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Bicycle Safety Basics

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bicycle accident lawyerBicycling is great exercise and a great way to get from place to place while reducing your carbon footprint.  Unfortunately, bicyclists face many hazards, especially when sharing the roadway with motorists.  According to the National Safety Council, approximately 1,000 bicyclists are killed in accidents each year.  These basic safety tips will help protect you and your family when you are riding a bicycle.

  1.  Always wear a helmet.  Head injuries are a major factor in bicycle-related deaths.  You should always wear a properly-fitted, Consumer Product Safety Commission approved helmet, regardless of how long you intend to ride.
  2. Ride single-file and travel in the direction of traffic.  Some people believe that riding against traffic (sometimes called “salmoning”) is safer than riding with traffic.  These people believe that salmoning is safer because, when riding against traffic, the bicyclist is able to see drivers coming, rather than having motorists approach from behind.  However, bicycle safety experts disagree for several reasons.  First, motorists instinctively look for vehicles traveling with the flow of traffic and might pull onto a roadway without looking for bicycles traveling in the opposite direction.  Also, riding against the flow of traffic increases the severity of a potential impact between a bicycle and a vehicle.  For example, if the bicyclist is riding at 15 mph and vehicle comes up from behind traveling 40 mph, the impact speed would be 25 mph.  However, if the bicyclist and the vehicle were approaching head-on, however, the impact speed would be 55 mph.  Finally, riding against the traffic flow is against the law.  So, if you are in an accident  while riding against the flow of traffic, you might be found to be at fault.
  3. Be extra careful at intersections.  Approximately 50% of bicycle accidents occur at intersections.
  4. Be visible.  Don’t wear dark clothing.
  5. Be especially careful at night.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, most bicycle accidents occur at night.  Be sure to equip your bicycle with reflectors and, when riding at night, wear reflective clothing.
  6. Watch for objects on the roadway.  Tree branches, loose gravel, potholes, and drainage grates can all cause serious bicycle accidents.
  7. Obey street signs.  Bicyclists are required to obey the same rules of the road that apply to motorists.
  8. Plan your route to minimize the time spent on busy roads and roads with narrow shoulders.  Bicyclists take their lives into their hands whenever they ride close to vehicles traveling at a high rate of speed.  All it takes to cause a catastrophic accident is for a motorist to be momentarily distracted and drift onto the bike lane or shoulder.
  9. Be careful in urban areas.  Most bicycle accidents occur in urban areas.  When passing parked cars, watch for car doors that might open suddenly.  The best practice is to pass far enough away from parked cars (approximately 4 feet) to avoid being hit by an opening door.
  10. Don’t wear headphones when you ride.  You need to be able to hear motorists as they approach.
  11. When passing a pedestrian or another bicyclist, give them an audible warning as you approach.  (For example, “On your left!”)

Motorists can help.  Give cyclists room when passing.  When pulling onto a roadway, look to the right and to the left.  Be aware that some bicyclists might be traveling against the flow of traffic.  When exiting your car, use the hand farthest from the door to open the door.  This technique is known as the Dutch Reach.  Doing so will cause your body to turn, making it easy for you to check your side-view mirror and look back for oncoming bicycles and vehicles.

 If you are injured in a bicycle accident involving a motorist, you may be able to bring a personal injury claim against the motorist.  Also, your automobile insurance policy might provide benefits when you are hit by a car while on your bicycle.  Finally, if you are injured due to a defect in the roadway, you may be able to bring a claim against the government entity or landowner responsible for maintaining the roadway.  It is important to preserve evidence of the dangerous condition on the roadway that caused you to crash.  Take photos, if possible.

Thanks to our friends from Tuttle Law, P.A., for their insight into bicycle accidents.

 

Driver Arrested in Kansas Crash that Killed Local Radio DJ

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WCH 12 News is reporting that a man has been arrested in connection with a car crash that took the life of Wichita radio personality Don Hall (https://www.kwch.com/content/news/One-killed-in-E-Wichita-crash-570035641.html).

