained to look at social media accounts and potentially find flaws in anything you say about your injuries online. Simply put, don’t post about your case on social media, such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Shot of a doctor showing a patient some information on a digital tablet

4. Keep Going to Your Doctor Appointments

Keeping up with your doctor appointments is one of the most important steps to take during your personal injury case. If you were injured by another person and want to be compensated for your medical bills and other damages, you will need to continue visiting your doctor.

Unfortunately, if you do not continue receiving treatment, the at-fault party can use this to diminish the seriousness of your injuries. This will eventually result in receiving a lower settlement amount than what you are actually owed.

5. Fight for Full Compensation for Your Injuries

Insurance companies are skilled at reviewing injury claims and making unfair settlement amounts at first. However, you have the right to fight for fair compensation for your injuries and losses.

With The Advocates on your side, our personal injury attorneys will do the negotiating for you. Don’t settle for less. Contact our office today for a free legal consultation. You can call us today at 1-888-565-5277 or use our online form fill here. You deserve an Advocate!

The Ultimate Guide to Semi-Truck Accidents

Semi-Truck Accident Explainer

Did you know that every 15 minutes a person is killed or seriously injured in a semi-truck accident? In fact, more than 300,000 truck accidents occur each year in the United States. Truck accidents are listed as one of the most dangerous types of traffic collisions in the country.

When a tractor trailer collides with a smaller vehicle, the results can be catastrophic, if not deadly. Semi-trucks without a trailer can weigh anywhere from 10,000 to 25,000 pounds, whereas trucks with a loaded trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. In comparison, most passenger vehicles only weigh around 4,000 pounds.

If you or a loved one have been involved in a semi truck crash, the most important thing after taking care of your health is finding an effective semi-truck accident attorney to protect your legal rights. The following article is a step-by-step guide on how to build a strong truck accident claim with The Advocates.

Speak with an Advocate Today!

What are the Most Common Causes of a Truck Accident?

Commercial trucks like big rigs and delivery trucks present many dangers to smaller vehicles and their passengers. Seemingly minor driving errors can lead to devastating results when a truck collision occurs. Some of the most common causes of semi-truck accidents are:

  • Driver fatigue
  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Reckless driving
  • Failure to secure load
  • Improper cargo loading
  • Poor employee training
  • Failed truck inspection

If you were injured in a truck accident, you might not know where to turn. An accident lawyer with The Advocates can help you determine the cause of your crash and help you build a strong legal claim.

What Evidence Do I Need from My Truck Accident?

When a truck accident occurs, you should try to collect as much evidence from the scene of the crash as possible. Such evidence includes:

  • Truck Driver’s Information
  • Full name
  • Contact information
  • Insurance company and policy number
  • Driver’s license
  • Truck driver’s license number
  • License plate number
  • Vehicle information
  • Cargo being transported
  • Witness Information
  • Full name
  • Contact information
  • Leave witness statement for the police
  • Photos/Videos
  • Pictures of your vehicle and other vehicles involved
  • Videos of damages
  • Photos of the truck’s license plate
  • Any injuries from the crash
  • Additional evidence including traffic signals and road conditions

We understand that it may not be possible for everyone to collect evidence from the scene of a truck accident. If you are able to gather evidence, it’s important to note that these photos and statements will be crucial to have when you file a personal injury claim with insurance.

Who Will Be Held Liable for my Semi-Truck Accident?

A thorough investigation of your truck accident is necessary in order to determine who is responsible for the crash. It’s possible that one or more parties will be held liable for compensating you and other victims for your injuries and losses. These are the following parties that could be held accountable for the crash:

  • Truck driver
  • Trucking company
  • Owner of the rig
  • Cargo shipper or loader
  • Manufacturer of the truck or parts
  • Party responsible for truck’s maintenance
  • Government contractors
  • Other vendors

As you can see, truck accidents are very complex and difficult to face without the help of a trusted injury attorney. In truck collisions, any third-party vendor can be held responsible if their negligence contributed to your accident. If the investigation shows that several parties are liable, you and your lawyer will be able to maximize the compensation you receive for your accident.

What if I was Partially At-Fault for the Accident?

Even if you were partially responsible for the truck accident, you may still be eligible for compensation for your injuries and losses. Luckily, most states use a comparative negligence rule which allows accident victims to receive a reduced amount of damages based on the degree to which the plaintiff’s negligence caused the crash.

What Are the Legal Steps After Being in a Truck Accident?

When you have been involved in a truck accident, the first thing you should do is call emergency services. Because of the sheer size of a truck, injuries and collision damage are usually much more severe and your health is a top priority.

Once you’ve taken care of your health, you should contact a semi-truck accident lawyer right away so that you can begin the process of filing and following a personal injury claim for your truck collision. Here are the most important steps to building a legal claim and winning your case: 

1. Sign a written agreement with your truck accident attorney.

You should make your professional relationship with your truck accident lawyer official by reviewing, discussing and signing a written agreement stating the terms for your legal representation. Make sure you ask questions and have a clear understanding of the basic points of agreement before signing anything.

Establishing this communication from the very beginning will allow you to trust your lawyer’s guidance in helping you retrieve maximum compensation for your accident.

2. Let your attorney communicate with insurance and claim adjusters.

Once you and your legal team begin building your injury claim, you should only discuss your case with your attorney unless advised otherwise. You will need to report your truck accident to your own insurance company and other parties, but you should not give any information to the trucking company’s claim adjuster as well as other insurance companies, even if they reach out to you.

Do not sign any documents or answer questions of any kind without first speaking with your lawyer. Sharing the details of your truck accident injuries outside the required agencies, such as your insurance, the police, the DMV and doctors, can jeopardize the success of your legal claim.

3. Investigate the evidence from your truck accident.

At this point, you’ve probably already had the opportunity to present basic evidence to your attorney. It’s pivotal that you share this information, including details about your medical visits and physical therapy, to help your legal team move forward in building you the strongest personal injury claim possible.

Man with arm in sling files for worker's comp

4. Send a demand letter to the insurance company responsible for your injuries.

Now that you and your attorney have collected and reviewed the evidence from your crash, the next step is for your lawyer to draft and send a personal injury demand letter to the at-fault party’s insurance company. The letter will address how you, the injury claimant, have been affected physically, financially and emotionally from the crash.

Importantly, the letter will map out the “demand,” which is the specific payment amount that will be accepted in order to restore you justice.” This will be an agreed upon amount between you and your attorney.

5. Your attorney will negotiate the best settlement offer for you.

Once the trucking company receives the demand letter, the insurance company has two options. The trucking company can accept your demands and settle out of court or they can negotiate terms and present you with a counter-offer.

6. File a Lawsuit if Negotiations Fail

If you and the trucker’s insurance company cannot reach a deal on a fair settlement amount, then you have the option to file a lawsuit and take your case to trial. Most cases are settled before this step. However, if your demands go unanswered or negotiation is out of the question, you’ll want the best truck accident lawyer to take the at-fault party’s insurance company to court.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim for a Truck Accident?

If you are injured in any type of accident, such as a car collision, truck accident or motorcycle crash, you will need to file your injury claim as soon as possible. The reasons for this is because there are legal deadlines you will need to meet in order to recover any compensation for your injuries and losses. The longer you wait to file your legal claim, the more difficult it will be for you to prove negligence against the at-fault party and win your case.

It’s true that deadlines vary from state to state. For example, Florida has longer time limits on personal injury claims than most other states. Truck accident victims must file a claim within four years in the state of Florida from the date of the crash, whereas accident victims in California have only two years. Your attorney will be able to help you file a truck accident claim depending on the state you live in within the appropriate time frame.

You Need an Advocate After Your Semi Truck Accident

Truck accident cases are far more complicated than car accident collisions for a multitude of reasons. Truck collisions involve multiple parties and can be difficult to navigate alone. The semi-truck accident lawyers with The Advocates understand the ins and outs of commercial and public carriers, as well as determining liability for complex injury claims.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury from a truck accident, you will need an experienced truck accident attorney to help you recover compensation for your injuries and losses. For more information on how The Advocates can build you a strong legal claim, contact our lawyers today. Simply call us at 888-565-5277 or use our online chat to speak with a live attorney. Don’t wait. You deserve an Advocate.

Zantac Cancer Lawsuits FAQs

Zantac Cancer Lawsuits: Most Frequently Asked Questions

With the current FDA recall of Zantac and its generic products, pharmaceuticals containing Ranitidine, thousands of people across the United States are wondering if they have been impacted by the popular heartburn drug. The aim of this guide is to answer any and all questions you may have about Zantac, the recall, and the current federal lawsuits being filed on behalf of victims.

What is Zantac and Ranitidine?

Zantac is a pharmaceutical designed to provide heartburn relief for consumers afflicted with the chronic condition. The drug was designed by GlaxoSmithKline in the 80’s and quickly became widespread across the globe. Zantac is now manufactured by a French pharmaceutical company called Sanofi and is offered in both prescription and over-the-counter forms. Until recently, there were dozens of generic ranitidine products on the market.

Why is Zantac being recalled?

An independent laboratory in 2019 found that Ranitidine, the active ingredient in Zantac, produces toxic levels of the chemical N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), which is carcinogenic to the human body. NDMA is classified as a chemical that causes cancer by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the World Health Organization (WHO), and even the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

What kinds of cancers are caused by Zantac and Ranitidine?

