Monday, December 3, 2012

Got Med Pay?

Most of Arizona's drivers don't know about medical payments coverage (aka "med pay") and/or don't have it. Med pay is an optional automobile insurance coverage not required by Arizona law. As with any insurance, you may ask why you should have it and is the additional cost worth the benefit? No situation is alike, but in general, med pay is a a low cost option that can help defray or eliminate the out of pocket expense of treating accident-related injuries regardless of whether or not your at fault for the auto accident. Different insurance companies have different med pay limits ($5,000 is often the max), but it's certainly worthy of discussion the next time you meet with your broker and evaluate your existing automobile insurance. If you're in an auto accident, remember to keep CJ Gibbs and Galen Satterlee, of CKGH Law, P.C., in mind. We can capably navigate the claims process and routinely litigate unresolved and disputed claims.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

You Probably Don't Have Adequate Motor Vehicle Insurance: Tips to Protect Yourself

We Arizonans cherish our right to drive hither, thither and yon. This month we speak on a topic that is often overlooked and definitely misunderstood (sometimes misrepresented) – Motor Vehicle Insurance. Pinching pennies on this coverage can have unfortunate consequences.

It is estimated that there are presently 5 million licensed drivers within Arizona. Of this sum, approximately 25% are uninsured and a much higher percentage are underinsured. This probably includes you. Surprisingly enough, our exit polls reveal the majority of you are underinsured. If you are one of those living under the "it can't happen to me" philosophy hopefully it will not-but it can.

The State of Arizona merely requires that you must carry insurance that will pay a guaranteed minimum of $15,000 per person injured, with a guaranteed minimum of $30,000 total coverage for the accident. In Arizona, the required minimum for property damage is $10,000 (on an insurance policy, the coverage limits would be shorthanded as 15/30/10). Further, all individuals can elect to carry a minimum of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per occurrence of underinsured and uninsured (UIM/UM) policy limits. The maximum amount of UIM/UM coverage cannot exceed your liability limits.

Assuming you carry the statutory minimum of liability insurance (15/30/10) and you are in an accident that is your fault, there will be a maximum of $15,000 of insurance coverage available per individual injured for a total of $30,000 per occurrence. So, if two people are injured in an accident that you cause and each of those people sustain injuries that total $25,000, the minimum insurance will not cover their total damages. Each will only receive $15,000. If you are in an accident and it is someone else’s fault and they have inadequate or no insurance, the maximum available to you and your passengers will be $15,000 per person and $30,000 per occurrence, assuming you purchase UIM/UM coverage. If you follow the trend of accidents in Ahwatukee Foothills and the Phoenix Metropolitan area, by and large, this amount of coverage is not going to be enough to protect you and your loved ones in anything other than a minor fender bender. "In countless cases individuals lacked adequate insurance on both sides of a loss." Not only is there a general mentality that “it cannot happen to me”, but there is also a belief that less insurance is better to avoid being forced into litigation. This is nonsense.

Automobile insurance also includes coverage for property damage, a rental vehicle, roadside assistance, etc. Most of these areas are self explanatory and relatively easy to evaluate, especially when it comes to property damage and deductibles.
Medical payment coverage, however, is another area that is often misunderstood. The common representation among many insurers and brokers or agents is that those who have health insurance do not need medical payment coverage. We don’t know what health insurance policy these folks possess, but it is not any that the majority of us own or are covered under. Deductibles, co-pays, uninsured conditions, balance billing, etc., all are reasons that medical payment coverage is cheap insurance. If this is not enough, all you need to know is that the majority of policies do not require a repayment of medical payment coverage in connection with any personal injury claim. Further, it is a no fault benefit, so to speak. Translated, your insurer will provide this coverage regardless of fault.

Cyclists, walkers, roller-bladers, joggers, and general outdoor enthusiasts who brave our streets, don’t forget your vehicle insurance may apply to a loss you or a loved one suffers that involves a motor vehicle. The simplest example is being hit by a car. But there does not necessarily need to be contact with a motor vehicle.

For those of you going to Mexico, don’t forget to cross the border with your Passport and Mexican Auto Insurance. Costco even sells this insurance now. Many US insurers require Mexican Insurance on your vehicle as a prerequisite to any coverage in Mexico for an accident. Check with your insurance representative and then check again as to what is required for your US Policy to protect you in Mexico.

There is no magical formula as to calculating what appropriate liability, underinsured or uninsured policy limit is. You need to assess your financial needs and driving patterns to purchase adequate protection. Consult with a lawyer who does this type of work or an insurance agent who is keen to your personal situation. Then choose the coverage that is right for you.

