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The ATV Accident in California

ATV Accident

California is known for its outdoor adventures. Our beautiful mountains provide recreation, with fishing in the lakes, skiing and hunting. The ocean welcomes you to the coastline, inviting you to surf, swim and explore its depths, with deep sea excursions. Huge expanses of dirt and sand comprise the deserts of California, where people take their dirt bikes, jeeps and ATVs (All Terrain Vehicles) out for a spin. But it’s not all fun and games. An ATV accident could land you in the hospital, or worse, if you’re not careful.

Recreational Toys

Of course, having off-road, all-terrain vehicles can alleviate an afternoon of boredom, but there is also a great responsibility that comes with these “toys.” They are powerful machines capable of catastrophic injuries or even death, if not handled properly. Sometimes, even when being used exactly as directed, mayhem can ensue due to manufacturer issues.

ATV Accident Dangers

Even if you are operating safely, there are a number of things that could derail your fun.

  • Design Flaw – Is there a feature or aspect of the ATV that makes it unsafe or defective?
  • Driver Error – Were you hit while someone was speeding, intoxicated or driving recklessly?
  • Trail Maintenance – Are there dangerous conditions or obstacles that helped contribute to an ATV accident?

A common issue with ATVs is the design; they rollover easily. This is the main cause for ATV accidents. Manufactures don’t always provide sufficient warning or instructions on how to avoid rollovers, and that could make them liable.

Safety Tips

The Consumer Product Safety Commission releases statistics on ATV-related deaths and injuries. Between 1982 and 2012, there were 12,391 reports of ATV fatalities, with 24 percent of that number comprising minors younger than 16 years of age.

There are a few things you can do to prepare and protect yourself against accidents and against liability. One of them is to read the owner’s manual and enroll in a training course to ensure you know how to operate the ATV safely. Also, always wear a helmet and other protective gear. Never ride on pavement or in traffic with an ATV, and never ride while intoxicated.

Protect Yourself

Maison Law Firm is a premier law firm that specializes in personal injury claims. Call us today to see what we can do for you – 559-203-3333.

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How To Navigate a Taxi Accident Claim

Taxi Accident Claim

Taxi drivers make their livelihoods behind the wheel. No matter if you are injured while a passenger or if you were hit by a taxi, be aware of this: Because they will want to preserve their livelihood, it is likely you will end up with a big fight on your hands. You can still make a taxi accident claim, but it may involve more steps and take longer than you anticipate.

Passenger Rights

Since you were not one of the drivers in a taxi accident, it’s very unlikely you would hold any liability for the accident. If there is a two-car accident, someone was negligent. The difficult part, sometimes, is figuring out whom. Your best bet is to file a third-party insurance claim or begin a personal injury lawsuit against both drivers and let the courts sort out who is liable, especially if it’s not obvious who is at fault or if both drivers have some liability.

Insurance companies don’t like to pay out, so they may negotiate with each other over who is paying what to whom, and that can take some time. Sometimes a settlement isn’t reached until the day of the trial, so be prepared to wait it out. Multiple bodily injury claims may be submitted by different people, and that may exceed the insurance coverage. They’ll ask you to settle for less. Be prepared by having an attorney.

Hit by a Taxi

If you are one of the drivers, the only way to win compensation is to prove you were not negligent and assess the damages. How badly was anyone hurt? Is there someone who is obviously liable? It’s important to obtain contact information from any witnesses and make a police report. Take photos of the accident scene and of the vehicle from multiple angles.

Don’t Get Stuck

Even if you weren’t at fault, the insurance web you will have to navigate can get tangled, complicated and sticky. Multiple claims between multiple insurance companies and making sure you use the proper forms is confusing. Not adhering to guidelines or inadvertently missing information can cause further delays. Insurance companies hope someone will give in and settle, in order to pay bills and get the situation behind them. Don’t get stuck in that web without an attorney.

Looking for Help

You don’t have to look far. Visit us at Maison Law Firm. We are personal injury specialists and have a dedicated team ready to fight for you. Get a free case evaluation and let us do the hard work for you.

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The Function of the California Victim Compensation Board

California Victim Compensation Board

While originally first formed in 1965 under the Department of Social Welfare, the California Victim Compensation Board (CalVCB) wasn’t officially named that until 2016. Previously, it was called the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board (VCGCB). They regulated the California Victim Compensation Program, the Revenue Recovery Program and the Government Claims Program. As their responsibilities changed and grew, they evolved into the CalVCB we know today.

