What To Do After a Car Accident?

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Accidents happen.  You should be prepared to protect yourself when they do.  Some general rules to follow are:

  • If you are anyone else requires immediate medical attention, call 911 and request an ambulance.
  • Speak with the police and request the police report.
  • If possible, take photos or video of the scene of the accident.
  • If possible, obtain witness contact info so they can be contacted later if needed.
  • Do not make statements which can later be used against you by insurance companies.
  • Notify an attorney because there are several issues that arise immediately following an accident that may influence your claim.
  • Consult with a lawyer before you sign anything related to the accident.

If you have any concerns or questions, our firm is there to help.  We will answer your questions and help protect you.

What if the Insurance Company is Offering Me a Quick Settlement?

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Often, insurance companies make settlement offers to accident victims early in the case.  However, it is dangerous to settle your claim before you have identified all of the potential damages you could be compensated for.  Certain medical problems can result from accidents several days or even weeks after the accident occurs, but if you agree to settle your claim before all of these potential injuries and damages have been identified, you will not be able to reopen your claim later.  This is why insurance companies often want to quickly settle in order to avoid fully compensating you.

Our firm has been fighting for our clients for over three decades.  Our team will fight for the full compensation you are entitled to.

Can I Represent Myself After Being in a Car Accident?

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Insurance companies are focused on making profit, which means that they will seek to pay you as little as possible to settle your claim.  Insurance companies often try to exploit unrepresented persons to their advantage during negotiations by making lowball offers to maximize their profits.  We are experienced in dealing with insurance companies and are confident that we will obtain settlements that are significantly higher than if you try to negotiate on your own.

Protect yourself with professional help.  We offer free consultations, and do not get paid unless you win your case.

How Much Money is My Accident Claim Worth?

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The specific dollar value of your accident claim depends on the specific facts and circumstances of your case.  However, most injury claims share certain common factors, such as the extent and permanency of your injuries, the effect your injuries have had on your qualify of life, and the amount and duration of your medical treatment.  If we are unable to reach a settlement that you are happy with, we will go to trial where a jury verdict will determine the value of your case.

Our firm has represented thousands of Arizona’s police officers for over three decades.  We fight for them and their families to recover what they are owed.  Our firm will fight to recover your damages as well.  Experience matters.

Car Accident Lawsuits

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Being in a car accident can be a traumatizing and stressful experience, especially if you are seriously injured or lose a loved one.  We represent accident victims and hold people accountable for causing personal injury to our clients, having recovered large settlements for decades in Arizona.

Car accident victims often suffer the burden of significant expenses, such as medical bills, hospital bills, medication, childcare, diminishment of quality of life, loss of personal time with loved ones, and missed time from work.  We pursue personal injury claims and seek to reimburse our clients for these expenses.

Call for a free consultation.

Why Experience Matters

Every surgeon has to start somewhere, but do you want yours to be their first operation?  Probably not.

The same goes for finding a lawyer.  It may not always be be the difference between life and death, but experience matters, especially if the issue concerns something as important as your career, your  livelihood, the well-being of your family or the security of your business.

Nearly every case is different, with a unique set of facts and circumstances, but the more experienced a lawyer is in a particular practice area, the more likely it is the lawyer will be able to see a wider range of legal options and creative paths to resolution.  It’s also more likely the lawyer will be able to see those options faster, more efficiently, and therefore more economically.

Experience matters. Let our experience work for you.

How to Choose Your Lawyer

Husband and wife, doctor and patient, priest and penitent … attorney and client. The law recognizes only a handful of relationships in which communications may remain confidential.  The law allows this confidentiality or “privilege” because it recognizes that communications in such relationships must be made with complete trust. That’s what the relationship is about– it’s about trust, trust that your lawyer is looking out for your best interests.

So how do you find the right lawyer for you or the right lawyer for your particular case? We think you find your lawyer the same way you found your doctor, your priest, and maybe the same way you found your spouse. Get recommendations from people you trust. Look at the lawyer’s background, their experience and their values. If it looks like a good fit, and if they seem like someone you’d be comfortable with–someone you can trust– they may be the lawyer for you. But just as it’s important that you’re comfortable with your lawyer, it’s important that they’re comfortable with you, and that’s something neither of you will know until you’ve met and talked face to face. In some cases initial consultations may be free, while for some matters there may be a modest charge.

If you’d like to find out if we’re the right lawyers for you, call us and ask about consultations or to schedule a meeting.

What is Employment Law?

