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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What To Do If You’re Bitten By a Dog

May 25, 2017 Dog Bite Injuries

Dog bites can happen in an instant but leave lasting injuries, medical bills, and even a post-traumatic fear of dogs.

Dog bites can happen in an instant but leave lasting injuries, medical bills, and even a post-traumatic fear of dogs. What you do immediately after a dog bite can help minimize the dangerous long-term effects. If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, it is crucial to take care of the wound, obtain vital information about the dog, and always put safety first.

Reduce risk after a dog bite

Furious barking dogAccording to doctors at the Cleveland Clinic, infection is the biggest threat that follows a dog bite. A dog bite infection could require hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics, so put safety first – follow these steps to reduce the chances of infection.

  1. Wash the bite carefully and thoroughly. Use soap and water but avoid alcohol because it can slow healing. Apply an over-the-counter antibiotic; about half of all dog bites introduce bacteria into the wound so the threat of infection is great.
  2. Unless the wound is large enough to cause serious blood loss, do not try to stop the bleeding – it can help flush bacteria out. Do wrap a sterile bandage to keep the area clean though, and change it often.
  3. If you do not know the dog, pay attention to anything that can identify it but do not try to hold it or stop it from leaving. Fighting a violent dog puts you at risk for further injury. Instead, call animal control to look for the animal and also call 911 because you many need to start rabies vaccinations.
  4. If you do know the dog’s owner, try to obtain proof of the rabies vaccination. Follow up with the dog’s veterinarian to confirm that the shots are up to date.
  5. When dog bites do get infected, the infection tends to be severe. See your doctor within eight hours of the bite, when the chances of preventing an infection are greatest. Be extra careful not to delay if you have diabetes or a compromised immune system.

Dog bite liability in Los Angeles

Anyone whose dog bites a person in or around Los Angeles is subject to the dog bite laws written in the California Civil Code. The old adage “every dog gets the first bite free” does not apply in California – according to the Code, the owner of a dog that bites someone is liable for damages even if the dog did not have a history of viciousness or the owner did not know of its prior viciousness.

Under the Code, once a dog has bitten someone, its owner must take reasonable steps to protect others from the same danger. After two bites by the same dog on separate occasions, any person can bring an action to have a court determine the steps needed to prevent further injury to humans.

Dog bite lawyer in Los Angeles

If you or someone you love has been the victim of a dog attack, choose a personal injury lawyer who is ready to fight for your rights. For a free consultation with Los Angeles dog bite lawyer Sean Salamati, call today!

Additional Dog Bite Resources:

  1. Cleveland Clinic, If a Dog Bites You, Do These 7 Things Now, https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2016/10/if-a-dog-bites-you-do-these-7-things-now/
  2. County of Los Angeles Public Health, California Civil Code, http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/vet/procs/civildog.htm
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Expenses for Serious Accident-Related Injuries

May 20, 2017 Personal Injury Lawsuits

Recent data from the National Safety Council (NSC) underscores the severe economic impact of auto accident injuries in our nation.

Policeman at road accident sceneRecent data from the National Safety Council (NSC) underscores the severe economic impact of auto accident injuries in our nation. Every year, millions of Americans suffer serious physical harm in motor vehicle accidents. In 2016, this figure included more than 4.6 million people.  The NSC estimates that the total cost of motor vehicle injuries, property damage and deaths was a staggering $432 billion in 2016. This figure includes hospital and medical expenses, wage and productivity loss, employer costs, as well as property damage.

Whether caused by alcohol impairment, cell phone distractions or just plain negligence, motor vehicle accidents can leave victims with catastrophic injuries that require costly, long-term medical treatment.  According to NSC data, the average economic cost of a non-fatal, yet incapacitating injury was $80,700, while the median cost of a non-disabling injury was $24,000.

Let’s take a closer look at the average costs and expenses associated with catastrophic accident injuries that can overwhelm victims and their families. In some of these accidents, litigation is the most effective means to recover compensation from negligent parties needed to pay costs of treatment.

