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Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Car Accidents

Assuming you’ve left the scene of the accident and dealt with the immediate aftermath of the crash, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. Even fender benders can cause whiplash injuries and other bodily harm. Failing to document any injuries suffered in an accident makes it much harder to prove your damages and compensation.

The same line of thinking applies to any property damage to your vehicle or other personal property that may have been damaged in the crash. Make sure to get repair and/or replacement estimates for property damaged during the crash so that there is a record of these losses. Create the strongest possible record by taking color photographs of any vehicle and property damage.

And while you should report the accident to your insurance provider in a timely manner, you may want to speak with an attorney first, as the insurer may offer an initial settlement that is not in your best interest. You should never, under any circumstances, speak with another driver’s insurer or give any type of statements as they may be used against you.

The auto accident claims process is a minefield for the inexperienced. Insurance companies, at least in theory, are supposed to oversee the process in an equitable manner, but they consistently put their needs before those of accident victims. Hiring an Avrek Law Firm, attorney ensures that your needs come first. This means personalized attention and the recovery of maximum compensation for all losses suffered during an auto accident.

The question of how much a car accident victim is entitled to is one of our most frequently asked and the most difficult to answer. It makes more sense here to outline what you could be entitled to and then discuss actual damages with an attorney. Car accident victims are typically eligible to receive compensation for:

  • Medical bills and hospital expenses, including future medical costs
  • Rehabilitation
  • Lost wages and lost earning capacity
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering

In order to help your own cause, it is vital that you keep detailed records. Lost work time and wages, pain and suffering, limitations incurred as a result of the accident, and all out-of-pocket expenses (such as transportation and medicine) should be meticulously documented. In addition, follow all doctor’s orders strictly. Failure to do so could be used as evidence by another party that your injuries and suffering are less severe than you claim

Similar to the question of how much a lawsuit is worth, who can be the subject of a lawsuit depends on the details specific to your case. The obvious defendant in a car accident case is the driver of the vehicle, but depending on the actual circumstances, a number of other parties can be held liable for damages. For example, if your car was recently repaired incorrectly and this caused you to crash, the repair technician might bear responsibility. Similarly, if you were struck by a drunk driver who was served drinks at a local establishment despite being obviously intoxicated, the server or establishment could be found at fault. A government entity that designed a dangerous intersection or roadway section is another possible defendant. In short, any party that contributed to the accident by acting carelessly or recklessly can have a lawsuit brought against them.

Each type of lawsuit has a filing deadline. In California, there is the so-called “statute of limitations” for personal injury cases, which is typically two years from the date of the accident for public or government entities. The statute of limitation is one year for medical malpractice claims in California. Every state is different, so make sure you call a personal injury attorney right away so you can know your rights!

Based on the terms of your auto insurance policy, your insurer should pay for auto accident damages that you caused. It may also cover you for damage caused by a driver who has no auto insurance (uninsured motorist coverage). Insurers are bound by law to fulfill policy terms. A denied claim, underpaid claim, or untimely payment could constitute insurance bad faith, a type of case that Avrek Law Firm often helps clients with.

Avrek Law Firm accepts personal injury cases on a contingency basis, meaning you do not pay any legal fees unless your claim is successfully resolved. At that point, you pay Avrek Law Firm a percentage of the total award or settlement. The percentage is agreed upon when you decide to hire Avrek Law Firm as your legal representative. If you do not win or settle the case, you do not pay any legal fees.

We understand that you have many choices when it comes to resolving motor vehicle accidents. Like any professional service, you get the legal services that you pay for. Avrek Law Firm attorneys have more than 30 years of personal injury experience. Many of our top settlements and judgments speak clearly for our track record in handling auto accident cases. We feel that we give clients the best possible chance to obtain maximum compensation, and our many satisfied clients would agree.