California Victim Compensation Board

This is a state-run program that facilitates reimbursement for crime-related expenses to people who experience physical injury or the threat of physical injury, as the aftermath of a violent crime. Medical and dental treatments, mental health services, income loss, funeral expenses, home vehicle modification, relocation, crime scene cleanup and even relocation are a few things they can help with. They receive funding from criminal restitution received from fines, penalties and federal funds.

Eligibility

The list is quite extensive. Here are a few of the circumstances the California Victim Compensation Board can help you with.

  • Elder Abuse
  • Child Endangerment
  • Murder
  • Robbery
  • Sexual Battery and Assault
  • Online Harassment
  • Domestic Violence
  • Vehicular Manslaughter
  • Assault with a Deadly Weapon
  • Human Trafficking

Other people affected by monetary loss due to a crime can also benefit. That includes legal guardians, brothers, sisters, grandparents, spouses, children and grandchildren.

Education

Not only do they help resolve monetary issues that may result from a violent crime, they offer information to better educate the public on some of the different types of crimes. You can find the definition of stalking, what it includes and statistics on the crime, along with the effects it can have on a victim. There’s also a section on how to receive help, not only through their agency, but through other sources, as well. It’s all on the California Victim Compensation Board website.

Awareness

Part of their services is to make people aware of the California Victim Compensation Board and how to help. They have advocate meetings and support materials. They also hold public fundraisers for various causes, like the Sexual Assault Awareness Clothing Drive to raise awareness.

A Helping Hand

Maison Law Firm is here to help you if you need legal representation. We specialize in personal injury law, and we can help you get through a difficult time. Call us for your free case evaluation, at 559-203-3333.

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Hit-and-Run Accidents in California

hit-and-run accidents

Hit-and-run accidents are defined as when a driver leaves the scene of an accident without identifying himself/herself to the other driver or police. It does not matter if you were at fault or not. If you leave without giving your information, it’s a hit-and-run. Some examples of a hit and run include leaving the scene of the following illegally:

  • Hitting a parked car
  • Hitting a mailbox
  • Hitting a dog
  • Hitting a pedestrian or cyclist
  • Scraping a bumper

Hit-and-Run Accidents: What Happens Next

It’s a serious offense, but punishment does vary as to the degree of severity. Damage to a vehicle, but not to a person, is considered a misdemeanor but still carries a fine of up to $1000 and 6 months in jail. A felony hit-and-run accident includes bodily injury with a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 4 years in prison.

In the Aftermath

There are basically 2 stages to cycle through before you can get a reasonable resolution.

  1. At the scene

If you’re the victim, move your car to a safe location and call 911. The more details you can provide will help the police. Try to remember the car make, model and color along with any unique or identifying marks, like bumper stickers or body condition. If possible, get the car’s license number and describe the driver’s appearance along with a description of what happened. See if there are witnesses or evidence, like scraped paint or a broken piece off of the fleeing car. Take pictures.

  1. After the accident

Let your insurance company know what happened. Get all of the documents they require, including a police report, so they can process your claim. Make sure they know about any medical attention you may have received and follow up on your claim regularly. Keep track of police progress as well.

Both parties are expected to stay at the scene, exchange insurance information and contact police. If you hit someone and feel like only your own property was damaged and you leave, you can still be charged with a hit-and-run, even if you are the victim. Take note: Even a victim, could still have a fight with your own insurance company, if it’s considered a hit-and-run.

Help for You

Reach out to the professionals at Maison Law Firm. A dedicated and experienced staff is waiting to help you get through the mess a hit-and-run case could bring. We are dedicated to making sure you have what you need to get through it.

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Prescription Drugs and Driving

Prescription Drugs, Driving

You know the law when it comes to driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, but you may not be as familiar with “drugged driving” laws. The term “driving under the influence” is actually a legal term that refers to ingestion of anything that could affect the nervous system, muscles or brain in such a way that affects your ability to safely operate a vehicle. This includes certain doctor-prescribed medications, as well. Prescription drugs do fall under this category.

Basically, the statutes that regulate alcohol DUIs in California are also applied to the use of drugs. It is illegal to drive under the influence of any drug or combination of drugs and alcohol (California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a)).

Prescription Drugs and Driving

Not all prescribed drugs affect your ability to drive, but some clearly do. Painkillers, marijuana and even some herbal supplements are classified as drugs that are prohibited, even if legally prescribed. Simply having permission to use that particular substance is not a valid defense if you receive a drugged driving charge.

Costs and Consequences

In general, the same penalties that apply to driving under the influence of alcohol apply to prescription drugs and driving. They are enforced under the same statutes. The costs and consequences of a drug DUI, as with alcohol, varies, depending on how many offenses you have.

