It’s important to know how to protect yourself in the event of a car accident or other personal injury situtation.

Arizona Driving Law for Seniors

Turning 65 is a milestone most people associate with qualifying for Medicare or with retirement. But if you live in Arizona, did you know the State’s laws may affect your ability to drive after your 65th birthday?


Seniors Driving

Your freedom to drive is not dependent upon your age. But age-related declines can hamper your ability to drive as safely as you should.

Older drivers may notice gradual changes in their reaction time, hearing, vision, memory and alertness. Medication, stiff joints and changes in sleep can also affect driving. Any of these variables can lead to seniors driving errors with tragic consequences.

According to the National Institutes of Health, common mistakes older drivers make include:

  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Failing to stay in their lane of traffic
  • Misjudging the time or distance needed to turn in front of traffic
  • Failing to stop completely at a stop sign
  • Speeding or driving too slowly

Other driving challenges for seniors include failing to make sure it’s safe when backing out of a parking space, pulling out too closely in front of another car, and changing lanes in an unsafe manner.

AAA Senior Driving Self-Assessment

If you’ve noticed your reflexes may be slowing, or if you have concerns about a loved one’s driving skills, AAA offers several resources for both the senior driver and concerned friends and family. At, seniors can learn how changes in the body can affect driving, and how to improve driving skills.

You can download Drivers 65 Plus, a brochure that offers a driving assessment exercise to help seniors evaluate their driving proficiency.

AAA Roadwise Review is an online interactive driving evaluation program for seniors that covers topics like mobility, flexibility, visual acuity, memory and speed processing. The exercises can be completed in 30 to 45 minutes and are also designed to help seniors improve their driving ability.

Senior Driver Safety Course

It never hurts to brush up on your driving skills, no matter your age. For a small fee, AARP offers the Driver Safety Classroom at various locations around town. Specific to the over-50 driver, the class reviews topics like minimizing blind spots, keeping a proper distance between cars, and making safe lane changes. The class also provides an overview of the latest technology in today’s new cars.

Age and driving need not be mutually exclusive. Being aware of how health changes can impact driving, learning how to make proactive changes in your driving habits and identifying any physical limitations will ensure you continue to be a safe driver in your golden years.

How to Choose a Doctor

People often don’t think about looking for a doctor until they find themselves in need of specialized medical care or surgery. When patients don’t take the time to research their options they can end up with a doctor they don’t like, or worse, one whose medical care is subpar and possibly even dangerous. The medical malpractice attorneys at Hollingsworth Kelly Law Firm understand the importance of finding a quality doctor and have some suggestions to guide your search.

Where to start

There are a variety of ways to find a doctor. Insurance companies have lists of doctors with which they contract, but those lists rarely provide much information beyond a doctor’s name, gender and location of their office. Those shopping for a specialist might turn to advocacy groups related to their specific condition. However, for more personalized recommendations, a good place to start is with the people you know. Friends, family members and co-workers are great resources for recommendations because they’re familiar with your personality and specific needs.

Here are some things to consider when asking for a recommendation:

  • Communication style and method of delivery – Does the doctor favor email or phone?
  • Personality – Is he/she likable and easy to interact with?
  • Location – Is the office close to your work or home?
  • Availability – How long does it take to get an appointment and are the wait times reasonable?
  • Appointment length – How long does the doctor spend with his patients?
  • Hours of operation – Is the office open when you need to go?
  • Demographic – Do you prefer a doctor who is similar to you with regard to age, gender or ethnicity?
  • Experience – How long has the doctor been in practice?
  • Type of practice or specialty – Are they skilled in treating your specific condition/s?
  • Insurance compatibility – Do they accept your insurance policy?

Once you have established that a doctor is able to meet your personal preferences, the next step is to check their professional credentials. Are they board-certified? Accredited? Where did they attend school? What is their specialty? Do they have any medical malpractice claims against them?

Even if you were referred by another doctor, it is important to investigate. The referring doctor may not know the other doctor personally or may not have maintained contact. In the months or even years that may have lapsed since their last contact, a medical malpractice claim may have been filed against the referred doctor.

Remember, doctors are not immune to critical or life-changing events such as divorce, death of a loved one, or serious illness. These events may cause depression or lead to substance abuse and the effects of these issues may surface in your search. Avoid those who have exhibited this behavior or you could become the victim of medical malpractice.

Also consider checking online reviews when shopping for a doctor. Sites like Vitals and Healthgrades can give you an idea of a doctor’s bedside manner, wait times, how much time they spend with patients and whether they follow up with patients after appointments.

Online reviews can be a useful tool, but don’t rely on them alone. Keep in mind that people often are compelled to write reviews only when they are especially pleased or very unhappy.

How to check licenses and certifications

The internet has many resources available to prospective patients. The Arizona Medical Board website is an ideal place to begin your investigation.  The Licensee Search provides public information about a doctor’s standing with the organization. Look for actions filed against the doctor, such as a reprimand for unprofessional conduct or medical license revocation. This search also provides information about physicians’ education and training, as well as their area of interest.

Patients also should verify specialty certifications. This can be done through the American Board of Medical Specialties website. Most doctors have a specialty – pediatrics, family medicine, internal medicine, cardiology, orthopedics – and it’s important to make sure they are certified for the area in which they are practicing. They may also have a subspecialty, for instance, a dermatologist whose subspecialty is skin cancer. If you are searching for a specialist for the treatment of a specific condition, it can be worthwhile to choose a doctor whose subspecialty is specific to your diagnosis.

