Are Guardrails Dangerous?

July 14, 2017 Auto Accidents

Guardrails on the nation’s roads are installed to keep motorists safe. But are they doing their job? Could it be

Safety metal guardrail on a rural roadsideGuardrails on the nation’s roads are installed to keep motorists safe. But are they doing their job? Could it be that guardrails, instead of keeping motorists safe, could actually harm them?

Guardrails can harm motorists

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. While many guardrails operate well and prevent motorists from going over the edge of highways or lanes, some types have proved to be lethal. A specific type, the ET-Plus, was redesigned several years ago in a manner that transformed it into something like a spear, capable of cutting off limbs and causing major injuries in southern California and other locales.

How? Well, guardrails are specifically designed to give way on impact, so they don’t cause harm. The redesign of the ET-Plus resulted in elimination of that flexibility. Impact caused the material to break into gigantic shards, which were composed of hard material. In multiple accidents nationwide, limbs were cut off and piercing injuries were caused by the shards.

Observers estimate that the ET-Plus redesign that caused these type of injuries increased fatalities on the nation’s roads by two to three times those of previous designs.

Observers believed that there may be up to half a million of these guardrails installed in California as of 2014. CalTrans does not track types of guardrails, so has no data on the number or position.

Most worrisome of all, perhaps, the design changes were considered minor and did not require approval from either California state or Federal authorities. How many other design changes unexpectedly harm motorists?

In some cases, a highway protection device doesn’t protect. It actively harms.

Poorly constructed guardrails can be hazards

Yet another issue making guardrails dangerous stems from their materials. Wooden and metal guardrails can both potentially be too flimsy to serve their purpose. Ideally, a guardrail will prevent an accident by making sure a car doesn’t go over a lane. The best designed will halt the movement of vehicles when they are struck, but be elastic enough not to damage the vehicle or passengers.

But weak materials like wood and metal may simply buckle under the impact of a vehicle. They may also break and become highway debris, which potentially makes road conditions unsafe.

This is particularly true if the material has not been maintained well. Wood and metal can both erode significantly in certain weather conditions if they have not been property chosen and regularly inspected.

Another factor can be the placement of guardrails. Concrete guardrails will damage any vehicle that hits them, and can cause significant injuries and death to motorists. The placement should make it difficult to hit them. Roadway design must be sufficient to ensure that they can’t easily cause harm.

Need an auto accident lawyer in southern California?

Dangerous guardrails can cause serious auto accidents. If you or a loved one has been involved in an vehicle accident where a guardrail caused injury or death, talk to us today. The Salamati Law Firm has an excellent record of obtaining justice for clients in auto accidents and other vehicle injuries throughout the Los Angeles region.

Call an experienced Los Angeles auto accident attorney today at 888-259-4060. We will provide a consultation at no charge. Payment will come from any final jury award or settlement amount.

Additional “guardrail dangers” resources:

  1. Bartley, Lisa and Dave Kunz. “Eyewitness News Investigates: Dangerous Guardrails?” KABC. September 30, 2014. http://abc7.com/news/eyewitness-news-investigates-dangerous-guardrails/330110/
  2. Lee, Patrick G. “On the Road: Are America’s Guardrails Dangerous?” Insurance Journal. June 13, 2014. http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2014/06/13/331760.htm
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Coping with the Accidental Death of a Loved One

July 14, 2017 Auto Accidents

We all realize that death is inevitable down the road, but the sudden loss of a loved one or family member

Wrongful DeathWe all realize that death is inevitable down the road, but the sudden loss of a loved one or family member can leave you grief-stricken and paralyzed with feelings of despair. We simply assume that our mothers, fathers, siblings and children will reach old age. Yet unforeseeable accidents, illness and disease can cause death to come much sooner than expected. The traumatic, accidental death of a loved one can shatter the world as you know it, leaving you bewildered and shaken. Survivors are quickly thrust into a new, frightening reality, one which may seem to have no rhyme or reason.

How do bereaved survivors cope with the death of a loved one? The grieving process is different for everyone. It is not uncommon to experience intense feelings of guilt, remorse, anger, depression and hopelessness. Feelings of sadness, anger and disbelief often come in waves, usually triggered by small reminders that the deceased is forever gone.

