When is a Pedestrian at Fault for a California Car Accident?

October 4, 2022 Auto Accidents

On the streets of Los Angeles, pedestrians are often vulnerable. They risk getting struck by distracted, drunk, or drowsy drivers.

On the streets of Los Angeles, pedestrians are often vulnerable. They risk getting struck by distracted, drunk, or drowsy drivers. However, determining fault in car accidents involving pedestrians is not always clear-cut. With California being a pure comparative negligence state, there are times when pedestrians can be held partially liable for a car accident if they are not using a crosswalk, are intoxicated, or ignoring traffic signals.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, contact us at Salamati Law. Since 1995, we have successfully taken on some of the most complex, challenging personal injury cases with excellent outcomes. As a result, we have flourished into one of the most trusted personal injury law firms in Los Angeles. Contact us today for a free consultation.

What Pure Comparative Negligence Means

Comparative negligence is a legal doctrine used to allocate fault among parties involved in an accident. California follows pure comparative negligence, also known as comparative fault. Therefore, the courts must assign a percentage of fault to each party involved in an accident. Unless a driver or pedestrian is 100% at fault for an accident, fault will be shared. Under pure comparative negligence, a plaintiff can be liable for damages if they are 20% at fault for a pedestrian accident, and the driver or defendant is responsible for 80%.

Instances Where a Pedestrian May Be at Fault

Drivers are usually at fault in a pedestrian accident. But this isn’t always the case. Pedestrians can be liable for causing a car accident if they:

  • Ignore the traffic signal and cross when the light is red.
  • Cross outside of a crosswalk
  • Cross the street while intoxicated
  • Fail to look before crossing the street
  • Walk in places where pedestrians are prohibited 

As noted above, however, there are pedestrian accidents where the fault may be apportioned to both parties. This is why you need an experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyer to help you navigate California’s complicated legal code and protect your interests. At Salamati Law, we have extensive experience dealing with personal injury cases, including pedestrian accidents.

Why Legal Representation Matters

Although being partially at fault does not necessarily bar you from seeking compensation, it can impact the amount you recover. Always seek legal advice from an experienced injury attorney in Los Angeles who can protect your rights and ensure that you don’t compromise your chances of receiving a fair settlement. In addition, a Los Angeles car accident lawyer can help negotiate with the other party’s insurance company and seek damages for your injuries, such as medical expenses and lost wages. 

Contact Us for a Free Consultation

In sum, California is a pure comparative fault jurisdiction. If you’ve been injured as a pedestrian due to the negligence of a motorist, make sure you contact us as soon as possible. We’ll fight for your rights to a fair settlement. We have one goal in mind–to help those who were harmed through no fault of their own and ensure justice was served. Contact us today at Salamati Law for a free consultation. We work on a contingency basis, so there are no upfront legal fees.

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What Tricks Do Insurance Adjusters Use to Avoid Paying?

October 4, 2022 Auto Accidents

Insurance company adjusters use a number of strategies to avoid paying the full amount of what they owe accident victims.

Insurance company adjusters use a number of strategies to avoid paying the full amount of what they owe accident victims. For example, they may trick you into admitting fault and obtaining more information than you must provide. They’ll also tell you that you don’t need a car accident lawyer, even if you clearly do, and they may even hire an investigator to surveil you. Protect yourself by getting the facts about their tricks from the following list and obtain qualified legal counsel.

1.      Befriending you and offering a sympathetic ear

During that first phone call with your insurance adjuster, you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised to discover how nice and friendly they are. They’ll be concerned about your well-being and ask how you’re recovering from the accident. Resist the temptation to befriend them–they are not there to help you. Offering a sympathetic ear is the adjuster’s way of getting you to reveal more information than you should.

2.      Getting you to admit fault

The insurance adjuster wants an admission of fault. Clearly, you’re not likely to tell them, “Yes, the accident was my fault.” However, they won’t be this obvious. For example, the adjuster might ask you whether you could have done anything differently to prevent the accident. Assume that any conversation you have with the company is being recorded. Never answer an open-ended question, and do not agree to give a statement until you speak with a lawyer.

