Reporting Unfair Treatment at Work | Employment Discrimination Lawyer

All employees in America have the right to do their job in a safe environment, free from unfair treatment at work. Unfortunately, not all employers live up to this expectation. Instead of providing equal treatment in the workplace, employers often disrespect and discriminate against their employees. At times, they overlook qualified employees for promotions, and even, engage in sexual or workplace harassment. 

It’s important to understand that these actions are unacceptable, and possibly illegal. If you experience harassment or discrimination in the workplace, then you may have a claim for damages under law. 

Let’s take a closer look. 

How do you tell if you are being treated unfairly at work?

The scope and scale of unfair workplace treatment is vast. Any behavior that seems questionable, disturbing, or that makes you feel uncomfortable should result in an investigation. 

Mistreatment, even by a colleague, is a common occurrence and a demoralizing experience. Thousands of employees everyday, face harassment, discrimination, and other illegal job-related actions across the United States. You don’t have to stay a victim. Take steps to report the issue and secure your rights under the law.

Examples of Being Treated Unfairly at Work 

Unfair treatment at any place of employment can express itself in many different ways, from wage discrimination to gender inequality, favoritism, violence, workplace bullying, and verbal abuse. Signs of mistreatment are:

  • Discrimination due to race, gender, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, or any other protected characteristic 
  • Spreading false rumors 
  • Pay disparities despite equal qualifications and experience 
  • Refusing reasonable accommodations for disabled employees 
  • Any instances of sexual harassment 
  • Punishing those who take parental leave by docking pay or terminating employment 
  • Laying off older workers to hire new, younger employees at lower pay 
  • Facing employer retaliation after resignation or reporting unfair treatment 
  • Being wrongfully terminated without reason 
  • Forced to work in unsafe conditions

What do you do if you are mistreated at work?

Many workplaces have a formal complaint system for these issues. To ensure that documented evidence exists of a formal complaint, it is important to report any problematic actions that happen on the job. Usually, this step of reporting unacceptable or unprofessional behavior happens with your manager or Human Resources. 

That being said, we encourage you to get in touch with a qualified attorney as soon as possible, even better if you do it before submitting the complaint. A labor and employment attorney can help you submit a well-documented report. Should the situation evolve into a lawsuit, you will then have a stronger case. 

Document the Event 

  1. If you received mistreatment, the first step is: document the event as thoroughly as possible. Record the date, time, details, and names of everyone involved. Do the same for subsequent cases, if and when they occur. Document the information during or directly after the event so the details are as accurate as possible. 
  2. Next, save copies of memos or emails that exhibit illegal or unfair practices.
  3. To support your claim, the last step is: ask witnesses to record their observations of what happened to support your claim. 

All additional evidence you gather can help your eventual legal case. It is not uncommon to file a lawsuit against an employer, so don’t be nervous. This is your right. 

File a Complaint with Human Resources (HR)

Report instances of unfair treatment to the Human Resources Department (or another authority figure in management). The formal letter of complaint should describe the event completely, but concisely. Stay on target and include only information relevant to the event. Alerting HR to the problem is usually a required step if you plan to later file a lawsuit

How to Write a Formal Complaint Letter

In the formal complaint letter, you may:

  • Identify helpful actions that can lead to a resolution.
  • Refrain from making threats or getting angry.
  • Keep a calm demeanor and offer reasonable solutions where appropriate.  

If the complaint ends up becoming a legal matter, any poor behavior on your part could be used against you. As such, it’s important to consult an experienced attorney for guidance before you file a complaint.

File an EEOC Complaint

An employee that has been subject to any type of job discrimination or mistreatment may also file an EEOC complaint. The EEOC, or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, accepts complaints filed in person or by mail with the nearest office. In addition to victims, witnesses of unfair treatment can also file a formal complaint. 

Include the following information in your documentation: 

  • Personal details of the person mistreated. Include their full name, number, and address. 
  • Name and contact information for the employer the complaint is against.
  • Description of the unfair events and the dates they happened.

To prevent the situation from escalating further, speak up. If you feel like your complaint is not being addressed, or that you can’t speak with management at your work, talk with an employment attorney for legal advice on how to proceed. 

How to Sue a Company for Unfair Treatment 

Not all situations that are “unfair” are actually illegal. So, it is important to know what is employee mistreatment is within Employment Law and At Will Employment.

For example, you were passed over for a promotion or assigned to a different shift. These events are frustrating, but they do not necessarily qualify as discrimination.

At Will Employment States

Not all states are at will employment states. For those that are, employers can fire employees without notice or reason. Some exceptions apply, like if an employer violates an employment contract or state or federal employment statute. 

Regardless if the state is California, Texas, or another state, there’s some behavior that employers cannot express. One example of this is: discrimination based on protected characteristics. Your state may include additional protections beyond federally mandated requirements, so it is important to know the laws in your state. To learn your states’ labor laws, read compliance guidelines and ask the appropriate authorities questions. 

