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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Top 6 Causes of Sidewalk Trip and Fall Injuries

April 21, 2017 Slip Trip and Fall

There are many possible causes for a sidewalk trip and fall, but the liability often lands squarely on the property

A sidewalk made uneven by tree roots

There are many possible causes for a sidewalk trip and fall, but the liability often lands squarely on the property owners’ shoulders. A slip and fall lawyer in Los Angeles can help you make that determination.

The City of Los Angeles has battled sidewalk liability issues over the last decade. They’ve faced lawsuits waged by the people behind the Americans With Disabilities Act. They were sued by activists opposing the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge design. City officials agreed to invest $1.3 billion to fix the 40% of its sidewalks that were in desperate need of repair. Over a four-year period, they paid out more than $6 million in trip and fall lawsuit payouts, according to the city attorney’s office.

Six causes of sidewalk trip and fall accidents

  1. Weather Conditions – Though property owners are legally obligated to clear any public paths they own, it can be difficult to prove these cases without photographic evidence taken at the time of injury. There are many defenses a person can raise as to making a “reasonable effort” to clear hazards caused by weather conditions. Proper drainage should be installed to prevent water buildup on the sidewalks.
  2. Uneven Surfaces – As little as 1/4-1/2” can catch a pedestrian’s shoe. Uneven sidewalks typically occur when base materials shift, causing part of the cement to shift – or when tree branches push up underneath.
  3. Surface Damage – Bumps, potholes, deep cracks, and loose gravel pieces are a leading cause of tripping. Defendants often try to minimize cosmetic damage to the sidewalk, calling it “too insignificant” to cause a person to trip. That’s when it’s very handy to have an aggressive legal team backing your claim!
  4. Pedestrian Inattention –Texting or using a cell phone while walking, being preoccupied with a leashed dog or child, drinking and walking, fiddling with an MP3 player, horsing around with a friend, or generally not watching where you’re walking can place some of the liability onto you. Sometimes pedestrians are accused of wearing “improper footwear” for the conditions or the activity.
  5. Dangerous Walking Conditions – In rare instances, property owners have placed some type of obstacle on the sidewalk that causes a person to trip and fall – be it a construction cone, a bicycle, children’s toys, signage, work tools, garbage, or some other type of debris.
  6. Improper Sidewalk Design – Another rare argument made in court is that the sidewalk was poorly designed. Sidewalks can be too narrow, in areas overgrown by trees and vegetation, poorly lit, made with insufficient materials, poorly leveled, or not cured all the way. Sometimes sidewalks were built to code many years ago, but the codes have changed and they no longer comply.

Who is liable in a sidewalk trip and fall incident?

Sometimes a true accident occurs, and no one is at fault. However, there are several scenarios where negligence directly causes or contributes to a trip and fall accident. Liable parties may include:

  • Property Owners – Homeowners are responsible for keeping a level sidewalk and repairing any known damage to the surface. Most of the time, it is presumed the homeowner should know about the damage by inspecting his or her property on a regular basis. A reasonable person would note the damage, call contractors, or actually conduct the repair in an effective manner.
  • Local or Federal Governments – If you are walking on a public sidewalk owned by the government, the city itself may be responsible for your trip and fall injuries. If you were walking past a federal building, it’s possible the federal government owns the sidewalk. It is important that you make your claim against the proper government entity, or a judge could bar claim from court. There are also tight deadlines in place – usually 30 days – to notify a government entity about what happened. And, often, there is a cap on how much money you may seek in a lawsuit against a government entity — sometimes well under $100,000.
  • You – By California’s “comparative negligence” law, defendants can accuse the plaintiff of being at least partially at fault for what happened to reduce their obligation. The total amount received can be reduced if there is proof that the pedestrian was distracted or not watching where he or she was going. It is important that you watch your words when speaking with authorities, so they don’t come back to haunt you in court.

How Southern California trip and fall attorneys can help

In Southern California, Salamati Law aggressively fights for plaintiffs who have been injured in sidewalk trip and fall accidents. An experienced personal injury lawyer will make sure you get the right claim filed, in the right time frame. We anticipate any attempts by the other side to dodge liability and blame you for what happened. Our panel of expert engineers, city inspectors, law professors, doctors, insurance adjusters, and others will help you build a winning case. Contact Los Angeles personal injury attorney Sean Salamati for a free case review today.