In the early morning hours of Wednesday, April 29, 70-year-old Hall was driving east on Kellogg Drive in the City of Wichita. When the DJ turned from Kellogg onto Rock Road, he was hit by 43-year-old Ray Watkins, who was going south down Rock Road and ran a red light right before his vehicle collided with Hall’s. 

Shortly after the crash, police officers arrived at the scene at the intersections of Kellogg and Rock Roads. They found Hall pinned in his own vehicle. He was pulled out from the vehicle in critical condition, and he died on the scene.

Watkins only suffered minor injuries in connection with the crash, and he was arrested without any incident. Law enforcement officials say Watkins had been previously arrested and convicted of a charge of aggravated robbery.

According to police, Watkins had drugs and alcohol on his person and in his vehicle, and they believe these were factors in the deadly crash. The 43-year-old has since been charged with murder in the second degree in connection with Hall’s death.

Local police chief Gordon Ramsay issued a statement saying that Don Hall was a large part of the local community for years and will be missed. 

Wichita State University (WSU) also issued a similar statement in light of Hall’s passing. Hall began announcing the basketball games for WSU’s men’s team, the Shockers, in 1983. According to the university, in his 36 years as the announcer, Hall only missed two games. He also worked as a radio announcer for several local stations for 45 years and was on KEYN Radio prior to his untimely death.

Despite the national attention to the dangers of driving while impaired, people still continue to do so at an alarming rate. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that on average, around 30 people die each day in alcohol-related crashes in the US; that works out to one death at 50 minutes daily (https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving). While deaths stemming from alcohol-involved crashes have dropped by one-third in the last 30 years, over 10,000 lives are still claimed in this manner every single year.

People do not have to get incredibly intoxicated to cause accidents, either, although that is a common misconception. Just a blood alcohol level of .02 can result in a loss of judgment on a driver’s part and a decline in their ability to pay attention and track moving targets visually. Simply put, any type of drinking and driving do not mix well and can result in serious accidents, changing people’s lives forever in just seconds.

A drunk, reckless driver can cause serious injury to someone else, even taking a life, when they are involved in a car crash. If you’ve been injured in an accident with a reckless driver or have lost someone in such a crash, contact a car accident lawyer in Denver, CO about your case today.

Thanks to Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into personal injury claims and DUI car accidents.

Negligent Doctors Can Cause Birth Injuries in Mother and Child

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The line between medical malpractice and birth injuries can blur together if a doctor acts negligently when tending to a mother giving birth. A doctor must always uphold a certain standard of medical care as a requirement of those practicing in the medical field. When a doctor is negligent during delivery, it can potentially cause severe harm to mother and child.

What should have been a day of joy and celebration may turn into a nightmare and anguish upon realizing that your newborn isn’t perfectly healthy, and that a doctor or medical staff may have contributed to it occurring in the first place.

If you believe that your doctor was careless, ignored symptoms, failed to properly monitor you, or something else during labor and delivery, then it may be time to consult with a legal professional about what you can do to seek justice for what happened. 

 

Common Examples of Negligence

Delivery can be a very complex and emotional time for a mother and her baby. With such an intense thing to go through, it is important that medical staff are prompt in identifying and treating any issues that arise along the way. If they don’t, then the mother and baby may succumb to injuries or fatality. The most common examples of negligence and child birth include:

 

  • Failing to notify parents of an infant’s abnormality before birth
  • Failing to diagnose an illness or issue, or identifying the problem too late
  • Failing to use birth-assisting tools in a safe manner
  • Failing to perform a C-section when needed
  • Not identifying when the fetus is in distress and treating it promptly
  • Not preventing or adequately controlling hemorrhaging 
  • Not diagnosing the mother with maternal diabetes and treating accordingly
  • Failing to monitor oxygen level of fetus

 

Failure or Delayed Diagnosis

Doctors may fail to diagnose a condition in the mother entirely, diagnose her with the wrong condition, or diagnose her too late, which then can lead to serious injury. Such conditions may include the mother having high blood pressure, diabetes, or another illness that affects the labor and delivery process, potentially resulting in the newborn getting hurt too. Examples of other conditions that a doctor may delay in identifying or fail to diagnose are listed below: 