Contact Our Experienced Labor Attorneys for a Free Consultation 

If you’ve faced unfair treatment in the workplace, you should seek the counsel of an experienced employment and labor attorney to discuss your concerns. A lawyer will be able to help you decide whether you should file a lawsuit and assess the likelihood of success. 

Experienced attorneys also have the knowledge and expertise necessary to advise you on the best course of action. They can guide you through the litigation process, help collect necessary documentation, and improve your chances of winning the lawsuit. 

Know your rights and don’t settle for being mistreated. 

Call 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a free and confidential consultation with an attorney in our network. We’ll connect you in just 10 minutes or less

Example of Reporting Unfair Treatment at Work | Employment Discrimination Lawyer

Erb Duchenne Palsy or Erb’s Palsy Lawsuit | Birth Injury Attorney

Birth Injury Case: Erb’s Palsy Lawsuit for Brachial Plexus Injury

In humans, damage to the muscular and nervous systems can cause serious functional problems with everyday activities. Erb’s palsy is one such condition. Erb’s palsy can make it difficult to lift one’s arm or grasp objects. It is a birth injury caused by damage to the brachial plexus nerves during labor and delivery.

If you or a loved one suffers from Erb’s palsy, a birth injury malpractice lawyer may be able to help you recover compensation. You can be compensated for a range of losses, including medical expenses and pain and suffering damages. 

What is Erb’s Palsy? 

Erb’s palsy, also known as Erb-Duchenne paralysis, is a nerve condition that causes weakness or loss of muscle function in the shoulder, arm, and hand. It is the most common form of brachial plexus palsy, and involves the upper nerves in the plexus. 

The brachial plexus is a group of five nerves that connect the spine to the arm and hand and enable your shoulders, arms and hands to feel and move. Erb’s palsy occurs when the brachial plexus nerves are stretched or torn. 

Is Erb’s Palsy a malpractice?

Birth Trauma and Erb-Duchenne Paralysis 

Shoulder dystocia happens when an infant’s shoulder gets caught behind the mother’s pubic bone during childbirth. It is a common cause of birth injuries like Erb’s palsy by medical providers. If a medical provider pulls on the baby to try and extricate them, the nerves of the brachial plexus may stretch or tear.  

Some other causes of Erb’s palsy injuries include: 

  • Pulling the infant’s shoulders during a head-first delivery 
  • Turning the baby’s head or neck to the side during labor or delivery 
  • Tugging on the infant’s feet during a breech delivery, which may put too much pressure on the baby’s arms 
  • Fractured collarbone or shoulder dislocation during labor and childbirth 
  • Using forceps or vacuum delivery 

Erb’s Palsy Risk Factors 

Risk factors associated with shoulder dystocia should be addressed by an OB-GYN during pregnancy. 

Examples of risk include maternal obesity or diabetes, abnormal pelvis shape, high infant birth weight, carrying more than one infant, receiving medications such as oxytocin or epidural during labor, and previous pregnancies involving shoulder dystocia. 

Failure to identify these risk factors and account for them during childbirth could give rise to birth injuries like Erb’s palsy. This sort of mistake would likely be considered medical negligence and could lead to liability. 

If you decide to bring a claim against the medical professionals and facility where you gave birth, your Erb’s palsy lawyers will obtain copies of your medical records and thoroughly investigate whether your doctor addressed these issues during your treatment and determine whether medical negligence occurred before or during childbirth. 

Types of Brachial Plexus Injuries 

There are four types of Brachial Plexus injuries that happen with Erb Duchenne Palsy. They are: 

  1. Brachial Plexus Neuropraxia Injury
  2. Brachial Plexus Neuroma Injury
  3. Brachial Plexus Nerve Rupture Injury
  4. Brachial Plexus Nerve Root Avulsion Injury

Brachial Plexus Neuropraxia Injury

The most common type of Brachial Plexus injuries is Brachial Plexus Neuropraxia. It occurs when the nerves are stretched, but they are not torn. Brachial Plexus Neuropraxia symptoms are stinging or burning sensations. Although it usually resolves on its own, Neuropraxia treatment for a baby may include physical therapy or hydrotherapy. 

Brachial Plexus Neuroma Injury

When nerves that have been torn heal and leave scar tissue, neuroma can occur. The scar tissue puts pressure on injured nerves, which prevents them from conducting signals to the muscles in the arm. Children with neuromas often make only a partial recovery. 

Brachial Plexus Nerve Rupture Injury

When the nerve is torn, the injury does not heal on its own. In most cases, rupture requires nerve grafting surgery to repair nerves. Although it is possible to repair a rupture with surgery, a child who suffers a rupture will continue to have some weakness in the shoulder, arm, or hand. 

Brachial Plexus Nerve Root Avulsion Injury

The most serious type of Brachial Plexus injuries, avulsion happens when the nerves are torn from the spinal cord, resulting in permanent muscle weakness and paralysis. Although surgery can help repair torn nerves, they cannot be reattached to the spinal cord. 