Additional sidewalk slip, trip and fall injury resources:

  1. University of Wisconsin, Accident Prevention: Slips, Trips and Falls, http://www.uwosh.edu/ehs/campus-health-and-safety/general-safety/occupational-safety/accident-prevention-slips-trips-and-falls
  2. Heimer Engineering, Walkway, Path, And Sidewalk Slip, Trip, And Fall Accidents, https://www.heimer.com/Licensed-Professional-Engineer/Walkway-Path-Sidewalk-Slip-Trip-and-Fall-Injury.html
  3. Curbed Los Angeles, Where the Sidewalk Ends…In a Tree Root-Related Lawsuit, http://la.curbed.com/2011/10/20/10432190/where-the-sidewalk-endsin-a-tree-rootrelated-lawsuit
  4. 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
  5. LA Times, Activists sue Los Angeles over Hyperion Bridge design’s single sidewalk, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-hyperion-bridge-lawsuit-20150710-story.html
  6. Next City, Suing for Sidewalks, https://nextcity.org/features/view/ada-compliance-accessible-design-cities-lawsuits-doj
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Have You Been in a Truck Accident? Be Aware of These Crucial Legal Issues

April 14, 2017 Truck Accidents

Truck accidents are those involving commercial semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers or other large commercial vehicles. The accidents themselves may cause personal

View of truck in an accident with car, cloudy sky

Truck accidents are those involving commercial semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers or other large commercial vehicles. The accidents themselves may cause personal injury or death to other motorists, bicyclists or pedestrians. They may also cause property damage.

Truck accidents are responsible for 5,000 deaths per year. They also cause more than 60,000 injuries.

While truck accidents are vehicle accidents, they are very different from collisions that involve cars and other smaller vehicles. Truck accidents present a number of unique issues.

Size, weight and scope of the truck

The first unique issue is the size of trucks. Semis and 18-wheelers are very large and can be composed of multiple units. If they jackknife or roll over, they can spread damage over entire freeway lanes. The damage, of course, can consist of hitting vehicles and drivers. But it can also be caused by debris from the truck or other damaged vehicles. Multiple accidents as vehicles hit other vehicles because a truck blocked lanes is also possible.

Trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Cars, on the other hand, weigh about 3,000 pounds on average. So not only may a truck accident be bigger in scope than a car accident, it can do even more damage because of the weight of the truck.

Accidents can also cause a truck’s fuel to catch on fire, posing even more potential danger to surroundings, people, and property.

Other unique issues stem from the brakes used. All large trucks use air brakes, which can overheat if a truck has to stop quickly. If a truck slams on the brakes while going 60 mph, the temperature of the brake drum can rise to roughly 600 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures this high may cause malfunctions.

Who’s responsible for a truck accident?

Perhaps the most unique feature of truck accidents is the potential multiple layers of responsibility. When a car crash occurs, the driver could be at fault through failure to follow the law, error in operating the vehicle (did he or she stop in time?), or factors such as alcohol intoxication.

In a truck accident, all these factors can be causal. However, driver error is not always at issue in a truck accident. Other causes of the accident need to be explored as well.

Responsibility and liability for the accident might rest with the driver, or with the company that owned the truck, or with a contractor who was charged with inspecting, maintaining, or loading the truck. Contractors may also have been used to check driver backgrounds and conduct training sessions. Subcontractors are widely used as well.

Did the company maintain the truck properly? Accidents can occur because of poor maintenance to the vehicle. Did they contract out maintenance to another firm that didn’t do it properly or was not adequately experienced? Was the truck loaded properly? Accidents can occur because the load was not properly balanced. Was the driver under pressure to deliver, causing lack of sleep or use of stimulants?

Was the driver’s background adequately screened? Was the driver properly trained? That responsibility may rest with the company or a contractor.

