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Archive for January, 2014

Low Impact Injuries

Posted on: January 31st, 2014 by Joe Cunnane

car-accident-620x465Low impact auto accidents are generally incidents that take place at speeds less than 10 miles per hour. These types of collisions usually cause the least amount of damage to the vehicles involved. Victims of low impact auto accidents often resist seeking medical attention because they may not initially feel the impact of the accident. Even with this type of low impact accident, soft tissue injuries may still occur.

One client of mine did not initially seek medical attention; however a few days later she began having severe neck and back pain, and headaches. Eventually the pain got so bad that she finally went to her family doctor. The doctor recommended testing and physical therapy. Tests uncovered that she had suffered a serious back injury. The insurance company told her they would only pay for a small portion of the medical expenses plus a few thousand dollars for her pain and suffering. The insurance adjusters had made this response as a result of the minimal damage to her vehicle.

Fortunately my client did not sign anything right away, but instead consulted with me about the case. We were able to settle the case to her satisfaction by taking the best course of action after analyzing all of the facts and evidence.

The Cunnane Law Office has provided this content for informational purposes only.  You should refer your questions to a personal injury attorney.


Dealing with Road Distractions

Posted on: January 29th, 2014 by Joe Cunnane

Kitchen-Talks-Eating-on-the-GoDo you multitask while driving? Multitasking can cause you to look away from the road, not pay attention to your speed and potentially cause a collision. Multitasking might include chatting with friends, changing music or eating while driving. The following are distractions you may encounter in day to day driving and methods to deal with them effectively.

Talking with Passengers – All of us enjoy a good conversation while driving, however chatting while driving can become a distraction when it involves teasing, back-seat drivers or kids fighting and screaming or even kicking the back of the seat. If you are dealing with adults, it is okay to tell them to be quiet while you are behind the wheel. For children, you will need to change their behavior through rewarding good behavior.  You can award them with good behavior points that add up to a prize such as a sticker. Be specific about what good behavior means such as wearing their seatbelts, not yelling and no hitting.

Music Scrolling – There’s nothing like playing your favorite song on a road trip, but the time it takes for you to look away from the road to change the radio station or change out a CD is enough time for an accident to happen. To prevent this, program your favorite stations into the presets so that you don’t have to “seek” or “tune” them. If you have an iPod or CD changer, program a playlist of your favorite tunes so that you are not scrolling through them as you drive. If you have a passenger, you can assign them as DJ for the trip.

Eating on the Go – Sometimes we just don’t have enough time to sit down for a meal so we grab and go. But there’s always that defining moment when you spill your drink or get catsup on a white shirt and all of a sudden you’re more focused on what’s happening inside the vehicle instead of what’s happing in front of it. Resist the urge to snack and wait until you are parked before digging in to avoid a recipe for disaster.

The Cunnane Law Office has provided this content for informational purposes only.  You should refer your questions to a personal injury attorney.

Finding all The Facts

Posted on: January 24th, 2014 by Joe Cunnane

Personal injury cases are almost never straight forward. There could be hidden facts surrounding your case that may help or hinder it. The following is a list of five key factors that can ultimately impact the value of your case:

1. Economic Damages – These damages include a loss of income, medical expenses and property damage. Additionally, resulting disabilities could mean lost money over the course of a person’s lifetime due to missed days of work or missed promotions.

2. Non-Economic Damages – These damages include physical disfigurement, future medical expenses, and pain and suffering. Chronic pain that results from a collision may affect quality of life, causing physical limitations or impact a marriage due to loss of physical intimacy or a change in mental state.

3. Location – The venue of your case is determined by where the accident occurs. Some counties might be more sympathetic to personal injury cases than others.

4. Insurance Coverage – The amount an injured victim receives is determined by the coverage the other person has on their vehicle at the time of the accident. If they do not have coverage or carry the bare minimum in coverage then you might need to turn to your own insurance company for help. This falls under the “Under Insured Motorist” coverage.

Male and Female Professional Attire5. Courtroom Appearance – How you appear in court can make a significant impact on the final outcome of your case. On your court day dress professionally. For men this means wearing a dark suit and tie, or a button-down shirt and dress slacks with polished shoes. For women this means a professional business suit, a dark colored skirt that is not too short or tight with a buttoned-down blouse, or a dress with low heels. Appearance doesn’t only mean how you dress, it also means showered and clean shaven. Remember to also be polite and show respect responding with “yes sir” or “yes mam.”

The Cunnane Law Office has provided this content for informational purposes only.  You should refer your questions to a personal injury attorney.


Which is Worse, Drunk Driving or Texting While Driving?

