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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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The Zero Traffic Fatalities Task Force

Zero Traffic Fatalities Task Force

Currently, the way speed limits are decided and set is based on something called the 85th percentile methodology. It’s the speed at or below which 85 percent of all vehicles travel under free-flowing conditions. It’s measured by vehicles driving past a monitored checkpoint. Taken into consideration are vehicles that travel slightly slower or slightly faster. What it amounts to is really a statistical game of averages.

California is set to revise this methodology using the Zero Traffic Fatalities Task Force.

Zero Traffic Fatalities Task Force

Assembly Bill 2363 forms this new task force to review the current methodology. The 85th percentile methodology is being questioned because of the high number of fatalities on California roadways. It’s recognized that speed is a determining factor in crash accident reports. The Zero Traffic Fatalities Task Force will include members of the California Highway Patrol, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Public Health, the University of California as well as other schools, local governments and other road safety organizations.

Public Safety

Some California cities, like Sacramento, Fresno, San Jose, San Diego and Santa Barbara, to name a few, have been using engineering, education and enforcement as ways to increase road safety. AB 2363 paves the way for better road safety statewide.

“Nothing is more important than keeping people safe. That’s why Los Angeles is making unprecedented investments to improve street safety for cyclist, pedestrians and drivers,” said L.A Mayor Eric Garcetti in a press release dated October 1, 2018, for Assembly Member Laura Friedman, who introduced the bill.

Ineffective Methodology

AB 2363 has been met with such favor due to an increase in road fatalities. The Zero Traffic Fatalities Task Force has been assigned the task of setting up a new methodology to determine speed limits through analyzing current engineering, education and enforcement.

Help Is a Phone Call Away

If you’ve been injured, it can be scary time. Not only do you have to worry about legal issues, but on recovering, as well. Let Maison Law Firm take the worry out of the case for you. We have professionals on our team who know how to fight for you, so you’re properly compensated.

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Questions to Bring to an PI Attorney

PI Attorney

Looking for a great PI attorney means you’re already in the uncomfortable predicament of needing legal counsel to navigate the process of seeking compensation for a life-changing injury. You need to be sure you’re working with someone capable of pursuing your case in the most efficient and effective manner possible. This is why it’s important to ask questions during an initial consultation for a personal injury case.

Why You Should Ask a PI Attorney About Their Experience Level

A surprising variety of specialties fall under the heading of “personal injury.” Animal attacks and assaults committed by another human, defamation, car accidents, product liability and medical malpractice all fall under this large umbrella. You need a PI attorney who has experience in cases like yours. If you’ve been injured on the job, for instance, an attorney specializing in medical malpractice may not be an ideal fit for your needs.

To further complicate matters, specialties are often subdivided into very narrow niches. Some attorneys who specialize in car accidents have a special focus on those caused by 18-wheelers, for instance. When you meet a personal injury lawyer for the first consultation, you’ll want to make sure your unique case fits into their area of practice.

Who Actually Handles My Case?

The attorney you meet in an initial consultation will likely not handle every aspect of your case. An assistant, a paralegal or a legal secretary will almost certainly assist with documentation, while a junior associate may handle most of the case work with the oversight of a senior attorney. Delegating some of these tasks is not an indicator your PI attorney isn’t fully invested in your case; it does help to lower legal costs, though. Asking who will handle your case allows you to be familiar with everyone involved and gives you a better idea of how a particular practice operates.

How Are Costs Managed?

In most instances, a PI attorney will accept cases under a contingency-fee agreement, which means they only collect fees if they’re able to secure some kind of recovery. You’ll want to know the percentage the attorney will collect in the event of a settlement or judgement in your favor, as well as how case costs are handled.

Case costs are the fees for court filings, administration, expert witnesses and information discovery. Winning your case means these costs are recovered through the money you receive. In the event you do not win your case, however, the responsible party for these fees is determined by the agreement you make with your PI attorney. You’ll want to understand how these costs are managed before you enter into an agreement.

Martin Gasparian at the Maison Law Firm understands the sensitive nature of personal injury law. If you’ve been injured and need help seeking compensation, contact us to discuss your case during a consultation.

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Finding the Right Doctor to Treat a Back Injury

Back Injury

Workplace incidents, car accidents, slips and falls – they can all lead to back injury, which often requires treatment to manage. Finding a doctor who specializes in these kinds of injuries can make a substantial improvement to your quality of life, but it’s not always easy.

When back pain is the result of an accident or injury, the first step is often toward the nearest emergency department, where you’ll typically get a cursory examination to rule out life-threatening injuries and a referral to another physician.

What Kind of Doctor Should I See for Back Injuries?

Your primary care provider is often the first and best line of defense when you’ve sustained a back injury. They can order any relevant tests not conducted in the emergency room and provide referrals to specialists.

