Personal Injury Attorneys for Nursing Home Negligence

If you or a loved one has sustained an injury at a nursing home – whether it is medical malpractice, a slip and fall accident, or physical abuse – you have legal rights which must be aggressively protected. The experienced attorneys at the Fite Law Group offer the personalized service and legal expertise you need during this difficult time.

Recent Arizona Lawsuits Against Nursing Homes and Medical Care Facilities

  • Frank Baldwin Senior (an eighty-four-year-old father of six) was moved into Canyon Valley Memory Care Residence after showing symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease. Within sixteen days, Mr. Baldwin had lost fourteen pounds. He was found unconscious, malnourished, and dehydrated. A lawsuit filed by his widow alleges that he had not been given food or water for a week. The facility claims that Mrs. Baldwin’s lawsuit is barred by an arbitration agreement she does not remember signing.

 

  • Zora Fishik, a ninety-two-year-old resident of Devon Gables Health Care Center in Tucson, was found ill in her bed one cold November morning. When paramedics arrived, they noted that the window was open – despite the fact that it was thirty-three degrees outside. Ms. Fishik was unable to get out of bed herself or close her window. Paramedics reported her body temperature was a dangerously low eight-five degrees when they arrived. Ms. Fishik died the next day from complications of hypothermia.

 

  • Donald Hansen was living at the Amber Lights assisted living facility in Tucson when he was suddenly moved into the home of one of his nursing assistants, Tinna Kay Lujan. Hansen called the facility to tell them that he was okay, but Lujan could be heard coaching him in the background. Amber Lights immediately contacted the Pima County Sheriff’’s Department. The Sheriff’s Department found Hansen in Lujan’s home – dehydrated and suffering from an infection.

 

Your Legal Rights

Arizona statutes offer specific protections for the elderly, and these are enforced by the Attorney General’s Office. The law protects elderly victims from physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect and financial exploitation. It also imposes a duty to report upon medical workers, social workers, conservators and other financial professionals who come into contact with vulnerable adults.

Victims of elder abuse have both civil and criminal remedies under the law. Crime victims are entitled to certain rights under Arizona’s Victim’s Bill of Rights. Thus, if the perpetrator of elder abuse is charged criminally, the elderly victim (or his or her representative) can seek a criminal restitution order, or apply for compensation from the Victim’s Compensation Fund. Victims can also sue facilities or individual perpetrators civilly and receive compensation for negligence in that manner.

 

The Right Representation for You

At the Fite Law Group, we believe that elderly and vulnerable patients deserve every protection they are afforded under the law. Schedule your free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney to learn how we can help your family after a nursing home accident. Call (602) 368-1869 or email info@fitelaw.com, and one of our friendly, professional staff will contact you as soon as possible.

Be Safe on Your Motorcycle Trip!

Summer is the season of road trips. For motorcyclists, good weather means good opportunities to ride – especially outside of the Arizona heat! But increased traffic also increases your chances of being involved in a motorcycle accident. If you or a loved one is involved in a motorcycle accident, it is important to consult with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney who understands the unique needs of riders.

Summer is a dangerous time for motorcyclists in Arizona:

 What Can I Do to Stay Safe?

  • Always wear a helmet! Research consistently shows that helmets save lives, and that states with mandatory helmet laws consistently have fewer motorcycle fatalities that states without such laws. Wear a helmet, even when riding through states that do not require it.

 

  • Stay visible. Motorcycles are smaller than passenger vehicles, and this makes them more difficult to see – especially at night or in inclement weather. Use reflective clothing and proper signaling to help other drivers see you.

 

  • Don’t get distracted by technology. If your road trip is bringing you to an unfamiliar area, be sure to review your route ahead of time, so you aren’t distracted by navigation systems on the road. Motorcycle drivers must use greater physical control than drivers of cars or trucks. This makes smartphones and navigation systems even more dangerous to use for a motorcyclists.

 

  • Make sure you have the proper skills and experience before you hit the road. There is a reason one must obtain a separate motorcycle operator’s license. This is only the first step, however. Continue logging hours on a variety of roads. Continue taking courses and learning about your motorcycle.

