“Bump Stock” Controversy Sparks Debate and Lawsuits

November 2, 2017 Personal Injury Lawsuits

In the aftermath of the October 1, 2017 mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas, the term

Group of people holding candle vigilIn the aftermath of the October 1, 2017 mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas, the term “bump stock” became a household word and national point of contention. As legislators scramble to find ways to regulate the use of the firearm device, the manufacturer of the bump stock used in the Las Vegas massacre, Slide Fire Solutions, is facing a growing number of personal injury lawsuits filed by victims and the families of the deceased.

Were you or a loved one among the hundreds of unsuspecting victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting on October 1? Here at The Salamati Law Firm, our hearts go out to you at this terribly difficult time. No one should have to experience a tragedy such as this, but here in its aftermath our firm is dedicated to pursuing justice for those whose lives have been irreversibly altered by this terrible event.

Our personal injury lawyers are providing free legal consultations to victims of the Las Vegas shooting and their families. We’ll help you sort through your legal options so that you can make an informed decision about the best course of action for you and your family.

If you choose to file a lawsuit, liable parties may include the hotel owner, the concert organizers, the estate of Stephen Paddock — and the bump stock manufacturer. Please contact our dedicated, compassionate attorneys today to learn more about how we can help.

Las Vegas shooter relied on bump stock firearm device

On October 1, 2017, an unassuming man named Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada, checked into the Mandalay Bay hotel with an arsenal of firearms. From a window of his suite, the 64 year old opened fire on the crowd attending the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. In the few minutes between 10:05 and 10:15 PM (PDT), Paddock fired hundreds of rounds. Almost 550 concertgoers were injured. Fifty-eight were killed.

Paddock – who killed himself – has reignited the gun law debate that has held us captive for decades. But this time there has been a focus on bump stocks.

What is a bump stock?

A bump stock is a device one attaches to an existing semi-automatic rifle. Replacing the weapon’s built-in stock, it adds a spring to the firearm. Pressed into the shooter’s shoulder the bump stock literally bounces, or jerks, the rifle forward with each release of ammunition. This means the shooter does not have to pull the trigger as the trigger will move in his hand. The resultant rapid release of ammunition is akin to that of a machine gun.

Legislators try to address regulation of bump stocks

Before the shooting, bump stocks were known mostly in the firearm community. Now, the device is on everyone’s lips, from Congress to the NRA and anti-gun factions, right down to the couple standing behind you at Starbucks.

Everyone is wondering why a bump stock would be legal and easily acquired. According to special agent Jill Synder at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, “The classification of these devices depends on whether they mechanically alter the function of the firearm to fire fully automatic. Bump-fire stocks, while simulating automatic fire, do not actually alter the firearm to fire automatically, making them legal under current federal law.”

What we have here is a thin line of legality. While Washington has stated they are reviewing the bump stock classification, the fact is that the ATF did so in 2010 and decided the bump stock was a part, not a weapon, and ineligible for enforcement by the National Firearms Act or the Gun Control Act.

Legislative director of the Violence Policy Center, Kristen Rand says, “The ATF can’t do anything about bump stocks without a change to the statute. Basically, all they can determine is whether or not a device causes a gun to fire in fully automatic mode, and it’s banned, or it does not, in which case it can’t be regulated.”

Salamati Law Is a Resource for Victims and Families

Salamati Law will continue to zealously advocate on behalf of all victims of gun violence. If you or a loved one were a victim of the Las Vegas shooting in October, or any other instance of gun violence, please contact our dedicated wrongful death lawyers in Los Angeles for a free and confidential consultation about your case.

Additional “Bump Stock Lawsuit” Resources:

  1. CDC, Firearm Mortality by State, https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/sosmap/firearm_mortality/firearm.htm
  2. Huffington Post, Here’s A List Of All The Gun Control Laws Congress Has Passed Since Newtown,  https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/gun-control-congress_us_566ec8dce4b011b83a6bc0cd
Read More

3 Most Dangerous Intersections for Pedestrians in Los Angeles

October 27, 2017 Pedestrian Accident Injuries

LA Times analysis revealed that nearly a quarter of traffic accidents occur at less than 1% of the intersections in

pedestrian crosswalk, buttonLA Times analysis revealed that nearly a quarter of traffic accidents occur at less than 1% of the intersections in LA. There is a disproportionately high rate of collisions in the high-density zones between Hollywood and Downtown Los Angeles. Pedestrians were injured in 1 in 10 traffic LA accidents from 2002-2013, and represented 35% of the fatalities. Over the last five years, city officials have added 200 miles of bike lanes, designed more high-visibility crosswalks, and promoted mass transit. However, urban planners say the city still has a long way to go.

