Recreational Vehicle Accidents
Recreational vehicles are a popular way to see the country, allowing you to save on food and lodging costs while visiting a multitude of destinations. Whether you drive a full size recreational vehicle, a mid-size motor home, or hitch a pop up camper to the back of your car or truck, it takes a degree of skill in learning how to navigate through various roads and travel conditions.Due to the large size and bulk of these vehicles, motor vehicle accidents involving RVs can result in serious and potentially life threatening injuries. When this type of accident does occur, you need an experienced lawyer on your side to ensure your rights are protected. At Abels & Annes, P.C., our Phoenix recreational vehicle accident lawyers are here to help, acting as strong legal advocates to assist you in getting the compensation you need to recover.How Recreational Vehicle (RV) Accidents Happen
Figures from the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) indicate sales of RVs have reached record levels, with close to nine million households claiming ownership. These include motorhomes, which are fully motorized, independent vehicles, as well as towables, which are loaded onto a car or truck. With an average cost of between $5,000-$22,000 for folding camping trailers and $40,000-$500,000 for full size motorhomes, the lodging and opportunities RVs provide make them a smart choice for people of all ages and lifestyles.Anyone can own an RV, but it does take a degree of knowledge, experience, and skill to operate them safely. While full size recreational vehicles may weigh as much as 25,000 pounds and towables as much as 10,000 pounds, these weights still fall within the regular driver’s licensing requirements of the Arizona Department of Transportation. Even when an RV owner does have a commercial license, recreational vehicle accidents can occur. Common causes include:
- Distracted driving;
- Driving under the influence;
- Aggressive driving, such as tailgating and failure to yield;
- Overloading or poorly balanced loads;
- Rollovers due to the high center of gravity;
- Driver miscalculations in making turns;
- Miscalculated stopping distances,
- Side swipe accidents due to a vehicle in the RVs blind spot;
- Mechanical failures, such as engine, tire, or brake problems.
Any of the above can result in serious and potentially life threatening injuries, particularly if passengers in the RV are not properly secured in their seats.Injuries You Can Suffer As The Result of A Recreational Vehicle Accident
Statistics from the US Department of Transportation indicate that as many as 75,000 RV drivers, passengers, and other motorists are injured in recreational vehicle accidents each year. Injuries can occur either due to the force of impact, as well as from falls or being thrown into or struck by objects within the RV. Common types of recreational vehicle accident include:
- Muscle and tendon sprains, strains, and tears;
- Severe cuts and lacerations;
- Broken bones and dislocated joints;
- Back and neck injuries, including fractured vertebrae and spinal cord injuries;
- Head injuries, including concussion and traumatic brain injury;
- Damage to internal organs and internal bleeding.
Anytime you are involved in a recreational vehicle accident, regardless of how minor, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible when necessary. Symptoms of potentially serious conditions, such as those to the brain, spine, or internal organs, can take days or weeks to appear, and failing to get medical care could result in serious complications. In addition to putting your current and future health in jeopardy, failing to get treatment when needed or not following your doctor’s instructions could also impact your rights to compensation.What to Do After a Recreational Vehicle Accident
If you are involved in a recreational vehicle accident, you should immediately stop your vehicle and, if possible, pull over to avoid blocking traffic. Notify local law enforcement or the state highway patrol, and call 911 to have an ambulance sent to the scene.Arizona motor vehicle laws require all drivers involved in an accident to exchange contact and insurance information with others at the scene. In addition to your personal information and the name of your insurance company, this includes your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance policy numbers. Once the police arrive at the scene, they will fill out an accident report which will provide information on the drivers, the accident scene, and any witnesses who may have been present. You should make a point of getting a copy of this police report before leaving the accident site, as it provides vital information for filing your insurance company claim. Other actions you should take when a recreational vehicle accidents occurs include:
- If possible, use your cellphone or a camera to take pictures of the damage to the RV, your injuries, and the location where the accident occurred.
- Avoid making any statements admitting liability for the accident either to police or to other drivers at the scene;
- Notify your insurance company of the accident as soon as possible;
- Remember to get medical attention for you and your passengers if needed, regardless of the type of accident or the symptoms you suffer.
If your recreational vehicle accident was caused by the reckless or negligent actions of other drivers involved, you may be able to seek compensation through an insurance company claim. Before making statements to an insurance representative or signing any documents, consult with a Phoenix recreational vehicle accident lawyer first. We can guide you through the process and negotiate on your behalf to assist you in getting the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to.Even if you were partly at fault for the accident, Arizona’s comparative negligence laws may still allow you to get compensation. For example, if your total amount of damages is estimated at $100,000 but you are determined to be 20 percent at fault, you would still be entitled to compensation for 80 percent of your damages, or $80,000. When estimating these amounts, it is important to include the following:
- Current and future medical costs, including medications and physical therapy;
- Lost wages, benefits, and future losses in income;
- Costs to repair or replace your RV and any other damaged property;
- The pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment in life your injuries caused.
At Abels & Annes, P.C., our knowledge of the law and our experience in handling personal injury cases assists us in getting a strong outcome in your case. We provide thorough investigations to determine the causes of your accident, and can assist you in compiling evidence in support of your claim. Examples of the types of evidence we collect includes:
- Your medical records and statements from providers;
- Proof of lost wages;
- Testimony from witnesses to the accident, including video surveillance;
- Police and accident reports;
- Photographs of the accident and your injuries;
- Expert testimony from doctors or accident reconstruction experts.
If you have been injured in a recreational vehicle accident, contact Abels & Annes, P.C. right away. Our team of Phoenix accident attorneys are here to protect your rights, while assisting you in getting the compensation you deserve. Previous settlements we have obtained for clients include:$460,000 for the victim of a right of way accident resulting in serious back injuries;$825,000 for a victim who was injured when the vehicle they were traveling in was rear ended by a truck.When you are dealing with serious injuries that could impact your future health and well-being, you need representation from an attorney you can trust to get results. Call or contact our Phoenix recreational vehicle accident lawyers today to request a free consultation.