Coping with the Accidental Death of a Loved One

July 14, 2017 Wrongful Death Claims

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 well-being– 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 compassionate Los Angeles wrongful death 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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July 10, 2017 Premises Liability Lawsuits

Summer is the perfect time for families to enjoy the great outdoors and take advantage of California’s beautiful parks, shoreline

beach ball swimming pool summer

Summer is the perfect time for families to enjoy the great outdoors and take advantage of California’s beautiful parks, shoreline and natural attractions. Whether relaxing with family or friends, these warmer months are often punctuated with picnics, backyard BBQs, bike rides, camping excursions, and afternoons spent at the beach or pool. Unfortunately, statistics show that the summer season is also marked by an uptick in serious accidents and injuries – particularly among young children and teens.

Keep your kids healthy and avoid preventable accidents this summer by following these five easy tips.

Make water safety a priority

Swimming is a fun way to beat the heat in the summertime, but this activity is not without risks. Avoid injury by ensuring your children know how to swim, and never leave young kids unsupervised around water – even shallow kiddie pools. Always keep lifejackets and life preservers at hand, whether you’re at the pool, beach or on a boating trip. Remember that drowning is among the leading causes of accidental child death. If you have a pool in your home, ensure that a 4-foot barrier or fence with self-closing gates is installed, and equip the area with an alarm that can alert you if a child falls into the pool.

Always wear a helmet when biking

Riding bicycles is a healthy pastime for both adults and children, but accidents with vehicles can lead to life-threatening injury. Always make yourself visible to motorists by wearing brightly colored clothes or a reflective vest and never bike without a properly fitting helmet, which can help prevent head trauma and brain injury in the event of a collision.

Prevent heat stroke & sunburn

Enjoy Southern California’s hot summer sun in moderation. Even the healthiest of people can suffer from heat cramps, heat stroke and heat-related illness. If planning outdoor excursions or day trips, try and avoid direct sun exposure between 12-2 PM, and stay well-hydrated by drinking lots of water. Always apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30, and apply 30 minutes before going outside. Remember to reapply sunscreen after swimming or sweating.

Be alert for playground hazards

According to the CDC, more than 20,000 children (age 14 or younger) are treated in emergency departments in the U.S. for playground-related brain injuries every year. An estimated 80 percent of these injuries are caused by falls. Slides, monkey bars, swings and other equipment can pose serious hazards when not properly maintained. Be alert for bolts, hooks, sharp edges and other hardware that can cut or impale, and always keep a close eye on young children.

Be safe around fireworks

Independence Day celebrations are just around the corner, which means firework displays! Unfortunately, firework accidents can lead to severe burns and disfiguring injuries. Keep safe this 4th of July — never let children or teens set off fireworks, and always use safety goggles when shooting them off. Keep a hose of bucket of water handy, and always read product directions before igniting.

Legal advice from Salamati Law

Although some summertime accidents are just that – many others are caused by dangerous conditions that should have been addressed through proper maintenance. When serious injury is traced back to a property owner’s negligence, victims have the right to legal recourse.

Salamati Law helps personal injury clients throughout Southern California recover just compensation for their losses. If you or someone in your family was harmed at a playground, a pool, or another person’s property,  you may have grounds for litigation. Speak to a skilled LA premises liability attorney today by calling 888-259-4060.

Additional Summer Safety Resources:

  1. American Academy of Pediatrics, Summer Safety Tips 2017 https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/pages/summer-safety-tips.aspx
  2. CDC, Make Summer Safe for Kids https://www.cdc.gov/family/kids/summer/index.htm
  3. National Safety Council, Summer Safety Tips http://www.nsc.org/learn/Pages/safety-events-summer-safety.aspx
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California Homeowner’s Liability: Duty of Care

June 21, 2017 Premises Liability Lawsuits

If you fall on a slippery floor and are injured at another person’s home, can you sue for damages? This

cracked jagged broken sidewalkIf you fall on a slippery floor and are injured at another person’s home, can you sue for damages? This area of litigation would be based on theories of premises liability in which property owners and/or managers may be held culpable in the event that their negligence created an unsafe condition that resulted in injury.

