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What is a guardian ad litem in a personal injury claim?
California law entitles those who've been injured due to the negligence of others to seek financial compensation for their injuries. However, someone filing a personal injury claim must have both legal standing and the legal capacity to begin the case. This means that children, or those who are deemed legal incapable, will require a guardian ad litem appointed to make decisions for the incapable individual and to seek compensation for their accident-related expenses.
Appointing a Guardian Ad Litem
A guardian ad litem is someone who is appointed by the court to act in the best interests of a child or legally incompetent person who is involved in a legal proceeding. “Ad litem” is a Latin phrase which means “for the suit.” A guardian ad litem is used in a personal injury claim involving children under the age of 18, or adults who are mentally incapable of making decisions for their well-being.
In most personal injury cases, a guardian ad litem is a parent, grandparent, or other close relative. Since only one guardian ad litem is necessary, it's usually advised to select the adult relative with the most time available to devote to working with the attorney or to help settle the child's case. For example, if a child lives with a stay-at-home mother and a father who must frequently travel on business, having the mother appointed guardian ad litem would allow the case to proceed in a timely fashion. That is not to say that the father would not have input in the handling of the case, it only means that the mother would the person designated to make the final decisions for the case.
If no suitable relative is available to perform the duties, or there is reason to believe the child's interests will conflict with those of the available relatives, the court can appoint another person, such as an attorney to serve as guardian ad litem.
Preparing the Case
The role of a guardian ad litem varies depending upon the type of personal injury claim and the age of the child. However, the person serving as guardian ad litem will usually be responsible for:
- Evaluating the case with the attorney
- Assisting the attorney with any necessary preparation of the case
- Make decisions on the issues of a potential settlement
- Providing age-appropriate updates about the case to the child
- How settlement funds will be invested for the minor
Settlement Issues for Cases Involving Minor Children
California requires a judge to approve the settlement of any personal injury claim over $5,000 that involves a minor child. Insurance companies will often insist on court approval even if the child's net recovery is less than $5,000 after attorney fees, costs, and medical expenses.
During the settlement process, the guardian ad litem will play a role in addressing the following concerns:
- Distributing funds over the course of the child's life
- Deciding how to best invest the child's settlement funds
- Determining what portion of the settlement belongs to the parents as reimbursement for the child's previously paid medical expenses
- Determining if the parents should be allowed to use a portion of the child's settlement to make modifications to the home that would improve the child's quality of life, such as installing wheelchair ramps or roll-in showers
Length of Involvement in the Case
The role of a guardian ad litem does not end until the child reaches age 18. Children often receive structured settlements providing periodic payments that will need to be invested to meet future needs or allocated towards current living expenses. If an injured child's original guardian ad litem becomes unavailable or is deemed to be not acting in the child's best interests, the court can step in and appoint a replacement.
Necessity of Legal Representation
Although parents or other family members are often allowed to serve as a guardian ad litem for an injured child, California law mandates that children have an attorney to prepare the case paperwork and represent their interests throughout the approval process. A guardian ad litem cannot act in pro per (without a lawyer) to represent the child’s interest in a monetary settlement. This would be considered an unlawful practice of law.
If you are seeking legal representation on behalf of a child who has been injured in an auto accident or a dog bite attack, Inland Empire Law Group can help. Our experienced attorneys are committed to assisting clients in obtaining fair and prompt settlements. Please call to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at either our Rancho Cucamonga or Victorville offices. Call now (909) 481-0100 to speak with one of our representatives, or submit your information through this website to have our office reach out to you.
Do I need to call the police after a minor car accident?
Every time a driver gets behind the wheel of a vehicle, they're at risk of being involved in one of the approximately 10 million car accidents that occur in the United States each year. While some of these accidents result in serious injuries, extensive property damage, and even fatalities, others are what most people would refer to as “fender benders” – crashes in which property damage is minor.
People who've been involved in minor crashes often question whether it's necessary—or even worth the hassle—to report the accident to law enforcement. Don't be fooled into believing that everything will be okay and the insurance company will take care of the damages. It's almost always a good idea to at least report a car accident to the police, even if the police decide not to come to the scene of the collision. In some instances, California drivers may be legally required to report the accident to be able to make a claim to their insurance company, such as in a hit and run situation.
California law requires drivers to report accidents to law enforcement if there are any injuries or if the property damage sustained in the crash is expected to cost more than $1,000 to repair. In the absence of feeling injuries at the scene of the collision, accident victims may think they're in the clear. However, even seemingly minor auto body damage can be expensive to repair, and it's not unusual for just a few dents and dings to result in repair bills exceeding $1,000. Also, injuries from these impacts that cause a lot of visible damage can still result in serious injuries that develop in the days, weeks and months following the collision.
