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Personal Injury Blog

Does Legal Marijuana Affect Personal Injury Case?

Friday, July 19, 2019

California, like many other states, is still getting used to the new legality of recreational marijuana use. When it became legal, not much else changed with it. Yet, it still has some important implications in various areas, including the realm of personal injury litigation. The question that is on everyone's mind is how legal marijuana use affects their personal injury case.

It is best to now think of marijuana in a similar vein to alcohol. Both have the ability to impair a person's judgment and ability to make decisions, but both are also quite legal to use. Furthermore, like alcohol, you are not legally allowed to drive if it has impaired your judgment and care.

Personal Injury When Injured By a Marijuana User

If you were, for example, sitting at a red light and a car slams into your rear end, they were clearly the negligent party in this accident. Maybe they didn't slow down enough or didn't even notice that the light was red. Regardless, they are negligent in the accident and you can pursue them for compensation for both your medical bills and damage to your car.

If the person was impaired by marijuana at the time of the accident, this doesn't change anything for you as the victim. They will still likely also face criminal charges despite the legality of the substance as they were driving while impaired. So in this regard, the legality of marijuana changes nothing.

Personal Injury When Injured As a Marijuana User

Alternatively, say you were a pedestrian who had smoked some perfectly legal marijuana in your home and decided to walk down the block to a shop. If you were crossing at the crosswalk with the right away and hit by a car that didn't stop, they are still the negligent party. You were not driving under the influence and had the sound judgment to follow pedestrian crossing laws. You did nothing wrong, and unlike the example above where the impaired person was operating a vehicle, you will face no criminal charges for it.

However, in this circumstance where you were the one under the influence of legal marijuana, it still comes with some complications for your personal injury case. Though legal, the insurance company that will pay for your damages will still try to claim that you were impaired, and in turn, were negligent or at least shared negligence. In these cases, you will need to work a little bit harder to get full compensation. You will be faced with a higher burden of proving that you had done nothing wrong. However, even if you had been sober, you would still likely be shouldered with this burden.

In these cases, witnesses and traffic cams can be crucial to proving that you had the right of way to cross and the vehicle was being the negligent one in the situation. Although marijuana is now legal in California and many other states, it still has that same stigma that insurance companies will try and take advantage of. You were high, albeit legally, but your judgment was impaired. Thus you must share the negligence. This is just an excuse that, with the right lawyer, you can easily unravel.

Need Help?

If you have been in any kind of accident, even one where legal marijuana was at play, you will need a stalwart and experienced personal injury lawyer. Insurance companies will try to browbeat you into accepting a lower settlement simply because you had used marijuana, but in many cases that should not be accepted. Contact us today to see how the knowledgeable attorneys at the Law Office of Freeman & Freeman can help you.


What to Do After You Have Been Hit as a Pedestrian in a Parking Lot

Thursday, July 11, 2019

When we think of pedestrian accidents, only the most obvious situations come to mind. Perhaps someone blow a red light at a crosswalk, clipped a roadside walker at night, or maybe a car even accidentally swerved onto a sidewalk. However, while those can be common pedestrian accidents, it is probably more likely that you will be struck by a car as a pedestrian simply when walking through the parking lot to your favorite store.

Unfortunately, parking lots are often where vehicles and pedestrians most often intersect. There will always be an abundance of both, and accidents are bound to happen. Furthermore, drivers, even safe drivers, tend to not register a parking lot with the same diligence for safety as an actual road. You may find drivers doing behavior they otherwise might not do on the road such as setting up a GPS, sending a text, adjusting their to-do lists, or posting on social media – all while backing out of their parking spot or driving the lanes.

It is this penchant for distracted driving that leads to thousands of pedestrian accidents in parking lots every year. While these accidents often happen at very low speeds, they can still be devastating to the pedestrian that doesn't have a heavy metal shell to absorb the impact. Broken bones, soft tissue damage, and serious head injury from being knocked down by a slow-moving, but large vehicles, are all common. A pedestrian that has endured the pain of a parking lot collision deserves compensation for it.

