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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7 Apps That Prevent Distracted Driving and Texting

March 30, 2017 Auto Accidents

Distracted driving is a serious problem in the United States. The National Safety Council estimates that cell phone use while

Distracted driving is a serious problem in the United States. The National Safety Council estimates that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes and nearly 330,000 injuries each year. In fact, 1 in 4 car accidents are caused by texting and driving! The worst part about these devastating accidents is that they are wholly preventable. The Los Angeles car accident attorneys at the Salamati Law Firm are encouraged about the following apps that prevent texting while driving.

AT&T DriveMode

DriveMode for Android and iOs silences incoming text alerts and sends auto-responses to let people know the recipient is driving. The app automatically turns on when the vehicle starts moving faster than 15 mph. Games, calls, and social media are also locked out, but drivers can still access music and navigation while the car is in motion. Parents can set up the app to notify them when a teen driver disables it. (Free)

Live2Txt

Live2Txt is an Android app that silences incoming calls and texts while driving. The app auto-sends a customized message that the driver is unable to respond at the moment. (Cost: $1.99)

Cellcontrol

This subscription-based app Cellcontrol for Android and iOS is geared toward concerned parents. It comes with a device inserted under the dashboard that blocks incoming and outgoing texts, email, and camera functionality while the car is in motion. (Cost: $39.95 one-time hardware fee + $7.95/month)

On My Way

The On My Way app for Android and iOS lets drivers share time and location with friends to let them know their estimated arrival time. Drivers simply set up the trip and let the app invite selected friends to follow the trip. Location tracking ends when the destination is reached. (Free)

LifeSaver App

LifeSaver for Android and iOS auto-detects driving and blocks cell phone while the car is in motion. Once the vehicle stops, the phone will unlock. Parents receive a text message if their child disables the app. (Free)

tXt Blocker

Another Android and iOS app geared toward parents is tXtBlocker, which goes one step further by not only preventing texting while driving, but also allowing parents to set up “No-Cell Zones” (like school or work) that kids can’t hack. Parents can also locate their teens using the app and obtain driving reports. (Cost: $7/month)

Focus — Screen Free Driving

The Focus app for iPhones is a funny way of being shamed into submission. When the driver touches his or her phone, a voice sternly says, “Hang up and drive.” Those who fail to comply are yelled at with phrases like “Eyes on the road, Chief!” and “Lock your phone NOW!” The reminders may be all some people need to realize how much they touch their phones while driving. A road report includes how many distracted driving minutes were logged. (Free or $4.99 for premium version, with speeding reports)

Need a Los Angeles car accident attorney?

If you or a loved one have been injured in a distracted driving accident in Southern California, contact the Salamati Law Firm for legal representation. Police officers are not legally allowed to check an accident victim’s cell phone records without a warrant, so it can be difficult to gather the evidence needed to prove negligence without a knowledgeable expert on your side. The Salamati Law Firm has the grit and determination to see that justice is served. Contact us for a free, no-obligation quote.

To learn more about Distracted Driving click below:

  1. Distracted Driving Awareness Month – Take the Pledge to Drive SafelyDistracted driving in California
  2. Disturbing Statistics on Distracted Driving in California

Additional “apps to prevent distracted driving” resources:

  1. Verizon – Best apps to block texting while driving, https://www.verizonwireless.com/archive/mobile-living/home-and-family/apps-to-block-texting-while-driving/
  2. Honk For Help – 5 Free Apps To Prevent Texting While Driving http://www.honkforhelp.com/explore/2016/5-free-apps-to-prevent-texting-while-driving/
  3. USA Today – Best Tech To Prevent Distracted Driving http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/2016/05/29/best-tech-prevent-distracted-driving/85121278/
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“Grandpa Scam” Targets Vulnerable California Seniors

March 23, 2017 Elder Abuse

Instances of financial fraud against senior Americans is on the rise, with an estimated 10,565 complaints logged in 2015, according

nursing home abuseInstances of financial fraud against senior Americans is on the rise, with an estimated 10,565 complaints logged in 2015, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Among the most sinister is the so-called “Grandpa Scam,” in which fraudsters posing as grandchildren call elderly people, asking for emergency funds under false pretenses.

The AARP cautions that people 50 and older are seen as easy targets for financial abuse. “They expect honesty in the marketplace, are less likely to take action when defrauded, and are less knowledgeable about their rights in an increasingly complex marketplace.”

Grandpa scams fleecing seniors

Seniors are also more likely to pick up the telephone when it rings, giving scammers the perfect window for duping their targets. The phone conversation usually begins with the con artist saying “hello grandma” or “hi grandpa, this is Jimmy” (or whatever the family member’s name happens to be) and then launching into a bogus story about crashing their car or being arrested and needing money right away. When elderly victims are wary or seem confused, scammers continue the ploy with lines like “don’t you recognize my voice grandad?” or “Can I share a secret with you, but no one else?”

Desperate to help their distraught grandchildren, dozens of seniors have been conned out of thousands of dollars before realizing the truth.

The AARP reported on a recent Grandpa scam in California, in which the victim wired $1,500 to his supposed grandchild Ralph, who pleaded for bail money over the phone. It wasn’t until the scammer called a second time, asking for more money that the victim understood what had transpired. When asked by his friends how he could have fallen for such a trick, he answered “I was so concerned about Ralph, and they had the story down so well.”

