COVID-19, Retailers, & Business Interruption Insurance in California

May 6, 2020 Business Interruption Insurance

These are incredibly difficult times for California’s brick-and-mortar retailers. When shelter-in-place orders went into effect in response to the COVID-19

These are incredibly difficult times for California’s brick-and-mortar retailers. When shelter-in-place orders went into effect in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many retailers who were not deemed “essential” were forced to close their doors indefinitely. While some businesses were able to offer online purchasing or curbside delivery service, many others could not adapt – for practical or financial reasons. 

Popular tourist destinations in Los Angeles have been especially hit hard, as many establishments rely on vacationers for a substantial portion of their sales. The complete drop in tourism and temporary closures caused by the coronavirus outbreak means that both small retail shop owners and large retail chains are turning to their commercial property insurance policies for protection. 

Economic losses from the COVID 19 Pandemic

When retailers are forced to shut their doors, their economic losses go beyond stale inventory and lost sales. There are utility bills to be paid, payroll to be met, and rent or mortgage payments that cannot be ignored.

It is not surprising that the first wave of business interruption insurance claims was quickly denied – and done so without proper investigation. Now more than ever, it’s absolutely vital that retail establishments review the provisions and language of their policies, specifically with regard to contingent business interruption insurance and/or civil authority coverage.

Both of these coverages should, in theory, reduce the economic burdens caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

Retailers turning to Business Interruption Insurance

Business interruption insurance is a common supplement to a property insurance policy, which covers losses caused (either directly or indirectly) by specified perils. Causes of loss that are not outlined in the policy are normally not covered. Business interruption coverage is generally triggered in cases where you have physical property loss or damage that causes the interruption – for example, flooding or fire damage.

Insurers are now claiming that retailers were not ‘physically affected’ by the coronavirus quarantine orders, or that since no physical damage occurred, the benefits aren’t triggered. Policyholders should bear in mind that past rulings, or case law, suggest that coronavirus contamination or a property’s inability to be inhabited may constitute physical loss activating coverage for business interruption losses.

The presence of an infected person or an infectious illness can render a retail store uninhabitable, and once this is demonstrated, retailers may be able to collect on their insurance claim.

Civil Authority Coverage

California retailers that have civil authority coverage and were ordered to close their doors may be able to secure compensation for their losses. Civil authority coverage protects against business interruption losses when a state or federal government authority prohibits or hinders access to the policyholder’s business location. Depending on the policy’s language, civil authority coverage may stipulate that access restriction stems from physical loss.

Contingent Business Interruption Coverage

Contingent business interruption insurance may offer another safeguard against COVID-19 losses. This protects your retail business from disruptions that affect your overall supply chain. If you have lost substantial income and are unable to stay afloat after a key partner, supplier, or customer base has problems, this coverage pays for ongoing costs while you search for remedies.

Litigation over pandemic related BI loss claims

The cost of covering Business Interruption claims in the wake of the pandemic will cost insurers billions of dollars. But will insurers pay benefits for COVID-19-related business interruption, or continue with generic denials?

According to the Commissioner for the California Department of Insurance, this will ultimately be decided by our courts and judicial branches. Although the Commissioner acknowledges the ‘real and alarming losses’ faced by business owners throughout the state, he concedes that the answer will lie in the specifics of each policyholder’s contract.

COVID 19 Business Interruption Insurance Claims for Retailers

If you own a retail establishment whose business interruption claim was denied, you are encouraged to file a request for assistance with the California Department of Insurance. Your next step is to consult with a Los Angeles business interruption insurance lawyer who can protect your rights.

Reach out to Salamati Law for a free case review today. Our team is proud to assist CA retail and business owners to seek the payments they deserve under the business interruption insurance policies.

Additional Resources:

  1. JDSupra Legal News, California: Developments in COVID-19 Business Interruption Claims
  2. California Department of Insurance, FAQ on business interruption insurance and other issues affecting California small businesses
  3. The National Law Review, Update: Business Interruption Insurance in the Time of COVID-19
  4. Congressional Research Service, Business Interruption Insurance and COVID-19
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COVID-19, Business Interruption Insurance, and Hotels in California

May 6, 2020 Business Interruption Insurance

The travel and leisure industry has suffered unprecedented losses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Hotels have been particularly

The travel and leisure industry has suffered unprecedented losses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Hotels have been particularly hard hit, with occupancy and revenue rates falling by 50% or more. 

