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A Horrific California Tour Bus Accident Results in Multiple Fatalities

Friday, December 09, 2016

The California tour bus that rear-ended a semitrailer on a highway near Indian Canyon in California's Desert Hot Springs is believed to have been traveling at highway speeds at the time of this horrific bus accident in late October. At least 13 people died and many more suffered critical injuries when the bus slammed into the slow-moving truck. Investigators from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration will be investigating this accident for several more weeks before they issue their final report.

At least one news report about this bus accident indicated that the company which owned the tour bus had previously been sued twice for other crashes, one of which resulted in three fatalities. The bus driver in this accident owned the company that operated the bus, but he was also one of the fatalities in the accident.

Bus accidents like this one that happened on an open highway with no readily apparent safety risks raise the question of which parties bear the liability for the injuries and casualties suffered by the bus passengers. Early reports indicate that the bus that was involved in this accident had passed all required safety inspections and had not known mechanical issues that would have led to the crash. Individuals who were injured in the accident and families of those who died as a result of their injuries will likely seek legal remedies based on bus company's or the driver's alleged negligence in operating the bus.

Bus accidents pose a unique challenge for an attorney who represents an injured victim because the number of victims in any serious bus accident is likely to be larger than in a typical automobile accident. Multiple personal injury lawsuits will likely be filed following a bus accident, each of which will seek different amounts of damages as a function of each party's separate injuries. Competing negligence theories can complicate the resolution of the individual cases, whereas the single defendant will likely have a better opportunity to establish a uniform defense against all of the cases.

If you have suffered injuries in a bus accident or in any other large-scale accident that involved a single party's negligence, your best option for legal representation is to work with attorneys who have the knowledge and experience to manage these complications. The attorneys at Freeman & Freeman in the greater Los Angeles area have represented negligence victims in bus accident cases and other similar situations for many years. Please contact us to schedule a consultation on how we can help you to recover the largest possible damages award to compensate you for injuries that you have suffered in an accident.

Bicycle Accidents on the Rise in Boston as Motorist Hog Bicycle Lanes

Thursday, December 01, 2016

In the wake of a series of near misses and serious bicycle accidents, Boston cycling advocates are now pushing back hard for city officials to prevent cars and particularly commercial truck drivers from veering into bicycle lanes. This has been a particular problem ever since university classes started up again and students are choosing to take bicycles back from classes or to part-time jobs. Now that more cyclists are on the road in the city, the flagrant abuse of bicycle lanes by motorists have become dangerous.

Boston is already a city that is known for its narrow streets and rampant double parking. As such, it is not uncommon for cyclists to have to veer into regular traffic and vice versa. It creates a perilous situation at best.

To prevent this deadly situation, cycling advocates are asking three things of city officials:

  • They want additional bike lanes with physical barriers in high traffic areas to protect them

  • Do more to better educate drivers

  • Bolster more enforcement of the cycling laws and have violators face more strict charges

While Boston already imposes $100 fines on driver that are caught breaking bicycle lane laws, law enforcement officials tend to be more lenient with bicycle law breakers as opposed to other motor laws. It is a frustrating situation for cyclists since Boston police often fine them for breaking laws while motorist go free.

Are you the victim of a cycling accident after a driver invaded your bicycle lane in the Los Angeles area? Then you might have some legal action available to you. Contact us today to find out what options are available.

Is Dangerous Roadway Design a Key in Pedestrian Accidents?

Monday, November 28, 2016

While many outside the city don't realize it, but Los Angeles is one of the most dangerous cities for pedestrians. Fatal pedestrian accidentsare almost a weekly event in the city, and it has residents questioning something that pedestrians in all major cities should be questioning - is roadway design to blame?

Most roadways are designed strictly for the ease of use of motor vehicles, however with more people choosing to walk or cycle through their neighbourhoods; it may not be feasible to leave roads as they are. In Los Angeles, as only one example, many drivers are focused on beating oncoming traffic when turning, failing to yield to pedestrians. This leads to those crossing the street, even with the right away, to scramble out in front of cars that are trying not to get hit by other cars themselves. Safety advocates throughout major metropolitan areas believe that better road design, speed reductions, and landscaping can help cut down on fatal pedestrian accidents significantly.

However, pedestrian safety is a give and take. Pedestrians must limit themselves to areas of the road specifically put there for their use, such as sidewalks and crosswalks, but cars must also exercise caution and yield to the right of way that pedestrians hold.

For those who have already been injured by a vehicle while observing their right to cross the road, if it was due to poor road way design, you may not only have legal recourse against the driver, but the city as well. You may be able to seek compensation for a number of damages. If you have been the victim in the Los Angeles area, contact us today.

Dog Bites / Animal Bites: A Story Worth Telling

Thursday, November 17, 2016

One of the early lessons in any good university's journalism program is that "dog bites man" is not a story while "man bites dog" has front-page potential.

Why?

Dogs biting people or getting into it with another dog is a common occurrence while the novelty of a man choosing to bite a dog is an interesting story worth telling.

We disagree.

Dog bites may be common, but the victims of these vicious attacks deserve to have their stories told. More importantly, they deserve to be compensated for the damages they suffer as a result of negligent pet owners who contribute to these attacks.

Many dog bite victims are children. They face a lifetime of physical and psychological issues and deserve to be supported as they go through the recovery process.

How?

People who are injured as the result of a dog bite have the option of pursing financial compensation through a personal injury claim. A successful claim can result in a settlement or verdict that provides funds to cover damages such as medical costs, pain and suffering, and lost earnings.

One of the worries our clients express frequently is a concern about pursuing a claim when it was a family member's, friend's or neighbor's dog that lashed out. This is understandable. The good news is that claims seek compensation through available homeowners' insurance policies, not by directly going after the financial resources of dog owners.

Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about how you can protect your rights or the rights of a loved one after a dog bite.

Auto Accidents: When a car owner negligently entrusts his or her car to a bad driver

Thursday, November 10, 2016

When a vehicle owner allows another person to use the owner's car, the owner may be held to be civilly liable if the person causes an accident if certain circumstances apply. California recognizes the doctrine of negligent entrustment of a motor vehicle. In cases in which the circumstances fit the law, the vehicle's owner may be named as a co-defendant with the driver to whom the owner loaned the car. This can help to maximize the potential recovery by having additional sources.

Negligent entrustment

California case law indicates that a person is not allowed to let another person drive his or her vehicle if the owner knows or should know that the borrower is likely to place others at an unreasonable risk of danger because the driver is incompetent or unfit to drive. An example could include loaning a vehicle to a friend who has had multiple drunk driving convictions, numerous speeding tickets or who has no valid license. Several specific prohibitions are outlined in the California Vehicle Code at sections 14606 - 14608.

What the plaintiff must show

In order to prove negligent entrustment in an auto accident case, the plaintiff must be able to show that the owner gave permission to the driver to use the vehicle. He or she must also show that the owner either knew or should have known that the driver was incompetent or unfit to drive. The plaintiff must then prove that the driver's incompetence resulted in an accident and that the plaintiff's injuries directly resulted from it.

How negligent entrustment can help

If a driver is uninsured or underinsured, the ability to name a vehicle's owner as a defendant in the lawsuit may help an injured plaintiff to recover damages for his or her losses. Even if the negligent driver is insured, having additional sources of coverage may help when the policy limits are not sufficient to cover all of the losses caused by the accident. This may help an injured victim to secure fair compensation for his or her losses.


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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.