Workplace Accidents

First and foremost, you should get the medical care you need right away. As for your legal rights, California law protects injured workers by providing workers’ compensation benefits for medical bills, and for temporary or permanent disabilities. Fault is not at issue. All that is required is that a worker suffers an injury while at work, such as a strained lower back from lifting an object or getting injured in a car accident while making deliveries. If you have been injured on the job, it’s very important that you report your injury right away to your employer. If a work-related injury or illness developed over time, you should report it as soon as you believe it was caused by your job. Promptly reporting a work-related injury helps prevent problems and delays in receiving benefits, including any medical care you may need. If your employer does not learn about your injury within 30 days and this prevents it from fully investigating the injury and how you were injured, you could lose your right to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

The most important document that you need to complete and submit is the Workers’ Compensation Claim Form (DWC 1). Your employer must give or mail to you the DWC 1 form within one day of reporting your injury. You can also download it from the forms page on the California Department of Industrial Relations\Division of Workers Compensation’s website. This form opens your workers’ compensation case and starts the process for determining what benefits you are entitled to under the law.

California workers’ compensation provides five essential benefits:

Medical care to help you recover from an injury suffered on the job
Temporary disability payments for lost wages while away from work
Permanent disability payments
Vouchers to help pay for retraining or skills enhancement if you do not recover completely and do not return to work for your employer
Death benefit payments to your spouse, children and other dependents

No, but sometimes a case can be made that an independent contractor is actually an employee. In that situation, the independent contractor would be entitled to workers’ compensation.

You may have a personal injury claim if you are injured by a third party – such as a worker not employed by your employer or a company that manufactures a defective machine or tool. For example, a subcontractor on a construction site injured when struck by carelessly operated heavy equipment can sue the employer of the equipment operator. Another example is when a worker is injured by a machine that fails to work properly or is inherently dangerous. The worker can pursue a products liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the machine.

A personal injury claim is based on the law of negligence. To prove liability, you must demonstrate that someone acted carelessly under the circumstances, and that the careless action caused your injuries. Your damages would likely be comprised of medical bills, lost past and future wages, and pain and suffering.

No. You can pursue both. California employers have to pay for workers’ compensation coverage. It’s a cost of doing business. You are entitled to benefits for work-related injuries regardless of fault. However, you cannot sue your employer since the workers’ compensation system covers all worksite injuries not caused by a third party except in power/punch press injuries. A personal injury claim against a third party (i.e., not your employer) is entirely separate from your workers’ compensation claim.

BIKE AND PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENTS

You are not required to hire an attorney in you have been hit by a car but it is strongly recommended that you do so.  An attorney will likely be able to assist you with specific bicycle ordinances in the city that you were riding in that may impact your case.

Yes, the insurance company of the person who hit you will be responsible for reimbursing you whether or not you have car insurance.

Yes, if you are inside the crosswalk and you have the right of way then you may bring a claim against the driver who struck you.

Yes, even if you are partially at fault you can still bring a claim against the other driver.  Most states have comparative fault laws that allow individuals to recover even if they are partially at fault.  For example, if a jury were to award you $100,000 but determine that you were 25% at fault, your recovery would be reduced by the 25% and you would receive $75,000.

Yes, drivers have a heightened duty of care because their vehicle may cause death or serious bodily injury if it is operated improperly. Drivers of motor vehicles have a duty to operate their vehicle in a safe reasonable manner in order to avoid injuries to pedestrians or bicyclists.

Yes, the insurance company of the person who hit you will be responsible for reimbursing you whether or not you have car insurance.

BURN ACCIDENTS

Burn injuries are caused by fire or scalding liquids. Burn injuries damage some (or all) of the cells in the victim’s skin. The majority of burn injuries occur at home and usually heal without extensive medical attention.

There are four types of burn injuries: first, second, third, and fourth degree burns.

First-degree burn injuries (and some second-degree burns) are considered minor injuries. A first-degree burn may turn the victim’s skin red. Only the first layer of skin is damaged and blisters will not form. First-degree burns, such as a sunburn, can be very painful.

Second-degree burns damage the first and second layer of skin. They are identifiable by redness, swelling and blisters. Because they do not involve nerve damage, second-degree burns can be extremely painful.

