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Personal Injury Blog

Motorcycle Accidents: The Importance of Hiring a Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Thursday, April 12, 2018

After being injured in a motorcycle accident, it is easy to become overwhelmed by everything you need to take care of such as going to doctors appointments and meeting with your insurance company. However, you do not want to make the mistake of attempting to go through this difficult time alone. An attorney can help to walk you through this oftentimes confusing process, and they will make sure that someone is looking out for your best interests during this difficult time. If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a motorcycle accident, here are just a few of the reasons you should consider consulting a personal injury attorney.

An Attorney Can Walk You Through The Legal Process

As we previously stated, filing a personal injury claim can be an extremely complex process. There will be various legal documents that you will have to file, forms that will have to be filled out properly, and all of this often has to be completed within a set period of time after your accident. The fact is that unless you have legal knowledge you will likely find yourself drowning in complex legal documents and terminology you don't understand. However, an experienced lawyer can help to walk you through this process and explain to you what is happening and what you are signing at each step of the way. They will also shoulder much of the burden by completing and filing the paperwork for you, ensuring that you have enough free time to focus on your recovery.

Get Help Establishing Fault

Unfortunately, more often than not a driver will not admit their fault in an accident. This means that it will be up to you to establish proof that the accident wasn't your fault, and that you deserve to be compensated for your injuries. This is where having an experienced lawyer on your side can be particularly critical, as they will have first-hand experience furnishing proof in cases similar to yours, and they will have experience working to get their clients the compensation they deserve. With a personal injury attorney working for you, you will have the best shot of proving the other driver's fault.

Have Someone Looking Out for Your Interests

Hiring a personal injury attorney is the only way to ensure that you have someone looking out for your interests during this difficult time. People often make the mistake of assuming that they do not need an attorney as their insurance company will watch their back; however, this is a misconception. The fact is that insurance companies are generally looking to close a claim as quickly and painlessly as possible. They are then often focused on looking out for their own best interest, and what is in the interest of their own pocketbooks, rather than on ensuring that you are being taken care of. By hiring an attorney, you will have someone looking out for you who will make sure that you are being treated fairly, and that you are properly represented, during this difficult time.

Benefit From Expert Knowledge

If you do not consult a personal injury attorney, you may also be leaving yourself open to being taken advantage of. The fact is that you likely do not know the full extent of what your injuries are worth. Thusly, without an attorney, you may agree to a settlement that is much lower than what you deserve. A personal injury attorney will have a great deal of experience assessing claims similar to yours, and they will be able to make sure you are properly compensated for your injuries, any time off of work, and your medical expenses.

Contact us to learn more about why you should consult a personal injury attorney after being injured in a motorcycle accident.

Motorcycle Accidents: Does Not Wearing a Helmet Hurt My Case?

Thursday, April 05, 2018

While many experience the siren's call at least at some point in their life that lures them onto a motorcycle, there is no argument that they are slightly less safe than your standard car. While many operate motorcycles safely, it is not always the driver of these vehicles that are responsible for an accident. However, if a motorcycle is involved in an accident, the drivers are more at risk for injury simply because the vehicle lacks that protective metal shell.

However, in an effort to cut down on the rate of severe injuries and fatalities in motorcycle crashes, many states have adopted a mandatory helmet law for both drivers and passengers. This is the case in California, in which the law requires both driver and passenger to be helmeted while on the road.

However, while this law may be in place for the safety of the riders, not everyone listens to these laws, particularly if they ride in areas where they are pretty sure they won't run into law enforcement. However, while riding a motorcycle without a helmet is your choice, if you are involved in an accident, it may make your case more difficult.

How Wearing a Helmet Affects Your Case?

In motorcycle accidents, typically you are trying to recover damages for both the damage to your motorcycle and for any injuries. However, if you were not wearing a helmet in the accident, you can be sure that the opposing insurance company's first argument will be that you will be responsible for some of those injuries.

In California, since not wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle is technically illegal, the insurance company is likely to say that because you were breaking the law, they shouldn't need to cover some injuries. However, while they courts may agree, a case of the court completely preventing collecting compensation altogether is not likely to happen.

