You probably should hire a personal injury lawyer if you’ve been injured in an accident.  But exactly what does a personal injury lawyer do?

Personal injury lawyers handle a variety of injury cases. For example, your injuries might be from a car accident, motorcycle accident, vehicle accident, slip and fall, dog bite, medical negligence, or premises liability case involving fire, explosion, or falling objects. Personal injury lawyers will help you obtain fair compensation for your injuries when someone else is at fault.

The accident injury lawyers at Gage Mathers Law Group represent injury victims in several practice areas that fall under personal injury law. If another person or a company injured you, we encourage you to contact our team for a free consultation.

Skilled Lawyers Can Help You Recover Compensation In Most Personal Injury Cases

Whether you’re hurt in an auto accident, by a dog bite, or due to some other incident, quality personal injury attorneys will want you to focus on your health while they focus on protecting your legal rights. As you focus on your health and family, your personal injury attorney and legal team will focus on building your case. As we tell our clients, “Let us take that off your plate.”

While your personal injury case progresses, you can expect :

  • Your medical bills will pile up, and our team will communicate with the providers to help you avoid collections.
  • If you were involved in a car accident, we will deal with the insurance adjusters and their numerous requests.
  • There may have been witnesses to your injury incident, and we will track them down to help your claim.
  • If you were injured by a dog bite, we will find the dog’s owner and identify all potential avenues of recovery.
  • If you fell on someone’s property, we will work to secure evidence of what happened and why.
  • If you were injured on the job, we will help you find a workers’ compensation lawyer if you don’t have one and we will work with your carrier.

While you might be able to handle these and other issues on your own, you are much better off having experienced professionals handle them for you. In the immediate aftermath of an injury, your sole focus should be your health not dealing with insurance adjusters or tracking down witnesses. Your personal injury lawyer will do that for you so you are not bothered by stressful aspects of the legal world.

Personal Injury Attorneys Employ Successful Legal Strategies

A personal injury lawyer protects the legal rights of accident victims. To protect clients’ rights, the lawyer must know the relevant law. That sounds simple, but in Arizona, it requires the lawyer to keep up with developments in the law, including opinions from the Arizona Court of Appeals and the Arizona Supreme Court. Then, incorporating all this information, the personal injury lawyer must recognize and anticipate legal issues before they arise. Sometimes, this level of expertise only comes with experience. Most of the time, it requires the lawyer to have systems in place to ensure nothing is missed.

Good Personal Injury Lawyers and Their Clients Communicate Openly and Honestly

The success of any personal injury case depends on credibility. Your personal injury attorney cannot get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages if you are not forthcoming with information. A personal injury lawyer must know the ins and outs of your situation to show your claim is just. This includes any potential conduct on your part that contributed to your injury, pre-existing medical conditions, and anything a defense lawyer can dig up to make you look like a liar.

Your credibility comes down to your version of events and whether this matches documented facts. This is important because your lawyer must rely on documented evidence in Court, unless there is good reason to believe the evidence is false. The lawyer then combines your version of events and the evidence to develop a roadmap for your case. Your lawyer’s credibility, therefore, depends significantly on your recollections.

All this requires you and your attorney to communicate openly and honestly. Great personal injury lawyers will not only listen to you for however long it takes, but they will hear you. They will understand what you are saying regardless of how you say it, and they will ask appropriate clarifying and follow-up questions.

What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do to Establish a Successful Claim?

If your personal injury lawyer correctly works up and prepares your case as if it were going to trial, there is a good chance it might settle. Part of preparing for trial is conducting an investigation that leaves no stone unturned. Your personal injury attorney might hire experts to assist with the investigation, including a private investigator. Many private investigators are former law enforcement officers, military service members, or have legal experience.

A private investigator can help your legal team:

  • Track down and interview witnesses;
  • Obtain important photos and videos;
  • Gather police reports and related documentation of what happened;
  • Conduct surveillance;
  • Document key facts that might not be available from photos, videos, or reports; and
  • Investigate certain facts that might hurt your case.

Whether or not your legal team hires a private investigator to assist with their investigation, your personal injury attorney will use all information gathered to develop a strategy for winning. Admittedly, not all cases can be won. However, some of the best personal injury attorneys can win cases that others cannot. It is not a matter of trickery or deviousness. Instead, it is about understanding the facts, knowing the law, and combining the two into a winning narrative.

