3 Tips on How to Drive Safely Around Trucks

August 10, 2017 Truck Accidents

Knowing how to drive safely around trucks on southern California highways may save your or someone else’s life. Los Angeles

White truck on the asphalt rural roadKnowing how to drive safely around trucks on southern California highways may save your or someone else’s life. Los Angeles area roads are major thoroughfares for trucks hauling goods to the rest of the country and the ports that serve the world. There are many trucks here as compared percentage-wise to other traffic.

Trucks, just because of their size and weight, can cause major damage to all other vehicles and people riding in them, to say nothing of pedestrians. The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that, for every driver killed in a truck crash, six other people are killed as well, whether they were driving another vehicle, a bicycle, or walking.

While truck safety starts with truck drivers themselves, other motorists need to keep certain facts about trucks in mind.

First, because of their size, they take time and space to stop. Buses, for example, take 40% longer to stop than regular sized vehicles. Many trucks have air brakes that take a long time to slow and stop a truck.

Second, they have blind spots due to the height, size, and positioning of windows and mirrors. Truck drivers can only do so much to eradicate blind spots. Other drivers need to do their part.

So how can you drive safely around trucks?

#1: Don’t Drive in Their Blind Spots

If you cannot see the truck’s side mirrors, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration notes that you could be in the truck driver’s blind spot. Blind spots exist for them in the front, back, and sides. Drive defensively to avoid their blind spots. If you are in one, either cautiously increase your speed or decrease it to avoid it. They need to be able to see you to make safe decisions.

#2: Don’t Crowd Them

Trucks need a long time to stop. Never create a situation where they might have to stop suddenly to avoid you. If you need to pass them, don’t pull in front again until you are well ahead. Don’t suddenly pull in front of a truck.

 #3: Wear Your Seatbelt

This is always a top priority for safety. Seatbelts could save 40% of the lives of truck drivers killed in accidents, according to the CDC. They are just as important for drivers of other vehicles.

Do You Need an L.A. Truck Accident Lawyer?

Do you need a seasoned truck accident lawyer in the Los Angeles area? Contact us! The Salamati Law Firm has an excellent record of obtaining justice for clients in truck accidents and other vehicle accidents 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.

Additional information on driving safely around trucks:

  1. Driving Safely Around Trucks. March 11, 2015. https://www.drive-safely.net/truck-safety-training/
  2. United States Centers for Disease Control. Newsroom Home. Press Materials. Digital Press Kit. Motor Vehicle Safety. Truck Crashes. https://www.cdc.gov/media/dpk/motor-vehicle-safety/vs-truck-driver-safety/dpk-vs-truck-driver-safety.html
  3. United States Department of Transportation. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. “Tips for Driving Safely Around Large Trucks or Buses.” https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/ourroads/tips-driving-safely-around-large-trucks-or-buses
Read More

Sovereign Immunity and Fire Truck Accidents

August 8, 2017 Truck Accidents

Government-owned fire trucks and police cruisers are common sights at accident scenes, but what happens when these vehicles – which

A fire engine races to the scene of an emergency.Government-owned fire trucks and police cruisers are common sights at accident scenes, but what happens when these vehicles – which frequently travel at high speeds – crash, causing serious personal injury and property damage? If you are in an accident with a fire truck, does California law offer remedies to seek financial restitution for your medical bills, lost wages and other losses?

Pursuing a legal claim in a fire truck accident is essentially suing the government—either the city, municipality or county. Prevailing in such a claim can be challenging without the aid of an experienced attorney who is well-versed in the protections afforded by sovereign immunity, also known as governmental immunity.

Sovereign immunity is based on an ancient doctrine designed to protect the government and its agencies from being sued without its consent. In other words, the California government must grant the victim permission to file a lawsuit against the driver of the vehicle.

Doctrine of Sovereign Immunity

The doctrine of sovereign immunity has been in practice in the United States for hundreds of years. Under this principle, governmental entities, agencies and their employees are protected from tortious liability, allowing them to continue their duties without fear or threat of draining litigation.

Over the years, California lawmakers have put limits on the state’s reliance on sovereign immunity to avoid paying damages in civil claims arising from accidents where the state was responsible.

The California Legislature adopted the California Claims Act (CCA) in 1963, which oversees lawsuits brought against a state or federal public entity. The act was intended to offer the government with enough information to investigate claims, facilitate settlements of merit-worthy suits, and avoid similar liability in the future.

