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How Truck Accidents Differ From Standard Auto Accidents

Thursday, February 01, 2018

 


Accidents between automobiles happen every day, and in most cases, they are pretty straight-forward. Unusually one party is at least mostly responsible and their insurance covers the damages of the other party. Unfortunately, if you have been involved in an accident with a truck, you will fight getting that coverage for your damages, and your injuries will be just ever so more likely complex. This is why when in an accident with a truck, there are a few extra things to consider.

Extra Factors in Truck Accidents

The most obvious new factors to consider are that trucks are much bigger than cars and are often hauling heavy loads of freight. Obviously, this will result in more serious accidents for the auto driver involved while the truck might be relatively unscathed. Bigger injuries, bigger damages, and because of that, bigger costs are involved. However, if those were the only factors to consider, truck accidents would still be more straight-forward, the problem lies with the lesser known factors to consider in trucking accidents.

Dealing With Bigger Insurance Policies

Unlike your standard auto policy, the insurance policy on a commercial truck is much larger due to the size of the vehicle and the amount of damage that one can inflict on a smaller vehicle. As these insurance policies can be worth so much more to those involved in an accident, the insurance company will put infinitely more effort in escaping liability.

You can be assured when dealing with an insurance adjuster in charge of the truck's insurance, they will be their most experienced employee and well-versed in complex tactics to leave you with nothing or, at least, much less than you deserve.

Different Regulations

As trucks often work interstate, the company will be under the thumb of a number of different regulations administered by the Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Regulations dictate specific maintenance of the truck, inspections, and logbooks of the driver. These regulations are many and complex in nature, which can open up new avenues for compensation, but also make determining liability for the uninformed motorist very difficult.

Multiple Liabilities

As mentioned above, the many regulations that govern trucks mean that it might not just be the truck driver that is liable. The truck driver might have been on the road too long by falsifying their log book, but the trucking company could have also been neglectful in their maintenance or inspections that lead to malfunctions. Furthermore, if a specific part was faulty, the manufacturer of the truck can also bear some of the blame.

For this reason, you need to be diligent in determining what caused the accident and who can be held liable for it, or otherwise cut yourself off from potential compensation. This is where the help of a skilled attorney comes in.

Need Legal Representation?

While standard auto accidents can benefit from legal representation, it becomes a must for trucking accidents. While lawyers who handle auto accidents also do trucking accidents, dealing with trucking accidents often requires slightly more experience. A good truck accident lawyer will know how to navigate the complex waters of trucking regulation to find true liability and they will also be well-versed in the new tactics that trucking insurance will employ in order to escape paying you what you are owed.

If you were involved in an accident with one of the many trucks that use the roadways in the Los Angeles area, contact us today. Let the Law Firm of Freeman & Freeman put our years of experience to work making sure your likely substantial damages are covered in full so you aren't stuck with the bill.

 

What to Expect From a Free Consultation with a Personal Injury Lawyer

Thursday, January 11, 2018

When seeking a lawyer for any case, particularly a personal injury case, you will find that they offer free consultations for your case before you even commit to choosing them. Even we here at Freeman & Freeman offer free consultations in all areas of law that we cover. However, if it is your first time ever contacting a lawyer, you may not know what to expect from these consultations. Everyone likes to know what they are getting into the first time they ever do something, so if you are considering a free consultation with a potential lawyer, here is what you can expect from the experience.

What is a Free Consultation For?

A consultation for a personal injury case might be more apt to be called a getting to you know meeting for both sides. These consultations typically last for about 30 minutes to an hour in which the potential client will meet with their potential lawyer.

During this time, the client will give a description of what happened, what injuries occurred, and why they want to pursue a personal injury case. During this time, the attorney's only job is to listen and then give feedback on the validity of a potential case. Essentially, they want to hear about your case first to see if you actually do have one. If you don't, they will let you know and let you know why it is not valid in the eyes of personal injury law. This will save you a lot of wasted time and legal fees in the end. However, if your case is valid, they will want to proceed further to see how strong it is. Even clients that think they might have a weak case could very well have a stronger one with the right evidence.