Many personal injury lawyers avoid claims where their clients have some fault for an accident or have underlying medical conditions that cause their injuries to heal slowly, such as diabetes or an autoimmune disease. The personal injury attorneys at Gage Mathers Law Group do not avoid these injury victims because they are just as deserving of justice.

Personal Injury Lawyers Will Let Everyone Know You Have A Lawyer

While an investigation is the first phase of a personal injury claim, one task that every personal injury attorney should complete is sending a letter of representation to the insurance companies and lien claimants. The letter of representation serves as formal notice that you are to be left alone and all case-related communications must go through your attorney. This is multi-purpose. First, it keeps you from having to deal with annoying adjusters and lien representatives. Second, it allows your personal injury attorney to track insurance communications, case information, and anything critical to your case. Third, it allows your personal injury attorney to control the flow of information.

This last point is part of a good strategy. Your personal injury attorney will:

  • Refuse the liability carriers’ requests to control the flow of information;
  • Arrange a written or recorded statement, if your attorney allows one;
  • Prepare you for your statement, making sure you understand the strategy of your case; and
  • Have additional conversations with the insurance adjusters or defense lawyers to explain why they should cover your medical bills and out-of-pocket expenses, as well as your pain and suffering now, rather than risk a trial.

Personal Injury Lawyers Will Negotiate Your Claim When The Time Is Right

If your attorney has done their job correctly, the at-fault party, their insurance company, or their defense lawyer will approach your attorney about a potential settlement. An important part of any personal injury claim is your damages. Your personal injury damages determine the value of your claim.

There are three types of personal injury damages: general, special, and punitive. Each type of damage is meant to compensate you for different types of “harms and losses.”

General Damages (Also Known as Non-Economic Damages) Are Not Easily Calculated

General damages compensate you for harms that cannot easily be calculated. There is no set dollar amount assigned to these damages. General damages may include compensation for:

  • Pain and suffering;
  • Discomfort, disability, disfigurement, and anxiety already experienced, and likely to be experienced in the future;
  • Loss of use of a body part or limb;
  • Loss of enjoyment of life;
  • Loss of love, care, affection, companionship; and
  • Wrongful death.

Special Damages (Also Known As Economic Damages) Offer Compensation For Financial Losses

Special damages compensate you for financial losses. These are easily calculated because they are associated with a specific dollar amount. Special damages  may include compensation for:

  • Medical expenses already incurred;
  • Future medical expenses that are likely to be incurred;
  • Lost earnings;
  • Any decrease in earning power or capacity in the future;
  • Out-of-pocket expenses incurred; and
  • Repair or replacement of personal property.

Punitive Damages Are Intended to Punish The At-Fault Party

Punitive damages do not compensate you; instead, punitive damages usually punish the at-fault party for either intending to cause injury, acting out of spite or ill will, or pursuing a course of conduct knowing that it created a substantial risk of significant harm to others. That said, there are two primary purposes for awarding punitive damages:

  • To punish the defendant for outrageous misconduct, and
  • To deter others from engaging in similar misconduct in the future.

What Are Some Situations Where Punitive Damages Might Be Available In A Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Punitive damages may be available in cases when people’s reckless conduct causes injury. Here are a few examples:

  • Driving while intoxicated or impaired;
  • Drag racing in a public location with pedestrians and other vehicles;
  • Setting fire to a home or business knowing people are inside; and
  • Boobytrapping a backyard gate knowing your neighbor’s kid might use the gate to get an errant ball.

Does My Personal Injury Case Have To Go To Trial?

National statistics show that personal injury attorneys settle 95% of the personal injury lawsuits they file. In fact, Arizona courts encourage settlement by requiring the parties to participate in private mediation, judicial settlement conferences, or arbitration before they will schedule a trial. In other words, attempting to settle cases is mandatory.

What Things Impact My Personal Injury Settlement?

There are many factors that come into play when negotiating a personal injury case. We’ve discussed many of them above, but one we did not address is insurance coverage. Before conducting any negotiations, your personal injury lawyer will have reviewed all available insurance coverage information including health insurance. Health insurance coverage is important because some health insurers are entitled to reimbursement from personal injury settlements, like Medicare, Medicaid, work-based health insurance, and military coverage. This information is also vital because it could prevent some health care providers from also trying to collect money from your personal injury settlement, called a provider lien or balance billing.

