How to Get the Injury Care and Settlement You Deserve After an Auto Accident

Car Crash Treatment

An auto accident that resulted from another driver’s reckless actions can be anywhere from mildly annoying to all-out frustrating and overwhelming. If you’ve been an auto accident and were hit by another driver, you shouldn’t be responsible for paying for the damages that result from the crash or for any of the care needed in the aftermath of the accident.

If you suffered injuries that require acute or long-term treatment, those expenses shouldn’t be your financial responsibility. However, if you’re not careful, an insurance company could take advantage of you, and leave you to foot the bill for your injuries and damages.

You can optimize your chances of getting full compensation by following these recommendations.

Contact the Police and Get Documentation

No matter how minor or severe the accident, it is in your best interests to contact the police as soon as possible. Even if the driver that caused the wreck apologized, shared insurance information, and admitted fault, you need to have the authority’s documentation. An insurance company might be able to dispute who was responsible for the accident if there was no police report documenting the details.

A police report should have the details of the accident and the other driver’s personal and insurance information. Additionally, police officers on the scene may ticket the reckless driver. A ticket, along with the police report, will be solid proof that you were the victim or injured party in the crash.

You may also wish to do your own documentation, such as taking pictures with your phone. Photographic evidence of damages can provide further proof that you did not cause the accident. While you’re still at the accident scene, collect as much evidence as you can.

When you see a chiropractor for evaluation and treatment, talk with your insurance company, or hire a personal injury lawyer, this documentation can provide a foundation for building your case.

See a Chiropractor Immediately

Medical evaluation after a motor vehicle accident is essential. If your injuries are severe, you may need to go to the emergency room or be taken there by an ambulance. Injuries that are less severe can be handled by a doctor of chiropractic care.

Many chiropractors are experienced in evaluating and treating the injuries that happen as a result of an auto accident. Chiropractors treat injuries to the musculoskeletal system, the system of the body consisting of the skeleton and the musculature surrounding it.

Chiropractors use spinal adjustments to restore alignment and function to the spine so that your body functions optimally. They may also use other complementary treatments as part of a comprehensive plan.

Not only do chiropractic physicians and their team treat your pain symptoms and injuries, but they also keep detailed records of your treatment and progress. They also work with insurance companies and personal injury lawyers to make sure you get the financial compensation you deserve for your injuries and medical bills.

If you have been injured in an auto accident and need car crash treatment Baltimore, MD offers, call a chiropractor to set up an injury consultation.

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Mid Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic for their insight into chiropractic care for auto accidents.

Bicyclist Safety: Is It Too Risky to Travel on Two Wheels?

Personal Injury Lawyer

Those who are interested in riding a bicycle as means of transportation, may wonder if the benefits are worth the potential risks. It is not uncommon to hear about a tragic accident that involved a car driver and bicyclist, where in most cases the rider sustained the very worst of the injuries. The fact is, when put up against the tough exterior of a car, the human body just doesn’t have much of a chance at coming out of that impact unscathed.

One of the major ways that bicyclists can feel more comfortable traveling on two wheels, is by practicing safety. Here is a list of ways that a bicyclist can help lessen their chances of being hit by a car driver when sharing the road:

  • The size of the bicycle should be appropriate in correlation to the rider’s size. Handlebars and seating must be adjusted as needed for easy maneuvering.
  • A helmet that is federally-approved for safety must be worn at all times. Those who not wear helmets are significantly more likely to endure head injuries that can turn fatal, compared to those who have head protection.
  • Bicyclists should learn how to use hand signals and move through traffic as if they were any other motorist. For example, bicyclists must also wait for a green light at an intersection, use their hand to signal, and halt at stop signs before moving through.
  • Regular maintenance should be done on the bicycle, and brakes or reflectors examined before each ride.
  • If possible, a bicyclist should opt to ride among residential areas instead of busy highways or city streets.
  • Bicyclists must create a safe distance between themselves and the vehicle ahead.
  • Refrain from wearing headphones or using a cell device that may distract from the road, honks, an ambulance, or other warnings. All bicyclists must maintain consistent focus and alertness to what is going on in their surroundings.
  • Bicyclists can use the entire lane, not the far side of the street, to help make themselves more visible to car drivers.
  • Being wary of trucks or buses as these types of vehicles have larger blind spots than passenger cars.

