How are Paralysis and Nerve Damage Evaluated in a Car Accident Case?

September 22, 2017 Auto Accidents

Paralysis from a traumatic event such as a car accident results in severe physical limitations that present serious health challenges

Standard manual wheelchair standing in empty hospital corridorParalysis from a traumatic event such as a car accident results in severe physical limitations that present serious health challenges while often preventing the victim from holding a job, enjoying prior hobbies and activities, and being able to take personal care of him- or herself. Other types of nerve damage may lead to fewer restrictions while still impairing daily life.

Though there is often no way to undo paralysis or nerve damage, when it was caused by someone else’s negligence a financial recovery can fill in some of the gaps. The Salamati Law Firm understands the hurdles that Los Angeles individuals and families face when it comes to establishing liability for such serious cases.

What damages can be recovered for a paralysis or nerve damage injury?

In California, personal injury victims can generally recover for both economic (or “special”) damages and non-economic (or “general”) damages. This means an injury victim is typically entitled to be compensated for:

  • Medical bills – both those already incurred and those reasonably anticipated in the future so long as they are related to the personal injury; this can also include related expenses such as rehabilitation services and in-home specialized nursing care
  • Lost wages – including those that have already been lost due to inability to work and those that will be lost in the future
  • Pain and suffering – includes both physical pain and mental suffering or anguish; California caps these non-economic damages at $250,00

A plaintiff’s recovery may be reduced if the plaintiff was also partially at fault. A jury is usually asked to make a determination of fault for each party and this is used to reduce the plaintiff’s recovery by his or her percentage of assigned fault. Insurance adjusters and defense lawyers may imply that you will not be allowed to recover compensation if you were partially at fault, but this is not true.

How to file a car accident lawsuit in California

California has a two-year statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit. If you were injured in an accident and believe someone else was at fault, it is important to not delay filing an action because the claim can be completely barred after the two-year period.

Personal injury claims are often paid by the at-fault driver’s insurance company but the insurance company is usually not a party to the case. Instead, the lawsuit is started by filing a complaint against the at-fault driver.

The causes and prognosis of complex injuries like nerve damage and paralysis are topics outside the knowledge of the average person. Therefore to prove the case, a plaintiff will need to work with expert witnesses like a doctor and possibly a bio-mechanical expert skilled in recreating and analyzing accidents. This may seem overwhelming, but a seasoned car accident lawyer will handle coordination with these expert witnesses.

How a car accident lawyer can help

After a serious accident, the last thing anyone looks forward to is an injury claim or lawsuit. At the Salamati Law Firm, we are prepared to take the lead; you can rest assured that your claim will be fought aggressively in the pursuit of full and fair compensation.

Contact us today, either by filling out an online contact form or by calling our office to schedule a case review with a Los Angeles car accident lawyer.

Additional “Paralysis and Nerve Damage from Car Accidents” Resources:

  1. WebMD, Nerve Pain and Nerve Damage, http://www.webmd.com/brain/nerve-pain-and-nerve-damage-symptoms-and-causes#1
  2. Mayo Clinic, Spinal Cord Injury Basics, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/spinal-cord-injury/basics/definition/con-20023837
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Zero Tolerance: California Underage DUI Laws and Penalties

September 19, 2017 Auto Accidents

Every day, eight teenagers across the country die in crashes caused by driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. Deaths

Alcoholism among young people - teenager drinking beerEvery day, eight teenagers across the country die in crashes caused by driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. Deaths among teenagers make up 20% of all alcohol-related crashes.

Even though people between 12 and 20 years of age cannot legally drink alcohol, this age group is responsible for 11% of all alcohol consumption in the U.S. every year. Of that consumption, 90% comes from binge drinking.

As a result, people under the legal drinking age are high risk drivers. Many states, including California, have enacted a zero tolerance policy in an attempt to reduce underage drinking and driving. Zero tolerance means that drivers in this category can be charged for driving after having consumed a very small quantity of alcohol.

Zero Tolerance Laws and Penalties

In California, a DUI arrest depends on two things:

  1. The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measured by the police in a breathalyzer, and
  2. Your age

If you are under 21 years of age, you can be arrested under the zero tolerance law if you have a minimum BAC of 0.1%. The penalties of the zero tolerance law are as much as $250 in fines, a minimum of one year license suspension, and a three-month mandatory alcohol education course that you pay for and attend.