Reimbursement and subrogation are complicated issues that your lawyer should be able to explain. The only thing you need to know now is that your personal injury attorney is legally and ethically required to protect the rights of companies and medical providers who are entitled to reimbursement subrogation.

Once your personal injury attorney understands the world of insurance coverage applicable to your case, the attorney can conduct meaningful negotiations and be able to explain to you how much money you will walk away with after everyone is paid.

What Types of Cases Do Personal Injury Lawyers Handle?

Personal injury attorneys handle a variety of cases where someone else’s negligence causes injury. This includes:

  • Vehicle accidents (like car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, etc.)
  • Dog Bite
  • Slip & Fall or Trip & Fall Injuries
  • Construction Accidents
  • Premises Liability (like fire, explosion, workplace incidents, etc.)
  • Catastrophic injuries (like spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, etc.)
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Birth Injuries
  • Sexual Assault
  • Wrongful Death

How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost?

Many personal injury lawyers, including those at Gage Mathers Law Group, do not charge fees unless you collect compensation. In other words, you pay nothing upfront for the time and energy of your legal team. You should not have to pay any costs either. The only time you should have to pay your personal injury lawyer is if they obtain a settlement or judgment in your favor, then you would pay the lawyer a percentage of your compensation and reimburse them for their expenses incurred in pursuing your case. That is the benefit of a contingency fee–the lawyer takes all the risk and the injury victim has one less thing to worry about.

Typical personal injury contingent fees start at one-third (33-1/3%) of the total settlement or judgment; however, more complicated or risky cases, like medical malpractice and product liability cases, start at 40%. The contingency fee rate increases if the case requires a lawsuit or an appeal.

Again, if your personal injury attorney fails to get you any compensation, they get nothing.

Why Should I Choose Gage Mathers Law Group to Represent Me in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Gage Mathers Law Group is an award-winning firm known for its results. We win 99% of our cases and have recovered over $275 million for our clients. Clients love the results and really appreciate the personalized attention they receive. We provide large law firm results while maintaining a boutique feel. Every staff member is friendly, approachable, and compassionate.

Gage Mathers Law Group has successfully litigated and negotiated a wide variety of personal injury cases. Our reputation for results has led to involvement in high-profile cases, including those involving celebrities, prominent business owners, and large corporations. Lawyers and clients from around the world routinely contact our team to assist with their legal matters.

Gage Mathers Law Group has a track record of taking and winning cases that other attorneys viewed as unwinnable. We also use the best technology and investigative methods without losing sight of the human element of our work. Our team stays in touch with our clients throughout their case and picks up the phone whenever they call, or makes sure someone returns their call within a short period of time. We are here to address our client’s needs, concerns, hopes, and fears.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney For Help With Your Injury Lawsuit

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you need a personal injury law firm that’s willing to work hard for you. Gage Mathers Law Group is prepared to take on that challenge. Our personal injury lawyers have both the resources and experience to handle your case. Contact Gage Mathers Law Group to see how we can make your injury case less painful and more successful.

To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation, please call us at (602) 258-0646 or contact us online today.

Gage Mathers Law Group, PLLC

2525 E. Arizona Biltmore Cir #A114

Phoenix, AZ 85016

(602) 258-0646

insurance coverage

Car Accident Lawyer Phoenix Arizona Gage Mathers

You need at least enough car insurance coverage to protect yourself if you are in a car accident. Several factors determine your insurance needs. These factors include State minimum requirements, the value of your vehicle, the value of your assets, and how much insurance you can afford. There are different types of insurance coverage designed to cover various repercussions of a crash. Ultimately, you should ask yourself:

Are you sufficiently insured for a car accident?

Most States require car owners to maintain a minimum amount of liability car insurance. Arizona requires car owners to purchase insurance coverage that is at least $25,000 per person for bodily injury coverage, $50,000 per accident for bodily injury coverage, and $15,000 for property damage. However, minimum requirements may not be appropriate for you.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners provides its recommendations for buying automobile insurance.  One key component is understanding the different types of insurance coverage and not being fooled by the names given to them.  In Arizona, insurance options include:

  • Liability Coverage, which pays for bodily injury you cause. It does not apply to your injuries.
  • Uninsured Motorist Coverage, which pays for your bodily injuries if the person who caused the crash does not have insurance. There are a lot of people driving without insurance.
  • Underinsured Motorist Coverage, which pays for your bodily injuries if the person who caused the crash does not have sufficient insurance coverage to adequately compensate you. There are a lot of people driving with the bare minimum insurance, which is woefully insufficient in moderate to severe crashes.
  • Property Damage Coverage, which pays for damage you cause to other people’s property.
  • Collision Coverage, which pays for damage to your vehicle from a crash (e.g., car crash, hitting a highway barrier or utility pole).
  • Comprehensive coverage, which pays for damage to your vehicle from other non-crash causes (e.g., theft, fire, vandalism).
  • Medical Payment Coverage, which pays for medical expenses for anyone injured in a crash, including pedestrians. It will also pay for funeral expenses.
  • Rental Reimbursement Coverage, which pays for a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired from a crash.

Drivers who lease or finance their vehicles are usually required to buy collision and comprehensive insurance.

Recommended Insurance Coverage

Based on the sad stories we’ve seen over the years, we highly recommend people purchase all eight coverages.  This is the only way to ensure you have good protection if you are in a crash.  Great protection would be if you can afford to buy insurance with high limits.  Keep in mind that you can lower your insurance premium with a higher deductible, which is the amount you agree to pay out-of-pocket before your insurance company pays anything.

You should also buy gap coverage if you take out a loan to purchase your car.  With the rising costs of cars and interest rates, and minimal insurance coverage, we’ve seen crash victims who continue having to pay for a car that was totaled.

Heads Up

Brain Injury Awareness

Take care of your heart, and your heart will take care of you.  A piece by Bill Gifford in Men’s Health discusses How Your Heart Can Break.  As the 17th-century British physician William Harvey noted, “Every affection of the mind that is attended with either pain or pleasure, hope or fear, is the cause of an agitation whose influence extends to the heart.”

Your Heart is a Very Sensitive Organ

Your heart beats roughly 70 times a minute, 100,800 times a day, and 36,792,000 times a year.  That’s a lot of work.  Your habits, diet, emotional state, stress levels, and even your environment impact your heart.  “Most men are familiar with classic risk factors like blood pressure and cholesterol, but they tend to miss the mental, emotional, and even spiritual issues that relate to the heart,” says Dr. Mimi Guarneri.

Mr. Gifford’s piece does a great job of creating awareness about how the heart works.  The print version of the article takes it one step further.  It highlights the importance of watching your health.  For instance, diabetes is considered early-stage heart disease because chronically high blood sugar spurs inflammation that can weaken the heart.  For men, there are early warning signs of a future heart attack or stroke, like erectile dysfunction, which can be caused by atherosclerosis buildup in the small vessels leading to the penis.

Although heart disease may often be thought of as a problem for men, heart disease is the most common cause of death for both women and men in the United States.  Women are more likely than men to have heart attack symptoms unrelated to chest pain, such as:

  • Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Pain in one or both arms.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Sweating.
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness.
  • Unusual fatigue.

These symptoms can be more subtle than the obvious crushing chest pain often associated with heart attacks.

Heart on Stuffed Bear

Key Takeaways

Your heart is like its own city-state.  It has its own electrical system.  It has its own circulatory system.  It is concerned about the environment, including noise and pollution.  It is influenced by the quality of blood coming in.  It is influenced by the quality of oxygen being exchanged in the lungs.  It responds to neurochemicals.  It self-regulates.

Although the heart is very resilient, it cannot survive too much abuse.  It will give up on you if you give up on it.  Becoming aware of symptoms and risks can help protect you.  Making several lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of heart disease are recommended:

  • Quit or don’t start smoking
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Eat a healthy diet that includes whole grains, a variety of fruits and vegetables, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, and lean meats.  Avoid saturated or trans fat, added sugars, and high amounts of salt.

Be proactive.  These lifestyle changes should be supported by your doctors.  You doctors can help you control your risk factors.  Your doctors should also be aware of the early warning signs of heart disease and alert you when they develop.  Therefore, make sure your doctors keep tabs on your heart and your health.  If they don’t, then contact us.

Medical malpractice cases come in various forms.  Operating on the wrong extremity.  Leaving a piece of equipment inside a patient after surgery.  Failing to diagnose an illness.  These are among the most-common types of medical negligence taking place in America today.  This post looks at the premature closure of a case, which can result from bad assumptions.