There are different rules that apply and steps that must be taken depending upon the governmental entity that is being sued. If the fire truck was owned and operated by the municipality, there are certain measures that must be taken to provide proper notice. In most cases, personal injury claims made against public entities in California must be filed within 6 months after the accident. The claims must be submitted in the proper format and contain requisite information to be processed.

The public entity then has up to 45 days to provide written notice of its intended action. The entity may accept the claim, reject it entirely or offer a compromise. If no written notice is provided to the plaintiff, they then have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.

A successful claim may seek compensation for a variety of losses including hospital and medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of income, and benefits for wrongful death if the accident was fatal.

Los Angeles truck accident attorney

Governmental immunity cases in California are difficult but not impossible to pursue with the aid of experienced legal counsel. If you or a loved one were injured in an accident caused by an emergency first-responder, LA truck accident lawyer Sean Salamati can help you understand your rights to winning personal injury compensation. Call our office today to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.

Additional “Fire Truck Sovereign Immunity” Resources:

  1. Legal Dictionary, Sovereign Immunity http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Sovereign+Immunity
  2. California Law Revision Commission, Sovereign Immunity http://www.clrc.ca.gov/pub/Printed-Reports/Pub050.pdf
Read More

3 Things to Check If Your Motorcycle Won’t Start

July 28, 2017 Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcyclists look forward to their ride. So there’s nothing worse than going out, all set for a wonderful Southern California

Motorcycle headlight in perspective Close up photo

Motorcyclists look forward to their ride. So there’s nothing worse than going out, all set for a wonderful Southern California weekend…and finding out that your motorcycle won’t start. Zip. Na-Da.

What do you do? There are multiple things that will stop a motorcycle from starting. Check some simple ones first. In many cases the issue can be fixed simply and safely.

Here are the three things to check first.

The fuel level is too low

Yes. Check the fuel level before you do anything. Unfortunately, motorcycle mechanics see people come in bewildered that their motorcycle won’t start all the time…only to find out that they’re almost out of gas.

It could be that it’s been several months since you last rode, so you simply didn’t remember that the gauge was low. It could be that you have teenagers around who took the motorcycle for an unscheduled spin, and neglected to tell you about it.

Click Here to Call Our Office Now

It needs to be started in a different way

Motorcycles are definitely not all one size fits all when it comes to how they start. Some are designed not to start until the bike is in neutral. Some require drivers to always have the clutch in. Especially if you are riding a new motorcycle or have not acquired complete familiarity with it, you may simply be missing one of the essential steps to starting your model.

With the rise of computerization, starting it is an increasingly complex task. It’s a good idea to get out the manual and go step by step through the instructions for starting. Make sure a step that is not obvious wasn’t skipped along the way.

The battery is dead

If batteries aren’t used, they will slowly fade away. This is especially true if your battery is older or you haven’t ridden often.

One caution here: motorcycles are complex enough that it’s not always wise to simply jump start them as you would a car. It can be safer to take it into a shop and have the battery tested.

Plus, if you are going on a holiday or weekend ride, you want to make sure that the battery is strong enough to still be working when it’s time to come back. A new battery might be the safest bet.

Be safe – don’t tinker until it starts

Unless you are a skilled mechanic, never try to fix a motorcycle that doesn’t start. Fuel lines, sparks, combustion, and computerization make motorcycle repair a complex and even potentially dangerous process. Plus, even if you can get it to start, it may not be fully repaired if you don’t fully understand the issue.

Don’t risk your life and limb, or the lives and limbs of others, by trying to fix a motorcycle whose difficulty may need experienced motorcycle repair people to assess and fix.

Do you need an L.A. motorcycle accident lawyer?

If you need an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer in the Los Angeles region, contact the Salamati Law Firm. We have an excellent record of obtaining justice for clients in motorcycle accidents and other vehicle accidents throughout Southern California.

Call us at 888-259-4060. We will provide a consultation at no charge. Payment will come from any final jury award or settlement amount.

No fee unless we win. Click to call for a free consultation!

More on what to do when your motorcycle won’t start:

  1. “What To Do When Your Motorcycle Won’t Start.” Cruiser. http://www.motorcyclecruiser.com/what-to-do-when-your-motorcycle-wont-start
  2. “5 Reasons Your Motorcycle Won’t Start & Goes to the Shop.” YouMotorcycle. http://www.youmotorcycle.com/motorcycle-wont-start.html
Read More

What Is The Seat Belt Defense?