Financial cons against older Americans

Financial elder exploitation remains a huge concern as America’s senior population continues to grow.  According to Consumers Digest, some 5 million cases of financial exploitation are reported in the U.S. every year. But how do these scammers get the names of family members and other private information in the first place?  According to the Federal Trade Commission, social media sites like Facebook are often tapped for intimate details, and a lot of personal information can be purchased or stolen as well.  Other times, fraudsters will simply try calling random phone numbers until an elderly person picks up.

Considering that financial scams against the elderly are more rampant than ever, it’s important to protect yourself and your loved ones against these harms.

Tips to avoid being scammed:

  • If you get a call from someone claiming to be a relative who is asking for money, always hang up and consult with another family member to verify the truth
  • Never give out sensitive financial information, including credit card numbers, passwords, routing numbers or bank account numbers, over the phone
  • Do not agree to claim a sweepstakes or lottery prize over the phone or by email– this is a common ploy used to glean private info
  • Report unwanted telemarketing calls or soliciting calls and emails to the FTC for investigation

Legal assistance in Los Angeles, CA

Taking advantage of elderly citizens is an unspeakable crime, and one that should not go unpunished. If someone you love has fallen victim to the “Grandpa scam” or other types of financial exploitation, California laws provide legal recourse.

Los Angeles elder abuse attorney Sean Salamati is well-versed in identifying telemarketing scams and the financial exploitation of older residents. To schedule a free and confidential case review, we invite you to call 888-259-4060.

Additional “elder scams” resources

  1. AARP, How to Beat the Grandparent Scam http://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2016/how-to-beat-grandparent-scam.html
  2. CNBC, The ‘Grandpa Scam’ That’s Costing Seniors a Bundle http://www.cnbc.com/2014/07/18/the-grandpa-scam-thats-costing-seniors-a-bundle.html
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What Evidence Is Needed in a Wrongful Death Case in California?

March 16, 2017 Wrongful Death Claims

“Wrongful death” is the name the law gives to a death that resulted from another party’s negligence. If the negligence

Wrongful Death“Wrongful death” is the name the law gives to a death that resulted from another party’s negligence. If the negligence had resulted in an injury, it would be termed personal injury. If it results in death or conditions that lead to death, however, it is termed wrongful death. If your loved one has died from a car accident due to another driver’s carelessness or violation of traffic laws, for example, you may be able to bring a wrongful death suit.

Wrongful death cases also need to show that the other party, whether an individual or a business, knew or should have known that the actions or conditions that caused the death were dangerous and that they should have acted responsibly.

What types of evidence do you need to file a wrongful death lawsuit?

Your wrongful death attorney will need certain pieces of evidence in order to obtain justice for you and your family. Evidence required by the court in wrongful death claims includes:

A Death Certificate

Death certificates are official documents that contain the cause of death as determined by the coroner. If a slip and fall caused fatal injuries, these injuries will be noted on the death certificate.

Police Reports

If the wrongful death of your loved one was due to an accident or other circumstance in which the police were called, the police reports will be needed. Be sure to obtain and keep copies of any police report in connection with an accident or investigation as soon as possible.

Medical Records

Some causes of wrongful death may be found in medical records. If your loved one died as a result of being given the wrong medication in a hospital, for example, all medications would be noted as part of the medical records. Medical records can also help determine if notations in the records were falsified or removed, or changed at a later date.

Autopsy Reports

If you believe that medical malpractice caused your loved one’s wrongful death, you need to request a full autopsy. Only this can indicate whether medical error was the cause. Surgical errors, for example, are indicated by a thorough examination of the body. If an error in medication, whether type or dosage, caused the death, a toxicology report will provide evidence.

Evidence of a Duty of Care Relationship Between Negligent Entity and Deceased Person

In order to bring a wrongful death suit, it must be shown that the negligent entity and your loved one had a relationship in which the former owed a duty of care to your loved one. A doctor is always to do no harm, for example; that is a doctor’s duty of care. All citizens need to drive safely; they have breached the responsibility if they’ve done otherwise.

In other cases, proving duty of care may be slightly more complicated. If your loved one’s car was hit by another vehicle, and that vehicle had a manufacturer’s defect that caused it to brake improperly, the duty of care might be owed by the manufacturer of the vehicle. Manufacturers must abide by safe practices in making and recalling products.

Tax Returns and Financial Records

Loss of financial support and loss of value of household services are among the financial damages that can be sought in a wrongful death case in California. Tax returns and other financial records are the best way for your attorney to estimate this loss. Other financial records, such as pay stubs, will help the court determine the financial loss. Records of investments and their returns, especially if the deceased person handled all the investments, are also needed.

Family Records

The documentation required for a wrongful death case is in part needed so that potential damages can be estimated. In California, one can receive damages awarded by the court for medical expenses related to the final illness or condition, loss of companionship and consortium for spouses, loss of training and guidance for children, funeral expenses, and burial expenses. Any and all records related to these should be gathered and given to your attorney. Loss of companionship and consortium can depend on length of the marriage, so a marriage certificate should be part of the documentation.

If you need a wrongful death lawyer

If you feel your loved one was the victim of wrongful death, call us today. The compassionate Los Angeles wrongful death attorneys at Salamati Law can help protect your legal rights after the unthinkable happens. We will review your case at no charge to you. Payment will come from any final jury award or settlement amount.

Additional wrongful death lawsuit resources

  1. Justia, California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI), 3921. Wrongful Death (Death of an Adult), https://www.justia.com/trials-litigation/docs/caci/3900/3921.html
  2. California Legislative Information, CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE – CCP, ARTICLE 6. Wrongful Death [377.60 – 377.62] https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?sectionNum=377.60.&lawCode=CCP
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