The mere fact that you were harmed by a dangerous condition – such as broken step, uneven flooring or an exposed cord — does not in and of itself give rise to a premises liability lawsuit. The injured party (known as the plaintiff) must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the homeowner was negligent in some manner. Examples include:

  • Failing to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition
  • Failing to make reasonable efforts to keep visitors safe from probable dangers
  • Failing to identify a hazardous condition
  • Failing to take measures to repair or replace the dangerous condition
  • Or, failing to provide warning to visitors about the unsafe condition

Homeowner’s duty of care

California homeowners have a legal responsibility, known as a “duty of care,” to keep their property safe for visitors. In this respect, visitors can be family members, friends, colleagues, casual acquaintances, hired workers, or any person who is invited into your home. Most homeowners don’t give much thought to serious accidents that can occur on their property, but even good friends and relatives have been known to sue after suffering injury they claim to be the fault of their host.

Under California law, this basic duty of care is defined as follows:

“Any person who owns, leases or controls property is negligent if he or she fails to use reasonable care to keep the property in a reasonably safe condition … This person must use reasonable care to discover any unsafe conditions and to repair, replace, or give adequate warning of anything that could be reasonably expected to harm others.”

Factors that parlay into whether the homeowner used “reasonable care” include:

  • Location of the home and property
  • The chances that someone would enter the property in the same manner as the injured party
  • The likelihood of physical harm
  • The seriousness of such harm
  • Whether the homeowner knew or should have known of the dangerous condition
  • The extent of the homeowner’s control over the hazard that created a risk of harm
  • Whether the homeowner knew this condition would pose risk of harm
  • The extent of difficulty the homeowner would face protecting against the risk of harm

Responsibility to keep visitors safe

There are many situations in which a homeowner could face legal action from a visitor. California homeowners must abide by state laws pertaining to swimming pools and drowning hazards. This may include erecting a fence or barrier around pools to ensure small children cannot enter unattended.

In addition, homeowners may face liability for structural problems such as broken or hazardous flooring surfaces that could cause a visitor to trip and suffer injury.

For instance, if a homeowner knew that one of their wooden porch steps is damaged (but may not be apparent to guests), they may be held responsible if they do not alert visitors of this condition and someone is injured when the step breaks.

Los Angeles premises liability attorney

Homeownership comes with myriad benefits, but it also entails many responsibilities. Injuries suffered on another person’s property can result in significant medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering. To learn more about your rights to compensation in the wake of such an accident, it’s best to speak with an experienced Los Angeles premises liability lawyer at the Salamati Law Firm. Schedule your free consultation by dialing 888-259-4060.

Additional “California Homeowner’s Liability” Resources:

  1. Justia, California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) 1003. Unsafe Conditions https://www.justia.com/trials-litigation/docs/caci/1000/1003.html
  2. Justia, California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) 1003. Unsafe Conditions 1001. Basic Duty of Care https://www.justia.com/trials-litigation/docs/caci/1000/1001.html
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June 15, 2017 Elder Abuse

If your parents or elderly relatives and friends need care in a nursing home, it’s wise to visit and research

Elder AbuseIf your parents or elderly relatives and friends need care in a nursing home, it’s wise to visit and research all the available options. While there are excellent nursing homes, there are also, unfortunately, poor ones, where an elderly resident’s health or safety could be impaired. The reasons for poor care range from lack of trained personnel to attempts at cost-cutting on the part of the facility.

The Los Angeles elder abuse attorneys at the Salamati Law Firm present 4 warnings signs that a nursing home or assisted care facility may not be the best choice for you or your loved one:

Violations for health or safety reasons

The first place to start is to research any violations. The Medicare web site, www.medicare.gov, has a searchable zip code database that will return any citations for health or safety violations. It is also a good idea to search by the name of the nursing home for any news stories, as well as checking into any state-specific databases. The good news is that nursing homes are highly regulated and inspected periodically. Health and safety violations have to be reported and corrected.

If you do find a violation, assess its severity and the likelihood of its affecting your loved one. Some violations may be for too many boxes stacked in a basement. Others might concern a patient with dementia being allowed to walk outside unattended. The latter is extremely serious, and could be cause for crossing the facility off your list.

Poor cleanliness and maintenance

Then, make an appointment to tour the facilities you have in mind. Is the nursing home clean? Are there odors or signs that it may not be? It is well-maintained? Are both general areas and rooms in a state of good repair? Lack of cleanliness and good maintenance are dangerous to elderly residents. Impaired cleanliness can cause health issues and be uncomfortable. Poor maintenance can make areas dangerous to walk or pass through. Be sure to tour both the interior and exterior.