July 26, 2017 Auto Accidents

Car accidents where one driver hits another can seem like open-and-shut cases. Clearly, the insurer of the vehicle that plowed

Hand fastening seat belt in the carCar accidents where one driver hits another can seem like open-and-shut cases. Clearly, the insurer of the vehicle that plowed into you should pay for the full extent of your damages, right? Many times, that is exactly what happens. There is, however, one caveat allowed in California – if you were not wearing your seat belt.

Is it illegal to ride in a moving vehicle without wearing a seat belt in California?

The Motor Vehicle Safety Act makes it pretty clear that everyone is expected to buckle up in California. Technically, a California police officer may issue a ticket for “failure to wear a seat belt” except for cases where:

  • You are a passenger in the backseat of a limousine or taxicab.
  • You are a minor under 16 years of age, and the responsibility of your buckling falls to an adult present.

Fines range from $20 to $100 for a first offense. Drivers may be expected to attend driver safety courses. Regardless of the legality of riding in a vehicle without a safety belt on, plaintiffs may find that the amount of compensation they are entitled to is substantially reduced because they were not belted at the time of the collision.

What is the seat belt defense?

Defense counsels may argue that the amount of damages could have been substantially reduced had the victims been wearing their seat belts. State courts may choose to reduce damage awards when the injured party fails to “take reasonable actions to limit the extent of injury” – which means wearing a seat belt while riding in a motor vehicle.

The State of California allows for Comparative Negligence, which means the liability of the defendant can be reduced if the plaintiff was at least partially liable for what happened. California allows for “pure” rules of recovery, which means plaintiffs whose decisions and actions contributed to their own injuries can still collect reduced compensation, even if they were deemed 99% at fault. States with “modified” comparative negligence do not allow the awarding of compensation to plaintiffs determined to be more than 50% at fault.

Which states do not permit the seat belt defense?

While California plaintiffs are subject to reduced damages based on the seat belt defense, plaintiffs in the following states and districts are not beholden to this law:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Washington D.C.
  • Wyoming

Some states allow for the seat belt defense, but limit the reduction in damages. For instance, Missouri only allows for a 1% reduction in damages if the plaintiff was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. Similarly, Iowa, Michigan, and Oregon reduce damages by a mere 5%, and Wisconsin allows for reductions of 15%.

Arguments against the seat belt defense

Expert Los Angeles car accident attorneys at the Salamati Law Firm are prepared to fight for maximum compensation for your injuries, whether you were wearing a belt at the time or not. Depending on your situation, arguments that may counter the Seat Belt Defense include:

  • Failure to wear a seat belt did not cause the accident itself in any way, so the “comparative negligence” rule does not apply.
  • Traditional mitigation of damages applies to what a plaintiff does after the accident occurs. Since fastening a seat belt after the fact would do nothing to mitigate damages, the plaintiff cannot logically be held liable for failure to mitigate damages in the traditional sense.
  • Plaintiffs should not have to anticipate the negligence of others.
  • The amount of damages a plaintiff may have sustained had he or she been wearing a belt cannot be precisely assessed. The calculation is just a guess at best, even with the help of experts.
  • Numerous other legislatures have deemed the seat belt defense an intrusion into individual freedom.
  • The seat belt was worn but broke or failed to protect the plaintiff because it was defective or malfunctioning.
  • Seat belt tests using test dummies cannot accurately be compared to the plaintiff’s size, weight, and stature.
  • The other side has no proof that a seat belt was not worn by the plaintiff.

If you or a loved one were involved in a car accident where seat belts were not worn, contact the Salamati Law Firm. Since 2005, our experienced team of personal injury lawyers has taken on some of the most complex court cases – and won! Contact us for a free consultation and pay no legal fees unless we take on your case and secure just compensation on your behalf.

Additional “Seat Belt Defense” Resources:

  1. California Driving University, CA Seat Belt Laws, http://california.drivinguniversity.com/driving-safety/california-seat-belt-law
  2. Tulsa Law Review, The Seatbelt Defense: A Doctrine Based in Common Sense, http://digitalcommons.law.utulsa.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2407&context=tlr
Read More

Five Keys to Passing Your Driving Test

July 22, 2017 Auto Accidents

Getting a driver’s license can be a route to independence. No more relying on friends, family, or public transportation. You

Student driver passes exam and instructor hands her car keysGetting a driver’s license can be a route to independence. No more relying on friends, family, or public transportation. You can get where you need to go. It can also be a route to more convenience and even a means of obtaining a job.

So when you take your driver’s test, you want to make sure you pass it! Here are the 5 crucial keys to passing a driving test.

