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Farm Truck Accidents

Farm Truck Accidents

Although a vast majority of farm truck accidents occur in Midwestern states, where agriculture is simply a way of life, California is not immune to them. In fact, Southern California has many farms, both large and small, that require the use of public roads by farm equipment. Crashes involving both farm trucks and motor vehicles are happening more frequently, and it’s important to know the why and where of it as well as what is contributing to the increase.

Why Farm Truck Accidents Are Frequent

There are many contributing factors to the rise in accidents involving passenger vehicles and farm trucks. The biggest reason is farm trucks are now much bigger than they used to be. Farms do this to maximize efficiency, but it can be hazardous to other motor vehicles.

More traffic and higher speeds on rural roads are two additional factors. As more and more people are moving out of the bigger cities of the greater LA area and into smaller, quieter neighborhoods like those in the Central Valley, two-lane roads now see much more traffic. This will increase the likelihood of being involved in a farm truck accident. Due to the increase in population, these two-lane roads are also being upgraded, and many speed limits are being raised. Higher speeds result in a greater likelihood you will be involved in an accident, no matter the vehicle type.

Where Farm Truck Accidents are Occurring

You might think Southern California farm truck accidents are only common in rural areas. A study of midwestern states concluded that nearly 30 percent of these types of accidents are in more populated areas. It’s reasonable to assume that in Southern California, where even rural areas have greater populations, this number may be higher.

There are certain road conditions and travel areas that are likely to see an increase in farm truck accidents, including curvy roads, roads that are narrow, areas with higher speed limits or traffic rates, and roads that lead to and from the farms and the markets.

Types of Injuries

While the possible injuries sustained rely mostly on the type of farm equipment and type of motor vehicle, some types of injuries are more common than others. Many farm truck accidents are rear end collisions, due to the slow travel of the farm truck. While these may not be the fault of the truck driver, they result in the most fatalities.

More common accidents can result in everything from minor scrapes and bruises to broken bones, life-threatening concussions and immediate death. As you can see, there is a broad range of possible injuries.

Legal Representation

The areas of Fresno, Visalia, Bakersfield and Glendale see their fair share of farm truck accidents. If you’ve been injured in an accident involving a farm truck, it’s important to seek legal representation, so you can get the medical treatment you need as well as maintain your standard of living. The Maison Law Firm may be able to help you receive compensation for your injuries. Martin Gasparian is one of the most experienced personal injury lawyers in the Central Valley. You deserve the best.

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The Unsafe 3-D Jobs of Migrant Workers

3-D Jobs

Jobs known as “3-D” have pros and cons. The biggest con is high numbers of migrant workers are exploited each year in many areas of the county, and Southern California in particular. But what are migrant workers and what are 3-D jobs?

What are 3-D jobs?

Most commonly, a 3-Job is one that is Dirty, Dangerous and Demeaning. This can be anything from picking fruit in an apple orchard to scrubbing floors in a butchery. Whatever type of job it is, there are several official definitions.

The International Organization for Migration states publicly that migrant workers’ rights aren’t negotiable. Migrant workers can be separated into two categories: economic migrants and labor migrants. Someone who travels to invest in local infrastructure, or to do work that is typically performed in another state is known as an economic migrant. Those who move frequently to find labor, whether skilled or unskilled, are considered labor migrants.

The International Labor Union considers migrant workers those who travel to a new country to seek employment. This includes those who enter a country illegally to obtain employment.

The United Nations focuses on those who cross borders illegally – those who are undocumented – to obtain employment as migrant workers, despite skills as a laborer or even education and economic status.

Regional Factors Regarding Migrant Workers

Many areas where there are high numbers of migrant workers, 3-D jobs are offered. These locales often have higher numbers of both legal and illegal immigrants as well as high rates of unemployment and poverty. Poverty and unemployment typically force laborers to turn to 3-D jobs just to make ends meet, regardless of ethnicity. These factors can force migrant workers across borders for work, in order to financially support their families. They can force someone who has been laid off or can’t find work that matches their skillset into these dirty, dangerous and demeaning jobs.