In other words, if convicted under zero tolerance law, you will lose your license for one year, as well as having to pay fines and take a course.

A zero tolerance conviction does not go on your record as a criminal conviction. It also doesn’t add any points to your driver’s license.

Underage DUI Laws and Penalties

There is a related charge, however, that can apply to people under the age of 21 who have a BAC of 0.05% or higher. This is known as the “underage DUI.”

If you are convicted of an underage DUI, you can have your license suspended for one year and be fined a minimum of $100 and as much as $300. Mandatory alcohol education is also a part of this conviction.

Underage DUIs will be on your criminal record for at least 10 years if you are convicted. This is important because both college and job applications often ask if applicants have ever been convicted of a crime. You will have to answer yes, which can be grounds for denying the application.

Two points go on a driver’s license for an underage DUI conviction.

DUI Laws and Penalties for Adults of Legal Drinking Age

If an adult 21 or older is arrested with a BAC of 0.08% or above, penalties for a DUI conviction include fines, a jail sentence, and may include license suspension and a mandatory alcohol education that the defendant must pay for and attend.

It can also include points on a driver’s license, and is always part of the permanent criminal record.

All the Laws and Penalties Can Be Combined for Underage Drivers

It’s important to know that underage drivers can be charged with a combination of these laws.

In other words, a driver under 21 years old with a BAC of 0.08% can be charged with a violation of the zero tolerance law, the underage DUI law, and the standard DUI law that applies to those over 21. A combination of penalties, including fines, jail time, license suspension, and points on a driver’s license, may apply.

When You Need an L.A. Auto Accident Lawyer

The statistics on people under 21 combining drinking and driving are very sobering. The penalties if arrested and convicted can be very serious and have life-long consequences.

If you need an experienced Los Angeles auto accident lawyer because of a suspected DUI collision, contact us. The Salamati Law Firm has an excellent record of obtaining justice for clients in auto accidents caused by drunk drivers throughout Southern California.

Call us today! We will provide a consultation at no charge. Payment will come from any final jury award or settlement amount.

More info on underage drinking & driving laws in CA:

  1. Teen Driving Crash and Fatality Stats. Administrative Office of the Courts, State of California. http://www2.courtinfo.ca.gov/stopteendui/teens/facts/teen-driving-crash-and-fatality-stats.cfm
  2. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Alcohol & Public Health. Fact Sheets. Underage Drinking. https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/underage-drinking.htm
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How to Appeal a Personal Injury Case

September 13, 2017 Personal Injury Lawsuits

Most people associate the appeals process with criminal law matters. In criminal trials, it is only the defendant who has

Judge gavel, scales of justice and law books in courtMost people associate the appeals process with criminal law matters. In criminal trials, it is only the defendant who has grounds to appeal a judgement, but in civil lawsuits, both parties have the right to appeal a personal injury verdict.

In California, as in all states, an appeal must be predicated upon a reversible error in law. It is not enough that the plaintiff disagrees with the jurors’ decision or believes they are entitled to a larger damage award. Instead, they must provide a specific infraction or misinterpretation of the law that prejudiced the appellant (the person filing the appeal) in some way. For instance, your attorney may file an appeal if jurors disregarded courtroom instructions, or an expert witness was unjustly barred from offering crucial testimony. In California, it is not uncommon for appellants to list multiple grounds for appealing a personal injury decision.

An appeal is a legal process in which a higher court examines perceived mistakes or misconduct during the trial proceedings. If the appellate court finds that the law was misapplied or evidence of procedural errors, it has the authority to overturn the verdict or mandate a new trial. 

How does the appeals process work?

In a personal injury trial, jurors are tasked with examining facts and evidence to determine which party is liable for damages. The appeals process does not involve a jury, but rather a panel of judges who review an appellate brief provided by your legal counsel.

It is up to your personal injury lawyer to submit a thorough, compelling appellate brief that details which laws were incorrectly interpreted or other errors committed. The defendant’s counsel will provide their own appellate brief that demonstrates the law was applied correctly and the lower court’s decision was indeed correct. After both sides present oral arguments to the judges, the court renders a decision. Usually, this process takes at least a couple of months but more complex cases may last upwards of a year.

