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Personal Injury Blog

Important Steps to Take After Your Child is Injured in a School Bus Accident

Thursday, May 17, 2018

We like to think that school buses and the schools themselves are the safest places in the world. While recent news has proven that the safety of public schools is deeply flawed, this there is no question that school buses can have their issues as well. After all, the roadways are a dangerous place.

While many school bus drivers keep their passengers very safe through safe driving, they are not the only drivers on the road. Any driver can cause an accident and unfortunately, school buses are not always overflowing with safety features. While what safety features they do have may help prevent fatalities, they don't always go a long way to prevent injury. This means that if your child is in a school bus accident, they have a much higher chance of being injured. This is a breach of trust between you and the people you trust to keep your child safe, and when that trust is breached, you should pursue them for compensation. So what steps should you take when your child is injured in a school bus crash?

Seek Medical Treatment

If there was a bus crash and your child was injured, ideal they should be treated before you even know they were in a crash. However, the most important thing will always be to make sure your child gets the medical attention they need to heal to the best of their ability, and worry about everything else second. However, if you intend to pursue compensation, be sure to keep track of doctors, treatments, and medical bills so you can potentially get reimbursed from a personal injury lawsuit.

Document the Injuries

After your child has been seen by a doctor and all their injuries have been treated, you will strongly want to consider snapping a few pictures of the injuries. In personal injury cases that involve children, visual proof of the injuries can really tug at the heartstrings. Document everything from bruises and stitches to broken bones. It is one thing to read off a list of injuries from a piece of paper, but it is quite another to be able to show how badly your child was hurt.

Document the Accident

Often parents of children injured in school bus accidents don't know what actually happened unless they probe into it a bit. If you intend to pursue compensation to cover your child's medical bills, you need to find out what happened in the accident, who is at fault, and how well the accident itself was documented. As school buses carry so many young passengers, police will often flood the scene, meaning there will be a police report that can be pulled. This will detail all the crucial pieces of the accident as well as list any witnesses to an accident. Police reports are a crucial pieces of evidence to prove and support your case.

Contact a Lawyer

If your child was injured in a school bus accident, you will want to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after your child's injuries have been treated. The unique thing about school bus accidents is that often there will be quite a few other parents seeking to take the same legal action. This means that instead of taking the case to court and risking a number of high award amounts given by the courts, the responsible party for the accident may try to settle with as many parents as possible. In cases that involve children, often the odds are stacked high against those responsible.

If your child has been in a school bus accident and you want to seek compensation to cover their injuries, contact us today.

Necessary Evidence in Personal Injury Cases

Thursday, May 10, 2018

A workers' compensation claim is a civil lawsuit. In all but the most blatant and obvious cases, the defendant is going to engage legal support to show that your claim is frivolous. As in all civil legal actions, you will have to have evidence to present to the hearing.

The evidence you have received, necessary medical attention and rehabilitation.

There are certain ironies in the workers' compensation system. The system is designed to compensate you for the cost of treatment for your injury. If you have not received treatment or you can't afford treatment, the workers' compensation system will not compensate you. The best advice is to receive medical treatment and begin rehabilitation immediately after the injury. If you have not received treatment, the system will assume that treatment was not necessary.

  • The most important documentation you need is not the diagnostic information, but evidence that you have received and paid for treatment for the injury.
  • Financial information associated with the cost of treatment is the most significant evidence. 
  • After cost evidence is evidence of income loss due to your injury.
  • Medical status reports that show how far you have progressed with treatment and how much additional treatment you will require. The workers' compensation law calls for payment to continue until you have achieved full recovery.

What kind of evidence do you need?

The evidence you present to the hearing must be substantive documentation. Begin collecting written documentation right away.

  • Medical records and reports from a medical professional that describe the nature of your condition, how much it affects your ability to function normally, how it is being treated and how much you have recovered. The effort to get help for your condition is the most substantial evidence that you deserve benefits to compensate you.
  • You should collect and have available any accident or incident reports that describe how you were injured or what brought about your disabled condition. Your insurance company, the police, or another investigating body will probably have detailed records.
  • Employment and pay records to show how much income and work hours you have lost because of your condition. Worker's compensation is designed to provide you with income to make up for losses due to your condition. You must support the claim to define just how much income you have lost.
  • Collect witness testimony from anyone who saw the incident that caused the injury. At least get their contact information so the hearing can obtain their statements. It is desirable to have all witnesses write, sign and date statements that explain what they saw in as much detail as possible.
  • Print and keep all emails from insurance adjusters or from your employer relevant to your injury. You can initiate phone inquiries to people with knowledge of your case as well. Keep a log of any calls you make with date and time of the call, who you spoke with and the nature of the conversation. You have to make sure that you can prove you have upheld your implicit agreement to stay in contact with your insurance company and interested parties in your case.