Posted on: January 21st, 2014 by Joe Cunnane

Don't be stupidIn 2011, at least 23% of auto collisions involved cell phones. That amounted to 1.3 million crashes. This number is now up to 1.6 million annually. Additionally, texting and driving is the number one killer of teens, amounting to 3,000 teens per year as reported by CBS. The National Highway Transportation Safety Admin actually said it is the same as driving after four beers. So what is it about texting that makes it so dangerous?

The minimum amount of time your attention is taken away from the road while texting is only five seconds, however if you are driving at 55 miles per hour that can equal the length of a football field. What does that mean? If the person in front of you happens to brake then you might rear-end them, or your multitasking hands might cause you to swerve the wheal out of your lane. Matter of fact, teens who text spend 10% of their driving time swerving out of their lane.

So what is being done about it? Washington State prohibits the use of cell phones while driving. This includes texting. What this means is that not  only can texting while driving cause a collision, but it also amounts to fines if you are caught doing it.

One controversial solution could be a phone app that restricts texts and calls from coming in when it detects the phone is in a moving car. The drawback to this would be restricting passengers from answering calls as well.

To find out more about texting and driving, visit:

The Cunnane Law Office has provided this content for informational purposes only.  You should refer your questions to a personal injury attorney.

Who is At Fault and Why it Matters

Posted on: January 17th, 2014 by Joe Cunnane


Collecting physical evidence from the scene of a collision is critical in helping to determine what percentage each party is at fault. Why does this matter? The amount awarded to an injured victim is directly determined by how much each person contributed to the accident.

An insurance adjuster can either deny or reduce a percentage of your claim if they can prove with physical evidence or by witness statements that you partially caused the collision. For example, if it is found that a person was texting while driving then they would be at fault for causing the collision.

Not every accident is straight forward with all the facts clearly laid out. In order for the victim to receive a settlement they will need to prove:

1. The other person was at fault.
2. An injury has been suffered.
3. The injuries have caused a loss of quality of life.

It is a huge undertaking to calculate an exact dollar value without knowing all of the facts that surround a case. That is why it is important for you to consult with an attorney who has experience in handling these types of cases.

The Cunnane Law Office has provided this content for informational purposes only.  You should refer your questions to a personal injury attorney.


How is My Personal Injury Case Valued?

Posted on: January 15th, 2014 by Joe Cunnane

moneyIn the first stages of claim negotiations, the insurance adjuster calculates the total medical expenses related to the injury. These medical expenses are called “special damages”. Once this figure is established the adjuster can determine how much to offer the injured person for pain, suffering, and other nonmonetary losses.

The amount established for special damages is then multiplied by 1.5 or 2 if the injuries are minor. If, however the accident injuries have impacted the victims ability to function normally, then the adjuster will multiply the amount of “special damages” by a factor of 5, or as high as 10 in extreme cases.

Loss of income as a result of the injuries is then calculated. This amount is based on previous earnings and the estimated amount of time the victim will be out of work.

To recap, the insurance adjuster adds up the total sum of medical expenses and then multiplies it by 1.5 to 5, and then adds in loss of income. This initial number represents the baseline from which negotiations may start.

The Cunnane Law Office has provided this content for informational purposes only.  You should refer your questions to a personal injury attorney.

How do I Know if my Case Qualifies as a Personal Injury Case?

Posted on: January 9th, 2014 by Joe Cunnane

In order for a victim to receive compensation there are three specific requirements that must be met by law:

auto-injury1. Being able to prove that another person was at-fault (negligent) for causing an event that led to injuries.

2. The victim must be able to prove with “evidence” that they have actually suffered an injury as a direct result of someone else’s carelessness.

3. An accident victim must be able to prove the loss of quality of life as a result of the injury. This can be a complex issue to prove because everyone responds differently to pain.

Personal injury attorneys representing injured victims of any motor vehicle collision must make sure that the above criteria is met before filing a lawsuit. A lack of evidence in the requirements can make it impossible for you to successfully resolve your claim. Talk to a qualified attorney to determine if there is substantial evidence to pursue your personal injury case.

The Cunnane Law Office has provided this content for informational purposes only.  You should refer your questions to a personal injury attorney.

How much is the case worth?

Posted on: January 8th, 2014 by Joe Cunnane

brief-case-of-moneyWhen an insurance company makes an offer it is natural for the injured victim or family members to want to know the value of their case.  Unfortunately, determining a firm financial figure can be difficult in the initial stages following the accident. In order to establish the case worth you need to know all of the damages you are entitled to.

The following is a list of damages the insurance company for the at-fault party will compensate an injured victim for:

•             Property damage

•             Permanent disfigurement and physical disabilities

•             Loss of income due to the accident

•             Medical expenses

•             Loss of educational opportunity, including missed days from school or training.

•             Emotional damages would include depression, embarrassment, stress, or anxiety disorder.

