Arizona Crash Shows Dangers of Distracted Driving

Even though RingsmuthWuori throughout the years have handled cases throughout Michigan, we have also handled cases in many states, from Colorado, to North Carolina, Illinois, Indiana, Florida, and most recently Phoenix, Arizona.   A vibrant and healthy woman was going to work in Phoenix. While turning on a green light, another car driving about 50 mph ran a red light and crashed into her:


The client lost consciousness and the forces of the crash caused the seat belt to impact her body such that she had internal injuries. She didn’t know what had happened and the driver who hit her said that she had the green light and that the car she hit was turning on a red light.

We were contacted in Michigan to see if we could help even though we were located in Michigan. We encouraged her to make sure she saw and followed up with her doctors to make sure all of her injuries were addressed and so that she could get the appropriate care and treatment to try to heal, recover, and get back to what she loved doing (she did Zumba daily, was in incredible shape, worked as a nursing assistant full-toile, and was married to a very supportive husband). We agreed to help investigate and pursue any legal claims that we determined she had.

As a result of our investigation and contacting witnesses and reports, we were able to show that other independent witnesses saw what really happened and who ran the red light and violated one of the main safety rules that protect all of us on the roads–no matter where we drive throughout this country. You have to pay attention at all times and don’t get distracted by cell phones, texts, eating, and so on. Millions of crashes occur every year in the U.S. because of distracted driving. The U.S. Department of Transportation reminds us all why community safety rules have to be enforced and protected by us all—police, judges, and juries—when looking at a text in a car while driving your car may have travelled the length of a football field. That is only at about 55mph. Many highways have speed limits at 70 mph and normal traffic drives at speeds above 70 mph–you would cover more than a football field in those 4-5 seconds, including time to perceive and react.

She did not suffer any broken bones and her internal injuries needed some initial surgical intervention but overall she was very fortunate for what could have been a deadly result or catastrophic injuries.

Over the course of about a year, our client and her husband worked hard to go through the necessary medical treatments and therapies to get back as much as she could. Her treating doctor believed that she was at about 90 to 95% of her recovery because she worked so hard at it but that she would still have some ongoing difficulties. She is back to Zumba and can now look for new employment.  

Our representation in Arizona resulted in a $640,000.00 settlement. Our client wanted to express her thanks to our entire team, and we wanted to celebrate all of their hard work to get back as much as they could from this preventable crash, so they were in Michigan over the holidays and stopped by to see us all:




“Another satisfied customer with your amazing and talented team. Thank you very much from the bottom of our hearts.”


Our client also wanted us to emphasize again–don’t be a safety rule violator. Drive safe at all times. Protect everyone in your community and prevent crashes from happening in the future. She experienced first hand how your life can be upended in a flash–and she was fortunate to have been able to recovery very well over the course of a year compared to many, many others.


A National Fire Protection Group will be spearheading and participating, along with many other organizations and fire departments, in National Fire Prevention Week.  http://www.nfpa.org/press-room/news-releases/2015/nfpa-announces-the-theme-for-fire-prevention-week

 Each year, there are too many injuries and deaths from fire. Many of these fires and injuries are preventable. There can be many sources of these fires, including mechanical or structural issues, to electrical wiring defects, to the improper use and storage of flammable liquids, to human carelessness (with matches, cigarettes,  fuel sources, heaters, fireplaces, and so on).  There are many excellent resources available from your local fire department to on-line fire prevention checklists that will guide you through the safety assessments you should make each year to make sure you and your family and friends are safe from fire. The fall is an excellent time to not just turn your clocks back to daylight savings but to install and check your batteries in your smoke detectors and other detectors.  There are many new and inexpensive products that detect (with much longer life) not only smoke but also leaking gas and also carbon monoxide dangers.  Work to educate the entire family, including children, about the many dangers that can be created with the careless use and storage of flammables, with fireplaces, and not following safety instructions and not performing needed home maintenance.   

 Many of the matters RingsmuthWuori have handled over the years involve significant burn injuries and deaths—all of which were preventable. Safety rules exist to protect us all—if they are violated, the consequences for all are significant.  Below are just a few of the areas in which fires have caused major injuries and the preventable cause of those fires: 


Result of propane leak and explosion.  Result of propane leak and explosion. 


      Close-up view of house explosion and fire depicted in the photograph to the left.

Close-up view of house explosion and fire depicted in the

photograph to left.