Here are some of the most dangerous intersections for pedestrians in LA:

West 7th St. & Spring St. – Los Angeles (90014)

LA Walks listed 7th & Spring as one of the most dangerous intersections for pedestrians in Los Angeles. This bustling location in downtown’s Fashion District is a few blocks from the Orpheum Theatre, the LA Live complex, Regent Theater, and Whole Foods. Four-lane, one-way streets present a challenge for walkers to complete their journeys in the allotted time. Speeding drivers going 45 mph frequently run red lights to avoid sitting at the “long” light. On average, 51 pedestrians are hit by cars in this intersection each year, according to a 2015 report. Some say lax police enforcement for motorists at this intersection is to blame. Others say the lights need to be reprogrammed to be more walker-friendly.

Devonshire St. & Reseda Blvd. – Northridge (91324)

The Devonshire Reseda Shopping Center attracts a lot of foot traffic with hair and nail salons, pet supply centers, coffee shops, a health club, dentists, dry cleaners, Walgreens, and a variety of restaurants. In 2015, there were 24 accidents resulting in 41 injuries. Fortunately, no one was killed, but some of the injuries have been severe. For instance, 33-year-old Olivia Almalel suffered spinal cord injuries after her Christmas Day pedestrian accident at Reseda and Devonshire in 2008. DOT engineers Nat Gale and Tim Fremaux are pushing for recommendations that would take pedestrian fatalities down to zero, such as: adjusting turn lane lights, changing lane striping, and tweaking pedestrian cross signals.

Slauson Avenue & Western Avenue – South LA (90047)

Multiple strip malls with shops like Home Depot, Big Lots, Little Caesars, Cash Express, and Walgreens are situated in this part of Southern Los Angeles, making it a hub of pedestrian and automobile activity. From 2002-2013, 41 pedestrians were struck by cars at Slauson and Western. In less than one year’s time (November 2014 – October 2015), there were six hit-and-run collisions. Urban Planner Deborah Murphy, head of Los Angeles Walks, says there is much work to be done here, in an area where pedestrians must cross five lanes of traffic for a total of 70 feet to reach safety. Adding taller buildings or arching trees and installing sharper curbs can force drivers to drive slower, while adding wheelchair and stroller ramps could streamline pedestrian traffic movements.

Find out what a Los Angeles personal injury attorney can do for you!

Crash investigators find that roughly 43% of drivers are at-fault in pedestrian/vehicle accidents. They may have been distracted by a cell phone at the time, speeding, running a red light, or driving while intoxicated. Other times, city officials knew of the dangers and failings of the crosswalk, but failed to act. A good personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles can help you build a case to win compensation for your injuries. You can receive money to cover all medical bills, lost time off work, reduced earning capacity, as well as emotional pain and suffering. Family members may be eligible to collect for funeral expenses, loss of companionship, and reductions in income.

The Salamati Firm has been serving area residents for more than 20 years, with some big case results – including $2 million for a bicyclist hit by a car and $906,000 for a pedestrian struck by a truck. Contact us for a free, no-obligation case review.

Additional Resources for Dangerous Pedestrian Crossings in LA:

  1. LA Walks – Pedestrian Collision Map, http://www.losangeleswalks.org/pedcollisionmap/
  2. LA Streets Blog – A Walkability Prescription For Downtown Los Angeles, https://la.streetsblog.org/2015/09/22/a-walkability-prescription-for-downtown-los-angeles/
  3. Daily News – The 8 Most Dangerous Valley Intersections & What LAPD Is Doing About Them, http://www.dailynews.com/2016/03/27/the-8-most-dangerous-valley-intersections-and-what-lapd-is-doing-about-them/
  4. LA Times – LA Pedestrian Accidents, http://graphics.latimes.com/la-pedestrians/
  5. Vision Zero – Pedestrian Plan, http://visionzero.lacity.org/tag/pedestrian/
  6. LA Weekly – LA is America’s Deadliest Place For Walking, http://www.laweekly.com/news/la-is-americas-deadliest-place-for-walking-6552786
  7. Curbed – LA’s Most Dangerous Intersections, https://la.curbed.com/2015/12/14/10621154/los-angeles-most-dangerous-intersections-2015
  8. Curbed – Almost Half of California’s Most Dangerous Intersections Are In LA, https://la.curbed.com/2016/11/11/13601092/most-dangerous-intersections-los-angeles-southern-california
Read More

How Much Does It Cost to Die in California?