It is left to the appellate judges to determine whether procedural steps were strictly followed and if the verdict will be upheld.

If the appeal is granted, there are several possible outcomes. The court may vacate the personal injury verdict entirely, remand the case back to lower court for a new trial, or the damage award may be revised.

Grounds for appealing a personal injury case

According to California’s Code of Civil Procedure, a new trial may be granted under a number of circumstances:

    • Error in law, occurring at the trial (§ 657(7)
    • Misconduct of the jury (§ 657(2)
    • Excessive or inadequate damages (§ 657(5)
    • Irregularity in the proceedings of the court, jury or adverse party, or any order of the court or abuse of — discretion by which either party was prevented from having a fair trial (§ 657(1))
  • Lack of evidence to justify the damage of the verdict and that such verdict is against the law (§ 657(6)

Personal injury lawyers in Los Angeles

Partnering with a talented personal injury attorney is imperative for pursuing justice to fullest extent of California law. Whether you are interested in filing a claim or believe that the verdict in your personal injury trial was unfounded, The Salamati Law Firm is poised to help.

Contact us online or call our office today to schedule a complimentary case review with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer who is committed to client success.

Additional Resources on “Appealing a Personal Injury Case in California”:

    1. California Courts, Courts of Appeal, http://www.courts.ca.gov/courtsofappeal.htm
  1. American Bar Association, Steps in a Trial – Appeals, http://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/resources/law_related_education_network/how_courts_work/appeals.html
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September 8, 2017 Pedestrian Accident Injuries

Will self-driving vehicles help improve traffic and pedestrian safety? Many officials at the U.S. Department of Transportation believe this to

Senior citizen crossing street with fast car approachingWill self-driving vehicles help improve traffic and pedestrian safety? Many officials at the U.S. Department of Transportation believe this to be the case, which is why they created a regulatory framework for automated vehicles. A handful of states — including California — have now legalized their use.

However, self-driving cars still have their fair share of critics. A 2017 Deloitte study found that nearly 75 percent of Americans do not trust autonomous vehicles. With companies like Google, Tesla, Audi, Toyota and others rolling out a slew of vehicles equipped with onboard sensors and various types of AI, some project that autonomous capability could be standard in the U.S. as soon as 2030.

Will automated cars drive safer around pedestrians?

Unlike humans, automated cars – in theory – will behave more predictably on the roads. Distraction will be taken out of the equation completely, as there will be no temptation to answer a phone call, read a text message or attempt to steer while eating a burger. In addition, these self-driving cars will have automated systems installed to “sense” their surroundings and avoid hitting people.

One new start-up, Drive.ai, is taking a unique approach to automated vehicle technology, by focusing more on “teaching” cars about human behavior. The company is studying ways to incorporate the norms of human and driver behavior into on-board vehicle computers, allowing the cars to communicate with pedestrians. In addition to the technology for controlling the vehicle, these new models will be equipped with a roof-mounted system that may use a combination of light, sounds, text and motion to communicate with pedestrians and other motorists. The automated interface might tell a pedestrian or cyclist when they can safely cross the street, while inching forward could tell another motorist to yield.

The startup is planning on testing these self-driving vehicles in California this month.

As companies refine their automated vehicle technology with a view toward making roads safer with fewer accidents, only time and real-world experience will demonstrate if pedestrians and cyclists will benefit.

Automated cars in California raise legal questions

The advent of automated vehicles also raises numerous legal questions. How will self-driving cars be regulated for safety by the state and federal government? Will on-board pedestrian communication systems will be mandatory or optional on all vehicles? How will insurance claims be handled in the event of an accident or fatality? Who is held liable if a self-driving vehicle injures or kills a pedestrian or motorist?

Smart vehicle technology is an exciting field that promises a future with fewer accidents and deaths. However, self-driving vehicle accidents raise complex liability issues that are best explained by an experienced attorney. Explore your legal options today by calling L.A. pedestrian accident lawyer Sean Salamati for a free consultation.  Mr. Salamati is renowned for his tenacious representation and successful case results for car accident victims throughout southern California.

Protect your rights to just compensation. Call 1-888-259-4060 to arrange a no-obligation case review.