 

  • Maternal infections
  • Preeclampsia
  • Prolapsed umbilical cord
  • Uterine rupture
  • rH incompatibility
  • Anemia
  • Placenta previa
  • Placental abruption

 

Wrongful Pregnancy

It is also possible that a woman gave birth to a baby, but had taken steps to not procreate. Wrongful pregnancy is when a woman gets pregnant despite using methods to not have a baby, such as sterilization or an abortion. Even if the baby is born completely healthy, the parents can still sue the doctor or medical facility for wrongful pregnancy. That is, if the doctor who performed the sterilization, abortion, or other procedure had not done it properly, which led to the pregnancy. 

 

If you are a mother who endured a birth injury or wrongful pregnancy, then it is recommended that you schedule a consultation with an attorney, like a medical malpractice lawyer from Philadelphia, PA, who is experienced in medical malpractice cases as soon as possible. 

 

Thank you to the experts at the Wieand Law Firm for their input into medical malpractice and the law.

 

What a Nursing Home Lawsuit Might Entail

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If you are headed into the ordeal of a nursing home lawsuit, you might be apprehensive because you don’t know what to expect. Speaking with your attorney is a great way to obtain more information so you can be prepared for what’s next, but the following are some steps your lawsuit might entail.

The Investigation

After you lawyer takes on the case, he or she will begin to conduct an investigation into what happened to your loved one in the nursing home. In many cases, the misconduct is due to medical malpractice, and the lawyer can determine if that is so with your case. It could take some time for the investigation to conclude, as the lawyer’s team will collect health records, witness statements, physician statements and more.

The Notice of Claim

Before you can file the lawsuit, your lawyer will help you put together a Notice of Claim. The NOC will go to any potential defendants and will notify each that you plan to file a lawsuit. You generally have to get this done at least 60 days before filing.

The Negotiations

It’s possible you can avoid going to court by settling the case through negotiations and mediation. It could take some time for you and the negligent party to settle on something that you both feel is fair, but doing it this way could reduce costs, and could also reduce the amount of time spent at trial. The other party could reject everything offered, which could make negotiations hard or impossible, and in that case, a mediator might step in.

If your case goes to mediation, that party is basically trying to help you settle outside of court, as a last-ditch effort. If the mediator can get both parties to come to an agreement, the lawsuit will be settled. If not, you’ll move ahead to court.

The Trial

In a nursing home negligence trial, there may be witnesses that come forth to present the case before a judge and/or a jury. Trials could take quite a bit of time, but it could conclude in just a day or two as well. The jury or judge will make a verdict at the end of the trial, and that will be the final settlement.

The Timeline

This whole process could take anywhere from 18 months to a few years, depending on the complexity of the case and how cooperative each side is during negotiations. If other victims come forward, it could also complicate the case, making it possibly take longer.

What to Do Today

If your loved one has been suffering due to negligence in a nursing home, it’s time to take action and get your loved one out of there. Contact your nursing home lawyer, like a nursing home abuse lawyer in Tucson, AZ, today to learn what you should do next.

 

Thank you to the experts at Rispoli Law, PLLC, for their input into nursing home abuse law.

 

Why You Should Hire an Estate Planning Lawyer

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Why You Should Hire an Estate Planning Lawyer

 

By now, you are probably aware of the importance of having a solid will in place. A will ensures your family is taken care of and your final wishes are carried out. However, you may wonder if you should draft the will yourself or hire an experienced estate planning lawyer to do it for you. While drafting your will is certainly the cheaper option, it may not be the best option. Here are a few good reasons to hire an experienced estate planning lawyer.

 

States Laws Are Very Specific

What you can or can’t include in your will depends on the state you live in. Different states have different rules about estate plans. If you don’t have a background in estate planning, you might not be aware of all the rules in your state. This can cause you to make a mistake that could render your will invalid. That’s one of the reasons working with an experienced estate planning lawyer, like an estate planning lawyer in Sacramento, CA, is so important. He or she will know about all the estate planning laws in your state and help you avoid mistakes.

