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Freeman & Freeman LLP
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Legal Protection for Bicycle Accidents: An increasing number of people are commuting to work on bicycles in order to save fuel, as well as to get exercise en route. The number of leisure bicyclists is also increasing substantially. While biking is an admirable and beneficial activity, the unfortunate reality is that bicycle accidents are occurring at an alarming rate. In fact, bicyclists and pedestrians are hit by motor vehicles throughout the greater Los Angeles area on a near-daily basis. The city has more than 1,200 miles of pathways that are specifically dedicated to bicyclists. However, many of these routes run along busy roadways where motor vehicles and bikes vie for space. In a statistical report that was compiled by the California Highway Patrol motor vehicle drivers were shown to be at fault approximately forty percent of the time where the bicyclist was seriously injured or sustained fatal injuries. If you are injured in a bicycle accident in the Los Angeles metro area, your health and well-being are the first concern. It is advisable to seek medical attention immediately, even if you do not think you have been seriously injured. A trained professional physician can let you know the extent of the injury and advise you about the best ways in which to take care of yourself. Here are some other things to do after a bike accident: Documentation As soon as possible after the accident, jot down when and where it happened. If possible, gather any names of people who were involved in or who witnessed what happened. If you have your cell phone or camera with you, it can help to take photos of the site where the accident occurred. Include pictures that show any damage to your body or property, and that, if possible, can be used to illustrate exactly how the accident occurred. It is a good idea to call the police after a notable accident. They may be able to offer quick medical attention on the spot, if necessary, as well as to obtain any emergency services needed to treat any injuries. It is also important to file a police report at this time and to request a copy of the report to give to your attorney. Any clothing worn at the time of the accident, the helmet or other related items should be kept so they can be used as evidence, if necessary. The same is true for receipts for bicycle repairs, replacements for protective equipment or accessories. If the driver of the motor vehicle has insurance, chances are, you will receive a call from his or her insurance adjuster. At this time, one should obtain the name, address and contact information for the insurance carrier, as well as the claim number for the accident and any pertinent information. However, do not discuss any of the following or do the following when dealing with the insurance agent: * Do not discuss whose fault the accident was * Do not issue any general statements about the accident * Do not discuss settlements * Do not sign any forms Instead, immediately call a qualified attorney who specializes in protecting those who have sustained personal injuries. If you are injured in a bicycle accident or would like to have more information, please contact us. We are a personal injury law firm serving Los Angeles and the surrounding metro areas, including the San Fernando Valley, Woodland Hills, Van Nuys, Encino, Thousand Oaks and North Hollywood.
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Own a Pool? Follow These Steps to Protect Yourself Against Pool Injuries and Drowning Accidents on Your Property: Enjoying your backyard swimming pool with friends and family members on a hot summer afternoon can be a welcome way to beat the heat, but nothing can make a pool owner's blood run cold like the thought of a serious pool injury or drowning accident occurring on his property. If you are a pool owner, there are important steps you can take to lessen the likelihood of a tragedy occurring in your own backyard oasis. Check the Equipment One of the best ways to prevent a swimming accident is to make sure all your equipment is in good working order. While the drain of a pool or spa may seem harmless enough, many drain cover of older pools and spas were designed in such a way that the entire flat cover could be completely blocked by a human torso. If completely blocked, the amount of suction could potentially be strong enough to hold a victim on the bottom of the pool. Newer anti-entrapment covers are required in public swimming pools. Unfortunately, many private pools still have not been retrofitted with a new, safer drain. If you have concerns about the safety of the drain in your pool or spa, contact a professional to have the drain checked and, if necessary, fitted with a new cover. Additionally, keep lifesaving floatation devices and rescue poles in plain sight and easily accessible. If you do not own these important pieces of safety equipment, make it a priority to obtain them today. Secure Your Pool A fence is a basic deterrent. While it is likely that any determined person will be able to access your swimming area, a fence around your pool can send a powerful message for others to stay away, and the presence of a fence, or lack thereof, can affect your liability if a tragedy should occur on you property. Your fence should be at least four feet high, and gates should be both self-closing and self-latching. To prevent a determined child from pushing the gate open, gates should always swing out, away from the swimming area. Educate Yourself And Others Of course, one of the best ways to prevent a swimming injury or accidental drowning is to educate yourself and others regarding water safety. Post your poolside rules in a prominent place. Follow them, and insist that guests do the same. Educate yourself in the basics of CPR so you will be able to react quickly, calmly, and with confidence if an accident should occur. Keeping your pool in good working order, and following proper safety procedures can help ensure that your pool remains an asset, and not a liability. If an accident has occurred on your property, and you are concerned with your legal rights, our staff is standing by to help. Don't hesitate to contact us today!