Additional Resources on Self-Driving Cars & Pedestrian Safety:

    1. StreetsBlogUSA, Self-Driving Cars Should Accommodate People, Not the Other Way Around http://usa.streetsblog.org/2017/07/25/self-driving-cars-should-accommodate-people-not-the-other-way-around/
    2. Technology Review, New Self-Driving Car Tells Pedestrians When It’s Safe to Cross the Street https://www.technologyreview.com/s/602267/new-self-driving-car-tells-pedestrians-when-its-safe-to-cross-the-street/
    3. WIRED, SELF-DRIVING CAR ‘GUARDIAN ANGELS’ PROTECT YOU FROM YOURSELF https://www.wired.com/story/self-driving-car-autonomous-guardian-angels/
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California Enacts Expanded Youth Sports Concussion Law

September 1, 2017 Personal Injury Lawsuits

Nationwide reports continue to demonstrate that many serious head injuries including concussions are a direct consequence of injured athletes returning

kids playing football; concussion risksNationwide reports continue to demonstrate that many serious head injuries including concussions are a direct consequence of injured athletes returning to play too soon. In an attempt to make sports safer and reduce the number of concussion injuries, California broadened its existing “return to play” legislation, effective January 1, 2017.

The amended law will apply to all athletes under the age of 18 who are participating in youth sports organizations that defined as clubs, competitions or camps. “This bill places California at the forefront of improving concussion management at the youth sports level” offered Mike Chisar of the CA Athletic Trainers’ Association. Chisar added that the youth concussion law, known as AB 2007, will help ensure that coaches, athletes and their families have proper education on the signs and early symptoms of concussion, helping minimize risk of injury.

Under AB 2007, all coaches, athletes and their families must be provided with comprehensive education materials regarding the potential consequences of head injuries, concussion symptoms and recommended practices for removing an athlete after head trauma, as well as measures for their return to sports following a suspected concussion.

Youth sports concussion law expanded in California

The revised youth concussion law entails a number of changes that will affect the operations of youth sports organizations.

  • Athletes who are suspected of suffering from a concussion or head injury must immediately be removed from play
  • Athletes may only return to play after they have received written clearance from a licensed medical provider trained in concussion management.
  • Athletes who have been diagnosed with a concussion must adhere to a gradual return-to-play protocol over a span of 7 days
  • Coaches and sports administrators must complete concussion training before supervising athletes in a sporting activity
  • After an athlete is suspected of suffering a head injury or concussion, their parent or guardian must be notified of the date of injury, symptoms and treatment provided

Amended law affects sports injury liability issues

Given the expanded provisions of AB 2007, youth sports organizations will be held to higher standards of care and duty owed to the safety of young athletes. Any California sports organization or club that fails to offer the required educational information to coaches, athletes and their parents prior to play may face liability in the event a participant is gravely injured or suffers a concussion. If graduated return-to-play protocols are not followed or coaches are not adequately trained to supervise participants, injured athletes could theoretically sue on the basis of negligence.

The Salamati Law Firm applauds any efforts aimed at concussion education and prevention. In recent years, more focus has been put on the severe, long-term health impacts of repeated sports-related concussions and head injuries, which can affect coordination, speech, memory, personality, and cognitive abilities.

Our California injury attorneys are experienced handling all types of claims involving traumatic brain injury and concussion stemming from recreational sports. To schedule a free case evaluation with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer who is committed to protecting your rights, call the Salamati Law Firm today.

Resources on California’s Youth Sports Concussion Law: 

  1. American Youth Soccer Organization, Important: New California State Law on Concussions in Affect http://www.ayso.org/aboutayso/AYSO_News/Important__New_California_State_Law_on_Concussions_in_Affect_s2_p3660.htm#.WabPsciGNPZ
  2. California Interscholastic Federation, Concussions http://www.cifstate.org/sports-medicine/concussions/index
  3. Complete Sports Performance and Rehab, New California Concussion Laws for 2017 http://www.competesportsperformance.com/content/new-california-concussion-laws-2017
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Can I Recover for PTSD Damages in a Car Accident Personal Injury Case?