1. Study, Study, Study

Most driving tests are composed of a written part, with multiple choice questions, and a road test with a person who will rate your competence. To pass the written exam and to make sure you know all laws and regulations, there is no substitute for studying. Don’t expect the driving you may have been doing with a learner’s permit to be completely enough. Even If you’re licensed in another state, it’s still important to know the laws and regulations of the one you’re taking the test for. State laws and rules vary.

2. Practice, Practice, Practice

For the driving component, there is no substitute for practice. Drive in all sorts of conditions and all weathers. Practice parallel parking, backing up, and turning. Even if you never parallel park in real life, most tests require proficiency at it. A good way to practice is to drive with a learner’s permit, of course. But it’s also okay to go to a large parking lot after hours and drive, drive, drive. Parking lots can be great places to practice turning, braking, and so on because there’s little or no traffic or speed requirements to worry about.

3. Don’t Be Nervous

Ever had the experience of everything you know leaving your mind if you’re nervous? You don’t want that to happen when the person next to you is rating your driving. You want to remember, for example, the correct order of who goes first at a four-way stop. Also, anxiety can make you drive and brake jerkily, especially if your palms are sweating. You don’t want that either.

Calm yourself down before the test by breathing deeply. Most importantly, remember that in the worst case scenario, nothing too terrible happens. Even if you fail one or both parts of the test, you simply take it over again once enough time has elapsed. There’s no cause for embarrassment: people flunk these tests all the time. It’s not a reflection on you. It just means you have to study or practice more.

4. Learn From Any Mistakes

Key #3 leads us to this advice: learn from any mistakes. In most places, you’ll see any incorrectly answered written questions. Make a note of what the correct answer was. Make sure you commit it to memory.

If you don’t pass the driving test, make similar note. The assessor will tell you of any problem areas. Those are the ones you practice for next time.

5. Prepare the Night Before

Don’t go to your driving test tired or hungry. Get a good night’s rest. Eat a healthy breakfast. Those prepare your mind and body to recall information and respond quickly to traffic and other road conditions. You need those to optimize your results. If it might be sunny, take sunglasses.

These 5 keys will help you pass both written and road tests. Good luck!

An Experienced Attorney in Southern California

If you need a car accident lawyer in the Los Angeles area, The Salamati Law Firm has an excellent record of obtaining justice for clients in auto accidents and more. Call us at 888-259-4060. We will provide a consultation at no charge.

More on tips for passing your driving test:

  1. Lamboy, Jen. “7 Reasons Student Drivers Fail Their Written Permit Exam.” DMV.org. http://www.dmv.org/articles/7-reasons-student-drivers-fail-their-written-permit-exam/
  2. Zakhareuski, Andrei. “You Can Do It! How to Pass a DMV Driving Test on Your FIRST Attempt.” Driving-Tests.org. http://driving-tests.org/beginner-drivers/you-can-do-it-how-to-pass-a-dmv-driving-test-on-your-first-attempt/
Read More

Can Hackers Crash My Car?

July 22, 2017 Auto Accidents

Some recent car-hacking research unveiled in a WIRED article read like something out of a terrifying sci-fi movie. A late-model

finger on dashboard with gps panel and tv/dvd/audio systemSome recent car-hacking research unveiled in a WIRED article read like something out of a terrifying sci-fi movie. A late-model Jeep Cherokee driven by a reporter and test-dummy Andy Greenberg suddenly goes rogue as “hackers” tap into the car’s internal network. The tech-savvy hackers first tamper with the Jeep’s air conditioning, before changing the radio station and bumping up the volume to full blast. Next, they play with the car’s windshield wipers, but then things suddenly get more serious. Greenberg reports that the Jeep’s accelerator stops working, causing him to crawl along on a busy St. Louis overpass.

Fortunately, Greenberg’s experience was a demonstration designed by none other than the “hackers” themselves — professional security researchers who develop software patches to make smart cars less vulnerable to such breaches. The simulation raises an important question about the security and safety of passenger cars that boast a range of Internet-connected features. Can a malicious hacker tamper with your brakes, your steering and other critical features, causing your car to crash? Technically, the ability is there in some models, but there have been no reports of vehicles being taken over remotely by hackers to date.

Researchers simulate remote car hacking

The WIRED article has been labeled “scare-tactic” journalism by some critics, but many others underscore its value in highlighting the potential dangers facing the automobile industry and unsuspecting consumers who are willing to shell out big money for connected vehicles. The underlying issue, according to tech wizards Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, is tied to the “Internet of Things.” Increasing numbers of automakers are churning out sedans, trucks and SUVs akin to giant smartphones. An onboard computer controls navigation, entertainment, and lets drivers make phone calls. Some even feature a WiFi signal and hotspot.