Reporting an accident to law enforcement also gives victims an official document for use at a later time. There are some downsides with a police report as well. Sometimes, an investigating officer makes a determination of fault for the collision, and that determination is wrong. If this happens, then an injury victim may want to submit a supplemental report to correct the errors in the report, such as a wrong statement attributed to the injured party or some other error. If a police accident report is prepared, make sure you get a copy as soon as it is prepared. This report may come in handy if the accident turns out to have been more serious than originally thought, or there is a dispute as to liability for the collision. For example, some car accident injuries can take days or longer to develop, which also underscores the importance of seeking immediate medical attention after a seemingly minor crash.
Were You Involved in an Accident?
If you were involved in an automobile collision, report the crash to law enforcement, even if it seems relatively minor. Not all collisions will get the attention of law enforcement, but you will have done your part in reporting the collision. This may make it easier to pursue a personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit, if necessary. Also, understanding all your options after an accident is just as important. The skilled attorneys with the Inland Empire Law Group can help. Contact us today at (888) 694-3529 or (909) 481-0100 to schedule a free initial telephone or in person consultation to discuss the details of your case.
Is there a difference between a motorcycle accident lawyer and a car accident lawyer (or personal injury lawyer)?
In California, there are no specialties or certified specialists for motorcycle accident lawyers, car accident lawyers or even for personal injury attorneys. While all licensed attorneys are legally capable of representing injured individuals, not all lawyers are properly equipped to handle the challenging issues which arise in a motorcycle collision. To make sure you secure the best recovery from your motorcycle crash case— it is critically important you find an attorney with experience in, and a successful track record with, handling “motorcycle accidents” as part of their case history. A lawyer skilled in litigating a motorcycle case understands the unique prejudices held by jurors against motorcycle riders and their perception that they bikers are reckless, irresponsible and the cause of their own injuries. Additionally, the injuries are often unique or substantially more severe than similar impacts between vehicles. Further, in many motorcycle cases, the motorcyclist is unable to recall the events, does not know how the impact occurred or is too injured to aid in establishing the facts of the case. In other instances, the death of the motorcyclist leaves a gapping hole in the story of what he or she was doing moments prior to impact. Hiring the right attorney, willing to dig deep to find all the necessary answers for a successful motorcycle injury or death claim is the best choice a person can make who wants to secure appropriate compensation for the injuries or losses suffered in a motorcycle accident.
Here are some additional thoughts about what sets motorcycle crash cases apart from other accident cases, and why a motorcycle accident attorney is best equipped to help you fight for the best financial recovery:
- More serious injuries and damages. Most motorcycle crashes aren't light taps and fender-benders. When passenger vehicles collide with motorcycles, the resulting injuries are severe, catastrophic, or even deadly.
- Potential for larger settlements or financial awards. Motorcyclists with devastating injuries may be permanently unable to work, and require long-term or lifelong medical or assistive care. An experienced motorcycle crash attorney knows how to communicate the cost of such losses and can draw upon a network of qualified experts to testify on your behalf.
- Bias against motorcyclists. Despite research showing that motorists are not responsible for the majority of motorcycle-passenger vehicle crashes, motorcycle riders have a pop-culture reputation for throwing caution to the wind that can negatively affect their fight for damages. A motorcycle crash lawyer comes prepared with the facts and evidence needed to shift the blame back where it belongs—to the at-fault party.
Consult Our Injury Recovery Professionals
Are you hurt, unable to work, and facing mounting debt due to a motorcycle crash that is not your fault? The skilled trial motorcycle accident attorneys with the Inland Empire Law Group can help. Contact us today at (888) 694-3529 or (909) 481-0100 to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation.
What happens if I get into a car accident in another state?
No one expects to be involved in a serious car accident while visiting another state for work or vacation. Sadly, it happens all the time—and when it does, it can make filing a personal injury lawsuit and seeking compensation for injuries and damages even more complicated and confusing. If you were hurt in a car crash caused by another person or entity's negligence while out of state, here's what you need to know to protect your right to recovery.
Following an out-of-state accident, the initial steps you'll take to protect your rights are practically identical to those you would take after being involved in a crash in your home state. For example, you'll want to:
- Report the accident to the police
- Take photos of the accident scene, as well as any property damage or injuries
- Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver
- Find out if anyone witnessed the crash and write down their contact information
- Seek immediate medical attention
- Inform your auto insurance company of the accident
After that, you'll want to speak with an experienced attorney in the state where the crash occurred. Since the accident happened in a different state, any subsequent insurance claim or lawsuit will be governed by that state's personal injury laws. A knowledgeable car accident attorney can help you understand your rights and legal options, evaluate the strength of your case, identify potential defendants, and figure out what types of compensation you can pursue. After you return to California, a local attorney can help you find a highly qualified attorney in the state where the injury occurred. Contact our office to find free help for your out of state traffic collision claim.
Hurt in a California Car Accident? We Can Help You Fight for the Damages You Deserve
If you were injured in a car crash while visiting California or if you are a California visiting another state when an accident occurred, the skilled personal injury attorneys with the Inland Empire Law Group can handle the complicated legal wrangling involved with your claim so that you can focus on your physical recovery. Contact us today at (888) 694-3529 or (909) 481-0100 to schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation.