3.      Saying they require a medical release

Never agree to provide authorization for the insurance company to access your medical records. They’ll comb through your health information to find a prior injury on which they can blame your current symptoms.

4.      Telling you that you don’t need a car accident lawyer

The last thing the insurance company wants to hear is that you’ve spoken with an attorney. They know that a well-qualified lawyer won’t allow the insurance company to violate their client’s legal rights. The insurance adjuster will try to tell you that you don’t need a lawyer if it was a minor accident, yet, even a fender bender can cause significant damage to a car and injuries such as chronic whiplash. So, err on the side of caution and seek legal counsel.

5.      Hiring an investigator to surveil you

If your accident caused injuries, you might be placed under surveillance. The insurance company may hire an investigator to scrutinize your social media accounts. If you’re on crutches, for example, and you post a selfie that doesn’t show your crutches—even if they’re just out of view—the insurance company may try to claim that you don’t need crutches and aren’t severely injured.

Protect yourself with exceptional legal representation

At Salamati Law, our Los Angeles auto insurance adjuster attorney works tirelessly to protect the rights of our injured clients. We focus on personal injury law, which means our team knows every trick that insurance companies try to use to avoid paying what you deserve. Contact our law office today to request a free consultation with a car accident lawyer. We never charge a fee unless we recover compensation for you.

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How Frequent Are Wrong-way Collisions on California Roads?

October 4, 2022 Auto Accidents

Wrong-way accidents are not uncommon on the roads and highways of California – and, tragically, they are also frequently fatal.

Wrong-way accidents are not uncommon on the roads and highways of California – and, tragically, they are also frequently fatal. According to the Mercury News, there are an average of 48 traffic fatalities in California each year related to wrong-way collisions. That is an accident nearly once a week—every week—that leads to the loss of life.

Not all wrong-way collisions lead to fatal injuries. However, those that survive these accidents could face life-altering consequences. Serious injuries can result from these collisions that require extensive medical care as well as the loss of quality of life. In these cases, a car accident lawyer could help pursue justice for an injury.

Why do wrong-way accidents happen?

Wrong way accidents can happen for different reasons. In many situations, wrong-way accidents involve drivers that are impaired by alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. The impact these substances can have on a driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle is substantial.

These accidents also frequently occur at night. When drivers travel on unfamiliar roadways, they typically rely heavily on traffic signs. These signs can be more difficult to notice when the sun is down. That does not mean accidents do not happen in the daytime, especially with drivers who are in unfamiliar territory.

Regardless of why these accidents happen, it is important to remember that it could be possible to hold the negligent motorist accountable for driving the wrong way. When negligence is involved, you could be entitled to a monetary award. A Los Angeles head-on collision lawyer could pursue legal action on your behalf following a wrong-way collision.

Why are wrong-way collisions so dangerous?

For a number of reasons, wrong-way collisions often have deadly consequences. For starters, drivers traveling the wrong way typically end up in head-on collisions. This type of accident is one of the most severe forms of motor vehicle collisions. Cars traveling in opposite directions generate a lot of force that can lead to debilitating injuries.

Wrong-way drivers often leave other motorists with little time to react. While drivers are typically prepared for changing road conditions, they might not have the time to respond to a wrong-way driver traveling at high speeds.

Talk to an attorney about a wrong-way collision accident

Wrong way collisions are unfortunately common in California and have a high chance of resulting in serious—or even fatal—injuries. If you were hurt in a collision with a wrong-way driver, you have the right to pursue a legal claim for damages. The team at Salamati Law can help you move forward with your personal injury case. We understand how important your financial recovery can be, and we are ready to work tirelessly on your behalf. Work with a law firm that is proud to advocate for the injured. Reach out right away for your free consultation.

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Car Crash Caused by Medical Condition: Is the Affected Driver At Fault Under California Law?