What To Do If An Accident Happens

Unfortunately, bicyclists are still at-risk for being hit by a car even if they take safety into consideration. This is because the one main variable which cannot be controlled, is how a car driver chooses to operate his or her vehicle. In the event of a bicyclist accident, call 911 for help and get evaluated by an ambulance team. Handle the scene just as if it was a car accident that happened, such as getting the driver’s information, requesting a police report, seeing a doctor, and then consulting with an attorney about your legal options.

A bicyclist can seek financial compensation for medical bills and damages from the car driver at-fault, through filing a civil lawsuit. The costs for injuries associated with bicycle accidents can be steep, so meeting with a personal injury lawyer Charlottesville, VA relies on for guidance is a pivotal step in recovering both physically and financially from the incident.

Thank you to our friends and contributors at MartinWren, P.C. for their insight into personal injury claims and the risks of riding a bicycle.

Tips for Finding a Top Product Liability Attorney

Personal Injury Lawyer

Sustaining an injury as the result of a defective product can leave you feeling completely lost. It can be difficult to determine where to turn or who to take action against. It’s likely that the product that caused you problems or injury was backed by a large company. To go up against a huge conglomerate can be stressful which is why it’s so important that plaintiffs access the services of an attorney with experience in this area of the law. Here are some tips for finding the right product liability attorney for you:

Tip #1

Carefully conduct your research before settling on an attorney. The last thing you want to end up with is an attorney who is not skilled in product liability law or who does not have the experience you require for the magnitude of your case.

Tip #2

Look for an attorney who has experience with product liability cases. Ask for referrals from clients, ask to see their track record. Any reputable attorney should be able to provide you with this information.

Tip #3

Carefully research prospective attorneys. You want to find the right one from the start. Changing cases in the middle of your legal entanglement can have a serious impact on your case. Conduct internet searches of attorneys you are interested in. Review their websites and search for online reviews.

Tip #4

Ask people you know for recommendations. Someone you know may have had experience in working with an attorney, because of this, they may have had a positive experience. Even if the attorney they worked with doesn’t practice product liability law, they may be able to refer you to an attorney who does.

Tip #5

Do you know people who work in the legal field? Often people who frequently interface with attorneys or legal cases may have vast knowledge of the reputations and skills of attorneys in your area. Ask them for advice on prospective attorneys, they may be able to help point you in the right direction.

Tip #6

Prepare yourself for your legal consultation. The consultation with prospective attorneys allows for them to assess your case and determine if they are willing to take you on as a client. However, it’s important to remember that it is also the time for you to determine if they have the skills and experience you are looking for. Prepare a list of questions to ask the attorney. It will also be important that you come prepared with key details to your case that allows them to weigh in regarding whether you have a strong enough case to take to court.

Tip #7

Always take advantage of the consultation offered by attorneys. This gives you the opportunity to not only ask questions but to determine if they feel like the right fit for you.

During a time that seems uncertain, the right Charlottesville, VA product defect lawyer can help you to understand each step to the process. Product liability cases can quickly become complicated, especially in the event that you are suing multiple parties for the role they played in the damages you face. Have an attorney by your side who is passionate, loyal and empathetic to your needs.

 


 

Thank you to our friends and contributors at MartinWren, P.C. for their insight into product liability and tips for finding an attorney.

Denial of Insurance Claims

Car Accident Lawyer

You were in an accident recently, and you are certain you were not at fault. But the other driver and their insurance company see things differently. Does this mean your case is going to go to trial?

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for the other driver’s insurance company to deny liability for the accident, even in what seems to be a clear-cut case. This article describes some of the key elements of a car accident claim where the insurance company for the other driver is contesting liability.

Reasons Why the Insurance Company May Deny Your Claim

There are many reasons the other insurance company will contest liability. Usually, these reasons are in two categories. The first is the insurance claims adjuster thinks the claim does not have merit or hopes that you will not pursue the claim. The adjuster could also have eyewitness testimony or think its client’s version of the accident is what occurred. The latter is common if there was no official police report.