Third degree burns are extremely severe and damage all layers of the skin. After a third-degree burn, the victim’s skin may appear white and leathery.

Fourth-degree burns are the same as third degree burns but may involve bone and muscle damage, too. Third- and fourth-degree burns may not be painful because the victim’s nerves may be damaged.

First-degree burn injuries usually heal without medical attention. Thus, first-degree burn injury treatment is primarily used to reduce pain. Minor burns can be treated by running them under cool (no cold) water.

Small, second-degree burns can be treated like first-degree burns and usually heal without medical attention in less than a week. If a significant portion of the victim’s body has been burned, the injury should be treated at a hospital. Second-degree burns may be extremely painful. A cool compress can be used to extract heat from the injury and reduce pain. Avoid cooling the injury for more than half of an hour.

After the injury cools, clean it very gently. Do not apply ointment, butter or oil to the affected area. To make sure that the burn doesn’t become infected, cover it will a clean bandage. If there are open blisters in the affected area, they may be treated with an antibacterial spray. Tylenol or Advil may be used to reduce pain and keep the injury from swelling.

Third- and fourth-degree burns are extremely severe and require immediate medical attention. They cannot be treated at home. Many times, third-degree burns are treated at specialized burn treatment centers. Skin grafts may be used to restore the affected area. Depending on the location and severity of the burn, additional surgery may be necessary during the rehabilitation process.

If you suffer from a burn (of any degree) and it was due to someone else’s negligence, then please contact our firm immediately for a free consultation. States have very strict safety codes and regulations and failure to meet these regulations could result in negligence. If someone is at fault for causing your burn injuries, we will make sure that you get the justice you deserve!

DOG BITES

Yes, victims of dog bites will expect the animal’s owner to recompense them for their physical injuries and pain, as well as their emotional and mental suffering.  Via the legal system victims can find such relief.

No.  Dog bite laws vary from state to state.  For example, some states follow a strict liability theory in which the owner of a dog is held responsible for its actions regardless of whether the owner was aware of any aggressive/dangerous propensities or previous attacks.

There are states that adhere to the “one free bite” rule in which the owner’s lack of knowledge concerning the dog’s aggressive/dangerous propensities or prior attacks is taken into account and may effectively release the owner from liability.

The premises upon which the dog bite occurred may be a factor in determining liability.

Yes, cities may also have dog bite laws. City laws, such as leash laws, could affect liability.

TRUCK ACCIDENTS

Factors such as driver fatigue, aggressive driving behavior, DUI/DWI, unsafe driving conditions (such as snow, ice, rain or fog), truck rollovers or jackknifes, oversized trucks, overloaded trucks, tire blowouts, brake failures, poor truck maintenance and mechanical defects can all contribute to truck accidents.

It is important to get our legal team on the job as quickly as possible.  Trucking companies generally have large resources and quickly arrive to accidents scenes to collect valuable evidence and figure out how to reduce their responsibility.  Evidence will disappear quickly and to have the best chance of succeeding in your case, the evidence must be collected as soon as possible.

Size Matters! Larger trucks like semi-trucks can weigh up to 16 times more than a general automobile. The typical semi is roughly 53-55 feet long and requires about 250-400 feet to come to a complete stop after traveling at highway speeds. The design of the trucks also makes them dangerous as they often jackknife upon turning or when braking suddenly on poor road conditions.

This can be complex. Not only does the driver of the truck have some liability, but whether he is an owner operator or works for a company can lead to additional parties. It is also important what was being transported as the seller or purchaser of the goods may also be liable.

The general statute of limitations for a trucking accident in California is two years. However, if there is a public entity involved, the statute may change to a six-month statute. It is very important to call an attorney right away to protect your rights!

MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS

California request all operators of motorcycles to wear helmets. Those helmets must also meet federal safety standards. Helmets have been proven to prevent injury and even death the riders and their passengers. It is important that you always wear a helmet as an operator or passenger of a motorcycle to avoid and prevent serious injuries. According to the National Highway traffic Safety Administration, 80% of motorcycle accidents end in death or serious injury of the driver or the passenger. A study conducted of all motorcycle accidents in a 10-year period, found that helmets saved the lives of over 7,000 people and over 6,000 people died because they were unfortunately not wearing a helmet. Keep in mind that if you are injured in a motorcycle accident and were not wearing a helmet, that could negatively affect the value of your injury case, especially if you suffer a head injury. Avrek Law Firm attorneys can help you if you were involved in a motorcycle accident with or without wearing a helmet. Call us today!

The following are the 10 most common causes of motorcycle accidents:

  • Unsafe lane changes. This occurs when a driver fails to check to make sure it is safe to change lanes, and changes lanes and collides with a motorcyclist, while they are in a completely different lane or while they are lane splitting.
  • Car doors. Some motorcycle accidents occur when a driver opens the door of their parked vehicle in the path of an oncoming motorcycle.
  • Speeding. A leading cause of all types of auto accidents, speeding causes the majority of all auto accidents as the chance of reacting to other drivers diminishes greatly. The higher the speed, the greater the impact and the more severe the consequences.
  • Driving under the influence. Drivers who cause accidents because they were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Lane splitting. Driving between two lanes of traffic is called “lane splitting.” This practice is legal in California.
  • Sudden stops. Rear-end accidents resulting from following too closely can result in serious injury or death to a motorcyclist.
  • Inexperienced drivers. Inexperienced drivers are likely to make unsafe moves on the road that could compromise the safety of other motorists.
  • Left turn accidents. Right of way errors or misjudgments of distance while making a left turn are common causes of injury and death to motorcycle riders.
  • Dangerous road conditions. Crumbling pavement, potholes, debris, and a lack of necessary signals and signs can all increase a motorcycle rider’s chances of losing control of his or her vehicle.
  • Motorcycle defects. The manufacturer of a poorly designed or manufactured motorcycle part can be held liable for any injuries or deaths arising from use of the defective part.

California is the ONLY state in which Lane Splitting is legal. This is when a motorcyclist drive been you and another car. One of the biggest misconceptions is that when motorcyclists are lane splitting, they are breaking the law. They’re not. “The practice of lane splitting or lane sharing has never been prohibited by California law,” said Sgt. Larry Starkey, who runs the California Highway Patrol’s California Motorcyclist Safety Program. “So, therefore it’s always been an acceptable practice.”

At Avrek Law Firm, we offer our no fee guarantee unless we win. This means that you will not owe us any attorney’s fees unless we win or settle your case. Also, keep in mind that your initial consultation is absolutely free, no questions asked! So, call us today for your free consultation regarding your motorcycle accident!

The value of your case depends on multiple factors including the seriousness of your injuries. Attorneys take into consideration, your medical bills, medical treatment, injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering among other factors to value your claim. Call Avrek Law Firm today for a free consultation regarding the value of your case!

You may be able to file a claim under uninsured motorist coverage, if you have it under your own policy. Uninsured motorist coverage protects you and your family in case you are involved in an accident with a person that is either uninsured or underinsured. Basically, your insurance steps in and coverages the damages up to the policy amount without ANY negative effects on your insurance or premiums. It is a coverage that is required to have by law, unless you specifically decline it when purchasing insurance. Our motorcycle accident injury attorneys can investigate your accident and review your insurance coverage to help you determine whether that is an option for your or your family!

PREMISES LIABILITY/SLIP AND FALL ACCIDENTS

The answer to this question depends on whether the store was aware of the hazard that caused your fall. So, for example, if moments earlier, another customer spilled some of his/her coffee on the floor, and you stepped in it and slipped, the store would not be liable for your injuries, because the liquid wasn’t on the floor long enough for management to be aware of it or to remove it.

Like most matters of civil law, there’s no hard-and-fast rule that answers this question. The court considers whether the property owner knew or should have known about the hazard and had “a reasonable amount of time” to do something about it. Here’s another example that illustrates this aspect of the law: A retailer knows that on particularly hot days, the overhead air conditioner drips condensation onto the floor. If a customer were to slip in that water and suffer an injury, the retailer would almost certainly be liable for their injuries. However, if the manager puts a “Caution: Wet Floor” sign under the AC unit and has an employee mop up the water frequently, the court would likely side with the retailer in a premises liability case.