Empty Zantac package

Toxins produced by the NDMA chemical found in Zantac and Ranitidine have been associated with the following types of cancer:

  • Liver cancer
  • Kidney or renal cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Nasal cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Cancer of the Bladder
  • Cancer of the prostate
  • Gastric cancer
  • Testicular cancer
  • Cancer of the esophagus
  • Pancreatic cancer 
  • Intestinal Cancer
  • Colorectal Cancer

Why are the Zantac manufacturers and distributors responsible?

Due to a troubling trend toward deregulation in the United States, more and more pharmaceutical companies rush the research, development, and testing of their products. They do this to make their products available to the general public as quickly as possible to grab as much of the market as possible.

The attorneys with The Advocates believe the makers and suppliers of Zantac and Ranitidine failed to conduct proper research of their drug, possibly knew of the drug’s risks, and failed to recall the product upon discovery of the toxic chemical NDMA. Put simply, they put profits ahead of people.

How do I know if I qualify to file a Zantac lawsuit?

If you have been diagnosed with one of the above-listed cancers or another type of illness after prolonged use of Zantac or its generic products then you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. Zantac injury claims will likely be based upon proven medical conditions substantiated by a history of medical records.

How long will Zantac litigation take?

Unfortunately cases involving defective drugs can take several years to fully resolve since you will likely be joining thousands of other victims whom have filed injury claims. Large drug companies have vast resources and teams of cutthroat lawyers who will drag out the litigation process as long they are able.

Will I have to go to trial?

The chances you will have to go to trial is rather slim. Again, there will almost certainly be thousands of other cases similar to your own and 99% of these will settle out of court.

How much does it cost to hire an Advocate attorney to represent my Zantac lawsuit?

It costs absolutely nothing to hire an Advocate attorney for your Zantac lawsuit. Our attorneys work on what’s known as a contingency basis. This means we don’t get paid unless you do. Once your Zantac case settles, The Advocates will be paid a percentage of the settlement on the backend. In the unlikely scenario where your case does not successfully settle, you won’t owe The Advocates a dime in attorney fees. That’s our promise to you.

If you have been diagnosed with cancer after prolonged use of Zantac or one of its generic products containing Ranitidine, you should contact The Advocates today for a free case evaluation. Our attorneys are experts at recovering damages for defective pharmaceuticals such Zantac. The Advocates know best how to obtain maximum compensation for the injuries and losses you have suffered.

With so much at stake with your Zantac lawsuit, an ordinary lawyer simply won’t do. You need an Advocate attorney to help you win just compensation for your Zantac injury claim. Don’t wait to call our office today at 1-888-565-5277chat with a live attorney from the bottom of your page, or fill out the form below. You deserve an Advocate!

Speak With an Advocate Today About Your Zantac Lawsuit!

Top Mistakes When Filing for Social Security Disability

Have you recently filed for disability and were denied Social Security benefits? It’s true that many people are denied disability after submitting an application for the first time. In fact, it occurs so frequently that going through the appeal process of a disability denial is usually required to win any disability benefits at all. However, many claims are denied because of the lack of information provided, explaining in full detail the severity of a person’s disabled condition.

Let’s face it though. There’s no quick and easy way to file for social security disability without going through a lengthy process and potentially face the high probability of being denied. In the following article, The Advocates will explain the ins and outs of Social Security Disability, the most common mistakes made when filing for disability, and how our own Social Security Disability attorneys can help you.

What are Social Security Disability Benefits?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is provided to individuals who can no longer perform a “substantial” amount of work due to a physical or mental illness that will likely last longer than 12 months. According to Social Security, a “substantial” amount of work is defined as making at least $1,260 each month before taxes (or $2,110 per month for people who are blind) as of 2020.

Once you go through the application process and submit all the necessary paperwork and are approved, then the Social Security Administration will provide monthly benefits to you and your household, such as income supplements, back payments, medical care, and family benefits.

social security disability mistakes

Social Security Disability Benefits Defined

  • Monthly Payments: any income supplements are determined by a person’s employment history and the amount of taxes paid to the Social Security system each year.
  • Back Payments: these benefits, which are also known as lump-sum payments, are given to claimants from the time you file your disability application, as well as 12 months retroactive to that date.
  • Medical Benefits: you will receive Medicare benefits 2 years from the date you are deemed eligible for Social Security Disability benefits; this does mean 2 years after the date you are approved for benefits.
  • Family Benefits: your spouse or minor or any disabled children in your immediate family may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits as dependents.

For more information about SSDI benefits, please see the disability benefits page on the Social Security office’s website.

Am I Eligible for Social Security Disability?

To qualify for Social Security disability, there are two general requirements you must meet. First, you must have worked jobs that were covered by Social Security. Then you must provide proof of a medical condition that meets the Social Security’s Disability criteria. Below are several examples of medical conditions, including both physical and mental, that automatically qualify a person for SSDI:

  • Cardiovascular problems, such as coronary artery disease or heart failure
  • Musculoskeletal issues, such as neck or back injuries
  • Senses and speech problems, such a loss of hearing or sight
  • Mental disorders, such as anxiety or depression
  • Neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s or epilepsy

The list above only includes but a few of the impairments noted in the Social Security Administration’s impairment listing manual (also referred to as the blue book).

How Do I Apply for Social Security Disability Insurance?

There are a few things you should know about filing for SSDI. You can complete your application online at the Social Security Association site or by calling them at 1-800-772-1213. You can also visit your local Social Security office, in which you will not need an appointment. If you do call and schedule an appointment with a local office, you may save yourself a wait time for when you get there.

You must be able to provide documents to show you are eligible, such as your birth certificate, W-2 form(s), an Adult Disability Report, and be able to answer any questions the Social Security office asks. Keep in mind that compiling all the necessary documents and medical information to determine your eligibility can be a long, tedious process. You should consider hiring a social security disability lawyer so that you don’t make any mistakes and are approved as soon as possible.

What are the Most Common Mistakes of Filing for Social Security Disability?

Did you know that more than 2 million people file for disability benefits each year in the U.S? Unfortunately, nearly 70% of people who apply for disability are denied benefits at the first stage of the application process. Such a high percentage of denied applications is due to filing mistakes on the applicant’s part.

In order to increase the chances of getting your disability application approved, it’s important to understand the mistakes people make which lead to their applications denied. Here are the 5 most common mistakes applicants make when filing for disability:

#1: Applying for Disability While Still Working

Even though there are no specific rules against applying for disability while working, the chances of your social security claim being approved while still being employed are slim. When applying for a disability claim, you are essentially requesting for government assistance because of the inability to perform substantial work activity.

If you are still working and earning an income when filing for disability, Social Security often sees this as contradicting your need for their assistance. To increase your chances of being awarded disability benefits, only apply once you are no longer employed.

common ssd mistakes

#2: Filing for SSD Benefits Too Soon

While it may seem proactive to apply for SSDI as soon as your condition begins, it’s true that applying for disability too early may disqualify you from receiving benefits. The reason for this is because disabling conditions must be expected to last for 12 months or longer in order to be approved by Social Security.

If you apply for benefits too early, it will be much more difficult to prove that you have sustained a long-term or permanent disability. In fact, Social Security’s medical examiner will likely assume your condition will improve before needing disability benefits – therefore, denying your claim. Be sure to consult with your medical provider first and determine that your condition will last for 1 year or more.

#3: Using the Consultative Exam as Medical Proof

One of the most common mistakes people make when filing for SSDI is applying without sufficient enough medical evidence to support a disability claim. Many disability applicants choose to simply rely on the consultative exam, which is a required medical examination ordered by the Social Security Administration when you first apply for benefits.

Unfortunately, there is a general assumption that this exam provides enough medical evidence proving a disabled condition. But the fact of the matter is that the exam does quite the opposite. The only time you should ever rely on the consultative exam is to use it in conjunction with any supporting evidence you’ve already received from your medical provider. Make sure you speak with your doctor so they can help provide sufficient evidence to support your disability claim.

#4: Refraining from Getting Prescribed Treatments

In some instances, Social Security applicants refuse to receive any medical treatment at all, assuming the treatment will negatively impact their disabled condition and prevent them from receiving the benefits they need. 

Refusing medical treatment is actually more detrimental to your application status than if you decided to seek out medical treatment for your condition. The reason for this is that the Social Security medical examiner will review your treatment history and look to see how you responded to prescribed treatment from your doctor.

If you did not follow up with any of the recommended treatment, you may be denied disability benefits based on this fact alone.

#5: Fighting Your Appeal Without Legal Representation

The sad truth about applying for social security disability benefits is that more than 50% of disability applicants are denied the first time they apply for benefits. If your application gets denied, you will want to hire a social security disability lawyer to represent you in the appeal process. One of the biggest reasons people shy away from hiring an attorney is out of fear they cannot afford one.

It’s important to understand that social security disability lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they are only paid a percentage of the back pay you receive from Social Security. You will not have to pay anything up front. Having an attorney on your side will drastically increase your chances of being awarded disability benefits during the appeal process.

When to Hire a Social Security Disability Lawyer

If you were recently denied disability benefits, you will want to hire a Social Security Disability lawyer to represent your legal claim. Here at The Advocates, we accept disability clients from all over the entire United States. We have offices located in Utah, Washington, Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming but accept clients from all 50 states.