 

Estate Planning Lawyers Can Handle Complex Situations

If you have a complicated family or financial situation, you have yet another reason to hire an estate planning lawyer. Complex situations may include owning a business, being in a second marriage, having minor children, owning substantial assets, and having real estate in more than one state. An experienced estate planning lawyer can help you sort your situation and look out for your best interests.

 

You’ll Save Time and Energy

Wills are complex legal documents that take a lot of time to prepare. If you don’t have a background in estate planning, it may take you even longer to draft the will yourself, leading to stress and frustration. You may have to take valuable time away from your responsibilities at home to write the will. On the other hand, if you hire an experienced estate planning lawyer, he or she can draft a will for you and save you a lot of time.

 

Estate Planning Lawyers Offer Objectivity

An estate planning lawyer can also bring a voice of reason to your estate plan. For example, if you’re thinking about leaving your entire estate to your 18-year-old son, your lawyer may advise you to rethink your decision. He or she can offer you unbiased advice and look out for your best interests.

 

If you’re ready to draft a will, schedule a consultation with a reputable estate planning lawyer.

 

Thanks to Yee Law Group, PC for their insight into why you should hire an estate planning lawyer. 

How a DUI Can Affect Your Divorce and Child Custody

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If you’re going through a divorce and child custody battle, you’re already going through a lot of stress. Getting charged with a DUI can make a tough situation like this even more complicated. If you’re in this situation, it’s in your best interest to consult with a divorce lawyer and DUI lawyer.

Here are some of the different ways a divorce can affect your divorce and child custody.

More Financial Expenses

Going through a divorce and child custody battle is expensive enough as it is. When you have a DUI charge on top of that, you have even more financial expenses to worry about. Court fees, fines and hiring a DUI lawyer can easily cost thousands of dollars. If there are injuries or property damage that resulted from your DUI, you will have even more expenses to worry about.

Increased Emotional Stress

It’s no secret that divorce proceedings can lead to a great deal of emotional stress. You’re upset about your family breaking apart and are unsure of what your life will be like afterward. If you’re charged with a DUI during the process, you can expect to experience even more emotional stress. Your spouse will likely become angry and disappointed, increasing the tension between the two of you. You may also worry about all the legal fees you have to pay and if you’ll have a permanent criminal record or not.

You May Deemed an Unfit Parent

If you’re currently going through a child custody battle, a DUI charge won’t look good to a judge. Even if your children weren’t in the vehicle when you were arrested, the judge may feel like you make poor decisions and you’re not a good influence on your children. He or she may decide to award custody to the other parent.

Revoked Driving Privileges

The judge may likely suspend your driver’s license for a while, even if this is your first DUI. If you can’t drive, you will have a more difficult time picking up your children and spending time with them. The court will consider your ability to meet the daily needs of your children as an important factor in determining child custody.

Hiring a DUI Lawyer

If you were recently charged with a DUI, you likely feel scared and overwhelmed. It’s important to speak to a reputable DUI lawyer in Fairfax, VA about your case as soon as possible. He or she can build you a strong defense and increase your chances of a positive outcome.

Thanks to May Law, LLP for their insight into criminal law and how a DUI can affect child custody.

Three Things Not to Do at A DUI Checkpoint

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Colorado’s state constitution upholds that checkpoints for DUI are legal in the state. Because of this, DUI checkpoints are commonly used to help catch people driving under the influence and for the ticket and penalty revenues that often result, particularly in high-traffic times during the holiday periods.

If you are ever at a DUI checkpoint, there are some things you should never attempt to do. Should you make a mistake at a checkpoint and need legal help, remember to contact a DUI lawyer, like a DUI lawyer in Denver, CO, as soon as you can for assistance.

Do Not Break Any Traffic Laws

While you are allowed by law to turn around to avoid a DUI checkpoint you see up ahead, you can never break driving rules to do so. The police will be watching for vehicles that are trying to avoid the checkpoint, so any breach of the road rules will result in you being pulled over and possibly charged with whatever the violation was, even if you are not driving under the influence. Things such as illegal U-turns will only land you in potential hot water.