What Could Happen?

Sometimes workers compensation cases can actually be legal contests. 

  • In one case, a worker injured the discs in her spine while working in an office environment. She received and documented back fusion surgery for which her insurance company paid. She received weekly workers' compensation while out of work. Her total compensation amounted to about $17,000.  This payment did not reflect her real continued losses. She was receiving a weekly payment less than her wages would have been. The impairment rating from the doctor the company used in her case underestimated the extent of the injury. She took legal action to buttress her case. After a legal battle, the compensation was increased to $130,000, which more nearly matched her real losses due to the injury.
  • A construction worker fractured his arm at work. The company told him they would "take care of him" and that he should not report this as a work-related injury. He told the hospital that he injured his arm at a sport. As he recovered, he found he was receiving no weekly income support and no one was paying his medical bills. Because of his statement, the hospital records did not support his workers' compensation claim. The worker contacted legal counsel who worked with him to find witnesses, obtaining depositions that would hold up in court about the incident and records of his treatment and costs. Eventually, the employer and its insurance company were obliged to pay the complete medical bills and provide weekly compensation.

Freeman & Freeman, Los Angeles personal injury attorneys are on your side in even the most challenging legal situations. Our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys focus on representing injury victims throughout Southern California.  Please contact us for a free consultation and to learn more.

Why Didn't My Air Bag Deploy in an Accident?

Thursday, May 03, 2018

If you have been in an auto accident, the last thing you will be thinking at the time is why your airbag isn't full on in your face. However, after things calm down, it might begin to beg for your attention. After all, if your crash had been worse, you wouldn't have had the protection that an airbag is supposed to provide. This might make you wonder why it didn't deploy? Is it a defect? Could you have been in danger?

5 Reasons Why Your Air Bag Didn't Deploy

When an air bag fails to deploy in a crash, there are five major reasons for it. One of them is pretty innocent and the other four are a little more dangerous. If you are wondering why your air bag didn't deploy, consider these causes.

  • Type and Severity of the Collision - Whether or not the air bags deploy can often depend on the crash itself. If you didn't collide hard enough to trigger the sensors, the air bags won't deploy. Furthermore, you may have been hit in an area where the sensors won't trigger. In rear and side collisions, the frontal air bags have less of a chance of triggering.
  • Defective Sensors - If you were in a crash where the air bags should have deployed and indeed would have helped lessen injury, then you may be looking at defective sensors. Improper testing, design, installation, and even software calibration can result in the sensors not firing when they should.
  • Defective Electrical - Sometimes a sensor and other parts work as they should, but the electrical in your car does not give them the juice they need to do their job properly. If electrical signals are not communicated properly, the air bags won't work properly. Usually, this is the case where one air bag deploys, but another does not.
  • Severed Wires - In particularly bad crashes, the wires that allow the sensors to detect and the air bags to deploy can become severed. If your crash was particularly sudden, then this can happen, although most manufacturers make it difficult to happen.
  • Defective Air Bag Modules - There have been incidents where the vehicles sent all the right signals, but the air bag module itself prevented itself from deploying.

What to Do When an Air Bag Didn't Deploy

If it can be determined that your air bag didn't deploy for a reason outside of a defect, then there isn't much you can do. However, if there was a defect with the module, the sensors, or even the wiring in your car that caused the bag not to deploy, you may be able to pursue compensation. This is particularly true if the air bag that failed to deploy can be shown to have lead to increased injury from the crash.

On top of a personal injury suit for the crash, you may also be able to pursue a separate suit against the manufacturer. This means you can recover extra compensation from the manufacturer for defects. However, this will be void if they have already sent out recalls that you ignored, such as with the Takata air bag recalls.

Need Help?

Have you been in an accident where your air bag didn't deploy and you believe it lead to further injury? If your vehicle can be investigated and it can be determined that a defect caused the air bags not to deploy, we may be able to help you recover compensation for injuries that never should have happened. If you have been in an accident in the Los Angeles area, contact us today to see what we at the Law Office of Freeman and Freeman can do for you.