October 4, 2022 Auto Accidents

Under certain conditions, when a driver experiences a sudden medical emergency that results in a car crash, that driver will

Under certain conditions, when a driver experiences a sudden medical emergency that results in a car crash, that driver will be excused from liability for any damages or losses sustained by others. The excuse from liability is not automatic, however, and the driver seeking to use a medical emergency defense has the burden of proving the emergency was the predominant cause of the accident.  

The car accident lawyers in the Los Angeles offices of Salamati Law have represented injured victims in Southern California for more than 25 years. We are sympathetic to the prospect of a sudden medical emergency that might cause a driver to lose control of his or her vehicle, but understand that some negligent drivers might attempt to excuse their carelessness with reliance on the sudden medical emergency defense. In these latter instances, we fight to hold a negligent driver and his or her insurance carriers fully liable for an accident victim’s losses and injuries.       

How does California apply the sudden medical emergency defense in car accident lawsuits?

A driver who seeks to use a medical emergency defense as an excuse for liability in a car accident lawsuit must demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she:

  • Experienced a sudden and unanticipated physical ailment (i.e., not a mental or psychological condition)
  • The driver had no prior knowledge or diagnosis of the emergency condition
  • The sudden condition precluded the driver from safely controlling the car

How can an injury victim collect damages if a negligent driver uses a sudden medical emergency defense?

When a negligent driver raises a sudden medical emergency defense, that driver necessarily opens his or her medical records for inspection by the plaintiff’s attorney, who will analyze those records to verify that they include no reference to the condition that led to the accident. Any prior reference in the driver’s medical records will suggest that the driver was at least partly responsible for the crash by operating a vehicle with some knowledge of the potentially dangerous condition.

The same holds for other defenses that are recognized by California courts. For example, a negligent driver might argue that an accident victim caused his or her own injuries by not wearing a seat belt or wearing the belt improperly. In those circumstances, a Los Angeles seat belt defense attorney will interview witnesses, review police reports, and analyze all other available evidence to rebut the negligent driver’s contentions.

Call Salamati Law in California

The car accident lawyers at Salamati Law have successfully challenged attempts by negligent drivers to rely on a sudden medical emergency defense to excuse them for liability for an accident victim’s losses and injuries. If you have suffered injuries in a Southern California car accident and the at-fault driver is attempting to evade responsibility with this or any other defense, call our Los Angeles offices for a complimentary consultation. We are ready to fight tirelessly to help you punch holes in the defendant’s story and recover the largest available compensation you are entitled to receive.

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Can You File a Claim If the Car Is Insured in California but the Driver Is Not on the Policy?

October 4, 2022 Auto Accidents

Most insurance policies cover the car and not the specific driver who was involved in an accident. The critical exception

Most insurance policies cover the car and not the specific driver who was involved in an accident. The critical exception to this is if the driver falls within the definition of an “excluded driver” under the terms and conditions of the insurance contract.

When might a driver be excluded from coverage under an insurance policy?

A car owner might exclude specific members from his or her family or household from coverage under an automobile liability policy if, for example, the excluded person has a poor driving record, and including him or her on the policy will result in significantly higher premiums. Those individuals that are specifically excluded should never drive the insured vehicle under any circumstances.

More often, an insurance company might argue that a driver falls within the broader definitions of “excluded drivers” under the policy language. Those definitions might encompass:

  • Individuals who do not hold current and valid driver’s licenses.
  • Persons operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Drivers who are using the car in the context of criminal felony activity, including, for example, if the car has been stolen and is being driven by the thief.

What options does an injured party have if an excluded driver causes losses and injuries in an auto accident?

California is not a no-fault car insurance state. Accordingly, the negligent driver’s insurance will be the first source of reimbursement for the injured driver’s losses and injuries. Regardless, California requires auto insurance companies to offer their clients underinsured and uninsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage that can at least partially reimburse an injured motorist or passenger if the negligent party is excluded from insurance coverage. If you have been in a crash and are not sure if your policy includes UM/UIM insurance coverage, contact a Los Angeles no fault insurance attorney for assistance in determining all potential sources of compensation for your damages.