Our role as Advocates is to work with our clients every step of the way until you are fully compensated for your injuries and losses. Your recovery is always our top priority. Contact a Social Security Attorney with The Advocates today! Don’t wait. You can call us at 1-888-565-5277 for a free consultation or use our live chat feature on our homepage to speak with an SSD attorney immediately. You deserve an Advocate.

Reckless Drivers Plague Roads During Pandemic   

Coronavirus Speeding Across the United States

America continues to struggle with how to move forward while still locked in battle with an invisible enemy. Teams of scientists and health experts are working tirelessly in the hope of vanquishing our pernicious foe. Yet, while some of us are racing for a potential cure, others are just plain racing. With traffic levels still at historic lows, widespread reports of reckless driving and egregious speeding are popping up all across the United States.

In one wildly dangerous stunt, a renegade crew has recently taken advantage of the shutdown conditions to set the Cannonball Run record. It’s a real thing and not just an 80’s movie. For non-gear heads, the Cannonball Run was an unsanctioned cross-country race from Manhattan to Redondo Beach held in the early 70’s. The winning team of the first race consisted of an editor for Car & Driver magazine and a professional race car driver. They posted a time of just under 36 hours with an average speed of nearly 80 mph.

While the pandemic continues to surge across America, with lock-down orders in many states, a team of callused drivers decided it was a good time to go for the record. With a pair of marine gas tanks mounted in the trunk of an Audi 8 sedan they incredulously clocked the run in less than 27 hours. That’s averaging over 100 mph for the entire trip coast-to-coast!

Fortunately, there were no reports of injury. Would they have been proud if this juvenile stunt ended in a car accident and fiery death along the roadside? Or worse an innocent bystander? While this is an extreme example of contemptible and senselessly reckless driving, it is by no means an isolated one.

Street Racing During Covid Causes Police Angst in Oregon

Street racing: very fast, very dangerous and highly illegal. The fast & the furious wannabe crowd historically run their races in out-of-the-way locations deep into the night to avoid both traffic and law enforcement scrutiny. The pandemic, however, has emboldened them to crazy new heights.

In Portland, Oregon, street racers recently closed down traffic on the upper levels of the Fremont Bridge shortly before dusk.

Dozens of cars blocked southbound traffic on the thoroughfare that sits 380 feet above the Willamette River below. Reports came in of cars racing and others spinning wildly around in circles across the road. Shocking video surfaced online showing a car churning out a cloud of smoke while performing a doughnut on the bridge with a passenger hanging out of the window filming the incident.

By the time police officers arrived, the blockade was long gone and there were no arrests. Different law enforcement agencies in the area are currently teaming up in response to these brazen automobile antics. Police issued a statement reminding the public that those involved in street racing are subject to heavy fines and even possible jail time. It’s not just racers who are ramping up the speeds though, even everyday drivers can succumb to the lure of the open road.

Historic Traffic Lows in Los Angeles Due to the Coronavirus

Traffic levels in the Los Angeles area remain a shadow of what it once was pre-Covid. Even as things begin to open back up, reports indicate congestion in urban areas is still down as much as 60%. The overall number of car crashes in Los Angeles is down 38% over last year. However, fatalities from car accidents are up over 15% with pedestrian fatalities jumping a whopping 33%. Local authorities say high speeds and reckless driving are to blame.

LAPD spokesperson Officer Tony Im recently held a news conference near the site of a deadly roll-over accident on Compton Avenue. Several drivers were found ejected from their vehicles with three fatalities. “We want people to get the message that they need to slow down…they are seeing less traffic, and they are driving too fast,” Chow said. He went to remind drivers that each of them “has control of a 5,000-pound missile” and needs to watch out for pedestrian traffic.

The average time saved on a 5-mile trip driving 65 mph in a 45 mph zone is only about 1.9 minutes. Pretty paltry returns when you think about the risks. Do the right thing and drive responsibly.

Since 1992, The Advocates have been a top-notch personal injury firms, providing superior representation to injury victims throughout the western United States. If you or a loved one has been injured and is in need of an attorney to help recover losses from an accident, you will need an Advocate on your side. An Advocate attorney is standing by to discuss your case by either filling out the form below, calling 1-888-565-5277, or by chatting with a live attorney from our homepage. Find out what our law firm can do for your case. Why settle for second best when you can have an Advocate on your side? You deserve an Advocate!

Contact an Advocate Today!

Most Dangerous Animals in the U.S.

What are the Most Dangerous Animals in the US?

The United States is home to a panoply of animals and creatures from literally every walk of life. From a cutesy ring-tailed cat to a strange mole with a nose right out of a science fiction nightmare, North America has an extraordinary collection of life. While 99% of these animals pose no risk of harm to humans. A few species should be avoided at all costs. Below is the definitive list of the most dangerous animals in the United States:

 #10: Sharks

Despite being cast as the villain in far too many schlocky Hollywood movies, shark attacks are incredibly rare. On average, the United States experiences just 16 shark attacks each year, with only 1 death every 2 years. The most recent attack occurred near Santa Cruz, California when a surfer had a fatal encounter with a Great White. While 99% of beachgoers are considered to be safe as they swim and splash about in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, surfers and bodyboarders are at risk due to sharks mistaking them for fleeing seals. Sadly, tubular aerials can sometimes come at a steep price.

#9 Bears

The United States is home to three species of bear: Black, Grizzly, and Polar bears. Of these three, the Black bear is the least dangerous. Black bears aren’t aggressive if you keep your distance and stand your ground. If you happen upon one, the best strategy is to try to scare it off. Yelling aloud and waving your arms about can make the bear think you are bigger than you are and a real threat. If the bear does charge you, do not attempt to escape into a tree. Black bears are savvy climbers and have no problem knocking you to the ground.

Hikers and campers should be especially wary of the two most infamous and terrifying types of bears, the Grizzly and Polar. If you are ever unlucky enough to encounter one of these two fearsome beasts off the beaten path, you should probably consider praying to your preferred deity of choice. Whatever you do, running is the worst option. Both species will see you as prey if you try to hoof it to safety. When it comes to Grizzlies, you should first stand your ground and then slowly back away. If the Grizzly begins to charge, hit the dirt, curl into a ball, and play dead. Be sure to cover your head with your hands and arms for protection.

If you bump into a Polar bear, on the other hand, you are likely in for a fight. Playing dead does not work with these massive one-ton killers. Polar bears out and about are looking for food no matter its size, shape, or form, and a meandering human makes for a tasty snack. Again, do not run. If you have bear spray, get ready to use it, spraying the bear directly in the face. If the bear physically attacks you, fight back at all costs, particularly the eyes and nose. Playing dead simply helps them finish the job. If, by some miracle, you somehow manage to survive an encounter with a Polar bear, you should probably reconsider the life decisions you’ve made to put you in such a dangerous position.

#8 Mountain Lions, Cougars, and Pumas

Known as mountain lions, cougars, or even pumas, these giant cats once occupied all 50 states. Due to hunting and human expansion, they can only be found in 14 western states and in Florida. Thankfully, mountain lion attacks are just as rare as these cats. When attacks do occur, it’s almost always due to the cat mistaking a bicyclist, skier, or hiker for its prey of choice: deer. Just as you would with a bear, it’s best to fight back if a mountain lion attacks you. Go for the eyes and nose, since these are tender areas you can exploit. If you’re lucky, the animal will realize you aren’t its delicacy of choice and flee back to where it came.

#7 Venomous Snakes

To date, there are up to 20 species of venomous snakes in the United States, with 16 belonging solely to the rattlesnake family. The remaining 4 species are coral, cottonmouth, and copperhead. Unfortunately, snakebite victims often don’t know they’ve been bitten by a snake until it is too late. The best strategy is to not get bitten in the first place. Hikers, campers, and nature enthusiasts should wear thick hiking boots and look down as they walk as often as possible. It’s also wise to have an anti-venom kit handy if the area you are visiting is known for poisonous snakes.

If you are bitten, you should get to an emergency room as soon as possible. Try not to move the bitten limb as this increases blood flow and spreads the venom faster throughout your body. Be sure to remove any jewelry or clothing around the bitten area in preparation for swelling,  and try to memorize the snake’s appearance if possible. This will help attending medical staff with treating your particular bite.

#6 Black Widow and Recluse Spiders

In the United States, alone, there are over 3,000 species of spiders. Out of this extraordinary amount of spiders, only 3 are known to be venomous. The Recluse spider, the Hobo Spider, and the infamous Black Widow. If not treated both promptly and properly, Black Widows and recluse spiders (Brown and Chilean) are especially dangerous and even deadly to children, the elderly, and the sick. Luckily, these spiders are mostly rare for humans to encounter. Nonetheless, you should remain vigilant, particularly when it comes to Black Widows. These dangerous creatures tend to live in closer proximity to humans and their bites are extremely painful and can have long-lasting consequences. Thankfully, their distinct red markings are easy to spot.

#5 Hornets, Bees, Wasp

Most people consider flying insects of this variety to be little more than a pest. Yet, for many people these insects are actually potential terrors of death and destruction. Gram by gram, hornets, wasps, and bees are easily the most deadly creature in the entire country. Without a doubt they kill far more Americans each year than any other animal. The CDC reports that flying insects caused the deaths of a total of 1,109 people between the years 2000 and 2017 for an average of 62 deaths each year. Understandably, most of these deaths were due to allergies, but this shouldn’t diminish the risk, as the majority of victims likely did not know they were allergic in the first place. Besides, being stung by a flying insect is rather painful, so you should just avoid these winged scourges at all costs.

