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Legal Protection for Bicycle Accidents

Thursday, May 12, 2016

An increasing number of people are commuting to work on bicycles in order to save fuel, as well as to get exercise en route. The number of leisure bicyclists is also increasing substantially. While biking is an admirable and beneficial activity, the unfortunate reality is that bicycle accidents are occurring at an alarming rate. In fact, bicyclists and pedestrians are hit by motor vehicles throughout the greater Los Angeles area on a near-daily basis.

The city has more than 1,200 miles of pathways that are specifically dedicated to bicyclists. However, many of these routes run along busy roadways where motor vehicles and bikes vie for space. In a statistical report that was compiled by the California Highway Patrol motor vehicle drivers were shown to be at fault approximately forty percent of the time where the bicyclist was seriously injured or sustained fatal injuries.

If you are injured in a bicycle accident in the Los Angeles metro area, your health and well-being are the first concern. It is advisable to seek medical attention immediately, even if you do not think you have been seriously injured. A trained professional physician can let you know the extent of the injury and advise you about the best ways in which to take care of yourself.

Here are some other things to do after a bike accident:

Documentation

As soon as possible after the accident, jot down when and where it happened. If possible, gather any names of people who were involved in or who witnessed what happened. If you have your cell phone or camera with you, it can help to take photos of the site where the accident occurred. Include pictures that show any damage to your body or property, and that, if possible, can be used to illustrate exactly how the accident occurred.

It is a good idea to call the police after a notable accident. They may be able to offer quick medical attention on the spot, if necessary, as well as to obtain any emergency services needed to treat any injuries. It is also important to file a police report at this time and to request a copy of the report to give to your attorney.

Any clothing worn at the time of the accident, the helmet or other related items should be kept so they can be used as evidence, if necessary. The same is true for receipts for bicycle repairs, replacements for protective equipment or accessories.

If the driver of the motor vehicle has insurance, chances are, you will receive a call from his or her insurance adjuster. At this time, one should obtain the name, address and contact information for the insurance carrier, as well as the claim number for the accident and any pertinent information. However, do not discuss any of the following or do the following when dealing with the insurance agent:

  • Do not discuss whose fault the accident was
  • Do not issue any general statements about the accident
  • Do not discuss settlements
  • Do not sign any forms

Instead, immediately call a qualified attorney who specializes in protecting those who have sustained personal injuries. If you are injured in a bicycle accident or would like to have more information, please contact us. We are a personal injury law firm serving Los Angeles and the surrounding metro areas, including the San Fernando Valley, Woodland Hills, Van Nuys, Encino, Thousand Oaks and North Hollywood.


Own a Pool? Follow These Steps to Protect Yourself Against Pool Injuries and Drowning Accidents on Your Property

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Enjoying your backyard swimming pool with friends and family members on a hot summer afternoon can be a welcome way to beat the heat, but nothing can make a pool owner's blood run cold like the thought of a serious pool injury or drowning accident occurring on his property. If you are a pool owner, there are important steps you can take to lessen the likelihood of a tragedy occurring in your own backyard oasis.

Check the Equipment

One of the best ways to prevent a swimming accident is to make sure all your equipment is in good working order. While the drain of a pool or spa may seem harmless enough, many drain cover of older pools and spas were designed in such a way that the entire flat cover could be completely blocked by a human torso. If completely blocked, the amount of suction could potentially be strong enough to hold a victim on the bottom of the pool. Newer anti-entrapment covers are required in public swimming pools. Unfortunately, many private pools still have not been retrofitted with a new, safer drain. If you have concerns about the safety of the drain in your pool or spa, contact a professional to have the drain checked and, if necessary, fitted with a new cover.

Additionally, keep lifesaving floatation devices and rescue poles in plain sight and easily accessible. If you do not own these important pieces of safety equipment, make it a priority to obtain them today.

Secure Your Pool

A fence is a basic deterrent. While it is likely that any determined person will be able to access your swimming area, a fence around your pool can send a powerful message for others to stay away, and the presence of a fence, or lack thereof, can affect your liability if a tragedy should occur on you property. Your fence should be at least four feet high, and gates should be both self-closing and self-latching. To prevent a determined child from pushing the gate open, gates should always swing out, away from the swimming area.

Educate Yourself And Others

Of course, one of the best ways to prevent a swimming injury or accidental drowning is to educate yourself and others regarding water safety. Post your poolside rules in a prominent place. Follow them, and insist that guests do the same. Educate yourself in the basics of CPR so you will be able to react quickly, calmly, and with confidence if an accident should occur.