Do Not Tell Law Enforcement Officers What You Drank

At a DUI checkpoint, one very common question law enforcement officers ask is how many drinks you had that night. The very best answer to this particular question is no answer to begin with. Here, the officers are looking for a reason to stop you at the checkpoint, and if you admit you had even a drop of alcohol, you’re probably going to be asked to pull over for even more questioning. However, if you don’t provide a real answer, they have no immediate reason to have you pull over and no statement to use against you later in court during a DUI case.

Do Not Complain about the Checkpoint or Backtalk the Officer

If you are rude in any way to a law enforcement officer at a DUI checkpoint or you complain about how inconvenient it is, you’re probably going to run into trouble. Always be courteous with and polite to any law enforcement officer you interact with, even when that officer does not act the same way with you. Any time you are rude or disrespectful to a law enforcement officer, you will draw attention to yourself, and this negative attention can result in an arrest or citation. Overall, you have to stay civil and be polite regardless of the circumstances.

Keep in mind that if you feel an officer has crossed a line, you can take action later. Note the officer’s badge number if you can —or their name, at the very least— and let an attorney know about what happened. They will advise you on the next steps to take to address the officer and what happened.

If you find yourself in hot water after a DUI checkpoint, remember that you still have rights. Speak to a DUI lawyer in Denver, CO about what happened as soon as you can so they can work on defending you and your right to drive.

Thanks to the Law Office of Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into what not to do at a DUI checkpoint.

Survival Action vs. Wrongful Death Claims

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Survival Action vs. Wrongful Death Claims

The death of a loved one can bring inconsolable pain and sadness to all family and friends. If you believe the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s passing are based on intent or negligence from another person or organization, you could file a legal claim for financial and emotional compensation. There are two common claims for these cases that are statutory under state laws: wrongful death and survival action.

What Is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death claims are focused on the family of the deceased and are commonly governed by three common issues:

  • Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit? These lawsuits can only be filed by a personal representative of the estate. This is usually the closest surviving relative but can be anyone appointed by the family. 
  • How does someone get appointed to represent the estate? Generally, the family appoints a trusted member to represent the estate. However, if the family cannot come to an agreement, or there was no will left by the deceased; then the dispute must go to court.
  • What damages are awarded in a wrongful death case? Generally, wrongful death damages are financial support for all beneficiaries. These beneficiaries usually include the spouse, children, close relatives and any other people the deceased financially supported. If a family member can prove the deceased supported them financially, they will receive loss of support for several years. 

What Is Survival Action?

Survival action lawsuits are essentially personal injury claims after death. These claims, usually begun before death, can be settled on behalf of the deceased. For example, if someone received an injury due to medical malpractice, they could immediately file a personal injury claim. If they died three days later from the malpractice, the case would still continue under a representative for the estate. Like wrongful death damages, survival action claims usually receive financial support; however, the proceeds pass through the estate first to pay off any debts or mortgages. Anything left is then given to the family.

Who Is Liable?

Since most survival action cases begin as personal injury cases, a wrongful death case can usually be filed at the same time. Since the facts of the case and the liability are identical, many courts chose to combine the two. In either case, an attorney must prove that the death was caused by intent or neglect by someone who had “duty of care.” A few individuals that could be held liable for wrongful death or survival action include:

  • Drunk drivers
  • Doctors who commit malpractice 
  • Neglectful nursing staff
  • Faulty product manufacturers

In both cases, the liable party must be determined. This could be a very complex process and it’s recommended that you have an attorney, like an injury law firm in Indianapolis, IN, on your side. If you have lost a loved one due to intent or negligence, filing for wrongful death or survival action could help offer closure and support during a very difficult time.

Thank you to the experts at Ward & Ward Law Firm, for their insight into personal injury law.

What Type of Damages Can You Expect in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

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You never know when the unexpected will happen. A phone call may result in the bad news that your spouse was killed in a work accident. Once it all sinks you, it may seem like an immeasurable pit of despair from which to climb out.

