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Personal Injury Blog

What Should an Injured Passenger Do if Injured in an Auto Accident?

Friday, August 17, 2018

Auto accidents are traumatic for anyone involved. However, there is no denying that injured drivers have a certain amount of rights towards compensation for their injuries and we all know it. However, what if there injured passengers? Not every driver that gets into an accident is alone in the car, and if you were riding with friends or family during an accident, you might wonder if you have any right to compensation, especially since you had no part in the accident itself. However, rest assured that as an injured passenger, you also have certain rights to compensation to cover any resulting injuries.

Seeking Compensation From the Driver's Insurance

As an injured passenger, your first task - after healing, of course - is to determine the fault of the accident. We certainly don't want to pursue a claim against the driver of the car we were in because of any personal feelings for the driver, but it may be necessary. However, it is important to remember that you are not taking money straight out of their pocket, but rather your injuries will be covered by their insurance company if they were at fault. As an injured passenger, you have a legal right to file a claim with their insurance for your injuries. This claim will cover your medical expenses, any lost wages accrued due to healing, as well as a certain amount for pain and suffering.

Even if the driver of your car was at fault, you also still have the right to file a claim with the other driver's car insurance as well. This can be necessary because often auto insurance does not let passengers related to the driver file as they are seen as part of the insurance. However, you cannot collect from both insurance providers to an amount that exceeds the total value of the claim.

Using the Passenger's Policy

As an injured passenger with your own auto insurance policy, you may be able to get coverage for your medical expenses from your own policy. This coverage is not based on any liability and does not require the passenger to be at fault. However, using this method, typically pain, and suffering or lost wages are typically not covered. Yet, if there are any expenses that are related to your medical expenses, then your own auto insurance will typically cover it.

If you collect a portion from your own auto insurance and then later receive compensation from another driver's insurance, you may find a certain amount will be deducted from the liability settlement. Using your own auto insurance policy is a great option is you need coverage for your medical bills quickly but expect a certain amount of coverage later from a larger settlement.

Need Help?

With all the options above available to you, it actually makes getting compensation for an injured passenger more complex than for either of the drivers. Which option do you pick to suit your unique needs? It can be really difficult to figure out. If you are an injured passenger and need compensation for your medical bills now or simply want to make the most out of the coverage options you do have, contact us today. Don't let all the options you have available to you overwhelm you with choice, the right auto accident attorney can help you sort out which options are right for your unique needs.

If you were a passenger who was in an auto accident, contact us today. Let the Law Office of Freeman and Freeman help you get compensation for your accident so you can pay your medical bills now when you need to.

What to Do When Bicycle Brakes Failed to Work?

Thursday, August 09, 2018

When it comes to bicycle accidents, people will tend to think that either the cyclist or a driver was at fault and there is no in-between ground. After all, accidents due to careless motorists or cyclists crashing into objects accidentally are common in every city. However, there are times when an accident is completely out of a cyclist's control, like when they are riding and their brakes fail to engage. In these cases, often the law meets at a crossroad of product liability and personal injury suits.

When the brakes fail to engage on a bicycle, if there was another at fault for the accident, then you can pursue both a personal injury claim and a product liability claim. This does mean twice the work but can also mean double the chance at compensation for your accident. However, if you were the only one injured, then you need to consider your rights as the consumer because there is no other option to pay for your accident.

A bicycle injury can manifest itself as a product liability claim for the following reasons:

  • Manufacturing Defects - In this sort of claim, the injured cyclist will allege that the company that manufactured the bicycle or even just the brakes did not do so in the same quality standards as their competitors. In order for this to be a valid claim, the cyclist and their lawyer must prove the poor construction of the bicycle or breaks as well as prove it was defective when sold.
  • Design Defects - Similar to manufacturing defects, this sort of claim seeks to prove that the way the bicycle brakes were designed were innately flawed and dangerous. If the cyclist and their lawyer can dig up evidence of other brake failures by the same model of bicycle brakes, then the problem lies not in the manufacturing, but in the design of the product itself.
  • Failure to Warn - It is a product creators duty to warn consumers of potentially dangerous risks that come with their products. For example, any bicycle brake has the potential to lock up or fail to engage if certain conditions are met, but if the bicycle manufacturer failed to put a warning about that, then you can pursue them with a failure to warn claim because it is likely they cyclist won't know otherwise.