Exploitation

Unfortunately, many labor migrants are exploited by those who employ them. Being a part of the underserved population usually makes you more susceptible to exploitation. 3-D jobs make this even more likely as employers aren’t reporting any information about job conditions, work-related injuries, average pay, etc. This leads some, but not all, migrant workers to end up with very little pay for physically demanding work in unsafe conditions. Due to being stuck in this rut of migrant labor, they may feel it would be difficult to find representation, which is something these employers count on.

Southern California Migrant Worker Statistics

The University of California at Davis found, through a 2016 study, that nearly 60 percent­­ of men who were born in Mexico and now work in agriculture in California are undocumented and have no legal right to work in the US. The numbers of migrant workers in California, especially Southern California, vary greatly throughout the year, due to the seasonal nature of agriculture, which leads to migrant workers often moving elsewhere, during slow times, to find work. In 2016, January saw a low of 344,000 migrant laborers, while there was a peak of 471,000 in August, which is the height of the growing season.

If you are one of the migrant workers in Southern California who is being exploited, whether in the agriculture industry or elsewhere, it’s time to find representation. Call Martin Gasparian at the Maison Law Firm. We have offices in Visalia, Bakersfield, Glendale and Fresno. We are ready to help you not only find compensation for yourself but help prevent future exploitation of migrant workers with 3-D jobs.

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Safe Pedestrian Practices in the Central Valley

Pedestrian

In 2015, 1 out of every 5 children killed in a motor vehicle accident were pedestrians, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC. The elderly are also susceptible to serious injury and death as a pedestrian, as 19 percent of all pedestrians injured were aged 65 or older. No group of people is immune to injury when it comes to these types of accidents.

There are several things pedestrians can do to reduce their risk of injury or wrongful death. We’ve listed the safe pedestrian practices here. By implementing them anytime you are out on a walk, for whatever reason, you can help put yourself and your family at ease.

Avoid Distractions

Being able to hear what is going on around you is vital to staying safe as a pedestrian. If you hear a loud car speeding in your direction, you will be able to step off to the side. If something is headed toward you and someone yells to warn you, you need to be able to hear it. For this reason, it is best not to talk on the phone or listen to headphones while walking. This is especially true of those who jog and like to listen to music – it’s safer not to. Holding a conversation with others you are walking with is usually okay as long as you are still able to pay attention to your surroundings. Avoid drugs or alcohol while walking. It is difficult to pay attention to what’s happening around you when you are under the influence.

Obey Pedestrian Traffic Rules

Not only vehicle operators need to obey the rules of the road. As a pedestrian, you need to walk across the street in designated areas. If that designated area also has signs, obey those as well. These safety measures are in place to help reduce the number of pedestrian accidents, like the one you’re trying to avoid. Always be sure to walk on the sidewalk. If there isn’t one, walk well away from traffic. Never walk along major roads and highways.

Be Visible

If you are wearing a dark outfit and walking at night, it will be very hard for drivers to notice you. Be sure to wear light-colored clothing when walking at night and bright colors during the day. You may also want to invest in reflective clothing or devices you can attach to your clothing, backpack, shoes, etc., that will also help make you more visible. You can also be sure drivers have seen you and are going to stop for you by making eye contact.

Look Both Ways

Most of us learned as a child we need to look both ways before crossing the street. It is important to learn this safe pedestrian practice when young, but it’s also important not to forget it. This one tip can save countless lives. Drivers need to see you, but you also need to see them. You can’t do that unless you look both ways. You also shouldn’t assume just because you see one driver stop to let you walk by everyone else will stop as well.

By planning the walks you take and knowing where you will be and when, by avoiding busy streets and intersections and trying not to walk during peak traffic times, you can also up your chances of avoiding an accident. A pedestrian who isn’t being careful can increase their risk of injury or death due to a motor vehicle accident. Still, if you are involved in an accident, get help right away. Call Martin Gasparian at the Maison Law Firm. A consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer may help you get compensation for your injuries, lost wages and other benefits. Call us today.

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Motorcycles and Road Debris

road debris

Road debris is much more dangerous for motorcycles than for cars and trucks. Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents caused by debris on the road are more common than you would think, even though the number of motorcycle accidents in California has been dropping, despite nationwide increases. Keeping our roads clean has never been more important, as motorcycles are becoming increasingly popular with older adults, even as their popularity is decreasing among Millennials.