  The above photographs show a massive propane explosion because of an unsafe propane system, causing deaths. Company managers violated safety rules regarding maintenance, inspection, and how to turn on and off the propane system. Consequently, there was a propane leak and soon thereafter, unbeknownst to the family, the leaking propane in the basement became ignited most likely by the furnace flame and erupted. Propane, like regularly gasoline, is heavier than air and will stay low to the ground and its vapors will migrate and ignite from many types of ignition sources in a home. Moreover, most people do not know that you can have a gas leak outside your home and the ground/gravel can leach out the added odorant (the rotten egg smell) and the odorless gas still be drawn into a house through piping/crash and become ignited.  Hence, the need for reliable gas detectors as well as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.  

Below are some photographs of an explosion in a different state, in which there were multiple violations by a gas company and a landlord with respect to an entire propane system.  The tenant was just moving in and the entire house blew up—again because critical but known safety rules were violated.  Propane should never have been introduced into the system. There was an uncapped gas line in the house unbeknownst to the tenant and gas escaped through this gas line, causing a significant explosion. Based upon our experience, it was clear just looking at the propane tank and connection that it was an unsafe system. Further inspection into the debris field showed multiple more violations.

 FireA F4 

Unsupported gas lines, gas lines without shut-off valves and uncapped gas lines were the cause of the explosion and fire depicted in these photographs. The occupant of the home was blown out through the front window and landed in the yard. She received third-degree burns on much of her body.


The majority of fires are caused by safety rule violations and are preventable. The elderly are at significant risk for fire and the National Fire Protection Association has many helpful tips:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBkA6vN9yTo&feature=youtu.be

There are many resources to use and review with everyone in the family, young to old, to protect everyone from preventable fires. 





Again in the news are more reports of the dangers of Legionnaires’ disease, a potentially life-threatening form of atypical pneumonia caused by bacteria from the genus Legionella. Most of the reported cases are from Legionella Pneumophia. The bacteria can develop in or from air conditioning units/cooling towers, water systems, hot tubs, and other areas suitable for the growth and spread (aerosolizing) of the harmful bacteria. Symptoms can occur within a short period of time and the typical incubation period is 2-10 days, possibly longer. The young and the elderly or immune-compromised public are most at risk.


Typical symptoms include fevers, chills, cough, along with muscle aches, headaches, tiredness, loss of appetite, loss of coordination, and vomiting. Some confusion and impaired cognition or neurological symptoms can also exist. There are medical tests that can detect and diagnose Legionnaires’ disease and subsequent reporting and investigations become critical for public safety. Chicago was the course of a major outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease a few years ago – prompting the closure of and investigation into a hotel’s water systems.


RINGSMUTHWUORI PLLC has handled Legionnaires’ cases with highly successful confidential settlements after litigation. Prompt awareness of and confirmation of Legionnaires is crucial so that health officials can confirm and remedy a dangerous environmental condition and for better treatment awareness. Only recently have new standards and codes been incorporated to help prevent the outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease. In our experience, the failures of building owners/maintenance and the lack of having qualified or trained personnel contributes to the creation of environments suitable for the creation, production, and spread of the harmful bacteria. For your safety,  we strongly encourage you to ask about what sanitation systems are in place before using public pools, hot tubs, or cooling towers.



If you are injured in a car crash, how do you get fair compensation from a negligent driver if they have no insurance? The sad answer is generally you do not. What if the negligent driver only has $20,000 of coverage and you or a family member has life changing injuries? $20,000 would be just a “drop in the bucket,” and certainly not enough to fairly compensate your family. In Michigan you only have to have a minimum of $20,000 of liability coverage. Most other states require more. Unfortunately we see this situation more and more. People let their car insurance expire, or even cancel it, but continue driving. While this is actually a crime, it happens all the time. The good news is that most car insurance companies offer “uninsured” or “underinsured” motorist coverage. This allows you to buy insurance in case someone with no or very little liability insurance hurts you in a car crash. You are actually able to protect you and your family, at least financially, from irresponsible drivers with no or little insurance.

RingsmuthWuori PLLC highly recommends that everyone purchase this insurance. You can choose from different dollar amounts of coverage, but we suggest at least $500,000 of coverage. This amount of coverage is not expensive, and should cost less than $30. All of us know the tragedy that happens when the safety rules are violated. These tragedies become worse when the unsafe driver has no (or little) insurance to compensate the victim’s family for their loss. While you cannot make other drivers follow the safety rules, you can protect your family from the financial losses they cause. Please look at your car insurance coverage and be sure you have enough “un/under” insurance coverage. If not, call your insurance agent or get online if that is the way you buy your insurance. While you may never need it, the cost is well worth it if you do.

Thomas Wuori Included In 2015 THE BEST LAWYERS in AMERICA Listing

The Best Lawyers in America (https://www.bestlawyers.com) released its 2015 publication listing its identification of top lawyers in America.  Thomas J. Wuori was previously selected in prior editions of this publication.