What to Bring To a Consultation?

A personal injury case consultation isn't just about discovering validity in your case, but it is also about discovering how strong that case will be. This is why when heading into a personal injury consultation, even though you are not technically meeting with your lawyer yet, you should bring as much documentation as possible in with you. While it is possible to bring in too many documents, having everything your potential lawyer could ever need to see is never a bad thing.

At very least, for the initial consultation you should bring:

  • Medical Records - Your medical records should record any injuries that resulted from the incident and the treatment or procedures that your doctor administered. These records should also include the cost of the care and contact information for those that treated you.
  • Police Report - The police report will explain what happened and give a number of crucial details including if anyone was breaking the law or contact information for witnesses. Essentially it proves what you believe happened, did actually happen.
  • Insurance Policy Information - This will let the lawyer know what your insurance policy does or doesn't cover.

This is just the very bare minimum. You can also consider bringing records of any correspondence between you and the other party, pay stubs that prove you had to miss work and pay because of the accident, or any other legal documents that the other parties lawyer may have sent over.

How Does a Consultation End?

If it is shown you have a valid case, your lawyer will then begin the other half of the consultation in which they essentially sell themselves to you. A good personal injury lawyer will want you to feel both comfortable with them and confident in their abilities. They will also end the consultation by going over a potential game plan and including the cost and any fees associated with the process. They will be there to answer all your questions and hope you choose them, but even if you want to shop around for legal counsel, anything you disclosed in that consultation is still protected by attorney-client privilege.

If you have been injured in the Los Angeles area and are looking for a personal injury lawyer, contact us today. Freeman & Freeman can help look over your case and build your confidence in our free consultations.

Safety: One Key to Avoiding a Motorcycle Accident

Thursday, December 21, 2017

If you are a motorcyclist, you likely know that you have to take even more precautions on the road than people driving cars or other larger vehicles. There are several things you can do as a motorcyclist to reduce your chances of being involved in a crash, whether with a vehicle, another motorcyclist, or something else.

  • Make yourself visible. Wearing bright, reflective clothing as well as having reflective devices on your motorcycle can help. You should also avoid riding in a motorist's blind spot. At times, this may mean slowing down, speeding up, or changing lanes.
  • Always give yourself enough room to ride safely. This includes giving yourself enough road to safely stop or switch lanes if the motorcyclist or driver in front of you stops suddenly. Never try to slip into a small gap in traffic.
  • Be aware of drivers and other motorcyclists around you. When needed, adjust your speed or take a different route to avoid someone who does not appear to be paying attention to others or who appears to be impaired.
  • Always use your turn signal when turning or changing lanes. Use it early, especially if you are unsure if the motorists around you are paying attention.
  • Use caution when lane splitting. California formally legalized lane splitting for motorcyclists last year. So far, we are the only state to do so. Lane splitting should only be done in stopped or slow-moving traffic. When lane splitting, follow the California Motorist Safety Program guidelines. You should not travel more than 10 MPH faster than other traffic. Avoid lane splitting when traffic is traveling 30 MPH or faster. Never use lane splitting as an excuse to weave unsafely between lanes of traffic, and always watch for motorists who may not be watching for you.  
  • Wear protective gear. In California, all motorcyclists are required by law to wear at least a helmet. Other protective gear, such as gloves, a heavy jacket, long pants, and boots, are also important. While protective gear will not prevent an accident, it can reduce your chances of being seriously injured if you do crash.
  • Never ride impaired. Some people assume this means not drinking alcohol or taking illegal drugs before riding. It is about more than that, though. Even over-the-counter medications or prescription drugs could impair your judgment or influence your reaction time. If you are unsure how a medication is going to affect you, avoid riding your motorcycle until you are sure you can do so safely. Even riding while tired could increase your chances of being in an accident.
  • Be aware of road conditions. When possible, avoid traveling on poorly-maintained roads. Watch for potential road hazards, including debris. If other motorists appear to be slowing down or weaving around something, anticipate that there might be something on the road, and be ready to react appropriately.
  • Be aware of weather conditions that might impact your riding ability. Fog can make it harder for others on the road to see you, which means you may want to give yourself extra space. Wet roads may also cause a riding problem. While icy roads are rarely an issue in our area, slow down and make the appropriate accommodations if you are riding in an area where you may encounter slick or icy roads.
  • Maintain your motorcycle. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and in good condition, and make sure your lights are working properly.