If the tour takes you only to certain areas or floors, ask if you can see the areas not covered. In a bad nursing home, the first floor common areas may be showpieces. Other floors may be in a less well maintained state.

High staff turnover

High staff turnover can be a sign that a nursing home is not well run. It may not recruit dedicated people, or pay them enough to stay. Inexperienced or constantly changing staff can negatively affect a nursing home resident’s care. Ask facility management how long their attendants and other staff stay onboard.

Negative interactions between staff and patients

As you tour the facility, be sure to observe the interactions between staff and residents. Staff should be friendly, respectful, and attentive. If you see interactions that criticize or demean the residents, cross the facility off your list. If residents seem afraid or child-like, it indicates that staff might be threatening or talk down to them. All are bad signs.

Experienced elder abuse attorneys in southern California

Elder abuse in nursing homes is a distressing problem. The Salamati Law Firm has an outstanding record of fighting for justice on the part of elder abuse victims and their families in the Los Angeles area.

If you need advice on an elder abuse case or a nursing home situation, please call us today. We will provide a complimentary consultation. Payment will come from any final jury award or settlement amount.

Additional “signs of a bad nursing home” resources:

  1. Blanchard, Sarah. “6 Signs of Nursing Home Neglect.” NextAvenue. February 18, 2016. http://www.nextavenue.org/6-signs-of-nursing-home-neglect/
  2. Nursing Home Compare. Medicare.gov. https://www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare/search.html
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California Motorcycle Accidents Spike During Summer Months

June 15, 2017 Motorcycle Accidents

When the temperatures climb upward and warm weather entices people outdoors, hospitals prepare for “trauma season.” California — renowned for

Biker riding on motorcycle near the river in the city.When the temperatures climb upward and warm weather entices people outdoors, hospitals prepare for “trauma season.” California — renowned for its scenic byways, stunning coastal views and temperate climate – has nearly 1,000,000 registered motorcycles and is rated among the best states to enjoy this popular pastime. Summer’s balmy weather and longer days means even more motorcycles on the road, but it’s also a time marked by increasing numbers of crashes.

Motorcycle accidents often leave victims with incapacitating injury including broken bones, head trauma, spinal cord and traumatic brain injury. Those motorcyclists who are lucky enough to survive a crash with a car or truck may be left paralyzed or grappling with other long-term disabilities.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 5,000 people died in motorcycle accidents in 2015 – an 8.3% spike from the previous year. Due to Southern California’s large number of motorcycle enthusiasts, it’s not surprising that dozens of these fatalities occurred in San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles Counties.

Motorcycle accident statistics in California

The California Highway Patrol issues a comprehensive report of non-fatal and fatal motorcycle crashes through the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS). The most recent California statistics, issued in 2013, paint a sobering picture.

  • The number of motorcycle fatalities were highest between the months of April – August
  • ​11,780 motorcycle riders were harmed in collisions
  • ​More than 460 motorcyclists were killed
  • Motorcyclists were, for every mile traveled, 26 times more likely to die in a crash compared to passenger car drivers and occupants

Traffic safety experts caution that many of these crashes occur at busy intersections or in situations where a motorist makes a left hand turn directly into the biker. Statistics also show that nearly a quarter of all injury accidents involved motorcyclists who were impaired by alcohol (with a BAC above the legal limit).

Research coupled with anecdotal evidence show that experience, age and the type and size of motorcycle also factor in to the chances of being involved in an accident. In California, riders between the ages of 25 and 34 are at highest risk of being involved in a crash. More than 40 percent of motorcycle deaths occurred on “sport” bikes with large engines ranging more than 500 cc’s.

Regardless of age, level of experience or type of bike used, motorcyclists are encouraged to stay ultra -vigilant on the road this summer. Wearing a DOT-approved helmet, protective gear and being prepared for the unexpected can go a long way toward preventing a serious injury accident.

At the Salamati Law Firm,  we encourage you to have fun, but ride smart in California. In the event you are injured by a negligent driver, our legal team will fight hard to ensure you are properly compensated for medical expenses, property damage to your bike, lost wages and your pain and suffering.

Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney

To learn more about filing a personal injury claim, contact a Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer at Salamati Law today. The case evaluation is free, and we operate on a “no win no fee” basis, so there are never any upfront legal costs.

