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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.

Lane Splitting and Motorcycle Accidents in California

Friday, January 29, 2016

Riders are often tempted to ride the white line or lane split when they are in a typical Los Angeles traffic jam. If you have a motorcycle accident while riding between lanes, your conduct will be used against you to show that you bear some or most of the responsibility for the accident. Even if your lane splitting contributed to the accident, you can still protect your right and opportunity to recover a monetary award for damages that were precipitated by another driver.

Lane splitting is not explicitly illegal in most U.S. jurisdictions, but you should avoid arguing the legality of your actions if a trooper pulls you over. Your objections will probably result in citations for failure to signal a lane changes or reckless riding.

Lane-splitting accidents typically occur when you ride between lanes and a driver abruptly turns into you. The attorney for the other driver will argue that the accident itself is evidence of unsafe lane-splitting riding, thus shifting some responsibility for the accident to you. You can counter these arguments by collecting all available information about the accident immediately after it happens. This information includes photographs of traffic conditions. Those photographs should show the distance between the two lanes of cars. If there are any witnesses, ask for their contact information but do not ask them to make any statements or guesses about what caused the accident. Let your attorney handle witness interviews.

Note the damage to your bike and the car that was involved in the accident. Record how fast you were riding. Most lane-splitting riding is done at slower speeds, and your direct notations of your own speed can easily contradict a driver's estimates. Riders should know that road paint is more slick in wet conditions and that riding on a painted line in those conditions should be avoided. If you were avoiding the painted lines while you were lane splitting, tell your lawyer that fact, as he will use that evidence as proof of your care while you were riding.

Riding in stopped or slow traffic is difficult and dangerous for many reasons. If the traffic was uncommonly slow when your accident happened, tell your lawyer that you opted to ride between lanes to avoid fatigue in your clutch hand. You can more balance your bike while it is in motion, so again, your lane-splitting may have enhanced your overall safety.

Each motorcycle accident presents a unique set of facts that each side to a lawsuit will use to his own benefit. If you have been in a motorcycle accident in Los Angeles County, please contact us as soon as you can for a complimentary review of the facts of your case.

Avoid or Minimize Child Injuries during a Car Accident: Install the Right Car Seat

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) warns that automobile accidents are the leading causes of death for children between the ages of one year and 13 years. It is sobering to note that installation errors are sometimes to blame for injuries or fatalities. Then again, while it is true that statistical evidence points to the incorrect use of three out of every four installed car seats, these devices nevertheless have shown to save lives over the course of the decades.

Officials estimate that properly installed age-appropriate car seats may be credited with saving about 9,600 children’s lives between 1975 and 2010. These children were all under the age of four. Avoiding or at least minimizing child injuries during a car accident is therefore related to the proper choice of safety seat as well as the proper installation of the device.

Rear-facing Car Seat

Traditionally, newborns and infants were required to be transported in a rear-facing car seat. Manufacturers frequently include side padding to keep smaller infants from sliding too much in the seat. Yet in 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a new recommendation that – although it has not been translated into law – nevertheless urges parents to keep children in rear-facing seats until the age of two. The experts cited a study that children under the age of two “are 75 percent less likely to die or be severely injured in a crash if they are riding rear-facing.” Parents who wish to follow this recommendation are urged to check the seat manufacturer’s height and weight limits for individual models.

Forward-facing Car Seat

When the child has reached the height or weight limit of the rear-facing seat, the youngster should be ready to transition into a forward-facing child safety seat. These seats feature harnesses that safely restrain the child during a collision. Some models can be converted into a booster seat. Injuries can still occur if the seat is not tethered properly and the youngster’s head moves forward too much. If you drive a vehicle that has been manufactured after 2002, it should feature a lower anchors and tethers for children (LATCH) restraint system. When you shop for a car seat, pick one that accommodates a latch hook-up.

Booster Seat

The booster is another forward facing seat. It works in conjunction with the vehicle’s over-the-shoulder seat belt. Some boosters have backs. They accommodate shorter children who nevertheless outgrew the forward-facing seats. Back-less boosters are good options for taller children riding in cars with headrests. The booster seat helps to position the seat belt so that it fits across the child’s body for maximum safety.

Choosing the right car seat not only calls for the selection of height and weight appropriate models, but there are also differences in the ratings. For example, did you know that the NHTSA has a seat rating that evaluates the clarity of instructions, installation features, proper labeling and adequate child restraints? Purchasing a seat with these labels in mind further helps to prevent – or at least minimize – a child’s injuries during a crash.

