January 2016 - Kamerow Law
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Who is liable for injuries sustained in a multi-vehicle accident on the freeway?

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Who is liable for injuries sustained in a multi-vehicle accident on the freeway?

It is often very difficult to determine who was at fault in a multi-vehicle accident or “pile up.” Other drivers and their insurance companies are likely to accuse everyone else of being responsible. There are steps to determining liability or who is at fault for a multi-vehicle accident.

Step 1: The Cause of the Accident

One of the first things to do when investigating who may be liable or responsible for your injuries when you are involved in a multi vehicle accident is determine the CAUSE of the accident. Was it the weather? Was it poor road conditions? Was it a drunk driver? Was it a negligent driver texting or otherwise acting irresponsibly?

Step 2: Who is Liable

Once you know WHY the accident took place, then you can move on to determine WHO if anyone is liable. Having eyewitnesses and expert testimony will help to reconstruct the accident and put the pieces together like a puzzle.

Step 3: Negligence

Liability for injuries in an auto accident is considered a personal injury claim, just as a slip and fall case, the possible negligence of the parties involved will have to be determined. If the CAUSE of the accident was an “Act of God” such as an earthquake causing an overpass to collapse as it did in 1994 on a southern California freeway, and a vehicle screeched to a stop in the middle of the highway causing a pileup, they will probably not be held negligent or liable.

Step 4: Is there more than one responsible party?

Another factor to look into as to liability for injuries may be a manufacturing defect of a safety feature on your vehicle. If you were involved in an accident and your air bag did not deploy properly you may be able to hold not only the party who CAUSED the accident liable but the air bag manufacturer of the air bag and/or vehicle liable as well.

Contact an experienced attorney | Kamerow Law Firm

Even though it can be a tough road ahead to determine who is liable for your injuries, you don’t want to proceed without the best representation. Speak with our experienced attorneys at Kamerow Law Firm regarding your case today by calling 703-370-8088 or use our online contact form.

 

How insurance companies and juries determine the value of pain and suffering

The value of pain and suffering can be one of the most difficult things for a jury or an insurance company to determine. Every case has its own unique circumstances and deserves to be studied on a case-by-case basis to determine the amount a person may be awarded.

Factors in Determining the Value Placed on Pain and Suffering

The jurors and insurance companies who are deciding what to award a claimant are people who are instructed to look objectively at each case, but the same circumstances of the same case may be seen differently by two different people. Jurors will look at these circumstances to decide the monetary value of the pain and suffering of a claimant even if the circumstance doesn’t have much to do with the pain itself, such as:

  • Income: The same two people injured in the same accident with all the same circumstances, including the same attorney may have different outcomes if they have much different income levels. Maybe the jury decides that the stay-at-home mom with a husband who provides a good living for his family doesn’t deserve quite as much as the single mom making it on her own.
  • Age: Again, two parties with the same circumstances in all areas except their age may get different settlements because the jury might decide that the 65-year-old woman should be better compensated than the 25-year-old man.
  • Different communities or social circle: Just like the income example, a claimant who is living in a circumstance that indicates they are “needier” than the other claimant may produce a different result.
  • Pain tolerance: Each claimant may have a completely different experience with their level of pain and suffering. If a claimant has the medical records, witnesses, or doctors statements to indicate that they suffered extensively, and it is a reasonable conclusion based on the facts of the case, they may be awarded more than the claimant who was able to tolerate their discomfort or pain after an injury.

While these are only a few examples of how circumstance affects the final result, we can agree that many of these should not have anything to do with the actual pain and suffering. It does however make it clear that each case is unique and each person involved in the case is unique and therefore will see the case subjectively, no matter how small the extent.

Call an Kamerow Law Firm | Personal Injury Attorneys

With this in mind it should be noted that it is important to make sure that you have the best attorney for your case. Like every other person involved in your case from witnesses, the judge, your doctors, and the jurors, your attorney can have a big impact on the settlement you receive. Contact us now to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney at Kamerow Law Firm today to discuss your case. Call us at 703-370-8088.

Recalled air bags deployed in a rental car, causing brain damage

In September of 2014, there had been the confirmed death of a woman who was one of 8 deaths linked to faulty air bags made by the Japanese supplier, Takata. The rented 2001 Honda Civic had been a part of the recall but had not been repaired even though the recall had been in place since 2009.

Recalls for Used or Rental Vehicles

Unfortunately, companies are not required to repair used vehicles or rental cars before they sell or rent them. They are also not required to disclose to the potential buyers and renters that the vehicle or component of the vehicle has been recalled.

Legislation for Rental Cars

Congress has introduced legislation that would require repair and notifications to consumers called the Rachael and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act. The proposal is summarized as such: “… a rental company that receives a notification (approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [NHTSA]) from the manufacturer of a covered rental vehicle about any equipment defect, or noncompliance with federal motor vehicle safety standards, to rent or sell the vehicle or equipment only if the defect or noncompliance is remedied.” Currently opposition from auto dealers has stalled any progress in passing it into law.

The good news is that some of the more well-known rental companies have committed to not rent or sell recalled vehicles before repairs are done. However, auto rental companies are not required to do so by law. Consumers should still be aware of recalls as well as the fine print in those rental agreements.

This particular victim’s death highlighted the holes in safety regulations for used or rental vehicles, but it also brings to light the inefficient notification system being used to inform consumers of recalls. The more owners a vehicle has had, the harder it is to track down owners to notify them of safety issues.

Database of Recalled Vehicles

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides an inline database of recalled vehicles in order to make it easier for consumers to search for any recalls that might affect the safety of a used auto. Don’t assume that a rental company has done its due diligence, even if they pledged to do so. Take the safety of you and any of your passengers into your own hands, and help to prevent any further unnecessary deaths or injuries.