In California, the first offense is a misdemeanor. There is up to a $1000 penalty, plus other assessments that may make that number go up. Usually, there is probation for at least 3 years, which prohibits driving under the influence, and requires the offender to willingly submitting to roadside testing and refraining from other law violations. The more offenses you have, the higher the penalties and probation restrictions.

Implied Consent

In California, when you operate a vehicle, you are giving your implied consent to submit to a drug or alcohol test. The law enforcement officer is required to explain the consequences of refusal. Refusal to agree could result in license suspension, paying fines or you could even face jail time, if convicted. If you don’t comply with the implied consent law, your refusal can be entered into evidence against you if you have to go to trial.

Peace of Mind

Contact Maison Law Firm to find out what your rights are with prescription drugs and driving. You don’t have to worry and fight it alone. We offer free case evaluation. Contact us today.

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Handling a Limo Accident

Limo Accident

You made all of the plans and set up the whole experience, including a limo ride. You were expecting a fun time out without having to worry about transportation and accidents, but accidents do happen, even if you weren’t at the wheel. Limousine companies are classified as “common carriers,” which means they are held to a higher standard of care than a taxi, Uber or Lyft®. In California, it means they must be vigilant in their care, do all that can be reasonably done to avoid harm and use skill to provide safe transportation. So, what are your rights if you are in a limo accident?

California Safety Law Checklist

Limousine companies are required to follow strict operation regulations:

  1. Limo licensing – Must have a Charter-Party Carrier (TCP) license. To obtain this, detailed information about the vehicles’ specifications and capacities must be reported.
  2. Insurance – Full insurance is required. The minimum is determined by seating capacity and vehicle size.
  3. Driver requirements – All drivers must be licensed and comply with all codes and regulations locally, statewide and federally. They are limited as to how much time they can be behind the wheel.
  4. Modified limos – These have some additional criteria they must meet before being approved. They must have 2 or more points of exit, have 5 doors and an emergency exit, and they are subject to safety inspections every 13 months.

Who Is Liable?

Liability is the state of being responsible for something, so who you hold liable is largely determined by what happened. Anyone who contributed to the limo accident can be included in a law suit. Some examples of who may be responsible are limousine companies and drivers, state inspection agents and government agencies responsible for road maintenance and safety.

Safety First

Driving a limo is not as safe as a car, simply due to the design. To manufacture a limo, normal vehicles are cut in half and have welded plates to elongate the frame of the car. This makes the vehicle heavier, which may require upgraded brakes and suspension. A limo accident where it’s struck on the side is very dangerous, as that is the weakest area on the vehicle.

Help Is Close By

Maison Law Firm has a team of professionals waiting to help you. If you need someone to fight for you, call us at 559-203-3333, and get a free case evaluation.

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Sexual Assault by a Coach

sexual assault

Sexual assault in sports has been pushed to the forefront, through recent media attention focusing on the issue. As a result, this subject has become an active research field, yet we still know so little about specifics. In the 1980s, it was reported by the Department of Justice that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 8 boys are sexually assaulted before they reach the age of 18. Unfortunately, it seems sports and other youth activities present opportunities for predators to take advantage. This is because of the cultivation of trust between the athlete, the parents and the coach.

What Is Sexual Assault?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s definition of sexual assault is:
illegal sexual contact that usually involves force upon a person without consent or is inflicted upon a person who is incapable of consent (due to age or physical/mental incapacity) or that which places the assailant (doctors, coaches, teachers, etc.) in a position of trust or authority
In general, it’s forcing another to be a part of touching, grabbing or exposing intimate body parts.

The Aftermath

Often, there are long term ramifications for victims of sexual assault. Nightmares are common, as well as becoming withdrawn or clingy, having mood swings, anger outbursts, running away or self-harm. The list goes on. It can be a struggle to recover. If taken to an attorney, compensation can sought for mental impairment, pain and suffering, as well as medical expenses, lost wages or future income, and physical issues. Not only can the assailant be sued, but anyone who should have known about the conduct, like employers, hospitals, colleges, summer camps and schools, to name a few. They can be held accountable for their negligence in the hiring process, supervision or a lack of intervention during the abuse.

Justice for Victims

Due, in part, to the public focus on sexual assault, there have been changes to the laws. In California, there is a more liberal statute of limitations, which has allowed attorneys to pursue more predators and get justice for their victims. Now that this once-taboo subject is in the spotlight, it has enabled many who have been victimized to come forward.
Seeking Help
Call Maison Law Firm, at 559-203-3333, to speak to someone who can help you. We offer free case evaluations and are ready to fight for you.