•             Strain on family relationships, for example, inability to take care of children or elderly parents, or unable to have sexual relations due to the injuries. (The spouse of a married accident victim has a claim for the impact that the accident has on the marriage).

There are many variables to account for before a dollar amount can be determined by any attorney. If you believe you are entitled to compensation for damages due to an accident then talk with a lawyer specializing in personal injury law.


The Cunnane Law Office has provided this content for informational purposes only.  You should refer your questions to a personal injury attorney.

The Check List

Posted on: January 4th, 2014 by Joe Cunnane

The following eleven point check list has been designed to help you evaluate  the aptitude and ability of the personal injury lawyer you are thinking of hiring. If you are unsure who to hire meet with multiple lawyers and then compare notes.


 Attorney/Firm Information

Name of the Law Firm: ________________________________________

Name of attorney being reviewed: _______________________________

Address: ____________________________________________________

City: _____________________________________ Zip Code:  _________

Phone Number: ______________________________________________

E-mail address:  ______________________________________________


Eleven Point Check List:

1. Who Will Be Handling My Case?

___  You

___   An Associate

___   Paralegal

___   Someone I Have Never Met


2. Amount of Experience:

___  Extremely Seasoned (15+ Years)

___   Well Established (11-15 Years)

___   Outstanding (6-10 Years)

___   Good (3-5 Years)

___   New (1-2 Years)


3. Type of Law Practiced:

___   Exclusively Handles Personal Injury Work

___   General Practice That Includes:

___   Divorce

___   Real-estate

___   Bankruptcy

___   DUI

___   Criminal Defense

___   Other: _____________________________

___   Occasionally Handles Personal Injury Cases

4. How Will You Inform Me Of My Case?

By Letter E-mail Phone Call How Often? _________________________

Can I Call You? Yes No When? _________________________________

Will I Be Able To Meet With You? Yes No How Often? ______________

When Will You Contact My Doctor For Medical Records? ____/___/___


5. Have You Handled Other Cases That Are Similar To Mine?


Yes What Kinds Of Results Did You Have? ______________________

No How Would You Handle My Case? _________________________


6. Have You Taken Cases To Trial?

Yes / No

If Yes, What Results Did You Have? ____________________________


7. Client Comments:

___   Clients Rave About the Attorney and Law Firm.

___   Testimonials Are Not Readily Available.


8. The Lawyers Ability To Answer My Concerns:

___   I Felt Reassured During The Initial Consultation.

___   I Was Completely Lost During The Consultation.


9. Listening Skills:

___   The Attorney Seemed Very Compassionate Towards My Case And Put Me At Ease.

___   The Attorney Seemed Uncaring And Was Quick To Rush Me Out The Door.


10. How Was I Treated By The Support Staff (Front Desk Receptionist, Associates, Paralegals, and Assistants):

___   The Support Staff Was Kind, Courteous, and Friendly.

___   The Support Staff Was Indifferent Towards Me.


11. How Did I Feel After The Initial Consultation:

___   I Felt Confident That I Was In Good Hands.

___   I Left The Office Feeling Overwhelmed And Totally Confused.

Finding the Right Lawyer for Your Unique Case

Posted on: January 2nd, 2014 by Joe Cunnane

SuccessThe more informed you are, the better off you will be when it comes to hiring a lawyer for your case. The following are some questions to ask yourself when meeting with a potential lawyer to help you evaluate the level of services they are providing you with.

1. Personal Attention:  Does your attorney provide personal “one-to-one” attention or do they pass the file off to a junior associate or paralegal?

2. Experience:  A developed high level of skill requires at least 10 years of experience. How many years of experience does your personal injury lawyer have?

3. Compassion:  A lawyer needs to understand what you and your family are going through emotionally, financially and physically. When an injured client walks into the office for the first time, does your lawyer listen and speak with compassion?

4. Excellence: Does your lawyer always act in the best interest of the client and their families?

5. Passion:  Do you feel that your lawyer is passionate about helping you or is their job just a way to pay the bills? You can hear it in their voice and see it in their eyes, this passion transmits to the judge and the jury when your case goes to trial.

6. Understanding:  Does your attorney have a sound understanding of various medical conditions and their relationship to physical trauma? This type of understanding will allow the attorney to effectively communicate with the judge, jury and insurance company.

7. Specialization:  What area of law does your attorney specialize in? Always hire a lawyer who specializes in the area of law you seek because that is his or her strength.

8. The Extra Mile: Has your lawyer given you a 100% guarantee that he or she will win your case? If so, you better run. The only guarantee in complex legal issues is that a lawyer is willing to leave no stone unturned in the fight to win a case.

9. Well Informed:  Has your attorney explained their contract and legal fees making sure that you understand  everything right up front? Never sign a legal document that you don’t understand.

10. Past Success:  Can your attorney provide you with client testimonials?

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