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Hit & Run? Don't Be Hit & Burned

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Car accidents aren't always so plain and simple. Unfortunately, all too many auto accidents are made more complex because one of the individuals leaves the scene. When a driver does this without purposefully leaving behind information, it is called a hit and run accident. Don't worry if you find yourself in an accident like this, though; hiring a lawyer can help you seek compensation for your damages.

California Law Requires You Stop After an Accident

As in any other state, California drivers are required to pull over to the side of the road and follow procedure for obtaining driver information. This is the case whether you caused damage to property (like a vehicle or a mailbox) or a person (like a pedestrian or bicyclist). You are required to stop as soon as it is safe to do so. If somebody continues to drive on, they are breaking the law. This is even the case if the vehicle hit is unaccompanied.

What If The Other Driver Runs?

While there are criminal penalties, even prison time, in place for drivers who run, these only work if they can be identified. Many drivers have dashcams that capture the driver's license plate, make, and model. Even a cell phone picture can aid the identification process.

You are probably more interested in the potential civil penalties. If you have the identity of the other driver, you can take them to court. You can sue to cover the costs of medical bills, wages lost, and damage to property.

How Can a Lawyer Help You If You've Been Hit & Run?

  • A lawyer can prove that the other driver was liable for the accident before running.
  • A lawyer can demonstrate that you were injured or deserve compensation based on the accident.
  • Lawyers are familiar with court communications and meeting deadlines.
  • Your lawyer can prevent the insurance company from coming after you.
  • Lawyers understand the significance of a fair settlement, and can easily calculate a manageable amount.

Without a lawyer you are on your own when it comes to getting your case to trial. The process of identifying and fighting a hit and runner driver in court can be difficult without solid legal counsel.

Do you have questions about your hit and run case? We may be able to help. Contact us and let us know how we can be of service.

Checklist: Steps to Take After an Auto Accident

Friday, March 11, 2016

Drivers who are in an auto accident are often unsure of what to do immediately following the crash. They are overwhelmed with emotions and find it hard to think clearly. Therefore it is wise to be aware of the steps to take if you are ever in a collision BEFORE you face the situation. Consider the following checklist of steps to take after an auto accident.

Injuries:

Check all occupants of all vehicles involved in the collision to see if anyone is injured and in need of medical attention. Call for an ambulance if needed. Keep in mind that some injuries do not show up immediately after the accident but surface hours later. Check yourself and your passengers again at a later time to verify no one is experiencing any pain or discomfort.

Record Information:

Many people know to exchange insurance information but there are more details that should be recorded immediately following the accident. Include the following:

  • Insurance information for all vehicles.
  • Contact information for all drivers and any witnesses.
  • Number of passengers and approximate age in each car.
  • Injuries that occurred.
  • Make and Model of all vehicles.
  • License plates of all vehicles
  • Weather conditions at the time of the accident.
  • Traffic level at the time of the accident.
  • Your version of what happened. Include a sketch of the accident scene.
  • Photographs of the scene of the accident and damage to the vehicles.

Don't Apologize:

Avoid apologizing to the other driver at the time of the accident. This may be taken as you admitting you caused the accident. It is best not to say anything about who was responsible at this time.

Don't Accept a Settlement:

The insurance company may want to settle the claim right away. Although this seems wonderful because you can start repairing your car and recovering from your injuries it is most likely an attempt to get you to accept less than you deserve. Keep in mind that your injuries may require a considerable amount of medical attention in the future. Contact us before you settle so we can help you determine the value of a settlement you will really need to fully recover.

If you are in a car accident in the future keep the above checklist in mind immediately following the crash. These steps will help protect you financially.

Investigating Truck Accident Causes

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Truck Accidents are often devastating. Trucks outweigh cars by a significant amount. Therefore the car often suffers major damage and occupants of the car are injured. In some cases the car occupants do not survive the crash. Truck accidents can be due to the negligence. Therefore if you or a loved one was injured or killed in a truck accident it is important to evaluate the cause. You may be entitled to damages.