Hotels that carry business interruption insurance may be able to recover some of these losses by filing and pursuing claims with their insurance carriers. California hotels that need assistance in filing a claim or whose insurers have denied their claim should contact the Salamati Law Firm in Los Angeles. Southern California business interruption insurance attorney Sean Salamati can advise you of your rights and legal options for reimbursement of lost revenue.

Business Interruption Insurance Coverage for California Hotels

Many insurance companies announced at the outset of the pandemic that commercial business interruption policies only cover losses that are related to physical property damage. Regulators and business interruption lawyers quickly responded that at least two other business interruption insurance provisions covered lost revenues due to coronavirus cancellations:

Civil Authority Business Interruption Insurance Coverage 

Governmental actions that preclude the use of a hotel property can trigger business interruption coverage under “civil authority coverage” extensions or riders to commercial policies. These clauses might provide insurance coverage for losses resulting from state and local quarantines, for example, that restrict public gatherings. Commercial insurers will likely argue that quarantine orders affect people, not properties, but that argument might be contrary to history and specific policy language.

Contingent Business Interruption Insurance Coverage

Policies that include “contingent business interruption” extensions or riders might provide reimbursement for lost hotel revenues, for example, associated with supply chain interruptions, canceled events, or loss of use due to decontamination or cleanup.

Industry observers expect commercial insurers to reject civil authority and contingent claims (at least initially) for coronavirus-related business interruptions. California hotels should consult with a knowledgeable and experienced business interruption lawyer to verify their coverage and to rebut any coverage denials from their insurance carriers.  

Covered Losses for Hotels Under Business Interruption Insurance Policies

Businesses in the travel and hospitality industries are often the first to feel the effects of economic downturns, disasters, and restrictions on movement. Many hotels, airlines, event organizers, and similar businesses have been at the forefront of defining the types of claims and losses that are covered by business interruption insurance. For example:

  • In 2003, hotels in Hong Kong successfully petitioned for business interruption insurance coverage caused by the SARS virus;
  • In 2004, a court awarded a favorable opinion to USAirways against its commercial business interruption insurer over lost business claims related to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks; 
  • In 2016, a theater group recovered its losses for canceled outdoor performances following wildfires that impaired air quality.

Hotel business interruption insurance coverage is always a function of insurance contract language and the specific facts that cause the hotel to lose bookings and associated revenues. A California hotel that has lost substantial business due to COVID-19 quarantines and cancellations should carefully review their commercial insurance policies and should either notify their insurers or file their claims promptly.   

Use Hotel Records to Prove COVID-19 Business Interruption Losses

Hotels should keep detailed records of bookings and payments, as well as pending reservations, cancellations, and special events. A successful business interruption insurance claim by any hotel in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California will necessarily include this and other information to verify coronavirus business losses. Hotels will have a better chance to recover insurance reimbursements for lost revenues when those records are thorough, straightforward, and verifiable.  

California Insurance Regulators are Encouraging Business Interruption Payments

California’s insurance commissioner has imposed new requirements on insurance companies to conduct full and fair investigations of all business interruption claims relating to losses from the COVID-19 virus. Insurance companies that are authorized to issue policies in California are specifically obligated to comply with their obligations under insurance contracts, to promptly acknowledge claims and provide all necessary forms and information to file claims, and to issue notices of acceptance or denial within 40 days after receiving a claim.

Given these enhanced requirements, an insurer’s denial of a hotel’s coronavirus business interruption claim will likely draw greater scrutiny from the state’s insurance regulators.

Call for Assistance with Business Interruption Insurance and Coronavirus Claims

Hotel bookings and revenues will recover. Until then, hotels should not hesitate to file business interruption claims under their commercial liability policies.

A Los Angeles business interruption insurance lawyer from Salamati Law Firm is a hotel’s best resource to process and file claims and to appeal claim denials. Please call Salamati Law’s Los Angeles offices to schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers today.

