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What to do if You are the Victim of Auto Accidents

Friday, September 09, 2016

Tragedy can strike anywhere -- even California. And all of the cities in the state are full to the brim with drivers -- commuters, taxis, buses, public servants. All of that traffic can lead to some nasty situations, including ones where you get hit by a vehicle. This is a difficult situation to handle, so here are some steps to follow in the wake of the accident, so that you can maximize your health and well-being.

What to do if you are victim of an auto accident:

The first thing to do in the wake of an automobile accident as a pedestrian is to make sure that you are not in any physical danger. If you are hurt badly, you will be taken to a nearby hospital; if the hit was not as hard, simply do an internal checkup on yourself. If you are not seriously hurt, the driver should wait for you and exchange information; if they do not, speak to other witnesses who can help provide you with identifying information. That is name, contact information and insurance information.

The next important step is to make sure you know your rights -- as a victim, you are afforded legal options that you may pursue. If the driver is liable for the accident, you may pursue legal action against them.

This legal action is important because it protects your health and wellbeing. For instance, medical bills (if you are seriously injured) can be very expensive, and this is a situation where you could be reimbursed by the driver's insurance; if the insurance company is not very forthcoming, you may take the action to civil court.

It is important to note, though, that these legal actions are complicated, and if you want to be able to make the most of them to pay for your medical bills, you will probably need to hire a lawyer. Speak with your attorney to determine liability, damages and any other pertinent information for the case.

If you are in California and experience such an accident, please contact us -- we will fight to make sure you receive just compensation for your accident.


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.

Warning Signs of Drowsy Driving

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Most drivers have been in a situation in which they were too fatigued to drive safely. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that there are at least 100,000 accidents every year caused by drowsy driving.

These are only those accidents that were reported to police, and in which drowsy driving was confirmed to be a factor. The actual number of accidents caused by drowsy motorists is likely to be much higher, simply because many motorists are unlikely to admit at the scene of an accident that they dozed off at the wheel, or were fatigued. Drowsy driving causes more than 6,000 accident fatalities every year.

Automakers are focusing on bringing attention to the problem, and in fact, the 2015 Nisan Murano will roll out with a brand-new drowsy driving detection system. The system will analyze the driver’s steering patterns to detect drowsiness. When the system detects signs of drowsiness, it will issue an audible and visual alert that will flash on the car’s instrument panel.

This sounds like an exciting, promising technology, but until such time that such technology is available on all automobiles, take steps to reduce your risks of drowsy driving. Look out for these signs of drowsiness, and stop somewhere safe for some sleep before you resume driving.

  • Frequent yawning
  • Wandering thoughts
  • Inability to focus on the road ahead
  • Heaviness in the head
  • Frequent dozing off
  • Inability to recall or remember the last few minutes of driving
  • Frequently veering off your lane
  • Missing traffic signs or signals
  • Having difficulty keeping your eyes open

If you notice any of these signs, take a break as quickly as possible. Pull over somewhere safe and take a nap. Quick fixes like caffeine can help avoid sleeplessness for some time, but the best antidote to drowsiness is sleep.


Office Locations

21900 Burbank Boulevard
Third Floor
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.