Treatment for Erb Duchenne Palsy and Erb’s Palsy Injuries

Erb’s palsy injuries often require costly treatment, such as surgery, medications, and ongoing therapy. In some cases, these treatments may take years to complete. We encourage you to get in touch with a qualified attorney for guidance on what treatment you should prioritize, and what could be paid for in the event of a lawsuit. An Erb’s palsy injury attorney can evaluate your case and determine whether you may be eligible for compensation for your child’s medical expenses and other damages.  

Nerve repair is a slow process and can take anywhere from a few months to several years, if a full recovery is even possible. 

The primary nonsurgical treatment for Erb’s palsy is physical therapy. In addition to seeing professional physical therapists, parents and caregivers need to take an active role in helping infants keep their functioning muscles strong and joints limber. There are specific exercises that help improve and maintain the range of motion in the shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand. This can also prevent joints from becoming permanently stiff (a condition called joint contracture). 

If there is no change over the first 3 to 6 months of treatment, your doctor may suggest surgery on the nerves to improve arm and hand function. Although nerve grafting, nerve transfer, and tendon transfer surgeries can help repair nerves, typically they don’t restore normal function and aren’t as effective in older infants and children.  

Can you sue for Erb’s Palsy?

Filing an Erb’s Palsy Injury Claim 

The physical, emotional, and financial costs of living with Erb’s palsy should not be underestimated. Many children who suffer from Erb’s palsy will be permanently afflicted with weakness in the shoulder, arm, or hand. The affected arm may even dangle and appear smaller than the unaffected arm. This size difference becomes more noticeable with age, which can cause emotional and social issues. 

Medical treatments (such as surgery, physical and occupational therapy, and adaptive devices) can be extremely costly, especially if the treatment also requires long term care. As such, damages in Erb’s palsy cases tend to be significant. 

The claimant is also likely to be entitled to damages that include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and wage loss. The value of an Erb’s palsy claim will depend on the extent of the injuries, how they have affected one’s life, the future prognosis, and the circumstances surrounding the injury’s occurrence. 

An Erb’s palsy lawyer can evaluate your case and advise you of your options. 

Contact Our Erb’s Palsy Lawyers Today 

If you believe that you have an Erb’s palsy claim, call us as soon as possible to consult a birth injury malpractice attorney or contact us online. Consultation is free and confidential – if you decide to not move forward with your case, there is no commitment. 

Further, our Erb’s palsy injury attorneys work on contingency, which means you won’t incur any out-of-pocket costs. In other words, you pay absolutely nothing (unless our attorneys successfully recover compensation on your behalf). 

We look forward to speaking with you. 

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Take Action Against NHTSA Vehicle Recalls and Defective Product Liability

Understanding Vehicle Recalls and How to Keep Your Car Safe  

Reading news headlines, it can start to feel like vehicle safety recalls are being issued daily. While the number of car complaints and vehicles affected continues to grow, you might ask yourself if this means vehicle safety is declining?   

The truth is that it depends on the model, make, and year of manufacturer of the car you drive. Many recent automobile recalls have to do with older vehicles, and we’ve seen some historically massive recalls in recent times. One example is the Takata airbag recall, which is still growing.   

Headlines boast big numbers, but they don’t provide much detail. So, how dangerous is a recall anyway, and what should vehicle owners do after it’s identified to keep their car safe?   

What is a Recall on a Car?   

A car recall is a way for manufacturers to warn you that something about your vehicle presents a potential for injury or property damage. After the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determines a safety risk exists, they issue a recall, and manufacturers are required to fix the problem.   

Safety Defects

A safety defect is a problem that:   

  • poses a risk to vehicle safety   
  • exists in a group of vehicles of the same design or manufacture   

Whether the manufacturer offers you a refund, or free repairs or replacements, you should never be on the hook for costs associated with recall fixes.   

If your vehicle, car seat, or tire is under recall, a safety defect has been identified through the recall process.   

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Recalls Process   

In the U.S., the NHTSA sets safety standards that keep your car safe. Part of what the NHTSA does is require manufacturers to repair safety-related defects at no cost to vehicle owners and drivers.   

Costs associated with the parts and labor that go into getting defects repaired are significant for manufacturers and can lead to resistance to full-scale recalls. However, the NHTSA follows a recall process to ensure that safety-related defects are addressed. The process is as follows:   

Car Complaints   

Sometimes, manufacturers discover hazards and start the recall process willingly. For other manufacturers, the NHTSA or the courts kick-start the recall process. The latter can come from consumer discovery. If you find a safety concern, there are three ways to report it to the NHTSA:   

  • Call the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Vehicle Safety Hotline: 877-421-5154 or 844-660-5805.   
  • Report the issue online here   
  • Send a letter addressed: S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Office of Defects Investigation (NVS-210) 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE Washington, DC 20590   

ODI Investigation   

If there are enough reports about the same issues with the same make, model and year of the vehicle, the NHTSA may open an investigation. At this point, the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) will take charge of performing the car recall investigation. The investigation process is as follows:  

  • Screening: Review of consumer complaints to determine whether an investigation is necessary   
  • Petition Analysis: Review of petitions for defect investigations   
  • Investigations: Two-phase investigations into alleged safety defects   
  • Recall Management: Monitoring the effectiveness of safety recalls   

NHTSA Issues a Car Recall    

Manufacturers can dispute claims and present new information, but ultimately it is up to the NHTSA, or National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, to issue a safety defect recall.   