Additional Resources:

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COVID-19 Resources & Tips for California Businesses

May 5, 2020 Business Interruption Insurance

The coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented economic event, and thousands of small businesses throughout California have taken a devastating hit.

The coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented economic event, and thousands of small businesses throughout California have taken a devastating hit. Despite the dire ramifications of this large-scale catastrophe, many of the state’s top insurance companies are not paying business interruption claims related to COVID-19.  In fact, insurers were quick to declare a lack of coverage even before the first claim was filed. 

Policyholders deserve all of the benefits and services they are due under the terms of their contract, and when insurers fail to comply, it’s time to seek legal counsel from Salamati Law.

The COVID-19 crisis has ushered in an era of uncertainty for California businesses that have no real timeline of when – or how—their doors can re-open. During stressful times like these, it’s reassuring to know there are resources and funding available to help small and medium-sized businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Tax Relief

Small and medium-sized businesses in California struggling amidst the COVID-19 outbreak can take advantage of the following tax breaks: 

  • 3-month extension on all businesses filing a tax return for less than $1 million
  • Business taxpayers with less than $5 million in taxable annual sales can have a 12-month, interest-free, payment plan for up to $50,000 of sales and use tax liability only


  • U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): Small businesses with fewer than 500 employees or individuals who operate as an independent contractor/sole proprietor may be eligible for loan forgiveness (up to 8 weeks) of payroll based on employee retention and salary levels. Loans can be put toward rent, mortgage interest, utilities, and payroll. Application deadline: June 30, 2020
  • California IBANK Disaster Relief Loan Guarantee: Small businesses located in California with 1-750 employees that have been negatively impacted or experienced disruption by COVID-19and qualifying non-profits can use the loan proceeds toward business continuance or economic disaster relief.
  • SBA Express Bridge Loans: Small businesses that have a current business relationship with a Small Business Administration Express Lender can apply for a $25,000 loan with a quick turnaround.
  • The Small Business Emergency Microloan Program was recently launched by the City of Los Angeles. Loans amounts range from $5,000 -$20,000, with terms from 18 months to 5 years. Eligible businesses must be established in the City of L.A. with 100 or fewer employees and be for-profit and tax-exempt.


Hello ALICE: COVID-19 Business Emergency Grant

Hello Alice is offering $10,000 business emergency grants to small business owners affected by COVID-19. In addition to immediate funds, grant recipients will benefit from continuing guidance from the Hello Alice community.

LISC Small Business Grant

LISC is offering grants of up to $10,000 to support small enterprises and business affected the coronavirus pandemic, particularly those in underserved communities. Applications are due by May 14, and will be evaluated based on particularly challenged businesses that lack access to flexible capital.

Salesforce Care Small Business Grants

For profit-companies with a yearly revenue between $250,000 and $2 million and have fewer than 50 employees may qualify for a $10,000 grant to help overcome financial burdens associated with COVID-19. Eligible candidates must have been in business for 2 years as of March 2020.

Facebook Grants

Facebook has earmarked $100 million in cash and ad credits for small businesses that have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

GoFundMe Small Business Relief Grants

GoFundMe is offering donation-matching micro-grants of up to $500 for independently owned and operated small businesses hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Representing business owners in Southern California

As a policyholder, you have rights. If you run into problems or need expert legal advice, contact Salamati Law for a free consultation with a Los Angeles business interruption insurance lawyer. Local businesses are the very backbone of our communities, but they are facing unprecedented challenges, especially in the hospitality, retail, and personal service sectors. Moving forward, it’s important to remain flexible, get creative, and track your losses.

Additional Resources:

  1. California Government, Coronavirus 2019
  2. Venturize, COVID-19 EMERGENCY LOANS
  3. Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) RESOURCE GUIDE
  4. LA Times, Congress passes expanded small-business loan funding to address coronavirus shutdowns
  5. LISC, LISC Small Business Relief Grants
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COVID-19, Business Insurance, & the Restaurant Industry

May 5, 2020 Business Interruption Insurance

In the interests of public health and safety, many states, including California, have issued stay-at-home orders that shut down non-essential

In the interests of public health and safety, many states, including California, have issued stay-at-home orders that shut down non-essential businesses. While these measures are necessary for saving human lives by curbing the transmission of the coronavirus, they have had a devastating effect on the economy.