What to Expect From a Back Injury Assessment

In order to determine the severity of a back injury, according to the Mayo Clinic, a primary care provider or an emergency department physician may order x-ray imaging to ensure the alignment of spinal bones are correct and none are fractured or broken. Since an x-ray won’t show the condition of the disks, nerves and muscles of your back or the spinal cord itself, you may also undergo MRI or CT scans. These imaging procedures show herniated disks, musculature and skeletal problems, along with showing damage to the vascular system, ligaments, nerves, tissues and tendons.

If your injury was sustained due to a traumatic accident, treatment and assessment may differ from that offered to patients suffering from work-related musculoskeletal disorders caused or exacerbated by poor working conditions.

According to the CDC, along with the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor, work-related musculoskeletal disorders are caused by bodily reactions, like bending, reaching, twisting and climbing, resulting in sprains, strains and other types of back pain. These are classified differently from injuries caused by falls, slips and related accidents. The CDC also reports back pain is one of the top 10 reasons for medical visits in the US, and that these groups account for more than half of back injury cases: laborers, operators and fabricators, and those in precision production, craft or repair.

Whether you’ve sustained a back injury due to a fall, accident, trauma or workplace strain, you need treatment. After all, CDC figures indicate 5 percent to 10 percent of back pain patients eventually report chronic pain.

Navigating the world of specialists, pain management and injury treatment can be almost as stressful as the pain you are struggling to manage. When managing a condition, your treatment is a full-time job. You need support from an experienced attorney. Martin Gasparian at the Maison Law Firm has the experience and the expertise to help you pursue compensation you could be entitled to for your back injury. Call or email us today to schedule a consultation.

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TBI Commonly Caused in an Auto Accident

TBI

Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, can be a common side effect of an auto accident. According to the Mayo Clinic, traumatic brain injuries can be mild, with temporary affects to the brain cells, or it can be more severe, with the potential for life-long complications or even death.

When brain injuries are sustained as a result of a car accident, the severity of the injury may not be immediately apparent. For this reason, it’s crucial to seek medical treatment immediately after a car accident, even if you suspect your injuries may not be severe.

How Does an Auto Accident Cause TBI?

While there are a variety of ways a car accident can cause traumatic brain injury, it’s important to note the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also cite vehicle collisions and automobile-related injuries as the third most-common cause of traumatic brain injury across all age groups.

This can occur when a driver or passenger’s head strikes the windshield in the aftermath of a collision, for instance, or when the driver’s head strikes the steering wheel. The force generated by a collision, especially at high speeds, can cause bleeding or bruising to the brain, concussion or other injuries of varying severity. Likewise, ejection from the vehicle after an accident can expose passengers and drivers alike to a high risk for brain injury. For pedestrians struck by vehicles, there are even more ways to sustain a TBI.

Seeking Treatment for Suspected TBI

It’s best to seek immediate medical treatment after any accident, but it’s especially vital if you’re concerned about trauma to the face and head. If you exhibit any of these symptoms, evaluation by a doctor is imperative:

  • Loss of coordination or difficulty balancing
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Slowed response time, difficulty thinking or confusion
  • Uneven or dilated pupils
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Numbness in the extremities
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Agitation or personality changes
  • Clear fluid draining from the ears or nose

What to Do After Sustaining a Traumatic Brain Injury in an Auto Accident

Obtaining prompt treatment after a serious head injury can save your life – but it can also be expensive. No one expects to be involved in a car accident, or to find themselves with a potentially severe injury and the resulting hospital bills to show for the experience.

When you’re dealing with the justifiably frightening experience of a TBI, you need legal support from an experienced and knowledgeable attorney. Martin Gasparian at the Maison Law Firm may be able to help you maintain your quality of life while accessing the care you need through a difficult time. If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, contact us today to find the support you need to fight for your rights as an injured party.

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Things to Do After a Slip and Fall

Slip and Fall

A slip and fall accident can be both painful and embarrassing. The problem is, there are very few occasions where the event is the fault of the injured party. Unless you lose your footing, the most likely cause of a slip and fall is a hazard, such as liquid or a material that is otherwise slippery underfoot.

When a slip and fall occurs in a place of business, it is of even greater importance you not allow the event to pass without protecting your own interests.  After all, any medical costs associated with a slip and fall must be paid in full, regardless of who is to blame. If it turns out the business or owner of the premises is liable, you may receive compensation as the result of a personal injury claim.

Securing compensation will hinge on a number of factors, such as establishing liability on the part of another party. To do so, you will require evidence, much of which may not be available if you delay too long taking appropriate actions.

Slip & Fall Injuries

Always seek medical treatment after a slip and fall, even if you are not in a great deal of pain. The body has a way of protecting itself so you may not feel the full extent of your injuries. Do not take chances with your health. Once you are checked out at the hospital, make sure to take pictures of any cuts and abrasions suffered during the slip and fall. Ensure the business records an incident report and ask for a copy. The statute of limitations on personal injury claims in California is two years from the date of the accident, so documentation of the event and your injuries is important to keep on record.

Witness Contact Details

Where possible, gather contact details from witnesses to the slip and fall incident. Even if you have an accident report from the business, it doesn’t tell the whole story. For instance, a witness may be able to confirm employees had ignored a spill that caused you to slip and fall. It also helps to have a number of witness statements; few cases are ever supported by a single account of what transpired. Witness statements are also necessary if the party or parties responsible for your accident decide not to cooperate by providing evidence of potential liability.