October 26, 2017 Wrongful Death Claims

Other than cars and homes, funerals are among the most expensive purchases consumers make in the United States, says the

Headstones in a cemetary with many red tulipsOther than cars and homes, funerals are among the most expensive purchases consumers make in the United States, says the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Cemetery and Funeral Bureau. Over the past decade, the average cost of a funeral has spiked nearly 40 percent, pushing some families, who are already mourning the loss of a loved one, into dire economic straits.

When a death is sudden and traumatic, families often make buying decisions based on pure emotion, wanting to purchase the finest casket and grandest service for their relative, without thinking about the bills.

Then there are those who suffer from protracted illnesses or degenerative diseases, tallying up massive bills for hospital stays, doctor visits and treatments before they pass. The underlying problem is that people don’t like to talk about their own mortality. It’s a depressing, morbid topic that tends to be avoided until it’s time to call the funeral home and make arrangements.

Given that every person must eventually face this difficult part of life, the costs of dying should not be overlooked. One of the best ways to ensure your loved ones don’t have to make these decisions during periods of tremendous emotional distress is to plan ahead.

It can also help save money. Cremation or burial? What type of flowers, casket or car service? How much does a burial plot cost in southern California?

By understanding the costs associated with dying, families can plan and budget accordingly.

Costs of dying in California

  • Transfer of remains to the funeral home: $200-$300
  • Cremation: Roughly 70 percent of Californians chose cremation over burial. This generally equates to lower costs, compared to other states. The median cost for a “basic” cremation in Los Angeles County ranges between $550 and $2,000.
  • Immediate burial (not including casket cost): Transfer to the funeral home, placement into the casket, and transfer to the grave site without formal viewing. From $650 to more than $4,300.
  • Casket: Funeral homes make big profits on caskets, marking them up nearly 300 percent above cost. The least expensive wood caskets average about $600, while metal caskets sell for between $1,500 and $4,000.
  • Funeral transportation: Use of a service car or hearse will cost between $150 and $320.
  • Embalming:  Embalming is necessary for open-casket funerals and usually costs between $500-700. Additional cosmetics, hairdressing or preparations will cost an extra $200-$400.
  • Viewing and ceremony:  Funeral homes charge, on average, $420 for viewing, and $500 for the funeral ceremony.
  • Burial plot: land scarcity in CA is driving up prices. At Whittier’s Rose Hills Memorial Park, plot prices start at $3,500 and go up. A crypt in Inglewood Park Cemetery comes with a price tag of $10,000.
  • Gravestone: Between $800 and $3,000 depending on size and adornment.
  • Clergy honorarium: Between $200 and $300
  • Basic service fees charged by funeral home: Includes filing paperwork, ordering death certificate, proper storage of the remains and overhead fees: $1,000 – $2,500
  • California death certificate: $14

According to data from the National Funeral Directors Association, the average funeral today costs between $8,000 and $10,000. In 2013, California Senate Bill 658 was passed, requiring funeral homes to post detailed price lists online. Those without websites are legally required to present all options and price points to consumers.

As veteran wrongful death attorneys in Los Angeles, the team at Salamati Law encourages families to plan ahead and discuss their wishes for burial or cremation, before you’re confronted with a crisis situation.

Additional Resources on Cost of Dying in California:

  1. Orange County Register, What’s the price of death? In Orange County, funeral prices vary widely http://www.ocregister.com/2015/11/02/whats-the-price-of-death-in-orange-county-funeral-prices-vary-widely/
  2. HuffPost, This Is How Much An Average Funeral Costs https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-much-does-a-funeral-cost_us_5804c784e4b0f42ad3d264de
  3. US Funerals Online, Arranging a Funeral or Cremation in California http://www.us-funerals.com/funeral-articles/funerals-and-cremations-in-california.html#.WfD4z2hSxPY
Read More

Do Mass Shooting Victims Have Legal Recourse?