Call Salamati Law

When you suffer losses and injuries in a Southern California automobile collision, the car accident lawyers at Salamati Law can help you get the compensation you deserve. For more than 25 years, our California accident and injury attorneys have represented car crash accident victims in lawsuits against negligent drivers. We use that extensive experience to get the largest available insurance payouts for our clients even if a negligent party is not on the underlying policy.

If you have been hurt in a Southern California car accident and you do not know how or where to file your claim for compensation, call us for a no-fee consultation. Our team will provide a simple and straightforward assessment of how you can collect the largest available compensation to get you back on your feet.

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If Your Car is Stolen and in a Wreck, Are You Liable?

October 4, 2022 Auto Accidents

The Los Angeles Police Department estimates that almost 30,000 cars are stolen in LA every year. Perhaps the only bright

The Los Angeles Police Department estimates that almost 30,000 cars are stolen in LA every year. Perhaps the only bright spot for the victims is that they will generally not be liable for damages if the perpetrator crashes the stolen car and harms other people.

The car accident attorneys at Salamati Law represent victims in Southern California. We have seen many accidents involving stolen vehicles. Generally, the car owner and the owner’s insurance carriers are not liable. This does not mean, however, that the accident victim has no recourse to recover damages from other potentially negligent parties.

Why is a car owner not liable for injuries caused by a car thief?

A car owner is only liable for injuries caused by permitted uses of their car. Moreover, car theft is a criminal act, and the owner cannot be held responsible for another person’s crimes unless the owner aided or abetted those crimes. An attorney might sue the car owner if there is any suggestion that the owner facilitated or negligently allowed the theft.

To avoid liability for injuries that occur when a stolen car is in a wreck, the car owner can present evidence of the theft, such as a police report and a theft claim file with the owner’s insurance company. Unless the owner has fraudulently reported that their car was stolen, that evidence is generally sufficient to excuse the owner and the owner’s insurer from liability.

How can an injured party collect damages for injuries in an accident with a stolen car?

An experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney will always analyze a crash to determine if other parties have some California car accident liability for a victim’s losses and injuries. Those other parties can include:

  • The car thief and the their auto insurance company
  • Municipal authorities who engaged the stolen car in a high-speed pursuit, where that pursuit is itself negligent
  • Property owners who negligently erected barriers that contributed to the crash

In addition, if the injured party carried uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage on their own auto insurance, it will be another resource for damages compensation.

Call Salamati Law for a Free Consultation

Car theft victims and individuals injured in crashes with stolen cars should consult with an attorney about their rights and opportunities to recoup their losses and make themselves whole again. Our team of lawyers in the Los Angeles offices of Salamati Law has the knowledge and expertise to provide the guidance you need after you experience such a loss. Do not hesitate to call us for a no-fee consultation. We work on a contingency basis, so there are no upfront legal fees.

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Do Pre-Existing Conditions Affect Car Accident Claims in California?

October 4, 2022 Auto Accidents

Pre-existing conditions affect car accident claims because they are often exacerbated by a collision. The party responsible for your accident

Pre-existing conditions affect car accident claims because they are often exacerbated by a collision. The party responsible for your accident is not liable for your pre-existing condition but may prove liable for significantly aggravating it. A Los Angeles personal injury attorney at Salamati Law can help clients with pre-existing conditions receive the compensation they deserve for their injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Car Accidents and Pre-Existing Conditions

Pre-existing conditions affected by car accidents often refer to skeletal and soft tissue injuries. For instance, the impact of a car accident may make a pre-existing back or neck injury much worse. Concussions are traumatic brain injuries, and every TBI experienced over an individual’s lifetime further damages the brain. However, diseases may come into play. For example, if the victim is a hemophiliac, someone whose blood does not clot normally, even a minor laceration could result in profuse bleeding.  