During these emotionally challenging times, it’s important to allow yourself plenty of time to process this loss and assimilate it into your daily life. It’s equally important to reach out to friends, family or church for support.

Coping with accidental death

There is certainly no “right” way to grieve, but many find it helpful to have some support along the way. There are many short and long-term coping methods that can help survivors through the painful grieving process and move forward with their lives.

  • Focus on one day at a time, and give yourself the time and space to grieve.
  • Be accepting of your own feeling and emotions, and be prepared for everything from numbness and fear to disabling sadness.
  • Don’t bottle up your feelings – allow yourself to experience the pain and cry.
  • Don’t isolate yourself. It’s important to speak with friends, relatives or spiritual mentors about your loss.
  • Encourage yourself to take part in social activities and engagements. Isolation only encourages sadness and depression.
  • Take some time to consider those who are important in your life.
  • Try and maintain a normal routine, whether it’s taking the kids to school or going to your weekly yoga class.
  • Get enough sleep and take care of your physical wellbeing– this will go a long way to helping you feel emotionally stable.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs as crutches to get relief.
  • Engage in physical activity that gets the heart pumping, which naturally helps combat depression and relieves stress.
  • If you need to process the loss with others, seek out a support group in your area or try counseling with a therapist.
  • Pursue activities that comfort, sustain and recharge. Consider learning a new skill or taking up an interesting hobby.

The Salamati Law Firm is here to help

The accidental death of a loved one is a sudden loss that brings sudden grief. Here at The Salamati Law Firm, we offer compassionate, effective representation in wrongful death cases throughout Southern California. We invite you to schedule a private consultation with Sean Salamati, a veteran Los Angeles car accident lawyer who is on your side. Call 888-259-4060 to learn more.

Additional resources for coping with grief:

  1. Journey of Hearts, Dealing with Sudden, Accidental or Traumatic Death http://www.journeyofhearts.org/grief/accident2.html
  2. Focus on the Family, Moving Forward: Dealing With Grief http://www.focusonthefamily.com/lifechallenges/emotional-health/moving-forward-dealing-with-grief
  3. Everett Clinic, Coping with the unexpected death of a loved one http://www.everettclinic.com/blog/coping-unexpected-death-loved-one
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How to Recover Maximum Compensation after a Car Accident

June 7, 2017 Auto Accidents

Whether you’re involved in a minor fender bender or a major accident, it’s important to know your legal rights to

Car accidentWhether you’re involved in a minor fender bender or a major accident, it’s important to know your legal rights to seek compensation from at-fault drivers.

Driving around Los Angeles and the surrounding areas can be a risky endeavor. Traffic accidents are common on California’s congested highways and roads, and a good many of these collisions involve catastrophic injuries and loss of life.

“Damages” recovered in personal injury cases attempt to put a value on your injuries and financial losses. A qualified car accident attorney can assist you in the process of filing a claim for car accident compensation that should cover direct financial expenses (such as medical bills, property damage, lost wages, etc) as well as emotional and indirect costs.

California time limits for filing a car accident claim

In the state of California, injured parties have exactly two years to file a personal injury claim for monetary damages after a car accident. There are certain exceptions to this statute of limitations, which your legal counsel can outline if applicable.

In addition, there are several parties that may be sued in an attempt to recover maximum compensation. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, potential defendants may include:

  • Another driver whose negligent or reckless behavior caused the crash
  • The owner of the vehicle if it was being borrowed at the time
  • Employers (who may be liable for employee’s actions during work hours)
  • Mechanics in situations attributed to poor workmanship
  • Government entities responsible for road defects or hazards
  • Auto manufacturers responsible for vehicle defects or recalled parts
  • Your insurance company for UM/UIM claims

What types of damages can you recover?

Following any type of motor vehicle accident, it’s critical to assess the full extent of your physical, emotional and financial losses. How has the accident affected your family and loved ones? What is the extent of your physical harm and mental anguish and will your injuries prevent you from returning to work?

A reputable attorney will thoroughly evaluate the scope and gravity of your car accident injuries, medical bills and related suffering to properly estimate the value of your case. It is the goal of your lawyer to maximize your settlement amount, ensuring you are justly compensated for all present and future expenses.

A car accident claim may seek different types of damages including:

Compensatory damages for all past, present and future hospital and medical bills, lost income, property damage and loss of future earning capacity.

