Do I Have to Wear a Helmet to Ride a Motorcycle in California?

October 4, 2022 Motorcycle Accidents

According to state law, you must wear a helmet when you ride a motorcycle in California. It applies to everyone.

According to state law, you must wear a helmet when you ride a motorcycle in California. It applies to everyone. Helmet laws are in place for a reason. Research shows that a helmet can dramatically reduce the odds of a severe injury following a motorcycle crash. Head trauma is one of the most common causes of fatal injuries in motorcycle accidents, but helmet use could reduce the risk of these outcomes.

All riders must ride a helmet

In some states, helmet laws only apply to younger riders. It is not uncommon for motorcyclists in these jurisdictions to not wear a helmet if they are over 21. Other states have no helmet requirements at all. This is not the approach California has taken. In California, every driver is required to wear a helmet when they are on a motorcycle. It applies to the driver and their passengers as well. This is one of the broadest helmet laws in the nation. Moreover, it also extends to any motorized bicycle as well.

What are the guidelines for a motorcycle helmet

In California, you are only in compliance with the law if you meet certain qualifications, which include:

  • The helmet straps are fastened
  • The helmet fits securely onto your head
  • There is no lateral or vertical movement after the helmet is fastened

Helmets must also meet specific standards to qualify. The police will not evaluate every single helmet to ensure their safety. Instead, particular brands and types of helmets must be approved by the federal government to qualify.

Talk to an attorney about your motorcycle accident

Despite helmet laws, serious injuries can still happen in motorcycle accidents. However, if your accident resulted from the negligence of another party, a Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer might be able to help.

Our team at Salamati Law can help you pursue legal action if you’ve been hurt. Even wearing a helmet, your accident could still have serious physical, financial, and emotional consequences. If you are ready to pursue financial compensation for your injuries, we are here to help. Before you attempt to take on your case alone, reach out to Salamati Law as soon as possible for a free consultation.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Who is at Fault in a Lane Splitting Motorcycle Accident in California?

October 4, 2022 Motorcycle Accidents

Lane-splitting is not common in most of the country, but it is in California because it is legal. Even if

Lane-splitting is not common in most of the country, but it is in California because it is legal. Even if you are unfamiliar with the term, you have likely witnessed motorcyclists driving down the center line between two lanes of traffic. California allows lane-splitting to reduce congestion. However, in this context, motorcyclists as well as other drivers can be responsible for causing an accident. Unsure of who is at fault in this type of accident? See our guide for more information.

Lane splitting is allowed in California

Because it is legal, motorcyclists who are lane splitting–under certain circumstances–have the right-of-way. That means if another vehicle collides with a rider or enters their path, the other driver is usually at fault for the collision. Ultimately, since each accident has unique fact patterns, an investigation will determine who is liable.

Accidents caused by motorcyclists

According to the law, lane splitting may occur on roads divided into two or more clearly marked lanes traveling in one direction. The law allows motorcyclists to travel between lanes when it is safe to do so– unfortunately, there is no clear guidance on what constitutes a safe situation. There are also no limits related to motorcycle speed when lane splitting. Traveling above the speed limit is likely to be considered unsafe, but outside of that, riders do not have specific limitations. This is true even when traffic, due to congestion, is moving well below the speed limit. The bottom line is that if a motorcyclist is driving in an unsafe manner when lane splitting, they could be legally responsible for causing an accident.

Accidents caused by drivers

Not all lane-splitting accidents result from the acts of a motorcyclist. Some collisions occur because negligent drivers fail to see motorcycles. This is common when a driver attempts to change lanes without signaling and strikes the motorcycle as they travel between lanes. If a motorist is negligent in causing a crash, they could be liable for the damage.

Talk to an attorney about your motorcycle accident

If you’ve been hurt in a California lane-splitting collision, contact us at Salamati Law for a free consultation. A motorcycle accident lawyer in Los Angeles can investigate your accident, attempt to settle your case, or file a lawsuit on your behalf. We work on a contingency basis, so there are no upfront legal fees.

Read More

What Do You Need to Ride a Motorcycle in California?

October 4, 2022 Motorcycle Accidents

Before you take your first ride on a motorcycle in California, there are specific requirements you must meet–you will need

Before you take your first ride on a motorcycle in California, there are specific requirements you must meet–you will need the appropriate license for the type of vehicle you have and the proper safety equipment. Continue reading for the specifics.

Types of motorcycle licenses in California

There are two types of motorcycle licenses in California: M1 and M2. The right one will depend on the type of vehicle you wish to drive. An M1 license covers two-wheel motorcycles, motor scooters, and mopeds. An M2 license, on the other hand, only covers motorized bicycles, mopeds, and scooters. In addition, the requirements for M2 licenses are lower, as they do not cover the more powerful vehicles like two-wheel motorcycles.

Helmet laws

One requirement for motorcycle riding in California is compliance with state helmet laws. Unlike other states, these laws apply to all riders–regardless of age. You are required to wear a helmet any time you drive a motorcycle, and the same is true for passengers.

Options for getting a license

There are different ways to secure a license in California. Your specific circumstances will determine which option is best for you, and they are:

  • Take the motorcycle driving course. If you do not currently have a license and are at least 21 years of age, this course could be your best option. Not only must you complete the course, but you also must pass a knowledge test and submit the required documents.
  • Take the skills test. The process is more straightforward if you are already licensed to drive a car in California. In that case, you can skip the driving course and take the knowledge tests. If you pass, you can drive a motorcycle in addition to a motor vehicle.
  • Get a learner’s permit. This option is for anyone under the age of 21.