Like death, many avoid planning for the catastrophic events that occur with regularity in our mobile society. Unpleasant as making sure you are sufficiently protected may be, doing it may mean the difference between losing everything and/or weathering any storm.

If you have any questions, please contact the Arizona Injury Lawyers at CKGH Law, P.C. (

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Danger of Hard Water and Residential Plumbing Systems in Arizona

If you're experiencing problems with your home's plumbing (pressurization, leaks, etc.), there's a chance you may have a problem known as dezincification. It's particularly prevalent in the Southwest due to hard water reacting with certain styles of brass fittings. Our Firm, along with others, are pursuing class action certification for a number of homes and communities throughout Arizona that may be affected by this problem. Further details can be found at Below is a FAQ page along with pictures that can provide some insight on whether you may have the problem at your home:

Yellow Brass FAQs

What problems are associated with yellow-brass fittings and components?

The PEX plumbing systems are for residential use and have been widely used throughout the United States. These plumbing systems consist of plastic pipes and brass fittings. Only the brass fittings used to connect PEX pipe and the components installed as part of the PEX plumbing systems are the subject of these claims. These homeowners allege that high zinc, yellow-brass fittings and components are defective because they dezincification.

Dezincification is a process whereby zinc leaches from brass, which is an alloy of copper and zinc, thereby creating a white powdery buildup on the inside of the fitting and a weakening of the brass fitting. Dezincification can lead to, among other things, restricted water flow and an increased likelihood of the brass fitting leaking or breaking.

What is the claims process?

This process can vary by state and you are encouraged to seek the advice and you are encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney licensed to practice law in your area. A lawyer experienced in handling yellow brass claims is best equipped to determine if you have a claim and the method required to protect your rights.

Various states have processes that must be followed to pursue claims against your home's builder and plumber. In some areas, you or someone on your behalf, must first provide notice to your home's builder. Experts retained on behalf of various homeowners have alleged the only proper method to repair these defective plumbing systems and to comply with the Federal Lead Free standards is to replace the entire system. This would include all pipes, fittings, shut-off valves and other components installed in connection with your home's PEX plumbing systems.

Do these allegations involve personal injury claims?

These claims do not involve claims for personal injury. If you have any reason to believe that you have suffered any adverse health effects because of these yellow-brass fittings and components, you should contact a health professional.

How do I find out whether I have a PEX plumbing system in my home?

A home plumbed with a PEX plumbing system may have a yellow or neon sticker on the inside panel of its electrical box. However, before you check, please be sure that you have experience with the location and safe use of your home’s electrical panel box. The purpose of these stickers is to alert electricians regarding proper electrical grounding procedures for nonmetallic plumbing. Often, homes with a plastic PEX plumbing system will have stickers such as the one to the right (on the website). Thus, if you find such a sticker in your electrical panel box, it is likely that your home contains a plastic PEX plumbing system which contains yellow-brass fittings and components.

Please note however that many homes that contain a yellow-brass plumbing system do not have stickers in their electrical panel boxes. Thus, if your electrical panel box does not reveal a sticker indicating that a PEX plumbing system was installed in your home, you may need to have your home inspected to determine the type of plumbing installed in your home.

As a claimant, am I responsible for attorney’s fees and costs?

Most attorneys experienced with handling yellow-brass claims do so on a contingency basis. This arrangement means the legal fees are contingenton the outcome of the case. In other words, a lawyer hired on contingencywill not take fees from clients unless and until a monetary award of damage is received either at or prior to trial. In simplest terms, fees are not assessed unless you win your case.

If my home has yellow-brass fittings and components, what are my repair options?

It is believed that the only adequate repair method is a complete re-plumb of both the hot and cold water lines of your home. Generally, a full re-plumb takes approximately five (5) days for most homes to be completed and does not require relocation.

If you decide to re-plumb your home at your own expense prior to the final resolution of the claims process or litigation, you may consider doing so, however, we would ask that counsel be notified of any anticipated repairs.

What do I do if I have a leak?

Treat it as you would any other leak, including taking steps to minimize any damage and contacting your homeowner's insurance carrier. If a leak occurs, immediately notify your plumber to stop the leak and to minimize any damage to your home. If a repair is required, keep all receipts and documentation of the repair. Please make sure to keep any fittings, pipe or plumbing components that must be removed to carry out the repair. Thereafter, please notify counsel so that we can also keep a record of your leak and repair.

What if I am contacted by my home’s builder?

We recommend you notify an attorney working for you.