General damages are a separate category of damages that are more subjective in nature. These include:

  • Emotional anguish or distress
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium if the accident strained your spousal relationship

Because each injury claim is unique, there is no calculator to determine the exact amount of damages you can recover. It is largely up to the merits of your case and the skill of your lawyer to build a strong case that accurately documents the extent of your “general damages.” This may entail expert testimony from medical professionals who can attest to the long-term implications of your injury.

Aggressive car accident representation

The Salamati Law Firm has a reputation for success both in and out of the court room, and for more than 20 years has helped clients win fair compensation in their personal injury claims. Our team has the expertise, resources and legal know-how to maximize your settlement offer, and takes on all cases on a contingent-fee basis. The consultation is free and without obligation to proceed. Speak with an LA car accident lawyer today by calling 888-259-4060.

Additional “Car Accident Compensation” Resources:

  1. DMV.org, Damages in Personal Injury Cases http://www.dmv.org/insurance/compensation-for-auto-accident-personal-injury-claims.php
  2. California Department of Insurance, So You’ve Had an Accident, What’s Next? http://www.insurance.ca.gov/01-consumers/105-type/95-guides/01-auto/hadaccident.cfm
  3. California Legislative Information, CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE – CCP http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=CCP&sectionNum=335.1
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Is California a No-Fault State? How to Win Your Car Accident Lawsuit

June 2, 2017 Auto Accidents

When working with clients who have been injured in Los Angeles, one of the questions we are often asked at the Salamati

Judge gavel, scales of justice and law books in courtWhen working with clients who have been injured in Los Angeles, one of the questions we are often asked at the Salamati Law Firm is whether California is a “no-fault” state.

The answer is that California is not a no-fault state, so a personal injury claimant needs to be able to prove the defendant’s negligence before being allowed to recover. Given the extreme traffic situation the greater Los Angeles area experiences, this rule affects a lot of personal injury victims.

Traffic accidents in Los Angeles

If you live or work in Los Angeles, chances are you spend a lot of time in traffic. The Los Angeles Times recently reported that area drivers spend an average of 104 hours per year driving in congestion – more than drivers in any other city in the world. This is more than double the U.S. average of 42 hours spent in traffic annually.

Between the heavy volume of traffic and the time spent behind the wheel, the likelihood of being injured in an auto accident in the region is relatively high. According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, as of 2010 the number of traffic accidents was dropping, but it was still the third leading cause of death or serious injury among county residents.

California law and the difference between fault and no-fault

About a dozen states and Puerto Rico follow a no-fault system that restricts lawsuits to only those cases where there are very serious injuries or very expensive losses. In those states, the victim need not prove that the other driver was at fault, and the injury claim is made against the victim’s own no-fault insurance policy.

California, on the other hand, follows a fault-based system for personal injury claims that requires victims to be able to prove that the other party was at fault before recovering for an accident. This is true whether making a claim directly against a party in court or negotiating with the other driver’s insurance company. Under this system, injured parties can generally recover for both major and minor injuries or damages, and if the other driver is uninsured then they can seek recovery under their own insurance policy’s uninsured motorist provision.

California’s fault-based system provides a greater opportunity for a victim to be made whole, but it places an obligation on the plaintiff to present compelling evidence and theories of legal liability. Working with a seasoned personal injury lawyer ensures a victim presents the most advantageous case to increase the likelihood of recovery.

Speak with a Los Angeles auto accident lawyer

Even if your injuries are severe, there is a burden on you to prove that the other party’s negligence caused the accident. Speaking with an LA car accident attorney who understands how to present your best case is the first step toward financial recovery.

To learn more about how to protect your rights after an accident, call us today. We offer a free confidential consultation and we never take a fee unless we win your case.