There are many things you have to worry about in the wake of a loved one’s accidental death. One of these things is money. Will you have enough to continue giving your children the kind of life they’re used to? Will you be able to stay in the same house or will you have to move in with family? A wrongful death lawsuit may be able to help you recover financially if you prevail. Take a look at some of the types of damages you may recover if the court says the defendant was responsible for your spouse’s untimely death.

Financial Impact
Once the court rules in your favor, the damages phase begins. During this time, you have the chance to submit tangible evidence of the economic impact your spouse’s death took and will continue to take on your family. The court may award you the money to cover things such as:

  • Medical expenses associated with the accident
  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of income now and in the future
  • Loss of medical benefits

Emotional Impact
Losing someone you love takes a toll. When this person dies due to someone else’s negligent behavior, the emotional trauma may create an even greater strain on the body. These non-economic damages include your pain and suffering (and that of your children), the loss of safety your spouse provided and the loss of love and consortium your spouse provided. The financial compensation a judge awards these intangible expenses may vary based on a few factors. 

First, the judge may consider the injuries of the deceased and any suffering they may have experienced. Next, the age of the deceased comes into play. Finally, the court may look at the abject behavior of the negligent party in contributing to the death.

When the parties need to present their sides on how much the plaintiff should receive in damages, there may be expert testimony required. These people may weigh in on things like the projected lifetime earnings of the deceased or the emotional impact on children should the surviving spouse have to return to work after staying home for years.

State laws vary on limits and deadlines, so getting a wrongful death attorney in Minneapolis MN to represent your spouse’s estate may help in the long run.

Thanks to Johnston | Martineau PLLP, Attorneys at Law for their insight into wrongful death claims.  

Ikea Pays $46M Wrongful Death Settlement to Parents of Toddler Crushed by Recalled Dresser

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Product Injury LawyerThe Swedish furniture retailer Ikea has agreed to pay $46 million to the parents of a toddler who was crushed to death by a recalled dresser in May 2017.

The January 6, 2020 settlement resolves a wrongful death lawsuit from Joleen and Craig Dudek, whose son, Jozef, died after Ikea’s popular Malm dresser toppled on top of him in the family’s California home. In 2016, the company reached a $50 million settlement with the families of three other children who died in similar incidents involving the same model of dresser.

The family sued Ikea in state court in Pennsylvania, where the company’s North America headquarters is located, claiming that Ikea knew the dressers were prone to tipping over but failed to warn customers about the unstable design.

According to court documents, Jozef’s father found the boy pinned under the 70-pound dresser in May 2017, while checking on him during a daytime nap. Lawyers for the family said Jozef died later that day of asphyxia caused by compression of the neck.

Ikea began offering free wall-anchoring kits shortly before it recalled the Malm dressers in June 2016, but plaintiffs’ attorneys said the company had not done enough to notify customers who purchased older versions of the furniture before the recall. The Dudeks, who live in Buena Park, California, bought their dresser in 2008 and said they were never alerted about the recall, the lawyers said.

Jozef’s death was believed to be the only one to occur after the Malm’s recall in 2016.

According to the lawsuit, Ikea was aware of the Malm dresser’s defects but never made any changes and continued to sell the model, despite knowing about safer alternative designs that could have prevented it from tipping over.

“Despite actual knowledge of the risk of serious injury or death associated with Ikea furniture, including the Malm line, that failed to meet minimum stability requirements for tip-over prevention, and actual knowledge that most consumers do not secure chests and dressers to a wall, the Ikea defendants chose to market and sell the Malm line in reckless and wanton disregard of the safety of consumers and their children,” the suit said. 

An Ikea spokeswoman confirmed the wrongful death settlement in a statement, saying the company had taken steps to raise awareness about potential tip-overs, including required safety training for employees.

“While no settlement can alter the tragic events that brought us here, for the sake of the family and all involved, we’re grateful that this litigation has reached a resolution,” the spokeswoman said. “We remain committed to working proactively and collaboratively to address this very important home safety issue. Again, we offer our deepest condolences.” 

Thanks to our friends from Murphy & Landon for their insight into personal injury lawsuits.