Should You Take Time Off Work After a Car Accident?

January 14, 2019 Auto Accidents

A car accident of any degree of severity can throw your life off track, and dealing with its aftermath can

 road accident scene

A car accident of any degree of severity can throw your life off track, and dealing with its aftermath can seem like a full-time job in itself. Before you make any major decisions, consider talking to a car accident lawyer. An experienced attorney can address all of your questions, like whether taking time off from work after the crash might affect your claim or compensation.

The onset of car crash injuries

It’s usually not a good idea to return to work immediately after an accident, especially if you haven’t seen a doctor yet. You may have injuries that you aren’t aware of. During an accident, your body releases a surge of adrenaline that can mask the symptoms of injuries, some of which may be serious. Another consideration is that some injuries are not evident until a day or two after the accident. One common example is whiplash, which might develop as late as 72 hours after the crash.

Because of the potential for late-onset symptoms and slow-developing injuries, you should receive a full medical evaluation before considering going back to work. You’ll also need to see a doctor to substantiate your legal claim. If you need to have medical bills reimbursed by the insurance company, or if you need to file a personal injury lawsuit, you’ll need those medical records to document your losses.

The advice of your doctor

You should always follow your doctor’s advice in the wake of an accident. You should also get that advice in written form. If your doctor suggests that you take time off work, ask her to write a note to that effect. Even if your employer doesn’t require a doctor’s note, you may need that written documentation to substantiate your legal claim.

Too many accident victims try to return to work too soon after being injured. They might worry about the burden placed on their co-workers or they may be concerned about the lost wages. But it’s not a good idea to return to work before you’re medically cleared to do so, especially if you have a physically demanding job. This could only slow your recovery. It may even worsen your injuries, which could complicate your legal claim.

Your legal claim

Keep track of the number of days you’re out of work. Your personal injury lawyer can add your lost wages to your compensation demand. You might be using up sick days or vacation days to recover from your car crash injuries, and you may still be entitled to receive compensation for them. The value of each sick day or vacation day is one full day’s wages. Let your lawyer know about the logistics of your time off, and he’ll do everything possible to help you recover compensation for those lost days.

Get customized legal guidance tailored to your situation

Thousands of car accidents occur in the U.S. every year, but no two car accident survivors are alike. After a crash, you need personalized legal guidance you can count on. You can turn to Sean Salamati, an accomplished car accident lawyer in Los Angeles. At the Salamati Law Firm, you’ll receive the personalized client care and the informed guidance you need to put your life back together after your accident. Call (213) 372-0218 or email info@salamatilaw.com to request your confidential consultation.

Additional resources for car crash victims

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How Do I Locate the Hit-and-Run Driver That Caused My Accident?

January 10, 2019 Auto Accidents

Most of the time, drivers involved in a car accident will stop and stay on the scene until police arrive.

car accident sceneMost of the time, drivers involved in a car accident will stop and stay on the scene until police arrive.

But sometimes, a driver involved in an accident speeds away before either the police or other drivers can obtain their name or insurance. They may not even get a good glimpse of the driver. It’s called a hit-and-run accident. Drivers might do this because they are frightened of the consequences, impaired by alcohol or drugs, or even because they are afraid of losing their licenses or having an accident on their record.

But it’s often important to find the hit-and-run driver, especially if that driver was responsible for the accident.

Here are steps to take to find the hit-and-run driver.

1. Call the police

Police should be called in any accident, and a hit and run is no exception. An officer will get the information about what happened and file a police report. The police report is an important piece of information for your insurance carrier, so be sure to have it with you when you call your insurance company.

The police can also try to contact witnesses. Passersby, other motorists, or people in nearby houses can all have seen something that could identify the car (such as a license plate) or, failing that, could identify the car or the driver.

The police can match a full license plate to the driver. From there, the driver can be located, as the driver’s address and contact information will be associated with the license plate. Police can also attempt to identify the car if they have enough information about it.

Police may also know if there are surveillance cameras on streets, traffic lights, or other locations nearby. If there are, surveillance cameras can be used to identify the license plate. If there are cameras but they didn’t capture the entire license plate, they may have captured other identifying information that will help the police locate the driver.

2. Ask witnesses

You can also ask people who were around at the time of the accident if they saw the car, its license plate, or identifying details of the car or the driver. A hit-and-run driver may speed, for example, or stop very quickly to pick up a waiting passenger. They can give you clues that you could use to take to the police.