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Bus Accidents Caused by Human Error are Common: Bus Accidents happen every week in the Los Angeles area. Most of the time these accidents are just a result of bad luck, and no one gets hurt. Statistics show that 90% of bus accidents are the result of human error, at least in part. Sometimes bus drivers get caught on video texting or taking personal calls on their mobile phones. Simple inattention and fatigue can contribute to bus drivers having accidents. In February, a Redondo Beach bus driver accidentally hit and killed an 83-year-old putting another pedestrian in the hospital. The driver is now facing criminal charges connected with the accident. In January, two passengers were ejected from a Greyhound bus that crashed near San Jose. Other bus accidents end like the March 28 bus crash and fire in LA that resulted in a massive fire and injured two people. With hundreds of buses moving students, tourists, and commuters around the metro area on any given day, there are plenty of opportunities for things to go wrong even without human error entering into the equation. Pedestrians and cyclists are especially vulnerable to being seriously injured or killed by careless bus drivers. Bus passengers, pedestrians and other drivers cannot always assume that a bus has been well maintained. If not, bad brakes and worn tires can fail at a crucial moment and cause an accident. Bus passengers, pedestrians, and people in cars can be seriously injured, see their cars wrecked, and so on. If you were injured by a negligent bus driver, don't hesitate to contact us and discuss your case with one of our experienced attorneys.
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Do You Have a Wrongful Death Claim?: Have you recently lost a loved one and wonder if you would be able to bring a wrongful Death lawsuit to court? California law statutes can be confusing at best. Let's start at the beginning, and we'll help you determine if you just might have a case. What Is Wrongful Death? When someone dies due to the negligence or wrongful act of another, a wrongful death has occurred. This is a civil matter, not a criminal one. It is actually possible to bring forth a wrongful death lawsuit alongside a criminal trial proceeding. These two actions would be totally separate cases. Who Can File a Lawsuit? Not everyone can file a claim under this statute. The law gives the following people the ability to bring a lawsuit. * The deceased's spouse or domestic partner * The deceased's children * If there is no one directly in line to inherit the deceased's estate, then anyone who is entitled to the estate by intestate succession may file. This could include the deceased's parents, siblings, etc. In addition to those listed above, the following people may bring a claim if they can prove they were financially dependent on the deceased. * An ex-spouse and their children * The deceased's parents * Step-children What Damages Are Available? Keep in mind, this is a civil case, not criminal. Any damages awarded will be monetary in nature. Money can be awarded to cover the funeral and final expenses, as well as future income that the deceased would have earned had they lived to a normal age. Family members may also be entitled to financial compensation for loss of love, household services, and even moral support. If you believe that you may have a wrongful death claim, please contact us for a consultation. We can help you work through the process and get the compensation you deserve from the negligent party.
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Bicycle Accidents: Motorists May be Liable for Dooring: As more Americans realize the health and wellness benefits of bicycling, bicycle accidents are becoming more common. In most jurisdictions, bicycles must follow the same rules as cars and liability in an accident is determined using the same methods as in an accident involving two cars. "Dooring" is a type of accident that primarily impacts bicycles. Dooring occurs when a motorist opens his door into traffic, either striking a cyclist or placing an obstacle in the cyclist's path. Dooring can cause severe injuries either through the direct impact or by pushing a cyclist in front of a moving vehicle. The risk of dooring is exacerbated by the instructions that cyclists are often given about how to ride. Many state and local governments ask bicyclists to ride to the right of the lane. This places them in an area where they are at risk of being hit by a door. Most jurisdictions have laws against unsafely opening a door into traffic. For instance, California's vehicle code 22517 states: "No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of such traffic...". Laws against unsafe opening of a door create an infraction that police or accident investigators can cite during an accident investigation. Such a citation can help to define liability during an accident. If you have been hit by a car door while riding your bicycle, you may be due compensation for your injuries. To find out more, please contact us.