Three Reasons Not to Ignore Your Legal Rights When You're Injured in a Motor Vehicle Accident

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

If you're hurt in a motor vehicle accident and your injuries aren't very serious, you might be tempted to ignore your legal right to recover damages? You may have valid reasons why you feel this way. Perhaps your injury is minor, and it doesn't feel worthy of making a fuss. Maybe your own insurance company paid your bills and your employer paid your lost wages. When you have no out of pocket costs, it can be easy to ignore your legal rights, but should you?

The process of filing an injury claim can seem like a lot of trouble, especially if you feel there's little to be gained. Dealing with someone else's insurance company can also be a pain. You might have plenty of reasons why you shouldn't make an injury claim, but there are just as many reasons why you should. Here are a few.

  1. Your injuries could be more serious than you think
  2. Whether your auto accident-related injuries are soft tissue or they involve broken bones, they won't necessarily clear up the way doctors predict they will. You may terminate your treatment but have problems down the road. Months may pass before you realize your injuries were worse than you thought. If the statute of limitations has passed, it might be too late to do anything about it.

    Of course, even if you wait until months after your accident, you might still have the right to pursue a settlement and receive compensation for your injuries. It's just best to get a legal representative involved early in the life of the claim. Early involvement will allow him to conduct an investigation, clear up any liability issues, and develop information about your injuries.

  3. You'll have to deal with insurance companies anyway
  4. If you choose not to file an injury claim because you'd prefer not to give statements, medical bills, and other documentation to the other guy's insurance company, things might not go the way you want them to go. If the other guy's insurance adjuster realizes that you were injured, he is bound to come knocking on your door anyway.

    The other liability carrier has a duty to protect their insured from potential future law suits. To do that they must contact you, get your version of the accident, find out if you're injured, and figure out what they owe you, if anything. They will ultimately try to get you to sign a release.

    If your insurance company paid your medical bills, they'll want to subrogate--file a claim against the other guy to get the money back. Under the terms of your policy, you have a duty to cooperate and help them protect their rights of recovery. They may insist on recording your statement and whatever else they need to present a claim to the other guy's insurance company. You can't avoid the insurance companies no matter what you choose to do.

  5. If you're hurt you're entitled to a settlement
  6. State statutes give you the right to recover damages from a driver who causes your injuries in an auto accident. The claims you are entitled to pursue go beyond medical bills, lost wages, medications, and other out of pocket expenses.

    You may be entitled to recover money for pain, suffering, replacement services, disabilities, scarring, and other damages. Even a small settlement could come in handy in the future. You could set it aside as an emergency fund for unexpected living expenses, a college fund for your children, or a retirement nest egg that will grow if you stash it away. It's money you deserve.

Before you decide

If you're hurt in a motor vehicle accident, and you choose not to file an injury claim, that's up to you. But before you walk away, you should consult with a personal injury attorney. He can work with you, investigate your accident, give you a legal opinion on your options, and that will allow you make an informed decision.

Things Drivers Do that Often Lead to Motor Vehicle Accidents

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

When you are out on the road, there are a lot of hazard that you have to watch out for. But there are also things that drivers do that can lead to motor vehicle accidents. Here are some of the crazy things drivers do that put themselves and everyone else on the road in danger.

Backing up to get back to an exit

This is a huge mistake even for expert drivers. If you've missed your exit, backing up while you're on the highway is a huge mistake. Even though you may be good enough to do it, the people who are coming towards you on the freeway may not be able to get out of your way in time. Some of them might panic when they see you coming towards you and they may go into other cars' paths.

You also may be preventing the other motorists who are trying to pull off of the freeway from being able to do that. When you miss the exit, get off at the next exit and get turned around. This is a much safer idea in trying to back up.

Driving over 80 mph

Unless you are in Germany on the autobahn, it's never a good idea to drive at more than 80 mph. Unless you are on a road that is specifically made to be driven that fast, even though you are wearing your seatbelt, it's unlikely that you're going to survive if you crash.

Cutting off big rigs

People often cut off the bigger rigs because they become impatient and they don't want to be stuck behind them. But what people don't remember is that these big trucks can often weigh up to 10 times as much as their car. You cut off a big rig, and chances are you're going to have your life cut off. The big rigs need a lot more time to stop and when you cut one of them off they may not be stop in time. There will be no contest between your car and their big truck. So give a big truck enough room and don't take any chances.

Not paying attention to where you're going

In order to drive safely, you have to pay attention to what you're doing. There has been a lot of talk about people texting while they're driving and talking on the phone, and these are serious, but it's also not a good idea to put on makeup, look for papers, or do other things while you're driving. Taking your eyes off of the road just for a split second can cause an accident. Imagine what is going to happen if you take your eyes off the road longer than a second or two.

These are just four things that drivers often do that can cause an accident. When you are out on the road, avoid doing these things and you will reduce your chances of causing an accident. Otherwise you may find that you have hurt or killed someone with your bad judgement.

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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.