Though it hasn’t yet happened, hackers could theoretically tap into this Internet-connected computer to gain control of vital functions like steering, power and brakes. Since 2013, Chrysler has installed Uconnect (an Internet-driven computer) on hundreds of thousands of cars. Miller and Valasek’s ground-breaking research has been shared with automakers like Chrysler to help the company identify software vulnerabilities and develop solutions.

Digital security is a concern for automakers

Keeping a vehicle’s essential control circuits separate from Internet-controlled devices may help improve security and minimize remote car hacking threats.

Ultimately, car makers should be held accountable for vulnerabilities in their vehicles’ software and security. “If consumers don’t realize this is an issue, they should, and they should start complaining to carmakers,” Miller told WIRED, adding “This might be the kind of software bug most likely to kill someone.”

Legal guidance from Salamati Law

Today’s vehicles are being made to be smarter and more connected. Engineers are even collaborating on Internet-based technology that would allow passenger cars to “talk to” each other. Remote car hacking may be hypothetical now, but it remains a very real concern for the future.

If you or a loved one was injured because of a defective or recalled vehicle, The Salamati Law Firm offers seasoned legal advice. Contact our Los Angeles car accident attorneys for a free case evaluation.

More answers to “Can cars be hacked?”: 

  1. Wired, HACKERS REMOTELY KILL A JEEP ON THE HIGHWAY—WITH ME IN IT https://www.wired.com/2015/07/hackers-remotely-kill-jeep-highway/
  2. Scientific American, Why Car Hacking Is Nearly Impossible https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-car-hacking-is-nearly-impossible/
  3. Vox, Hackers can now crash cars from hundreds of miles away https://www.vox.com/2015/7/21/9010295/car-hacking-jeep-cherokee
Read More

Are Guardrails Dangerous?

July 14, 2017 Auto Accidents

Guardrails on the nation’s roads are installed to keep motorists safe. But are they doing their job? Could it be

Safety metal guardrail on a rural roadsideGuardrails on the nation’s roads are installed to keep motorists safe. But are they doing their job? Could it be that guardrails, instead of keeping motorists safe, could actually harm them?

Guardrails can harm motorists

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. While many guardrails operate well and prevent motorists from going over the edge of highways or lanes, some types have proved to be lethal. A specific type, the ET-Plus, was redesigned several years ago in a manner that transformed it into something like a spear, capable of cutting off limbs and causing major injuries in southern California and other locales.

How? Well, guardrails are specifically designed to give way on impact, so they don’t cause harm. The redesign of the ET-Plus resulted in elimination of that flexibility. Impact caused the material to break into gigantic shards, which were composed of hard material. In multiple accidents nationwide, limbs were cut off and piercing injuries were caused by the shards.

Observers estimate that the ET-Plus redesign that caused these types of injuries increased fatalities on the nation’s roads by two to three times those of previous designs.

Observers believed that there may be up to half a million of these guardrails installed in California as of 2014. CalTrans does not track types of guardrails, so has no data on the number or position.

Most worrisome of all, perhaps, the design changes were considered minor and did not require approval from either California state or Federal authorities. How many other design changes unexpectedly harm motorists?

In some cases, a highway protection device doesn’t protect. It actively harms.

Poorly constructed guardrails can be hazards

Yet another issue making guardrails dangerous stems from their materials. Wooden and metal guardrails can both potentially be too flimsy to serve their purpose. Ideally, a guardrail will prevent an accident by making sure a car doesn’t go over a lane. The best design will halt the movement of vehicles when they are struck, but be elastic enough not to damage the vehicle or passengers.

But weak materials like wood and metal may simply buckle under the impact of a vehicle. They may also break and become highway debris, which potentially makes road conditions unsafe.

This is particularly true if the material has not been maintained well. Wood and metal can both erode significantly in certain weather conditions if they have not been properly chosen and regularly inspected.

Another factor can be the placement of guardrails. Concrete guardrails will damage any vehicle that hits them and can cause significant injuries and death to motorists. The placement should make it difficult to hit them. Roadway design must be sufficient to ensure that they can’t easily cause harm.

Need an auto accident lawyer in southern California?

Dangerous guardrails can cause serious auto accidents. If you or a loved one has been involved in a vehicle accident where a guardrail caused injury or death, talk to us today. The Salamati Law Firm has an excellent record of obtaining justice for clients in auto accidents and other vehicle injuries throughout the Los Angeles region.

