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Personal Injury Blog

Can an Animal Rescue Be Liable For a Dog Bite?

Thursday, November 15, 2018

When it comes to the city or state-run animal control, their business is to take dangerous animals off the street to prevent various issues, namely animal attacks. However, you also have groups working independently of the government to re-home dogs and other animals found on the street or in neglectful situations. These groups have the benefit of being able to place dogs and other animals with loving homes and also removing them from shelters in which, if not adopted in a certain amount of time, they will be euthanized.

Dog Bites

Unfortunately, while dangerous animals can be rehabilitated in many cases, it takes time to do so. During this time, there is the potential that they could lash out violently and hurt someone. If you were the victim of a dog bite by an animal that was under the care of an animal rescue group, can you hold those groups liable for the attack?

The answer, in most cases, is yes. As there is always the potential for any dog to bite someone this means that rescue groups need to take the time to protect themselves from what could very well be not a possibility, but an eventuality. In the larger animal rescue group, you will find that they have insurance to protect the group in case of an animal bite. If a dog bites someone, whether it is a worker or someone looking to adopt a dog, the insurance will be there to pay for the medical bills of the victim. However, if you are dealing with smaller animal rescue groups, they may not have the insurance, but you still retain the right to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Who's Liable?

While you maintain the right to pursue a personal injury suit against an animal rescue group, you must also realize the certain reality of doing so. Animal rescues, particularly small ones, run on a limited budget. Typically, this is the reason they did not have insurance in the first place. Often one bite and the impending lawsuit will unravel the organization. For some, they may choose not to pursue a lawsuit because it would likely mean the end of that particular rescue. However, dog bites can be more than just simply bites. They can be vicious attacks that require extended medical treatment, even plastic surgery to rectify. In these cases, there is no question who should come first – the victim.

Personal Injury

A personal injury suit against a group is much like a personal injury suit against an individual. You must first prove that the organization was liable for the injury. If the animal had attacked you on the animal rescue's property, they had the responsibility for making sure it was secured. However, it needs to be proved that you did not actively provoke the animal either. As they were harboring the animal, the organization has the responsibility to actively work to prevent attacks.

As for who to file the personal injury lawsuit against, you may not be filing it against the animal rescue group as a whole. Often these groups work on donations and have very little if any, profits from it. Instead of filing against the group as a whole, it is likely you will be filing the personal injury lawsuit against the person in charge of the group such as a leader or a founder. This is generally why many animal rescue groups insist they have insurance because a personal injury lawsuit against an individual is damaging financially.

If you have been bitten by a dog, whether it was held by an animal rescue group or just a private owner, contact us today. The Law Office of Freeman & Freeman can help get you the compensation you deserve for your injury.

Seeking a Personal Injury Suit on Behalf of a Child

Thursday, November 08, 2018

All parents never hope they have an injured child. It doesn't matter the injury either. If they fall off the monkey bars and break their arm, it can be just as terrifying as a child getting hit with a car. However, if a child has been injured in an accident due to someone else's negligence, it is something that affects the whole family. A parent may have to amend their schedule to take care of a child, siblings may need to change plans or may be overlooked by parents, and of course, the child themselves may end up missing school. So if a child has been injured in an accident, they, too, deserve justice and compensation for their injuries even if they aren't part of the working class yet.

Personal Injury

There are many who think that personal injury suits are only worthwhile if your ability to work has been compromised and you need to pay your medical bills. However, for a child who doesn't work and doesn't pay their own medical bills, parents might not think to pursue a personal injury case for them. However, a parent will still have to pay those medical bills even though another caused the accident. Furthermore, accidents are incredibly traumatic even for adults. Your child may suffer disfigurement or emotional trauma that will need to be treated. As a parent, it is your responsibility to treat these issues, but it should not be your responsibility to pay for them if another caused the accident.

Injury Claim for a Child

When it comes to filing a personal injury claim for a minor aged child, it works much the same way as if you were filing a claim for yourself as an adult. You will speak with your lawyer and get the whole process rolling. Much like in an adult claim, your case hinges on if the negligence of another was the cause of the accident. If your child ran into traffic, for example, your personal injury suit won't likely be successful.