An experienced Los Angeles truck accident attorney  will know to ask all these questions. Trucks now carry an electronic onboard recorder (EOBR) that can answer many of these questions. Records can be requested to answer many more. Time is of the essence, since trucking firms move to defend themselves aggressively in many cases.

If you need a truck accident lawyer in Southern California

Truck accidents in Southern California cause death, injuries, and damage to property every year.

If you or a loved one was the victim of a truck accident, call us today. The Salamati Law Firm is experienced in truck injury cases. We will review your situation at no charge to you. Payment to us will only come from a final jury award or settlement amount.

Additional “truck accident legal issues” resources:

  1. Highway Loss Data Institute, Large trucks, http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/large-trucks/topicoverview
  2. NHTSA, Large Truck Crash Causation Study, https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.dot.gov/files/18esv-000252.pdf
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Whose Fault Is It Anyway? Proving Fault in a Slip and Fall

April 13, 2017 Slip Trip and Fall

There are not many personal injury situations as likely to turn into a factual dispute as a slip and fall.

caution wet floor sign at a corridorThere are not many personal injury situations as likely to turn into a factual dispute as a slip and fall. The impediment or defect that made the spot dangerous may not remain apparent long enough to document it and even when it is documented, the condition may or may not lead to liability. But your Los Angeles personal injury attorney must be able to prove that there was a dangerous condition on the premises and that the owner or occupier was legally responsible.

Slips and falls injure thousands of people in California and across the country each year. They occur for any number of reasons, ranging from pure carelessness on the part of the person taking the tumble to recklessness by a property owner in concealing a defective condition. L.A. attracts a lot of visitors and property owners have a duty to take reasonable precautions to prevent injury.

Owner liability for slips and falls

A slip or fall may just be the result of bad luck. On the other hand, if you are injured and suspect that reasonable precautions may have prevented the accident, then your slip and fall injury may have been the result of negligence. A property owner is under a duty to keep the premises maintained and to warn visitors of defects that it knows about. Therefore, in CA the property owner may be liable if:

  • The owner or an employee must have caused the hazard;
  • The owner or an employee must have known about the hazard but did nothing to fix it; or
  • The owner or an employee reasonably should have known about the hazard, yet did nothing to fix it.

Gathering evidence of liability for a slip and fall

Evidence can be fleeting in a slip and fall case. When it involves, for example, a spill of liquid or some other material is involved, it will need to be cleaned up before other people are harmed. Boxes that a negligent worker placed in the aisle will likely be moved. A poorly lit area may receive a new light bulb. It is a good idea to take photos of the scene and gather the names and contact information of any witnesses who can corroborate what was present at the site at the time of injury. This will be invaluable to help your personal injury lawyer prove your case.

A common complication is that one person or business owns the property but someone else controls it or is responsible for cleaning and maintaining it. It is not always clear which party bears responsibility for inspecting the premises and making it safe. A personal injury lawyer can help sort this out by serving what is known as “discovery requests” to obtain the information necessary to answer those questions. All of this is necessary for a plaintiff to meet his or her burden of proof in court.

Work with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer

If you have been injured on someone else’s property in Southern California and believe it was someone else’s fault, speak with Sean Salamati, a respected slip and fall lawyer in Los Angeles. Slip and fall cases can be tricky to prove but The Salamati Law Firm has the resources and expertise to make the case. Call for a no-obligation consultation.

Additional “slip and fall fault” resources:

  1. Justia, California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI), 1003. Unsafe Conditions, https://www.justia.com/trials-litigation/docs/caci/1000/1003.html
  2. Justia ,California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI), Series 1000 – Premises Liability, https://www.justia.com/trials-litigation/docs/caci/1000/
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Top Five Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents

April 12, 2017 Slip Trip and Fall

Slip and fall accidents occur when people slip and fall due to the negligent behavior of another. The entity at

caution wet floor sign at a corridorSlip and fall accidents occur when people slip and fall due to the negligent behavior of another. The entity at fault can be a person such as a landlord, a business that has not maintained their store or property adequately, or a government that has not repaired sidewalks. The reason? Landlords, businesses, and other property owners or responsible parties have a duty to keep their surroundings safe and free from dangerous conditions.