  • Once the recall is issued, the word is spread, and consumers are informed of the next step. Most often, consumers are asked to make an appointment with their dealership to service their vehicle.   

If you’re worried about recalls and aren’t sure whether your vehicle may be affected, you can subscribe to notifications.   

Frequently Asked Questions About Vehicle Recalls

Is My Car Under Recall?   

You may wonder, “Is my car safe or under recall?” If it is, you will receive a notification letter. Within 60 days of notifying NHTSA of an auto recall decision, manufacturers must notify registered owners within a reasonable period.

You can always sign up for email notifications for NHTSA recalls by visiting this link.   

Additionally, you can check the NHTSA recall database to see if your car is under recall. You can do this by searching your car’s 17-character vehicle identification number (VIN).   

You may be curious if recalls affect some manufacturers more than others, and the answer is that auto recalls vary by make and model.   

What Are the Vehicle Recalls by Make and Model?

Using data from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall database, a study identified least and most vehicle recalls by manufacturer.   

Top 10 Highest Recall Rates   

  • Mercedes-Benz C-Class   
  • GMC Sierra   
  • BMW 3/4 Series   
  • Dodge Durango   
  • Nissan Pathfinder   
  • Ram Pickup   
  • Toyota 4Runner   
  • Dodge Charger   
  • Chrysler 300   
  • Chevrolet Tahoe   

Top 10 Least Recalled Cars   

  • Hyundai Accent   
  • Chevrolet Equinox   
  • Toyota Corolla   
  • Honda Civic   
  • Honda CR-V   
  • Honda Accord   
  • Subaru Crosstrek   
  • Toyota Camry   
  • Hyundai Elantra   
  • GMC Terrain   

We understand what prompts a recall, but what types of product defects are considered “safety-related” and therefore monitored by the NHTSA?   

Car Manufacturers and Defective Product Liability

Common Product Defects Considered Safety-Related 

  • Steering mechanisms that break suddenly, causing loss of vehicle control   
  • Accelerator controls that break or stick   
  • Wheels that crack or break   
  • Seats that fail during normal use   
  • Airbags that deploy when they are not intended to deploy   
  • Car seats with defective safety belts, buckles, or parts that create a risk of injury   

Common Product Defects Not Considered Safety-Related 

  • Ordinary wear of equipment is required to be checked, maintained and replaced regularly, like brake pads   
  • Excessive oil consumption   

Car Recall FAQs    

Who Is Responsible for Reporting a Safety Recall?   

Manufacturers are responsible for their vehicles and all original equipment installed on them. Meaning they have the responsibility to report defects to the NHTSA, notify owners and offer them a free fix to the problem.   

Equipment not originally installed by the vehicle manufacturer is the responsibility of the equipment manufacturer to notify, report, and recall.   

It’s essential to ensure your vehicle registration is up to date (including your mailing address) to get proper notification.   

To check if your car is on the NHTSA recalls list, use their vin number lookup. Kelly Blue Book, or KBB, also has an auto recall checker on their website.

Do I Have to Pay for Repairs to Keep My Car Safe?   

Manufacturers must cover the cost of safety defect fixes. If you pay for any costs associated with the recall, you are entitled to reimbursement, which may even include the costs you incurred before the recall announcement. Manufacturers must reimburse owners for expenses they footed up to one year before the notification of a defect.   

Can I Take Action for Injuries I May Have Suffered During Vehicle Recalls?   

Yes, your best course of action is to consult with a recall lawyer to explore legal options and compensation. Call 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a free consultation and to speak with a defective product lawyer today.

Example of Vehicle Recalls and NHTSA Recall Process

Have a Family Member Motorcyclist Killed in an Accident?  You Might Be Able to Sue.  

Motorcycle accidents commonly lead to severe bodily injury, disability, and even fatality. Across the United States, local news outlets often feature headlines like, “Motorcyclist Killed in an Accident Yesterday” or “Fatal Motorcycle Accident in Los Angeles, California.”

According to data reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), traffic collisions caused 5014 motorcycle deaths in 2019 alone. The percent of motorcycle accidents that result in death is 29 times higher than those of car accidents.  

If your loved one died in a motorcycle accident, you may be left financially and emotionally vulnerable. This can put an enormous strain on you and your family. If the injury or wrongful death was caused by another person, federal and state laws entitle you to accident compensation.  

