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Dog Bites

What are the Steps in a Lawsuit

By | Car Accidents, Dog Bites, FAQ, Uncategorized | No Comments

What are the steps in a lawsuit? The start of every lawsuit begins with the complaint and having it served to the defendant. A complaint is usually filed in the county where the injury occurred. The complaint can also be filed where the defendant lives. The next step in every case depends on the exchange of information. The exchange of information is the discovery process. The discovery process includes the exchange of medical bills, photos, depositions and other documents relevant to the case.

the attorney will handle most of the discovery with little input from the client. However, the client is a crucial person in answering interrogatories and requests for admissions. Depositions are when each lawyer has the opportunity to ask questions of the respective parties and any other fact witnesses that may have information concerning the events at issue. Depositions take place at one of the lawyer’s offices and are usually a determining factor in the case. After the fact witnesses are deposed it is then time for expert discovery. Expert discovery usually is limited to reports but can also include depositions. Common expert witnesses are doctors, economists, forensic accountants, and or life planners.

After fact and expert discovery is concluded then there is usually a period of time where each side attempts to settle the case. This usually takes place in a mediation. Mediation is where the parties get together and have a mediator help resolve the dispute. Often times mediators are retired judges or attorneys that have substantial experience in a particular practice area. Mediators can help the parties see pitfalls and strengths in each other’s cases. Client participation is key during mediation because it allows the mediator to see the affected party. It allows the mediator to talk to you and to get a sense of how the case can be settled. Mediation is also a good opportunity for the client to really hear the defense’s side and what they may present at trial.

The final phase of every case is trial and while it is very rare that a civil case goes to trial, it is probably the part of the litigation process that most people are familiar with. However, trial is not simply going to the courthouse, trial will include weeks of preparation with your attorney. They will need to prepare your testimony as well as all the other witnesses. The trial takes place in the county where the complaint was filed and usually most cases take around a year and a half from the time the case is filed to the time of trial.

Insurance Denied Your Claim, What Can You Do?

By | Bike Accidents, Car Accidents, Construction Accidents, Dog Bites, Medical Malpractice, Uncategorized | No Comments

Insurance Denied your Claim, Now What?

The main objective for insurance companies is to make money. Insurance companies are no different than any other business with shareholders. They exist to maximize profits. I don’t begrudge insurance companies for trying to make money, again, that’s their business. But, an Insurance Denied your Claim, and that’s an extreme burden. I like to know where everyone’s loyalties lie, so next time you watch a cute ad with a cool jingle, it is important to remember the insurance’s priority. It is best to remember what comes first. Don’t be tricked by a charming spokesperson with a catchy jingle. An insurance company can’t survive if it pays out more in benefits than it collects in premiums.

Can Insurance Limit my Medical Treatment

Due to the realities discussed above, an insurance company may try to limit your medical treatment. However, they are not in charge of your medical treatment. Your physician is in charge of your treatment plan. You should know that an insurance company cannot prevent you from receiving treatment. Any insurance that attempts to get between you and your treating physician is acting inappropriately.

Insurance Denied Your Claim

Remember that insurance can’t prevent treatment but they can decline to pay for it. The insurance may claim that a particular procedure is not covered by the insurance policy. This can occur with your own insurance as well as a claim submitted to an insurance of an at fault third party. The insurance may argue that the procedure was unnecessary to provide you with the best potential recovery, which often appears in the form of “experimental treatment”.

Options for Pursuing my Denied Insurance Claim

You have several options if the insurance denies your claim. The best results will likely come through the pursuit of a personal injury lawsuit. The second option is to present your case through arbitration or something similar. The least effective way would be to appeal the denial internally through the insurance company. Remember, your priority is to receive reimbursement for your medical treatment. An insurance companies priority is to make money, and they make less money the more they give to you.

If you were injured by someone else’s poor judgment, then it is probably best to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. You may be able to receive compensation from the at fault party and relief some of the burden caused by your injuries. I know many of you don’t like the idea of pursuing a lawsuit, but in reality it is the most peaceful way of resolving disputes and allocating the societal burden of your injuries to the responsible party.  Thank you for reading this article, if you’d like to read more, I suggest reading my latest post on Settlements. 

 

Settlement

By | Articles, Bike Accidents, Car Accidents, Casino Accidents, Construction Accidents, Dog Bites, Medical Malpractice, Personal Injury, Trucking Accident, Wrongful Death | No Comments

You’ve reached a settlement. The journey that began when someone’s careless actions hurt you,  has finally come to a close. Besides feeling relief, you’re probably wondering what happens next. What is required in a settlement by both the plaintiff and defendant. There’s several steps that occur between the time a case settles and having a check in your hands. Each process is contingent on what kind of settlement is reached. The different types of settlements are primarily based on if the person hurt is an adult, minor, or if it involved the wrongful death of a person.

“A Settlement is an official agreement intended to resolve a dispute or conflict.”