While being a safe motorcyclist will reduce your chances of being involved in an accident, you cannot control the actions of others on the road. Unfortunately, drivers do not always pay attention to motorcyclists. If you were the unfortunate victim of a crash caused by someone else while you were riding your motorcycle, contact us. We serve clients throughout Southern California, and we will happily provide you with a free consultation.

Trucking Accidents and Hazardous Chemicals

Friday, August 25, 2017

Commercial trucks haul a lot of cargo, and on occasion, the truck driver might not even know what they are hauling. In many cases, it doesn't matter. However, the cargo can matter if they get into an accident with another driver, particularly when that truck is hauling hazardous chemicals.

Hopefully, a trucking accident is not major enough to bring the cargo into play. While many times the other vehicle sustains significant damage due to the large nature of commercial trucks, typically the commercial trucks don't come out with huge amounts of damage themselves. However, in major accidents, commercial trucks can tip and spill their cargo everywhere. What happens if that cargo was hazardous chemicals?

If you were in a trucking accident and were exposed to hazardous chemicals, that isn't the truck driver's fault, it is the shippers. Particularly if the shipper failed to tell the driver the sensitive nature of the chemicals, they can be held responsible for any adverse effects from exposure. However, if the driver was in full knowledge, then the trucking company is still responsible but drivers can also go after the shipper for chemical-related injuries as well.

In general, truck accidents are extremely dangerous and that fact is compounded by the occasional dangerous nature of their cargo. If you were hurt in a trucking accident, or worse, hurt by the hazardous cargo of a truck, contact us today. The Law Offices of Freeman and Freeman are dedicated to representing the rights of the injured to make sure they get the justice and compensation that they deserve.

What Not to Say After an Auto Accident

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Everyone knows that when it comes to legal dealings, what you say can be important. All it takes is one wrong slip of the tongue or an off-handed phrase and it gives the defense all the ammunition they need to make sure their client wins. While some may believe what you say is only important with criminal cases, it can be just as important after an auto accident too.

Apologies

Even immediately after an auto accident when you are checking on the safety of another driver, avoid apologies. Saying you are sorry is like saying “this was my fault.” Even if it was your fault, you should avoid apologies since they will make things potentially worse for you.

Promises

Spoken promises are cheap, and often most people won’t keep them. It gives the other party certain expectations, and if they are not met, it can make them extremely upset. If you intend to keep your promise of paying for the damage, then, by all means, give them your word. However, if not, then it is best to avoid the words “I promise.”

Admitting Fault

Like apologies, admitting it was your fault should be avoided. Both parties need to wait for the fault to be determined by an investigation following the accident. Claiming the fault could mean there might not be such an investigation, and you could be shouldered with a burden that isn’t actually yours to carry.

Saying You Are Okay

If the accident wasn’t too serious, you may feel okay after the crash. However, that doesn’t mean you are. After a crash, adrenaline is high and pain response is low. You could have internal bleeding or whiplash, the symptoms of which won’t manifest until the following day. Always visit a doctor before saying that you are uninjured from a crash.

If you have been in an auto accident and even if you believe your words might have hurt your potential case, contact us today.


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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.