The restaurant industry, in particular, has been hard hit. Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., over eight million restaurant workers have been laid off or furloughed. In addition, the National Restaurant Association has predicted that the restaurant industry alone will lose approximately $80 billion in sales by the start of May 2020.

The restaurant industry in the U.S. has never been faced with such a monumental challenge, and when this industry takes a hit, so too does the entire country. The industry contributes about $900 billion to the economy annually and employs well over 15 million people. In short, what is bad for the restaurant industry is bad for the country as a whole.

So, what can be done about this problem? Some restauranteurs are turning to their business interruption insurance for the answer. Filing California coronavirus business interruption insurance claims are thought to provide a way for restaurants to bridge the gap while waiting for the COVID-19 pandemic to resolve.

Can California coronavirus business interruption insurance claims help?

Every business needs at least one type of insurance. One smart policy for restauranteurs to purchase is business interruption insurance. It’s intended to replace the lost income and extra expenses caused by covered perils. Restaurant owners have traditionally used business interruption insurance to help them survive damage due to theft, fire, lightning, floods, and similar disasters.

Now, an increasing number of restaurateurs are turning to their business interruption policies in hopes they will consider the coronavirus to be a covered natural disaster. And when those claims are denied, there is a possibility of pursuing litigation against the insurance carrier to secure coverage.

California requires insurance carriers to investigate all COVID-related claims

On April 14, the California Department of Insurance released a statement regarding the restaurateurs filing coronavirus-related claims against their business interruption insurance policies. Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara stated that his department had issued a notice that requires insurance companies to comply with all contractual and legal obligations, and to “fairly investigate all business interruption claims caused by COVID-19.”

This statement came on the heels of multiple complaints Lara’s department has received from businesses and similar stakeholders. They claimed that various insurance representatives were attempting to discourage policyholders from filing claims because of COVID-19.

Other policyholders have reported that their insurance carriers have outright refused to initiate or to proceed with coronavirus-related business interruption claims. Commissioner Lara’s statement is promising for restauranteurs in California who have been forced to shut their doors and lose income due to COVID-19.

Legal recourse for restauranteurs with denied claims

Unfortunately, restaurant owners in California still can’t rely on their insurance carriers to do right by their claims. Restauranteurs who have filed California coronavirus business interruption insurance claims and have been denied (or have had their insurance carrier refuse to initiate a claim) may have avenues for legal recourse. Filing a lawsuit may be a viable solution.

Law offices across the country are expecting a wave of restaurant owners to file these types of lawsuits against insurance carriers, given the sheer scale of the economic losses the industry has suffered. One of the first restaurants is the Oceana Grill, located in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Oceana Grill filed its lawsuit against insurer Lloyd’s of London.

The complaint notes that the plaintiff’s insurance policy has coverage for the interruption of business by order of civil authority, and the lawsuit asserts that the government mandate to close non-essential businesses falls into this category.

Schedule a business interruption insurance consultation today

In Los Angeles and throughout Southern California, Salamati Law has acquired a reputation for vigorously defending the legal rights of its clients and aggressively pursuing favorable resolutions on their behalf. We have been providing legal representation to individuals in the area for two decades. If your restaurant has suffered a loss of income due to COVID-19, and you are attempting to file a business interruption insurance claim as a result, you can find the strategic guidance you need at the Salamati Law.

Contact us today to request a free initial consultation with a results-focused attorney. We are currently accepting new business clients who grossed $200,000-plus per month before the coronavirus outbreak. A Los Angeles business interruption insurance lawyer will review your case and advise you on the merits of pursuing litigation.

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What are the Most Common Causes of Fatal Car Accidents?

November 25, 2019 Auto Accidents, Personal Injury Lawsuits, Wrongful Death Claims

Both throughout the nation and in California, far too many deaths are caused by car accidents. What are the most

Both throughout the nation and in California, far too many deaths are caused by car accidents. What are the most common causes of fatal car accidents? Read on.