Whenever a case settles, the parties need to sign a release agreement. As part of the settlement, your attorney will send you a Release Agreement to sign. Your attorney will also send another document called a stipulation to dismiss. It’s imperative to put in a timetable for payment in the release. The Release Agreement is a document that specifies the terms between the parties. For example, in exchange for $250,000, you agree to release Mr. Jones from the car accident. Upon receipt of the settlement check, it is deposited in a trust account. Once the settlement funds become available, a check to you for your portion should be delivered.

When a claim involves injuries sustained by someone under the age of 18, the settlement requires court approval. A petition is submitted to the court specifying the terms of the settlement. The petition sets forth the amount agreed to, case expenses and legal fees. It also specifies why the agreement is in the best interests of the child. A Judge will then schedule a hearing where your petition will be presented to the court. This hearing is largely a formality but it is still important to take it seriously. Once the Judge affirms the petition, you will be requested to consent to a Release Arrangement as described above.

In a wrongful death lawsuit, there are usually claims for pain and suffering and wrongful death. Pain and suffering refers to the conscious pain and suffering of the decedent prior to death. Wrongful death refers to the monetary losses sustained by the beneficiaries of the decedent’s estate, such as loss of income, loss of maternal guidance, advice, and burial expenses. The portion of the settlement allocated to wrongful death is divided according to the loss sustained by each beneficiary.

What’s important to remember is that every case is complicated. A settlement is one of the last steps involved in litigation, but it’s definitely not the finish line.

Dog Bite Law in Utah

By | Articles, Dog Bites, Personal Injury | No Comments

A dog is man’s best friend, and many of us think nothing of approaching a dog on its walk or when it comes to a fence to say hello.  But what happens when a dog loses control and bites a person?

Utah law is clear: if you are bitten by a dog, you can recover damages from the owner or the person keeping the dog.  You don’t have to prove that the dog was vicious or mischievous before the attack, either.  This is important because other states require you to prove that the owner knew that his dog previously bit someone, or acted like it wanted to bite someone, and the owner was aware of the dog’s prior conduct.  Utah doesn’t require the victim of a dog attack to prove any of this; if you’re attacked by a dog and you suffer injuries, you can recover damages because Utah makes dog owners strictly liable for any injury committed by their dog-and not just from bites.

If you own a dog walking service or a doggie daycare-or even if you’re just watching a dog for your friend-you will also be strictly liable for any attacks by a dog you’re keeping, however, there are important exceptions: states, counties, cities, and towns in Utah, as well as peace officers, are not liable for damages for injury committed by dogs trained to assist in law enforcement, so long as “the injury occurs while the dog is reasonably and carefully being used in the apprehension, arrest, or location of a suspected offender or in maintaining or controlling the public order.”

However, even if you aren’t the owner or the keeper of the dog in question, you can still be liable under negligence.  Let’s say you see a stray dog, and you let the stray into your place of business and it attacks a customer.  You’re liable for damages, but Utah law also requires the court to balance the victim’s fault against your fault.  If the court finds that your fault exceeds the victim’s fault, you can be sued for recovery by the victim; however, the amount the victim can recover will be reduced by the level of his fault.

If you’re an owner, or if you’re the person in charge of a dog, you have to adhere to animal control laws, such as ordinances require dogs to be leashed.  If a dog you own or have responsibility for is off leash in violation of the law, this could be the basis of civil liability in the event that the dog attacks someone.  Such violations give victims a prima facie case of negligence, and the only way you can escape liability is to demonstrate an overriding reason to justify having your dog off leash.

In addition, if you’re the relative of a dog bite victim, and you’re present when your relative is attacked, you can recover for emotional distress if it manifests as an illness or a bodily harm.  Anxiety attacks, blood pressure issues, and other forms of stress can be the basis for you to recover monetary damages from the dog’s owner or keeper.

Whether you’re the owner or the keeper of a dog, or merely a person who sees a dog on your walk, exercise caution.  Keep your dog on a leash, and always ask for the owner’s permission to approach the dog.  When a dog is eating, don’t interrupt the dog’s feeding time or try to play with his treats or toys, because this could trigger aggression in the dog.  Always exercise common sense, because it’s better to avoid an injury than to be put in the position of recovering damages after an injury.

If you’re a dog owner in Utah, realize that you’re liable for your dog and make sure that your dog is adequately socialized with other dogs and people and trained to respond to voice commands.  Always follow local laws and keep your dog leashed, and make sure that they are secured on your property.  What you pay for an obedience class will be far less than the cost of an attorney and any damages you have to pay as the result of a dog attack.

Personal Injury Education Center of Utah wishes you and your furry friends a long, healthy, and legally uneventful life together.  Remember, knowing the law is the first step to avoiding any legal problem.  The second step is following the law, and as long you know what the law requires, you can easily avoid any legal trouble, as well as any spike in your homeowner’s insurance premiums.