Additional California No-Fault Resources:

  1. California Department of Insurance, So You’ve Had an Accident, What’s Next?, http://www.insurance.ca.gov/01-consumers/105-type/95-guides/01-auto/hadaccident.cfm
  2. Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Motor Vehicle Traffic Injuries in Los Angeles County, http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/ivpp/pdf_reports/MVT%20Data%20Resources%20Handout%20v2.pdf
  3. Los Angeles Times, No surprise here: Los Angeles is the world’s most traffic-clogged city, study finds, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-traffic-los-angeles-20170220-story.html
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Texting and Driving: The Shocking True Statistics

May 25, 2017 Auto Accidents

Back in 2007, Washington was our nation’s first state to ban texting while driving. A decade later and 46 more

Using a phone while driving a carBack in 2007, Washington was our nation’s first state to ban texting while driving. A decade later and 46 more states plus the District of Columbia have passed similar legislation. Despite anti-texting laws in California and elsewhere, texting while driving continues to be a nationwide epidemic, claiming thousands of innocent lives each year. With the widespread popularity of smart phones, texting has become an integral part of daily life. Using apps like Viber and Whatsapp to send and receive written messages, voice communications, photos and video is commonplace among Americans of all ages – especially when behind the wheel.

Texting and driving is exceedingly dangerous for numerous reasons. The very act of texting takes your eyes off the road and detracts your attention away from driving and surrounding hazards. While most Americans support a ban on texting while driving and understand the inherent risks involved, a staggering number of people continue this perilous activity. Whether ignorant or simply fueled by the justification that they can text and steer without crashing, national statistics show the harsh reality about the dangers.

Here are 10 shocking statistics about this growing problem.

10 shocking texting & driving statistics

  1. 25 percent of all motor vehicle accidents in the United States involve texting and driving.
  2. 25 percent of teenagers respond to a text at least once every time they drive.
  3. Each year, an estimated 330,000 serious car accidents are caused by people who text while driving.
  4. Every day, some 11 teens die in texting and driving crashes.
  5. Motorists who text while driving are 6 times more likely to get into an accident compared to those who drive drunk.
  6. According to AAA, two-thirds of Americans between the ages of 19 and 24 have admitted to reading a text message while driving in the last month.
  7. Reading a text while driving takes your eyes and concentration off the road for a minimum of 5 seconds.
  8. If traveling at 55 mph, this is equivalent to driving the length of a football field while blindfolded.
  9. You are 23 times more likely to be in an accident if you are texting and driving.
  10. According to the FCC, 11 percent of drivers ages 18-20 who were involved in non-fatal car accidents admitted they were texting at the time of their accidents.

The California Office of Traffic Safety reports that a whopping 80 percent of all vehicle accidents in the state involve some sort of driver inattention, be it texting, talking on a cell phone or other distracting activities. Under a new law that went into effect January 1, 2017, California drivers are banned from operating or even holding their cell phones for any purpose, unless it is mounted to the windshield or dashboard. Only time will tell if this legislation will help reduce the number of traffic injuries and deaths.

Injured by a texting driver in Los Angeles?

The law affords remedies to victims of distracted drivers. If you or someone you love was hurt because of a texting driver, The Salamati Law Firm is here to help. Sean Salamati offers free consultations to prospective clients and is a talented car accident lawyer with decades of experience handling injury claims throughout L.A. and Southern California. Call us today at 888-259-4060.

Additional Texting and Driving Statistics Resources:

  1. Wired, Texting and Driving Isn’t a Millennial Problem. It’s an Engineering Problem https://www.wired.com/2017/02/texting-driving-isnt-millennial-problem-engineering-problem/
  2. Icebike.org, the 25 Scariest Texting and Driving Accident Statistics http://www.icebike.org/texting-and-driving/
  3. Council of State Governments, Texting While Driving in 2016 http://knowledgecenter.csg.org/kc/content/texting-while-driving-2016-0
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Traffic Congestion in Los Angeles: The Hidden Dangers

May 10, 2017 Auto Accidents

Anyone who has ever hit the road in the Greater Los Angeles area will attest to the overwhelming traffic congestion

Anyone who has ever hit the road in the Greater Los Angeles area will attest to the overwhelming traffic congestion that characterizes even the shortest of journeys. Not only is the daily aggravation caused by traffic jams actually detrimental to the overall health of motorists, but traffic congestion can pose many serious, even fatal risks.

L.A. traffic receives dubious recognition

traffic jams in the city, road, rush hourA recent study released by transportation analytics firm INRIX confirmed what many have long suspected, namely that the region has the worst urban traffic congestion anywhere in the world. According to the INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard, drivers in the region were stuck in traffic jams for an average of 104 hours per year, a figure representing 12.7 percent of their total time spent in the car. The overall cost of this world-leading congestion volume came to roughly $9.7 billion, as measured by wasted fuel and motorist time.