Contact us at Salamati Law for more information

Securing the proper license and wearing the required equipment is essential to safe motorcycle operation. Unfortunately, there is little you can do to avoid a collision caused by a negligent motorist. If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, it is crucial for you to seek out an attorney right away. A Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer could help you secure the financial compensation you deserve. Speak to the team at Salamati Law to learn how we could help. Reach out as soon as possible for a free consultation.

Read More

Wrongful Death of a Mother During Pregnancy

October 4, 2022 Wrongful Death Claims

If an accident, intentional action, or medical mistake causes the death of a mother during pregnancy, the grief felt by

If an accident, intentional action, or medical mistake causes the death of a mother during pregnancy, the grief felt by her loved ones is compounded by the loss of her unborn child. Unfortunately, California law does not automatically recognize that additional loss felt by the family who is left behind, but the work of a California wrongful death attorney can allow the mourning loved ones to hold those at fault accountable to the fullest extent permitted under the law.

Wrongful Death in California

Any intentional or accidental death caused by someone else’s wrongdoing can potentially be the basis of a wrongful death lawsuit. Some of the more common situations include auto accidents, medical malpractice, abuse, and accidents caused by defective products.

When a person is killed in an accident or intentionally, the family may pursue compensation against those whose negligence or other wrong-going caused the death. The compensation can include:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of financial support and/or inheritance
  • Loss of the value of household services performed by the decedent
  • Loss of companionship of a spouse
  • Loss of care, comfort, guidance, and other non-economic impacts

To succeed, the victim’s family must be able to prove that the defendant owed a legal duty to the victim, that the defendant breached the duty, and that the defendant’s breach caused the victim’s death and the claimed damages. Proving some elements can be easy, but proving other elements can require some experience in complicated personal injury cases.

Wrongful Death of a Fetus

Unfortunately, while the plaintiffs may recover compensation for the death of the pregnant mother, California law does not recognize the additional loss that accompanies the wrongful death of a fetus. State statute provides for a wrongful death claim for the death of a “person,” but it also does not recognize an unborn baby as a “person.” 

If the baby was born alive before passing away, then it may be possible for loved ones to include a claim for the baby’s wrongful death. At the point of live birth, the baby meets the definition of a “person” under CA law.

Who Can Pursue a Wrongful Death Claim for the Death of a Pregnant Mother

Only qualified persons are permitted to file a wrongful death lawsuit in California. They include:

  • The decedent’s surviving spouse;
  • The decedent’s surviving children;
  • Other minor dependents living in the decedent’s household
  • Parents of the deceased victim
  • The decedent’s other heirs
  • Next of kin
  • The estate representative

Families come in many forms, so if you lost a loved one, it may not be clear who has standing to file a wrongful death claim. If multiple individuals may file the lawsuit, an estate representative may be the most effective plaintiff. The estate representative may also be able to bring a survival claim at the same time if the victim survived for even a small amount of time after the accident and would have had a personal injury claim of her own had she ultimately survived.

Consult with a California Wrongful Death Attorney

If you believe that the loss of a pregnant loved one was caused by someone else’s carelessness, consider speaking with an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. At Salamati Law,  a compassionate lawyer will listen to your case and explain your legal options, from California wrongful death settlements to bringing a lawsuit to trial. Consultations are always free, and there is no fee unless we win your case.

Read More

TBI and Parkinson’s Disease 

October 4, 2022 Brain Injuries

Dealing with a traumatic brain injury can be a massive, life-altering challenge, especially when it leads to other serious medical

Dealing with a traumatic brain injury can be a massive, life-altering challenge, especially when it leads to other serious medical issues – as it often does. While it is no surprise to many medical experts, a recent study confirmed that TBI (traumatic brain injury) is associated with an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease.

Even sustaining a mild TBI has been known to increase the risk for Parkinson’s. It has been noted by one study that individuals with mild TBI and brief loss of consciousness had a 56% increased risk of suffering from Parkinson’s disease compared to those who have not suffered any head injury. Unfortunately, since there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s Disease, this is not good news for those who might have suffered a mild traumatic brain injury.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

So what is Parkinson’s disease? It is essentially a disorder that affects the nervous system and can progressively get worse, causing one to go through uncontrollable movements like shaking, as well as difficulty with balancing and coordination. The first symptom, often noticeable, may be a tremor in one hand. Some other common symptoms might include:

  • Losing expression in the face
  • Speech becoming soft
  • Muscles becoming stiff
  • Difficulty in walking

Symptoms are known to progressively get worse. While there is at this time no known cure for Parkinson’s disease, there are treatment options that can relieve some symptoms and help patients function in some normal ways. Treatment regimens can consist of physical therapy, speech therapy, or taking the appropriate medication, depending on your specific symptoms.

You might have been in a car accident or sustained a fall that led to your suffering a mild TBI, and thereafter Parkinson’s disease. If the accident was caused by another party’s negligence, California law provides avenues for redress and recovery of financial compensation to cover medical bills and other losses.

To receive such compensation, you will have to prove the existence of your medical condition, and also prove that it was caused by someone else’s negligence. In that regard, different types of evidence like incident reports pertaining to the accident which led to your medical condition, medical records, testimony of your doctors, etc., can be helpful. Accordingly, the compensation you might be able to receive will depend on many different factors, including the severity of your injuries. An experienced attorney will know what to look for in order to develop the best legal strategy for your case.

Contact us for a free consultation

If you have sustained a TBI due to someone’s negligence, reach out to the qualified serious injury attorneys of Salamati Law. Our team of experienced Los Angeles traumatic brain injury attorneys will work with you to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Read More