If you were in a mall, for example, you can canvass businesses to ask if anyone saw anything about the accident.

When You Need a Seasoned Car Accident Attorney in Southern California

Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime. If you or a loved one was in a car accident caused by a hit-and-run driver, call the experienced auto accident lawyers at Salamati Law Firm, 800-957-9898. Sean Salamati has been obtaining justice in Los Angeles car accidents for decades. Let him put his experience to work for you.

Additional Resources:

  1. State of California Department of Motor Vehicles. https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv.
  2. Tips for Handling A Hit And Run Driver Claim. DMV.org. https://www.dmv.org/tips-for-handling-a-hit-and-run-driver-claim.php.
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How to Calculate Vehicle Damage After an Accident

January 8, 2019 Auto Accidents

If your car has been damaged in an accident, you have likely had the experience of dealing with an insurance

Car accident

If your car has been damaged in an accident, you have likely had the experience of dealing with an insurance adjuster who comes up with an estimate of the parts that need to be repaired or replaced and the value of the mechanic’s time to do the necessary repairs. The dollar value of those parts and repairs, however, is not the same as the value of the damage to your vehicle. When you are in a serious accident, most insurance companies use what is known as the “17c Formula” to determine the loss in value to your car. Those insurance companies will then generally offer compensation that is a function of the 17c Formula’s results.  

Based on their many years of experience in representing victims of automobile accidents, the attorneys at the Salamati Law Firm in Los Angeles know that the real loss in value to your car after it has been in an accident can be dramatically different that the 17c Formula estimate used by the insurance company. We represent car accident victims to recover the maximum amount of damages for both the loss in the value of their vehicles and the injuries that they suffer as a result of accidents.   

How the 17c Formula Works

The 17c Formula applies a 4-part analysis to determine how much value a car loses after it was in an accident:

  1. Start with the car’s value before the accident, as determined by the Kelly Blue Book or some other objective source.
  2. The maximum loss in value will be set at an arbitrary 10% of that pre-accident value. For example, if your car was with $15,000 before an accident, an insurer will assume that it will lose no more than 10% of that amount, or $1,500 in value, as a result of the accident.
  3. Adjust that maximum loss in value by a multiplier that is set according to the level of structural damage to your car. Moderate structural damage, for example, is assigned a multiplier of 0.5, and that $1,500 maximum loss in value then becomes $750.
  4. Adjust that value again by the car’s actual mileage. If the car had 50,000 miles on it, for example, its loss value will be further adjusted by 0.6. The $750 loss in value then reduces to $450.

The net of this example is that a car that had a value of $15,000 before the accident will then have an adjusted value of $14,550 after it has been fully repaired.

How the 17c Formula Gets it Wrong

Professional damage appraisers have criticized the 17c Formula as failing to consider flood and fire damage, bumper deflections, accident history, and airbag deployment, all of which can reduce the value of a vehicle that has been in an accident. After an insurance adjuster has estimated the value of repairs and all those repairs have been completed, the car’s real retail value will often be substantially less than the value of a comparable car that has not been in an accident.

When your car has been damaged in an accident and you have filed a lawsuit to recover the car’s loss in value from the accident, the negligent party’s insurance company will generally argue that the 17c Formula is the best tool for an objective analysis of the value of the loss. A knowledgeable and experienced car accident attorney will know to reject that argument and will rebut it with a professional appraisal of the loss that is specific to the car.

Recover the Largest Damage Award for the Loss in Value to Your Car

The attorneys at the Salamati Law Firm will fight the low value loss estimates that insurance companies are sure to offer when you have been in an accident in Los Angeles or elsewhere in southern California. We understand that accidents can and do diminish the value of an automobile to a far greater extent than the insurers will admit. We can help you recover a larger value for that loss as well as the maximum amount that may be available for any injuries you suffered in the accident.