We encourage you to contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a free consultation with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney.  

How Are Motorcycles Dangerous?  

Motorcycles pose unique dangers to riders, due to several factors. Common causes of motorcycle accidents are: 

  • Motorcycles have a smaller physical footprint. 
  • Motorcycles are not standard vehicles on the road. 

Crush Zones, or Crumple Zones in Cars vs. Motorcycles

Motorcycles fall into the Class M License category, as such they are one of the smaller and lighter forms of transportation on the road today. Crumple zones in cars, also known as crush zones, protect the driver and passengers inside of a car during a car wreck. Motor cycles do not have crush zones, you’ll find this for all types of motorcycle design. As such, riders and drivers have no protective shield during crashes and will absorb full force of impact.

Driver Negligence and the Risk of Following Too Closely for Motorcyclists

Although the Lazareth 4 wheel motorcycle exists, motorcycles commonly have 2 wheels and are not standard motor vehicles on the road. Because it is smaller in size, a motor cycle and its driver face decreased visibility. Simply put, with their small bike frame sizes and high speed capacity on land, car and truck drivers are often not used to seeing and navigating around motorcycles. They may not understand how to ensure the safety of motorcyclists on the roadway, much less obey state laws. Many motorcycle accidents happen as a result of following too closely, although other primary causes of crashes are speeding and failure to yield right of way.

What To Do After a Motorcycle Accident

So, what does this mean for motorcyclists?  

Motorcycle accidents tend to occur more frequently, and when they do occur, they tend to be severe. The force of impact is felt by the rider directly, which can lead to catastrophic bodily injury, disability, or even death.  

Under these circumstances, it’s more important for plaintiffs to come forward with their legal claim and secure accident compensation.  

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit?

If your loved one has died in a fatal motorcycle accident, then you (if you’re a qualified surviving family member) may bring a lawsuit against the defendant for damages. This is known as a “wrongful death” action.  

What Are the Chances of Winning a Wrongful Death Suit?

For a wrongful death suit to succeed in winning, you’ll have to show that the defendant was at fault for your loved one’s death. At fault accidents include intentional, negligent, and reckless behavior.  

For example, whether your loved one was killed in a road rage accident (i.e., the defendant intentionally collided with your loved one’s vehicle) or by extreme speeding (i.e., the defendant was operating their vehicle negligently when the collision happened), either situation would give rise to a wrongful death claim.  

Not all family members can to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Qualified survivors vary from state-to-state, but generally include the deceased individual’s following relatives:  

  • Spouse  
  • Children  
  • Parents  
  • Siblings  
  • Grandparents  
  • Cousins  
  • And more  

Again, states implement different requirements, so you’ll want to consult an experienced wrongful death attorney for legal advice on how wrongful death lawsuits work in your jurisdiction.  

Read about What To Do After After a Motorcycle Accident.

Examples of Damages and Compensation for Driver Fatality and Bodily Injuries

In motorcycle accident cases (and others), wrongful death claimants may receive compensation for the following examples of losses:  

  • Loss of companionship  
  • Loss of guidance  
  • Loss of financial support  
  • Loss of domestic services  
  • And more  

For example, suppose that the wrongful death and motorcyclist killed is your father. He provided extensive financial support to you and your family, and was a close companion and mentor. All those losses can be compensated through a lawsuit.  

Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a Free Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Consultation  

Curious about whether you have a potential accident or wrongful death claim? Speaking to an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer for a case evaluation. Once your case is evaluated by an attorney, you’ll have a better understanding of what steps you need to take to obtain compensation.  

Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, we maintain a large network of motorcycle accident lawyers who are ready and willing to help.  

Call 1-800-THE-LAW2 to get a free consultation with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney in our network.  Connect to an attorney in 10 minutes or less, there is no pressure to continue if you decide not to move forward with your case. 

Example of motorcyclist killed and motorcycle accident fatality

What Percentage of Personal Injury Cases Go to Trial?  

If you’ve suffered bodily harm in a personal injury accident, then you may be curious: “What percentage of cases go to trial?” or “What are the chances of winning a personal injury lawsuit?”

After all, you may not be sure how long it will take for your case to resolve. It might also not be clear whether an early settlement compromise is possible, or whether the case will move forward to trial.  

Generally, it’s better for your case to resolve in a “favorable” settlement and not go to trial. This may be confusing. So, let’s take a closer look at the dynamics of a personal injury lawsuit and why a settlement is preferable in most cases.  

Related article: Insurance Companies Are Not Your Friend; What You Need to Know Before Speaking with an Insurance Adjuster 

Dynamics of a Personal Injury Lawsuit  

Including medical malpractice, auto accident, and slip and fall accidents, the majority of personal injury claims in the United States are settled before trial. That’s right, most cases settle and never even make it to the trial phase. Industry observers estimate that up to 95 percent of personal injury cases reach settlement, as opposed to trial.  

