Determining the Value of a Personal Injury Claim

The value of a personal injury case that goes to trial is determined by the jury. They are given evidence to evaluate and a list of items they may take into consideration before making their decision.

Various factors play a role in establishing the value of a case. A good personal injury attorney makes their evaluation based upon all the hospital and doctor’s reports, present and future medical bills, and input from the client and family. Information covered should include lost wages and diminished earning capacity, medical treatment, duration of treatment, level of current and future impairment, future pain and discomfort, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Insurance companies influence the landscape, too. They keep track of cases nationwide and crunch the numbers using software and databases. They know which doctors are overtreaters whose bills can more easily be challenged at trial, and which doctors make poor or excellent witnesses.

Insurance companies keep tabs on attorneys who are willing to go to trial and those who settle in every circumstance. They also know which attorneys have expertise in a specific area of law, and those who are general practitioners. Insurance companies lick their chops when an attorney sends most of his/her clients to the same doctor, which they may exploit at trial by insinuating that the doctor is shading their testimony to favor the attorney.

There is no magic formula in determining the value of a personal injury case, but hiring the right personal injury attorney can go a long way toward winning your case or achieving a fair settlement.

 

How to Prepare for Young Drivers on the Road During Back-to-School Season

teen driversBack-to-school season is in full swing, and that means high school juniors and seniors will be starting driver’s ed classes and venturing out onto local roads.

Let’s face it: getting a driver’s license is one of the biggest milestones in a teenager’s young adult life. It means freedom, independence, and responsibility. The best and safest drivers on the road all have years of driving experience, something that, by nature, a teenager can’t have. As a result, it is young drivers who make the most mistakes and unintentionally endanger the most lives on the road.

In fact, driving teens (ages 16-19) are 3 times as likely to be involved in a fatal crash than any other age group. Despite being only 14% of the population, teen drivers are involved in 30% of the costs of all motor vehicle injuries. Also, teens are even more likely to cause a crash if they are driving with teen passengers or if it’s their first month with their licenses. Plus, we all know how easily teens are distracted in the smartphone age! It only makes sense that without driving experience, young drivers are more likely to misjudge situations, forget important traffic laws, and miscalculate the size and speed of their cars.

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to ensure that you and your loved ones are properly taken care of in the event of an unfortunate, unavoidable accident. Aside from the fundamentals (wear your seatbelt, drive the speed limit, be alert, and drive defensively), you should also make sure that you have full Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM) Coverage, especially with the sheer amount of uninsured drivers on the road. Always opt for higher UM coverage to protect you and your loved ones.

Should an accident happen with an uninsured or underinsured driver, you will need additional UM coverage from your insurance company (not just the bare $20,000/$40,000 minimum) to recover fully. The reason is that the UM coverage only kicks in to the extent the coverage exceeds the responsible party’s bodily injury coverage amounts. 

If the responsible party has only the $20,000/$40,000 minimum in bodily injury coverage, and your UM coverage is the same, there is no additional coverage available to you (they are not added together). Moving up to $100,000/$300,000 or $250,000/$500,000 in optional UM coverage is not expensive, and could mean a great deal in case of a serious accident with an underinsured driver. Trust us, it’s easier to ask these questions beforehand than after the fact.

Don’t Like Dealing With Ticket Agents at the Airport? You Soon May be in Luck!

airline ticketsAt the recent Paris Air Show, robots were unveiled that would potentially replace human check-in agents and immigration officers at airports. The robots would scan passengers’ faces, encrypt and print the images on boarding passes, and share the images with other computers around the airport.

Once a traveler is at the gate, a human gate agent would check the scan to make sure the correct person was actually getting on the plane. It’s estimated that a single robot could do the work of five human ticket agents.

Don’t Get Caught Unaware About the Possibility of Flood Insurance

Flood zones change over time. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continuously updates maps that insurers and lenders rely upon in determining whether borrowers are required to purchase flood insurance. But the determination is no longer set in stone at the time a loan is made.

Nearly all mortgage lenders now include notices in their loan packages that inform borrowers that, should the flood plain were to change, the lender may require flood insurance on a property, even if the flood plain changes years after the closing.

In 2013, FEMA made significant changes to the maps, more than doubling the number of homes in the Boston area requiring flood insurance. This caught many homeowners by surprise and gave them little recourse. Given the high cost of flood insurance premiums, when shopping for a home it is worthwhile to assess the likelihood of the flood maps changing for the worse down the road.

The Wright Stuff

On the morning of December 17, 1903, just outside Kitty Hawk, N.C., aviation history was made with the first successful manned, self-propelled flight of an airplane. The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, of Dayton, Ohio, were the creators and pilots of the Flyer. (Incidentally, that’s why the University of Dayton’s nickname is the “Flyers.”)

The first trip, piloted by Orville, was brief—12 seconds and 120 feet—but in a matter of two years, the brothers were performing complex aerial maneuvers and staying aloft for nearly 40 minutes. There were a total of four runs that historic day. Wilbur one-upped his younger brother with a final flight of 59 seconds, covering 852 feet.

Research and development were key components in the Wright brothers’ success. Former owners of a bicycle shop in Dayton, the Wright brothers were exceedingly gifted in technical ability. They pored over aeronautical books, picked the brains of civil engineers, and then began to build kites, which eventually graduated to gliders. Through the studious observance of birds in flight, they developed the concept of wing warping: controlling a plane by raising or lowering flaps in the wingtips to turn (bank) or to ascend and descend.

Once they installed a lightweight motor, history was theirs for the taking. Orville and Wilbur decided on Kitty Hawk, N.C., for their glider testing and first airplane flight for three reasons: regular winds, hills, and sand (for soft landings).

The Wright brothers made history, some of which are available to us today. The Flyer is on permanent display at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

Jupiter’s Great Red Spot Becoming Less Great

The planet Jupiter’s most distinctive feature—besides being the most massive planet in our solar system—is its enormous Red Spot. The Red Spot is a giant, stable, circulating storm that has been raging for at least 400 years since the first telescopes were invented, and probably a lot longer.

In the late 1800s, the Red Spot was wide enough to fit three Earths within its borders. Today, there’s room for only one Earth and a side of Mars thrown in. That’s still big enough to pack an almost unimaginable wallop, putting a Category 5 hurricane on Earth to shame—winds of over 350 mph lasting for centuries on end, not just a few days.

The reason for the Red Spot’s significant shrinkage is a mystery. One theory is that smaller storms on the planet are constantly being absorbed by the Red Spot, which may be progressively changing its internal dynamics, draining it of energy. It’s tough to get a good read on Jupiter due to its extensive, deep cloud layer.

Although diminishing in size, the Red Spot has retained its unique color. It had long been thought that reddish chemicals beneath Jupiter’s cloud layer produced its red hue. However, NASA’s Cassini probe discovered that the color is likely a result of chemicals in the cloud layer—mostly ammonia and acetylene gases—interacting with the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

The next big Jupiter-related news may come when NASA sends a probe to Europa, Jupiter’s most intriguing moon. The launch is tentatively slated for the mid-2020s.