Additional Motorcycle Accident Statistics Resources:

  1. California Highway Patrol, 2013 Annual Report of Fatal and Injury Motor Vehicle Traffic Collisions https://www.chp.ca.gov/programs-services/services-information/switrs-internet-statewide-integrated-traffic-records-system/switrs-2013-report
  2. NHTSA, Motorcycles https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/motorcycles
  3. CA Office of Traffic Safety, CALIFORNIA TRAFFIC SAFETY QUICK STATS http://www.ots.ca.gov/OTS_and_Traffic_Safety/Score_Card.asp
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What Duty Do Store Owners Have to Visitors in California?

June 7, 2017 Premises Liability Lawsuits

Store owners have a legal “duty of care” to maintain their properties in a safe condition for shoppers. Money, vigilance,

caution wet floor signStore owners have a legal “duty of care” to maintain their properties in a safe condition for shoppers. Money, vigilance, and planning on the part of California shop keepers is required to prevent accidents and injuries from occurring on their properties.

Property owners must anticipate all potential hazards, follow municipal building codes, train employees, and create routine supervisory and maintenance routines to ensure a safe environment.

What does it mean to “make a reasonable effort” to maintain a property?

Sometimes all it takes is a word of caution to free store owners of liability. Putting up a caution sign to warn customers of a wet floor is one of the easiest steps a store owner can take to reduce negligence – but, surprisingly, case after case shows that employees are mopping without putting up caution signs, leading unsuspecting customers to slip.

Hazardous situations can arise suddenly in a store environment, posing a challenge to store owners to keep their properties maintained. For instance, in 2012, a California Costco shopper slipped on a puddle of liquid soap that had accumulated over time and shattered her knee cap. Several employees had passed and noticed the spill, but failed to clean it up. Costco was ordered to pay over $400,000 for the woman’s medical bills, pain, and suffering.

The courts expect store owners to have routine safety procedures in place and “make a reasonable effort” to maintain order. In another famous California slip-and-fall case, a woman sued Costco when she slipped on a pot sticker food sample and shattered her tail bone. A store policy was in place that had employees inspecting the floor on an hourly basis, and the incident occurred within that window of time. The jury sided with Costco that hourly inspections should be sufficient enough to prevent most injuries.

Dangerous conditions in stores that lead to injuries

Other examples of overlooked safety issues include:

  • Improper stacking of heavy objects above the reach of the typical customer
  • Overloading store aisles or poor placement of merchandise
  • Failing to monitor the store for new hazards
  • Failure to promptly respond to known spills and water leaks
  • Problems with lighting
  • Loose handrails
  • Broken stairs
  • Failure to regularly inspect and maintain escalators
  • Noncompliance with local municipal building codes or fire regulations
  • Parking lot imperfections

Proving a premises liability claim

Essentially, by California State Negligence Law, the plaintiff’s case must establish:

  1. A dangerous condition existed at the store.
  2. An injury occurred that was directly related to the dangerous condition.
  3. The injured victim suffered damage and loss as the result of the accident.
  4. The store owner knew (or should have known) about the danger.
  5. The store owner failed to take steps to remedy the dangerous condition.

Store owners can raise the following defenses:

  • “There was no hazard on the premises.”
  • “The plaintiff could have easily avoided the situation.”
  • “The plaintiff’s injuries were not caused by the hazard.”
  • “The accident occurred where customers are not allowed.”
  • “Proper signage warned of the danger.”
  • “Reasonable steps were taken to make the property safer.”

Experienced store injury attorneys in Los Angeles, California

The Salamati Firm successfully represents individuals who have been injured while shopping in Los Angeles, California. Property owners often deny liability, placing the burden of proof on the plaintiff. Our experienced team is adept at compiling all the expert witnesses and supporting documents required to build a strong case, whether in settlement negotiations or in court. Over the past decade, we have secured millions of dollars on behalf of our store slip-and-fall clients.

Consider some of the following recent premises liability verdicts secured on behalf of our clients:

  • A Sears customer received $375,000 in settlement after fracturing a knee that required surgery from a fall on a wet bathroom floor. No caution signs were placed at the scene.
  • A shopping center customer received $337,500 in settlement for injuries sustained to both knees, resulting in medical bills of $10,000 and the future possibility of knee replacement surgery. Our client fell over a one-inch piece of metal protruding from the lot, where someone had attempted to remove a disabled parking sign.
  • A 30-year-old UCLA medical assistant shopping at Sam’s Club received $575,000 after her slip-and-fall on a wet floor resulted in a torn meniscus requiring knee surgery. Her doctor diagnosed her with arthritis and predicted the need for future knee replacement.