October 24, 2017 Personal Injury Lawsuits

It has become a regrettable sign of the times that mass shootings occur frequently around the country. From this summer’s

A fire engine races to the scene of an emergency.It has become a regrettable sign of the times that mass shootings occur frequently around the country. From this summer’s shootings in a San Francisco UPS facility to the October 1 rampage in Las Vegas, which targeted a concert attended by many Californians, armed shooters take the lives of innocent bystanders, injure many more, and cause widespread trauma.

Often the shooters are killed in the incidents, so they cannot be brought to justice at a criminal trial.

But do the victims of shootings have legal recourse even if the perpetrator is dead? After all, the injured were hurt and families have lost loved ones due to another party’s callous acts.

After a Mass Shooting, Civil Suits for Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Are Possible

Victims of shootings do have legal recourse for gun crime. They can bring civil suits for personal injury or wrongful death. Civil suits can compensate the injured for medical care, suffering, and lost wages. They can also compensate families of the deceased for pain and suffering and related losses.

A personal injury claim in southern California can be brought against a party deemed negligent. Negligence means that the party knew or should have known that conditions were potentially harmful and did not rectify the situation within a reasonable period of time. Wrongful death claims can be brought against parties deemed negligent if death occurred.

In many shootings, victims have brought legal claims against parties that failed to provide proper security or enabled shooters to go forward with their crimes.

Victims of this summer’s UPS shootings in San Francisco, for example, have brought lawsuits against the company that provided security guards, United Parcel Service, and the landlord of the building where the shootings took place.

Victims of the Las Vegas shooting have begun to bring suits against the owner of the hotel where the gunman stayed, alleging that it was negligent to not have noticed the large packages he brought in, which were later determined to have concealed multiple weapons.

Lawsuits have also been brought against the makers of bump stocks, a device that allows guns to let out more bullets rapidly, and the promoter of the music festival, whose attendees constituted the majority of victims.

Call a Wrongful Death Lawyer Los Angeles Trusts

If you need a Southern California wrongful death lawyer, we can help. We have years of experience litigating personal injury and wrongful death cases. We will fight to see that justice is done.

Call the Salamati Law Firm for a free consultation today.

Additional resources on lawsuits filed by mass shooting victims and their families:

  1. Castro, Karen. “Third Lawsuit Filed by Victim of 1 Oct. Mass Shooting.” LasVegasnow.com. October 13, 2017. http://www.lasvegasnow.com/news/third-lawsuit-filed-by-victim-of-1-oct-mass-shooting/835131378.
  2. Sernoffsky, Evan. “Victims in Mass Shooting at UPS Facility in SF File Lawsuits.” SFGate. September 13, 2017. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Victims-in-mass-shooting-at-UPS-facility-in-SF-12192098.php.
Read More

Brain Injury Symptoms to Look for After a Car Accident

October 17, 2017 Auto Accidents

Many people know that traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a risk after a car accident, especially one in which the

mri head scan brain injuryMany people know that traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a risk after a car accident, especially one in which the head has been hit, jostled, or injured. It’s one of the reasons that standard care advice for people who have been in auto accidents is to visit a doctor. A concussion, for example, may not present symptoms immediately but could have life-threatening consequences. A physician can help rule out brain injury, including concussion.

Brain Injuries After a Car Accident

Brain injuries are surprisingly common after an auto accident. Of the 2 million brain injuries suffered in the United States every year, more than 14% are caused by traffic accidents. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), car accidents are the third most common cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI), behind falls and being struck by an object.

Roughly 50,000 people die of TBI every year, and 17% of these fatalities are caused by vehicle collisions.

TBI also contributes to 282,000 hospitalizations and 2.5 million emergency department visits annually, according to the CDC.

Be Aware of Brain Injury Symptoms

Given the widespread nature of brain injuries in the wake of car accidents in the Los Angeles area, it’s a good idea to be aware of both the nature of the injuries and their symptoms.

There are two types of brain injuries, in general: open and closed.

An open brain injury is one in which the head has been penetrated. If glass from a windshield or wreckage has penetrated the head, for example, a person may suffer an open brain injury.

In a closed brain injury, there is no penetration. However, the brain can be jostled severely in the cranium if the impact of an accident, for example, has caused the head to move back and forth. This is the type of injury that football players suffer, for example, and which can cause concussions.

  • Drowsiness and/or fatigue
  • Headache, nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Confusion and/or disorientation
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Dizziness and/or loss of balance
  • Pupils dilated or unequally dilated
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing ears (tinnitus)
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Memory or concentration issues
  • Mood changes, including signs of being depressed, irritable, or anxious

A physician should check anyone who has been in a car accident involving the head for concussion. They will check pupil dilation, for instance.

