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Personal Injury Blog

Who is Responsible for Tire Malfunctions in a Truck Accident?

Friday, February 14, 2020

The multiple tires on a semi-truck play an important role in increasing the stability of the ride for precious cargo. However, those multiple tires also spread out the weight of that cargo so that no one tire is under a high amount of pressure. Yet, more tires lead to the potential for more problems. If a tire on a truck blows out, it can have devastating consequences not just for the truck driver, but anyone that happens to be nearby.

Causes of Truck Tire Blowouts

When a tire on any vehicle blows out, it causes the vehicle to suddenly jerk to the side of the blowout. This often leads to loss of control of the vehicle as the driver tries to compensate. With maneuvering severely impeded, getting control of the vehicle at a high speed can be near impossible.

Tire blowout on a truck can be caused by a number of instances, including:

  • Road hazards
  • Overweight vehicles
  • Low-pressure tires
  • Tire defects

In cases of overweight vehicles and low-pressure tires, the fault of a tire blowout likely sits with the trucker or trucking company – whoever was responsible for maintenance of that truck. Once you ascertain who was at fault for not engaging in proper truck maintenance, then you can pursue a personal injury case against them. However, when it comes to tire defects, the fault can be a little more unclear and may come from places you don't suspect at first.

Who is at Fault for Defective Tires?

When a tire is defective and causes a serious accident due to a blowout or any other problem, you might first look to the truck driver or the truck company. While it is true that a trucker or their employer could hold the blame for willfully ignoring a defect, there might be others responsible that you can pursue legal action against.

Tire Manufacturer

If a tire is defective from the moment it left the factory, then the tire manufacturer may bear the responsibility for damages from defective tire accidents. However, if it is discovered that the manufacturer already issued a recall before the accident, and it was not followed, this can waive them of responsibility.

Tire Distributor

Even truck companies don't typically buy tires from a manufacturer. Instead, there is a middle man, a distributor, who handles the sale. However, this distributor can also have an effect on the tires. If they were not stored properly, checked regularly, or the tires they provided were not right for the customer, then they can be held responsible.

The Mechanic That Installed the Tires

Often covered by the trucking company, the last unexpected person you can hold responsible is the mechanic that installed the tires. They are the last line of defense for catching any defects in the tires before that truck heads out on the road.

If it can be proven that the tires had blisters, bulges, uneven tread, cracking in the sidewall, or were not properly inflated when installed, then the mechanic can be held responsible if not under the protection of the trucking company. This can often be the case for truckers that own their own rigs and use their own mechanics. However, even if a mechanic is responsible, usually they will have the protection of their employer unless they own their own business.

Need Help?

If you have been in an accident due to a truck tire blowout or some other defect, we can help. Contact us today to see how Freeman & Freeman can help you begin your personal injury case to help you get the compensation that your injuries and trauma from the accident deserve.


Conditions to File a Dog Bite Lawsuit in California

Monday, February 10, 2020

Being attacked by a dog is a harrowing experience for anyone. There are few things more terrifying than an animal out of control. Most dogs are tame and polite but dog bites happen from time to time. In the state of California, there is a strict set of laws defining liability in the case of a dog-bite injury. If you intend to file a lawsuit against a dog's owner for damages or to control a dangerous animal, it's important that you are aware of these laws and the limitations of filing a case. Certain conditions must be made in order for California's dog bite liability laws to apply. 

Today, we're here to highlight the conditions you need to file a dog bite lawsuit in California. If your case fits all these conditions, then you may be able to recoup the losses of your medical expenses and identify a potentially dangerous dog to the courts.

 

You Were Lawfully Located

The first requirement for a dog bite lawsuit in California is the lawful location of the victim. In other words, you need to have legal permission to be in the place where you were bitten. If you were in public or were legally located in a private area, then you may have a legitimate liability claim. However, if you were on private property without legal permission, then the lawsuit will not fly. If the dog's owners were legally allowed to be on the private property, the defense of trespassing can be used, arguing that the dog was defending private property from an unlawful stranger. There is only a case if you were legally allowed to be in the location where you were bitten.

 

You Were Bitten By the Dog

The next requirement might sound strange, but you must have been actually bitten by the dog. That means an injury caused by dog teeth on your body or clothes. In California, dog bite law applies strictly to dog bites. Other types of injuries caused by a dog may allow for a charge of owner negligence, but not an actual dog bite case. This is not how it is in all states, but California is very specific. If the dog has bitten you directly, then you can file a dog bite lawsuit. However, if you were injured by the dog's claws or by being knocked down by the dog, you will need to find a different legal avenue.

 

The Dog Was Not Working With the Government

You also must keep in mind whether the dog was doing its legally appointed dogs. There are a certain number of dogs that work for the police or the military, government-employed dogs, whose job may include biting the occasional person. Police dogs and military dogs are usually exempt from legal liability cases because it is their job to defend or sometimes attack on the command of their government owners. As long as the government agency employing the dogs has approved written policies and those policies are adhered to, you cannot file a dog bite case against a government-employed dog.