There are many types of road debris that can be hazardous for motorcyclists. Some may be the fault of Mother Nature, such as branches in the road after a storm. Some may be the fault of an individual, business, or public agency. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation is helping raise awareness about debris in the road, no matter the cause, but there seem to be more accidents than ever.

Just what are the most common types of debris that cause motorcycle accidents?

Natural Debris

This type of road debris can include tree branches after a storm, sand and dirt in the road after a sandstorm, or gravel that has washed over the road after flooding. Even though debris such as this can’t be helped, many people or agencies are responsible for keeping the roads clean after a storm or other circumstance. If they haven’t followed their own policies and regulations for clearing the road of debris, they might be held liable.

Tire Fragments

Sometimes, a tire blowout is unavoidable, but clearing the tire remnants out of the road is vital to motorcycle safety. In fact, if there’s a blowout and the driver doesn’t clear the road of the debris or make sure someone is notified about the issue so it can be cleaned up professionally, the driver may be held liable. This is a bigger issue with large trucks and semis that often have blowouts due to mileage wear and the use of retread tires.

Accident Road Debris

Accidents on our roads are unavoidable, but they can also cause serious injuries to riders of motorcycles even if the rider wasn’t involved in the initial incident. Car parts, glass, oil and other things left behind after a motor vehicle accident are often not visible to even the most careful rider. Debris such as this can cause serious injury or even wrongful death, if it isn’t cleaned up properly. It is usually the responsibility of a public agency or even the city, county or state to make sure things like this are cleaned properly and pose no danger to motorcyclists and other drivers.

Road Construction

We’ve all seen a barrel or cone from a construction site tipped over into the middle of the road. The bright colors help drivers and drivers avoid them, but sometimes defensive driving just isn’t enough. Tools left behind on the road, materials left behind in the path of traffic or even unmarked or mismarked road hazards due to ongoing construction can all cause motorcycles to wreck. The company contracted to complete the construction is usually responsible for accidents caused by their lack of attention.

Lost Cargo

Whether the vehicle is a light passenger truck or a semi, the cargo they carry can be lost if not properly secured. Cargo that makes it onto the road can cause serious injury or wrongful death due to the negligence of the driver. Even those who pass by lost cargo without reporting it can be held liable for injuries sustained by a motorcyclist. If you aren’t sure how secure the cargo is in the back of the truck, be safe and not sorry, by securing it a different way or finding another way to haul it.

Liability for Road Debris Causing Damage to Motorcycles

As you’ve read, there are many types of road debris. While some are clearly accidents and could not have been avoided, some could have been avoided had drivers or public agencies taken care of the issue. The cause of the accident might be investigated to determine who, exactly, was at fault. The motorcyclist may have been driving recklessly or perhaps another driver was. If the investigation shows the accident was caused by road debris, it is important to find out who was responsible for it, so they can be held accountable.

Those who ride motorcycles should always wear a helmet to help prevent or lessen the severity of injuries sustained in an accident caused by road debris. In 2010, only 71 percent of motorcyclists wore helmets. As of 2017, that percentage has dropped. If you were in a motorcycle accident caused by road debris in Visalia, Fresno or Bakersfield, you can count on Maison Law Firm to act in your best interests. Located in Visalia, we know the issues riders in our area face. Call the Maison Law Firm to schedule a consultation.

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Auto Accidents in Fog: Who’s Responsible?

Car Accident

 

When an accident occurs during bad weather, it is often said the weather caused the accident. In the vast majority of cases, this is a completely misleading claim which attributes action to a weather condition, such as rain or fog. The reality is, except in those rare occasions known as “acts of God,” weather is not considered a cause in an auto accident.

An “act of God” carries legal weight and is rarely employed due to the largely unforeseeable nature of such events. An accident in fog does not meet the required criteria, as it is a foreseeable event in which motorists choose to drive. While foggy conditions may make driving conditions hazardous, it is the actions of the one or more drivers that are the usually the cause of an auto accident.

If you are driving in the fog and get into an accident it is important to determine who is liable. You may have a case for claiming compensation from the other driver if it is established he was liable in causing the auto accident.