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Brain Injuries / Back Injuries / Spinal Cord Injuries May Lead to Major Lawsuits: On February 5, 2016, a lower Manhattan crane collapse garnered nationwide coverage. A 38-year-old man walking to work died in the accident. Three other individuals sustained injuries of varying severity. One of them was a man who was sitting in a parked car, waiting for his daughter to complete a medical appointment. The 73-year-old Massachusetts man suffered fractures to both his skull and spine when the crane boom came down on him. Buildings Department Faulted On Friday, March 18, 2016, the attorney for the man filed a complaint with the New York City Controller that blamed the city buildings department for failing to adequately monitor the construction site. In the complaint, the department is accused of "negligence, recklessness and carelessness." A $30 million lawsuit names the New York City Department of Buildings as the defendant, according to the New York Daily News. The suit claims that the department failed to consider weather reports that predicted high winds across New York City on the date of the crane collapse. Medical Evaluation Continues The case illustrates some of the potential consequences of brain injuries, back injuries and spinal cord injuries. The injured man is still being evaluated for a possible traumatic brain injury according to his attorney. It is also possible that he'll require spinal surgery to repair the fractures. The retired businessman and dirt bike enthusiast now faces repeated visits to a Boston physician's office. Although the circumstances of every construction accident are unique, it is important that there be a knowledgeable analysis of which parties were negligent. When it is reasonable to assert negligence in such an accident, it is often possible for a victim to seek monetary damages for a variety of losses, including medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages. If you or a family member suffers injury or loss of life in an accident, it is possible to review the details with a personal injury attorney focused on relevant areas of the law. Our firm offers this type of consultation free of charge. To learn more, please contact us.
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Hit & Run? Don't Be Hit & Burned: Car accidents aren't always so plain and simple. Unfortunately, all too many auto accidents are made more complex because one of the individuals leaves the scene. When a driver does this without purposefully leaving behind information, it is called a hit and run accident. Don't worry if you find yourself in an accident like this, though; hiring a lawyer can help you seek compensation for your damages. California Law Requires You Stop After an Accident As in any other state, California drivers are required to pull over to the side of the road and follow procedure for obtaining driver information. This is the case whether you caused damage to property (like a vehicle or a mailbox) or a person (like a pedestrian or bicyclist). You are required to stop as soon as it is safe to do so. If somebody continues to drive on, they are breaking the law. This is even the case if the vehicle hit is unaccompanied. What If The Other Driver Runs? While there are criminal penalties, even prison time, in place for drivers who run, these only work if they can be identified. Many drivers have dashcams that capture the driver's license plate, make, and model. Even a cell phone picture can aid the identification process. You are probably more interested in the potential civil penalties. If you have the identity of the other driver, you can take them to court. You can sue to cover the costs of medical bills, wages lost, and damage to property. How Can a Lawyer Help You If You've Been Hit & Run? * A lawyer can prove that the other driver was liable for the accident before running. * A lawyer can demonstrate that you were injured or deserve compensation based on the accident. * Lawyers are familiar with court communications and meeting deadlines. * Your lawyer can prevent the insurance company from coming after you. * Lawyers understand the significance of a fair settlement, and can easily calculate a manageable amount. Without a lawyer you are on your own when it comes to getting your case to trial. The process of identifying and fighting a hit and runner driver in court can be difficult without solid legal counsel. Do you have questions about your hit and run case? We may be able to help. Contact us and let us know how we can be of service.