 

The Dog was Unprovoked

 

Finally, the dog must have been unprovoked. What this means is that the dog was not given a good reason to bite the person filing suit. The court acknowledges that any dog will bite if tormented or tricked to a certain point. But being tormented does not make a dog dangerous. The accuser may need to prove that they did not provoke the dog to violent behavior immediately prior to the bite.

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California is a strict liability state in terms of dog bite owner liability. The owner does not need previous knowledge that the dog was dangerous and the dog does not get multiple strikes before a lawsuit can be filed. If you have been bitten by a dog and your case falls into the previously listed conditions, contact us today. Our law firm can help you build a liability case and seek the damage you need to cover the resulting medical costs.


What Happens if My Uber or Lyft Driver is Uninsured?

Thursday, February 06, 2020

In a recent Fox news story out of St. Petersburg, Florida, a passenger was injured during a Lyft ride -- and says that the Lyft driver was uninsured at the time of the accident. Cameron Decker, the Lyft passenger, is now looking to Lyft for answers after he discovered post-accident that his driver did not have up-to-date insurance. Decker suffered a severe neck injury, with multiple herniated discs and disc bulges in his neck and lower back, which has prevented him from returning to his usual day job as a trained saxophonist. What's more, Decker says his medical bills have been piling up, and he isn't sure when -- or if -- Lyft will take responsibility for this unfortunate accident. 

 

Who is Responsible After A Rideshare Accident?

 

Stories like this have been flooding news outlets lately, with injured passengers taking issue with the way that big rideshare companies, such as Lyft and Uber, are handling accident claims and incidents where the driver was uninsured. Riders in big cities like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and Los Angeles often rely on rideshare companies to get to and from work, important appointments, and fun nights out on the town. Nobody expects to be left in a position like Cameron Decker was, earlier this year, stranded at the scene of an accident by his Lyft driver. 

"Decker's attorney says the driver had the correct policy when he started driving for the company, but at some point stopped paying the premiums and kept driving for the ride-sharing service." "How does this even happen?" Decker wanted to know, "Does Lyft not check in on their drivers monthly to make sure they are carrying the proper insurance?!"

Fox 13 reached out to Lyft to ask how often they check to see if drivers are continuing to carry the required coverage. 

According to Lyft, they fired the driver responsible, who also refused to exchange information with Decker before leaving him at the scene. They also said they were "working on getting an answer" to the question of checking insurance, but "wanted to reiterate all Lyft drivers are required to demonstrate proof of insurance when they are first hired." 

This answer does not seem to properly address Cameron Decker's situation, a situation that many other rideshare users find themselves in when they discover, after an accident, that their driver was not properly insured. This leads many Uber or Lyft passengers to take matters into their own hands by hiring a personal accident attorney. 

 

What Should I Do if My Lyft or Uber Driver is Uninsured?  

 

Uber and Lyft instruct their drivers to call 911 and ensure their passengers receive any necessary medical attention in the case of an accident. If your Uber or Lyft driver doesn't follow this protocol, make sure that you take these steps to make sure everybody involved is okay. 

After these essential steps, Uber and Lyft do not make it clear what happens in the case of an accident. Their websites enable riders to reach out to the company if an accident occurs, but the companies are not transparent about what happens after that. It is highly recommended to bring your case to an attorney in the case of a rideshare accident because you're up against big businesses that must protect their drivers and reputation. 

In any case, you should demand the following information from anyone involved in the accident: 

  • Name, address, and phone number
  • Role in the accident (driver, passenger, rideshare passenger, etc.) 
  • Personal insurance information 
  • Lyft/Uber's insurance information 
  • Vehicle information (make, model, registration number, and license plate number) 

In addition, you should attempt to get the accounts of any witnesses as well as their information for follow-up. You should also take detailed pictures of the scene of the crash, including any damage to vehicles, properties, or persons. 

Because you may ultimately be dealing with multiple insurance agencies (your own, the other driver's, and Lyft or Uber's), it is extremely beneficial to get as much information as you can on the front-end. All of this information will prove useful to your attorney when making your case as strong and sound as possible. 

If you or a loved one is injured in a rideshare accident in the Los Angeles area, reach out to our offices today. We are experienced in dealing with complicated rideshare cases, so we'll know what to do to get your bills paid and to put your mind at ease.


What to Do When Involved in a Hit and Run Motorcycle Accident

Thursday, January 23, 2020

A motorcycle accident in and of itself is a horrifying experience. As a rider, you lack the protective metal shell of a car and will have to endure more bodily injuries than most drivers ever will even in mild accidents. Unfortunately, if the driver that hit you drives off, it can leave you in a dangerous situation if no one else is around to help you. If you come out of a hit and run motorcycle accident, it can leave you badly injured, scared, and most of all furious that the person that hit you drove off and may not bear any responsibility for it.