How can a truck's black box data help in my truck accident case?
After an airplane accident, the plane's black box recorder can often provide investigators with powerful clues about what went wrong. After a big-rig or 18-wheeler crash, the truck's black box may be able to do the same for you and your personal injury attorney.
Black Box Recorders Can Help in Commercial Truck Wrecks
Also known as electronic control modules (ECMs) or event data recorders (EDRs), black box recorders have been used since the 1990s to prevent fraudulent warranty claims, and to allow trucking companies to closely monitor truck and employee performance. However, because these recorders collect such a wide range of data, they can also shed insight on truck accidents, and serve as evidence in a personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit.
Black box devices installed in large commercial truck often gather the following types of information:
- Overall average truck speed
- Highest speed
- Whether the truck exceeded the speed limit and, if so, for how long
- Time spend driving faster than 65 miles per hour
- Driving time
- Acceleration and deceleration speeds
- Hard braking events or sudden stops
- Speed and number of revolutions per minute (RPMs) recorded prior to the stop
- Seat belt usage
- Distance traveled
- Steering angles and throttle positions
- Air bag deployment
- Idling time
- GPS location
If you were hurt in a truck accident caused by another person or company's negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Data collected from a truck's black box can be used by your attorney to prove fault and damages.
However, if you hope to use black box data as evidence in your personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit, you must act quickly and consult an attorney. Not all trucks have black box recorders and, even if the truck that hit you does, there's no guarantee that the information you want will be there when you need it. These devices are only designed to record events from the past 30 days and, in some cases, the data may be purposely destroyed by the trucking company. An experienced California personal injury attorney can help you find out if the truck involved in your accident had a black box and, if necessary, request an order to preserve this important evidence.
Consult Our Skilled Attorneys About Your Truck Crash Case
Hurt in a California truck accident? Contact Inland Empire Law Group today at (888) 694-3529 or (909) 481-0100 to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation to discuss your case—and your legal rights and options—with a knowledgeable member of our team.
What do I need to do after hiring a personal injury attorney?
Cooperate with your attorney so they have what they need to build a strong case on your behalf.
A positive attorney-client relationship is essential to achieving the best possible outcome in your personal injury case. It makes sense: Your attorney has the knowledge, experience, and qualifications necessary to deftly navigate the civil litigation system, while you have valuable first-hand information about the accident and your injuries. After hiring an attorney, here are just a few of the things they may need or expect from you:
- Follow your doctor's orders. Thorough, well-documented medical treatment is crucial to proving injury damages, so be sure to attend follow-up appointments and follow your doctor's treatment plan. Make sure you inform your medical providers about all your injuries. An undocumented injury is generally not recognized by the insurance company when negotiating a settlement.
- Help gather and provide important evidence. This includes a written summary and chronology of events, as wells as information where you received your injury-related medical care. If you have medical records, medical invoices and receipts, other receipts, wage statements, and photo, video, and journal evidence, those should also be provided to your attorney.
- Meet deadlines, uphold agreements, and respect your attorney's time. Time is of the essence when seeking compensation for accident-related injuries and damages. Both you and your attorney are busy, which is why it's critical to respond to your attorney's calls and provide requested information and documentation promptly. Calling everyday will not speed up the settlement of your case. Make sure you understand how often you and your attorney should be discussing your case. Generally, once a month is a good average.
- Be open and honest with your attorney. Hiding things from your attorney can hurt your case. Tell your attorney everything, even if you think your actions may have contributed to your accident and injuries. Just because you were partially at fault, in California, you are not prevented from making a claim for financial recovery. It's also important to keep your attorney up to date about any new developments or evidence.
- Keep the attorney-client relationship professional. Your attorney is dedicated to helping you achieve your legal goals after a personal injury accident. Since most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, the better your attorney does for you the better it is for the attorney. Your attorney wants you to get the best recovery possible.
- Understand that from a settlement, costs, medical bills and legal fees will be paid. After receiving a personal injury settlement or financial award, it's important you understand there will be deductions from the settlement to pay for costs the attorney has advanced for you, reimbursement to medical providers or health insurance companies and the legal fees your attorney has postponed pending the outcome of the case. Without these costs, generally, no recovery would have been possible
Consult a Skilled Attorney About Your California Personal Injury Case
If you were hurt in a car, truck, or motorcycle crash, slip and fall, or other personal injury accident, you may be entitled to compensation. The experienced attorneys with the Inland Empire Law Group can help you understand your rights and options, and discuss the ways that cooperating with your legal counsel can result in a stronger case. Contact us today at (909) 481-0100 or (888) 694-3529 to schedule a free initial consultation.
How is diminished value calculated after a car accident?
After an accident, you may be surprised to find that your vehicle has suddenly lost value, even though you had it fully repaired by a qualified professional. Known as diminished value, the frustrating phenomenon of having your car lose worth simply because it was involved in a collision is due to the fact that most buyers are unwilling to pay full market price for a vehicle that's been in a crash. As a result, your car may now be worth significantly less than it once was.