Driving in Fog

As with any hazardous road condition, there are additional expectations of motorists when it comes to driving safely. Cars are even designed with fog lights to help motorists see each other in the fog. The most important safety measure, however, is slowing down to account for limited visibility. If you see a car in front of you at the last minute, and are driving at a reasonable speed for the conditions, you will most likely have time to stop.

When another driver collides with your vehicle in the fog, the question of liability will still apply. Was the other driver going too fast to account for limited visibility? Did the driver have low-beam headlights and window-wipers on in order to better see other vehicles? The answers to these questions, and any others which are relevant to the circumstances of the auto accident, will help establish liability.

There is no exact speed dictated for driving in foggy conditions. Each driver is expected to exercise due caution and react to adverse driving conditions accordingly. If, for instance, fog begins to become so thick it is impossible to see the road ahead or other vehicles, it is the responsibility of the driver to get off the road. If a driver continues to driver in conditions with zero visibility and subsequently collides with another vehicle, that driver is responsible for causing the auto accident.

Fog Accident Attorney California

Maison Law can represent you if you have been involved in an auto accident in the fog, which was caused by another party. We have extensive understanding of applicable California laws and can help you fight for the compensation you deserve in your case.

Martin Gasparian started Maison Law after a long career with Los Angeles’ oldest law firm. He brings the experience of a big firm lawyer down to a local level. Call Maison Law today if you want representation with compassion and integrity.

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Car Accident Protocol: Finding an Attorney

Car Accident

When you have had a car accident and the dust settles, it is only then that you will begin to count the cost. It could be your car is a write-off, you are suffering from potentially life-impacting injuries, or your personal relationships are suffering as a result of your accident. Whatever the case, few people ever walk away from a car accident completely unscathed.

Things can move fast after a car accident and before you know it, you are trying to deal with vehicle repairs, attend treatment appointments, discussing returning to work, and receiving constant phone calls from the other party’s insurance company. It can all become too much and you may need to hire a car accident attorney in California to help you deal with the fallout.

Finding an Attorney

There is no shortage of attorneys who take on personal injury claims in California. However, not all personal injury attorneys have experience in car accident claims. Finding an attorney who matches your needs is the real challenge and there are a number of positive qualities you should look for in your search.

Avoid attorneys who promise you will receive a specific cash amount as part of a settlement. There is no way for any attorney to guarantee a win in your case, regardless of who was at-fault for the car accident. Choose an attorney who takes an honest approach about the merits of your case during consultation. You will also want an attorney who promotes clear and open communication, as this is often vital in ensuring you both have all the information needed throughout the case.

Experience & Expertise

While the strength of your case is the most important factor in whether you receive compensation or not, you will also need a lawyer with the experience and expertise to pursue a car accident lawsuit. Make sure to perform a background check on your lawyer, much like you would if you were hiring a nanny to look after children. You trust a lawyer to represent your best interests in the case, so it is important to know he or she has experience in relevant areas of the law.

Most personal injury lawyers provide a consultation prior to representation. Take the time to interview each lawyer until you find a candidate you feel you can trust to take the fight as far as court, if a settlement cannot be reached through negotiation.

Maison Law

Martin Gasparian of Maison Law has built a firm that is dedicated to helping victims of injury to win fair compensation for injuries resulting from an accident. We work with experts in specialist fields to give clients the best chance of winning. If you feel like you don’t have a voice and need representation with understanding and compassion, Maison Law would like to hear from you in California.

Reach out to Maison Law today to avail of a professional consultation. We look forward to assessing your case and helping you develop a strategy to win.

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Car Accident Protocol: Getting the Right Medical Help

Car Accident

In the immediate time after a car accident, it can be easy to convince yourself you haven’t incurred any injuries. When adrenaline kicks in, it is possible to walk around with broken bones or internal injuries without feeling a thing; which is why seeking medical attention is so important.

One of the most common types of injury that goes unreported is traumatic brain injury (TBI). Considering TBIs are the cause of most deaths related to car accidents, risking an undetected injury may prove potentially fatal. Other injuries resulting from a car accident may be degenerative in nature, meaning they get progressively worse over time.

Seeking Medical Attention

If you have been involved in any car accident, it is important to think about the collision and any injuries that may have resulted. If you hit your head during the car accident or were thrown forward violently, you should seek treatment at the hospital. Avoid downplaying the seriousness of the accident and make sure to provide doctors with an accurate account of exactly what happened.