August 30, 2017 Auto Accidents

The most obvious result of a car accident may be a physical injury, but many motor vehicle accident victims also

PTSD acronym Post Traumatic Stress Disorder handwritten with white chalk on blackboard.The most obvious result of a car accident may be a physical injury, but many motor vehicle accident victims also go on to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This anxiety disorder can wreak havoc on the life of someone who was involved in or witnessed a traumatic event.

Southern California car accident lawyer Sean Salamati understands that PTSD resulting from motor vehicle accidents is an especially pressing issue in Los Angeles, which leads the state in traffic injuries and fatalities. California recognizes the right of personal injury victims to receive compensation for injuries and physical losses caused by someone else’s carelessness; damages related to PTSD may also be recovered.

What is needed to recover compensation for PTSD?

To prove any sort of personal injury claim in a car accident case, a plaintiff needs to be able to establish that the defendant was careless or breached a duty to do or not do something. In car accidents, this often means establishing that the defendant violated a traffic law or drove carelessly. Next, it must be demonstrated that the defendant’s action directly caused the accident, and then that the injury was directly and logically related to the accident.

To meet this burden when the injury includes PTSD, expert testimony is required. A plaintiff needs to be prepared to offer the testimony of a doctor who can explain to a jury what PTSD is, what symptoms look like, and how it is diagnosed.

The signs and symptoms of PTSD can vary dramatically but in general they include:

  • Intrusive memories that can include recurring and distressing thoughts, nightmares, or extremely emotional reactions to things that conjure up memories of the traumatic event
  • Avoidance of thoughts, discussions, places, or activities that trigger memories of the event
  • Negative patterns of thought and mood that can include hopelessness, detachedness, lack of interest in hobbies, and memory problems
  • Altered reactions, such as being easily frightened or experiencing overwhelming guilt
  • Intensification of symptoms when stressed

What is a PTSD claim worth?

Calculating potential PTSD car accident compensation depends on a number of variables including:

  • The course and expense of PTSD treatment already received
  • The prognosis and anticipated future treatment
  • The severity of the accident and/or the physical injuries suffered
  • The extent to which the PTSD has interfered with the plaintiff’s quality of life
  • Lost wages and future inability to work
  • The availability of insurance assets

An experienced personal injury lawyer is in the best position to help determine how the specific facts in a case may affect its outcome.

PTSD car accident settlement

Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of PTSD but insurance adjusters and jurors often overlook this debilitating condition because it does not leave physical scars. Our team at the Salamati Law Firm has established a track record of putting forth winning cases for personal injury victims and can help you make your PTSD case. We work with industry-leading experts and a top-notch staff to help you reach a fair PTSD car accident settlement. Call a Los Angeles car accident attorney from the Salamati Law Firm today for a free case analysis.

 Additional “PTSD car accident compensation” resources:

  1. NCBI, Assessment and treatment of PTSD after a motor vehicle collision: Empirical findings and clinical observations, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2396820/
  2. Mayo Clinic, Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Symptoms and causes, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/symptoms-causes/dxc-20308550
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August 25, 2017 Truck Accidents

California truck accident lawyers deal with some of the most devastating crash injuries possible. The sheer size and weight of

Image of a semi truck driving down a desert highway. California truck accident lawyers deal with some of the most devastating crash injuries possible. The sheer size and weight of large trucks puts others they share the road with in harm’s way if they are not driving carefully and responsibly. Truck drivers are four times more likely to survive and three times more likely to walk away from an accident unharmed compared to motor vehicle drivers. About a third of passenger vehicle occupants suffer severe, disabling injuries after colliding with a large truck.

Why Large Trucks Crash

According to the “Large Truck Crash Causation Study,” where the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration assessed 120,000 crashes involving large trucks, top causes of truck accidents include:

1. Speeding

Speeding does not always mean “traveling above the posted speed limit.” Sometimes it simply means “traveling too fast for conditions” – be it weather, time of day, curves in the road, or traveling with hefty cargo. Among single-vehicle crashes with vehicle loss of control, “traveling too fast for conditions” accounted for 67 percent of single vehicle crashes and 57 percent of multiple vehicle crashes involving large trucks.