Why?  

Simply put, trial litigation is emotionally and financially demanding. And, it is also uncertain. Even if you’re sure you’ll win your case, the jury could disagree with the damages amount and award lower compensation than what you feel you’re entitled to.  

As trial litigation is uncertain and expensive for both parties, it’s preferable to negotiate a settlement that “makes sense” for both parties given the circumstances.  

How long do personal injury cases take to settle?  

The time-to-settle can vary from case to case, and ultimately depends on how willing the parties are to negotiate fairly. In very hostile disputes, settlement can take some time (or may not be possible). Skilled attorneys know how to be strong advocates while maintaining a polite, professional relationship with the opposing attorney.   

Negotiating the Settlement for a Bodily Injury Claim  

So, you’re negotiating a settlement for a bodily injury claim. How much compensation should you receive? 

What is a reasonable settlement offer?  

The strategy surrounding accident law and reasonable settlement offers is nuanced, but we’ll do our best to simplify.  

Reasonable settlements fairly account for the uncertainty of the case. What this means is that winning a personal injury case is impacted by:  

  • proof that the defendant is liable, and  
  • proof of damages, like medical expenses and so forth.  

Related article: Why Medical Records Are Key to a Personal Injury Case

Personal Injury Settlement Amount Example 

Suppose that you have injuries from a motor vehicle collision. You sue the defendant, who denies any wrongdoing. Your car accident claim includes $100,000 pain and suffering damages.  

Now, based on the evidence presented in early negotiations and pre-trial hearings, you estimate that you have a 50 percent likelihood of proving that the defendant engaged in wrongdoing and is liable. When accounting for the uncertainty of trial, your claimed damages could be pared down to $50,000.  

What Are the Chances of Winning a Personal Injury Lawsuit? 

Back to our example. You know that the defendant claims that even if they did cause harm, your damages total $20,000. You believe that the chances of winning are 50 percent and the jury will agree with that amount. So, the $50,000 is further pared down to $35,000.  

In this instance, a reasonable settlement offer would likely hover around $35,000, given the uncertainties surrounding the case and type of personal injury.  

What separates an effective personal injury lawyer from a “standard” attorney is their ability to persuade the opposition (and the court) that the case is more obviously favorable to you. This puts pressure on the defendant to settle for a higher amount.  

Related article: Choosing the Right Attorney to Handle Your Personal Injury Case

Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a Free Consultation  

If you have injuries from an accident, then you might have a legal bodily injury claim. It’s important to get in touch with a qualified attorney for legal advice and a case evaluation. A personal injury attorney will also provide guidance on how best to proceed with your car accident, wrongful death, defective products, or other personal injury claim.  

Read about: 5 Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer

Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, our attorneys skilled in Personal Injury Law are ready and willing to help. We maintain a large network of experienced personal injury attorneys and law firms, who provide free and confidential consultations.  

Call 1-800-THE-LAW2 to connect with an attorney in our network in just 10 minutes or less.  Remember, there is no downside to having a conversation about your case. And, the consultation is free.

We look forward to assisting you. 

What percentage of personal injury cases go to trial?

How to Pursue an Uber Accident Settlement

Lyft and Uber accident settlements and claims have become common in today’s world, as rideshare services have become increasingly popular. 

Don’t resign yourself suffering, hire an Uber or Lyft accident attorney to help address your car accident claim. Call 1-800-THE-LAW2 and speak with an accident lawyer near you. The law entitles you to sue and recover damages, if you can show that the defendant was responsible for your injuries. Let’s take a closer look.  

How to Sue Uber for an Accident

If you were injured in a rideshare accident, you may be able to sue the Uber or Lyft driver who hit you. You may have a potential lawsuit, if you can show they caused your injuries:

Remember This About Negligent Driving  

If the other driver was negligent and caused your injury, their insurance should cover damages. Some examples of negligent driving are:  

  • Speeding 
  • Distracted driving 
  • Making a wrong turn, and more. 

Insurance Coverage for Rideshare Services 

For rideshare services like Uber and Lyft, the law mandates service wide insurance coverage. Uber provides the following coverage amounts for accidents occurring during a driver’s pickup or trip:  

  • $1,250,000 third-party liability  
  • $1,250,000 Uninsured or underinsured motorist bodily injury  
  • $50,000 Personal Injury Protection per person  
  • Contingent comprehensive and collision  

Related Article: How to Talk to Insurance Claims Adjusters After an Accident

Getting Rideshare App Companies to Pay for Your Accident

In some cases, you may be able to sue Uber or Lyft directly. This applies if they are solely responsible for your accident.  

Here’s an example.

An Uber driver drives down the road and hits you. The rideshare app (Uber) certified the driver, which enabled them to take part in the rideshare services. Unfortunately, Uber didn’t inspect the car, and the company is negligent. As a result, the driver is operating a defective vehicle. If you can prove this, you could sue the rideshare company directly.  