There is also one more important distinction when it comes to personal injury cases for minors – time. The statute of limitation in which you can file a personal injury claim for a minor is different compared to an adult. You actually have much longer than you would have for an adult. If an adult were injured, they would have two years to file a claim before they would be barred from doing so. However, a parent of a minor, or a minor themselves later, has until two years after their 18th birthday to file a personal injury suit. This means, if a child is injured when they are 17, their parent can file a claim or the child can wait until they turn 18 years of age and file the claim themselves. Of course, the longer one waits to file after an accident, typically the weaker their case will because due to loss of evidence and witnesses.

Get Help

If you are the parent of a child injured in an accident, you will likely care more for their health over anything else. However, nursing an injured child back to health is expensive, and it is a bill that you shouldn't have to pay yourself. Some parents may innately think that a minor can't have a personal injury case, but it simply isn't true. With the help of a lawyer, it isn't much different than an adult personal injury suit.

If you have a child who was the victim of an accident due to another's negligence, contact us today. The Law Office of Freeman & Freeman is dedicated to helping injured people, even children, get the compensation that they need to get back on their feet.

Motorcycle Accidents: Can an Injured Motorcyclist Without Helmet Recover Personal Injury Damages?

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer

Helmet laws have been controversial for decades, with states yo-yo-ing between having them, not having them, and having some version. Motorcyclists enjoy the wind in their hair with the freedom of the road stretching out ahead of them and decry the need for helmets. This is fine in Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire - and 28 other states if you're at least 21 years of age - but 19 states have a universal helmet law which requires all riders to wear a helmet. This safety measure is based upon crystal clear statistics that show head injuries are the primary cause of fatality in motorcycle accidents. In fact, statistics show that wearing a helmet prevents brain injury in 67% of motorcycle accidents and is 37% effective in mortality prevention. That aside, do the helmet laws of your state affect your rights with regards to personal injury recovery? In a word, yes. 

State Laws

Each state dictates the laws governing insurance rates and coverage. Three primary considerations in an accident include:

  • Whether your state is an at-fault or no-fault state
  • Whether your state has a helmet law
  • Your level of negligence in the accident

In a no-fault state each driver pays their own damages regardless of who caused the accident, with important exceptions: if your personal injury exceeds Personal Injury Protection coverage, and/or you are permanently injured, you are entitled to sue the at-fault driver.

If the state also has a helmet law, your insurance carrier will pay your claim up to your personal injury limits, then either drop your coverage or raise your future rates. A rider without a helmet is a high-risk rider for any insurance company, given the likelihood of significant head and brain injury and the attendant elevated medical costs, incurred in a motorcycle accident. (The exceptions still apply but defending your claim is harder). 

In an at-fault (tort law) state without a helmet law, the negligent driver has to pay damages - once their negligence is proven. Where it gets complex is in an at-fault state with a helmet law, such as California.

Contributory or Comparative Negligence

If you are injured in a motorcycle accident in an at-fault state with a helmet law, and you weren't wearing a helmet, you suddenly have a degree of negligence in the accident. This means that you caused some or all of your own head injuries when you broke the helmet law. The other driver's insurance company and/or attorney can certainly claim this. Five states in the U.S. can defend against your personal injury claim through "injured party's contributory negligence": Alabama, North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. In these states you may not recover any damages if you weren't wearing a helmet in the accident.

California has a comparative fault law which allows juries to determine a percentage of injuries caused by your own negligence, to reduce your personal injury damages; that is, they argue that a certain percentage of your injuries could have been prevented by wearing a helmet. For example, if 40% of your injuries are head injuries that could have been prevented by wearing a helmet, the court reduces your personal injury damages by 40%. In some states, the court will deny your claim if the other driver's lawyer can prove that your "comparative negligence" was 50% or greater.

Whatever your situation, your best chance of damage recovery lies in hiring a personal injury lawyer who understands insurance and state laws. You don't need the headache and stress of dealing with the other driver's insurance company and legal team while you're recovering from perhaps life-altering injuries. If you live in the Los Angeles area, please feel free to contact us at Freeman & Freeman, LLP or call 818-992-2919 and let our experts handle your claim.

 



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