However, because California is a diminished value state, if your vehicle lost value because it was damaged in an accident caused by another person or entity's negligence, you may be entitled to compensation from the at-fault party. The three main types of diminished value are:
- Immediate diminished value. This is the difference between the car's resale or trade-in value before the accident and after the accident-related damages have been repaired.
- Inherent diminished value. This type of value loss occurs when a vehicle damaged in a crash is repaired to its original condition, but is still considered to have decreased in worth as a result of the accident.
- Repair-related diminished value. Not all vehicle repairs are created equally. In cases of repair-related diminished value, the car's value drops due to the quality of its repairs. This doesn't necessarily mean that the repair work was shoddy, but may indicate the use of generic or aftermarket parts.
The California Jury Instructions discuss the aspect of diminished value and repair of a vehicle. One instruction reads in part as follows:
"However, if you find that the [automobile] can be repaired, but after repairs it will be worth less than it was before the harm, the damages are (1) the difference between its value before the harm and its lesser value after the repairs have been made; plus (2) the reasonable cost of making the repairs. The total amount awarded may not exceed the [automobile]’s value before the harm occurred."
If you've sold the vehicle, calculating the diminished value can be as simple as determining the difference between the car's value before the accident and it's lower resale price, plus the cost of the repairs. Otherwise, comparing the vehicle's previous value to a trade-in offer from a dealership—or using an online diminished value calculator—can give you an idea of what your diminished value claim may be worth.
Consult an Experienced Attorney About Your Diminished Value Claim
At the Inland Empire Law Group, our skilled personal injury attorneys have helped numerous accident victims collect fair compensation for their personal injuries, and to help them with the diminished value of their vehicle. Contact us at (909) 481-0100 or (888) 694-3529 today to schedule a free initial case consultation to learn how we can assist you.
I may have contributed to my pedestrian accident. Can I still recover damages?
In California, there is always the possibility of making a claim, so long as the pedestrian is not the sole cause of the accident. As a pedestrian accident victim, you may find yourself severely injured, unable to work, and racking up an outrageous amount of unexpected medical debt. If a motorist was fully or partially responsible for your injuries while you were a pedestrian, you may be entitled to compensation. Partial fault for the accident in which you were injured does not exclude all rights of recovery.
You Are Not Automatically Barred From Compensation If You Are Partially at Fault for Your Accident
In California, having contributed to your pedestrian accident doesn't automatically bar you from collecting compensation. This is because the state follows the legal doctrine of pure comparative negligence. Under this system, all parties are assigned a percentage of fault and then any financial awards are reduced accordingly. For example, if you were 10 percent responsible and received a $100,000 financial award, it would be reduced to $90,000 to reflect your assigned percentage of fault.
If you think your actions may have contributed to your pedestrian accident, it's important to speak with a California accident and injury attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options and, if you hire them to represent you, they'll conduct a thorough investigation into your accident to determine liability and the options you have available. They may even be able to negotiate to have you assigned a lower percentage of fault, allowing you to take home more of whatever damages you may be awarded.
Consult a Knowledgeable California Personal Injury Attorney
At the Inland Empire Law Group, our skilled injury recovery professionals have helped numerous victims obtain the compensation they need and deserve after a devastating pedestrian accident. We'd love an opportunity to discuss your case to determine if we can help you, too. Want to know more? Contact us today at (909) 481-0100 or toll free (888) 694-3529 to schedule an appointment for a free, initial case consultation. Don't wait—California's statute of limitations gives you just two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit seeking damages.
I was seriously injured in a traumatic car accident and am undergoing psychological therapy, can this be included in my recovery?
Car accidents can be both physically and mentally devastating. Though much attention is paid to the physical injuries victims sustain in crashes, these traumatic incidents can also have a distressing impact on their mental health. According to a study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), nearly 40 percent of motor vehicle accident survivors develop psychological conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, persistent anxiety, and phobias, such as while driving.
The effects a horrific accident can have on your mental health can be long-lasting and require extensive treatment—the cost of which can quickly mount. However, if the car crash that caused your mental and physical injuries was caused by another person or company's negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for damages.
A full and fair financial recovery in a car accident personal injury case should include compensation for all of your crash-related medical treatment, including psychological therapy needed to address resulting mental health disorders. In addition to the cost of your therapy sessions, your recovery may also include psychiatric appointments and mental health-related prescription medications.
However, recovering compensation for car crash mental health issues can be challenging. Fortunately, an experienced California personal injury attorney can help by thoroughly investigating the accident in which you were injured, gathering essential evidence, and building a strong case for damages. In the process, we'll work with your doctors to ensure that your injuries—and their effects on your daily life—are thoroughly understood and comprehensively documented so that they can be conveyed to the insurance company and defense counsel for the at-fault party.
Let Our Skilled Attorneys Help You Fight for a Fair Recovery
At the Inland Empire Law Group, our injury recovery professionals help victims injured by the negligence of others collect the compensation they deserve. We can assist you in recovering compensation for accident-related mental health treatment. Contact us today at (888) 694-3529 or (909) 481-0100 to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation to discuss your legal rights and options.