Some of the other possible reasons the insurance company may contest liability are:

  • Policy exclusions: If an auto insurance policy excludes ‘acts of God’, the insurance company might argue that this is what caused the accident and not the negligence of their client.
  • Policy lapse: If the other driver did not pay their premium on time, the insurance company can claim there was no coverage when the accident happened.
  • Did not notify insurer on a timely basis: Policies usually state how soon a car accident needs to be reported for it to be cover. It is important for you to inform the other driver’s insurance company immediately after the accident.

What to Do If the Insurance Company Denies Liability

If they deny your claim, you will probably need to hire a personal injury attorney, if you want to fight the denial. This does not necessarily mean your personal injury claim will go to trial. Having an effective car accident attorney in your corner can nudge the insurance company towards offering a favorable settlement. A claim from an experienced attorney carries weight and will probably be taken more seriously than if it comes from you. But it is a possibility that, if all else fails, the case could go before a judge.

Your attorney may draft a demand letter. This is a more formal claim for monetary compensation that details your version of the accident, the amount of property damage and injuries you have incurred, and why the other driver was negligent. The insurer will usually feel compelled to offer a reason why liability is being denied, or it might even reverse its decision.

Does It Make Sense to File a Lawsuit?

If the insurance company for the other driver is denying liability, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the insurer. Whether it is worth it or not depends upon the extent of your injuries and the property damage you have. In minor accidents, the cost of a personal injury lawsuit could outweigh what you could receive in damages. But in more serious accidents, filing a lawsuit and even going to trial may be well worth it.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

An experienced car accident lawyer Milwaukee, WI offers is dedicated to helping injured clients when they most need it, such as when the other insurance company denies liability even in a clear-cut accident. Many of our clients are struggling emotionally and financially after a serious accident, and they need help. They take pride in assisting victims in getting as much compensation as they deserve. Contact a car accident attorney today for a free and confidential consultation.

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Hickey & Turim, SC for their insight into car accident cases and denied insurance claims.

Tips for Driving Safely Around a Tractor Trailer

Truck Accident Lawyer

Driving around tractor trailers can be nerve wracking and even a bit frustrating to say the least. In some cases, drivers may even lose sight of the importance of practicing safe driving when sharing the road with tractor trailers. A lawyer has provided you with the following tips for handling motor vehicles around tractor trailers:

Tip #1 Avoid Blind Spots

Tractor trailers come equipped with a significant number of blind spots. Because of this, truck drivers may make decisions to move the truck without having awareness that you may be in the way. Having an awareness of a tractor trailer’s blind spots can help drivers avoid the likelihood of an accident. When driving near a truck, always try to stay out of their blind spots. A good standard to keep in mind is that if you are unable to see the truck’s mirrors, they are likely unable to see you. Tips for avoiding blind spots include:

  • Stay 30 feet away from the rear of a truck
  • Try to pass on the left side whenever possible
  • Keep away from the truck’s side mirrors

Tip #2 Do Not Brake Suddenly

Whenever possible, try not to slam on your brakes in front of a tractor trailer. In some cases, braking in front of a tractor trailer may be necessary. However, it’s important to try to move out of the way should this occur. This could provide truck driver with the ability to stop the truck in time.

Tip #3 Move Fast When Passing

Because of the number of blind spots a tractor trailer may have, taking too long to pass a large truck can impact their ability to see you. Even though it may seem apparent that you are next to them, they may not be able to. If they are unable to see you in the lane next to them, they could suddenly change lanes. Should this occur, a collision with a tractor trailer could be imminent.

Tip #4 Do Not Pull Too Closely in Front of Them

Pulling in front of a truck can be dangerous for a variety of reasons. This is often a common behavior many drivers engage in. What many do not realize is how quickly this could cause a collision. Trucks do not have the ability to stop such an expansive truck so quickly, which could result in a driver being hit from behind.

Tip #5 Keep Your Distance

Following too closely behind a tractor trailer can be dangerous, especially when faced with a potential hazard. Following too closely inhibit the truck driver’s ability to see you. Additionally,  it can also reduce your ability to respond in time should a tractor trailer make an unexpected maneuver. Because trucks sit higher off the road, should you rear end a truck, the vehicle can be caught underneath the tractor trailer.  