Maintenance

In some cases the accident was because proper maintenance was not conducted. For example the load on the back of the truck may not have been properly secured. If it falls off causing an accident that is negligence on the part of the driver. Or maybe the truck brakes may not have been maintained as they should be and a mechanical failure occurred.

Driver Issues

Accidents have been caused due to a fatigued driver. Truck drivers are required to follow specific regulations about how many hours they can drive before they must take a break. If they fail to comply with those regulations an accident may result. Drivers should also obviously not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They should not be texting while driving. Distracted driving is dangerous.

Proper Driving

Was the driver speeding? Did the driver ignore a stop sign? Sometimes the situation is a little less obvious. Were they going the appropriate speed for the weather conditions? Did they make an improper or illegal turn? A driver that has not driven in a safe manner is responsible for causing the accident.

If you have been involved in an accident with a truck contact us. We can help you determine if the driver was negligent. In some cases we may find that a manufacturing defect in the truck was the cause. Another option is the road was not properly maintained resulting in the crash. No matter the reason, we can help you attain the settlement you need to recover from the accident.

Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements in California

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Motorists in California are required under the law to maintain minimum auto insurance coverage. Broadly, these are the types of auto insurance that you must maintain as a motorist in the state.

You must possess bodily injury liability coverage, which will pay for any injury or death caused to any other person in an accident involving your car. Additionally, bodily injury liability coverage will also take kick in if you are involved in a personal injury lawsuit filed by a person injured in an accident involving your car.

Under California law, you must maintain minimum bodily injury liability coverage of $15,000 for one death or injury in an accident, or $30,000 for death or injury of more than one individual in one accident.

You must also maintain minimum property damage liability coverage. Property damage liability coverage will kick in if someone sues you after an accident for property damage. You must maintain a minimum of $5,000 in property damage liability coverage for any one accident.

Meeting the minimum insurance requirement in California is a legal obligation for motorists in the state. If you're caught driving without minimum insurance, then you are in violation of the law, and you could have your license suspended. If you're pulled over by a police officer, and are unable to furnish car insurance documentation, you could be either ticketed or fined for driving without insurance.

It's important to go through the fine print of your insurance policy documents, and make sure that you know exactly what type of insurance coverage must kick in when you are involved in an accident. All too often, motorists are unaware about the kind of insurance that they have signed up for, and may be at risk of having their rights compromised. Speak to an attorney if you do not know what kind of insurance benefits you're eligible for after an accident.

Injury Toll Linked to Takata Airbags Increases

Sunday, April 12, 2015

New updated statistics released by Japanese auto parts company Takata show that the number of injuries now linked to the company’s defective airbags, is now at 105. Additionally, six deaths are confirmed linked to the defective airbags.

One thing is clear-the investigation into the defective Takata airbags is ongoing, and as the investigation progresses, we are more likely to come across even more reports of injuries linked to the defective airbags. Already, more than 20 million cars have been recalled for injury risks to customers from the malfunctioning airbags. Those injury risks involve pieces of debris flying out from airbags that can inflate with ferocious force. The fragments or debris can fly in to the faces of the occupants, posing a serious risk of catastrophic injury.

There is a serious risk of eye injuries, or even vision loss. Additionally, occupants may be at risk of puncture wounds, lacerations, abrasions, and all types of other injuries. The excessive force can cause trauma, eye injury, head injuries and neck injuries. These airbags are meant to save lives. However, when these malfunctioning airbag inflators, they can either kill the occupant, or leave him with severe injuries or disability.

What makes the problem even worse is that even after the recalls were announced, Takata has been very slow to repair the recalled car. It plans to replace the airbag inflators in these cars. However, it has admitted that it has been having a problem manufacturing enough numbers of airbag inflators to fix the recalled malfunctioning vehicles. Takata has announced that it will soon significantly increase production of replacement airbags. The federal administration has also been very critical about the company’s slowness in announcing the recall, and also its tardiness in providing the information that the federal administration needs in order to complete the investigation.

If you were injured in an accident that you believe was caused by a defective airbag, talk immediately with an injury lawyer in Burbank to explore your legal options.


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Woodland Hills, CA 91367-7418

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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.