Do pedestrian accident victims face bias when seeking compensation?
Accidents involving pedestrians have risen dramatically in recent years, with fatalities reaching a 28-year high in 2019, according to the Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA). If you were hurt in a pedestrian accident caused by a negligent driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries—however, don't be surprised if you find yourself facing bias at nearly every turn. This bias can start with the police officers investigating the scene of the crash, journalists reporting the incident in the media, the at-fault driver, and the insurance adjuster assigned to handle your claim and the judge or jury assigned to decide the facts of the case.
Why is the Pedestrian the One Many People Suspect Is Responsible for His or Her Injuries?
In 2019, a team of researchers from Rutgers University, Arizona State University, and Texas A&M University set out to test the theory that media coverage of pedestrian accidents may be partially to blame. The resulting paper, which was published in a journal of the National Academy of Sciences' Transportation Research Board, showed that news stories subtly and inadvertently shift blame from drivers to pedestrians in two key ways: by using phrases such as “a pedestrian was hit by a car,” rather than “a driver hit a pedestrian” and describing the incidents as “accidents,” which implies that the events couldn't be avoided.
This bias is rampant with insurance adjusters processing your claim because the more they can blame the pedestrian for the incident, the less they have to pay for the injuries. Unfortunately, judges or jurors who hears your case are also impacted by bias to one degree or another. Utilizing a skilled personal injury attorney with experience in handling pedestrian accident cases can help you overcome some of the potential bias. The attorney will focus on gathering important evidence, interviewing witnesses, and hiring the right experts to render opinions and testify on behalf of the injured pedestrian. Additionally, because California follows the legal standard of comparative negligence, even if the pedestrian was partially at fault, the pedestrian may be able to still maximize his or her financial recovery even if partially responsible.
Let Our Adept California Injury Recover Professionals Handle Your Pedestrian Injury Case
A pedestrian accident can turn your entire world upside down, leaving you seriously injured, unable to work, and facing unimaginable medical debt. At the Inland Empire Law Group, our knowledgeable attorneys and paralegals can help you fight for a fair recovery. Contact us today at (888) 694-3529 or (909) 481-0100, or submit a web form from this website, to speak with our skilled staff and schedule an appointment for a free consultation.
Do I need a truck accident attorney, or can I handle my own claim?
Simply put, if you were seriously injured or sustained significant losses in a California truck crash caused by another person or company's negligence, you need the representation of an experienced personal injury attorney. Even if you've successfully handled other car accident claims in the past, the complexity of truck accidents require the right experienced attorney.
Ways That Truck and Car Accident Cases Differ
Truck crash cases aren't like other auto accident claims. Here are a few of the ways these two types of cases differ:
- Greater injuries and damages in truck crash cases lead to the potential for larger settlements and financial awards. Just because your losses are substantial doesn't mean that the liable party's insurance company or legal team will be eager to compensate you fairly. The right attorney balances out the imbalance of power so you can obtain full financial recovery.
- Multiple liable parties may mean multiple avenues for compensation. In some cases, the commercial truck driver may not be the only one at fault. Depending on the circumstances of the claim, negligent drivers may share liability with a trucking company, truck owner, trucking repair company, or a parts manufacturer. An attorney you does not look for the simple and quick settlement can identify liable parties, investigate all potential avenues for compensation and can fight the legal battle to secure the best outcome for you.
- You're likely to face an aggressive corporate and insurance legal team. Insurance companies and the businesses they insure are focused on protecting their bottom lines. They are not in the business of giving away money. To that end, they often bring in savvy and experienced attorneys to handle litigation with claimants. Having a knowledgeable and accomplished attorney of your own helps level the playing field and sends a message to everyone involved that your case is one to take seriously.
Hurt in a California Truck Accident? Contact Us at (909) 481-0100 or (888) 694-3529
If you were injured in a truck crash caused by someone else's negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, property damages, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, and other losses. The skilled injury recovery professionals with the Inland Empire Law Group can help you fight for the compensation you need and deserve. Contact us today at (888) 694-3529 to schedule an appointment for a complimentary initial consultation.
Do I need a motorcycle accident attorney, or can I handle my own claim?
If you sustained serious injuries and property damages in a California motorcycle crash caused by someone else's negligence and are incurring significant lost wages, medical expenses, and other losses as a result, you need an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to ensure the maximum recovery available under the circumstances of your claim.
Motorcycles provide no exterior protection for riders, which is why injuries motorcyclists suffer in crashes are often catastrophic. After an accident, the severity of your injuries may prevent you from taking an active role in your insurance claim or lawsuit. A knowledgeable personal injury motorcycle accident attorney can thoroughly investigate the accident, gather and preserve vital evidence, identify liable parties, interview witnesses, find all available insurance coverage and perform other essential tasks to build a strong case for damages while you focus on your physical recovery.