Keeping your pool in good working order, and following proper safety procedures can help ensure that your pool remains an asset, and not a liability. If an accident has occurred on your property, and you are concerned with your legal rights, our staff is standing by to help. Don't hesitate to contact us today!


Bus Accidents Caused by Human Error are Common

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Bus Accidents happen every week in the Los Angeles area. Most of the time these accidents are just a result of bad luck, and no one gets hurt.

Statistics show that 90% of bus accidents are the result of human error, at least in part. Sometimes bus drivers get caught on video texting or taking personal calls on their mobile phones. Simple inattention and fatigue can contribute to bus drivers having accidents.

In February, a Redondo Beach bus driver accidentally hit and killed an 83-year-old putting another pedestrian in the hospital. The driver is now facing criminal charges connected with the accident.

In January, two passengers were ejected from a Greyhound bus that crashed near San Jose.

Other bus accidents end like the March 28 bus crash and fire in LA that resulted in a massive fire and injured two people.

With hundreds of buses moving students, tourists, and commuters around the metro area on any given day, there are plenty of opportunities for things to go wrong even without human error entering into the equation. Pedestrians and cyclists are especially vulnerable to being seriously injured or killed by careless bus drivers.

Bus passengers, pedestrians and other drivers cannot always assume that a bus has been well maintained. If not, bad brakes and worn tires can fail at a crucial moment and cause an accident. Bus passengers, pedestrians, and people in cars can be seriously injured, see their cars wrecked, and so on.

If you were injured by a negligent bus driver, don't hesitate to contact us and discuss your case with one of our experienced attorneys.


Do You Have a Wrongful Death Claim?

Friday, April 22, 2016

Have you recently lost a loved one and wonder if you would be able to bring a wrongful Death lawsuit to court? California law statutes can be confusing at best. Let's start at the beginning, and we'll help you determine if you just might have a case.

What Is Wrongful Death?

When someone dies due to the negligence or wrongful act of another, a wrongful death has occurred. This is a civil matter, not a criminal one. It is actually possible to bring forth a wrongful death lawsuit alongside a criminal trial proceeding. These two actions would be totally separate cases.

Who Can File a Lawsuit?

Not everyone can file a claim under this statute. The law gives the following people the ability to bring a lawsuit.

  • The deceased's spouse or domestic partner
  • The deceased's children
  • If there is no one directly in line to inherit the deceased's estate, then anyone who is entitled to the estate by intestate succession may file. This could include the deceased's parents, siblings, etc.

In addition to those listed above, the following people may bring a claim if they can prove they were financially dependent on the deceased.

  • An ex-spouse and their children
  • The deceased's parents
  • Step-children

What Damages Are Available?

Keep in mind, this is a civil case, not criminal. Any damages awarded will be monetary in nature. Money can be awarded to cover the funeral and final expenses, as well as future income that the deceased would have earned had they lived to a normal age.

Family members may also be entitled to financial compensation for loss of love, household services, and even moral support.

If you believe that you may have a wrongful death claim, please contact us for a consultation. We can help you work through the process and get the compensation you deserve from the negligent party.

Bicycle Accidents: Motorists May be Liable for Dooring

Friday, April 15, 2016

As more Americans realize the health and wellness benefits of bicycling, bicycle accidents are becoming more common. In most jurisdictions, bicycles must follow the same rules as cars and liability in an accident is determined using the same methods as in an accident involving two cars.

"Dooring" is a type of accident that primarily impacts bicycles. Dooring occurs when a motorist opens his door into traffic, either striking a cyclist or placing an obstacle in the cyclist's path. Dooring can cause severe injuries either through the direct impact or by pushing a cyclist in front of a moving vehicle.

The risk of dooring is exacerbated by the instructions that cyclists are often given about how to ride. Many state and local governments ask bicyclists to ride to the right of the lane. This places them in an area where they are at risk of being hit by a door.

Most jurisdictions have laws against unsafely opening a door into traffic. For instance, California's vehicle code 22517 states: "No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of such traffic...". Laws against unsafe opening of a door create an infraction that police or accident investigators can cite during an accident investigation. Such a citation can help to define liability during an accident.

If you have been hit by a car door while riding your bicycle, you may be due compensation for your injuries. To find out more, please contact us.


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Woodland Hills, CA 91367-7418

P: 818-992-2919
F: 818-992-2940


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.