 

Here are a few symptoms to look out for if you believe you are suffering an allergic reaction:

  • Red or white discoloration of the skin
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Hives on the skin
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Low blood pressure
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Shock

#4 Horses, Cows, and Other Farm Animals

Yes, you read that right. Farm livestock is one of the most dangerous class of animals in the entire US. To those in the know, though, cattle and horses certainly have a deadly reputation. Horses are known for being temperamental and will throw nasty kicks if they are unhappy. Goats, too, have no qualms with butting their heads along with their sharp horns into humans whom they disagree with.

The most surprising entry, however, is that of cows. Typically slow and docile, few people would ever consider cows to pose a threat. Yet, cows can be dangerous if they all begin to stampede at the same time, and they will certainly stampede if they feel threatened or if they are provoked. Joggers and bicyclists whom exercise in the countryside or near farmlands can attest to the danger of spooking herds of cattle. It’s best to keep your distance if you happen upon a group of cows roaming in the road. They are faster than you think and will fling their massive weight into your body if you don’t get out of the way. You should also leave Fido at home, as dogs can spook cows since they frequently mistake them for their far more predatory cousin, the wolf.

#3 Deer

Large Elk Crossing the road in Wyoming

Another surprising entry is that of deer. Yes, sweet, docile Bambi is actually one of the biggest killers in the United States. The threat deer pose to commuters in and out of rural areas is greater than most assume. Deer cause so many car accidents each and every year that the financial toll alone is astronomical. For example, take California. The Golden State pays upward of $300 million dollars in compensation for accidents caused by deer wandering in highways and country roads. Statistics show that you are far more likely to be killed by a collision with a deer than you are by the bite of a shark or the claws of an angry bear. Some states have even gone so far as to adopt sterilization programs in the hopes of reducing the number of deer within their borders. So, the next time you decide to take a drive out into the country, keep an eye out for Bambi bounding across the blacktop. It could be the last sight you see before disaster.

#2 Dogs

Everyone is familiar with humanity’s best friend. The simple fact is that your cute, furry companion is actually dangerous for a variety of reasons. Statistics compiled by the Center for Disease Control show that each year there are an estimated 5 million dog bites in the United States. Such a harrowing statistic translates to 1 bite for every 70 Americans, far higher than any other animal on this list.

An even more disturbing statistic is that 20% of these bites are so serious that victims often require immediate medical attention afterward. The next time you feel the need to pet a random dog on a leash, no matter how cute, remember that a full third of all dog bites potentially become infected. So, it might be smarter to simply admire that furry pooch from afar than to risk a deadly encounter with a Campylobacter infection.

#1 Humans

Of course humans top this list. One look at the statistics below should quell any doubts about who the most dangerous animal is in the United States. Below are crime statistics straight from the FBI:

  • 810,825 Aggravated Assaults
  • 1,401,840 Burglaries
  • 319,356 Robberies
  • 1,247,321 Violent Crimes
  • 17,284 Murders

What makes these statistics even more disturbing is that each of these crimes took place solely in 2017. To make matters worse,

Dangerous situation on zebra crossing. Intentional motion blur

over 1.25 million people worldwide die each year from car accidents, in states like Nebraska, Wyoming, Arizona, and Montana. with another 20-50 million people being injured. The simple fact is that you are more likely be hurt or killed at the hands of your neighbor, by an incredibly wide margin, than you are by any other animal on this list. Combined. And, to be honest, it’s not even close. Not that this is news to anyone who has spent time in the company of humans.

Thanks for reading The Advocates list of Most Dangerous Animals in the United States. Be safe out there, America.

Welcome to The Advocates News Blog

Our Lawyers

Hi there! Welcome to our very first blog post. We are The Advocates, a national personal injury law firm serving clients throughout the U.S. I know what you’re thinking. What kind of information can I find on a personal injury blog?

Great question. I’m here to tell you this blog is about you and all the ways we can assist you in your recovery process. No one ever truly expects to be in an accident, right? But it’s never too late to prepare should one occur. Follow our blog to find out all the right steps you should take if you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence.

Our posts are here to provide valuable insight regarding the many layers of personal injury law. A few hot topics we’ll discuss are: the do’s and don’ts of building strong injury claims, the steps in getting the best settlement offers for our clients, the importance of chiropractic treatment, as well as national news about other personal injury cases.

My name is Ashley and I’m one of the writers here at The Advocates. I’ve been writing about the benefits of having an Advocate on your side for the last two years. In this time, I’ve encountered the real impact we have on people and their families. It’s truly amazing to see that our attorneys have helped retrieve over $100 million for thousands of injured victims.

personal injury lawyer salt lake city
The Advocates law office in Salt Lake City, Utah.

And it all began with Matthew Driggs in 1993. Practicing law in Salt Lake City, Matt began his journey in changing people’s lives. Matt founded The Advocates law firm in the great state of Utah but didn’t stop there.

Between 1998 and 2000, Matt furthered his dream of helping those in need by partnering with Kenneth Bills and Steven Day. Eventually becoming Driggs, Bills & Day PC, by 2020 The Advocates expanded to 11 offices across five different states.

Matt is the perfect example of having a dream and making it a reality. In fact, one of his bucket list goals is to travel to Antarctica (yes, Antarctica) and in 2019, he made that happen.

The Advocates isn’t just the name of our law firm. Our teams are here to guide you through the aftermath of being injured by someone else. Our personal injury attorneys are dedicated to helping you get the recovery you are rightfully owed by the law. We specialize in personal injury law and are fully prepared to serve as a voice for you and your family.

The Advocates have the expertise to ensure that you receive full compensation for your injuries and losses. Our personal injury lawyers are experienced in handling insurance companies, claim adjusters and medical bills, so that you can focus on recovering.

We hope you enjoy our news blog, and if you have any questions about our content and the services we offer, please reach out. You can always contact our office at 888-565-5277 or use our Online Chat Here to speak with an attorney right away. For any content requests, please feel free to send us an email at [email protected].  We love suggestions!

Don’t forget. Your recovery is our top priority. You deserve an Advocate!

2020 United States Car Accident Statistics

Two men exchange insurance information after a car collision

Car accidents can happen for a variety of reasons. From bad weather to distracted drivers, a car crash can occur in a moment’s notice. Indeed, every year there are upwards of 6 million car crashes in the United States. Suffering an injury due to a car accident in the US isn’t a matter of if, but when. The Advocates have compiled the above statistics to help inform drivers and passengers throughout country in the hopes of improving roadway safety. The best practices a motorist can implement whenever they get behind the wheel is to drive defensively, never drink and drive, and to always buckle your seatbelt. Stay safe out there.

Speak with an Advocate Today!

 

Do I Have a Strong Injury Case?

How to Know If You Have a Strong Personal Injury Case

One of the first questions injury victims ask after they’ve been hurt by the negligence of another person is whether they have legal standing to file a personal injury claim. There are a number of factors to consider before one can determine if their case has merit or not. The very best way to know if you have a viable case or not is to seek out the advice of a legal professional. Thankfully most every personal injury law firm, especially The Advocates, offer free legal consultations to injury victims with no strings attached.

Before you speak with an attorney, however, it is helpful to know just what is needed to build a strong injury claim. Most skilled attorneys evaluate potential injury claims on the below criteria. This guide will help you understand the extent of your own damages and what type of settlement you may be entitled to in the future.

Personal Injuries

Two constructions workers hold a co-worker after constructions accidents.

It’s no surprise that the most important aspect of any personal injury claim is that of injuries. Put simply, without injuries it’s highly doubtful any personal injury attorney will take your case. The same can be said if you only suffered relatively minor injuries, such as a scratch or minor bruises. If your injuries do no require medical treatment, either at the scene of the accident or later on at a doctor’s office, your claim likely isn’t worth pursuing in the eyes of an attorney.

However, if the accident did, in fact, cause you to suffer an injury requiring medical care, you very well might have standing to hire an attorney and file an injury claim. Even if you did not require immediate medical assistance after the accident, more minor injuries, such as whiplash or a concussion, may manifest in the subsequent days. The best thing you can do if you experience pain or discomfort following an accident is to seek out a medical evaluation as soon as possible. The longer you put off medical treatment, the more damage you do to your potential injury claim.

The Cause of the Accident

The next important details an attorney will want to know about are the circumstances which led to the accident and potentially caused your injuries. For example, if you were injured in an automotive crash, your injury claim will depend upon proving the accident directly resulted in the injuries you suffered. Injury claims can become complicated if you had a pre-existing condition before the accident, like chronic back or neck problems. The at-fault party’s insurance will almost certainly use your previous medical records against you in an attempt to dismiss your injuries on the basis that they were not caused by the accident. All too often, previously viable injury claims are dismissed on just such a basis.

Examples such as the one above are the very best reason to hire a skilled attorney to represent your best interests. Even a minor accident can present a number of legal complications which may prove to be too difficult for the average person to navigate successfully to a fair settlement. Fender-benders frequently cause serious injuries, such as fractures to the back and neck which require surgery, and insurance companies, in turn, have denied liability due to how seemingly minor the crash was based on the police report and available evidence.