The #1 Most Common Cause: Driving Under the Influence

Drunk driving, or driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, is the cause of roughly 33% of all fatal car accidents through the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In most states, including California, a driver is considered to be DUI if they have a blood alcohol count (BAC) of 0.08% or above.

The #2 Most Common Cause: Speeding

Driving over the speed limit is estimated to be the second most common cause of deadly crashes, resulting in roughly 30% of traffic deaths.

It’s important to be aware that speeding is a contributing cause to multiple types of accidents. Side collisions, for example, are fatal 27% of the time, partly because that category of accident includes the type termed T-bones, where a car hits another directly in the side, impacting people sitting on that side.

T-bone accidents are frequently caused by a driver going too fast to stop properly at an intersection. The driver whose turn it is pulls out, not realizing the other driver isn’t stopping.

The #3 Most Common Cause: Reckless Driving

Reckless driving is the third most common cause of traffic fatalities. This includes failure to stop at intersections, passing improperly, following other cars too close, and violating other rules of the road. Rear-end crashes, which can be caused by following other vehicles too closely, cause 29% of all accidents.

Reckless driving also includes not paying attention to weather or climate conditions. Rain can make southern California roads very dangerous, increasing the risk of hydroplaning. Smoke or fog can affect visibility, which increases the risk of collisions. Drivers need to take into account weather and climate conditions.

The #4 Most Common Cause: Distracted Driving

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving caused 10% of all fatalities in 2015. Distracted driving can be caused by using smartphones while driving (to message, read, or talk on the phone). It can also be caused by a driver paying more attention to passengers or the passing scene than the road.

Distracted driving has been an increasing threat to motorists for at least a decade.

When You Need a Car Accident Lawyer in Los Angeles

Fatal car accidents are a tragedy, especially because so many are easily prevented.

If you or a loved one was the victim of a car accident, Sean Salamati can help. Please call the expert Los Angeles auto accident attorneys at the Salamati Law Firm at 800-957-9898 today to discuss your case. We are experienced personal injury and wrongful death attorneys in Los Angeles.

Your case will be reviewed by seasoned professionals and there is no charge to you for an initial consultation.

Additional Resources:

  1. Campanella, Joe. 5 Common Causes of Car Accidents and How to Avoid Them. The Allstate Blog.
  2. King, Laiza. “Top 15 Causes Of Car Accidents And How You Can Prevent Them.” Huffington Post. August 31, 2016.
  3. United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Motor Vehicle Safety. Impaired Driving. Sobering Facts: Drunk Driving State Fact Sheets.
  4. United States Department of Transportation. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Distracted Driving 2015.
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How Much Time Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Los Angeles?

March 29, 2019 Personal Injury Lawsuits

Time restrictions apply when it comes to filing a personal injury lawsuit in California. If you do not file your

statute of limitations

Time restrictions apply when it comes to filing a personal injury lawsuit in California. If you do not file your claim within the allotted window of time, you may lose your right to receive substantial money damages to cover the cost of your injuries, including medical bills and lost wages. Don’t leave money on the table by failing to file your claim in a timely manner! Contact seasoned Los Angeles personal injury lawyer Sean Salamati to learn about the deadlines for bringing a claim and to find out how much your case might be worth.

California Statute of Limitations

California has a statute of limitations that governs how long an injured party has to file a personal injury lawsuit. A statute of limitations is a specific span of time, after which no suit can be brought.

If you or a loved one has been injured, impaired, or become ill due to the negligent actions of another party, you may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit. The other party can be a person, a company, or a service provider, such as a landlord or doctor. However, the injured party must file a claim within the timespan allowed by the statute of limitations.

The statute of limitations in California for personal injury lawsuits is two years from the date of the accident, or the date when the injured person first knew they were injured. Not all injuries or illnesses manifest right away. It can take years for a person whose workplace contained cancer-causing components, for example, to develop cancer.

What Is Negligence?

In all cases, to be negligent, the party you bring an action against must bear responsibility for either behaving in a safe manner or keeping property or clientele safe. A person, for example, is responsible for operating a car safely and according to California law. A company is responsible for maintaining the reasonable safety of its products and its workers. A landlord must keep her property safe for tenants. A doctor must do no harm to her patients.