Motorcycle Accident Cases Aren't Like Other Personal Injury Cases
Motorcycle accident cases aren’t like other motor vehicle crash cases, either. When the significant injuries and damages in motorcycle accident cases lead to the potential for sizable financial recoveries for victims, you can expect the at-fault party's insurer and legal team to fight particularly hard to avoid paying. Without skilled representation, insurance adjusters and attorneys from the opposing side won't hesitate to push you around and trick you into accepting less than you deserve. An adept attorney can handle all communications with the responsible party's insurance company and defense attorneys, and advocate for your best interests.
Additionally, the old stereotype of motorcyclists being reckless renegades who have no respect for rules or authority can create an implicit bias that negatively affects a victim's ability to recover fair compensation. A savvy attorney can combat this false narrative with facts and help you overcome potentially case-damaging biases.
Let Us Handle Your California Motorcycle Accident Case
Hurt in a motorcycle crash? Hiring the right attorney, one with the appropriate experience, can increase the potential value of your insurance claim or lawsuit. Contact the Inland Empire Law Group today toll free at (888) 694-3529 or (909) 481-0100, to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation.
I was injured in a pedestrian accident. Can I still collect damages if I was partially responsible?
Yes. After being injured in a pedestrian accident, victims who fear they may be partially responsible for their injuries are often hesitant to investigate their right to compensation. If you find yourself in this position, don't make the mistake of not investigating your legal rights.
California Follows the Legal Standard of Pure Comparative Negligence
For personal injury cases, including incidents involving motor vehicles and pedestrians, California follows the legal standard of pure comparative negligence. Thanks to this standard, being partly at fault for your injuries doesn't automatically preclude you from seeking compensation for damages. However, depending on the specific circumstances of your case, it could potentially affect how much you're able to recover.
For example, if you were injured by a speeding or distracted driver while jaywalking, you and the driver would likely share liability. You would each be assigned a percentage of fault, which any financial award would is adjusted to reflect the percentage of fault. If you were 30 percent at fault for jaywalking—while the driver was determined to have been 70 percent at fault for reckless or distracted driving—and you won a $100,000 financial award, that award would be reduced to $70,000 to reflect the comparative negligence.
The potential to have your award reduced highlights the importance of having an experienced California personal injury attorney handle your pedestrian accident case. A skilled attorney can investigate your case, gather important evidence, and negotiate to ensure that you're assigned a fair percentage of fault for the accident and your injuries.
Let Us Resolve Your Pedestrian Accident Case For Top Recovery
At the Inland Empire Law Group, our accomplished injury recovery professionals have helped many pedestrian accident victims collect the vital compensation they need and deserve. We'd love to take a look at your case and tell you if we can help you. Contact us today at (888) 694-3529 or (909) 481-0100 to schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation to talk one of our adept attorneys about your legal rights and options.
Our teen was hurt in an accident that wasn't her fault, but the other driver and their insurance company are trying to claim she was responsible for the crash because she's a new driver. How can we prove that the other driver is liable?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teens are more likely to be involved in a crash than drivers from any other age group—and their inexperience is often to blame. While that doesn't mean that all teenagers are bad or dangerous drivers, it does make it easier for other motorists—and their insurance companies—to claim that the teen was the one responsible for causing an accident. Fortunately, if your teen was hurt in a crash that wasn't their fault, the experienced injury recovery professionals with the Inland Empire Law Group can fight to establish the other driver's liability and recover the compensation your child needs and deserves for their injuries.
Attorneys Can Help Determine Which Party Was Liable for an Accident
For example, we can conduct a thorough investigation into the crash, gather valuable evidence, interview witnesses, and hire accident reconstructionists or other experts to testify on your teen's behalf. Things like great attendance and performance in school, good student auto insurance discounts, successfully completed internships, and other accomplishments can also be used to show that your teenager has good character and is a responsible person.
After a serious accident, your teen may be entitled to compensation for a wide range of economic and non-economic damages. In addition to compensation for all accident-related medical expenses, financial recovery may include lost wages if your teen missed work because of the crash, as well as damages for physical pain and suffering, emotional anguish, scarring or disfigurement, and more.
We Can Help Your Teen Fight for the Compensation They Deserve
At the Inland Empire Law Group, we understand just how distressing it can be to have your child injured in an accident and then have to wonder if they'll get just compensation. Not to worry, we've helped countless clients in similar situations and may be able to help you as well. If you'd like to learn more, contact us today at (888) 694-3529 to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation to discuss your case with a knowledgeable member of our legal team. Don't wait—the sooner you involve an attorney in your case, the better.
How can I help my loved ones cope with a relative's wrongful death?
Losing a loved one is never easy, but when the death of someone you care about was caused by another person or entity's negligence, the loss can be particularly difficult to process. If someone in your family was a wrongful death victim, healing emotionally—and financially—can take time. Fortunately, these tips can help:
- Make self care a priority. Grief can be overwhelming and all consuming, which is why it's so important to make time to care for yourself after the death of a loved one. Make sure to eat a healthy diet, exercise, get enough rest, and avoid abusing alcohol or drugs.