Traumatic Brain Injury

An estimated two million Americans are living with the lasting effects of a traumatic brain injury (TBI), which often causes cognitive impairment, loss of motor function, memory problems and losses in emotional stability. Minor to moderate traumatic brain injuries entail hospitalization, diagnostic tests, medication, and doctor’s visits, which can easily rack up bills of more than $20,000. Depending on the severity and nature of the brain trauma, the median lifetime cost of care for a TBI victim can range from $80,000 to over $2 million. Statistics show that TBI patients requiring rehabilitation will incur nearly $200,000 in medical expenses in the first year alone.  Those who suffer moderate to severe traumatic brain injury will typically incur expenses for: hospital stays, surgery, neurologist fees, acute care, in-home modifications, prescription medications, vocational and psychiatric therapy to address emotional changes, as well as assistive medical devices. The CDC reports that direct and indirect medical costs for patients with severe traumatic brain injury can exceed more than $1,875,000 over the course of a lifetime.

Spinal Cord Injury

Falls and motor vehicle collisions are two of the leading causes of spinal cord injuries, which may result in partial or complete paralysis of the limbs. Figures gathered by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation highlight the enormous costs of living with a spinal cord injury. Even minor injuries that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical treatment. The estimated lifetime cost for a 25-year old spinal cord injury victim with incomplete motor function is $1,578,274. Those who suffer high tetraplegia will likely face a staggering $1,064,716 for medical expenses in the first year alone, and nearly $200,000 in medical care expenses each following year. Some patients who suffer spinal cord injuries never fully recover, and the vast majority are saddled with astronomical hospital bills and financial burdens that can place entire families on the brink of bankruptcy.

Severe burn injuries

Fiery car accidents can leave motorists with life-threatening burns over large portions of their bodies. Third or fourth degree burn require lengthy recoveries and, oftentimes painful skin graft surgeries. Victims may suffer from skin loss, nerve damage, injury to the soft tissues, as well as chronic pain. Treatment costs will vary on the severity of the burn, the type of scarring and disfigurement suffered and the number of skin grafting and reconstructive surgeries needed, but can easily exceed more than $200,000.

Car accident attorney in Los Angeles

If you or someone you love suffered serious car accident injuries in California, contact The Salamati Law Firm for a free case evaluation. Our highly skilled Los Angeles personal injury attorneys can determine if you have a viable claim for compensation, and will help you secure monetary damages for related medical expenses, rehabilitation as well as lost wages and future loss of earnings. Call our law firm today to discuss your claim with a veteran car accident lawyer in Los Angeles.

Additional Accident Injury Cost Resources:

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May Is Motorcycle Safety Month

May 12, 2017 Motorcycle Accidents

May is Motorcycle Safety Month across the nation. Unfortunately, even though motorcycles constitute just 3% of all registered vehicles and

Driver riding motorcycle on the empty asphalt roadMay is Motorcycle Safety Month across the nation. Unfortunately, even though motorcycles constitute just 3% of all registered vehicles and are responsible for just 0.7% of all the miles traveled in the United States, motorcycle drivers and passengers made up 14% of all fatalities in traffic in 2014, the last year for which statistics are available. They made up 4% of all vehicle occupant injuries that year as well.

Nearly 5,000 motorcyclists died in vehicle crashes in 2015, both drivers and passengers. The same year, there were 88,000 injuries on motorcycles.

Almost 33% of riders in 2014 showed alcohol impairment. Over 30% of motorcycle accidents in 2015 involved speeding.

Helmets are key to motorcycle safety

The data is clear on one key safety point. A helmet is a motorcyclist’s friend, and the single most crucial piece of safety equipment for motorcyclists, both drivers and passengers.

Of total motorcycle fatalities in 2015, 1,922 drivers and passengers had no helmet on. That’s roughly 38% of total fatalities.

Drivers should be aware of the following facts when buying a helmet:

  • The most protection is provided by a full-coverage helmet.
  • The Department of Transportation (DOT) guarantees that the helmet incorporates legal safety standards. Helmets display a DOT sticker verifying these safety standards.
  • Do not purchase a used helmet.