Get in touch with a friendly and compassionate Los Angeles premises liability lawyer at 888-259-4060 for a free no-obligation consultation.

Additional “store owner liability in California” resources:

  1. Pasadena Star News, Covina woman awarded $415,000 following slip and fall at Industry Costco, http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/article/zz/20120307/NEWS/120308260
  2. Press Democrat, Santa Rosa Costco cleared in ‘pot sticker’ case, http://www.pressdemocrat.com/csp/mediapool/sites/PressDemocrat/News/story.csp?cid=2297573&sid=555&fid=181
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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:

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 a Los Angeles car accident attorney 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 Car Insurance State?

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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Timeline of a Slip and Fall Lawsuit

May 31, 2017 Slip Trip and Fall

If you are injured after slipping and falling, it’s helpful to know the timeline for bringing a slip and fall

If you are injured after slipping and falling, it’s helpful to know the timeline for bringing a slip and fall lawsuit against liable parties. Depending on the complexity of your case, a slip and fall case could last several months or several years.

There are a number of steps in a slip and fall case. Read on, or contact a slip and fall lawyer in Los Angeles today to find out more.

1. The Complaint

caution wet floor sign at a corridorThe “complaint” is the official legal term for the document that states your case. It explains what happened and why. It names the parties. It declares who the plaintiff believes is responsible, and what the plaintiff wants in redress from the defendant. Your slip and fall lawyer will draw up the complaint, using information you supply.

After the complaint is completed, it must be filed in court. It is also served to the defendant. “Served” means delivered.

2. The Answer

A summons to the defendant requiring the defendant to officially respond to the complaint is served when the complaint is filed.

The response must be made within a specific time period (often 20 working days).

The response is legally termed the “Answer”. The Answer must either agree or disagree with each point of the Complaint. It may also specify that the defendant does not have sufficient information on a point.

An Answer can contain the grounds for a defense. It may, for example, state that the defendant did not know about the condition that caused the slip and fall. To prove negligence in a slip and fall lawsuit, plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer must prove that the defendant knew or should have known about the condition.

3. Discovery

Discovery is a stage of every legal case. It is where information is obtained about the case. Attorneys can discover information by asking written questions that must be answered under oath. These are termed “interrogatories.” They can also discover via requesting material things and documents. These are termed “requests for production.”

Discovery phases are one of the most elastic in a court case. The time discovery takes depends very much on what is asked for, how much, when it is received, and the schedule of the court. It can take three months to several years.

4. Pre-Trial Motions

Not all cases involve pre-trial motions, but they can. The most common are Motion to Dismiss, which asks the case to be dismissed on the grounds of a legal technicality, and Motion to Compel, which asks the court to require something that a party to the suit has not moved to do. Motions can add time to a case.

One type of motion, a Summary Judgement, alleges that there are no facts to support the case. If granted, a case cannot go forward. This can shorten the case.

5. Settlement Conferences and Mediation

As the Discovery phase nears its end, either the parties or a judge may request a mediation (the parties) or a settlement conference (a judge). This typically happens if the facts are not really in dispute and the parties simply need to agree on damages.

6. Trial

If there is no settlement conference or mediation, the case is set on a schedule once Discovery is over. A docket number will be given.

Slip and fall trials usually take from two to three days.

7. Judgement Collection

Collection is not immediate. A defendant has from 30 to 60 days to settle a judgement.

Experienced Slip and Fall Attorneys in Southern California

Slip and fall accidents can be complicated to prove. The Los Angeles personal injury attorneys of Salamati Law have an exceptional record of obtaining justice for their clients in slip and fall cases in the Los Angeles area.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall accident, call us today. We will provide a complimentary consultation. If we take your case, you owe us nothing up front. Payment will come from any final jury award or settlement amount.

Additional “slip and fall lawsuit timeline” resources:

  1. National Safety Council. Slips, Trips and Falls. http://www.nsc.org/NSCDocuments_Advocacy/Fact%20Sheets/Slips-Trips-and-Falls.pdf
  2. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Home and Recreational Safety. Older Adult Falls. Important Facts About Falls. https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.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 car

Back 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, car accidents due to texting while driving continue 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 Los Angeles car accident lawyer with decades of experience handling personal 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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