Pain and discomfort are not the only measure of injury. A doctor can assess your needs based on the events of the accident and determine whether further tests are needed to rule out injuries, such as broken bones or TBIs. If injuries are not discovered, you will not receive timely and appropriate treatment, which could result in severe disability or death, if the injury is severe.

Appropriate Medical Treatment

Once it has been established that you have suffered from one or more injuries resulting from a car accident, you will need to seek medical treatment. Most treatments are covered by insurance, so long as they are considered appropriate and necessary. If you wish to seek therapies which you believe will help alleviate symptoms or provide pain relief, check with your insurance company to make sure the treatment is covered.

If you have suffered serious injury in a car accident, the road to recovery may be long and difficult. Interpersonal and familial relationships can suffer when a patient is going through treatment. You may therefore wish to seek support for the emotional and psychological impacts of an accident. Looking after your mental wellbeing may just give you the strength to get through any treatments you may need.

When choosing treatment providers, it is also important to opt for a doctor or therapist who keeps up-to-date and accurate medical records. The success of your treatment may depend on it and those records can be used to support any future personal injury claim.

Personal Injury Claim in California

If you are considering filing a personal injury claim in California you can rely on the services of Maison Law. We have an experienced legal team and offer excellence in consultation. Call the offices of Maison Law today if you have suffered injuries or damages after a car accident that wasn’t your fault. A successful claim will cover the cost of medical bills and other losses resulting from your car accident.

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Car Accident Protocol: Insurance Call 101

Car Accident

Dealing with insurance companies can become tricky territory, especially after an accident involving another vehicle. If you have been in a car accident it helps to understand the process and how you should or should not communicate with insurance companies.

Your Insurance Company

You should always contact your own insurance provider if you have been involved in a serious car accident. When you speak to the insurance company, it is important to find out about any benefits that are available on your policy. Regardless of whether you intend to pursue compensation through an at-fault driver’s insurance, you may need to take advantage of those benefits.

In many instances, at-fault driver’s insurance company will dispute fault, which means you may need your insurance to authorize any repairs at the workshop. You can also ask the insurance company if they can supply a rental car while repairs are carried out on your vehicle or a replacement is organized in the event of a write-off. There are numerous other reasons why you may need to contact your insurance company depending on the nature of the accident and the other party’s coverage status.

Other Driver’s Insurance Company

You are not legally obligated to speak to the other driver’s insurance company. Although there are instances where such communication may benefit you, such as when the other driver is at-fault and has not informed the insurance company. It is impossible to receive a settlement from the insurance company of they are not aware of the circumstances surrounding the car accident and, specifically, who was at-fault.

If you are intending on pursuing a personal injury claim, however, it may hurt your case if you speak to an insurance agent. It is especially important you avoid speaking to the other insurance company if you have hired a California car accident lawyer to represent your interests. Any correspondence with the other insurance company should go through the law firm, as they have the experience necessary to negotiate a settlement or, as is sometimes the case, pursue the matter in court.

Consult with a Car Accident Attorney

Every case is different, so it is better to err on the side of caution and consult with a car accident attorney before speaking to the other insurance company. Examples that you find online or hear from friends and family may not reflect your situation and should not be taken as legal advice. A car accident attorney can assess your case on its specific merits and provide professional legal consultation.

The average person does not possess the knowledge or experience necessary to negotiate effectively with an insurance company that is representing the interests of another party. You can take a large amount of the stress off your shoulders by hiring a car accident attorney.

For a professional consultation with an experienced California car accident lawyer, reach out to the offices of Maison Law today. We can provide advice, guidance, and representation to help you navigate the complexities of dealing with insurance companies after a car accident.

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Car Accident Protocol: Immediately After the Crash

car accident

When you have just been involved in a car accident in California, it can prove difficult to keep a level head. Once shock kicks in, it is entirely possible for injured parties in a car accident to do and say things that may damage their chances of pursuing compensation for damages or end up inadvertently accepting liability for the accident.

There are a number of things you should do after a car accident to protect your own interests, while also ensuring other parties involved in the accident are safe and receive any necessary medical treatment.

