How do Insurers Determine What a Car is Worth?

Insurers keep proprietary databases on car prices, similar to the Blue Book or the National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) Official Used Car Guide. The insurer’s valuation of your car is mostly based on its age. So, for example, your car might be totaled if it’s thirteen years old and receives only minor damage, and it might not be if it’s a brand new Porsche that has been in a devastating collision. If your automobile is “totaled,” that means that it would cost more to fix your car then the car is worth. Most auto insurance contracts contain a provision that states if your car is damaged in an accident, your insurer does not have to pay you more than your vehicle is worth. So if your car is “totaled out” by your insurance company, what you will receive is a check for the value of the car. Unfortunately, this is usually not enough to replace your car or to fix the damage to your car. Additionally, if you get back your car and use the money to fix it, insurers may refuse to provide more than basic liability coverage on your vehicle since it has been deemed a total loss.
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Who Is Responsible for Birth Injuries?

During the delivery of a child, injuries sometimes occur. Often these injuries are not avoidable. However, at times injuries are the result of medical negligence and may have been prevented if responded to properly and with adequate care. If your child suffered preventable injuries during birth, there may be a number of people held responsible, including the doctor, other hospital employees and/or the hospital. It depends on the type of injury your child suffered and the circumstances surrounding the injury.

In many cases, the physician who performed the birth may be held accountable for his or her own actions (if negligent) or the actions of employees under his or her supervision, such as nurses, medical residents or interns, other physicians or other staff members. In a medical negligence claim against a doctor, the plaintiff (most often the parents on behalf of their child) must prove to the court that the doctor who delivered their child failed to meet the standard of care, which is the level of care other doctors would use in a similar situation. If the court confirms that medical negligence has been established, the doctor may be held liable for your child’s injuries.
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What is a Toxic Tort?

A toxic tort is a growing area of law that covers a wide variety of injuries due to contamination, toxins and/or faulty medications or drugs. Some examples of injuries that would fall under toxic tort law would be lead poisoning, asbestos related injuries (mesothelioma), contaminated water, contaminated buildings, pesticides, catastrophic events, tobacco, radiation or injuries due to medications or medical devices. There are certain similarities that toxic tort claims share. First, the injury was caused by a dangerous/unsafe substance. Next, persons who came into contact with the substance became at risk for injuries (similar in nature). Usually, the extent of the injuries may not be known for a number of years. Additionally, the persons or entity responsible for the dangerous exposure are often numerous and difficult to establish based on the circumstances of the situation and the type of injury.
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What is a Class Action Lawsuit?

A class action lawsuit is an action where a group of people all has the same or similar injuries, which were caused by the same defective product, device, contamination, treatment, incident or occurrence. The group of people files one action and each member of the group is a class member of the lawsuit. It is logical and efficient to have only one action for injuries stemming from the same source, against the same defendant. If the plaintiff’s win the lawsuit, the damages will be divided among them in proportion to the injuries each individual has sustained. However, if the defendant wins the case, the class members (plaintiffs) are barred from filing a new claim, as either another class action or an individual action, against the same defendant for the same injuries.
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Who is Responsible for Injuries Stemming from a Sexual Assault?

As the victim of a sexual assault, you may have civil claims against more than one party. It depends on the circumstances surrounding the assault. You may have a claim for compensation against the assailant, the assailant’s employer or another individual. The injured party (male or female) may have a personal injury claim for damages sustained as a result of suffering a sexual assault. To prove a personal injury claim, the victim must show he or she was sexually assaulted by the defendant (assailant) and was injured as a result (physically or emotionally injured). It must also be shown that the defendant caused the plaintiff’s injuries, either intentionally or due to negligence.
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What Should I do if I’m in a Car Accident?

If you are in a car accident, there are some things you can do to protect yourself against any lawsuits that may arise from the incident. First, make sure you, and anyone else involved in the accident, is safe and call for medical assistance if needed. If you cannot get out of your car, wait for assistance to do so. If you can get out of your car, it is important to stay with your vehicle. This may be a safety issue, depending on the situation you are in, whether the area is dangerous or there is heavy traffic or other dangerous materials around you. Additionally, do not leave the scene of the accident before the police arrive or before exchanging information with the other person (or persons) involved in a minor accident. If you leave and someone was injured or killed you may be charged with criminal “hit and run” penalties.
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How do I Know if I Have a Medical Malpractice Claim?

Medical procedures do not always have the desired outcome; sometimes unexpected or unpreventable results occur and are not the consequence of medical malpractice. In order to have a claim for medical malpractice, your injury (or undesired/harmful result of a medical procedure or treatment) must have been caused by negligence by a healthcare professional. Medical professionals must meet the industry’s standard of care when treating patients. This standard of care is determined by the level of care other medical professionals or workers would provide to an individual under the same or similar circumstances. Healthcare workers that are held to this standard may include doctors, nurses, hospital staff members, dentists, other medical related workers or the hospital itself. If the standard of care is not met and the patient is injured as a result of this failure, the injured party may have a claim for medical malpractice. To determine if the facts of your case merit a medical malpractice claim, it is important to speak to an attorney knowledgeable in this area of law.
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Can Third Parties be Held Responsible for Injuries Stemming From a Drunk Driving Accident?

Generally, the drunk driver who caused the accident is responsible to the persons injured by the accident. However, in some cases, the injured party (or his or her family members) may file an action against a third party for damages arising from a drunk driving accident. A third party claim in such an accident may be against a variety of persons or even businesses. Those held liable for injuries stemming from the accident may be a police officer, employer, passenger, social host or a bar or restaurant. Situations where such third parties may be liable for a drunk drivers action may be if a police officer has knowledge that a driver is intoxicated and lets them continue to drive, if an employer provided alcohol at a work function or if a passenger gave the intoxicated driver alcohol. Social hosts and business establishments may be held statutorily liable for the actions of a drunk driver according to the law in the jurisdiction where the accident took place.

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What can I do If I’ve Been Injured on a Cruise Ship?

Two types of people may be injured while aboard a cruise ship, paying passengers or crew members (staff of the cruise ship). Both types of injured persons may have different legal claims. The claims depend on the injuries sustained, the persons who may be liable for the injuries and the law applicable to the claims. Some examples of possible claims are negligence, medical negligence or assault. Generally, the ship owners will be liable for any injuries of passengers or crew members, since the owners have a duty to provide a safe environment and protect persons aboard their ship from known (or foreseeable) dangers.

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What are Soft Tissue Injuries?

Injuries to muscles, tendons and ligaments are considered soft tissue injuries. These types of injuries are usually sprains, strains or contusions (bruises) and do not involve the bones or organs. Such injuries may occur over a long period of time (often job related) or due to a single incident, such as an automobile accident. The most common example of a soft tissue injury due to a single event is whiplash, which is an injury to the neck due to a sharp backwards/forwards motion. Additional types of soft tissue injuries may include tendonitis, bursitis, damage to nerves, dislocation or tearing of a ligament, muscle or tendon. These injuries can be very painful and may take an extensive period of time to heal; some injuries may even be ongoing. If you have been injured, it is important to seek medical attention to evaluate your injuries and treat them. If you have suffered soft tissue injuries, a personal injury attorney may assist you in determining your legal options and seeking compensation for your injuries.

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