 

  • Slow down! Speed is a factor in many motorcycle accidents. The best way to avoid a collision is to allow enough time to react to obstructions, traffic, and other road conditions.

 

 

  • Participating in organizations such as the Arizona Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Foundation can help you stay up to date on current motorcycle safety practices. Increasing public awareness is also important, both to increase safety practices in other riders, and to make other drivers aware of motorcycles on the road.

 

Contact Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident, it is important to seek advice from an experienced attorney who is familiar with motorcycle accident cases. Schedule your free consultation with the Fite Law Group by calling (602) 368-1869, or sending an email to info@fitelaw.com. Our attorneys have the experience and skill necessary to address the unique needs of motorcycle riders, and our staff offers the personalized attention necessary to get the compensation you deserve.

 

Recommended Arizona Car Insurance Coverages

Car insurance coverages vary in Arizona depending on how much you want to pay, but there are specific minimum coverages required. These can cover property damage, uninsured motorist coverage, medical payments coverage and more.

In the event of an accident, $5,000 is the amount advised for medical payments coverage. If you were to pay more, the money would be reimbursable to the insurance company. You must be insured for liability in Arizona in the amounts of at least $15,000 per person, or $30,000 per crash.

Liability insurance is required to show “financial responsibility” that can stem from an accident. Financial responsibility is proving you can pay if you are involved in an accident where you are at fault. All that is needed is proof of having car insurance in the state. Otherwise, the DMV says you can be forced to pay $250 or have your license suspended for up to three months the first time you fail to show proof.

The property damage minimum is $10,000 in Arizona for car coverage in an auto accident. However, as most cars are worth much more than ten thousand dollars today, we recommend having $25,000 to $50,000.

If you have important and more expensive assets, it is recommended to have more coverage. This way, you are adequately protected. It is possible to obtain high limits, even at $500,000, as well as what is known as an umbrella policy. The umbrella policy is a term for having more insurance, or additional liability, and can be cheaper to have than you think.

You also need to have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, which can cover medical expenses and lost money when you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver or vehicle. Many people choose not to insure at a rate of up to 10.6% of drivers in Arizona as of 2012. The national average is higher at 12.6%, or about one out of every seven people. This average is steadily growing, so it is important to have your own insurance.

Ultimately, what kinds of coverage to have and the limits of that coverage are a personal decision based on your needs and the amount you can afford to pay for insurance.  Remember to shop around, check lots of different auto insurance companies and ask for rate quotes that include uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to see if it is affordable for you.

Sources:

https://www.azdot.gov/mvd/VehicleServices/insurance-information

http://www.dmv.org/insurance/uninsured-motorist-coverage.php

http://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/uninsured-motorists

https://www.geico.com/information/aboutinsurance/umbrella/

New caselaw regarding bail withholding

Simpson/Martinez v. Miller (State)

February 9, 2017. This case considered the constitutionality of a bail provision under Arizona law. Arizona state Constitution and laws forbid bail for defendants accused of sexual conduct with a minor under age 15 under certain circumstances where it is likely the defendant committed the crime. The  Arizona Supreme Court decided that the prohibitions are not narrowly focused to protect public safety, and are unconstitutional. To withhold bail, an individualized determination of dangerousness must be made. 

Read the case here.

Need a criminal defense lawyer?  We know good people.  Call us for a recommendation!  (602) 368-1869.

Celebrating 10 years of success

Take a sneak peek at our February newsletter honoring Fite Law Group’s 10th Anniversary.  To celebrate, Fite Law Group will make ten $250 donations to charities nominated by our clients, former clients and friends of the firm.  Reach out to us today with your recommendation:  charity@fitelaw.com

Newsletter

Changes to the Rules of Lawsuits

2017 has brought about some of the most sweeping changes to the way Arizona civil lawsuits are handled since the Zlaket rules were introduced. Some of the most significant changes were an attempt to make the process quicker and more efficient to account for all the new technology available to lawyers today.