To be deemed liable, the responsible party must have known about the conditions and had sufficient time to repair and rectify them. The court must be convinced that the facts show a reasonable person would have thought a situation was potentially harmful and fixed it.

Curious about the top causes of slip and fall accidents in the U.S.? A slip and fall lawyer in Los Angeles outlines the top five.

Floor surfaces that are poorly maintained

The #1 reason people slip and fall are badly maintained floor surfaces. Whether it’s loose tiles in a courtyard, broken and uneven concrete sidewalks, or area rugs in a waiting room that aren’t anchored sufficiently, floors can be the cause of injuries.

Wet floors

Wet floors can be beautifully maintained in terms of their condition. But if a shopping mall, for instance, doesn’t clean floors after people track in water from a rainstorm, or a grocery store doesn’t clean up spilled shampoo, people can plummet to the ground. Wet floors should not only be cleaned up, but property owners should put up warning signs while it is being taken care of.

Weather conditions

In southern California, we’re fortunate not to have ice and snow. But we can certainly have rainstorms, and sometimes those are even more dangerous because Californians are not always used to navigating in the wet. Slips and falls can happen on walkways, sidewalks and almost everywhere due to weather conditions.

Low or inadequate lighting

Lighting needs to be sufficient so people can see where they are walking. Low or inadequate lighting in stairwells, corridors, and city streets can make people slip and fall if they can’t see adequately at all, or can’t see obstacles such as potholes and broken sidewalks.

Lack of training

Property owners, landlords, and store managers are responsible for training their staff to clean and maintain the property. That means proactively noticing when conditions are dangerous and taking steps to make them safe again. Potentially hazardous areas need to be barricaded or roped off, with warnings for pedestrians and users of the area. Equipment needs to be operated so it doesn’t become a hazard. Steps to rectify potentially dangerous situations need to be taken quickly before a plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer comes knocking.

Speak with a slip and fall lawyer

Slips and falls cause serious harm every year due to the negligence of organizations big and small. Slips and falls can be caused by the actions of landlords, small business owners, or businesses ranging from parks to malls.

If you feel you or a loved one was the victim of a slip and fall due to the negligence of another, please call the Salamati Law Firm today. We are experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorneys. Your case will be reviewed by seasoned professionals and there is no charge to you for an initial consultation.

Additional “causes of slip and fall accidents” resources:

  1. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Workplace Solutions. Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls in Wholesale and Retail Trade Establishments. https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2013-100/pdfs/2013-100.pdf
  2. Nova Southeastern University. Slip, Trip, and Fall Prevention Guide. http://www.nova.edu/risk/policies/forms/slips-trips-fall-prevention.pdf
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Fair Payment for Pain: Calculating Value in California Injury Lawsuits

April 11, 2017 Personal Injury Lawsuits

California victims of accidents caused by someone else’s negligent acts or omissions are afforded the opportunity to seek monetary compensation for,

California victims of accidents caused by someone else’s negligent acts or omissions are afforded the opportunity to seek monetary compensation for, amongst other damages, the physical pain and emotional suffering experienced as a result of the event. While damages for lost wages, medical expenses already incurred, and property damage may be easier to quantify, those related to “pain & suffering” can be assessed and maximized with the help of a skilled personal injury attorney.

Typical categories of pain and suffering damages in California injury cases

Damages related to pain and suffering may be awarded in personal injury cases for:

  • Actual physical pain and discomfort
  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional distress
  • Personal and familial inconvenience
  • Embarrassment
  • Damage to personal reputation
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of marital relationship
  • Loss of enjoyment of previous activity levels
  • Disfigurement
  • Aggravation of existing physical injury or impairment

Relevant factors in pain and suffering valuations

Assigning a dollar figure to a serious injury is rarely straightforward. Variables to be considered when calculating the value of damages include the victim’s age at the time of the accident, his or her family and marital situation, his or her educational background, employment record, health history, estimated recovery time and information gleaned from medical and psychological experts who can testify to the nature of the pain likely experienced under the circumstances.