Yet, in making this decision, there are two factors that can affect how much compensation you receive if you were not wearing a helmet. These factors include:

  • Was There a Head Injury? - If you were in a motorcycle accident while not wearing a helmet and you actually did not suffer any head injuries, then the fact you were not wearing a helmet is completely irrelevant. However, if a head injury was present, it is likely that the courts will likely hold you at least a little bit responsible and modify the amount you will receive for the head injury alone while often covering the other injuries in full.
  • Was the Accident the Other Driver's Fault? - Similar to helmetless accidents where there is no head injury, if the accident was the fault of the other driver and they alone could have prevented it, then whether you are wearing a helmet or not does not matter. If the other driver had driven more safely, it can be argued that you wouldn't have those injuries in the first place. However, in this situation, the insurance company is still more likely to at least try to argue that the amount of damages should be limited due to your illegal behavior.

Need Help?

Were you hurt in an accident on your motorcycle in California? If you were not wearing a helmet, you may think that because you were acting illegally that you don't have a lot of options or even a right to compensation. However, that simply is not true. If you were in a motorcycle accident, due to the sheer nature of the vehicle, you may have more injuries than a standard car driver, and whether you were wearing a helmet or not, you can recover at least some compensation for your injuries. If you need representation in your case, contact us today.

What If My Brain Injuries Don't Show Up Right Away?

Thursday, March 01, 2018

brain injury

After an accident, broken bones and lacerations are bad injuries to have. However, when it comes to non-fatal injuries, traumatic brain injuries are the worst injuries that you can receive from an accident. The issue is that the brain is a complex organ and controls so much in the body. This means that even small injuries to the brain can manifest themselves in a wide variety of symptoms and can greatly affect your daily lives.

However, because brain injuries are so serious, they often qualify victims for large payouts to cover their treatment and any long-term effects of the brain injury. Yet, there is a major problem that can come from brain injuries that occurred during an accident - they don't always show up right away. The real issue is that so many people don't realize that they have a traumatic brain injury until much later when the symptoms and other effects start to show up. However, if you are diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury from an accident months or even years in the past, can you still receive compensation to cover it?

What To Do If Brain Injury Symptoms Show Up Later?

It is recommended that as soon as an accident is over, you visit a doctor. Even if you feel fine, the doctor can examine any symptoms as well as examine the specifics of the accident to see if a brain injury may be present. However, if they manage to overlook it and you manifest symptoms or discover an injury later, you may still have some options available.

Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases

If you are injured in an accident, brain injury or otherwise, California gives you a set statute of limitations in which you can pursue compensation. In California, this time limit is two years after the accident. If you try to pursue compensation for an injury any later than two years, your case likely will not be heard.

However, there are quite a few exceptions to this statute of limitations time period. The exception that will typically apply to those with traumatic brain injuries is the delayed discovery rule. In this exception, the statute of limitation time period is suspended and actually begins when the victims suspects or should suspect that they were injured by some wrongdoing. This means that if you feel fine for months after an accident, then manifest symptom and discover there is some injury to the brain that likely came from that accident, then this is when the clock starts.

However, the issue with using the delayed discovery exception is that is much easier for the person that caused the accident to argue that you injured yourself in some other way. This is even more suspect if you have been in other accidents, even minor ones, since the accident you are holding suspect.

This is why it is so crucial that if you even hit your head a little bit or were subject to a motion that would make your head rapidly snap back and forth that you have a doctor check it out at the time. Not only will this increase the chances of detecting a brain injury early, but it will document that one may have been caused by that particular accident.

Need Help?

Have you been the victim of a brain injury whose symptoms didn't start showing up until much later? Unfortunately this means that you are in for a tough fight for compensation, but the Law Office of Freeman & Freeman are ready to fight for you. If you need representation to get the compensation that you deserve, then contact us today.

 

Safety: One Key to Avoiding a Motorcycle Accident

Thursday, December 21, 2017

If you are a motorcyclist, you likely know that you have to take even more precautions on the road than people driving cars or other larger vehicles. There are several things you can do as a motorcyclist to reduce your chances of being involved in a crash, whether with a vehicle, another motorcyclist, or something else.