The responsible party must have had time to rectify any unsafe conditions. A landlord, for instance, needs time to repair a broken stair. But the time cannot be unreasonable: unsafe conditions need to be fixed promptly. The time should be no longer than required to notice an unsafe condition and have it repaired.

If they do not act in accordance with safety standards, and either know their actions to be unsafe or should have known, they can be held liable for any personal injury that occurs as a result of their negligence.

For other parties to be liable, the injury, impairment, or illness you sustained has to have been caused by the actions. That may seem obvious, but it’s part of the law. In other words, you may have a broken leg caused by slipping on ice. But for your landlord to be responsible, the ice you slipped on has to have been part of his property or directly related to it, such as the sidewalk in front.

If You Need a Personal Injury Attorney in California

If you were injured, impaired, or became ill because of another party’s negligence, reckless behavior or wrongdoing, Sean Salamati will fight for your right to monetary compensation. The Salamati Law Firm has successfully recovered millions of dollars in damages for our clients. Call us today for a free consultation. There is no charge unless we win your case!

Additional References:

  1. California Courts. Statute of Limitations.
  2. California Courts. Before You File Your Case.

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What Are PTSD Personal Injury Claims?

March 13, 2019 Personal Injury Lawsuits

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychological condition that can be caused by life-threatening events. While the term came into

Doctor analyzing human skull x-ray

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychological condition that can be caused by life-threatening events. While the term came into wide use after the Vietnam War, and veterans can have PTSD, other kinds of traumatic experiences can also cause the condition.

A severe car crash, for example, can result in PTSD. In fact, it is estimated that between one-fourth to one-third of car accident victims develop PTSD. A physical or sexual assault, or even natural disasters, such as a fire or flood, can also cause the condition.

Symptoms Can Impair Sufferers

A PTSD sufferer sometimes relives the emotions of the life-threatening event. As a result, they can be severely impaired in performing functions the rest of us take for granted. Everything from going to a job every day to relationships can become challenging or impossible. They may not be able to drive if the precipitating cause was a car accident. They may fear going out, or fear places similar to where the life-threatening event occurred.

PTSD sufferers may feel severely anxious, depressed, and jittery. They may start to avoid contact with people or certain situations. They can become isolated. They may attempt to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs.

These symptoms can develop immediately or develop gradually over time. If untreated, they can last indefinitely and may worsen over time.

Personal Injury Claims for PTSD

If you or a loved one has developed PTSD as a result of a life-threatening event caused by the negligent actions of another party, you may be entitled to bring a personal injury lawsuit to receive compensation for damages.

Compensation can include payment of medical or psychiatric bills, therapy costs, and even lost wages if PTSD has made if difficult or impossible to work. Payment for retraining for another occupation may also be possible.

PTSD cases require a thorough evaluation of your condition by qualified medical personnel. A legal case will also require expert testimony on what PTSD is, the symptoms, and what problems it can cause.

In California, PTSD personal injury cases have a statute of limitations, after which the court will not hear a case. The time frame you have in which to file your claim is generally two years from the time of the life-threatening event or the time when PTSD symptoms first manifested.

PTSD Personal Injury Lawyer in Los Angeles

If you’ve developed PTSD that has impaired your life because of another party’s negligence, reckless behavior or wrongdoing, it’s good to know the law in California is on your side. Los Angeles personal injury lawyer Sean Salamati has successfully recovered millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for his clients. We are an aggressive firm that will protect your rights.

Call us today for a free consultation. There is no charge for our services unless we win your case!

Additional Resources:

  1. American Psychological Association. Clinical Practice Guideline for the Treatment of PTSD. February 24, 2017.
  2. National Institute for Mental Health. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

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Can You Sue Your Spouse for Personal Injury?

March 12, 2019 Personal Injury Lawsuits

At first glance, it might seem rare for one spouse to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other spouse.

At first glance, it might seem rare for one spouse to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other spouse. However, this situation is more common than you might think. Furthermore, the act of suing one’s spouse doesn’t only happen in cases of marital separation or a pending divorce. In fact, it’s quite possible for both spouses to maintain good relations with each other, yet still proceed with a lawsuit. Here’s a quick breakdown of how and why this happens.