Important caveats for prospective injury claimants

There are situations in which an injury victim in California will be barred from obtaining compensation for pain and suffering. Anyone convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the event in question will be unable to recover for losses of this type, as will an auto accident plaintiff whose vehicle was underinsured or uninsured at the time, unless the at-fault driver was found guilty of DUI.

California’s doctrine of pure comparative fault

In addition to the above limitations on pain and suffering claims, courts in California operate under a doctrine of pure comparative fault when it comes to assigning liability for damages of this type. Though this does not serve to bar plaintiffs from recovering payment from a responsible party, it does mean that any financial award will be reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault borne by the plaintiff themselves for what occurred.

Aggressive, timely advocacy for Southern California’s injured

Because the time to pursue damages for pain and suffering or wrongful death is strictly limited by California statute, it is critical for victims to reach out to an experienced injury attorney as soon as possible after sustaining serious harm. Los Angeles personal injury attorney Sean Salamati will waste no time in exploring the facts, enlisting reputable experts and tenaciously pursuing the maximum damages allowed by the law. Assert your legal rights by calling The Law Offices of Sean Salamati today.

Additional resources on California pain and suffering damages

  1. California Legislative Information, Cal. Civ. Proc. §335.1, http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displayText.xhtml?lawCode=CCP&division=&title=2.&part=2.&chapter=3.&article=
  2. Judicial Council of California – Civil Jury Instructions, No. 405: Comparative Fault of Plaintiff, http://www.courts.ca.gov/partners/documents/CACI_2017_Edition.pdf
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Were You to Blame for Your Accident? California Law Says You Can Still Collect Damages

April 7, 2017 Personal Injury Lawsuits

An auto accident is usually just that – an accident – which means no one intentionally caused it. Instead, accidents

Female Driver Making Phone Call After Traffic Accident With Head In Hands.An auto accident is usually just that – an accident – which means no one intentionally caused it. Instead, accidents usually happen because someone made a careless mistake or misjudgment while operating a motor vehicle. Drivers are under a duty to operate their vehicles carefully and in accordance with the traffic laws. When they fail to do so, they are liable for the resulting damages and injuries. But if the accident victim was also partly at fault, California law does not prevent them from recovering.

California comparative negligence

California follows what is known as “pure comparative negligence”, which allows you to recover damages for your injuries in an accident even if you were partly responsible – even if your were more responsible than the other party.

During the negotiation process, an insurance adjuster may attempt to assign percentages of fault to the parties but if the case goes to trial, then the judge or jury will decide this. Unlike what are known as “modified comparative negligence” states that only allow an injury victim to recover if he or she is less than 50% responsible (like Arkansas, Maine, and Tennessee), or less than 51% responsible (like Delaware, Massachusetts, and Oregon), California is one of 13 states that allows the victim to recover even if she or he was 99% at fault. In contrast, there are four states and the District of Columbia that do not allow someone to recover anything for a personal injury if they are even 1% at fault.

What this means is that even if you were 80% at fault for the accident that caused your injuries, you can recover up to 20% of the total value of the damages from the other party.

Comparative negligence hurdles

There are some things to keep in mind about how comparative negligence works in California:

  1. Insurance adjusters and lawyers representing the other parties may try to convince you that you do not have a case because you were partially to blame.
  2. You have the burden of proving all of the elements of negligence – that the other party owed you a duty to do or to refrain from doing something but that he or she breached that duty, the breach caused the accident, and your physical injuries and property damages were a result of the accident.

It is a wise decision to work with a CA car accident lawyer in these situations. Retaining a an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer will put a stop to any harassment by insurance companies or other lawyers. It will also ensure that you present the most compelling case, one that complies with court rules and state evidence procedures.

Strong legal representation in Los Angeles

Recovering from the physical pain and impairment resulting from a car accident or other personal injury is hard enough, but mounting medical bills make the process even tougher. If you have been injured in an accident in Southern California, speak with Los Angeles car accident lawyer Sean Salamati. To schedule a free case review in LA, call today!