Determining LiabilityWet floor caution sign in front of a puddle in a hallway

Depending on the type of accident involved, liability can be tricky to nail down. If the accident is determined to be your fault then you are liable for the injuries and losses you have suffered. But if the other person or party is found to have been negligent, resulting in your injuries, then your personal injury claim has a much sturdier standing in the law’s eyes. Oftentimes, determining liability for an accident requires an in-depth investigation pertaining to the accident’s causes. A number of factors are typically considered in order to figure out exactly who, truly, is at fault.

Thankfully, when it comes to most automotive accidents, liability is determined by the police officer who arrives at the scene of the crash. Other types of personal injuries might not be as clear cut. For example, say a woman slips in a grocery store and hurts her back. In order to build the best injury claim possible, the woman must prove the grocery store violated their duty of care to keep her safe while she was visiting their store. In order to accomplish this, the woman must provide not only physical evidence supporting her liability claim, she must prove the financial cost she has suffered as a result of the grocery store’s negligence.

Physical and Financial Damages

In order to determine the damages caused by a personal injury, one must consider the types of damage recognized by the law. While some damages are easily defined, such as a wrecked vehicle, others are more difficult to quantify, like pain and suffering. Damages are typically categorized according to physical and financial damage caused to a victim.

Examples of physical damage are:

  • Disability, both temporary and permanent
  • Pain and suffering
  • Facial or bodily scarring
  • Loss of consortium (relationship loss caused by the personal injury)
  • Psychological distress

Financial losses may include:

  • Total medical expenses
  • Future medical costs
  • Lost wages
  • Potential loss of income
  • Household assistance (shopping, janitorial, landscaping)

Of course, in order to be fully compensated for the above damages actual evidence must be provided to a court of law. Medical bills, employment records, and witness testimony can help prove the true extent of damages caused.

Insurance Policies

One of the most important aspects involved in most any personal injury case regards the insurance policies involved. Some injury cases may involve multiple insurance policies while others may have only one or even no insurance at all. Unfortunately, in the latter instance, if there are no insurance policies to help compensate the victims then there is little legal options available.

A commercial vehicle accident case, such as one caused by a semi-truck, is a good example of an injury claim which may involve multiple insurance policies: the at-fault driver’s insurance policy, the contract company’s policy, the leasing company’s policy, etc. With so many policies involved, a personal injury case of this caliber can quickly grow complicated and difficult to manage without practiced legal experience. Even trying to understand your own health insurance can be difficult due to how opaque policies are written.

You Deserve an Advocate Attorney

If you’ve suffered a personal injury and are in need of legal assistance, you need more than just an ordinary lawyer. You want an Advocate attorney on your side. The Advocates Injury Attorneys know best how to properly value your particular case, build an air-tight injury claim, and negotiate maximum compensation for the injuries and losses you’ve suffered. With so much on the line, you need the best legal experts available to help you make the best recovery possible. You deserve an Advocate!

Speak With an Advocate Today!

Top 10 Facts About Whiplash in Nebraska

Mother shows son something on her smart phone

Whiplash is the single most common type of injury reported following a car accident. Indeed, a full two-thirds of all bodily injury legal claims from car accidents are whiplash related. Over three million new cases of whiplash occur each year in the United States. Chances are you already know someone who has chronic neck pain because of a whiplash injury, as 1% of all Nebraska drivers suffer from such a condition. Despite how common this specific class of injury is, people still struggle to fully grasp whiplash and often underestimate its recovery.

Here’s what you need to know if you have suffered a whiplash injury in Nebraska:

#10 Not Limited to Just Car Accidents

Car accidents are by far the leading cause of whiplash injuries. However, there are other ways whiplash can happen. Contact sports like football, soccer, or boxing have caused their fair share of whiplash cases. A similar risk exists in activities where hard falls occur like skiing, skateboarding, or gymnastics. A diagnosis of whiplash by doctors is common in instances of particularly nasty slip and falls. Any sudden violent movement to the upper body can potentially result in a whiplash injury.

#9 Even Accidents with Very Minor Car Damage Can Still Cause Whiplash

It would be easy to assume that car accidents with heavier damage are more likely to cause whiplash, however, experience tells a different story. The angle of the impact and other factors play a significant role in determining whether you will receive a whiplash injury. Car damage alone is an unreliable measure. The average speed of a vehicle involved in an accident that results in a whiplash injury is only 12-mph. Even speeds as low as 5-mph commonly result in a case of whiplash. A car moving 8-mph colliding with a stationary vehicle transfers upwards of 5 G-force of acceleration to the head of the other driver. The force of the impact transfers to the body of the victim in a split-second. The resulting violent motion to the head and upper body causes the injury long before the driver has a chance to react and brace for impact.

#8 Surprising Factors That Put You at Risk for Whiplash

Managing risk is something everyone does day in and day out, even if they don’t think about it. Buckle up, look both ways before crossing, or don’t run with scissors are good examples of everyday risk management. However, some factors are beyond your control or simply not on your radar. Women, some tall people, and those over the age of thirty are more likely be likely to suffer significant adverse symptoms after a whiplash event.

Women are three times more likely to suffer from whiplash as men. A recent Swedish study found three factors that help contribute to this sizable disparity. Physically, women tend to have a bit less mass to the muscles in their upper body and neck. Having less muscle mass in this key area makes them more susceptible to injury from whiplash. They also found that female drivers tend to own lighter, smaller vehicles, and sit more upright nearer to the steering wheel. Both factors can cause whiplash injuries to be more severe.

People who are both tall and thin lack muscle mass in the upper body making them susceptible to an injury from whiplash. As we age we begin to lose flexibility in our joints, cartilage, and vertebrae leaving us more prone for injury when something traumatic occurs.

One more key factor to be aware of is the proper use of the protective gear in a vehicle. The correct position of the head rest is within two inches of the back of your head. Additionally, check to make sure it is not sitting too low, as either of these positions can increase the severity of the damage from a whiplash injury. The single most vital piece of safety equipment in a car is still the seatbelt. Faithful use of the seatbelt and properly adjusted shoulder restraint help mitigate injuries from a car accident, this includes whiplash.

#7 Whiplash-Associative Disorder is the Clinical Term

People commonly uses the term ‘whiplash’ indiscriminately for both the medical condition and the violent action giving rise to the injury. Technically, whiplash describes the violent incident that causes an injury. The medical term for the collective of symptoms from the injury is known as whiplash-associative disorder.

There is a little bit of a medical mystery as to exactly how some of the symptoms in whiplash-associative disorder are related to the injury. Muscle pain from receiving a strain in the area is easy enough to draw a direct correlation to the whiplash incident. However, a wide variety of common symptoms defy easy explanation as to exactly how and why they are related to the injury.

#6 Neck-Collar Use Limited

The classic neck-collar at one time was the preferred method of treating whiplash. Improvements in science have fundamentally altered the understanding of whiplash-associative disorder. This new knowledge has changed the way medical professionals treat whiplash, specifically in regards to the use of the neck-collar.

Modern treatment of whiplash victims limit the use of the neck-collar to only a few days for most cases. Longer use is known to increase the risk of long term or chronic symptoms. A better plan than immobilizing the neck is to seek out a chiropractor and start physical therapy right away. A chiropractor who specializes in treating whiplash can help alleviate pain, restore range of movement, and get you back on your feet again.

#5 Developing Chronic Symptoms is a Serious Risk

Many injuries come with the possibility of developing chronic symptoms. Most whiplash victims show improvement in just a few weeks. However, over half of all whiplash patients develop symptoms that end up being long-term or chronic. Early identification of which cases are likely to develop chronic or prolonged symptoms is problematic. Neither the seriousness of the car accident, nor the severity of the injury is a good indicator of which cases will develop chronic symptoms.

Even whiplash victims who fully recover will suffer with a significantly increased chance of developing periodic bouts of neck and shoulder pain for the rest of their life. Reports hold that around 45% of all chronic neck pain is a direct result of a whiplash related injury.

#4 Missed Work Due to Whiplash

The amount of time you miss from work to recover from whiplash is dependent on several factors. How serious your individual injury is and how fast you can recover is obviously a major factor. The nature of

your work and how strenuous it is can have an impact as well. Nebraska drivers who receive a diagnosis of whiplash-associative disorder after a car accident on average miss around 8 weeks of work. One in fourteen people with whiplash do not end up returning to the same job as they had pre-accident. Collaborating with your doctor or chiropractor is the most reliable manner of figuring out what timeframe for returning to work is best for your individual case. Your employer’s willingness to accommodate temporary or permanent changes to your ability certainly plays a factor as to when you can comfortably return to work.

#3 Too Much Rest Can Be Harmful

 

The age-old adage of get lots of rest and take it easy following an injury runs contrary to modern treatment for whiplash victims. Excessive rest for a whiplash injury quickly becomes too much of a good thing. Doctors have a catchy slogan for the effect: rest equals rust. More than a few days of rest dramatically increases your chances of having symptoms persist or become chronic. Chiropractic treatment at an early stage has proven beneficial in getting patients back on their feet. A medical study in Canada from 1988 of over 10,000 whiplash cases concluded that chiropractic adjustment is one of the only proven treatments. The study found that conventional treatments like immobilization, muscle relaxers, and patient rest were not especially effective.