Tip #6 Pay Attention

When driving behind the wheel of a car, it’s always important to pay attention to your surroundings. However, when sharing the road with tractor trailers, it’s especially important to pay close attention, carefully utilizing defensive driving skills. Having the ability to react when faced with a potential hazard at the hands of a tractor trailer driver can potentially help driver’s protect themselves when faced with a collision.

When approaching a tractor trailer, it’s important to always proceed with caution. While many tractor trailers have the ability to share the road with other drivers, the unexpected can occur. Sometimes, even the most responsible drivers stand to experience tractor trailer accidents. Contact a truck accident lawyer Silver Spring, MD offers today to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for their insight into trucking accidents and tips for driving safely around trucks.

 

Who is at fault for slip and falls on public property?

Slip and Fall Lawyer

According to the National Floor Safety Institute, accidents resulting from falls are responsible for more than eight million visits to the emergency room every year. That’s roughly 21.3% of all visits to the emergency room, with slip and fall specific personal injuries accounting for 12% of those accidents. Victims of slip and falls are often inclined to downplay their injuries due to embarrassment, however, these are serious accidents that can result in significant injuries and financial compensation to cover resulting medical bills should be sought. Let’s take a look at who is at fault for slip and falls on public property.

Public Sidewalks

Negligence is a big contributing factor to slip and fall accidents. Falling as a result of broken or poorly-laid cement is often the result of negligence on the part of either the property owner or the individual who laid the sidewalks. Victims of this kind of slip and fall accidents should move quickly to assess their case and file a claim if they hope to receive compensation.

Government-Owned Property

Some property that is widely considered “public use” is actually land owned by the government at a local, state, or federal level. Falling on this kind of property has different implications than falling on a public sidewalk. Regardless of who owns the property, the same general rules that govern slip and fall personal injury cases should apply. Government-owned land that is open for use by the public must be carefully maintained in order to present visitors with a reasonably safe environment. With that said, the rules for suing the government are different from the rules that govern other public slip and fall cases.

Notice and Time Deadlines for Government-Owned Property

As mentioned above, there are different rules to keep in mind when an individual is injured on government-owned property. The amount of time victims have to file a notice and legal claim, for example, is often much shorter than it would be if the defendant was another entity or a private citizen. More specifically, victims are often required to file an official notice of injury. This usually needs to be done within 30 days from the date of the accident. It is only after this notice has been received by the government entity in question and is either formally denied or no action is taken, that a victim can file a lawsuit.

Personal injury cases on public property is a bit more complicated than personal injury cases that occur on privately-owned property. It’s important to have an experienced personal injury lawyer Brookhaven, GA offers on your side to ensure you have the best chance possible at recovering compensation.

 


 

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Butler | Tobin for their insight into personal injury cases and slip and fall accidents.

Understanding Structured Settlements

 

Structured settlements are a common type of settlement option for car accident victims. Because these types of settlements are paid out over the course of time, you will want to carefully review your specific situation with an attorney, like a personal injury lawyer in Phoenix, to determine if a structured settlement is in your best interest. Although structured settlements can be the right option for many accident victims, you may choose to negotiate a lump sum depending upon your case.

 

What is a structured settlement?

When a car accident victim is able to prove the person who injured them is liable for damages, you may be offered a structured settlement. A structured settlement is when compensation from a lawsuit is paid out over a series of installments. Timeframes for installment payments can vary. In some cases, you may choose to receive payments monthly or even yearly. In some cases, settlement payments may be received over the course of an accident victim’s lifetime. An accident attorney can work to negotiate the terms of a victim’s structure settlement. Such terms can include:

 

  • The length of time payments will be received
  • Payment frequency
  • Whether payments from a structured settlement will pass on to loved ones

 

An attorney can provide you with help in determining whether a structured settlement is right for you. In some cases, receiving a lump sum settlement can be more beneficial for those in need of immediate financial relief.

 

Should I accept a structured settlement?

If you receive a structured settlement offer, it will be important to review the offer with your accident attorney. In some cases, structured settlements can be an attractive option for the insurance company you are negotiating with. As a result, it may be possible to secure a higher settlement. In some cases, a structured settlement may be appropriate for an accident victim because it ensures that you will not spend the settlement too quickly.