Cities are obligated to maintain public areas, such as sidewalks and streets, but there’s no way for city governments to detect and repair every possible defect in such a vast area of land. Whereas a storeowner might be found liable for injuries due to a spill that remained on the floor for several hours, a city may fulfill its civil duties by warning the public of defects. Examples of that include using a barricade and signs to close a flooded road, or spray-painting an area of uneven sidewalk in a bright color to alert pedestrians of the hazard until it can be repaired.

In general, landowners owe no duty of care to trespassers, unless those trespassers are children. The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine states that when landowners are aware of hazards on their property that could be attractive to children – such as swimming pools, or unstable structures – the landowner must attempt to mitigate hazards or prevent children from accessing them. The reason for this law is that young children, unlike adult trespassers, do not fully understand the consequences of their actions.

Social guests are sometimes able to recover from their hosts, depending on how their injuries happened. Homeowners must tell their guests about, or correct, any dangerous conditions that guests are unlikely to recognize.

A student attacked on a college campus might have a negligence action against the college. In a developing area of premises liability law, courts have found entities such as universities, motels, convenience stores and shopping malls liable for attacks when they did not exercise reasonable care in protecting victims. In general, a hotel must provide adequate security.

TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY (TBI)

A traumatic brain injury also known as TBI is a blow, jolt or a traumatic hit to the head that disrupts the brain’s functions. Not all traumas to the head cause a traumatic brain injury. The severity of the head injury can be minor or severe. A minor head injury is a brief change in the mental status, whereas, a severe injury happens when there is an extended period of unconscious or amnesia after the injury. A traumatic brain injury can result in short or long-term problems with independent function. Many people suffer a head injury when involved in an auto accident. From being hit with the air bag, or hitting your head against the steering wheel, windows, or head seat; a brain injury from an accident is extremely common. Drivers or passengers of motor vehicles involved in an accident are at high risk for TBI. Auto accidents that cause catastrophic injuries including a traumatic brain injury happen every day.

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive fatigue (tiredness)
  • Concentration problems
  • Forgetting things (memory problems)
  • Irritability
  • Sleep problems
  • Balance problems
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Vision changes (such as blurred or double vision)
  • Coma (unconsciousness)
  • Severe headaches
  • Seizures/convulsions
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Inability or difficulty speaking, understanding and concentrating
  • Confusion, restlessness or agitation
  • Loss of or changes in coordination
  • Memory loss/amnesia
  • Vision changes or loss of vision
  • Paralysis and/or muscle spasticity
  • Chronic pain
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Inability or changes in ability to use senses of taste, touch, sight, sound, and smell
  • Loss of bowel and/or bladder control

It is important that you contact your doctor right away to schedule an appointment if you have any symptoms of a traumatic brain injury. There are several types of medical treatment that can assist you in your recovery. The recommendation of the doctors will depend on your personal needs. Many doctors prescribe physical therapy, speech therapy, cognitive therapy, neuropsychological assessments, occupational therapy or recreational therapy.

It is also very important that you contact Avrek Law Firm attorneys right away so they can help guide you and your family through the TBI journey. Our office can help coordinate the services and therapies needed for your optimal recovery by working with you and your medical doctors.

Treatment for a traumatic brain injury can be extremely expensive as it involves costly therapy and long-term expenses. The financial loss to you or your loved ones who may have suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of a car accident can be just as devastating as the injury itself. If you or your loved one has suffered a TBI as a result of an auto accident, you need the professional guidance and support of an experienced brain injury attorney. You may be entitled to monetary damages to help cover all of the costs of the accident and injury which includes medications, surgical cots, vehicle replacement, and ongoing therapy. Call Avrek Law Firm today for a free consultation.

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Maryam Parman, Avrek Law

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