Time to Serve Summons

Some of the changes are likely to be unpopular, such as the shortened time to serve the Summons which is now 90 days rather than the previous 120. This puts additional pressure on attorneys and process servers to get Defendants served when those Defendants might be dodging service, may be out of town or may have moved multiple times since their last known address.  Since service by publication takes a full 30 day cycle and getting publication started take a bit longer, the window to attempt in person service will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 75 days.

Substitution of Counsel

The rules also require lawyers in the same firm to file a formal Substitution of Counsel with the court if one lawyer takes over the case from another.  In the past, law firms would regularly add and delete lawyer’s names from the pleadings when an associate attorney started working on the case or left the firm.  This change is likely to both make it easier for judges to figure out whom to yell at if something goes sideways and also to generate a bit of revenue for the court system.  It will affect larger firms much more than it will affect Fite Law Group, as we don’t have the same kind of turnover.

Sanctions

Another rule change designed to force lawyers to play nicely with one another is the new requirements to file a Motion for Sanctions.  Such motions must now be separate from other pleadings – no more Motions that also request sanctions at the end.  They must also include certification of a good faith consultation, essentially asserting that you talked to the other guy and told him what he was doing was wrong and tried to figure out a way to fix the situation before you filed the motion.  Finally, and this is an important one, you must serve written notice on the other lawyer indicating the specific conduct that will support your request for sanctions 10 business days before you file the motion.  This last step will likely trip up a lot of uninformed lawyers.  It will give the offending party time to decide whether it’s worth it to continue the bad action or if they think the lawyer who intends to file is off his rocker.  It also gives a two week “cooling down” period to ensure that the Motion for Sanctions isn’t just a hothead response to something he or she didn’t like.

Proportional Discovery

Very important to smaller personal injury cases (car and pedestrian accidents, slip and falls, etc. with under $50,000 in monetary damages) is the change to the discovery rules.  Under the previous rules, the parties could engage in all of the discovery mechanisms available to them under the rules in every case (depositions, sending written interrogatories and requests for admission and production, issuing subpoenas and conducting medical exams).  The new rule says that discovery must be “proportional to the needs of the case.”  This is not clearly defined and there will likely be a lot of litigation over what is proportional, but it may be some relief to the chiropractors and doctors that have been deposed for four hours over a matter that involved soft tissue injuries and minor amounts of treatment and received only a $12 check for their time.

Other Changes

Among the other changes are shortened amounts of time to respond to discovery requests (30 days rather than 40), the requirement to “promptly” provide a privilege log when documents are not being produced and now the insurance companies are required to produce a copy of any applicable insurance policy rather than just disclosing policy limits and a change to the form of subpoenas.

We lawyers have a lot of learning to do this year and the curve is steep.  If you have questions about your case and whether litigation is right for you, call Fite Law Group at (602) 368-1869.

dressing for deposition

Dressing for Your Deposition

If you have taken the time to search the internet for “how to dress for a deposition”, then you are likely already half-way there to getting it right.

There are cultural and regional variations to this advice, of course. In the bible belt, a lawyer often tells his client to dress as though they are going to church. That may be good advice, but here in Arizona we have a lot of casual churches that accept golf shorts and jeans as acceptable attire. Continue reading “Dressing for Your Deposition”

teen driver

The New Driver’s Guide to Car Accidents

By: Hannah McVey

Did you know that car accidents are the number one cause of death among new drivers 16-19 years old? You can help change this statistic.

Although one person’s choices may seem small, that one person may wear off on someone around them and then that person may wear off on someone else and then you have suddenly stretched out to reach hundreds and thousands of people. Continue reading “The New Driver’s Guide to Car Accidents”

personal injury lawyer

What is a Personal Injury Lawyer?

What is Personal Injury?

Personal injury means injury to a person as opposed to injury to property.  It is a term that covers many kinds of injury from a ligament strain to a fatality.  It can be caused by a car or truck accident, falling down, a medical mistake or any other kind of incident in which you are injured.  Not every injury requires a lawyer, though.  Typically, a person who has been injured seeks out the services of a lawyer when he or she has been injured due to someone else’s wrongdoing. Continue reading “What is a Personal Injury Lawyer?”