 

What are the advantages to a structured settlement?
Structured settlement payments can be a viable option for many accident victims. They offer a number of advantages to those who have been harmed in an accident. Advantages can include:

 

  • Providing victims with tax benefits
  • Consistent and timely payments
  • Settlements have the ability to offer a combination of both lump sum and structured settlement payments
  • Can help in negotiating with insurance companies and may ultimately result in both parties reaching an agreement faster

 

How do I know my settlement offer is fair?

Regardless of whether you are pursuing a lump sum or structured settlement, you will need to know if the offer from the insurance company is fair. This is where an attorney can be critical to helping accident victims to weigh their options. No accident victim wants to walk away with a settlement offer that doesn’t help to recoup losses. An attorney can review, value and negotiate the claim so that you are able to retain the compensation you deserve.

 

Are you considering whether to pursue a structured settlement offer? If you have suffered a car accident, chances are you have withstood losses that have set you back considerably. A car accident attorney can help you to not only manage your case but to understand the difference between lump sum settlements and structured settlement offers. This can allow for you to make the best and most informed decision based on your situation.

 

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Rispoli Law PLLC for their insight into personal injury practice.

Can I Sue a Driver Who Hit Me While Riding My Bike?

Personal Injury Lawyer

Traveling via bicycle is an increasingly popular way that many people get where they need to be, that is both eco friendly and good for your health. Some riders may use bikes as means of primary transportation, traveling dozens of miles every single day. During these rides, a bicyclist must be alert to surroundings at all times. Even the most seasoned bicyclist who wears gear and practices safety strategies, may be part of a tragic accident if a driver was being reckless. Bicyclists who have been hit by a car may consider hiring a lawyer and filing a lawsuit against the car driver.

What are some actions I can take to prevent being hit by a car?

Watching a car rapidly approach in your direction while riding a bike, may be one of the scariest things any person can experience. The human body is fragile in comparison to the sturdy material that car exteriors are made out of. Here are some safety tactics you can utilize while riding your bike:

  • Wearing protective yet flexible gear, especially gloves with grip and a safety-approved helmet
  • Riding in the same direction that traffic is flowing
  • Not wearing headphones for music, talking on the phone or anything else that could be a distraction while riding
  • Attach a flickering light especially while riding at night, to become more visible to drivers sharing the road
  • Avoiding riding during severe weather inclements (snow, rain, ice, winds)

What injuries are common for bicycle accidents?

The injuries commonly associated with bicycle accidents can be serious and require emergency medical care. It may be in the best interest of the bicyclist to call for medical attention or go to the nearest hospital, even if he or she feels okay after impact. In the hours or days following the accident, signs of serious injuries may finally become noticeable. By getting a medical exam soon after, it can help prevent any underlying conditions from worsening.

Should I be wary if I get calls from insurance adjusters?

After you have filed a claim for the bicycle accident, you may receive calls from insurance adjusters asking for a statement about what happened. These representatives may appear very friendly and concerned for you, when in actuality are looking for you to say something so they can minimized or deny your claim entirely. If you hire a lawyer, he or she can help protect you from such misleading phone calls.

How do I know whether I need a lawyer to help me out?

A lawyer can be of help for a bicyclist who has lost money because of the accident, including costs for medical care, loss of wage from missing work and bicycle repairs. If your injuries surpassed what a first aid kit can fix and want repayment for what you paid for out-of-pocket, then seeking legal counsel may be a good idea. A bicycle accident lawyer St. Paul, MN trusts can consult with you further about the accident, to help you decide whether filing a civil lawsuit against the driver is what you want to do.

 


 

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Johnston | Martineau, PLLP for their insight into personal injury claims and bicycle accident injuries.

Personal Injury Claim After a Sexual Assault

Personal Injury Lawyer

Unfortunately, many people are the victims of sexual assault every day and one of the most important things to remember is that a sexual assault does not occur because of the victim. Those who are victims of sexual assault can feel hopeless or embarrassed. They might be unsure of what to do after someone has assaulted them. Should they tell someone? Will family or police officers believe them? Is there proof? After being sexually assaulted, a person has the right to file a claim against their attacker to receive damages. So, what is sexual assault? It can come in many forms, but a common definition of sexual assault is any type of unwanted sexual contact or behavior against someone who did not clearly consent to what is going on. This can take the form of:

  • One person forcing another person to perform some type of sexual act against the
    perpetrator or against another object.
  • Unwanted sexual touching or fondling of the victim.
  • Attempted rape, and
  • Rape of the victim.