The Average Car Accident Settlement & Why It’s Important to Have a Rideshare Accident Lawyer

What to Expect for Your Lyft or Uber Accident Settlement

As a general rule, there is no “certainty” when it comes to typical car accident settlement amounts and offers. All you can do is work with an experienced rideshare attorney, develop a strong case, and negotiate effectively.  

The more evidence you have, the more likely the defendant will settle quickly. 

Rideshare Insurance Coverage: the Odds Are in Your Favor

As rideshare companies provide their drivers with extensive auto insurance coverage, the odds are more favorable for plaintiffs. You could receive up to $1.25 million in property damages if you show that the driver was at fault at the time of the accident. 

What is Bodily Injury Liability and How to Recover Property Damages

Fighting an insurance company for Lyft or Uber accident claims for bodily injury liability and damages is not easy. If they can, they will try to avoid paying. To ensure legal compensation, it is your responsibility to present a solid case. 

As the facts for every case are different, average Lyft accident settlements will vary. You’ll find the same with Uber accident settlements, which is why it is important to hire a rideshare accident lawyer. If you bring forth a sound case, your settlement amount will likely resemble a high damages amount. For example, you have an injury and need considerable surgery as a result of an accident. In this case, your damages could total hundreds of thousands of dollars.

However, if you have injuries as an Uber passenger, your car accident settlement will be lower. The reason for this is because it cannot exceed your actual damages. 

Related Article: What Does an Accident Lawyer Do?

Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a Free Consultation with a Ride Share Accident Attorney  

If you were hurt in a rideshare accident, the law may entitle you to significant compensation. An experienced attorney or law firm is necessary to successfully navigate ride share claims and develop effective legal strategies. 

Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, we maintain a large network of accident lawyers who are standing by to provide assistance. Call us today at 1-800-THE-LAW2 to get connected to an experienced rideshare accident attorney for a free consultation. We’ll get you started in just 10 minutes or less. 

How to sue for an Uber Accident Settlement

What Does An Accident Lawyer Do?

Injured in a car accident?  The law can be confusing and overwhelming for newcomers.  As such, you’ll want to work with an experienced attorney who can help guide you through the process and obtain compensation.  

Unfortunately, many Americans have misgivings or concerns about hiring an attorney. They don’t realize that an attorney is their only real “ally” in the legal process.  

Insurance companies are not your allies. Insurers will try as hard as they can to undermine your claims and reject them, or lowball you. Instead, you need someone in your corner who is incentivized to work tirelessly on your behalf.  

So, what does an accident lawyer do?  

Auto accident attorneys can do more than just represent you in court. They can assist with the investigation of your case, gathering evidence, negotiating with insurance companies, filing claims, and securing compensation afterwards.  

Let’s take a closer look.  

Responsibilities of an Auto Accident Attorney  

The strategy that your attorney employs will vary depending on the particular circumstances of your case. Regardless, an experienced auto accident attorney will develop a legal strategy that maximizes your compensation. In many cases, they can obtain compensation without you even having to step foot in a courtroom.  

Auto accident attorneys do the following:  

Conducting an Investigation  

Supportive evidence is critical to a successful case. An experienced car accident lawyer will work with experts to investigate the scene of the accident, and will request necessary documentation. They will also interview eyewitnesses, accident reconstruction experts, and medical professionals, among others, to help formulate an argument on your behalf.  

Reviewing Your Car Accident Claim and Negotiating With Insurers  

Many people believe that they should file an insurance claim on their own.  This is an enormous mistake.  Insurers want to make a lowball offer, or even reject your claim — that’s how they make improve their profit margins.  Don’t expect insurers to “play fair” with your claim.  

There are multiple “reasons” why an insurance company can justify denying your claim (or making a lowball offer), including:  

  • Holding you partially or entirely at fault for the accident  
  • Waiting too long to receive medical treatment  
  • Requesting compensation that exceeds your maximum insurance coverage  
  • Waiting too long to inform the insurance company of the accident  

An experienced car accident lawyer is very familiar with insurance bad faith practices and knows how to negotiate with insurers on behalf of clients.  An attorney can help you file or review a car accident claim to make sure you get all the damages you’re entitled to. 

Offering Legal Advice and Representation  

Regardless of how thorough your auto accident attorney negotiates in your best interest, there are occasions where insurance companies outright refuse to “do the right thing.”  It’s important to have an advocate in your corner.  An experienced car accident lawyer will be able to help you with your claim, whether it goes to trial or is settled out of court. 

Why Contact Attorneys For an Auto Accident?  Early Consultation is Valuable.  

All car accident claims must be filed within a statute of limitations period. The statute of limitations is simply a deadline by which you have to file a claim against the defendant.  If you do not file your claim in a timely manner, the court will automatically dismiss your case in the future.  In other words, you relinquish your legal right to compensation.  

Worth noting: every state (and claim) has a different statute of limitations.  