Personal Injury Claim or Product Liability

If you were involved in a bicycle accident that was technically the fault of another, but could have been avoided if your brakes worked properly, you can engage in both a personal injury case and a product liability claim. This will involve filing a personal injury claim with the other involved party and their insurance company as well as filing a separate claim against the manufacturer of the bicycle or the brakes.

As an example, if you hit a car door, the motorist would have been responsible for checking for cyclists before opening. However, if you were traveling at a moderate speed and your brakes did not engage, that accident could have been avoided. In this case, you can pursue both claims for compensation from your accident.

Unfortunately, as one would expect, two claims means twice the work. In order for the best chance of success at both claims, you need a lawyer by your side that can help you. If you have been in a bicycle accident, no matter whether it was the fault of another or a defect of your bicycle, then contact us today. The Law Office of Freeman and Freeman is dedicated to helping injured individuals get the compensation that they need to recover from their accident.

Pool Injuries and Drowning: Is the Lifeguard at Fault or the Pool Management?

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Spending time at the local pool is a tradition for many neighborhoods. Whether your kids take a few dollars and their bicycle to the local pool or you go with the whole family on weekends, you trust the pool management and lifeguards to have rules and a routine to make sure everyone stays safe both in and out of the water. But every now and then, something really bad happens. A child slips on the slick pavement, someone tumbles over the deck chairs or, worse, a child nearly drowns and the lifeguard is slow to respond. If you, your child, or someone you know has been seriously injured or was in a life-threatening situation at a local pool, it's natural to want to get to the bottom of the issue and seek compensation for any medical costs that resulted.

However, it's very important to understand whether you should be looking into the lifeguard who was on duty or the pool management itself who made the policies for both swimmers and lifeguards. There are situations where an adult professional lifeguard really was negligent and that can be the cause of poolside injuries and trauma but all too often, the blame really lies with pool management and the policies they set for their teen summer lifeguards.

Teen Lifeguards with Summer Jobs

Being a lifeguard is one of the classic jobs that teens can get over the summer and is one of the few ways younger teens can earn money at all. Inexperience, lack of physical strength, and insufficient training can make it difficult for teens to perform their lifeguard duties even if they are vigilant and respond quickly. However, not every teen lifeguard is in peak condition, is paying attention, and many don't even want to be lifeguarding. When parents force their kids to get summer jobs or when teens are desperate for cash, they become subject to the whims of pool management and you might be surprised how abusive this can become. In many cases, the faults of a teen lifeguard can be directly blamed on exploitative policies that actively get in the way of their ability to be good lifeguards.

Abusive Pool Management Policies

For a lifeguard to be alert and able to properly do their job, they need to stay hydrated, keep their head in the shade, and take more frequent breaks than most occupations because they are out in the sun. A properly run pool should have lifeguards switching out every 15 to 30 minutes with cool water delivered to an active lifeguard every five to ten minutes. However, when pool management cuts corners, your teen lifeguards could be suffering from heat stroke and exhaustion far worse than any kid playing in the water. Bad pool management practices are notorious for denying lifeguard breaks and lengthening shifts beyond advisable lengths, especially when they understaff to safe money or even one lifeguard calls in sick.

This is especially dangerous for teen lifeguards who may not feel they have the right to stand up for their rights and personal safety. Most teens, especially those who have summer jobs, are still inclined to obey authority and do what they're told, even if what they're told is bad for them and their swimmers.

Who is Responsible?

If a lifeguard was slow to respond to the needs of you or your child, or if their efforts seemed feeble in response to the emergency, it might be because they are victims of bad pool management as well. When lifeguards are forced to become dehydrated and overheated up there on their platform chairs, everyone is at risk. If you are conflicted by the prospect of suing a teen or their family, make sure to look closely at the faults of the pool management as well. Reach out to an experienced personal injury lawyer and they can help you investigate the pool's history of lifeguard treatment and other injuries they have allowed to happen. For more information about how to move forward with pool injury and drowing compensation or to consult on your unique experience, contact us today.


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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.