Interspousal immunity torts

Historically, it has been prohibited for one spouse to sue the other under interspousal immunity torts. Interspousal immunity is based on the concept that a woman’s legal identity becomes inseparable from her husband’s legal identity when the two marry. This legal concept originated prior to the strengthening of the women’s rights movement in the U.S. Since that time, interspousal immunity has been abolished in nearly every state, including California.

Why one spouse might sue the other spouse

Personal injury lawsuits often stem from car accidents. If you consider that many spouses spend a great deal of time together in a vehicle, it makes sense that many accidents occur when two spouses are in the same car, and that in some of those accidents, one of the spouses is at fault for the crash. This is one reason why interspousal lawsuits are more common than you might think.

Furthermore, auto insurance companies are notorious for using every possible loophole to get out of paying for damages. If the insurance settlement won’t cover the medical expenses and other damages, then it may be necessary to have a personal injury attorney file a lawsuit. The lawyer may file a lawsuit against one spouse on behalf of the other in an effort to force the insurance company to pay up. That’s why an intermarital lawsuit doesn’t necessarily indicate that the marriage is on the rocks.

However, some spouses can and do sue each other as the marriage is disintegrating. These lawsuits might stem from incidents of domestic violence, including physical and sexual assault. A personal injury attorney can file a civil lawsuit on behalf of a victim, even if there is a criminal case already pending against the spouse. The civil lawsuit may demand compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress, among other damages.

What to know about domestic torts

When one spouse has intentionally inflicted harm on the other spouse, the civil lawsuit that may be filed may be referred to as a domestic tort. Like many other legal matters involving personal injuries, there is a statute of limitations. In California, this deadline is two years. However, the statute of limitations for false imprisonment is only one year. It’s always best to seek legal guidance from an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

Where to turn for legal help in Los Angeles

Sean Salamati and his legal team at the Salamati Law Firm have extensive experience handling complex litigation. Each of our clients is given the highest level of compassionate, personal attention. During the past 20 years, our law firm has successfully recovered maximum compensation on behalf of our personal injury clients in southern California. Call now to request a confidential consultation with our Los Angeles personal injury attorney.

Additional resources on personal injury lawsuits:

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What Is the Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death in California?

February 8, 2019 Wrongful Death Claims

A loved one’s death may always seem “wrong,” but in the eyes of the law, a wrongful death is defined

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

A loved one’s death may always seem “wrong,” but in the eyes of the law, a wrongful death is defined as one that occurred as a result of another person’s negligence or wrongful conduct. A wrongful death lawsuit may be filed by a personal injury lawyer on behalf of surviving family members.

While it can’t bring the decedent back, a wrongful death claim may help the surviving family seek closure for their loss and justice on behalf of their loved one. Like other civil lawsuits, wrongful death claims are subjected to statutes of limitations.

What Is a Statute of Limitation?

A statute of limitations is a regulation that prohibits legal claims made after a certain period of time. There are statutes of limitations for both criminal and civil actions. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action.

Statutes of limitations are established by the states, and so the time limits can vary from one state to the next. Within one state, there are different statutes of limitations on different types of legal actions. For each, the clock begins ticking on the date that the incident happened, the date it was discovered, or the date on which reasonable efforts could have discovered it.

If your loved one lost his or her life due to the negligence or misconduct of another person, the statute of limitations places a deadline on your legal right to file a lawsuit. It is crucial to understand the deadline for this type of legal claim because you will forfeit your right to file a lawsuit unless you consult an attorney in a timely manner.

Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Lawsuits in California

The California legislature has determined that surviving family members may only file a lawsuit against a negligent party for the wrongful death of their loved one if they do so before two years have passed. This two year statute of limitations is applicable for all types of wrongful death claims in California. It includes wrongful death stemming from car accidents, a slip and fall accident, medical malpractice, product liability, toxic substance exposure, and work-related deaths.

How Long Should Family Members Wait to File a Claim?

Two years might seem like a long time, especially in the wake of a loved one’s death when grief and mourning take priority. However, it is in the best interests of the family to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Long before a lawsuit is filed, the lawyer must conduct a pre-filing investigation. Since evidence can degrade over time and the memories of eyewitnesses can become unreliable, it’s best to begin the evidence collection process for your wrongful death lawsuit right away.