#2 Nebraska Chiropractic Treatment of Whiplash

Professional chiropractors are helpful in devising a personalized treatment plan of physical therapy to focus on your specific injuries. Modern chiropractors have a variety of techniques to aid you in restoring range of movement, reducing pain, and helping you get back on your feet.

Gentle targeted stretching of the tight areas helps relax the muscles and ligaments. Manipulation of the spine or affected joints by a combination of short thrusts or slow mobilizing movements are helpful in improving range of movement. Finger pressure applied to trigger points help to relieve pain. Muscle stimulation via Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is a modern tool commonly used to help the muscles heal. Robin McKenzie, a New Zealand physical therapist, developed a series of exercises specifically for the patient to use at home. This well-known regimen bearing his name is an effective and popular choice with chiropractors to help patients build strength and flexibility outside of office visits. Stabilization and sensorimotor exercises help correct faulty movement patterns in daily routines and develop healthier coordinated movement patterns. Chiropractors offer expert advice on ergonomic and lifestyle changes to support your full recovery.

#1 Possible Side-Effects and Symptoms of Whiplash

Pain in the neck and shoulders is of course quite common for whiplash victims, but a lengthy list of other symptoms can also be related. Compounding matters is the fact that the full range of symptoms can take days, weeks, or even months to fully manifest. Prompt medical attention after the accident is vital to help minimize chances of developing more serious symptoms. Headaches, dizziness, and balance problems can develop. Stiffness in the neck, back, and shoulder is quite common. Muscle or ligament damage from sprains or tears can occur. Burning, numbness, tingling or other abnormal sensations in the arms, hands, and shoulders occur regularly. Cognitive or psychological conditions bring memory loss, difficulty concentrating, depression, sleep disturbance, fatigue, nervousness, or irritability. This dizzying array of potential symptoms is part of what makes litigating and negotiating a settlement for a whiplash injury more complex than other types of injury. Retaining a personal injury attorney who specializes in whiplash cases is the only surefire way to get every penny you are owed.

The Advocates are a top personal injury law firm and have served accident victims throughout the western United States for over 30 years. Our professionalism and dedication to our clients is unparalleled. The Advocates have recovered over $300 million on behalf of our clients, so don’t wait to find out what we can do for you.

An attorney from The Advocates is standing by to discuss your case today. You can either contact our office by calling (402) 275-6980, filling out the form below, or chatting with us on our homepage. Your case deserves an Advocate!

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Do I Need a Nebraska Car Accident Lawyer?

If you were recently involved in a collision, you may be asking yourself: Do I need to hire an Omaha car accident lawyer?

Because filing a personal injury claim requires years of legal experience and training, you should always consult with a personal injury attorney before making a claim by yourself.

There are certain types of injuries and accidents that almost always require a car accident lawyer. In these cases, hiring a personal injury attorney will help you recover up to 3 times more in compensation than if you file a lawsuit alone.

In order to determine whether your situation requires legal expertise, continue reading below for the most common scenarios where you will likely need to have a car accident lawyer in Nebraska.

4 Signs You Should Hire a Nebraska Car Accident Attorney

You may need to hire a personal injury lawyer because you suffered serious injuries or simply need help understanding the complex rules of personal injury law. Unfortunately, when it comes to settling in good faith, you may not always be able to rely on insurance companies to guide you through this difficult time.

If you’re experiencing one of the following situations, you should contact an Omaha personal injury attorney right away:

  1. You suffered permanent or long-lasting injuries

If you sustained long-term injuries that require extensive care, you will need to hire a car accident lawyer immediately. Only a personal injury attorney can calculate just how much your current and future medical expenses will cost. Determining how your injuries will impact your future earnings can also be difficult without the help of a lawyer.

  1. You suffered severe injuries

It’s important to note that insurance companies compensate you for your injuries depending on their severity, the amount of medical expenses you’ve accumulated and the length of your recovery time. As your compensation amount increases, you may reach your policy limit threshold and insurance won’t be able to pay you what you’re actually owed. This is where our car accident lawyers would make sure you receive the highest amount you are owed.

  1. Multiple parties are involved

Accidents that involve multiple parties or when liability isn’t clear can be difficult to navigate alone. Insurance companies are already complicated as is but when multiple parties are involved, it can be even harder to recover fair, if not full, compensation without a car accident lawyer by your side. You should always contact an attorney if you were injured in a multiple-vehicle collision. A personal injury lawyer can help protect you against any counterclaims by the other parties involved.

  1. Insurance refuses to compensate you

It’s true that insurance companies may delay or flat out deny your injury claim. Insurance companies are in the business of making money and will essentially do whatever they can to offer the lowest settlement amount for you and your injuries. Our personal injury attorneys have decades of experience dealing with insurance adjusters who refuse to pay our clients what they’re rightfully owed.

Contact a Nebraska Car Accident Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one were recently injured an accident through no fault of your own, you should contact a car accident attorney with The Advocates right away.

Our initial consultations are always free and our lawyers are readily available to answer any questions you may have. You can contact us below:

Phone:402-275-6980

Live Chat: Click Here

Mandy Gruhlkey Joins The Advocates

 

Attorney Mandy Gruhlkey Joins The Advocates

The Advocates are excited to announce that attorney Mandy Gruhlkey has joined The Advocates personal injury law firm in our office in Omaha, Nebraska. A transplant from Texas, Mandy is proud to have called Omaha her home since her early 20s. She couldn’t think of a better place to use her legal skills and knowledge than for the people of Nebraska.

Mandy was recently featured in a news article for the Omaha Daily Record written by reporter Molly Ashford which can be found here. If you are in need of legal assistance or simply need answers to your questions, please reach out to Mandy and The Advocates by calling our Omaha office at 402-275-6980, filling out the form below, or chatting with Mandy in person from the bottom of your screen. You deserve an Advocate!

Speak with an Advocate Today!

Accidents with a Pedestrian in Nebraska

The traffic laws regarding pedestrians are chiefly concerned with protecting those on foot from being involved in an accident with a vehicle. Accidents between pedestrians and vehicles are often tragic and leave the victim with significant injuries. Despite these protective laws, accidents involving vehicles and pedestrians are all too common. Over the last decade Nebraska has averaged one vehicle accident involving a pedestrian every single day. These accidents can leave the victim and their families devastated and saddled with large medical bills.

Insurance companies will try to shift as much of the blame on the pedestrian for the accident as they can to reduce the amount they have to pay. It is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to fully understand your legal options. There are a number of Nebraska traffic laws that can come into play when filing a claim to recover losses as the pedestrian victim in a car accident.

Rules Regarding Crossing at a Crosswalk

If a crosswalk is equipped with a traffic signal foot traffic is required to follow all signs and signals. Pedestrians may only start walking when the signal displays either a “WALK” or pedestrian icon. A red hand flashing means you may continue crossing if you have already entered the crosswalk, but if you have not started crossing then you need to wait for the next signal. If a crosswalk with signals is present at both ends of a street, then it is illegal to cross except at the crosswalks. Crosswalks not equipped with a signal for the pedestrians can lead to confusion for drivers and pedestrians.

A common misconception is that pedestrians always have the right-of-way at a crosswalk. The pedestrian must ensure that any approaching vehicle has enough room to safely stop before entering the crosswalk. Vehicles must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians who fulfill this requirement. Unmarked crosswalks at intersections are subject to these same rules. However, in at least one city the local government has opted for a more restrictive interpretation of the state law.

Crossing the Street in the City of Lincoln or Lancaster County

In a controversial move the city attorney for Lincoln has added a requirement for pedestrians. Before a car must yield the right-of-way, the pedestrian must indicate their intention to cross the street by actually stepping off the curb. Hand signals or waving are not enough. Police officers must see evidence of the pedestrian stepping off the curb before ticketing a driver for failure to yield.

Sidewalks and Jaywalking

State law requires pedestrians to use sidewalks if available. Failure to walk on the sidewalk could theoretically result in a ticket for jaywalking. However, the seldom imposed fine for jaywalking is still a modest one dollar. If no sidewalk is available, the law instructs pedestrians to walk on the side of the road that allows them to face oncoming traffic.

People on pedestrian crossings, on foot and by bicycle

Outside of Intersections and Crosswalks

In all situations outside of intersections and crosswalks pedestrians must yield the right-of-way to the drivers of vehicles on the roadway. Pedestrians need to exercise caution when crossing roads away from intersections. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently found that 73% of all pedestrian accident fatalities occurred at non-intersection locations. When an accident does occur, these traffic rules come into play in determining fault. That determination can have a dramatic effect on settlement or trial.

Comparative Negligence Impact on Injury Claims Involving Pedestrians

Nebraska state law is one of comparative negligence with a 50 percent rule. In the case of an accident, the driver must be at least 51 percent at fault for the pedestrian to recover any damages at all. The assigning of percentages of fault is based on evidence that is either agreed to as part of settlement or determined at trial by the judge or jury. Under most circumstances, the court or settlement will reduce the damages by the percentage of fault assigned to that party. Evidence that either party neglected to follow the traffic laws can have a significant impact on the final award.