What is the Difference Between Punitive and Compensatory Damages?

Thursday, April 19, 2018

If you have been hurt due to the negligence of another person, then personal injury law states you can take them to court. Therein, if negligence can be proved, you can recover compensation for any injuries or damage to your property that you sustained from the accident. However, what most people don't realize is that there is actually two types of compensation that you can recover during a personal injury case, compensatory and punitive. Before you begin your case, it is important to know the difference between them so you can know exactly what to fight for.

Compensatory Damages

When you think of the funds you require after an accident to pay your medical bills or fix up your car, you are thinking of compensatory damages. In personal injury cases, you definitely won't be getting rich from compensatory damages. Instead, they are paid out to help make you whole from the loss after the accident. The reason personal injury law exists is that if someone else caused an accident and caused you harm, the law says it is not fair that you should have to pay for it. With compensatory damages, you don't. You won't make a profit from the accident, but you won't have to pay the medical bills either.

There is some misconception that if people get hurt in an accident, they have somehow found a cash cow, but this is simply not true. In most personal injury cases, those that were injured will be compensated and won't be any better off than they were. The key is that you don't want to come out worse off after a personal injury settlement.

Punitive Damages

In personal injury cases, most people are very focused on compensatory damages, and that is as they should be. However, you may also get an award of punitive damages if your case goes to court. Punitive damages are meant to punish. Often you pursue compensatory damages, and if the court sees that amount as somehow inadequate, they can add punitive damages on top of it. In essence, punitive damages are awarded to send a message to the negligent party - don't do that again.

If you were, for example, involved in a drunk driving accident. Your personal injury case, held separate from the criminal DUI case, will seek compensatory damages for what was damaged. The judge may also see the drunk driver and seek to further punish them by adding punitive damages on top so they think twice before getting behind the wheel after drinking again.

Punitive damages just aren't for accidents of a criminal nature. A judge could be sympathetic to any accident and add on punitive damages. It is for this and many other reasons that most insurance companies want to keep personal injury cases out of court. However, you also should not try to push a personal injury case to court just because you hope for punitive damages either. The court process is long, expensive, and if you can get all your damages settled fairly out of court, then you should.

Need Help?

Have you been in accident in the Los Angeles area? Then you shouldn't just pay for your medical bills and other damages out of your own pocket. Personal injury law and the compensatory damages that you can recover exist for just that reason - so innocent people don't get stuck with the bill after an accident that is not their fault. If you have been in an accident and need help getting the compensation you deserve for your injuries, contact us today. Let the Law Office of Freeman and Freeman fight for you to make sure you aren't paying for your injuries out of your own pocket.

Steven Freeman Named as a "10 Best Personal Injury Attorneys in California For Client Satisfaction" Honoree

Monday, April 16, 2018

American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys Press Release

The American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys has recognized the exceptional performance of California’s Personal Injury Attorney Steven Mark Freeman as 2018 10 Best Personal Injury Attorneys for Client Satisfaction.

The American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys is a third-party attorney rating organization that publishes an annual list of the Top 10 Personal Injury attorneys in each state. Attorneys who are selected to the "10 Best" list must pass AIOPIA's rigorous selection process, which is based on client and/or peer nominations, thorough research, and AIOPIA’s independent evaluation. AIOPIA's annual list was created to be used as a resource for clients during the attorney selection process.

One of the most significant aspects of the selection process involves attorneys' relationships and reputation among his or her clients. As clients should be an attorney's top priority, AIOPIA places the utmost emphasis on selecting lawyers who have achieved significant success in the field of Personal Injury law without sacrificing the service and support they provide. Selection criteria therefore focus on attorneys who demonstrate the highest standards of Client Satisfaction.

We congratulate Steven Mark Freeman on this achievement and we are honored to have him as a 2018 AIOPIA Member.





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From our offices in Woodland Hills, California, Freeman & Freeman, LLP, provides legal advice and representation for clients in communities throughout the state, including those in Burbank, Glendale, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Tarzana, Santa Clarita, Agoura Hills, Reseda, Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Northridge, Granada Hills, Pacoima, Panorama City, North Hollywood, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Lancaster, Palmdale and Alhambra.