Wrongful Death Case

Hello.  I’m Gary Phillips, a senior partner at Phillips and Lyon.  I’m going to talk to you about wrongful death claims in Arizona.  Wrongful death is when someone dies due to the wrong doing, also referred to as negligence, of someone else.  In the state of Arizona the claim is actually brought by the survivors.  Survivors are defined as the spouse, parents, or children of the deceased.  If there are no living parents, children, or spouse, then a claim is brought by the estate.  Wrongful death cases are a unique type of negligence case, because unlike any other case, the statute of limitations, also known as the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit starts on the date of death, not on the date of the accident.  At Phillips and Lyon we immediately start by preparing the survivors claims.  First, we take the time to sit down with the survivors and get a personal account of how the loss affected their life.  In a case where a child has lost a parent, we can claim things like: loss of guidance, love, and parenting, which are not necessarily tangible losses, but are items that will translate to financial compensation.  Other times, the survivor is now faced with being a single parent and is devastated both emotionally and financially.  We at Phillips and Lyon are dedicated to ensure that the survivors are compensated for their pain, emotional trauma, and financial hardship.  In a wrongful death case, the law tries to compensate to survivors so they do not have to incur a financial lifestyle change.  This is done with the use of an economist who can compute how much money the deceased would have made, based on their work history and any other benefits the deceased contributed to the family.  The most commonly asked question in a wrongful death case is; “How do you place a value on a lost life?”  In fact I remember a case when the defense lawyer specifically told the jury, “You can’t put a price on life, so don’t.”  This attorney was inferring not to pay the deceased survivors any money.  The state of Arizona has a wrongful death statute that clearly states that the jury should consider future lost income when awarding money to the survivor or survivors.  It is our job to know these numbers and insure you are fairly compensated.  Another commonly asked question is; “What percentage of the settlement moneys go to each survivor?”  The actual wrongful death law states, “As their interest appear.”  Every case is different and every survivor’s relationship is different with the deceased, so there is no magic formula to compute this.  It is our job to prove those relationships.  The staff at Phillips and Lyon is very experienced and trained to handle even the most complicated wrongful death claims.  Mr. Lyon and I both have over 30 years of personal injury experience, and I personally supervise every wrongful death case.  When you hire Phillips and Lyon, you really do hire Phillips and Lyon.


Need Help After a Motorcycle Accident?

Hello, my name is Greg Lyon.  I’m a senior partner in the law firm of Phillips and Lyon and have practiced in the field of personal injury for 30 years.  In addition, I ride motorcycles.  Mostly Harleys, but I’ve spent a fair amount of time riding metric cruisers as well.  I represent riders who’ve been involved in accidents with other vehicles, or often times, as a result of hazards in the roadway.  Because of my motorcycle experience, there are a lot of things a new client doesn’t have to explain to me.  For example, I know that the fair market value of your motorcycle can not be measured by a number that appears in a book or online.  Since part of the joy of owning a motorcycle is adding your personal touches, we must inquire further about the aftermarket parts and accessories added to the bike that often times increases the value by thousands of dollars.  I also know the types of defenses that will be used by the insurance company’s lawyer to prevent the biker from receiving fair compensation.  Having taken several motorcycle safety courses and having logged many thousands of miles in traveling all over the country, I can anticipate and be prepared for these defenses.  Motorcycle accident claims represent different issues than a car accident case, and therefore, require a different approach in order to obtain a good result for a client.

Knowledge of helmet laws, the geometry of a motorcycle, the way modifications affect the handling of a bike, are only a few of the areas of expertise that are often times used in the handling of these claims.  Also essential is making sure the rider has access to the various medical specialists that may be called upon to treat, or express opinions, as to the permanent nature of your injuries.  We can assist you in finding doctors that will await payment until the case is over so that your recovery is not compromised.  If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident, it is important to hire an attorney who not only has personal injury experience, but also has firsthand experience with motorcycles.  Ride safe!


Talking to Your Children About Safe Driving

There are over 3000 teen deaths per year due to car accidents.  That’s an average of eight teen deaths per day due to mistakes made behind the wheel.  With today’s technology, along with other distractions, it is extremely easy to get distracted while driving, which can lead to serious injuries and death.  Talking to your kids about safe driving habits is one of the most important things you can do while teaching them how to drive.

The number one distraction which causes accidents is of course cell phones.  Talking, texting, and tweeting are among a few things that can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle.  It only takes on second to lose your concentration while driving, which can lead to serious consequences.  Teach your children to not use their cell phones at all while driving.  They can wait to read the text they got until they have reached their destination.  No text is worth their life, or the lives of others.