“California comparative negligence law” resources:

  1. Findlaw, California Civil Code Section 1714, http://codes.findlaw.com/ca/civil-code/civ-sect-1714.html
  2. Justia, California Civil Jury Instruction (CACI), 405. Comparative Fault of Plaintiff, https://www.justia.com/trials-litigation/docs/caci/400/405.html
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Suspect Nursing Home Abuse? Follow These Steps

March 30, 2017 Elder Abuse

Elder abuse takes many different forms, some involving physical violence, threats or intimidation, some entailing neglect or sexual abuse, and

iStock_000074630629_nursing-home-abuse-1024x682Elder abuse takes many different forms, some involving physical violence, threats or intimidation, some entailing neglect or sexual abuse, and others involving financial exploitation. The problem of elder abuse in nursing homes and assisted living facilities is a growing one, and research indicates that many cases go unreported and unpunished. While there are literally thousands of nursing homes that provide attentive, quality care to senior residents, there are dozens of others that do not.  In a recent study by the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee, researchers found that 30 percent of U.S. nursing homes were cited for some form of abuse. The events ranged from the grotesque to the disturbing, with some victims kicked, starved or subject to repeated sexual molestation.

When nursing home staff breaches its duty to provide proper care, residents can suffer irreparable physical and emotional harm.  There are many red flags which may indicate that a loved one may be suffering from nursing home abuse or neglect. Knowing what to look out for can help family identify the problem, report elder abuse or neglect, and hold negligent parties accountable.

Is your loved one being neglected or abused?

There are many warning signals that a family member or loved one is being physically or emotionally abused by their caregivers. Though a single incident (a bruise or scratch) doesn’t always suggest abuse, a combination of any of these signs warrants further investigation:

  • Unsanitary living conditions
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Emotional withdrawal
  • Sudden depression
  • Bedsores
  • Loss of mobility
  • Repeated medication errors
  • Evidence that staff used physical restraints
  • Unexplained injuries, bruises, scratches, infections or STDs
  • Signs of malnutrition or dehydration
  • Acting different around caregivers

Take action: how to report elder abuse

Identifying nursing home abuse or gross neglect of a loved one is often more obvious in cases where the family make routine visits and check-ups to the facility. If you do see one or several red flags, it’s important to talk to your loved one about their treatment and care in the facility. Don’t be surprised if they are reluctant to admit mistreatment or harm, as they may be frightened of future repercussions.

If you believe a loved one is in real danger of serious physical harm, call 911 right away. Do not wait until tragedy strikes, it’s better to report any signs immediately. If danger is not imminent but you suspect the mistreatment or neglect is ongoing, take the following steps:

  1. Share your concerns with administration at the nursing home facility, being careful not to confront the suspected “abuser.” If management is unwilling to help or investigate your concerns in a timely fashion, you should document the signs you are witnessing
  2. Gather evidence: This includes taking photos, making notes of your loved one’s injuries or changing behaviors, or even getting statements from other residents or witnesses.
  3. Report your suspicions to the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) Office of the Ombudsman. They are responsible for investigating reports of neglect or abuse in long-term assisted care facilities. Be prepared to provide the elder’s name, full address and contact information, and detailed report about why you are concerned.
  4. For more assistance and local agency resources, you can contact the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116.
  5. Reach out to your elder loved one’s primary care physician or patient advocate, assuming they are not involved with the suspected abuse or neglect. They can also provide professional guidance on the best course of action.

Elder abuse attorney in Los Angeles

If you believe that a nursing home resident is being neglected or abused in any way, don’t hesitate in seeking the guidance of an elder abuse lawyer in Los Angeles who can ensure that proper authorities are notified immediately. Thorough investigations can determine if legal action is warranted against nursing home workers, administration or on-call staff.

If you would like more information on pursuing an elder neglect claim in California, contact the Los Angeles office of Sean Salamati for a free consult today.

Additional Nursing Home Abuse Resources:

  1. AgingCare, What to Do If You Suspect Abuse in Your Parent’s Retirement Home https://www.agingcare.com/articles/what-to-do-if-you-suspect-abuse-in-your-parent-s-retirement-community-133867.htm
  2. California Dept. Of Health Care Services, MMCD Office of the Ombudsman http://www.dhcs.ca.gov/services/medi-cal/Pages/MMCDOfficeoftheOmbudsman.aspx
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