Hire an Accident Attorney

Hire a reputable accident attorney who understands the applicable laws in California. Maison Law specializes in personal injury law and will provide the support and representation you need, to pursue fair compensation in your slip and fall case. We offer a free consultation and will even visit you at your home or hospital bed if your injuries are still feeling tender.

Reach out to the offices of Maison Law, today, to speak to a legal representative who cares about the hardships you have faced since your accident. You can call 559-203-3333 for advice or to arrange a consultation at your convenience.

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When Negligent Security Results in Injury

Negligent Security

“Negligent security” is a rather broad term that can mean a number of things. Security may involve people, objects or automated systems. If a person is injured as a result of the actions of any of the three factors, it may fall under the umbrella of negligence. This will depend on the circumstances that led to the injury and whether certain conditions are met.

Negligent Business Owners

This is perhaps the most cut-and-dried of the 3 examples listed because the elements involved in establishing negligence are more likely to apply to business owners. Under California law, business owners have an obligation to provide security to patrons and employees on their property. If you are injured as the result of a business failing to provide adequate security, you may have a case for claiming compensation for those injuries.

Examples of events that may constitute negligent security include store robberies, barroom fights, parking garage muggings or confrontations in shopping malls. If you suffer injury during this type of event, whether you were directly involved or not, you can pursue a case against the business owner, in the state of California.

Security Barriers

Even a physical object that is in place to assure the safety of the public may be considered negligent security in some cases. Let’s say you attempt to enter a parking garage that is closed, and the entryway is protected by a security barrier. If you are unable to see the security barrier due to inadequate markings, it could result in a crash in which you are injured.

If the owners of a business or premises situate security barriers in a way that doesn’t make it clear they are there, it may represent a breach in “duty of care” to the general public. If there is a failure to maintain those security barriers, any resulting injuries may also be considered a breach in duty of care.

Automated Systems

Automation is playing an ever-increasing part in security.  Negligent security may not involve a physical person and an object, but it could indirectly involve both. If an object is controlled by an automated system and that system is, in turn, programmed or monitored by a person, negligence may still come into play if it results in an injury.

These cases are the most complicated. It becomes the job of your personal injury lawyer to establish who, if anyone, is to blame for the failure of the system to provide adequate security. A prime example of this type of case may involve a security barrier at a train crossing that failed to come down. The negligent action could have occurred during design, implementation, operation, maintenance or as the combined result of numerous failures.

To explore the implications of negligent security in your case, call Maison Law today and speak to a friendly California personal injury law expert. We understand the complications that may arise from injuries that resulted from negligent security. We are well-prepared for every possible angle in seeking fair compensation for our clients.

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Unique Issues When Suing a Government Entity for Injury

Suing a Government Entity

Suing a government entity is not the same as suing an individual or even a company. These claims can present a number of obstacles, which, in many cases, are unique. To illustrate this, it helps to look at an example of a common case of this type that may be brought against a government entity: Injuries due to a dangerous condition.

The most common claim we bring against government entities are claims for injuries due to a dangerous condition within public property. The conditions a plaintiff must prove are outlined in California Government Code Section 835, which states all the following:

  • The government entity owns or controls the property at issue.
  • The subject property was in a dangerous condition at the time of the accident.
  • The dangerous condition created a reasonably foreseeable risk of the kind of injury which occurred.
  • The condition was created by a negligent or wrongful act or omission of an employee within the course and scope of employment.

OR

  • The entity had actual or constructive notice of the condition in a reasonable amount of time to have taken preventive measures.

Public or Private Property

When you are injured in or on any property due to its condition, it is important to understand who owns or controls that property. There are some no brainers, such as public roads, which are always owned and controlled by a government entity. However, your personal injury lawyer will still need to determine whether the road where your injury occurred is the responsibility of the city, county or state. Alternatively, business premises or a piece of land that appears to be private property can, in fact, be operated by a government entity.

The bottom line: When it comes to suing a government entity, it is important to have a lawyer on your side who won’t waste time. Remember, knowing who owns or controls a property is only the first element involved in suing a government entity. You only have six months in which to file a claim, so determining the correct entity is a time-sensitive issue.

Property Condition

There are also a number of unique issues that may arise when suing a government entity that relate to the condition of the property. Again, many of these issues are due to who controls the property. Time also comes into play as a factor. When you consider the condition of the property being conducive to an accident as only one of the elements you must satisfy, it begins to become clear that suing a government entity is not as clear cut as suing an individual or small business owner.

Not all personal injury lawyers have the experience or knowledge needed to represent clients suing a government entity. The most unique challenge you will face is finding a lawyer who understands how to quickly establish responsibility and to overcome the barriers standing between you and fair compensation.

Maison Law specializes in providing representation to clients with unique circumstances. Call today if you believe your accident occurred on property owned or controlled by a government entity.