- Give yourself room to grieve. The grieving process can involve powerful emotions such as denial, shock, guilt, pain, anger, loneliness, and acceptance. Instead of bottling up feelings, give yourself the time and space to work through them.
- Establish a support system. If you're feeling distraught about your loss, remember that you probably aren't the only one in mourning. Reach out to other grieving family members to establish a strong emotional support system.
- Take things one day at a time. Grieving the loss of a loved one takes time and is filled with frequent ups and downs. There will be good days and bad days. Just keep moving forward.
- Investigate your family's right to compensation. If your loved one died due to another person or entity's negligence, your family may be entitled to compensation for funeral and burial expenses, loss of income, mental anguish, loss of association and other damages. A skilled personal injury attorney can help you determine if you have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit.
Consult an Experienced California Wrongful Death Attorney
Did your loved one die because of someone else's negligence? In addition to leaving your family heartbroken, this type of unexpected loss can also put families in financial jeopardy. If you find yourself in this situation, the seasoned attorneys with Inland Empire Law Group can help. Contact us today at (909) 481-0100 or toll free at (888) 694-3529 to schedule an appointment for a complimentary case consultation.
Is it illegal to wear headphones while driving?
Many drivers enjoy listening to music, audiobooks, or radio programs to pass the time during their daily commute. However, in some circumstances, these types of in-vehicle entertainment can prove dangerously distracting. As a result, California is one of several states that have laws restricting how drivers use audio media while operating a vehicle.
The Dangers of Driving While Using Headphones
Being able to hear what's going on around the vehicle—such as the sounds of traffic, approaching emergency vehicles, or potential hazards like screeching tires—is essential to defensive and safe driving. Playing music or other audio media too loudly can make it difficult for drivers to hear sounds that could help them avoid accidents. Research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that listening to audio media through headphones, earphones, or earbuds not only further diminishes a driver's ability to hear critical sounds around them, but also increases their cognitive distraction level.
California has long banned the use of headphones and earplugs while driving or biking, but until just a few years ago, it was perfectly legal to wear earphones or earbuds. That changed on January 1, 2016, when a state law went into effect making it illegal to wear earbuds on top of the ears (these types of earbuds are also sometimes referred to as earphones) or inside the ear canal—regardless of whether they're actually playing audio. Motorists who violate the law can face fines of $160 or more. Additionally, though California law prohibits headphones, earphones, or earbuds on or in both ears, drivers using a single earphone or earbud are still in compliance.
Do You Need an Experienced Rancho Cucamonga Car Accident Attorney?
If you were seriously injured in a car accident caused by the negligence of a driver who was wearing both headphones, earphones, or earbuds at the time of the accident, you may have grounds for a personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit. Have questions about your case? Call the Inland Empire Law Group at 888-694-3529 or 909-481-0100, or complete our online contact form to schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation.
Will I be fired for reporting sexual harassment to my employer?
Thanks to California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), employees have the right to a workplace free of “unwanted sexual advances, or visual, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.” The law also prohibits workplace harassment based on gender, pregnancy, sexual orientation, or marital status.
Retaliating Against Employees for Reporting Sexual Harassment Is Against Federal Law
Sadly, when sexual harassment does occur, employees are often hesitant to report it to their employer due to a fear of facing negative consequences. Fortunately, the very law that gives employees the right to a harassment-free workplace also protects them from retaliation for filing a complaint, assisting in an investigation or testifying in a sexual harassment-related proceeding. FEHA prohibits unlawful retaliation in the form of poor performance reviews, demotions to lower-ranking positions, assignments to less favorable shifts or positions, termination, and other negative employment actions.
When an employee reports sexual harassment, California law requires employers to complete a thorough investigation and take prompt action against offenders if the investigation confirms the complaint. However, if employers fail to uphold their duty under the law, employees may have to fight for their rights. When that happens, an experienced California personal injury attorney can help.
Consult a Rancho Cucamonga Personal Injury Attorney
If you experienced sexual harassment in the workplace—or retaliation for filing a sexual harassment complaint—the skilled personal injury attorneys with the Inland Empire Law Group can help you understand your legal rights and options. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may even be entitled to both economic and non-economic compensation for damages.
Don't let someone else's inappropriate workplace behavior put your own career in jeopardy. The Inland Empire Law Group represents California sexual harassment clients from offices in Rancho Cucamonga and Victorville. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation. We're eager to help you fight for the justice you deserve.
How do I report sexual harassment to my employer in California?
Having inappropriate sexual jokes, derogatory comments, innuendo, unwanted touching, and repeated or aggressive requests for sexual favors directed toward you on the job creates an extremely hostile workplace. Fortunately, California's Fair Employment and Housing Act—also known as FEHA—not only prohibits workplace sexual discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, it also requires employers to take reasonable steps to prevent such behavior, and correct it when it occurs.