Please see our website or call our Los Angeles office to speak with one of our car accident attorneys about how we can recover greater compensation for you.M

Additional Resources:

  1. www.finder.com: How to Calculate the Diminished Value of Your car. https://www.finder.com/how-to-calculate-the-diminished-value-of-your-car
  2. www.atcformula.com: 17c Formula Components. https://17cformula.com/17c-formula-components
  3. www.thebalance.com: How to Determine the Extent of a Car Accident’s Damages and Injuries. https://www.thebalance.com/determine-damages-in-car-accident-2645568
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How To Get Disability Benefits After a Car Accident Injury

December 28, 2018 Auto Accidents

Injuries resulting from vehicle accidents can leave victims with life-altering impairments. From herniated discs and broken bones to traumatic brain

Woman in wheelchairInjuries resulting from vehicle accidents can leave victims with life-altering impairments. From herniated discs and broken bones to traumatic brain injuries, these types of physical trauma can impact every facet of one’s life, leading to anxiety, depression, lack of mobility and serious financial hardships. An injury claim against the at-fault party can seek certain money damages, but in certain cases you may be eligible to receive disability benefits for auto accident injuries as well.

How do you know if your car crash injuries qualify for benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA)? Only specific kinds of physical and psychological impairment are eligible for disability benefits, and there are strict requirements for submitting an application.

Do you qualify for disability benefits?

In order to apply for disability benefits after a car accident, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You have sustained documented physical or mental impairment that has lasted for one year (or is expected to last this long), and
  • You are unable to engage in the work you performed in the past, and
  • You are unable to receive training for alternative or less demanding work

Regardless of the types of injuries sustained in an auto accident, it’s vital to get prompt medical attention and have a licensed health provider provide thorough documentation on the diagnosis, treatment plan and prognosis. If your doctor or surgeon makes a written statement that he or she has determined your injuries are severe enough to keep you from gainful employment, this can help your claim for disability benefits. For those who are suffering from lasting emotional trauma or PTSD that makes working impossible, you will need a psychiatrist or similar mental health professional to recommend that you receive disability benefits.

Injuries that qualify for SSA disability benefits

While this is not an exhaustive list, the following are some types of car accident injuries that may qualify for disability:

  • Non-healing fractures of the leg or arm
  • Back disorders including spinal arachnoiditis, lumbar spinal stenosis or vertebral compression
  • Soft tissue injuries of the ligaments, tendons muscles, nerves, blood vessels that have lost functionality for 12 months
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Severe burns of the extremities that restrict functionality and limit ability to perform routine duties related to everyday living
  • Hip and neck injuries
  • Severe gastrointestinal bleeding requiring a blood transfusion
  • Brain damage
  • Speech impairment stemming from a traumatic brain injury
  • Vision or hearing loss
  • Certain anxiety disorders

The Social Security Administration has a long list of impairments, but it is still possible to apply for disability benefits if you suffered a type of injury that a health professional deems medically equivalent to another condition on the list.

Expert legal assistance in Los Angeles

One of the most important steps to achieving the financial help you deserve after an injury is to contact an experienced law firm that focuses on car accident litigation. Los Angeles residents have come to trust Sean Salamati for skilled representation and compassionate, personalized service.

If you have lasting disability after a collision, we encourage you to reach out today for a free case review with a car accident lawyer at Salamati Law.

Additional Resources:

  1. CA Disability Benefits, California State Disability Insurance (SDI): FAQs https://ca.db101.org/ca/programs/income_support/sdi/faqs.htm
  2. EED.CA.gov, SDI Online, https://www.edd.ca.gov/disability/sdi_online.htm
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How To Stay Safe on the Roads on New Year’s Eve

December 27, 2018 Auto Accidents

On New Year’s Eve, it’s traditional to have a glass of the bubbly (champagne) or other drink to celebrate the

Happy new year 2019On New Year’s Eve, it’s traditional to have a glass of the bubbly (champagne) or other drink to celebrate the arrival of the new year. When you’re on the roads, however, make sure that the driver hasn’t been drinking. This is the best way to ensure the safety of yourself and others as we transition into 2019.

Don’t Drink or Use Drugs and Drive

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 10,874 people were killed in traffic accidents in which an alcohol-impaired driver was involved last year. That means the driver had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit of 0.08. In the month of December alone last year, there were 885 deaths in vehicle collisions with a drunk driver at the wheel.

Because of the association of New Year’s Eve and drinking, it’s very possible that there are more accidents with drunk drivers at the wheel both on New Year’s Eve and in the early hours of New Year’s Day.

Don’t be one of them. If you’re going to a party in a home, make sure there is a designated driver or that you can take public transportation or call a friend or a ride-share service to drive you home. If you’re going to a party in a public place or a hotel, do the same – or even think of staying over at the hotel.

The NHTSA even has a free downloadable phone app, SaferRide, that will alert a friend to your location.

