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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Boise has had a large number of pedestrian accidents reported lately.   Be careful out there.   As a driver of a car or a pedestrian, refresh yourself on the rules of the road in Idaho.  Generally speaking, Idaho first requires that drivers exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian:  

… every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or any person propelling a human-powered vehicle and shall give an audible signal when necessary. Every driver shall exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused, incapacitated or intoxicated person.

(Idaho Code § 49-615).  Of course, pedestrian have to exercise reason care, too, and they have to follow the traffic signals and markings to keep a driver from claiming that the pedestrian is at fault.   Stay in a cross walk to have the right-of-way.  (Idaho Code § 49-702).  And, mind the pedestrian lights.   Technically a pedestrian can only enter a crosswalk managed by a light  when facing a “Flashing or Steady "Walk" (Idaho Code § 49-803(1)).  A pedestrian is not supposed to enter a crosswalk when seeing a “Flashing or Steady ‘Don't Walk’ or ‘Wait.’" (Idaho Code § 49-803(2)).    

The situation where a pedestrian misses the “walk” light but sees the flashing, but not solid, “Don’t Walk” light and enters the crosswalk is all too common.  Pedestrians who do this do not have the right-of-way and, if hit by a car, can be found negligent. 

Any pedestrian who is hit by a car should contact a lawyer immediately.  Pedestrian-automobile accidents require a firm understanding of Idaho’s rules of the road.  But, best approach for pedestrians is to follow the rules so they are sure to have the right-of-way.  Having the right-of-way is the best defense to a driver trying to blame a pedestrian for the injuries the driver caused.   

Posted by eswartz at 4/14/2016 12:17:00 AM
Sunday, April 12, 2015

Injuries from car accidents may not be limited to the car accident itself.  Certain vehicle designs or malfunctions may make injuries worse.   Injuries caused by a seat belt failure, air bag failure, seat-back collapse, roof collapse, or other defects or failures may be the cause of catastrophic injuries that otherwise would not have been suffered in a car accident had the failures of defects not occurred. 

If you are in a car accident, do not overlook the possibility that the person who causes the accident is not the only one who is at fault.  Careful consideration should be given to whether a car manufacturer is to blame for some or all of the injuries. 

Jones & Swartz PLLC not only handles car accident injuries, but also handles injuries sustained from car defects.  Contact an attorney who understands the signs of car defects. 

If you are in a car accident contact Jones & Swartz PLLC without delay.  In addition to assisting you with your car accident claims against a liable third party, we can assist you with evaluating whether you have a claim against a car manufacturer, and if so, assist you with preserving your car – the evidence of you need to further explore and possibly pursue a car defect claim.  

Posted by eswartz at 4/13/2015 1:07:00 AM
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What is the value of your personal injury claim?  It depends.  The value of your personal injury claim against the person who caused your injuries can include damages like medical bills, lost wages from missed work, or use of sick leave or comp-time as a result of the accident.  If you suffer from physical or psychological injuries into the future, the value of your personal injury claim can include money for future medical treatment and future pain and suffering.  The value of your personal injury claim might also include other losses like reimbursement for mileage to and from doctor appointments, child care, or other costs incurred as a result of being injured and not being able to do daily activities that you used to do before being injured.  These types of damages are called economic or special damages. 

Pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and inconvenience as a result of the accident is another type of damages.  These damages are called non-economic or general damages.

The value of your personal injury claim depends upon how badly you were injured and how being injured impacted your life.  Only you can really know the value of your claim.  But, unfortunately, you are not the one who gets to decide what the person at fault, or their insurance company, will pay you.

The insurance company will only pay what they think your claim is worth.  The value that the insurance company places on your claim is affected by every aspect of you injuries and loss.  If the insurance company does not understand your claim, the insurance company will not pay you what your claim is worth.  If the insurance company thinks a jury in Boise, Idaho won’t give you any money for your claim, then the insurance company is not going to pay you what your claim is worth.

Did you know that Idaho law also dictates what your claim is worth?  It is true.  Idaho’s legislature has limited the amount of non-economic damages that an injured party can get.  The cap is currently set at $324,478.18.  That’s right.  A person can be rendered completely disabled and suffer pain for the rest of their lives, and Idaho law only allows them $324,478.18 for their general damages. This is true even if a jury wants to award more.  A judge would be required by Idaho law to lower the amount that a jury awarded in non-economic damages in excess of $324,478.18.

Of course, that assumes that a jury can understand the magnitude of a person’s injuries.  Often, members of a jury have not been through the same or similar experience as an injured person.  As a result, juries often have a difficult time calculating a sum of money that is reasonable to compensate a person for their injuries.  A jury member’s perception of a dollar may also impact how they value a claim.  The value of a dollar to a jury member who makes minimum wage is very different than a jury member who make an executive’s salary.         

Other things can drastically impact the value of your claim is whether your insurance company or medical providers have subrogation interests or liens placed against a settlement of judgment.  While these interests can sometime be negotiated down, these types of claims impact the value of an injured person’s claim.    

With all these challenges to claim valuation, an injured party’s best bet to hire an experienced injury attorney.  An experience injury attorney will know how to minimize potentially negative aspects and challenges to your claim while maximizing your recovery.     

Posted by eswartz at 1/27/2015 8:08:00 PM
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