Case Review

A 45-year-old male with poorly controlled diabetes, was admitted to the hospital with vomiting and weight loss, signs of a fever, and cough.  The ER doctor’s impression was hypoglycemia, weight loss due to diabetic gastroparesis, and upper respiratory infection.  Blood tests confirmed an elevated white blood cell count, and blood cultures revealed gram-positive cocci in chains.  However, the patient was discharged on antibiotics before the final culture and sensitivity report was available.

The patient followed up with his PCP a week later.  He had less abdominal pain, but no appetite.  Three weeks later, he returned with complaints of swollen legs.  Later that same day, he went to the ER with difficulty breathing, fever, and heart rate of 120.  He was diagnosed with mitral and aortic valve endocarditis.  Turns out, the results of the prior culture demonstrated Streptococcus viridans–so his antibiotics needed to be switched.  He underwent valve replacement, developed severe left ventricular decompensation, and died from end-stage congestive heart failure before a heart transplant could be performed.


Medical experts who reviewed the case concluded the PCP should have done an aggressive workup to rule out endocarditis when he first received the blood culture results.  The chains of gram-positive cocci should have alerted the doctor of the possibility of Streptococci, and treatment should have been started at that time.

The patient’s initial improvement likely led the PCP to premature closure.  The PCP prematurely stopped the diagnostic process and did not order an additional workup because of another psychological phenomenon called optimism bias.  The PCP focused on the improved abdominal pain and believed there was minimal risk of a negative outcome; he likely convinced himself of the potential for a positive outcome, even if that potential was slim.

The negligence here is that it is essential to review final blood culture results, and sensitivity reports, and not assume the patient’s initial improvement is a predictor of a successful outcome.  Arguably, the PCP never engaged in critical thinking and relied on the fact that most patients will not end up with permanent injury or death.

Depending on when the final culture and sensitivity report would be available, the ER doctor might have been negligent for prematurely discharging the patient with an ineffective treatment or for not making sure the patient knew the results of the blood cultures showed the antibiotics he was given would not be effective against his infection.

This case study, again, comes from the nation’s largest physician-owned medical malpractice insurer, The Doctor’s Company.  The Doctor’s Company has a vested interest in eliminating preventable medical errors. So do I. Too many people have their lives catastrophically impacted by negligent doctors and health care providers. No one should have to suffer because of another person’s carelessness.

Contact us if you would like to have experienced medical malpractice attorneys analyze the facts of your case to determine if medical negligence occurred.

We can fight against medical malpractice with data, if the law required hospitals, outpatient surgical centers, and doctors to be more transparent.

This is nothing new, but this post was inspired by the May 2017 issue of Consumer Reports.  The main thesis was empowering people to take charge of their heart health.  An important message considering heart disease is the nation’s leading killer.  Several articles offered good advice about heart health. Even if you don’t, or cannot, exercise, there were several helpful suggestions like limiting sweets and eating more fruits and vegetables.

The article that caught my eye was, Why Hospitals Need to Share Surgery Success Data.  It reported that about half of the nation’s 1,000  hospitals that perform heart surgery voluntarily share their complication and mortality charges with Consumer Reports.  That is troubling.  Patients should have easy access to data so they can intelligently select their health care providers, especially when it is a matter of life and death.

Surgical error during an operation (in relation to filing your case with a surgical error lawyer)

Surgical error happens everyday. Filing for your due compensation is your right. Gage Mathers can help.

How often do you check user reviews before buying an item on Amazon or other site?  How often do you compare items before buying?  Why should health care be different?

The thing that bothers us is that Arizona allows hospitals and doctors to hide behind the “peer review” and “quality assurance” protections to prevent public disclosure of complication data.  Even when a patient falls victim to a hospital’s repeat offender, the patient is not given this information.  We have heard there are hospitals that allow a surgeon, who repeatedly injures his patients through negligence, to continue performing surgery because the surgeon’s procedures make the hospitals A LOT of money.  When an injured patient tried to investigate the hospital’s knowledge of the prior events and determine what steps the hospital took to prevent future injuries, the hospital hid behind the peer review and quality assurance protections.   They are essentially enabling the surgeon to continue committing medical malpractice.

Protecting patients’ safety should be a priority in Arizona, not protecting paychecks.  So, what can you do?  Contact your state representatives and tell them we need transparency and safety in Arizona’s health care system.

If you believe you or a loved one was injured by medical negligence, feel free to contact us to investigate if there is a valid claim to pursue.