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Pool Accidents and Drownings: Swimming pool accidents, drownings and near drownings occur far too frequently in the United States, and with devastating results. According to a CDC article based on US mortality through 2007, drowning is the fifth leading cause for unintentional injury death. And, while California did not lead the nation, it was unfortunately among the top 10 states for numbers of drowning deaths. While our climate lends itself to enjoying the sunny weather outside, it also means we are more at risk of being injured or drowning at the pool. If a pool accident does not result in death, the effects are often both debilitating and expensive, including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, disembowelment, and permanent brain damage. A number of things can lead to pool accidents, including: * Broken or defective pool equipment; * Poorly maintained pools and pool decks; * Inadequate supervision; * Inadequate fencing and/or inadequate gates around the pool area; * Other negligence. If you own a swimming pool, take steps to help minimize the risk of pool injuries or deaths, including: * Learn CPR, and keep your certification current; * Make sure children will be closely supervised in and around the pool; * Make sure the pool area is secure by installing fencing and gates, using pool safety covers, and removing steps and ladders when not in use. If someone you love was injured or died as a result of a swimming pool accident, you may have the legal right to seek compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering and other monetary losses. Contact us to find out how Freeman & Freeman may be able to help you aggressively fight for your rights.
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You Got Bit? Don't Get Burned by Ignoring California's Dog Bite Law: Dogs are wonderful companions, but when poorly trained by their masters and under limited supervision, they can be a threat to the community. If you or someone you know has been attacked by an unsupervised dog, California's Dog Bite Law states that the owner of the animal must be held responsible for the actions of their pet. Before paying for hefty medical bills, be sure to understand that you may be able to take legal action against the dog owner to make sure that the fault of their actions doesn't have to come out of your wallet. California Civil Code Section 3342 states, in its simplest terms, that the owner of any dog is held liable for damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog on either public or private property, which includes the dog owner's home. This also holds true regardless of whether or not this was the dog's first display of viciousness. The only exceptions to the law is if the dog bite victim was provoking the animal, trespassing, or in the process of committing a crime. When to Seek Legal Representation? If you were the victim of a dog bite that resulted in either physical injury or documented emotional trauma, you are eligible for litigation against the dog owner. With strong evidence of the event, you can also seek to any damages caused by the traumatic event. Claim damages can include: * Medical expenses * Lost wages * Surgeries * Pain and suffering * Emotional distress Were you or a loved one bit by a dog in California and forced to pay your own legal expenses? We can help. Contact us for a free consultation, we can make sure that you can win your court case before paying a penny in legal fees.
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Checklist: Steps to Take After an Auto Accident: Drivers who are in an auto accident are often unsure of what to do immediately following the crash. They are overwhelmed with emotions and find it hard to think clearly. Therefore it is wise to be aware of the steps to take if you are ever in a collision BEFORE you face the situation. Consider the following checklist of steps to take after an auto accident. Injuries: Check all occupants of all vehicles involved in the collision to see if anyone is injured and in need of medical attention. Call for an ambulance if needed. Keep in mind that some injuries do not show up immediately after the accident but surface hours later. Check yourself and your passengers again at a later time to verify no one is experiencing any pain or discomfort. Record Information: Many people know to exchange insurance information but there are more details that should be recorded immediately following the accident. Include the following: * Insurance information for all vehicles. * Contact information for all drivers and any witnesses. * Number of passengers and approximate age in each car. * Injuries that occurred. * Make and Model of all vehicles. * License plates of all vehicles * Weather conditions at the time of the accident. * Traffic level at the time of the accident. * Your version of what happened. Include a sketch of the accident scene. * Photographs of the scene of the accident and damage to the vehicles. Don't Apologize: Avoid apologizing to the other driver at the time of the accident. This may be taken as you admitting you caused the accident. It is best not to say anything about who was responsible at this time. Don't Accept a Settlement: The insurance company may want to settle the claim right away. Although this seems wonderful because you can start repairing your car and recovering from your injuries it is most likely an attempt to get you to accept less than you deserve. Keep in mind that your injuries may require a considerable amount of medical attention in the future. Contact us before you settle so we can help you determine the value of a settlement you will really need to fully recover. If you are in a car accident in the future keep the above checklist in mind immediately following the crash. These steps will help protect you financially.
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