Call an experienced Los Angeles auto accident attorney today at 888-259-4060. We will provide a consultation at no charge. Payment will come from any final jury award or settlement amount.

Additional “guardrail dangers” resources:

  1. Bartley, Lisa and Dave Kunz. “Eyewitness News Investigates: Dangerous Guardrails?” KABC. September 30, 2014. http://abc7.com/news/eyewitness-news-investigates-dangerous-guardrails/330110/
  2. Lee, Patrick G. “On the Road: Are America’s Guardrails Dangerous?” Insurance Journal. June 13, 2014. http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2014/06/13/331760.htm
Read More

Coping with the Accidental Death of a Loved One

July 14, 2017 Wrongful Death Claims

We all realize that death is inevitable down the road, but the sudden loss of a loved one or family member

image of a graveyard.We all realize that death is inevitable down the road, but the sudden loss of a loved one or family member can leave you grief-stricken and paralyzed with feelings of despair. We simply assume that our mothers, fathers, siblings and children will reach old age. Yet unforeseeable accidents, illness and disease can cause death to come much sooner than expected. The traumatic, accidental death of a loved one can shatter the world as you know it, leaving you bewildered and shaken. Survivors are quickly thrust into a new, frightening reality, one which may seem to have no rhyme or reason.

How do bereaved survivors cope with the death of a loved one? The grieving process is different for everyone. It is not uncommon to experience intense feelings of guilt, remorse, anger, depression and hopelessness. Feelings of sadness, anger and disbelief often come in waves, usually triggered by small reminders that the deceased is forever gone.

During these emotionally challenging times, it’s important to allow yourself plenty of time to process this loss and assimilate it into your daily life. It’s equally important to reach out to friends, family or church for support.

Coping with accidental death

There is certainly no “right” way to grieve, but many find it helpful to have some support along the way.

There are many short and long-term coping methods that can help survivors through the painful grieving process and move forward with their lives.

  • Focus on one day at a time, and give yourself the time and space to grieve.
  • Be accepting of your own feeling and emotions, and be prepared for everything from numbness and fear to disabling sadness.
  • Don’t bottle up your feelings – allow yourself to experience the pain and cry.
  • Don’t isolate yourself. It’s important to speak with friends, relatives or spiritual mentors about your loss.
  • Encourage yourself to take part in social activities and engagements. Isolation only encourages sadness and depression.
  • Take some time to consider those who are important in your life.
  • Try and maintain a normal routine, whether it’s taking the kids to school or going to your weekly yoga class.
  • Get enough sleep and take care of your physical well-being– this will go a long way to helping you feel emotionally stable.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs as crutches to get relief.
  • Engage in physical activity that gets the heart pumping, which naturally helps combat depression and relieves stress.
  • If you need to process the loss with others, seek out a support group in your area or try counseling with a therapist.
  • Pursue activities that comfort, sustain and recharge. Consider learning a new skill or taking up an interesting hobby.

The Salamati Law Firm is here to help

The accidental death of a loved one is a sudden loss that brings sudden grief. Here at the Salamati Law Firm, we offer compassionate, effective representation in wrongful death cases throughout Southern California. We invite you to schedule a private consultation with Sean Salamati, a compassionate Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer who is on your side. Call 888-259-4060 to learn more.

Additional resources for coping with grief:

  1. Journey of Hearts, Dealing with Sudden, Accidental or Traumatic Death http://www.journeyofhearts.org/grief/accident2.html
  2. Focus on the Family, Moving Forward: Dealing With Grief http://www.focusonthefamily.com/lifechallenges/emotional-health/moving-forward-dealing-with-grief
  3. Everett Clinic, Coping with the unexpected death of a loved one http://www.everettclinic.com/blog/coping-unexpected-death-loved-one
Read More

July 10, 2017 Premises Liability Lawsuits

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

beach ball swimming pool summer

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

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

Make water safety a priority

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

Always wear a helmet when biking

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

Prevent heat stroke & sunburn

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

Be alert for playground hazards

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

Be safe around fireworks

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

Legal advice from Salamati Law

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

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

Additional Summer Safety Resources:

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

California Homeowner’s Liability: Duty of Care

June 21, 2017 Premises Liability Lawsuits

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

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

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

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

Homeowner’s duty of care

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

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

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

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

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

Responsibility to keep visitors safe

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

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

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

Los Angeles premises liability attorney

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

Additional “California Homeowner’s Liability” Resources:

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