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Personal Injury Blog

Liability in Weather-Related Car Accidents

Thursday, January 17, 2019

There are a lot of factors that can cause a car accident. It could be because a driver was texting. It could because a driver was drunk. It could even be because the driver was thinking so hard and got caught up in their own thoughts. However, on occasion, it could be because the driver couldn't see because it was literally raining sideways or some other weather-related incident was taking place. When the weather causes a car accident, it can be a difficult situation when it comes to placing the blame so that those involved can get compensation.

Is It Your Fault When You Drive in Bad Weather?

The unfortunate reality is that when you go out on the road, you are expected to take "reasonable care" of your own safety. This means if road conditions were too unsafe to drive, they can place fault of an accident with you because you made the conscious choice to drive on them. You should have known that it was too unsafe to drive and should have gotten off the road. This is such an unfair thing to hear, but if your accident was caused by weather, you should get ready to hear it. So if you couldn't see because it was raining, if you swerved and hit another driver, you would be at fault for that accident without question. It was you that caused it, and not so much the weather.

While that seems rather unfair, you are burdened with the decision to get off the road or continue driving. By making the choice to just soldier on, you must deal with the consequences. Furthermore, if the weather was a known event and not unexpected, this further supports the fact that you chose to go and drive in it instead of staying off the road until it stopped.

Shared Fault in Weather Accidents

In weather accidents, often both parties can contribute to the crash. While the driver at fault will still probably be held liable, others can share some fault too. When the weather gets bad, drivers are expected to:

  • Drive at a reasonable speed, even if it is below the posted limit
  • Follow other vehicles at a safe distance
  • Take action to avoid accidents

If a driver was riding your bumper and you had to stop suddenly, your stopping technically causes the accident, but they were also not giving you a fair amount of space. As such, they share the fault for the accident. In fact, in that situation, they may be held fully at fault for it.

When a Driver is Not at Fault in Weather

While rare, there are some situations in which the driver that actually caused the crash is not at fault. Say, for example, that a giant wave came over a coastal road and pushed your car into the other lane. This caused a multi-car wreck. However, this situation would be considered an act of god, something that no one could have anticipated. This frees the driver from liability for causing the crash.

Need Help?

If there is one thing to take away from a weather-related car accident, it is that the person who caused the crash is likely the one to be held liable. Unfortunately, you cannot get compensation from the weather, so holding them to blame does nothing for anybody involved.

If you have been in an auto accident in the Los Angeles area, whether it was weather-related or not, contact us today. We can help you get the compensation that you deserve as well as help to limit your own liability if necessary.


Bus Injuries As a Result From Sudden Acceleration

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Not all injuries on a bus occur from a random accident. In fact, bus travel is a relatively safe form of travel where accidents are either fairly minor to those inside or very rare altogether. However, an accident is not the only way to get hurt on a bus. Often the biggest cause of bus-related accidents comes in the form of accidents between the passenger and just riding on the bus. One of the most common includes accidents from rapid acceleration by the bus driver.

Rapid Acceleration: Driver or Passenger Fault?

For those who ride on the bus every day, they might not be altogether unfamiliar with the rapid acceleration of the bus by its driver. You get on the bus and while looking for a seat, the bus suddenly jolts forward as the driver eagerly pushes towards their next stop. Bus drivers are trained so that this acceleration should be rather gentle, but they still should wait until all passengers are safely sat down before moving.

So if this rapid acceleration did occur, whose fault is it? It seems fairly straightforward that it would be the driver's fault for not waiting for all passengers to be secure, but that is not always the case. The driver can't always control the passengers or other outside factors on the road. If they need to accelerate to change lanes or avoid hazards, they need to do so. If this time coincides with a passenger fooling around and not sitting safely, then the fault doesn't actually lie with the driver, but with the passenger.

However, while a bus may be full of many witnesses, usually it is not the witness testimony that is relied upon to prove fault. Instead, many buses come with surveillance that helps determine the liability in the accident. If passenger surveillance determines that the passenger was misbehaving in an unsafe manner, they may be barred from compensation from the accident.

Types of Injuries That Can Occur From Sudden Acceleration

When it comes to the rapid or sudden acceleration of a bus, the most common type of accident is a fall. This can manifest a number of serious injuries. However, while a fall on a public bus may be embarrassing, it is important to remember that you must have sustained sufficient harm in order to pursue a lawsuit. A scrape or a scratch, in most cases, it is not enough to pursue what will be an expensive lawsuit.

In bus accidents, it is usually only worth pursuing a lawsuit if your injuries forced you to go to the hospital. The sudden acceleration could be breaking your arm after a fall or serious head trauma after hitting something on the bus like the edge of a seat. Both these injuries, and many others, will likely result in your hospitalization after the accident. If you have medical bills that resulted from an accident, this is always a case for litigation. However, you will find that if you only suffered minor injuries, a lawsuit seeking punitive compensation will likely be unsuccessful even if the driver is completely at fault. The world looks down on frivolous lawsuits that are solely meant to punish, and they have a much higher chance of being unsuccessful these days.

Need Help?

For most, the only bus accident they fear is a serious auto accident that will be blamed on traffic. However, injuries can happen on a bus without an actual crash. If you have been the victim of a sudden acceleration bus injury, and need help getting compensation to cover your medical bills, contact us today. Let the Freeman & Freeman Law Firm come to your aid.