Evidence that can support a higher percentage of fault for the driver can include:

  • Running a red light
  • Excessive speed
  • Not completely stopping at stop sign
  • Distracted Driving
  • Not staying on road
  • Failing to yield right-of-way at crosswalk or intersection

Evidence that could potentially shift some of the fault to the victim:

  • Jaywalking
  • Entering crosswalk against the light
  • Not staying on sidewalk
  • Failing to yield right-of-way when not at an intersection

Gathering and using the available evidence to make the strongest case for assigning fault is a vital step in the litigation process for settlement or trial. Insurance companies may be dismissive of claims by an injured pedestrian citing fault and make a low-ball offer. Having an experienced attorney who specializes in recovering damages for an injured pedestrian can make a world of difference.

What to do if You Are the Victim in a Pedestrian Accident

Even a minor accident between car and pedestrian is very traumatic. More serious accidents are potentially life changing events. If you are conscious and able to do so safely there several things you can do to help protect your legal rights.

  • Dial 9-1-1 and seek medical help immediately
  • Contact the police department
  • Document any injuries
  • Take pictures of the scene of the accident if possible
  • Do not discuss ‘fault’ at the scene or with the driver’s insurance company
  • Seek Professional Legal Assistance

Recovering Damages as an Injured Pedestrian

The victim must take into consideration a wide range of factors when calculating damages for an award. Only after a careful review of the full medical record and thorough examination of any impact to the victim’s quality of life will the final amount begin to come into focus. A majority of the damages will typically center around these areas:

  • Any medical bills related to the injury
  • Estimate of any future medical expenses
  • Compensation for chronic conditions
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional, mental, and psychological distress
  • Loss of companionship or consortium
  • Impact to quality of life

In certain cases where evidence of negligence or malice exists, there is also the possibility of punitive damages.

The Advocates have been a top personal injury firm for almost 30 years. We are experts at recovering losses for pedestrians injured by a car accident. Let the attorneys at The Advocates handle the hospital bills, claims adjusters, and insurance companies so you can stay focused on your recovery. As a national firm we have the resources to stand up the insurance companies and make them pay their fair share. Call today for a free consultation. An attorney from The Advocates is standing by discuss your case. You can contact our office by calling (402) 275-6980, fill out the form below, or chat with us on our homepage. Don’t you deserve an Advocate?

What Not to Say After an Accident

The scene of a car accident can be a very hectic place. Nerves are usually jangled, emotions are running high and trying to remember all the right things to say isn’t exactly first on the agenda when dealing with a collision.

Sometimes you can do everything right behind the wheel only to end up having another car crash into yours, causing significant damage and stress. It’s important to understand, however, that there are some statements you should mindful of in the aftermath of a crash. What you say can potentially come back to haunt you if you decide to seek compensation for your injuries and losses later down the road.

In the following article, we will explain what words may hurt your legal case, how your statements can be misconstrued or misunderstood and when you should call a car accident lawyer with The Advocates.

What Shouldn’t I Say at the Scene of a Crash?

One of the most common mistakes car accident victims make at the scene of a crash is giving an admission of fault. Even if you don’t directly admit you were at-fault, there are certain statements that can allude to an admission of fault. Here are a few words you should avoid:

  • Do Not Apologize After the Accident by Saying “I’m sorry” While apologizing after a collision occurs, whether it was your fault or not, may come as instinctual for most people, it can be considered an admission of fault. If the other driver is responsible for the accident, then you have nothing to be sorry for and you should let your car accident attorney determine liability with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
  • Do Not Say the Accident Was Your Fault This may seem like an obvious statement to avoid, but it can be easy to accidentally admit fault in the heat of the moment. In fact, many drivers unintentionally blurt out to the other driver that the collision was their fault. Sometimes we do this out of anxiety or mid-panic, but easing tension with an admission of guilt can impact how you are compensated later on.
  • Do Not Say “I am okay” or “I am fine” After the Accident Another simple mistake accident victims often make is saying that you are okay or giving any statement along those lines. If you plan to file a personal injury claim, this phrase can be used against you and the validity of your injuries from the accident. It’s true that some accident injuries take days or even weeks to notice. You may not have symptoms at first but this does not mean they aren’t there.
  • Do Not Speculate or Give Inaccurate Information Accidents occur for many reasons, the most common being a driver’s negligence. However, you should never speculate about the exact cause of the crash without concrete evidence. Your statements can be misconstrued and turned into a different narrative portraying you as the at-fault driver. Leave the speculation up to the insurance adjusters and the accident investigators.

In addition to statements you should avoid saying at the scene of an accident, it’s possible that even correct statements can be misinterpreted. Car accident witnesses might mistake a statement such as “I was paying attention” for “I was not paying attention.” It’s important to only speak about what is absolutely necessary, such as insurance and contact information.

When to Contact a Wyoming Car Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one were recently injured in a car accident, you should contact The Advocates right away. Determining liability is the most important step in building a successful personal injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company.

Here at The Advocates, our car accident lawyers are dedicated to you and getting the recovery you deserve. Don’t wait. Contact us today at 307-271-8467 or use our Live Chat feature on our homepage. You deserve an Advocate.

Steps to Take During an Injury Case

If you were injured and plan to file a personal injury claim, you should continue reading. The key to building a successful personal injury case is being fully prepared for any possible outcome along the way.

Here at The Advocates, our personal injury attorneys will guide you through the aftermath of an being injured due to someone else’s negligence. Even though the legal claims process can feel overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. Our attorneys know the ins and outs of personal injury law and have the experience you will need to build a strong legal case.

While no two personal injury cases are exactly the same, the following article outlines 5 steps every injury victim should take so that your injury claim has the best chance of success.

What Steps Can Help Strengthen Your Legal Claim?

Much of the personal injury claims process is time sensitive, so it’s important that you start taking the steps necessary as soon as possible. These steps include:

1. Speak With an Experienced Attorney Right Away

If you were injured due to someone else’s negligence, you will need to contact an experienced personal injury attorney right away. Once you contact The Advocates, we will work diligently to make sure you are fully compensated for your injuries and losses in a timely manner.

Being injured by another person can cause a range of issues for everyone involved, including you and your family. While you focus on recovering, our attorneys will fight for fair settlement to help cover your medical bills, lost wages and any other damages from your accident.

2. Only Speak to Your Attorney About Your Case

This is one of the most important steps you can take to help strengthen your legal claim. Whether you’ve been contacted by an insurance adjuster or simply have questions about your case, you should keep all communication about your personal injury case between you and your attorney.

Oftentimes, insurance companies will contact you about information regarding your accident. Speaking to insurance without your attorney present, if at all, can seriously impact the outcome of your case.

3. Don’t Post About Your Claim on Social Media

We can’t stress this one enough. Defense attorneys and insurance companies are trained to look at your social media accounts and potentially misinterpret anything you say about your injuries online.

The at-fault party’s legal team will look for any reason to diminish the seriousness of your case. Put simply, don’t post on social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

4. Continue Visiting Your Doctor

If you were injured by another person, you should continue going to your medical appointments. Going to these visits will help strengthen your legal claim and prove that your injuries are serious. However, if you stop going to your appointments, the party responsible for your injuries will hold this against you and insurance will likely offer the lowest compensation amount, knowing that you haven’t been receiving treatment.

5. Fight for Maximum Compensation for Your Injuries

It’s a very common tactic for insurance companies to offer the lowest settlement amount for an accident victim’s injuries. Our attorneys won’t settle for less and neither should you. We encourage you to fight for full compensation for your injuries and losses.

When working with The Advocates, you can receive up to 3x more in compensation than without the legal experience of our law firm. Get your free consultation today and we’ll help you retrieve the recovery you are owed. Don’t wait. Contact our attorneys at 307-271-8467 or use the chat form fill on our homepage.

Why You Should Hire an Advocate Attorney

Top 5 Reasons to Hire an Advocate as Your Personal Injury Lawyer

The accident happened so fast. Now you are trying to recover from your injuries and return to normal life. But the stress of your recovery keeps holding you back. Medical bills are piling up. Your finances are being drained because you’re unable to work. Your life and your well-being seem to be spiraling out of control. You wonder what you can do to get back on your feet again.

Don’t worry. We are here to help. The personal injury lawyers at The Advocates are on your side.

Our attorneys know how much frustration you are feeling and can help you through this difficult time. The Advocates are experts in settling and litigating accident claims.  Here are the top 5 reasons why you should hire an Advocate to represent you when you’ve been injured in an accident:

1. Your Recovery is our #1 Priority

The Advocates will be there to guide you from the time you seek treatment for your accident-related injuries to when it comes time to negotiate with the at-fault party to get you fair compensation. The injury attorneys with the Advocates are dedicated allies committed to your full recovery.

2. We Will Protect Your Legal Interests

Our experienced personal injury lawyers will help you get the compensation you’re entitled to. You may have injuries you’re not currently aware of or problems related to your accident that might have never have occurred to you. Don’t make the mistake of throwing away money you rightfully deserve due to an unfamiliarity with personal injury law. Our personal injury lawyers know the rules when it comes to issues such as mental duress, pain and suffering, and medical expenses for future care.

3. We Know the Ins and Outs of Your Case

The Advocates will ensure you don’t lose out on compensation you are entitled to due to a paperwork error, a loophole, or a mere technicality. When it comes to filing a personal injury claim, there are strict rules and guidelines you should follow. The personal injury attorneys with the Advocates will dig in and understand the individual ins and outs of your specific case and establish a customized legal strategy suited to your needs and your situation.