What to Do After a Parking Lot Accident?

If you were a pedestrian struck by a vehicle in a parking lot, you are not without options. Your first course of action should be to seek medical attention, but after any accident it is also important to collect the pertinent details such as the driver's name and insurance information. It is also crucial to call a police officer to file a report of the accident to better pursue a civil case later to receive compensation for your injuries.

As parking lots are very public places, you may find that there will be no shortage of witnesses that saw what happened. The store in question may also have parking lot security cameras that caught the whole incident on tape. This will make receiving compensation for your injuries go more smoothly as everyone involved will be able to clearly see that the vehicle struck you due to their own distracted driving or pure negligence.

While being struck by a slow-moving car doesn't always manifest immediately severe injuries, it is still to your benefit to seek medical attention. Often after accidents, adrenaline is high and we don't feel the injuries until the day after. However, the longer you wait to seek medical attention, the worse off your case will be. Furthermore, if you opt to just "walk it off," it is likely that the driver that hit you will just disappear into the wind with no way to contact them to recover compensation for any of your injuries.

Need Help?

If you have been in any kind of pedestrian accident, be it in a parking lot or otherwise, you will need the help of a skilled attorney to navigate the personal injury process. If you have been struck and have any kind of injury, contact us today to see how the Law Office of Freeman & Freeman can help you recover the compensation that you need for your injuries. Like many areas of the law, personal injury suits can get complex, and we can make sure you get every penny of compensation that your injury deserves.


When A Trucking Company is at Fault for a Truck Accident

Friday, July 05, 2019

It is only natural to think that if you were in an accident with a truck due to no fault of your own that it is probably the truck driver's fault. However, the reason those truck accidents are considered more complex than your standard auto accident is typically because there are more players involved in the process. It is not just deciding fault between you and the truck driver, but it could be that the manufacturer of the truck and even the owner of the trucking company can shoulder some of that fault as well.

When is an Accident the Trucking Company's Fault?

There are a number of different scenarios where the trucking company can be held at fault. Unfortunately, where the fault of a truck driver is relatively clear in most accidents, situations in which the trucking company can be held liable are a little more vague. If any of the following was the cause of the accident, you may be able to hold the company that employed the driver at fault for your substantial damages.

  • The truck driver was not provided proper training by their company for the job.
  • The company failed to confirm proper licensing for the truck driver they employed.
  • The trucking company was pressuring their driver to work too many hours without proper rest despite worker regulations.
  • The truck company failed to enforce rules and safety regulations.
  • The trucking company was in charge of maintenance of the rig and failed to keep them properly maintained and up to standards.

The truth of the matter is that proving this fault can be rather difficult. Accident victims may find that a trucking company is more likely to try and place the blame on a single employee rather than shoulder it themselves.  It used to be that trucking companies could avoid liability completely by not owning or leasing trucks to drivers and labeling all drivers as independent contractors. If the driver is not technically an employee and they do not have any dominion over the truck, they couldn't be held liable. Luckily, federal laws have put an end to that loophole.

The good news is that gathering evidence that places fault on the trucking company is often the same process that is done to prove the singular truck driver is at fault. In fact, fault on the part of the company may even show up when investigating the driver.  Trucking logs, maintenance reports, and black boxes can all go towards proving a trucking company was at fault for an accident. By going after the company rather than a single driver, you are also working towards making the roads safer for others as well. You can be sure that a trucking company was not just being lax with one driver, but likely all their drivers as well.

Need Help?

As commercial trucks can outweigh your average car by almost three times as much, trucking accidents can have devastating results. Not only does it mean substantial damage to your vehicle, but it is likely that you will not walk away from a truck accident without injury. However, it is important to remember that it will not always be the fault of the driver. For you to get the compensation that you need for your injuries and vehicle damage, you need to have a personal injury lawyer that is willing to place the fault where it really lies. If you have been in a trucking accident in the Los Angeles area, contact us today so the skilled professionals at the Law Office of Freeman & Freeman can go over the unique details of your case.



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