Previously broken bones fractured after a car accident may require surgery and result in more significant pain and extended rehabilitation. In addition, older people are especially vulnerable when bones break more than once, as the healing process takes longer. Whiplash, a neck injury caused when the head moves back and forth quickly, is another injury that a subsequent car accident can worsen.

Pre-existing conditions may also refer to psychological issues. The car accident may cause the victim’s PTSD or other mental health problems to resurface.   

Eggshell Plaintiffs and Establishing Aggravation of Pre-existing Conditions

In California, plaintiffs with pre-existing medical or psychological conditions are “eggshell plaintiffs.” It means that the injuries they suffer due to another party’s negligence are worse than those of someone without a pre-existing medical condition. A car accident attorney can establish that the accident aggravated your pre-existing condition which involves undergoing a series of diagnostic tests, which may include:

  • X-rays
  • MRIs
  • CAT scans
  • Ultrasounds

These post-accident tests are compared to your medical records before the collision. Your lawyer may also bring expert witnesses to testify and bolster your claim.

As with any personal injury lawsuit, the lawyer must prove that the defendant caused the accident due to negligence or recklessness. Such proof may involve reviewing evidence such as police reports, surveillance videos, eyewitness accounts and investigating the accident scene.

Damages

Damages, or compensation, for a car accident aggravating pre-existing conditions may include:

  • Medical expenses, current, and future
  • Lost wages
  • Lost future earnings
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage

Contact a Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer

If you or someone you know has a pre-existing condition made worse due to the negligence of another driver, you need the services of an experienced car accident attorney in Los Angeles at Salamati Law. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation and case evaluation. Because we work on a contingency basis, you pay no fee unless you receive compensation. Hablamos Español.

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California Proposes to Ban the Sale of Gas-Powered Cars by 2035

July 6, 2022 Auto Accidents

Last September, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order to end the sale of gas-powered vehicles by 2035. In response,

Last September, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order to end the sale of gas-powered vehicles by 2035. In response, California regulators have introduced a proposal to ban the manufacture of new gas-powered cars. It is expected to be voted on in August. If approved, it would be enacted in different stages–35% of new passenger vehicle sales be powered by batteries or hydrogen by 2026, and 100% of sales to be net-zero emissions by 2035.

However, it is important to remember that this does not mean the end of gas-powered vehicles as the proposal wouldn’t apply to sales of used cars nor would it be illegal to own them.

Impact of Banning the Sale of Gas-Powered Cars

If approved, this measure would be the first of its kind in the country. It will have a considerable impact because California accounts for about 11% of all new passenger car sales, the highest for any state. In addition, the approval is expected to benefit the electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing industry. Ride-hailing companies that want to transition to the EV framework will also benefit. Environmental activists have also hailed the initiative as it will lead to a decrease in harmful emissions. This is particularly telling because gasoline and diesel fuel-powered vehicles are California’s most significant cause of greenhouse gasses and smog.

Overall, this should lead to a better and more sophisticated EV infrastructure with more charging stations all across the state. At the moment, California is lagging behind on that front. Currently, there are about 70,000 charging stations in California. However, nearly 1.2 million chargers will be needed by 2030.

Contact us today

We work hard to stay current on California vehicle regulations so that we can provide experienced and skilled advocacy when you need it most.Contact our team of Los Angeles car accident attorneys to schedule a free case review if you’ve been hurt in a collision. We have the resources to thoroughly investigate your case so that you can recover the damages you need to rebuild your life. There are no upfront legal fees as we work on a contingency basis.

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California Regains the Legal Right to Regulate its Own Air Pollution

June 23, 2022 Auto Accidents

This March, the Biden administration restored California’s legal authority to set stringent auto pollution rules. California can once again implement its

This March, the Biden administration restored California’s legal authority to set stringent auto pollution rules. California can once again implement its own greenhouse gas emission standards to protect public health and slow the effects of climate change. Given that transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gases in the nation–accounting for almost 30 percent of total emissions–this reinstatement of power signifies an important milestone.

Environmental advocates have praised the EPA’s decision to restore the Clean Air Act Waiver to create a zero-emission world for California and the rest of the country.