Protect Your Legal Rights

Due to the risk of the statute of limitations expiring, it’s in the best interests of surviving family members to contact a Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer at the Salamati Law Firm as soon as possible. We will review your case free of charge, with no obligation to you. Every case is important to us, and every client receives the same caliber of uncompromising care and attention.

We understand that the loss of a loved one is a devastating tragedy that can never truly be mitigated. However, we sincerely hope that holding accountable those who are responsible for your loved one’s death will bring your family peace. For the vigorous legal advocacy services you need and the compassionate care you deserve, reach out today.

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How Do You Prove Wrongful Death in California?

February 5, 2019 Wrongful Death Claims

When the sudden loss of a relative or loved one is caused by the negligent actions of another party, litigation

Wrongful Death report and gavel in a court.

When the sudden loss of a relative or loved one is caused by the negligent actions of another party, litigation cannot alleviate your pain, heartache and suffering. However, legal action may provide the financial resources for surviving family to surmount the enormous economic burdens imposed by an untimely and unjust passing. Every state has different rules pertaining to wrongful death claims. In California, family members of the decedent can pursue damages in a wrongful death claim with the aid of a knowledgeable wrongful death lawyer in Los Angeles. Effective representation in Los Angeles is available at Salamati Law, where our legal team is committed to educating clients about their rights, and the elements necessary to prove a wrongful death.

California wrongful death claims – a civil case for damages

A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action that seeks monetary reparations for the passing of a loved one. This legal procedure is different than a criminal prosecution for wrongful death, which does not award damages to surviving relatives. The individual or people who file the wrongful death claim are known as the “plaintiffs.” The plaintiff is usually the surviving spouse, children, parent or legal civil partner of the deceased. In some situations, a court-appointed executor of the decedent’s estate or personal representative will act as the plaintiff.  Damages awarded in a wrongful death case will account for the loss of love, guidance, companionship and financial support as well as compensation for emotional suffering, sorrow and grief. Plaintiffs can seek to recover both economic and non-economic damages for the wrongful death of a loved one, and while the majority of claims are resolved through pre-trial settlements, others may go before a jury.

Elements necessary to prove a wrongful death

In order to file a wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiff must present certain legal elements. The plaintiff must also supply adequate evidence to meet the burden of proof in California, which supports your allegations that the willful acts or negligence of another party caused or contributed to the wrongful death.

These four elements are:

  1. A Duty of Care Existed – the plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed the decedent a “duty of care.” As an example, all motorists have a duty of care, or obligation, to follow the rules of the road to avoid accidents and injury.
  2. The Duty of Care is Breached — the plaintiff must also prove that the defendant failed to adhere to their duty of care to the decedent. A person who drives while texting or under the influence of alcohol is breaching their duty of care to other drivers, pedestrians and bystanders.
  3. Causation – This element is perhaps the most critical. Plaintiffs must also show that this specific breach was responsible for the death in question. Even if the defendant was driving while drunk, if the decedent was killed because his car’s brakes failed, there is not a valid claim for damages.
  4. The Death Resulted in Hardships for the Survivors – the plaintiff must also show that surviving family members have suffered physical, emotional and financial losses because of the wrongful death.

Sufficient proof of negligence will hinge on the circumstances of the accident that caused the death. A breach of duty can be negligent property maintenance, surgical errors, violating traffic laws or even failing to warn consumers about a product’s side effects or risks.

Statute of limitations for wrongful death actions

Under California law, surviving family members and members of the estate have just two years to take legal action after the wrongful death of a loved one. When tragedy strikes and a fatal crash leaves you bereft of a mother, father or child, your first step should be consulting a car accident attorney at Salamati Law for sound legal guidance.

No matter what the circumstances, proving liability for a wrongful death is no simple task. Although your legal counsel is not required to present a preponderance of evidence to prevail, they must have compelling evidence that bolsters the credibility of a claim.  For this reason, among others, it’s best to align yourself with a reputable Los Angeles personal injury lawyer at Salamati Law. Call today to schedule a free case review. Our team is available to take your call 24/7.

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