Other common driving distractions for teens include driving with friends.  Your children will most likely have friends in the car while traveling.  It is very easy to get caught up in a conversation while having friends in the car.  It is important to make sure that they focus on the road; the conversation can wait until they get to a safe place.

Another common distraction is music.  Messing with the radio can be hazardous.  Adjusting radio stations or the volume, along with choosing a song within their music library on their music device, can lead to a crash.  Teach them to prepare the music they want to listen to before driving the car.  This way, they will not have to mess with the radio at all during travel.

The consequences involved with distracted driving can include:

  • Veering into another lane
  • Missing traffic signals or stop signs
  • Slowing of reaction time
  • Being unable to see pedestrians crossing the street
  • Being unable to stop in time


It’s usually the little things that happen while driving that can have the largest consequences.  Being prepared and alert while driving can safe a person’s life.  Teaching your children these valuable lessons is very important.  It will make the roads safer your family, and the people around them.  Safe Travels


I’m Gary Phillips, a Senior Partner of Phillips and Lyon.  There are many parts to a personal injury case, but the three basic areas are: Liability, damages, and proximate causation.  Proximate causation is proving the damages were caused by the negligent party.  Unfortunately, the plaintiff, or the person who is injured, has the burden of proof in a personal injury case.  Burden of proof means that if the person asking for compensation has to prove the three elements I’ve stated to be compensated.  Lets discuss these three elements.  Liability: We must prove the other party did not act like a reasonable person, also being known as negligent.  For example: in a rear end collision, we need to prove that a reasonable person would have kept a safe distance and was traveling at a reasonable speed to avoid the collision.  They should have also been able to stop in time to avoid the accident.  Damages: We must prove that you have injuries and are treating with a doctor for those injuries.  There is no case if the medical provider does not substantiate the injuries.  Proximate Causation: We must prove with the assistance of your medical providers, the injuries were a direct result of the accident.  We need to prove the injuries claimed are not pre-existing.  We refer to the doctors as the experts on this, and ask them to write reports or appear in court, explaining the medical reasoning to prove that the injuries were a direct result of the accident.  It is important that we prepare and present all three elements to the insurance company to get fair compensation for our clients.  When you hire Phillips and Lyon, you really do hire Phillips and Lyon.




Hello.  My name is Greg Lyon and I’m a Senior Partner in the Law Firm of Phillips and Lyon.  Many people ask me whether they should hire an attorney versus handling an injury claim themselves.  The answer depends on great part of the seriousness of the injury.  If the injury involves an emergency room visit and a follow up with a family doctor, I generally feel you are better off without an attorney.  There’s not much I can do to significantly enhance the value of the claim and justify reasonable fees and compensation to my client under those circumstances.  However, in the instance where the injury results in ongoing treatment, surgical procedures, or disability; a great deal more proof is required to legally support each component of that type of claim.  People unfamiliar with the law often times will not know what proof is required, or how to acquire it.  Without such proof, you have little chance to receive maximum compensation.  The hiring of medical experts to support claims of medical disability, or economists and vocational rehabilitation experts to support loss of earnings are some examples of the level of proof required in those cases.  At Phillips and Lyon we will also help our clients find doctors who will await payment until their case is over so you don’t have to worry about paying medical bills, or expensive co-pays.  Perhaps the most daunting task of an unrepresented client is answering the most critical question of all: “How much is my case worth”?   At Phillips and Lyon we have been evaluating cases for over 30 years, carefully gauging jury trends, as well as arbitration results.  This experience is invaluable in properly advising clients whether to accept, or reject, an offer from an insurance company.  Another consideration in hiring an attorney is whether you are able to determine which insurance policies can be used for compensation.  Many times, more than one insurance policy can be used to provide and injured party full compensation.  Unless you are well versed in insurance law, you may overlook valuable additional sources of compensation.  What are you going to do when the insurance adjuster calls demanding recorded statements and the signing of documents?  An attorney is there to quickly inform you of the do’s and the don’ts.  We settle hundreds of cases a year, and rarely do our clients get interrogated by the insurance company’s adjuster.  Another example is when that same adjuster is asking that you sign a medical authorization.  Personally, I feel that this is an invasion of privacy, especially when the requested records have nothing to do with your injuries.  I hope you see the value of hiring an attorney to guide you through your personal injury claim.  When you hire Phillips and Lyon, you really do hire Phillips and Lyon.