California’s Clean Air Act Waiver reinstated

California Governor Gavin Newsom said this decision “comes at a pivotal moment underscoring the need to end our reliance on fossil fuels.” Since the 1960s, the Golden State has received multiple waivers allowing it to set stringent standards for tailpipe emissions. These regulations have significantly improved air quality in Los Angeles and other cities continually cloaked in smog. As the most populated state, California has exerted influence on the biggest automakers while setting a benchmark for the rest of the nation. 

President Biden is taking measures to reverse the actions taken by the previous administration, which took away California’s power to tighten emission standards. Biden is pushing to transition from gasoline-powered vehicles to electric cars that are not dependent on fossil fuels.

Pioneering standards to reduce air pollution and slow climate change

Electric cars account for a mere 4 percent of new vehicle sales in the United States, but this may change in the coming years. Some of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers are now espousing a healthier, more sustainable future based on electric vehicles. Many have pledged billions of dollars toward achieving this goal. Ford and General Motors have announced the goal of eliminating all gasoline-fueled vehicles by 2035.

The Committee on Energy and Commerce Chair Frank Pallone stated that the reinstatement of the Clean Air Act Waiver in California overturns one of Trump’s “most indefensible actions.” In 2019, Trump rolled back environmental legislation that was deemed burdensome for business.

The EPA has also withdrawn limitations of the Clean Air Act that would prohibit other states from following California’s fuel efficiency and Green House Gas emission standards.  Along those lines, at least twelve other states have adopted California’s directive to sell only zero-emission vehicles after 2035.

California vehicle regulations have always been progressive, whether dealing with the smog problem, tailpipe emissions, or improvements in environmentally friendly technology.

Car accident representation in Los Angeles

Salamati Law applauds any efforts that improve public health and combat climate change. Our attorneys have decades of experience helping Southern California residents get the compensation they deserve after being injured in motor vehicle accidents. Contact our Los Angeles office for a free consultation with a car accident lawyer who can protect your rights.

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California Gas Rebates May be Delayed Until Late Summer

June 23, 2022 Auto Accidents

If you are frustrated with California’s high gas prices, you are not alone. California has some of the highest gas

If you are frustrated with California’s high gas prices, you are not alone. California has some of the highest gas prices in the nation. Unfortunately, this crisis is not showing any signs of abating, as the city of Mendocino here in California has recently approached $9.60 per gallon. There is no telling when this crisis will end. Needless to say, this affects many people here, and across the nation.  

Fortunately, our state government is also concerned about this crisis. As a result, there might be some relief for you and other Californians. There are several states across the country that are proposing gas rebates to help their citizens in this time of need, and California is no exception.

Relief is coming

Under a proposal by Governor Gavin Newsom, registered vehicle owners would be eligible for rebates at $400 per vehicle, capped at $800 for two vehicles, totaling $9 billion in direct payments to millions of Californians. However, the state legislative leaders have proposed a different plan, under which taxpayers earning annual salaries of $125,000 or less would receive $200, and an additional $200 for each child or dependent. This is a point of contention between the Governor and the State Legislature. The next issue is–which state agency will oversee this program? The governor wants to hire a third party to distribute the checks in conjunction with the California Department of Motor Vehicles. In contrast, the state legislative leaders want the State Franchise Board to handle the process.

Meanwhile, thousands of Californians are still waiting for COVID relief checks. Therefore, it is still unclear when the gas rebate checks will be delivered. A clearer picture will arise when the state budget is finalized this month.

However, it is expected that these checks will probably go out at the end of the summer. Some are suggesting September as the time when these rebate checks will arrive in the mail. Regardless of which plan is finalized, most Californians can expect to receive some financial assistance to help them weather this storm.

Contact us for any questions

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If you have any questions regarding the proposed gas rebates or have been involved in a car accident, contact us at Salamati Law today. We are experienced and compassionate  Los Angeles car accident lawyers of choice for many Californians. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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