2. Driver Decision Factors

Driver decision factors, which caused 12,621 crashes, included:

  • Negotiating a curve or turn too fast
  • Following too closely to allow for reaction time
  • Illegal maneuvers
  • Misjudging others’ speed
  • Aggressive driving

3. Driver Recognition Factors

More than 6,000 crashes were related to “driver recognition factors,” such as:

4. Cargo Shifts

Proper cargo loading is a critical responsibility for large trucks and the trucking firm’s contractors. Cargo shifts caused roughly 11 percent of large truck accidents – particularly the ones where the trucks jack-knifed or tipped over on their sides. Large trucks are subject to laws mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that clearly indicate how cargo should be safely stowed, maximum weight limits, and when loads must be inspected. In these cases, more than one party can be held liable for failing to follow proper protocol. Truck drivers, trucking firms, shipping companies, trailer owners, faulty restraint manufacturers, and insurers can all be partly to blame for your injuries.

California Truck Accident Attorneys

As you can see, these large truck crashes are not merely “accidental.” Negligence on the part of large truck drivers often contributes to injuries among passenger vehicle occupants. We have access to a wide range of resources to help build a substantial case on your behalf. Company record logs, drug and alcohol screening results, delivery records, in-truck cameras and data recorders, eyewitness testimonies, crash investigators, reconstruction experts, and professional testimonies are all at our disposal. Serving Southern California since 2015, the Salamati Firm has earned a reputation for tough litigation with a long list of multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts, particularly in the car accident arena. Contact a Los Angeles truck accident lawyer from the Salamati Firm for a free case evaluation and to discuss your full range of legal options.

Additional “Causes of Truck Accidents” Resources:

  1. NHTSA – Large Truck Causation Study, https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/810646
  2. FMCSA, Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts, https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/data-and-statistics/large-truck-and-bus-crash-facts
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Proving Fault in a California Truck Accident Case

August 25, 2017 Truck Accidents

There are hundreds of fatalities and thousands of injuries attributed to California truck accidents each year. Driver error was a

18 wheeler driving down a desert highwayThere are hundreds of fatalities and thousands of injuries attributed to California truck accidents each year. Driver error was a factor in more than a third of the cases that went before a judge or jury. Fatigue, impairment, inattention, distraction, lapsed judgement, aggressive driving habits, and speeding all contribute to the deadly nature of collisions between trucks and other vehicles or pedestrians who share the road. Sometimes truckers share the blame with other defendants. To recover maximum compensation for your truck accident injuries, it is important to hire a Los Angeles truck accident attorney with experience investigating, gathering evidence, and proving fault.

Determine who is likely at fault

Determining whom to sue is the starting point for a truck accident lawsuit. The truck driver seems the most logical choice, but there are other possible avenues for compensation.

Liable parties may include:

  • The owner of the truck – A truck’s owner is charged with vehicle inspection and maintenance.
  • The employer of the truck – A trucking company has a responsibility to screen, hire, train, and manage drivers in a manner conforming to the law and upholding necessary safety standards.
  • The truck manufacturer – Truck manufacturers and parts suppliers are responsible for inspecting, testing, and creating safe brakes, gears, tires, electronics, and other components.
  • Freight companies – Contractors and companies are often tasked with the proper loading of a truck to ensure cargo does not dangerously shift or spill during transit.

Collect evidence to build the case

There are many potential sources of evidence in a truck accident case:

  • Logbooks and delivery records – Truck drivers are expected to log all hours on the road and resting, and all truck inspections, to ensure they do not violate Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration law.
  • Drug and alcohol screening results – The FMCSA also requires truck drivers to submit to drug and alcohol screening after an accident that results in severe harm, death, or bodily injury.
  • NTSB accident reports – In addition to police reports, attorneys can gather impartial investigative reports conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board.
  • Data recorders – Technology sheds light on speed and brake patterns prior to a crash, which can reveal whether the truck driver was violating any traffic laws.
  • Truck cameras – Not all trucks are equipped with cameras, but some have caught drivers drinking, texting, talking on radios, or driving aggressively prior to accidents.
  • Eyewitness accounts – Witnesses can corroborate your detailed account of the incident to compel the judge and jury to view you as a sympathetic victim that is telling the truth.
  • Expert testimony – Medical professionals can attest to the cause, severity, and cost of your injuries. Accident reconstructionists can offer evidence-based analysis as to what likely caused the crash.