Array of dangers posed by traffic congestion

In addition to the financial costs of traffic delays, researchers suggest that there are numerous other harmful effects of congestion on those regularly caught in freeway gridlock. Heavy traffic can cause road rage that leads to collisions or confrontations. Impatience and anger on the road all too often results in dangerous tailgating, ill-advised lane changes and, in an unacceptable number of cases, injury accidents and worse.

Another ancillary effect of heavy traffic in urban areas such as Los Angeles is the difficulty posed for emergency response vehicles attempting to reach critical scenes in which immediate assistance is required. Firefighters, ambulance drivers and police are all too regularly thwarted in their efforts to provide swift response to serious situations simply because they are unable to navigate clogged roadways as quickly as circumstances demand.

As urban sprawl continues to grow, commute times are growing longer and longer and a greater volume of vehicles utilize road infrastructure across southern California. An unintended side effect of this trend is that drivers are spending ever-increasing amounts of time behind the wheel, leaving home earlier and returning home later than ever before. The resulting fatigue can lead to hazardous inattention, mistakes in driver judgment and diminished response time, all key factors in an alarming number of traffic accidents.

High-volume vehicle emissions and public health consequences

Public health officials warn of yet another potentially devastating by-product of high traffic volume and congestion: harmful vehicle emissions being released into the atmosphere. Studies are beginning to suggest that fumes from cars, trucks and other modes of transportation can have a significantly negative effect on human mental acuity, emotional state and overall intelligence. In fact, one recent report indicated that breathing exhaust fumes at street level for only half an hour can alter electrical activity in the parts of the brain that control personality, behavior and the ability to make decisions. It is hypothesized that longer-term exposure may have even more pronounced effects.

Technology shifts may help alleviate congestion epidemic

Given the urgency of the problem faced by commuters in Los Angeles and other urban centers worldwide, a wide range of potentially crucial innovations have begun to emerge. Car-sharing enterprises, light rail systems and advanced navigation systems designed to ease traffic flow and end wasteful searches for available parking have all received heightened attention of late and hold a great deal of promise in terms of lessening the effects of crippling congestion.

Steadfast advocacy for the injured in Los Angeles

Attorney Sean Salamati understands the inherent dangers that come with traveling by car on the region’s heavily congested roadways. If you or someone close to you has sustained serious harm due to the negligence of another driver, now is the time to secure aggressive, compassionate legal assistance. To learn more about your right to pursue compensation in the aftermath of crash, call an experienced Los Angeles car accident attorney today.

Additional Resources on the Risks of Traffic Congestion

  1. Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, The Public Health Costs of Traffic Congestion – A Health Risk Assessment, http://ibtta.org/sites/default/files/The%20Public%20Health%20Costs%20of%20Traffic%20Congestion.pdf
  2. The Wall Street Journal, The Hidden Toll of Traffic Jams, https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052970203733504577024000381790904
  3. INRIX, INRIX 2016 Global Traffic Scorecard, http://inrix.com/resources/inrix-2016-global-traffic-scorecard/
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CA Man Petitions to Ban Dangerous LED Headlights

May 9, 2017 Auto Accidents

Bright LED headlights are supposed to increase your road visibility at night, but according to critics they could also create

headlightsBright LED headlights are supposed to increase your road visibility at night, but according to critics they could also create serious and potentially life-threatening distractions for other motorists. As reported by CBS 2 Los Angeles, a Pasadena resident is calling for a nation-wide ban on what he labels “blinding headlights,” which can pose major discomfort for oncoming drivers. By many accounts, these newer energy-saving lights are retina-scorching instruments that are akin to staring into the sun. Donald Berry argues that they create a greater potential for accidents – an argument that is backed up by a recent report issued by the American Medical Association (AMA).

Petition to ban LED headlights

The AMA found that the blue wavelengths emitted by LED lights contribute to glare effects, diminishing visual acuity, thus “decreasing safety and creating road hazards.

While the Consumer Reports Auto Test Center maintains that the bulk of all LED headlights (also known as High intensity discharge headlights) are compliant with federal safety standards, some vehicle owners do after-market installations, which may be at the wrong height or angle, exacerbating the problem even more.