These symptoms may not manifest immediately. If you or a loved one has been in a car accident, being aware and monitoring possible symptoms is a very good idea.

Need a Brain Injury Lawyer in Southern California?  

If you need legal advice about an auto accident in the Los Angeles region, contact the Salamati Law Firm today. We are experienced Los Angeles auto accident attorneys. Our investigators can uncover the true causes of your accident and gather strong evidence to support your claim for monetary compensation. We are relentless in fighting for the rights of those who have had their lives drastically impacted due to injury in Southern California.

Your case will be reviewed by seasoned lawyers. An initial consultation is at no cost to you.

Additional “brain injury symptoms after a car accident” resources:

  1. Black, Peter M., Patricio C. Gargollo, and Adam C. Lipson, the Dana Foundation. Brain Trauma, Concussion, and Coma. Brainline. WETA Public Television. https://www.brainline.org/article/brain-trauma-concussion-and-coma.
  2. Masters, Jacob. Car Accidents and Traumatic Brain Injury. Brain Injury Society, October 27, 2014. http://www.bisociety.org/car-accidents-traumatic-brain-injury/.
  3. United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Traumatic Brain Injury & Concussion. Basic Information. TBI: Get the Facts. https://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/get_the_facts.html
Read More

Quadriplegic Love Stories: Inspiring Stories of Hope After Tragedy

October 16, 2017 Auto Accidents

Car accidents can cause debilitating injuries. If the spinal cord or column is damaged or severed, for example, it can

Car accidents can cause debilitating injuries. If the spinal cord or column is damaged or severed, for example, it can result in quadriplegia, or paralysis of all four limbs.

Yet quadriplegia is no barrier to love and long-term relationships.

Rekindling a Second-Grade Crush

Valentines day. Red hearts on wooden backgroundTake the case of Ryan Atkins and Stephanie Perry. He was in college junior when he lost control of his SUV. The accident partly severed his spinal cord. Ryan spent four months in the hospital with a feeding tube and on a ventilator.

At first, Ryan was hopeful he would walk again. Gradually, he realized that was unlikely to happen soon. But he reconnected with faith and friends, sharing his story in a Facebook group.

Another member of the group? Stephanie, who’d gone to second grade with him. In fact, he’d had a crush on her in those long-ago days.

Stephanie was learning how to be a massage therapist. She got in touch with him through Facebook, asking if he’d like a massage. She thought it would be a one-time get-together.

But it wasn’t, and over time, a relationship grew.

They were married close to the seventh anniversary of his accident. Why? Because they were replacing memories of a sudden crash with long-term love and joy.

A 30-Year Celebration

If Ryan and Stephanie are young lovers, southern Californians Joni Eareckson and Ken Tada illustrate a more than 30-year marriage.

Joni received a spinal cord injury as a teenager more than 40 years ago, when a dive crushed her spinal cord. She learned to paint by holding a brush in her teeth and moving her head. Her artistic ability led to television interviews and several books about her achievements.

But love was waiting closer to home. She met Ken through church. He was a local teacher. She had never been on a date.

He asked her out. They were married within the year. The two are partners in everything. She supports his dreams, he says, and he supports hers.

It just goes to show that love really does conquer all and that people with accident-caused injuries can go on to love and achieve.

If You Need a Los Angeles-area Lawyer

Injuries that cause quadriplegia are often a result of car accidents, although other accidents can cause spinal cord and other traumatic injuries as well.

If you or a loved one want legal advice about a car accident in southern California, call the Salamati Law Firm at 888-259-4060. We are experienced Los Angeles auto accident attorneys. Our investigators can get the real facts of the accident that caused harm to you or a loved one. We fight aggressively for justice, which means maximum compensation for a lifetime of medical bills, lost wages and the other financial and emotional costs of paraplegia and quadriplegia.

We will examine your case on a complimentary basis. An initial consultation is conducted at no cost to you.

Additional Resources:

  1. James, Susan Donaldson. “Deciding to Marry a Quadriplegic: Couple Tells Love Story.” ABC News. May 30, 2013. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/deciding-marry-quadriplegic-couple-tells-love-story/story?id=19282468.
  2. Sanahori, Sheeka. “Tragic Car Accident Leads to Love Story for Quadriplegic.” USA Today. March 29, 2016. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/humankind/2016/03/29/tragic-car-accident-leads-love-story-quadriplegic/82380398/.
Read More

How Do I Document My Slip and Fall Accident?