And remember that impaired driving doesn’t stem only from alcoholic drinks. Drugs will impair driving sure as surely as drinking will. Use the same safe principles if you take drugs on New Year’s Eve – or any other day. Don’t get behind the wheel.

Remember that many impaired drivers use the same excuses over and over again: they feel they can drive fine, or are just a few miles from their destination. Drivers who are inebriated or high are not good judges of whether they can drive safely or not. Many accidents can happen just a few miles from home.

Follow All Safety Rules

It’s also prudent to remember that all safety rules need to be followed on New Year’s Eve. Wear a seat belt, and make sure that all passengers in the vehicle need to wear one. Obey the speed limit. Follow all the traffic laws.

An Experienced Car Accident Attorney in Los Angeles

If you or a loved one are in a car accident on New Year’s Eve or any other time, call the experienced car accident lawyers at Salamati Law Firm. Sean Salamati has been obtaining justice in Los Angeles car accidents for years. Let him put his experience to work for you.

Additional Resources:

  1. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Impaired Driving. https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/impaired_driving/index.html.
  2. U.S. Department of Transportation. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. NHTSA Reminds Motorists to Drive Sober this Holiday Season. December 18, 2018. https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/nhtsa-reminds-motorists-drive-sober-holiday-season.
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How Crash Reconstruction Investigators Do Their Job

December 18, 2018 Auto Accidents

A person that causes a car accident will generally be liable for the resulting damages and injuries, but proving who

car accident sceneA person that causes a car accident will generally be liable for the resulting damages and injuries, but proving who caused the accident is not always a straightforward exercise. That proof often turns on the analysis of the vehicles and the accident scene by experienced car crash reconstruction investigators.

The Salamati Law Firm in Los Angeles represents car accident victims who are seeking to recover damages from the parties that are responsible for the accident. We routinely work with automobile crash reconstruction investigators who develop the evidence that we then use both to negotiate with insurers and to prove in courtroom trials that our clients have suffered losses as a result of another party’s negligent or reckless driving.

Crash Reconstruction Part 1: Analysis of the Accident Scene

In most serious accidents, police department crash reconstructionists will examine the scene as soon as is possible after the accident to determine if any of the drivers of the vehicles should be charged with a traffic violation. They will likely take the same measurements and perform the same tasks as a traffic accident engineer who assists attorneys to apportion civil liability for damages in the accident, including:

  • Taking photographs of the accident scene;
  • Measuring visible skid marks on pavement and any roadway damage to extrapolate the speed of the vehicles involved;
  • Examining surveillance video from businesses or ATMs in the vicinity of the accident;
  • Noting weather and traffic conditions at the time of the accident, including the angle of the sun and relative visibility as drivers approach the accident scene;
  • Analyzing debris fields and the dispersal of glass and other materials from the vehicles to assess vehicle directions and speeds immediately prior to the accident.

This information gives investigators a snapshot of the road and other conditions that confronted the drivers immediately prior to the accident.

Crash Reconstruction Part 2: Analysis of the Vehicles

If the vehicles are not drivable, authorities will typically arrange to have them towed to an impound lot or some other location where they can be examined. Because evidence of responsibility for an accident can be dissipated when vehicles are moved, an attorney who represents car accident victims will want an investigator to analyze the damaged vehicles as soon as is possible after the accident. Accordingly, if you are in a serious accident, you can improve your opportunity to recover compensation for your damages and injuries if you contact a car accident attorney immediately.

The attorney’ crash investigator will inspect each of the vehicles, looking for things such as:

  • Air bag deployment;
  • Mechanical defects;
  • Maintenance of important safety systems, such as the breaks and headlamps;
  • The relative amounts of deflection and damage of parts, which can provide critical clues as to each car’s speed and direction at the time of the crash;

The car crash investigator will also download any available data from the car’s onboard event data recorder, which is the automotive equivalent of an airplane’s “black box”. That device and other technology can give the investigator a very clear picture of how the accident happened and which car was likely the accident’s catalyst.

Crash Reconstruction Part 3: The Aftermath

The investigator will not have witnessed an accident directly, but will reconstruct it from forensic evidence that the accident created. The party that caused an accident and his or her insurers will often challenge this analysis. If a car accident case goes to trial, the responsible party will usually seek to disqualify the investigator’s report with arguments that the car accident reconstructionist does not have the qualifications or knowledge to produce a technical report that a court is being asked to rely upon.