Laws evolve to regulate human interaction. And because most of us spend more than half our waking hours on the job, it shouldn’t be surprising that a large body of law has developed to regulate our relationships at work, including relationships with co-workers, employers and even outside vendors. Employment law is about more than just hiring and firing employees, though, it’s about salary and benefits, overtime and minimum wages; it’s about discrimination and harassment, and about competition and contract interpretation.  It’s why Congress has passed laws like the Fair Labor Standards Act; the Americans with Disabilities Act; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; the Family Medical Leave Act; the Employment Retirement Income Security Act; the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, to name just a few. States, too, have their own laws regulating the employment relationship including such topics as the timely payment of wages, wrongful or constructive discharge, worker’s compensation and pension rights.

A lawyer whose practice focuses on employment law understands the complexity of these laws. They’re trained to spot  issues and facts that are relevant in determining the rights of the affected parties.  Our employment lawyers are experienced in all of these areas and more. If you have concerns about your rights in the workplace, one of our employment lawyers would be pleased to schedule a consultation.

Estate Planning and Significant Others

For anyone in an unmarried partnership, it is important to have an estate plan in order to avoid disinheriting your partner. If you do not have an appropriate plan in place, Arizona law will take over, your assets could be tied up in a potentially lengthy and expensive probate process, and ultimately distributed according to a state-run system which may not reflect your intent. The good news is that with our help, you can avoid probate. A living trust is a good way to avoid probate while still ensuring the transfer of your assets to your partner and/or friends after death. A living trust can provide you with a smooth, inexpensive transfer of assets after death, without the court-supervised probate process. It can make it easier for your partner and for your loved ones. In addition, a living trust is private. Even after you die, no one except the beneficiary has the right to know how you allocated your assets.

Another important reason to have an estate plan is to plan for Incapacity with a Durable Power of Attorney and an Advance Health Care Directive. Through a Durable Power of Attorney, you can appoint your partner or friend to act as your agent, with authority to make certain decisions for you if you become legally incapacitated, which must be certified in writing by your doctor. Then, your agent will step in and perform the actions which you have outlined. Examples of actions you may authorize your agent to perform are: making your mortgage payments, collecting money due to you and depositing it in your bank account, paying bills, and even keeping your business running. If you do not prepare and sign a Durable Power of Attorney, someone will have to petition in court to be appointed as your agent. This can be expensive, time-consuming, and distressing to all involved, especially if there is a conflict between your partner and a family member.

It is also prudent to execute a health care directive to complement and clarify your rights. For example, you can express whether you would like to be placed on life support if doctors have determined that there is no chance of recovery.

How Much Does a Trust Cost?

The short answer is: It depends. Be wary of anyone who is willing to quote you a price without knowing you or the nature of your estate. We will meet with you for free at an introductory meeting to determine what type of estate plan you want, then we will quote you a flat fee, so you know how much your estate plan is going to cost you.

To work properly, a trust should be specific to your needs, not a “fill in the blank” or “one trust fits all” that may be available for a cheap price. While it is possible that these cheap “fill in the blank” trusts might work, it is also possible that they are too general in nature and will not adequately protect you or your assets. The unguided use of such forms might, if you are lucky, result in avoiding probate with some of your property, but it will more likely result in added legal fees for court interpretation of vague legal terms, added taxes, and added costs in the estates of beneficiaries.

When you consider the tens of thousands of dollars in savings that can definitely – not maybe – be saved through the use of a professionally drafted and funded trust, properly coordinated with the rest of your estate plan, it is silly and reckless to try to do it yourself with the help of forms you know nothing about prepared by someone who is not a lawyer.

As part of your estate plan, in addition to a Trust, we will also prepare a Pour-Over Will, which works in conjunction with your Trust. Certain assets which were left out of your Trust can then be gathered up and “poured over” into your Trust after your death. Additionally, as part of your estate plan, we will also make sure you are protected with appropriate powers of attorney and medical directives which will protect you in the event of illness or disability.

Even though you may already have a Will, all of your property may not automatically pass under it.  Some of your property may pass outside your will by reasons of joint title, survivorship provisions, pay-on-death clauses, and beneficiary designations on deeds and contracts.

After creating a Trust, we will help you to fund your Trust by identifying assets that you desire to make a part of the Trust. Funding a Trust is critically important because a Trust only applies to those assets inside the Trust. Additionally, one of the important lifetime benefits is realized if you become disabled. If that happens, for jointly held securities or real estate, at least one-half of the value of the joint property would be “frozen,” and a sale would not be allowed until the probate court appointed a guardian or conservator for you. But, if you had this property placed in a living trust, no court action would be necessary, and your property would be immediately accessible by the trustee to provide for your care and treatment.

For a trust to be effective in avoiding probate and minimizing taxes, your assets must be placed inside the trust. Assets may include bank accounts, real estate, motor vehicles, stocks and bonds, life insurance, and retirement benefits. We will help you determine which assets should be placed inside your Trust as part of your estate plan.