Your health is on the line

Ideally, prospective patients should meet with new doctors prior to seeking medical treatment. If that option is not available, use your first appointment to ask questions and judge your level of comfort with the doctor. This is a chance to evaluate the doctor in-person and get a feel for whether they are compatible.

The doctor-patient relationship should be a lasting one, requiring trust and effective communication. Patients should feel comfortable interacting with their doctors and be confident that their doctor has the skills and experience to provide them with the best treatment. If you do not, or if you get a bad feeling about a doctor after meeting with him or her, continue searching until you are satisfied. Trust your instincts – they’re usually right.

This information is provided as a public service by Hollingsworth Kelly and is not intended to serve as legal advice.

Do You Need GAP Insurance?

After much deliberation, you purchase a brand new car. The payments are a little high, but they’re manageable and you have four years to pay it off. If your research pays off, you won’t have to deal with car repairs for a long time. But just six months later, a distracted driver runs a red light and t-bones you. You’re bruised and sore, and your new car is totaled.

After the insurance adjuster confirms your vehicle is a total loss, he offers you $19,500 to settle your property damage claim. But you bought your car just six months ago and you owe the bank $24,000. “The law only requires us to pay market value for a vehicle,” you hear the adjuster tell you. “Do you have GAP insurance?” he asks.

What is GAP insurance?

When a vehicle is totaled in an accident, auto insurance companies typically cover the amount of the car’s actual cash value (ACV), not the amount you owe on the loan, which can be significantly more.

GAP insurance stands for Guaranteed Auto Protection and protects drivers from unforeseen financial losses if their car is totaled in an accident. It provides a financial bridge between what is owed on a car loan and the vehicle’s estimated worth, which, in the state of Arizona, is the market value calculation.

How it works

Once a new car is driven off the lot, it immediately depreciates in value, sometimes as much as 30 percent within the first few months. If a vehicle were totaled in a collision, GAP insurance would cover the difference between what is owed and the vehicle’s estimated worth. This means you won’t be held responsible for paying the difference.

Who should have Gap insurance?

In most cases, GAP insurance is relatively low cost and can ultimately save you thousands of dollars.

People who are leasing cars or who have financed their vehicles should have GAP insurance–especially if the car is a newer, more expensive model that depreciates rapidly.

Others who should consider GAP insurance are people who drive more than the average 15,000 miles annually or who have financed for 60 months or more.

Remember that there are limits on the amount that a GAP insurance policy will cover. You should check with your auto insurance provider for details. Some policies require comprehensive coverage on your personal policy.

This information is provided by Hollingsworth Kelly to help you select the right coverage for your auto insurance needs. All insurance decisions should be discussed with your auto insurance agent so that you can make an informed decision to best suit your needs. This information is not intended to serve as legal advice.

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Safety Items You Should Always Carry in Your Car

There are certain safety items you should always carry in your car – you never know when there may be an emergency or you’re involved in a car accident.

  • Flashlight
  • Pen and notepad
  • Auto insurance card
  • Vehicle registration
  • Emergency contact numbers
  • Road flares
  • Tire gauge

For those who want to be additionally prepared, auto supply stores and websites offer emergency vehicle kits at affordable prices.

Auto Insurance Terms

Auto insurance terms can be confusing. Here are some of the most common items you’ll come across.

Liability Coverage – If you are at fault for an accident, your insurance company will pay for the other party’s injuries and damages, up to the limits of your policy. Arizona law requires that vehicles carry a minimum $15,000/$30,000 policy. This means that for each occurrence, the maximum payment made on an individual claim will be $15,000, but no more than $30,000 will be paid for all claims combined, whether there are two, three or even more claimants.

Uninsured (UM) motorist coverage – If you are injured by a motorist who does not have liability coverage, your insurance company will pay for your injuries and damages.

Underinsured (UIM) motorist coverage – If you are injured by a motorist who has auto insurance but your injury damage exceed the value of his/her policy, you can make a claim against your own auto insurance policy.

Medical payments (Med Pay) coverage – This coverage will pay for medical expenses resulting from an auto accident for you or anyone in your household, and any passengers in your vehicle, no matter who is at fault.

Property Damage – Will pay for damage you cause to another vehicle. In Arizona the minimum amount required is $10,000.

Comprehensive – Will pay for damage to your vehicle for anything other than a collision, or for the theft of your vehicle. If you are still making payments on your vehicle you are required by your lender to carry Collision and Comprehensive coverage.

Collision – Will cover your vehicle if it is damaged in an auto accident.

Towing and Car Rental – Towing will cover the towing of your vehicle if it breaks down or is involved in an auto accident. Car rental will cover a predetermined amount to be paid toward a rental car of a specific number of days if your vehicle is damaged and undriveable after an auto accident. The minimum amount recommended is $25 per day for approximately 30 days.

This information is provided by the Hollingsworth Kelly to help you select the right coverage for your auto insurance needs. All too often, we see people who are injured by someone who does not have adequate insurance coverage. All insurance decisions should be discussed with your auto insurance agent so that you can make an informed decision to best suit your needs. This information is not intended to serve as legal advice.