An experienced car accident attorney will anticipate these challenges and will know how to rebut them when they arise. When you are retaining an attorney to represent you in a car accident case, you should ask that attorney for information and references for the car crash investigator that he proposes to retain on your behalf.

Call Car Crash Lawyer Sean Salamati in Southern California

Sean Salamati has helped clients in Los Angeles County and throughout southern California to recover compensation for their injuries and property losses that they have suffered in car accidents. Our firm has strong relationships with many skilled car accident reconstruction investigators who produce detailed reports that we use to prove which party caused an accident.

If you or a loved one have been hurt in crash, call the law offices of car accident lawyer Sean Salamati. Your initial consultation is free and you owe no money unless we win your case.

Additional Resources:

  1. washingtonpost.com: The Wreckage Speaks: A Crash Reconstruction Team Tells Stories that Victims Can’t. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/tripping/wp/2018/02/27/the-wreckage-speaks-a-crash-reconstruction-team-tells-stories-that-victims-cant/?utm_term=.dbbfb8102ad5
  2. thebalancecareers.com: Traffic Crash Reconstructionist Job Information. https://www.thebalancecareers.com/traffic-crash-reconstructionist-job-information-974477
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NHTSA Promotes Older Driver Safety Awareness Week

December 16, 2018 Auto Accidents

Aging is a fact of life but it still catches us off-guard. The slow process can cause decline in abilities

senior woman in nursing home clasped handAging is a fact of life but it still catches us off-guard. The slow process can cause decline in abilities and present other challenges that make driving less safe, but many older adults are unaware or reluctant to accept the changes.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) joined forces with organizations like the CDC, the American Occupational Therapy Association, AARP, and AAA to promote Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, which ran from December 3–7, to bring awareness to the challenges and possible solutions aging drivers face.

Advanced age: is it safe to drive?

The NHTSA pointed out that some motorists can drive safely into their nineties, but for many others, age-related problems can interfere with road safety.

Some of the more common issues include:

  • Medical conditions
  • Vision problems, including night blindness
  • Problems with sleeping, pain and stiffness, tremors, or memory
  • Effects of medications

If you are a senior who still drives, it may be worth talking with your doctor or pharmacist to determine whether any of your OTC or prescription drugs, or the interactions between multiple drugs, will likely cause driving impairment such as altered judgment, slower reflexes, or dulled alertness.

Solutions for those who are still capable of driving

For the many older adults who are still mentally capable of driving, physical adaptations may make operating a vehicle safer and more comfortable.

A great way to find out about the options for you or a loved one is to attend a local CarFit event. CarFit was created by the American Society on Aging in collaboration with AAA, AARP, and AOTA, and offers a free, non-judgmental volunteer-run assessment of comfort and safety for seniors in their vehicles. Volunteers will check for and help make adjustment to the vehicle to reduce blind spots and make sure controls are accessible.

If more help is needed than simply adjusting seats and mirrors, there are other things that can be done to help older drivers. For example, if manual dexterity has declined, adapted hand controls can be installed. If the seat-belt is too difficult to pull down over the shoulder, a loop can be installed to make it easier.

Older driver safety assessment

The NHTSA encourages people to make an honest assessment about whether driving is still a safe option. It has stated: “Ask yourself, or the older driver in your life: Can you remember the routes you frequently drive? Do traffic signs and signals, or other motorists make you feel overwhelmed while driving? Have you recently received a ticket or citation for a driving violation, or been in a minor crash?” For those who can no longer drive as safely as in the past, it is time to work together to make alternative transportation arrangements.

Los Angeles car accident lawyer Sean Salamati urges those in and around Southern California to take road safety seriously whether you are 18 or 80. A car crash can cause death or serious injury, as well as financial, physical, and emotional losses. If you have been injured in an accident in CA, call the Salamati Law Firm for a free case evaluation.

Additional Older Driver Safety Awareness Week resources:

  1. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, Keeping Our Older Drivers Safe on the Road, https://www.nhtsa.gov/older-drivers/keeping-our-older-drivers-safe-road
  2. The American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc., Older Driver Safety Awareness Week: Dec. 3-7, 2018, https://www.aota.org/Conference-Events/Older-Driver-Safety-Awareness-Week.aspx
  3. The American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc., Monday: Anticipating Changes That Can Affecting Driving, https://www.aota.org/conference-events/older-driver-safety-awareness-week/monday-full-article.aspx

 

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Heavy Rains Trigger Mud Slides and Spike in Vehicle Accidents

December 14, 2018 Auto Accidents

In the wake of rampant forest fires, mud and debris slides throughout the region wreaked havoc in California, and are

A fire engine races to the scene of an emergency.In the wake of rampant forest fires, mud and debris slides throughout the region wreaked havoc in California, and are tied to a number of serious traffic accidents.