October 10, 2017 Premises Liability Lawsuits

Have you been injured after slipping or tripping and falling on someone else’s property? To improve the odds of walking

caution wet floor sign at a corridorHave you been injured after slipping or tripping and falling on someone else’s property? To improve the odds of walking away with a settlement or jury award, the premises liability attorneys at The Salamati Law Firm recommend that you document everything about your slip and fall accident.

Sometimes slipping and falling is not merely an accident. There are cases where a property owner’s negligence causes a safety issue or needless hazard that directly contributes to another person’s injuries. They may know that there is insufficient lighting, cracked sidewalks, uneven flooring, a spill, wet floors, debris in the walkway, broken railings, or overcrowded aisles – and fail to take action to remedy the situation.

Property owners are required by law to maintain safe premises and warn visitors of known dangers. A breach in this duty may entitle the injured party to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and wrongful death benefits.

If you’re looking for the best slip and fall lawyer Los Angeles has to offer, look no further than the Salamati Firm, which has been winning multi-million dollar verdicts since 1995. We help clients build strong cases for their premises liability lawsuits with our extensive network of legal experts, medical doctors, and city inspectors. We work on a contingency basis, meaning that we will only agree to take on your case if we know we can win.

Meanwhile, here are some recommendations for how to document your slip and fall injury:

Take pictures of the accident scene.

If possible, take multiple pictures of the area where your Los Angeles slip and fall accident occurred. Friends or relatives can assist you with this task. It is especially important to capture this immediate documentation before anything gets moved or changed — for example, in the case of a liquid spill-related accident, a store employee may mop up the spill after you fall. Taking pictures of any visible injuries will also be helpful to your case.

Write down what happened.

The details of even the most traumatic incidents will fade from memory with time, so try to write down as much as you can remember about the accident right away:

  • What circumstances caused you to fall?
  • Was there a hazardous condition?
  • Were there visible defects at the time?
  • Were there any warning signs?

Report what happened to the responsible party.

Insurance companies question the validity of accidents that are not reported within 24 hours. If you’re on a commercial property, find the highest level person in the building and report what happened. Get a business card (or at least the person’s name and job title). If you are injured on public property, report the incident to the city or town municipality, keeping a copy of the letter for your records. Report injuries on private property to the owner, taking care to get their name and contact information. Get the contact information of any eye witnesses, if possible.

Seek immediate medical attention.

Medical records must match claims reported to the insurance company. Go to the Emergency Room by ambulance if your injuries are severe. Otherwise, schedule an appointment with your doctor right away to discuss what happened.

Be sure to keep record of all the costs associated with your treatment – ambulance rides, hospital stays, surgeries, prescription costs, physical therapies, insurance co-pays, the purchase of assistive devices, and home modifications to accommodate disability.

Discharge sheets and written instructions from doctors are good to include in your file, as well as medical bills.

Contact a slip and fall attorney in Los Angeles to explore your full set of legal options. There’s nothing to lose!

Additional “documenting a slip and fall accident” resources:

  1. Justia, California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) (2017) Series 1000 – Premises Liability, https://www.justia.com/trials-litigation/docs/caci/1000/
  2. Insurance Information Institute, Controlling Liability Risks, https://www.iii.org/publications/insuring-your-business-small-business-owners-guide-to-insurance/risk-management/controlling-liability-risks

Click Here to Call Our Office Now

Read More

Uber Accidents and Ride-Sharing Liability in California

October 9, 2017 Auto Accidents

There is no doubt Uber has revolutionized transportation, but many drivers and riders are unaware of the liability issues ride-sharing

passenger waiting for Uber car

There is no doubt Uber has revolutionized transportation, but many drivers and riders are unaware of the liability issues ride-sharing accidents raise. Unfortunately, it is often not until someone experiences a ride-sharing accident that they realize what is and is not covered by insurance. If you drive for or ride with Uber, Lyft, or another ride-sharing company, it pays to find out before an accident occurs. If you have already been in a ride sharing accident, speak with a Los Angeles Uber accident attorney.

Ride-sharing liability issues in California

Uber and Lyft, termed “Transportation Network Companies” in California, fall somewhere in between commercial taxi companies and personal vehicle use, leading to unique rules affecting liability.