Can You Make A Personal Injury Claim After a Hit and Run Accident?

Thursday, September 06, 2018


Hit and Run

In a perfect world, if you were struck by a car, whether you were a pedestrian or in a vehicle yourself, the other driver would stop and at least check if you are okay before exchanging information. However, the world is not perfect. Sometimes people get into accidents, panic, and then drive off never to be seen again. Where does that leave you, the victim of a hit and run? If we are honest, it often leaves you with a lot of medical bills and not a lot of clear options on how to handle them without using your own savings.

Personal Injury Claim

Typically when you are hit in an accident, you will file a personal injury claim with the person at fault and their insurance. However, in a hit and run accident, that other person is nowhere to be found. Do you have any options available to you?

Yes! What many forget about is that their own auto insurance coverage has coverage for uninsured drivers. This coverage also covers drivers who are nowhere to be found. As lawyers, we always encourage others to have reasonable uninsured driver coverage for this very reason, but even a small policy is better than no policy. Regardless, the fact that your own insurance can cover your medical bills is good news, but the more you get into it, the less good it gets.

Auto Insurance

The major issue is that an insurance company is an insurance company, be it your own or someone else's. A claims adjuster's job is trying to cut costs by denying claims or otherwise finding loopholes to limit your amount of coverage. Considering in this situation you are using an insurance policy that you pay for, it can be infuriating to have your claim denied or otherwise limited. All that money you paid them and they suddenly don't come through when you actually need it? Inconceivable, but likely to happen whether we like it or not.

It is for this reason that you still need the aid of a personal injury attorney when making a claim to your own insurance after an accident. You want to trust that they will treat you with the respect that a paying customer deserves, but it is not so. Your personal injury attorney can make sure that after a hit and run accident, your insurance company doesn't try to run away with the coverage you need.

Once you have made a claim to your insurance after a hit and run accident, the process is very similar to the process in which there is an identified other driver involved. Your medical records are gathered, your lost wages are calculated, pain and suffering is determined and then the amount is sent to your insurance company. Unfortunately, it is unlikely they will just decide to pay it without question. Instead, negotiations will begin between the insurance company and your lawyer. It is important that you and your legal counsel fight for an offering of a satisfactory amount and not just take the first counter offer that they present. Your lawyer doesn't inflate their calculations. The amount you asked for is money you lost, save for pain and suffering which should be the only amount that you allow to be lowered.

We Can Help

If you have been in a hit and run accident only to be left injured and confused about how you will cover your injuries financially, contact us today. The Law Office of Freeman and Freeman is dedicated to representing any injured party in their quest to get coverage for their medical bills. Let us help you get the compensation you deserve for injuries that weren't your fault.


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.

Important Steps to Take After Your Child is Injured in a School Bus Accident

Thursday, May 17, 2018

We like to think that school buses and the schools themselves are the safest places in the world. While recent news has proven that the safety of public schools is deeply flawed, this there is no question that school buses can have their issues as well. After all, the roadways are a dangerous place.

While many school bus drivers keep their passengers very safe through safe driving, they are not the only drivers on the road. Any driver can cause an accident and unfortunately, school buses are not always overflowing with safety features. While what safety features they do have may help prevent fatalities, they don't always go a long way to prevent injury. This means that if your child is in a school bus accident, they have a much higher chance of being injured. This is a breach of trust between you and the people you trust to keep your child safe, and when that trust is breached, you should pursue them for compensation. So what steps should you take when your child is injured in a school bus crash?

Seek Medical Treatment

If there was a bus crash and your child was injured, ideal they should be treated before you even know they were in a crash. However, the most important thing will always be to make sure your child gets the medical attention they need to heal to the best of their ability, and worry about everything else second. However, if you intend to pursue compensation, be sure to keep track of doctors, treatments, and medical bills so you can potentially get reimbursed from a personal injury lawsuit.

Document the Injuries

After your child has been seen by a doctor and all their injuries have been treated, you will strongly want to consider snapping a few pictures of the injuries. In personal injury cases that involve children, visual proof of the injuries can really tug at the heartstrings. Document everything from bruises and stitches to broken bones. It is one thing to read off a list of injuries from a piece of paper, but it is quite another to be able to show how badly your child was hurt.

Document the Accident

Often parents of children injured in school bus accidents don't know what actually happened unless they probe into it a bit. If you intend to pursue compensation to cover your child's medical bills, you need to find out what happened in the accident, who is at fault, and how well the accident itself was documented. As school buses carry so many young passengers, police will often flood the scene, meaning there will be a police report that can be pulled. This will detail all the crucial pieces of the accident as well as list any witnesses to an accident. Police reports are a crucial pieces of evidence to prove and support your case.

Contact a Lawyer

If your child was injured in a school bus accident, you will want to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after your child's injuries have been treated. The unique thing about school bus accidents is that often there will be quite a few other parents seeking to take the same legal action. This means that instead of taking the case to court and risking a number of high award amounts given by the courts, the responsible party for the accident may try to settle with as many parents as possible. In cases that involve children, often the odds are stacked high against those responsible.

If your child has been in a school bus accident and you want to seek compensation to cover their injuries, 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.