This blinding glare is also a problem with LED street lighting and traffic lights, posing another road hazard for motorists, particularly older ones whose glare sensitivity is already heightened.

High intensity discharge (HID) headlights are believed to allow drivers to see other motorists, traffic signals and pedestrians at greater distances. However, many people report that their exceedingly bright glare dazzles oncoming drivers, making it in fact more challenging to see potential hazards or bends in the road.

The AMA study also reported that unshielded LED lighting causes the pupils to constrict, contributing to “worse night-time vision between lighting fixtures.” Despite years of complaints about the hazards of LED headlights and their ties to vehicle accidents, the federal Department of Transportation has yet to perform a thorough investigation.

Tips to improve safety while driving at night

Considering that many California vehicles are equipped with high-intensity LED or halogen headlights, drivers are encouraged to exercise caution to prevent being “dazzled” by an oncoming vehicle at night. Special anti-reflective glasses can help reduce the amount of glare, and motorists can also shift their gaze down and slightly to the right. Another helpful tip is to keep your windshield clean and free of grime and smudges, which can create massive glare when hit by another vehicle’s lights. 

Checking your side mirrors and rear view mirror frequently will also help keep you attentive and alert to surrounding traffic and road hazards at night.

Car accident attorney in Los Angeles

Although LED lighting has many advantages and uses in our modern world, consumers and safety advocates alike realize how LED headlights may contribute to increasing numbers of traffic accidents and injuries.

In the wake of any type of collision, whether caused by a negligent driver, hazardous road conditions, or poor visibility, it’s crucial to speak with an LA car accident lawyer who can ensure your best interests are protected at every stage. Attorney Sean Salamati offers free, no-obligation consultations for potential clients throughout the greater Los Angeles area. To schedule an appointment, please call today.

Additional “LED Headlight Hazards” Resources:

  1. CBS News Los Angeles, Pasadena Man Starts National Petition To Ban New ‘Blinding Headlights’ http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2017/05/03/petition-ban-new-led-headlights/
  2. TheHindu, Not all is bright and shining with LED light: Study http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/Not-all-is-bright-and-shining-with-LED-light-Study/article14395564.ece
  3. Mercury News, Roadshow: LED headlights are just too bright http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/10/10/roadshow-led-headlights-are-just-too-bright/
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Filing a Passenger Injury Claim: Know Your Rights

May 5, 2017 Auto Accidents

In car accident cases, passengers are afforded the same legal rights as anyone else who is injured because of the

Teenage Driver Suffering Whiplash Injury Traffic Accident Rubbing Neck With Hand.

In car accident cases, passengers are afforded the same legal rights as anyone else who is injured because of the negligent actions of another motorist. Just because you weren’t driving the vehicle when a collision occurred, doesn’t mean your injuries, damages, pain and suffering aren’t worthy of legal reparations.

As in most injury claims, victims are allowed to pursue compensation from at-fault parties, whether it’s the driver of the vehicle you were riding in, or another motorist who was responsible for the accident. In single-vehicle crashes, passengers may sue the driver of the vehicle if they acted carelessly and endangered the lives of their occupants. For example, let’s say the driver was going too fast for road conditions and lost control of his or her vehicle, causing it to veer off the road and slam into a guardrail or tree. In California, as in all states, drivers have a duty to use reasonable care while operating a vehicle, and may be held liable for their passenger’s injuries and losses in the event of a crash.

Single vehicle crashes: suing the driver

If the driver fails to exercise due care for his or her passengers’ safety, and their actions result in serious personal injury or death, the passenger or their immediate family (in fatal cases) is entitled to seek compensation from the driver for economic and non-economic losses stemming from the accident.

While some injury victims may be reluctant to take legal action if they are friends with the driver in question, keep in mind that you are not suing them personally, but rather pursuing a monetary claim against their insurance company. In some cases, this is the only effective means of recouping money for hospital bills, medications, and lost income during your recovery.

Multi-vehicle accidents: determining liability

If the collision involved multiple vehicles, it is always wise to enlist an experienced car accident attorney, who can gather evidence to establish which driver(s) were at fault.  In certain cases, both the driver of the vehicle you riding in and the other motorist were negligent. In this scenario, injured passengers may be able to pursue damages from both parties. If one driver’s car insurance policy isn’t adequate to cover the cost of all your medical expenses and other damages, a claim may be filed against the other driver’s insurance – if they were partially liable for the accident — to ensure you are fully compensated.