However, it is important to keep a clear head and know what steps you need to take in order to make sure your case is covered fully.

Call the Police

Obviously, after a motorcycle accident, your first concern should be with your health. You will want to get pressing injuries taken care of. However, it is also important that you contact the police as soon as possible after a hit and run accident. The sooner you contact the police with details about the vehicle, the higher the chance that the police will be able to find the person responsible.

If the police are able to find the vehicle that did hit you, they will face criminal charges for a hit and run. Furthermore, since they actually located the person, you can press charges in an accident case to see that your medical bills and motorcycle damage is covered after the accident.

Unfortunately, the chances of police finding a hit and run driver can be rather low, especially if you barely saw them coming at you or needed immediate medical care after the accident and could not contact them. This means you will need to be ready to take other options in case of this event.

What to Do If You Can't Find The Negligent Driver?

If you contacted the police, but they cannot find the person that hit your motorcycle and caused this traumatic accident, unfortunately, they won't face the punishment they deserve. It is still possible the police may catch them later, but you need money for your medical bills and motorcycle damage sooner rather than later.

If the police cannot find the other driver, you will need to file a claim with your own auto insurance company. These days, auto insurance policies come with coverage for underinsured drivers or drivers with no insurance. This also covers drivers of hit and runs.

The tricky part of filing this claim is getting it approved. This is where you will still want to contact a personal injury attorney for help. They can help you deal with your insurance company to help make sure the claim is approved. Unfortunately, one missed step or improper piece of documentation means they will deny a claim you dearly need. As such, you will want to get in contact with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible even after a hit and run where you are dealing with your own insurance company. You'd like to think they are there to help you, but unfortunately they often only care about keeping costs low.

Need Help?

Have you been the victim of a hit and run or the victim of any motorcycle accident? We can help you. After a motorcycle accident, your injuries will be more serious than those of a car driver and you especially deserve to have them covered. Contact us today to see how we at the Law Office of Freeman & Freeman can help you recover compensation for your extensive injuries.


Is The Driver Liable When a Car Malfunction Causes an Accident?

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Car problems are an inevitable part of life. However, while a dead battery or a flat tire are frustrating, they aren't dangerous. Yet, car problems had while on the road can be major hazards not just to your own safety, but everyone around you.

If you have been in an accident, that is bad enough. However, if prior to that accident you were dealing with some sort of malfunction, such as a blown-out tire or faulty brakes, you may be looking for a little justice. Yet, even if your car caused the accident and not any negligence on your part, it is likely that the other party and their insurance company will still try to pin the blame on you, but that might not be quite right.

If your car did have a malfunction, there could be another party you could be holding responsible for your damages and those to the other vehicle in some circumstances.

Manufacturer Liability

It is possible for your auto accident to transform into a product liability case if the malfunction was caused by the manufacturer. If you can show that the problem was caused by a flaw in the design of the vehicle or a flaw that happened in the manufacturing process, you can pursue a claim with the manufacturer and hold them liable.

Unfortunately, this will take an examination by someone very knowledgeable about cars and it can be difficult to go after auto companies. Furthermore, if the cause in question has already been recalled, depending on the time the recall has been out, you may be liable for not visiting a dealer to have it rectified after you have been notified about the issue.

Repair Shop Liability

More commonly when a car malfunctions, it is not so much the manufacturer that caused it due to some defect, but it could have been potentially caused by the repair technician. Over time, your mechanic has a lot more contact with the car and its mechanical functions than the manufacturer.

If your vehicle malfunctioned, you may want to have it investigated after the wreck to see if it was a fault in your repair shop that caused the problem. If this proves true, you can hold the repair shop liable.

Unfortunately, many independent mechanics don't have the assets, funds, or even insurance to field a lawsuit like this. However, chain repair shops will often have insurance specifically to cover the mistakes of their employees.

Were You Actually At-Fault?

When a car accident happens due to a malfunction, you may be somewhat relieved to know you might not be held liable, but there are circumstances where this isn't true. For example, if the malfunction was caused due to your own work on the car, this means that you are still held liable for that accident.

Furthermore, if you suspected something was wrong with your car, such as your tires kept losing pressure, or your brakes were a little slower to stop your car, you may be held liable if you didn't take any action. This falls into the same vein as the aforementioned recalled defects on the part of the manufacturer. Similar to if you received a recall notice and did not take timely action to have the defect replaced, if you knew of a problem but did nothing, then the accident it caused is still your fault.

Need Help?

Have you been in an auto accident in the Los Angeles area? Whether it was caused by a defect or the negligence of another, contact us today. The Law Office of Freeman & Freeman can help you navigate through the complex process of personal injury suits to help you get the compensation that you deserve.



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