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Personal Injury Blog


Motorcycle Accidents: Why Motorcyclists Need Advocates

Thursday, July 14, 2016

In a vehicular accident involving motorcycles, motorcyclists are often in greater danger than people in passenger cars or trucks.

Motorcyclists are left exposed on their vehicles, their bodies more vulnerable during a crash. The Insurance Information Institute reports data from 2013 showing that motorcyclists are "26 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash per vehicle mile traveled and five times more likely to be injured."

This information isn't meant to downplay the fact that car and truck occupants can also get injured in a collision with a motorcycle. It only highlights the heightened vulnerability of the motorcyclists.

What can motorcyclists suffer after motorcycle accidents?

Motorcyclists can sustain fatal damage to their bodies. Even if they survive, they may have to struggle with brain and spinal injuries, internal bleeding, organ damage, amputations, broken bones, and disfiguring lacerations.

Their medical treatments often include hospitalization, which can involve days or weeks in intensive care. They may need to undergo multiple surgeries. Along with the immediate treatment for injuries, they may require physical rehabilitation and multiple follow-up checkups.

Depending on the nature of their injuries, they may need to change their entire lifestyle. Maybe they'll no longer be able to work at their current job. Maybe they'll need to rely on wheelchairs, prosthetic limbs, and additional assistive devices. They may have to renovate their homes to accommodate their new medical needs.

It's important for motorcyclists to contact a reputable attorney in the aftermath of an accident. An attorney can help you determine who was at fault during the accident and assist you with exploring different options for covering medical bills and other losses. To best heal, recover, and adjust to your new life, you need an attorney to advocate for you so that you aren't struggling alone with huge expenses.

City Agrees To Pay $300,000 In Bicycle Accident

Thursday, July 07, 2016

A bicyclist thrown off her bike by an uneven sidewalk has won a $300,000 settlement from a city in Michigan, according to the Oakland Press News.

In May 2012, the 49-year-old woman was traveling underneath a railroad viaduct along the north side of 13 mile road in Royal Oak, Michigan, when she hit a sidewalk section that was two-inches higher than the portion before it. When her front wheel hit the elevated edge of sidewalk, she was thrown from her bike. The woman suffered a broken hip and allegedly aggravated a previous back injury in the bicycle accident.

Suit Filed on Behalf of Woman

In 2013, her attorneys filed suit in Oakland County Circuit Court seeking compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering. The defendant, the city of Royal Oak, appealed an adverse Circuit Court decision to the Michigan State Court of Appeals. However, the appellate court refused to overturn the lower court's decision. A retired judge subsequently mediated the matter and helped the parties come to the final settlement agreement.

City Unsuccessfully Blames Railroad

Although the city contended that it was the railroad's responsibility to maintain the sidewalk, that argument was not successful in court.

In certain cases, injuries resulting from improperly maintained public facilities may subject governments to suits seeking damages. Litigation often seeks compensation for medical expenses, pain, suffering and lost wages.

If you or someone you know is injured in an accident where negligence may have been a factor, one of our attorneys will review your case at no cost to you. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, please contact us.

NHTSA Addresses Ejections In Bus Accidents

Thursday, June 30, 2016

In light of the Texas charter bus accident that claimed eight lives and injured dozens on May 14, 2016, it is worth noting that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently announced a new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard intended to reduce injuries and fatalities in bus accidents by reducing ejections.

New Test on Windows

A Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) requires a new impactor test on side and rear window glazing material as well as on the glass panels found on the roofs of many motor coaches and large buses. The test is intended to simulate the impact of a non-belted passenger on a window on the opposite side of the bus during a rollover accident.

NHTSA wants to promote more advanced glazing on bus windows and better latch systems on emergency exits.

Previous Efforts to Limit Ejections

Previously, NHTSA prioritized the problem of occupant ejection in its DOT Motor Coach Safety Action Plan. This effort to mitigate ejections follows a "final rule" issued in 2013 that required seat belts at all seating positions in motor coaches. This was followed by a 2014 NPRM that seeks to:

  • improve structural integrity during rollovers
  • better ensure that window glazing does not pop out of window mounts
  • emergency exits do not accidentally open in rollovers.

NHTSA is also developing new performance requirements for roof panels, windows and exit latches. For example, the federal agency wants to see that emergency exit latches still operate after exits are subjected to impactor testing.

When an individual is a victim in a bus accident, it is often possible to seek compensation for medical expenses, pain-and-suffering and lost wages. If you or a family member is in a bus accident, it's possible to discuss the matter with a bus accident attorney. Our firm provides this consultation without cost or obligation. To learn more, please contact us.

How Insurance Adjusters Calculate Settlement for a Personal Injury

Thursday, June 23, 2016

When you’ve been injured and are looking to settle with the insurance company regarding compensation for your personal injury, you may wonder how the insurance adjuster calculates the value of your claim. There are no set rules and no guide that helps the adjuster determine the amount: It’s generally an educated guess.

The insurance adjuster must investigate your claim and document enough information so the insurance company can set the adjuster’s requested reserve on your claim. Once that is approved, the adjuster attempts to settle at or below that set amount.

Evaluation of Injury Claims

One way or another, insurance companies must evaluate insurance claims. Over time, they’ve relied on a few tactics in order to establish the claim reserve, and they’ll use that reserve as a guide to settle the claim.

Some adjusters use a method that triples the “specials”. These are the components of a settlement that pertain to the lost wages and medical bills. The adjuster would try to settle for three-times that total amount, adding in the cost of pain and suffering, along with other damages.

Personal Affect

Some insurance companies understand they cannot evaluate all claims in the same manner. Sometimes adjusters need to consider how the injuries affect the personal life of the injured. They’ll ask themselves questions such as can the injured person work, can he do household chores, can he still maintain an intimate relationship with his spouse? These are questions that require a bit more personal detail, but those factors are considered.

Computer Evaluation

Some adjusters just input the information into a computer and rely on the calculations that come from the data. This is more of a “one-size-fits-all” adjustment which can be manipulated when needed.

The bottom line is, your injuries are personal to you, and you want to ensure you receive a fair settlement. When you're ready to settle, contact us and we will make sure the insurance adjuster gives you an offer you can live with.

What You Should Know About Slip and Fall Injuries / Premises Liability

Friday, June 17, 2016

Slip and fall injuries/premises liability are areas of the law that can be confusing. It is not always easy to tell who is responsible for the costs of injuries caused when someone slips and falls in a public place, or even in the residence of a friend or acquaintance. There are times when the property owner should take responsibility, and times when he or she is not liable.

To be legally responsible for the injuries suffered from slipping and falling on another person's property, one of the following stipulations must be true:

  • Since a "reasonable" employee or premises owner should have been on the lookout for a dangerous surface, discovered and removed or repaired it.
  • The property owner or an employee of the business where the fall occurred must have known about the dangers inherent in the surface, but did nothing to rectify it.
  • An employee, or the owner of the property where the fall occurred, caused the situation (such as a spill, torn carpeting or other dangerous surface) and did nothing to rectify it.

In virtually all slip or trip and fall cases, one must determine whether or not his or her carelessness contributed to the cause of the accident. The rules of "comparative negligence" help determine and measure the degree to which one's own reasonableness in certain factors, such as why the injured party was going where he or she went, or what the injured party did, just prior to the accident.

It takes the assistance of an experienced, professional attorney to sort through all the confusing details of a slip and fall injury case and to help determine whether or not the owner or employee of a premises was at fault. If you live in the vicinity of Los Angeles or the greater LA area, and were injured due to a slip and fall accident, please contact us to schedule a consultation. We can help.

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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.