4. We are Experts in Evaluating Damage

We will help you establish proof that an accident wasn’t your fault. Having an experienced lawyer is absolutely crucial when it comes to identifying fault and establishing liability. We are experts in this field. We will fight to make sure there is no doubt regarding the extent of your injuries and how they occurred.

Empty wallet next to stacking medical bills

5. We Offer Peace of Mind

When you hire an Advocate to represent your personal injury case, you can rest assured that everything is going to be alright. What you need most after you’ve been hurt, missed weeks of work in order to recover, and now face a daunting amount of medical bills is the assurance your life will eventually return to normal. Having an Advocate on your side will provide you with the peace of mind you need to make a full recovery. Such peace of mind is the best reason to hire a personal injury attorney with the Advocates. Contact us today at 206-312-4890. You deserve an Advocate!

The Top 10 Most Dangerous Animals in the United States

What are the Most Dangerous Animals in the US?

The United States is home to a panoply of animals and creatures from literally every walk of life. From a cutesy ring-tailed cat to a strange mole with a nose right out of a science fiction nightmare, North America has an extraordinary collection of life. While 99% of these animals pose no risk of harm to humans. A few species should be avoided at all costs. Below is the definitive list of the most dangerous animals in the United States:

 #10: Sharks

Despite being cast as the villain in far too many schlocky Hollywood movies, shark attacks are incredibly rare. On average, the United States experiences just 16 shark attacks each year, with only 1 death every 2 years. The most recent attack occurred near Santa Cruz, California when a surfer had a fatal encounter with a Great White. While 99% of beachgoers are considered to be safe as they swim and splash about in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, surfers and bodyboarders are at risk due to sharks mistaking them for fleeing seals. Sadly, tubular aerials can sometimes come at a steep price.

#9 Bears

The United States is home to three species of bear: Black, Grizzly, and Polar bears. Of these three, the Black bear is the least dangerous. Black bears aren’t aggressive if you keep your distance and stand your ground. If you happen upon one, the best strategy is to try to scare it off. Yelling aloud and waving your arms about can make the bear think you are bigger than you are and a real threat. If the bear does charge you, do not attempt to escape into a tree. Black bears are savvy climbers and have no problem knocking you to the ground.

most dangerous animals in the United StatesHikers and campers should be especially wary of the two most infamous and terrifying types of bears, the Grizzly and Polar. If you are ever unlucky enough to encounter one of these two fearsome beasts off the beaten path, you should probably consider praying to your preferred deity of choice. Whatever you do, running is the worst option. Both species will see you as prey if you try to hoof it to safety. When it comes to Grizzlies, you should first stand your ground and then slowly back away. If the Grizzly begins to charge, hit the dirt, curl into a ball, and play dead. Be sure to cover your head with your hands and arms for protection.

If you bump into a Polar bear, on the other hand, you are likely in for a fight. Playing dead does not work with these massive one-ton killers. Polar bears out and about are looking for food no matter its size, shape, or form, and a meandering human makes for a tasty snack. Again, do not run. If you have bear spray, get ready to use it, spraying the bear directly in the face. If the bear physically attacks you, fight back at all costs, particularly the eyes and nose. Playing dead simply helps them finish the job. If, by some miracle, you somehow manage to survive an encounter with a Polar bear, you should probably reconsider the life decisions you’ve made to put you in such a dangerous position.

most dangerous animals in america#8 Mountain Lions, Cougars, and Pumas

Known as mountain lions, cougars, or even pumas, these giant cats once occupied all 50 states. Due to hunting and human expansion, they can only be found in 14 western states and in Florida. Thankfully, mountain lion attacks are just as rare as these cats. When attacks do occur, it’s almost always due to the cat mistaking a bicyclist, skier, or hiker for its prey of choice: deer. Just as you would with a bear, it’s best to fight back if a mountain lion attacks you. Go for the eyes and nose, since these are tender areas you can exploit. If you’re lucky, the animal will realize you aren’t its delicacy of choice and flee back to where it came.

#7 Venomous Snakes

To date, there are up to 20 species of venomous snakes in the United States, with 16 belonging solely to the rattlesnake family. The remaining 4 species are coral, cottonmouth, and copperhead. Unfortunately, snakebite victims often don’t know they’ve been bitten by a snake until it is too late. The best strategy is to not get bitten in the first place. Hikers, campers, and nature enthusiasts should wear thick hiking boots and look down as they walk as often as possible. It’s also wise to have an anti-venom kit handy if the area you are visiting is known for poisonous snakes.

If you are bitten, you should get to an emergency room as soon as possible. Try not to move the bitten limb as this increases blood flow and spreads the venom faster throughout your body. Be sure to remove any jewelry or clothing around the bitten area in preparation for swelling,  and try to memorize the snake’s appearance if possible. This will help attending medical staff with treating your particular bite.

#6 Black Widow and Recluse Spiders

In the United States, alone, there are over 3,000 species of spiders. Out of this extraordinary amount of spiders, only 3 are known to be venomous. The Recluse spider, the Hobo Spider, and the infamous Black Widow. If not treated both promptly and properly, Black Widows and recluse spiders (Brown and Chilean) are especially dangerous and even deadly to children, the elderly, and the sick. Luckily, these spiders are mostly rare for humans to encounter. Nonetheless, you should remain vigilant, particularly when it comes to Black Widows. These dangerous creatures tend to live in closer proximity to humans and their bites are extremely painful and can have long-lasting consequences. Thankfully, their distinct red markings are easy to spot.

#5 Hornets, Bees, Wasp

Most people consider flying insects of this variety to be little more than a pest. Yet, for many people these insects are actually potential terrors of death and destruction. Gram by gram, hornets, wasps, and bees are easily the most deadly creature in the entire country. Without a doubt they kill far more Americans each year than any other animal. The CDC reports that flying insects caused the deaths of a total of 1,109 people between the years 2000 and 2017 for an average of 62 deaths each year. Understandably, most of these deaths were due to allergies, but this shouldn’t diminish the risk, as the majority of victims likely did not know they were allergic in the first place. Besides, being stung by a flying insect is rather painful, so you should just avoid these winged scourges at all costs.

 

Here are a few symptoms to look out for if you believe you are suffering an allergic reaction:

  • Red or white discoloration of the skin
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Hives on the skin
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Low blood pressure
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Shock

#4 Horses, Cows, and Other Farm Animals

Yes, you read that right. Farm livestock is one of the most dangerous class of animals in the entire US. To those in the know, though, cattle and horses certainly have a deadly reputation. Horses are known for being temperamental and will throw nasty kicks if they are unhappy. Goats, too, have no qualms with butting their heads along with their sharp horns into humans whom they disagree with.

The most surprising entry, however, is that of cows. Typically slow and docile, few people would ever consider cows to pose a threat. Yet, cows can be dangerous if they all begin to stampede at the same time, and they will certainly stampede if they feel threatened or if they are provoked. Joggers and bicyclists whom exercise in the countryside or near farmlands can attest to the danger of spooking herds of cattle. It’s best to keep your distance if you happen upon a group of cows roaming in the road. They are faster than you think and will fling their massive weight into your body if you don’t get out of the way. You should also leave Fido at home, as dogs can spook cows since they frequently mistake them for their far more predatory cousin, the wolf.

#3 Deer

Another surprising entry is that of deer. Yes, sweet, docile Bambi is actually one of the biggest killers in the United States. The threat deer pose to commuters in and out of rural areas is greater than most assume. Deer cause so many car accidents each and every year that the financial toll alone is astronomical. For example, take California. The Golden State pays upward of $300 million dollars in compensation for accidents caused by deer wandering in highways and country roads. Statistics show that you are far more likely to be killed by a collision with a deer than you are by the bite of a shark or the claws of an angry bear. Some states have even gone so far as to adopt sterilization programs in the hopes of reducing the number of deer within their borders. So, the next time you decide to take a drive out into the country, keep an eye out for Bambi bounding across the blacktop. It could be the last sight you see before disaster.

#2 Dogs

Everyone is familiar with humanity’s best friend. The simple fact is that your cute, furry companion is actually dangerous for a variety of reasons. Statistics compiled by the Center for Disease Control show that each year there are an estimated 5 million dog bites in the United States. Such a harrowing statistic translates to 1 bite for every 70 Americans, far higher than any other animal on this list.

An even more disturbing statistic is that 20% of these bites are so serious that victims often require immediate medical attention afterward. The next time you feel the need to pet a random dog on a leash, no matter how cute, remember that a full third of all dog bites potentially become infected. So, it might be smarter to simply admire that furry pooch from afar than to risk a deadly encounter with a Campylobacter infection.

#1 Humans

 

Of course humans top this list. One look at the statistics below should quell any doubts about who the most dangerous animal is in the United States. Below are crime statistics straight from the FBI:

  • 810,825 Aggravated Assaults
  • 1,401,840 Burglaries
  • 319,356 Robberies
  • 1,247,321 Violent Crimes
  • 17,284 Murders

What makes these statistics even more disturbing is that each of these crimes took place solely in 2017. To make matters worse, over 1.25 million people worldwide die each year from car accidents, with another 20-50 million people being injured. The simple fact is that you are more likely be hurt or killed at the hands of your neighbor, by an incredibly wide margin, than you are by any other animal on this list. Combined. And, to be honest, it’s not even close. Not that this is news to anyone who has spent time in the company of humans.

Thanks for reading The Advocates list of Most Dangerous Animals in the United States. Be safe out there, America.