In just one day, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) reported four times the number of accident calls it usually receives, at 365 between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. Southern California was being lashed with torrential rains. The volume of water and heavy wind gusts, combined with rush hour, caused the spike.

Police noted that many Los Angel residents are not used to driving in periods of heavy rains or on wet roads, and the unfamiliarity may have contributed to the spike in crash rates.

Several CA highways were closed due to accidents, including the 101, 118 and 134.

Fire-devastated ground susceptible to mudslides

The heavy storm front occurred, of course, in the wake of the severe fires that have damaged southern California. Once a fire has occurred, the vegetation no longer holds the earth in place, and it becomes much more susceptible to mudslides if rain falls. There is also much debris left in the wake of the fires, and this can tumble if dislodged by wind, rain, or mud.

Mud and debris slides were happening throughout the Los Angeles region. Residents were endangered and a number of motorists were trapped in rising rain, blocked roadways, or slides. In Malibu, roadways were closed and orders to evacuate issued. In both Orange and Riverside counties, debris flows occurred. Schools were closed in multiple locations to ensure the safety of schoolchildren.

In San Bernardino County, mud covered several cars. As a result of the slide, CHP closed some sections of Highway 38.

Mud and debris slides can cause health and safety issues, especially if chemicals or dangerous items in the mud and debris get into the water and ground systems, rivers, or oceans. In several areas, beaches were closed.

Car accident lawyer for CA residents

If you or a loved one needs experienced legal representation from a car accident lawyer Los Angeles residents have come to trust, we invite you to reach out to Salamati Law Firm today. Please call  800-957-9898 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to learn about your rights to compensation.

Additional Resources:

  1. “365 accidents reported in 4-hour period during rain-soaked morning commute in SoCal.” ABC7. November 29, 2018. https://abc7.com/traffic/365-accidents-reported-in-4-hour-period-during-socal-storm/4794475/.
  2. “Rain triggers debris flows as storm rolls across fire-scarred regions of California.” Los Angeles Times. November 29, 2018. https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-rain-flood-warning-20181129-story.html.
  3. Rice, Doyle. “It’s Raining in Los Angeles, and People Are Freaking Out!” USAToday. November 29, 2018. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2018/11/29/los-angeles-rain-hysteria-erupts/2150958002/.
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3 Tips for Driving in Heavy Rains

December 5, 2018 Auto Accidents

As all residents of southern California know, our region has been hit with heavy rains recently. Torrential downpours can be

blurry car windshield highwayAs all residents of southern California know, our region has been hit with heavy rains recently. Torrential downpours can be dangerous in the Los Angeles area for several reasons. First, the area is dry, and the rains can cause a high amount of water on the road and even flash flooding. River levels can rise and flood as well. Second, southern California has also experienced extreme damage from fires. Fires burn vegetation which ordinarily helps to keep soil and earth in place. Burned-over areas that are then hit with rain create an environment that can lead to mudslides. Indeed, roads have been closed throughout the Southern California region due to mudslides. Even if mudslides don’t occur, rain can bring debris from fires down to a road, causing hazards on the road.

In addition, of course, not all southern California drivers are experienced in driving in heavy rains. Rain and other inclement weather also causes some risks. Visibility can be limited. It is easier to skid, hydroplane, and lose control of your car. The risk of accidents rises – and that it itself can increase road danger to motorists not in the accident.

Safe driving tips for heavy rain conditions

Be sure to do the following to optimize your safety and that of your loved ones.

  1. Watch the weather report

Heavy rain and potential results from it, such as flash flooding, debris, and mudslides, are very dangerous. They can even be catastrophic. A flash flood or a mudslide can carry away your car and kill everyone in it, whether you are driving safely or not.

The solution is to watch weather reports very carefully. Advisories for heavy rains, flooding, mudslides, and more are carried by weather services, partly as a service to motorists. Weather reports and news will also be sources of information about road closings and detours. The more informed you are about conditions, they safer you will be.

If there are reports of extreme weather events and you don’t have to go out, it might be more prudent to stay home until conditions change. Commuters should also consider public transportation.