It’s important to note that insurance adjustors are always looking out for their own best interest. As a passenger and party to the crash, you may feel pressured to provide a written or recorded statement about your version of the accident. Before giving any kind of a statement, always speak to a qualified attorney, who can ensure your rights are preserved until liable parties have been identified. Your lawyer will also make sure that you get proper medical treatment, and are thoroughly evaluated for all physical and emotional injuries suffered.

Consult with a California car accident attorney

If you or someone you love was seriously harmed in a car accident while riding as a passenger, compensation may be available for your injuries, medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. Sean Salamati is a veteran car accident lawyer in Los Angeles, and can explain your options for pursuing legal compensation through an insurance settlement or personal injury claim. California imposes strict time limits for filing a lawsuit, so it’s important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible.

Call The Salamati Law Firm toll-free to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.

Additional “California Passenger Injury Claim” Resources:

  1. California Courts, Statute of Limitations Statute of Limitations http://www.courts.ca.gov/9618.htm
  2. California DMV, Financial Responsibility (Insurance) Requirements for Vehicle Registration (FFVR 18) https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/pubs/brochures/fast_facts/ffvr18
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Tips on Taking Car Accident Photos

April 27, 2017 Auto Accidents

According to the National Safety Council, more than 4.5 million Americans were injured on in 2015, underscoring the prevalence of

car accident photoAccording to the National Safety Council, more than 4.5 million Americans were injured on in 2015, underscoring the prevalence of car accidents on our nation’s roads and highways.  In the majority of accidents, the at-fault driver is easy to identify, but there are always accidents in which liability is disputed among parties. In the event of any type of motor vehicle collision in California, having photographic evidence of the accident scene can help protect your rights in an insurance claim, or a courtroom if a lawsuit is filed.

Importance of accident scene photographs

By taking picture of the scene where the accident took place, you are taking keys steps to preserve valuable evidence. Even the most minor of crashes can be anxiety-provoking. The most important thing is to stay calm, report the incident and – when you are able to – take pictures with your smart phone or camera. Photos of all vehicle damage in addition to the immediate surrounds will be especially useful when dealing with your own insurance company, and that of the other motorist. Car accident pictures will not only show property damage and injuries to persons, they will also illuminate the location, whether the roads were slick due to rain, snow or spilled debris, the collision points, and the exact position of the vehicles after impact. Details like these can be challenging to remember amidst all the confusion and can help back up your claim if you’re pursuing a personal injury lawsuit for monetary compensation.

In the event you’re in a collision with another driver, consider these three tips for taking quality car accident photos.

Take as many photos as possible

In the context of visual evidence, quantity is just as relevant as quality. In other words, try and take as many pictures as possible. While some photos may seem redundant or unnecessary, they may reveal a critical detail later on. Keep in mind that time is of the essence, as the vehicles may be moved to clear room for traffic.

Details to capture in car crash photos

Your photographs should include:

  • Interior and exterior of your own vehicle, showing the damage
  • Exterior shots of the other vehicle’s damage and position
  • License plates of all vehicles involved
  • Debris from the accident, such as broken glass, a bumper or other car parts
  • Skid marks or damaged guard rails
  • Any orange hazard cones
  • Signs indicating a construction zone
  • People who were involved in the accident
  • Close up and far away shots of the road where the accident occurred
  • Traffic lights or stop signs
  • Surrounding landmarks
  • Visible injuries you or your passengers have suffered

Use a variety of distances / angles

Another important tip is to take your photographs from multiple angles that capture landmarks in the background for reference and scale. Panoramic and distance shots (no more than 20 feet away) paint a clear picture of the local surrounds and the position of the vehicles. Close-up shots (1-5 feet away) should also be included, to demonstrate the full extent of vehicle damage. If your cell phone or camera has a date stamp function, make sure to use it. If the accident happened at dusk or after nightfall, try and experiment with different flash settings to ensure photos are clear and readable.

Pursuing a car accident claim in California

The Salamati Law Firm wants you to be prepared in the event of a motor vehicle accident. When pursuing a personal injury claim on behalf of clients, we often use car accident photos taken at the scene as supporting evidence, which can leverage your case for monetary compensation.