  • Independent contractor v. employee: Since ride-sharing relies on personal vehicles of non-commercial drivers, the drivers maintain their own vehicles, set their own schedules, and do not display signage of the company for which they drive. In the event of an accident, Uber consistently maintains that drivers are independent contractors, so the company is not responsible for its actions. In California, Uber drivers are viewed as independent contractors for employment issues, but there has been a push to view them as employees in the case of accidents. If drivers were considered employees, the company would be liable if the driver is negligent.
  • Insurance coverage: Many people falsely assume that the driver’s personal insurance policy will provide coverage in case of an accident, but personal auto policies typically exclude driving for hire. Uber and Lyft both provide insurance coverage but it is important to know what it covers and when it applies. Uber drivers may also wish to protect themselves by purchasing add-on ride-sharing coverage through an auto insurance company.

What does Uber insurance cover in California?

Uber provides some insurance coverage to its drivers, and in California the coverage is different than in most other states. The amount and terms of coverage depend on what is referred to as service periods:

Period 1 App is on; Driver is available and waiting for rider In California, $50,000 liability per person/$100,000 per accident; $30,000 property damage; $200,000 excess liability
Period 2 Driver en route to rider $1 million liability; $1 million uninsured/underinsured injury; Collision and Comprehensive if it is also offered on driver’s personal policy
Period 3 Rider on board; trip in progress

In plain English, Uber insurance often covers someone else’s loss if the driver is at fault. If you are the driver and are injured or experience property damage, you may need to sue the other driver because it is not covered unless you were en route or in process of a ride and you have comp and collision coverage on your own policy.

Consult a California car accident lawyer

Uber is a convenient service when needed, but it adds a layer of complexity when it comes to sorting out liability. If you have been injured in an Uber accident, speak with a Los Angeles car accident lawyer to find out whether the ride-sharing company may be liable; experienced attorneys at the Salamati Law Firm are ready to speak with you. The initial case review is free and we never charge a fee unless we win you money.

Additional “Uber Accident Liability” Resources:

  1. Uber, Insurance: How you’re covered, https://www.uber.com/drive/insurance
  2. Uber, Insurance Update for California Driver-Partners, https://www.uber.com/blog/california/insurance-update-for-california-driver-partners/
  3. Nerdwallet, Rideshare Insurance for Drivers: Where to Buy, What it Covers, https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/insurance/best-ridesharing-insurance/
Read More

Death Toll Rises in the Wake of Las Vegas Mass Shooting

October 2, 2017 News

Police reports say death toll in Sunday’s night’s outdoor concert massacre at the Mandalay Resort Hotel in Las Vegas has

Las Vegas Mandalay Bay Resort
Image by Alicia Yo [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikipedia
Police reports say death toll in Sunday’s night’s outdoor concert massacre at the Mandalay Resort Hotel in Las Vegas has risen to 58.  At least 515 people have been reported injured.  The alleged gunman, Stephen Paddock, was found dead in his hotel room after the shooting spree.  The suspect is believed to have checked into the hotel with more than 10 rifles although there have been no reports indicating what types of weapons were found.

At approximately 10 pm, police say that Mr. Paddock opened fire from his 32nd floor hotel room onto the crowd below, spraying a hail of bullets across the 22,000 concertgoers.  Audio recordings that were made at the scene indicate that the gunman had used at least one automatic weapon.   This mass shooting incident is now considered the deadliest in US history.

The Las Vegas Police department has notified the public that blood donations for the injured victims can be given at United Blood Services.  An additional blood drive will be held at the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada on Monday.  Citizens are also encouraged to contact their local American Red Cross offices.  For those who are not local to the area, financial donations can be made on the American Red Cross website.

Sean F. Salamati and the entire staff of The Salamati Law Firm are devastated by the tremendous loss of life and the harm inflicted on the families of all those who were killed or injured in this unprecedented event.

Though incidents on this scale shake the entire the world, people are victims of gun violence every day in this country. Whether inflicted intentionally or negligently, victims and the families of victims deserve the best and most experienced legal counsel to uncover what events led to the shooting and how it has since impacted their lives. The emotional impact of surviving gun violence adds another level of sensitivity that also deserves to be explored. It is possible to suffer serious injuries by merely witnessing such an event.

Sean F. Salamati has decades of experience to help families and victims who’ve been shot, uncover who is ultimately liable for the shooting and get compensation for those who deserve it.  For more information, please call us at 213-817-8888.