2. Use your lights and windshield wipers

Headlights and windshield wipers are basic safety equipment in case of heavy rains. Even if it’s in the middle of the day, you should switch on your headlights. It improves your ability to see the road and surrounding areas. It also increases your visibility to other motorists.

Use your windshield wipers to make sure you can see out your windshield, as well. This is obvious advice, but many of us in southern California don’t drive in rain often. Your wipers may need replacement to work at their best.

3. Drive slowly

Lots of water coming down in a short time increases the danger of skidding or hydroplaning. Drive slowly in the rain. Drive under the speed limit if necessary. You want to be able to stop safely, and the best way to do this is not to drive fast.

An Experienced Car Accident Attorney in Southern California

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a car accident during the heavy rains, call Sean Salamati, an experienced car accident attorney Los Angeles trusts to fight for maximum compensation. Let him put his experience to work for you. All initial consultations are free of charge, and you owe us nothing unless we win your case.

Additional Resources:

  1. Cain, Josh. “Heavy rain comes to Southern California, flood advisories and evacuations issued.” The Daily Breeze. November 29, 2018. https://www.dailybreeze.com/2018/11/29/heavy-rain-coming-to-southern-california/.
  2. Williams, Ashley. “Soaking rain, flash floods in California could pose a risk of mudslides near wildfire-scorched areas.” AccuWeather. November 30, 2018. https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/how-heavy-rainfall-in-california-could-trigger-potentially-deadly-mudslides-following-woolsey-camp-fires/70006756.
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My Lyft Driver Crashed. Can I Sue?

November 29, 2018 Auto Accidents

Ride-sharing services like Lyft have simplified transportation questions for people in California and across the nation. However, when a Lyft

car accident sceneRide-sharing services like Lyft have simplified transportation questions for people in California and across the nation. However, when a Lyft driver is involved in a crash, the logistics of a personal injury suit can be less than simple. Here are some factors that can affect the process.

Ride-sharing liability in California

California follows a traditional negligence model when it comes to liability for auto accidents. Unlike in no-fault states, an at-fault party in CA can be held legally responsible for the monetary losses caused by his or her careless acts. However, another party, like a ride-sharing company, may be legally responsible for the at-fault driver’s actions in certain situations.

If a Lyft driver crashes and the accident is due to his or her negligence, state laws and Lyft policies hold that Lyft’s insurance will provide coverage but the amount available depends on what mode the driver was in.

Driver Status Minimum Insurance Liability Limits
Not logged into app or looking for or carrying a passenger Basic state minimum coverage – $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident/$5,000 property damage
Logged into app and waiting for a passenger $50,000 per person/$100 per accident/$30,000 property damage
Picking up or transporting a ride-sharing customer $1 million commercial liability; $1 million uninsured/underinsured coverage

 

Who to sue after a Lyft accident in Southern California

Lyft drivers are considered independent contractors. Even though the company insurance policy may insure your ride while the driver has the app turned on, the general understanding, from a legal standpoint, is that an injured rider’s lawsuit would be filed against the individual driver rather than the ride-share company.

In some cases, there may be reason to sue Lyft directly. For example, the company may have negligently hired a driver who it should have realized, with necessary research, was not an eligible driver. However, the company will most likely allege that claims against it cannot be filed in court, but instead must be brought in an arbitration under Lyft’s terms of service.

Understandably, there are many variables in ride-share accident cases so it is important to speak with a Lyft and Uber accident lawyer in Los Angeles who can help guide your case.

Speak with a Lyft accident lawyer in LA

With as popular as Lyft, Uber, and other ride-sharing apps have become, it is easy to forget that it is still a relatively new business model. This means the legal questions are undergoing evolution as lawmakers and judges adapt traditional laws to new technology. If you are involved in a ride-sharing accident in CA, speak with a Lyft accident attorney in Los Angeles about your claim.

The Salamati Law Firm understands the complex questions that arise in ride-sharing accidents. We are dedicated to helping victims of Lyft and Uber accidents in Southern California understand and protect their rights, and fight for full and fair compensation.

Call today to schedule a free case review. We never charge a fee unless we win money on your behalf.

Additional Lyft accident resources:

  1. Inc.com, Ride Sharing Is Convenient. But What Happens If There’s an Accident?, https://www.inc.com/john-white/ride-sharing-is-convenient-but-what-happens-if-there-is-an-accident.html
  2. Lyft, Terms of Service, https://www.lyft.com/terms
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