How Can the Victim Report the Sexual Assault?

After the assault, there are several ways a victim can report it. These are:

  1. Calling 9-1-1. If the assault just occurred and you believe you are still in any immediate danger, call 9-1-1 to get help your way immediately.
  2. Calling Your Local Police Department. You can also call the direct line to your local police station or even visit the police station in person after the assault has occurred.
  3. Going To a Doctor’s Office. One of the most important things you can do after being sexually assaulted is going to a hospital or doctor’s office. The doctor can document your injuries, give you a rape test, and start you on your way to healing. This is also an important step to take if you plan on filing a claim after the assault.

How Long Do I Have To Report the Crime Or File My Claim?

After the assault, you should move quickly to report what happened to the police and file a sexual assault claim. There is a statute of limitations on filing these claims and it is imperative that you found out your state laws on this statute.

What Kind Of Compensation Can a Victim Receive?

When the victim is making a claim, they are entitled to certain kinds of compensation, including compensatory damages and even punitive damages. They could be seeking this for their:

  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages
  • Psychological scarring
  • Physical Injuries
  • Lost Earning Capacity
  • Pain and Suffering

In some cases, the spouse or domestic partner of the victim may even be able to sue the offender for a loss of consortium after the assault.

What Are the Next Steps?

Being a victim of sexual assault can be overwhelming and make you feel lonely. It is imperative that in addition to filing a lawsuit against the assaulter you also seek help for yourself both physical, mentally, and emotionally. A sexual assault lawyer Washington, DC offers can help you on your path to healing by filing a claim.

 


 

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for their insight into personal injury claims and sexual assault.

Legal Help When an Employer Retaliates After Workers’ Compensation

Workers Compensation Attorney

While filing for and receiving workers’ compensation benefits can sometimes be incredibly difficult, this is not always the hardest part of your workers’ compensation claim. In some cases, you might get your workers’ compensation benefits and return to work only to have your employer retaliate against you in some way. While it is mandatory for almost all businesses to have workers’ compensation benefits for their injured employees, not all employers are happy to help.

What Types of Workplace Retaliation Are There?

When you get back to work after claiming your workers’ compensation benefits, you might get back to an unhappy boss who is resentful toward you. He or she might believe that you used these benefits to get a paycheck and take time off. When this is the case, an employer will likely avoid outright acts of retaliation such as firing. However, retaliation can come in the form of something much more discreet. For example:

  • Refusing to accommodate the employee with their medical limitations
  • Demoting the employee
  • Changing the employee’s shifts to a time that is intentionally harder
  • Evaluating the employee with stricter and more unreasonable standards than other employees
  • Specifically targeting the employee regarding disciplinary citations or penalties

Not only are these more discreet examples of workers’ compensation retaliation, but they can encourage the employee to quit instead of having management outright fire them.

How Can We Prove an Employer’s Retaliation?

In some cases, it can be very challenging to prove that an employer has retaliated against an employee after receiving workers’ compensation benefits. However, there are a few ways we can prove this. Some of the ways an employee can prove unfair treatment or retaliation is:

  • The employee had legal rights to receive their workers’ compensation benefits.
  • They were legally allowed to receive the benefits because the employee followed the appropriate steps and the claim was filed in time.
  • The employer retaliated against the employee in some way, like being fired or being unjustly demoted.
  • This retaliation was directly linked to the claim for workers’ compensation benefits.

Get the Right Legal Help For Your Case

If circumstances caused you to be injured on the job and you legally received your workers’ compensation benefits, the law entitles you to use those benefits and heal from your injury. However, if you believe your employer is using your workers’ compensation against you and is retaliating, we are here to help. We believe injured employees have the right to use their employer’s workers’ compensation benefits without fear of retaliation. If you believe you have been the victim of retaliation, look no further for help. Contact experienced workers comp lawyers Milwaukee, WI relies on to get started on your claim.

 


 

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Hickey & Turim, SC for their insight into workers compensation claims.