  • Make yourself visible. Wearing bright, reflective clothing as well as having reflective devices on your motorcycle can help. You should also avoid riding in a motorist's blind spot. At times, this may mean slowing down, speeding up, or changing lanes.
  • Always give yourself enough room to ride safely. This includes giving yourself enough road to safely stop or switch lanes if the motorcyclist or driver in front of you stops suddenly. Never try to slip into a small gap in traffic.
  • Be aware of drivers and other motorcyclists around you. When needed, adjust your speed or take a different route to avoid someone who does not appear to be paying attention to others or who appears to be impaired.
  • Always use your turn signal when turning or changing lanes. Use it early, especially if you are unsure if the motorists around you are paying attention.
  • Use caution when lane splitting. California formally legalized lane splitting for motorcyclists last year. So far, we are the only state to do so. Lane splitting should only be done in stopped or slow-moving traffic. When lane splitting, follow the California Motorist Safety Program guidelines. You should not travel more than 10 MPH faster than other traffic. Avoid lane splitting when traffic is traveling 30 MPH or faster. Never use lane splitting as an excuse to weave unsafely between lanes of traffic, and always watch for motorists who may not be watching for you.  
  • Wear protective gear. In California, all motorcyclists are required by law to wear at least a helmet. Other protective gear, such as gloves, a heavy jacket, long pants, and boots, are also important. While protective gear will not prevent an accident, it can reduce your chances of being seriously injured if you do crash.
  • Never ride impaired. Some people assume this means not drinking alcohol or taking illegal drugs before riding. It is about more than that, though. Even over-the-counter medications or prescription drugs could impair your judgment or influence your reaction time. If you are unsure how a medication is going to affect you, avoid riding your motorcycle until you are sure you can do so safely. Even riding while tired could increase your chances of being in an accident.
  • Be aware of road conditions. When possible, avoid traveling on poorly-maintained roads. Watch for potential road hazards, including debris. If other motorists appear to be slowing down or weaving around something, anticipate that there might be something on the road, and be ready to react appropriately.
  • Be aware of weather conditions that might impact your riding ability. Fog can make it harder for others on the road to see you, which means you may want to give yourself extra space. Wet roads may also cause a riding problem. While icy roads are rarely an issue in our area, slow down and make the appropriate accommodations if you are riding in an area where you may encounter slick or icy roads.
  • Maintain your motorcycle. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and in good condition, and make sure your lights are working properly.

While being a safe motorcyclist will reduce your chances of being involved in an accident, you cannot control the actions of others on the road. Unfortunately, drivers do not always pay attention to motorcyclists. If you were the unfortunate victim of a crash caused by someone else while you were riding your motorcycle, contact us. We serve clients throughout Southern California, and we will happily provide you with a free consultation.

Why Helmets Are So Essential In Motorcycle Accident Cases

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Have you recently suffered from a motorcycle accident in which you were not the negligent driver? Were you wearing a helmet during the accident? If not, you run the risk of potentially losing your case. Why?

Liability Requires Negligence

Negligence is one of the main influences in deciding liability in a motorcycle accident case. If the driver of the vehicle that struck the motorcycle was driving too fast for conditions, ignored signal from the motorcyclist, or was passing in a no-passing zone, they were driving in a negligent manner. As a result, this behavior makes them liable for the injury.

However, negligence can also be passed on to the driver of the motorcycle. For example, if they were driving too quickly, failed to signal, or otherwise drove in a dangerous way, the judge may decide that they were liable. One controversial point that upsets many motorcycle drivers is the influence that wearing a helmet can have on liability decisions.

Failure To Wear A Helmet May Be Negligent

When you fail to wear a helmet while driving your motorcycle, contributory negligence may be argued by the defendant. What does this mean? It means that many of your injuries were caused by the lack of a helmet. Many judges consider improper helmet safety a negligent behavior and are likely to either negate some of the costs of the lawsuit or eliminate them completely.

This is particularly true in the case of states that have mandatory helmet laws. A lack of a helmet is seen in these states as just as negligent as driving too fast, failing to use turn signals, or drinking before driving. Judges may actually throw out these cases if the motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet.

If you are worried about your motorcycle accident lawsuit because you weren't wearing a helmet, please contact us today. We can help you build a case that will negate your lack of helmet and get you the money you deserve.



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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.