After a Car Accident

After a car accident, you should check for injuries and check to see if other parties need medical assistance. If your vehicle is still operable, move the car off the road and onto the shoulder or to another location that is a safe distance from the road. You should also avoid remaining on the road if there is a location which provides safe distance from potential traffic.

If necessary, call emergency services to report the accident and request medical assistance. Car accidents on major roadways present a considerable risk of further injuries or even fatalities due to the initial vehicles being left in fast moving traffic.

Evidence from the Scene

If it is safe to do so, speak to witnesses and gather contact details. You can also request a copy of the police report if an officer is requested at the scene. There are details you can record at the scene which can help to establish who was liable for a car accident. Take photos of car tracks, the position of each vehicle, and the weather conditions at the time the accident. Do not share any of the information you gather with parties other than a car accident lawyer hired to represent you in a personal injury case.

If you do decide to hire a personal injury lawyer to represent you in a car accident case, he or she can help you sort through and interpret evidence. Maison Law provides a free initial consultation which will give you the opportunity to discuss any potential lawsuits.

Medical Evidence

It is not uncommon for those who have been involved in a car accident to have delayed reactions to injuries. Seek a medical examination if you suspect you may have suffered injury as the result of a car accident. It is important to receive treatment and document medical evidence for your case. You can turn to doctor and hospital records for most medical evidence. However, do not forget to keep receipts for any out of pocket costs, such as over the counter medications, or therapies not covered by insurance.

Seek Legal Representation in California

It is important to count the costs when you have been involved in a car accident in California. You may have to content with medical bills, costs associated with repairing damaged property, lost wages (present and future), and loss of promotion. Reach out to Maison Law to represent you if you wish to pursue compensation for your injuries and damages.

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Bicycle Accidents are Down, but Only Due to Less Cyclers

Bicycle Accidents

While the fact that bicycle accidents are down is good news, the numbers are misleading under further scrutiny. The data shows sixty-two people lost their lives in 2017 due to being struck by cars while riding bicycles in Southern California. This is according to data tracked by Ted Rogers, who is the editor of Biking in L.A. Mr. Rogers obtains his data from local news reports along with information provided by coroners’ offices and family of the deceased.

The reduction in number of deaths, Rogers theorizes, is due to a reduction of bicycles on the roads as a result of infrastructure, which isn’t conducive to riding bicycles. The inability to safely ride a bicycle is an uncomfortable and harrowing experience, causing those who are less daring to ditch their bicycles for other forms of transportation – including walking.

Bike Lane Infrastructure

According to a number of sources, including Rogers and Zachary Rynew of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, bike lane infrastructure is an area of road safety which doesn’t receive enough consideration. Rynew contends that bike lanes are “added piecemeal but they aren’t forming a network that can safely get people to where they need to go.”

This results in cyclists running out of designated road and having to run the risks associated with mingling in normal traffic. An increase in bicycle accidents is an almost inevitable result, if the same number of riders present on the roads of California. The coalition has noted a decline in bicycle riders that has been ongoing since the early 2010s.

When bicycle accidents increased due to the popularity of cycling as a cheap and effective form of travel, safe street projects received a period of support in government. However, Los Angeles City Council members halted a number of bike lane projects in the city in 2017. Much of the rollback on bike lanes was due to protests.

The numbers are clear when comparing the work completed on bike lanes in recent years. Less than 9 miles of bike lanes were laid in Los Angeles in the fiscal year covering 2015-16. Rewind back to the 2011-12 fiscal year and there were 50 miles of bike lanes laid to help prevent bicycle accidents. This, the county bicycle coalition says, closely correlates with a reduction in the number of people prepared to actively ride bicycles on the streets of L.A.

Pedestrian or Bicycle Accident Lawyer

The reduction in number of bicycle accidents does not necessarily mean California citizens are any safer on our streets and roads. If you have been involved in a pedestrian or bicycle accident, you have the right to seek compensation, if you were not to blame. Maison Law can help you pursue monetary compensation for your injuries and losses.

Reach out to the offices of Maison Law to further discuss the details of your accident. We are committed to fighting for fair compensation on behalf of clients who have suffered injury or damages as the result of an accident which wasn’t their fault.