Read More

What Are the Risk Factors for Financial Elder Abuse?

September 28, 2017 Elder Abuse

Financial elder abuse is a serious and growing problem in southern California. It is estimated that roughly 5% of Americans

senior woman in nursing home clasped handFinancial elder abuse is a serious and growing problem in southern California. It is estimated that roughly 5% of Americans over the age of 65 suffer financial abuse from family members and that approximately 7% are financially harmed by strangers.

What Is Financial Elder Abuse?

What does financial elder abuse mean? The term covers a wide spectrum of behaviors, ranging from outright theft of a senior citizen’s cash to withholding needed care from them in order to take the money that would need — often, money that comes from the senior citizen’s Medicare or Social Security benefits.

Financial elder abuse is financial harm. One type is done by either family members or trusted individuals such as friends, caretakers or healthcare providers.

People close to an older person may gain control of their ATM cards, bank statements, or income, and use it for their own gain. Often, the elder person is not aware of this until it is too late.

Financial advisors may inappropriately siphon off proceeds from an investment portfolio or use the funds outright. They may advise a reverse mortgage and gain title to the senior citizen’s house. They may gain control of real estate or other financial assets, sometimes by telling the senior that they will help with complicated decisions.

They may sell off possessions.

Another type of financial elder abuse is done by strangers.

These can be telemarketing scams asking for taxes to be paid immediately over the phone. (The Internal Revenue Service also communicates taxes owed by letter, not via telephone.) They may tout a stock that doesn’t exist or ask for donations to a worthy cause. In every case, the money goes to the scammers.

Fraudulent people may pose as utility or other repair people. They ring a doorbell and either ask the senior citizen to come outside and look at the problem or to pay for the repair. If the former, their valuables can be stolen. If the latter, no repair is every made.

Nationwide, elder financial abuse is estimated to cost senior citizens $2.9 billion every year.

What Are the Risk Factors?

Unfortunately, nearly every senior citizen may be at some risk. Many senior citizens have assets in their retirement accounts, monthly Social Security checks, and homes. Unscrupulous people know this.

It is possible to pinpoint special risk factor, however. Social isolation is one. If senior citizens have few family members or trusted friends around, they may be more vulnerable to abusers approaching them. They may have fewer people to bounce concerns or financial plans off of.

Unfamiliarity with their financial picture is another. People who are widowed and unaccustomed to reviewing financial accounts, for example, may be vulnerable to predatory handling and advice.

Cognitive impairment is another risk. If people cannot adequately handle their financial statements, it makes them more vulnerable.

Seniors who need help with the activities of daily life may also be at more risk. They need help, and many rely on relative strangers for assistance. This places them in a vulnerable position.

Look for the Signs of Financial Exploitation of the Elderly

It’s important to be aware of the signs of an elderly person being taking advantage of financially.

Senior citizens who have been victims of any abuse are often ashamed and frightened to tell anyone. Financial elder abuse victims are no exception. You may not hear it from them if you are a family member or friend.

Signs include health problems and mental health issues. Seniors may stop taking medication and neglect their health or fail to eat properly. They may become depressed and withdrawn, avoiding activities they formerly enjoyed.

A sudden drop in income or spending power could also be a sign. Seniors may suddenly realize they no longer have money to maintain their homes or drive a car if they have been victims of financial elder abuse.

When You Need an Elder Abuse Lawyer

Financial elder abuse is an unconscionable manipulation of vulnerable members of society. If you or a loved one have been a victim of financial elder abuse, don’t hesitate to call the Salamati Law Firm today. We are experienced Los Angeles elder abuse attorneys. We will fight to see that justice is done.

Your case will be reviewed by seasoned lawyers. An initial consultation is complimentary. We charge no fees unless we win your case.

Additional “financial elder abuse” resources:

  1. National Adult Protective Services Association. Get Involved. Elder Financial Exploitation. http://www.napsa-now.org/policy-advocacy/exploitation/
  2. Olson, Elizabeth. “Declaring War on Financial Abuse of Older People.” New York Times. April 14, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/14/business/retirement/retirement-preventing-elder-abuse.html?mcubz=0
  3. Wasik, John. “4 Risk Factors for Elder Financial Abuse.” Forbes. February 22, 2017. https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnwasik/2017/02/12/4-risk-factors-for-elder-financial-abuse/#34fd5b0c5f93
Read More