If you were injured because of another driver’s negligence, a skilled LA car accident lawyer at our firm can protect your rights to fair compensation. To learn more, we invite you to schedule a free consultation in our Los Angeles office.

Additional “Car Accident Photo” Resources:

  1. US Insurance, Why You Should Always Take Pictures After a Car Accident https://usinsuranceagents.com/take-pictures-after-car-accident
  2. Cheat Sheet, 10 Things You Should Always Do After a Car Accident http://www.cheatsheet.com/automobiles/things-you-should-always-do-car-accident.html/?a=viewall
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7 Apps That Prevent Distracted Driving and Texting

March 30, 2017 Auto Accidents

Distracted driving is a serious problem in the United States. The National Safety Council estimates that cell phone use while

texting and drivingDistracted driving is a serious problem in the United States. The National Safety Council estimates that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes and nearly 330,000 injuries each year. In fact, 1 in 4 car accidents are caused by texting and driving! The worst part about these devastating accidents is that they are wholly preventable. The Los Angeles car accident attorneys at The Salamati Firm are encouraged about the following apps that prevent texting while driving.

AT&T DriveMode

DriveMode for Android and iOs silences incoming text alerts and sends auto-responses to let people know the recipient is driving. The app automatically turns on when the vehicle starts moving faster than 15 mph. Games, calls, and social media are also locked out, but drivers can still access music and navigation while the car is in motion. Parents can set up the app to notify them when a teen driver disables it. (Free)

Live2Txt

Live2Txt is an Android app that silences incoming calls and texts while driving. The app auto-sends a customized message that the driver is unable to respond at the moment. (Cost: $1.99)

Cellcontrol

This subscription-based app Cellcontrol for Android and iOS is geared toward concerned parents. It comes with a device inserted under the dashboard that blocks incoming and outgoing texts, email, and camera functionality while the car is in motion. (Cost: $39.95 one-time hardware fee + $7.95/month)

On My Way

The On My Way app for Android and iOS lets drivers share time and location with friends to let them know their estimated arrival time. Drivers simply set up the trip and let the app invite selected friends to follow the trip. Location tracking ends when the destination is reached. (Free)

LifeSaver App

LifeSaver for Android and iOS auto-detects driving and blocks cell phone while the car is in motion. Once the vehicle stops, the phone will unlock. Parents receive a text message if their child disables the app. (Free)

tXt Blocker

Another Android and iOS app geared toward parents is tXtBlocker, which goes one step further by not only preventing texting while driving, but also allowing parents to set up “No-Cell Zones” (like school or work) that kids can’t hack. Parents can also locate their teens using the app and obtain driving reports. (Cost: $7/month)

Focus — Screen Free Driving

The Focus app for iPhones is a funny way of being shamed into submission. When the driver touches his or her phone, a voice sternly says, “Hang up and drive.” Those who fail to comply are yelled at with phrases like “Eyes on the road, Chief!” and “Lock your phone NOW!” The reminders may be all some people need to realize how much they touch their phones while driving. A road report includes how many distracted driving minutes were logged. (Free or $4.99 for premium version, with speeding reports)

Need a Los Angeles car accident attorney?

If you or a loved one have been injured in a distracted driving accident in California, contact the Salamati Law Firm for legal representation. Police officers are not legally allowed to check an accident victim’s cell phone records without a warrant, so it can be difficult to gather the evidence needed to prove negligence without a knowledgeable expert on your side. The Salamati Law Firm has the grit and determination to see that justice is served. Contact us for a free, no-obligation quote.

To learn more about Distracted Driving click below:

  1. Distracted Driving Awareness Month – Take the Pledge to Drive SafelyDistracted driving in California
  2. Disturbing Statistics on Distracted Driving in California

Additional “apps to prevent distracted driving” resources:

  1. Verizon – Best apps to block texting while driving, https://www.verizonwireless.com/archive/mobile-living/home-and-family/apps-to-block-texting-while-driving/
  2. Honk For Help – 5 Free Apps To Prevent Texting While Driving http://www.honkforhelp.com/explore/2016/5-free-apps-to-prevent-texting-while-driving/
  3. USA Today – Best Tech To Prevent Distracted Driving http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/2016/05/29/best-tech-prevent-distracted-driving/85121278/
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