Contact an experienced Los Angeles truck accident attorney

Contact the Salamati Law Firm for an LA truck accident lawyer who can provide you with a free case evaluation. We’ve presided over a number of victories for truck accident victims since 2005, including $450,000 for a neck fracture, $906,000 for a pedestrian injury, and nearly $2 million for a motorcyclist with a traumatic brain injury. Our aggressive tactics and deep local ties with the best area experts and investigators will help prove fault in your California truck accident. Let us help you get the compensation you need to take the next step toward healing.

More on “truck accident evidence”:

  1. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/large-trucks/fatalityfacts/large-trucks
  2. FMCSA, Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts, https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/data-and-statistics/large-truck-and-bus-crash-facts
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What Are the Steps in a Personal Injury Case?

August 19, 2017 Personal Injury Lawsuits

Once you have decided to meet with an attorney to discuss the possibility of a personal injury lawsuit, one of

Judge gavel, scales of justice and law books in courtOnce you have decided to meet with an attorney to discuss the possibility of a personal injury lawsuit, one of your first questions is likely to be: “How long will this process take?” Understanding the steps in a personal injury case can help you get a feel for what is to come. When you contact a Los Angeles personal injury attorney at The Salamati Firm, you can expect the highest degree of communication every step of the way, so you always feel like a priority and never just a number!

Step 1: Meet with an LA personal injury lawyer.

California allows up to two years to file a personal injury lawsuit. Most of the time, the law is meant to be interpreted as “two years from the date the injury occurred,” but in some cases, the extent of the injuries take time to manifest, or the negligent acts / parties are initially unknown. It is free to speak with a personal injury attorney in Los Angeles, so the sooner the better! You will need to sign a release form that allows the lawyer access to your medical records, police reports, and other information related to the case.

Step 2: File a lawsuit.

If the Salamati Firm’s personal injury lawyers feel you have a substantial case, we’ll agree to represent you and you’ll have the option to sign a contract with us that spells out what legal fees are owed if we secure a successful settlement or jury verdict on your behalf. We formally submit a complaint on your behalf and the judge will issue a summons to inform the other party of the litigation proceedings. The defendants have up to 30 days to respond to your complaint. They may admit to negligence, deny any wrongdoing, or argue there is insufficient evidence. Nearly a third of defendants never respond. In rare instances, a counterclaim may be filed against the plaintiff. All of this must be sorted out by the judge.

Step 3: Begin fact-finding and discovery.

Discovery may include written interrogations, sworn statements, requests for information, and the assembly of medical records, police reports, and other documents pertaining to the case. Through more than a decade of fighting on behalf of injured plaintiffs, we know the right questions to ask to get the information we need and poke holes in any possible defense.

Step 4: Hear motions to resolve before trial.

Summary judgments dismissing the case can come from the bench in the earliest stages of litigation if there is:

  • Lack of subject matter
  • Lack of jurisdiction
  • Improper venue
  • Insufficient service of process
  • Failure to state a proper claim

Step 5: Negotiate a settlement.

Here is a shocking statistic: Only 4-5 percent of personal injury cases in the United States go to trial. In other words, 95-96 percent of personal injury lawsuits are settled prior to trial. The majority of defendants prefer to settle before enduring the expense and public humiliation of a court trial. The Salamati Firm will never settle just to get another win. We only agree to the settlement terms when they are good for you and in line with what we think your case is truly worth.

Step 6: Go to trial.

In most cases, a jury is selected and three to five days of court hearings are necessary. In rare cases, a trial may take longer, from several weeks to months.

Step 7: Collect money following a successful judgment.

Winning is not always a slam-dunk. Collecting the money can be particularly tricky if the defendant does not have a lot of money or plans to appeal. Experienced LA attorneys come in handy in ironing out wage garnishment, assets liquidation, bankruptcy filings, or collection proceedings when you are not promptly paid what is owed to you. Many states allow up to 10 years for a defendant to pay on a judgment.

Step 8: Appeal an unsatisfactory decision or judgment.

The losing side always has the option to file an appeal. A panel of judges review the trial documents to determine if sufficient justice was served. If an appeal is lost in state or federal court, there is still an option to file an appeal with the Supreme Court if a federal or constitutional right may have been violated.

Contact the Salamati Firm to start your personal injury claim in California.