Re-entry motorcycle riders at greater risk of injury

One group needs to take special care to ensure they ride safely. That is “re-entry riders.” These are motorcyclists who began riding in their 20s and then re-entered in their late 40s to 60s. This group alone suffered 35% of total fatalities on motorcycles in 2015.

One issue is that traffic conditions have changed since re-entry riders were younger. There is more traffic nearly everywhere. Distracted driving was an issue that rarely existed 20 to 40 years ago, and is very prevalent now.

Bikes are more powerful now, and re-entry riders may not be used to them. In addition, the reaction time, strength, and resilience of re-entry riders may not be what it once was.

Re-entry riders are urged to reacquaint themselves with safety procedures and best practices on a bike.

Watch out for drivers of other vehicles

Cars, trucks, and vans make up the majority of vehicles on the road by far. They are larger than motorcycles and thus can cause significant injury or death in a crash. Motorcyclists, even with helmets, are not protected as much as drivers of other vehicles.

Second, in the event of a vehicle/motorcycle collision, it is often the fault of the other vehicle not respecting the motorcycle’s right of way, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The reasons? There are four:

  • The size of motorcycles and the failure of other motorists to “read” the traffic for motorcycles often means they aren’t noticed in the same way as other vehicles.
  • Vehicle drivers don’t anticipate moves like lane changes on the part of motorcycles.
  • A vehicle driver’s vision may be obstructed by blind spots or other vehicles in the way.
  • Vehicle drivers may be driving distractedly, either due to smartphone use or other sources.

It is imperative that motorcyclists and other vehicle drivers drive defensively to avoid accidents.

Experienced motorcycle accident lawyer in Southern California

Motorcycle accidents result in fatalities, injuries, and damage to property every year in the Los Angeles area and around the country.

If you or a loved one has been killed or injured in a motorcycle accident, the Salamati Law Firm can help. We are experienced in motorcycle law and precedent. Payment will come from any final jury award or settlement amount. Call today for a complimentary consultation with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney in Los Angeles.

Additional motorcycle safety resources:

  1. National Safety Council. Injury Facts: The Source for Safety Data. http://www.nsc.org/learn/safety-knowledge/Pages/injury-facts.aspx
  2. National Safety Council. Motorcycle Safety Is a Two-Way Street. http://www.nsc.org/learn/safety-knowledge/Pages/Motorcycle-Safety.aspx
  3. U.S. Department of Transportation. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Motorcycle Safety Foundation. National Agenda for Motorcycle Safety, Table of Contents. https://one.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/pedbimot/motorcycle/00-NHT-212-motorcycle/toc.html
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Traffic Congestion in Los Angeles: The Hidden Dangers

May 10, 2017 Auto Accidents

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

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

L.A. traffic receives dubious recognition

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

Array of dangers posed by traffic congestion

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

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

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

High-volume vehicle emissions and public health consequences

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

Technology shifts may help alleviate congestion epidemic

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

Steadfast advocacy for the injured in Los Angeles

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

Additional Resources on the Risks of Traffic Congestion

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

May 9, 2017 Auto Accidents

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

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

Petition to ban LED headlights

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

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

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

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

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

Tips to improve safety while driving at night

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

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

Car accident attorney in Los Angeles

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

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

Additional “LED Headlight Hazards” Resources:

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

May 5, 2017 Auto Accidents

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

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

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

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

Single vehicle crashes: suing the driver

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

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

Multi-vehicle accidents: determining liability

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

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

Consult with a California car accident attorney

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

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

Additional “California Passenger Injury Claim” Resources:

  1. California Courts, Statute of Limitations Statute of Limitations http://www.courts.ca.gov/9618.htm
  2. California DMV, Financial Responsibility (Insurance) Requirements for Vehicle Registration (FFVR 18) https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/pubs/brochures/fast_facts/ffvr18
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3 Slip and Fall Prevention Tips For Property Owners