It Is Imperative to Report Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
If you've experienced sexual harassment at work, it's important to report the harassment to your employer as soon as possible to give them the opportunity to take the necessary corrective action. The law requires employers to have a written anti-harassment policy in place; this policy should specify whom to approach with sexual harassment complaints. Depending on the structure of your company, this person may be your direct supervisor, a human resources manager, a diversity or equal employment opportunity coordinator, or a designated ombudsperson. In some cases, employees may be advised to direct their complaints to a company anti-harassment hotline.
Employers who understand their obligations under the FEHA often work to resolve sexual harassment complaints as quickly as possible. However, if the employer fails to put a stop to sexually inappropriate behaviors in the workplace, the victim can file a harassment complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). Submitting this complaint to the DFEH is a prerequisite for filing a sexual harassment lawsuit in California. While California legislators are considering extending the time to file a claim, as of the date of the post, the time limit for filing a claim is one year from the date of the last act.
When filing a complaint with the DFEH, you can request the immediate issuance of a “right to sue” notice or wait for them to issue the notice after thoroughly investigating your claims. Once you've received a right to sue notice, you have one year to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for workplace harassment.
Consult a Knowledgeable Attorney
If you've experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, the skilled attorneys with the Inland Empire Law Group can help you understand your legal rights and options for compensation. Contact us today at (909) 481-0100 or (888) 694-3529 to schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation.
Who is at fault in a left-turn accident?
Left-turn accidents are an all-too-common occurrence in California. These crashes occur when a vehicle making a left-hand turn collides with a vehicle that's headed straight, generally in the opposite direction. Left-turn accidents can result in serious injuries and property damages, leading to significant medical expenses and unexpected time away from work.
California law requires that vehicles intending to make a left-hand turn yield the right of way to vehicles approaching in the opposite direction, and wait until it's safe to make their turn. As a result, when left-turn crashes occur, the driver making the left-hand turn is almost always found liable. However, there are some exceptions. Left-turning drivers may not be liable—or may only be partially liable—in the following scenarios:
- The driver heading straight was traveling at an excessive speed.
- The driver heading straight didn't obey traffic lights or signage, such as a red light or stop sign.
- The driver turning left initiated the turn while it was safe, but unexpected circumstances required them to slow, swerve or stop.
- The driver going straight was under the influence of alcohol or drugs thereby contributing to the collision.
- The driver proceeding straight was talking, texting, or otherwise distracted thereby making their actions a cause of the collision.
- The driver heading straight acted in a way to increase likelihood of the collision.
If you were injured in a left-turn accident that wasn't your fault, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, property damages, lost wages, loss of income, pain and suffering, and other damages. Because California follows pure comparative fault rules, accident victims may still be able to collect compensation, even if they were partially responsible for the crash and their injuries—however, their financial recovery will be reduced to reflect the percentage of their liability.
Were You Hurt in a California Car Accident?
After a serious car crash, it's vitally important that victims understand their legal rights and options. The knowledgeable attorneys with the Inland Empire Law Group can answer your questions, address your concerns, and offer advice on navigating the personal injury litigation process. Contact us today toll free at (888) 694-3529 or locally at (909) 481-0100 to request a free initial consultation to discuss the details of your case with one of our experienced attorneys.
Is motorcycle lane splitting legal in California?
Lane splitting—defined by the California Department of Motor Vehicles as “passing other vehicles proceeding in the same direction within the same lane”—is a common practice among motorcyclists. In fact, one study found that 80 percent of California motorcyclists regularly lane split on the freeway.
Despite its popularity, there are questions surrounding both the safety and legality of lane splitting, also known as lane sharing or filtering. Contrary to popular belief, lane splitting is actually legal in California. State law never specifically forbade the practice and, in 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 51 into law, giving the California Highway Patrol (CHP) the ability to develop lane splitting guidelines.
The guidelines include tips to help motorcyclists who engage in lane splitting to do so more safely, as well as safety advice for motorists. CHP tips for lane-splitting motorcyclists include:
- Observe speed limits
- Assume that you're not visible to motorists and passenger vehicle occupants
- Stay out of other vehicles' blind spots
- Wear protective gear that's as visible as possible
- Split between the far left lanes, rather than between other lanes of traffic
- Avoid lane splitting next to big-rigs, semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, buses, and other large commercial trucks
The CHP also offered the following tips for motorists:
- Watch for motorcyclists and anticipate their possible movements
- Check mirrors and blind spots, especially prior to turning or changing lanes
- Signal before changing lanes or merging with traffic
- Never intentionally block or impede a motorcyclist in a way that could potentially cause harm to the rider
Consult an Experienced California Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Were you hurt in a California motorcycle accident that wasn't your fault? Whether you were the motorcyclist involved in a traffic collision, or a motorist who was struck by another vehicle, the knowledgeable attorneys with the Inland Empire Law Group can investigate your claims, help you understand your rights and potential options for compensation, and present a strong case. Do you have questions about a California lane-splitting motorcycle accident? Contact us today at (888) 694-3529 to schedule an appointment for a free, no-obligation legal consultation.