Every case is unique, but the Court Statistics Project found that 13.7 months is the median lawsuit processing time. Nearly half of all personal injury lawsuits are disposed within one year. By two years, three quarters of the cases get resolved. Sometimes cases take longer if the facts surrounding the case are complex and disputed, if the amount of money you seek is extremely large, or if you are still in a state of recovery, where it’s particularly challenging to estimate the extent of your losses. Product liability, medical malpractice, and toxic substance cases tend to take longer (two years).

The Salamati Firm’s Los Angeles personal injury lawyers are standing by to take your call, should you wish to learn more about filing a lawsuit in California.

More resources for “personal injury lawsuit timeline”:

  1. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Tort Cases in Large Counties, https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/ascii/TCILC.TXT
  2. The Law Dictionary – Pre-trial Settlement Percentage: Statistics on Personal Injury Settlements, http://thelawdictionary.org/article/pre-trial-settlement-percentage-statistics-on-personal-injury-settlements/
  3. NY Times, The Longest Trial – A Post-Mortem; Collapse of Child-Abuse Case: So Much Agony for So Little, http://www.nytimes.com/1990/01/24/us/longest-trial-post-mortem-collapse-child-abuse-case-so-much-agony-for-so-little.html
  4. NY Times – Study Finds That Settling Is Better Than Going To Trial, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/08/business/08law.html
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Personal Injury Checklist – Meeting With a Lawyer For The First Time

August 18, 2017 Personal Injury Lawsuits

If you are considering filing a personal injury claim in Los Angeles, CA, it is likely because you or a

Symbol of law and justice in the empty courtroom, law and justice concept, blue tone

If you are considering filing a personal injury claim in Los Angeles, CA, it is likely because you or a loved one has suffered an accident that has caused a bit of chaos in your life. The truth is the entire litigation or insurance claim process can seem like a whirlwind but you need to be able to present your claims in an organized way in order to receive compensation. Follow this checklist to be sure you bring the information your attorney will need to evaluate your claim.

Information to bring to your lawyer

Your attorney will have a much clearer picture of your injury and strength of your case if you bring detailed information about your accident and treatment. Helpful information includes:

  • Details of the incident itself, including date, address, and any photos
  • Names and contact information of first responders, including investigating officers
  • Names and addresses of other people involved in the accident
  • Names and addresses of witnesses
  • Names and contact information of insurance adjusters with whom you spoke about the accident
  • Name and other identifying information of the ambulance if you were transported
  • Identifying information of the hospital where you received treatment, along with dates of admission
  • Names and contact information of any medical professionals who examined or treated you, including physicians at the hospital or chiropractors seen after the accident
  • Dates of any missed days of work
  • Names and contact information of anyone with whom you discussed your injury

Documents to gather before meeting with your lawyer

Personal injury claims are paper-intensive. You can simplify the process by assembling these helpful documents before your first appointment:

  • Formal reports, including any police report or, if the injury occurred on a company’s property, a business incident report
  • Copies of any discharge papers from the hospital or evaluation summaries from any medical professionals seen
  • Any written statements related to the accident
  • Copies of any correspondence with your insurance company related to the accident
  • Any relevant insurance policies, including auto insurance in the case of an auto accident and homeowner’s or renter’s policy if the accident happened at home
  • Documentation of medical insurance or disability coverage
  • Receipts for treatment including bills for ambulance, emergency room, rehabilitation, medical equipment, and medications
  • Proof of lost income
  • Receipts or estimates to repair property damaged by the incident

Scheduled a free consultation with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer

Many lawyers offer a free initial consultation. When you schedule an introductory appointment with a Los Angeles personal injury attorney, you have the opportunity to make sure the lawyer is a good fit for you. This is the time for you to ask questions and request references from former clients.

If you or someone you love was injured in an accident in the Los Angeles, CA area, call the Salamati Law Firm for a no-cost consultation. For over a decade, we have advocated for the rights of personal injury victims in Southern California and established a successful track record.

Additional “Personal Injury Checklist” Resources:

  1. Justia, California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)) 400. Negligence-Essential Factual Elements, https://www.justia.com/trials-litigation/docs/caci/400/400.html
  2. Justia, California Civil Jury Instruction (CACI) 425. “Gross Negligence” Explained, https://www.justia.com/trials-litigation/docs/caci/400/425.html
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