May 2, 2017 Slip Trip and Fall

Whether you own a business or a residence, as a Los Angeles property owner, you are liable for maintaining a

cracked sidewalk Whether you own a business or a residence, as a Los Angeles property owner, you are liable for maintaining a safe environment for people who are lawfully visiting your property. Maintaining a safe environment includes preventing slip and fall accidents.  You are responsible for regularly assessing the structures, sidewalks, parking lots, and land you own for possible hazards. If a hazard is identified, you must make a reasonable effort to restore the safety of your property. Otherwise, someone who slips and falls could contact a Los Angeles personal injury attorney and slap you as the property owner with a premises liability lawsuit that costs tens of thousands, if not millions, in legal fees, settlements, or damage awards.

Find out what you can do to decrease the likelihood of pedestrians injuring themselves on your property.

Set aside funds for sidewalk and parking lot repairs.

Slip and fall accidents on sidewalks are surprisingly commonplace — even in places like Los Angeles, where ice and snow removal isn’t a factor. Cracked, uneven sidewalks are a preventable tripping hazard. City officials used to set aside money for the maintenance of our sidewalks, but started taking their chances after the 2008 recession, when funds became tight. In the end, they wound up paying far more on damage control than they would have paid in preventative measures. It took a lawsuit filed by attorneys on behalf of the disabled and over $6 million in trip-and-fall payouts in less than four years to finally prompt Los Angeles leaders to take action. City Council has pledged $1.3 billion to cover repairs of 40% of all publicly-owned LA sidewalks.

If you own a business, train your employees.

A workplace environment is always changing. However, failure to adequately train employees on how to recognize and repair fall hazards is a major cause of property owner liability in slip and fall accident cases. You should instruct all employees to wear shoes that are compatible with flooring surfaces in their work areas. Smart employers implement regular safety inspection checklists and outline the procedures for rectifying spills or damage. The Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration (OSHA) run by the U.S. Department of Labor is a good starting point for developing a structured program that limits liability.

If you are a homeowner, ask for proof of insurance for all day laborers.

While plausible, it’s a rare scenario for a friend or relative to visit, sustain a fall that leads to serious injury, and then file a premises liability lawsuit. Most of the time, these incidents are resolved without the courts getting involved. One of the more common scenarios is the homeowner who hires a day laborer, but fails to ask for proof of insurance before work commences on the property. Roofers, carpenters, landscapers, dry wall contractors, painters, house cleaners, plumbers, electricians, movers, tree trimmers, and other workers can sue the homeowner if they suffer a fall and do not have adequate insurance through their employers. Ask to see a Certificate of Liability Insurance, and then call the agent listed on the card to verify that the insurance has not expired. Check to see that the business is a member of the Better Business Bureau, which means they have met licensing, bonding, and insurance standards.

Need a Los Angeles slip and fall lawyer?

If you have have questions about your legal rights in the wake of a fall on someone else’s property, contact the Salamati Law Firm today for a free case review. The experienced Los Angeles slip and fall lawyers at our firm have helped plaintiffs recover just compensation when property owner negligence has been a factor. Contact us for a complimentary case evaluation today.

Additional “slip and fall accident prevention” resources:

  1. LA Times – L.A. Agrees To Spend $1.3 Billion To Fix Sidewalks In ADA Case, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-lawsuit-broken-sidewalks-20150331-story.html#page=1
  2. OSHA – Slips, Trips, Falls Training Material, https://www.osha.gov/dte/grant_materials/fy06/46e0-ht10-06.html
  3. Net Quote – How to ensure your contractor is bonded and insured, http://www.netquote.com/home-insurance/bonded-and-insured-contractors
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Tips on Taking Car Accident Photos

April 27, 2017 Auto Accidents

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

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

Importance of accident scene photographs

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

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

Take as many photos as possible

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

Details to capture in car crash photos

Your photographs should include:

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

Use a variety of distances / angles

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

Pursuing a car accident claim in California

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

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

Additional “Car Accident Photo” Resources:

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