Your main priority after being in a car accident is getting treatment for your injuries.  The immediate focus should be on your health.  That being said, as soon as you can, be sure to contact an attorney — the earlier, the better.  

An experienced car accident lawyer will not only file your claim, but will keep track of your claim’s progress and make sure that the processing is going forward as expected. You will not have to worry about missing any deadlines.  

Find an Auto Accident Attorney Today  

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you — most likely — want to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. However, it’s important to be aware that insurers are trying to undermine your claims (and test your patience).  They do this to receive the lowest settlement that they can offer.  

Get in touch with an experienced auto accident attorney.  They’re your advocate and ally.  In fact, they get paid if — and when — they successfully secure compensation on your behalf.  To put it rather simply: your attorney won’t make any money unless they have your best interests at heart.  

So, is it worth it to reach out to a car accident law firm?  Unequivocally, yes.  In fact, you may be eligible for more compensation than you initially thought.  

Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 today for a free and confidential consultation with an experienced auto accident attorney in our network. 

What do accident lawyers do? This is what you should know, by 1-800-THE-LAW2.

Gender Discrimination in the Workplace: Definition & Laws

To the working public, the gender discrimination definition is different compared to that of the courts. After all, discriminatory acts are easy to recognize in the workplace, right? 

Not necessarily. 

Gender Discrimination Laws

Regardless of occupation, we all want to be judged based on the quality of our work. It feels unjust and wrong to have aspects that we can’t control, determine our value. Fortunately, federal and state anti-discrimination laws penalize employers for this type of conduct. 

To be classified as gender discrimination, an incident must meet specific requirements. But first, let’s explore basic definitions surrounding discrimination at work.

What is the Definition of Gender Discrimination? 

On the surface, it can be tough to define. Under the law, however, it has a broader definition. 

Discrimination is the inequitable and damaging treatment of an individual based on race, sexual orientation, age, nationality and gender. 

Federal Laws That Prohibit Discrimination In The Workplace 

In the past few decades, Congress has passed laws that make discrimination in the workplace illegal. 

These gender discrimination laws include: 

  • The Civil Rights Act. This act prohibits employers from discriminating against applicants and employees on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnic origin, and disabilities. 
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Also known as the Gender Discrimination Act, Title VII prevents employers from discriminating against applicants and workers on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation

What Conduct Counts as Discrimination? 

Discrimination in the workplace is not always easy to detect. For it to be considered discriminatory, it must qualify as an adverse action against an employee on the basis of their protected status. 

Workplace Discrimination Examples

Gender harassment, inequality, and workplace discrimination examples include, but are not limited to: 

  • Refusing to hire an applicant based on gender 
  • Denying employees of a specific race compensation or benefits 
  • Paying employees who are equally qualified different salaries 
  • Denying promotions to employees of a specific gender 
  • Laying off employees within a similar age group 

These actions likely qualify as discrimination and also contribute to a hostile work environment

Understanding Gender Discrimination in the Workplace 

First, let’s clear something important. Gender discrimination is often confused with sexual orientation or gender identity, but they are not the same. 

Sexual orientation establishes a person’s attraction to other sexes. It takes various forms, such as: straight, gay, lesbian, and bisexual.

A person’s gender identity is their evaluation of their own gender. 

As they are distinct terms, gender discrimination is not interchangeable with sexual orientation and gender identity. Instead, it is an extension of gender inequality and gender bias. As a result, it is the act of treating genders differently.  

Gender Inequality and Bias Examples 

In the workplace, there are many common situations where employers engage in gender inequality and bias through treatment. They include:

  • Hiring women for only lower-level positions 
  • Offering lower-paying positions to women 
  • Being disciplined for an action that employees of a different gender do all the time, and never disciplined for 
  • Being referred to as a derogatory name based on your gender 

How to Prove Discrimination at Work

Gender discrimination stems from implicit and explicit bias. To succeed in a discrimination lawsuit, all you have to do is show that there was actual discrimination.

An example of workplace inequality is: an employer does not realize they discriminate against women. The employer consistently pays women workers less, and fewer women hold leadership positions. 

What Does Gender Parity Mean? 

Gender discrimination attorneys can identify if you are a victim of gender discrimination and oppression in the workplace by evaluating Gender Parity

Gender Parity is used to determine the ratio of women to men in the workplace and as a measurement for gender equality. 

For example, if the supervisory positions of a company are 95 percent men and only 5 percent women, that could signify a discriminatory aspect in the company.  Unequal proportions are not enough to prove gender discrimination. Yet, they are valuable and supportive evidence for your case

To be considered illegal and discriminatory, gender inequality must violate the terms and conditions of employment.  These terms and conditions are written into your employment contract. 

Any adverse action that goes against the terms and conditions of your employment and concentrates around your gender is a discriminatory act. 

Exercising Your Rights 

As an employee, you have the right to challenge gender discrimination in the workplace. Under the law, you can and should notify appropriate government authorities of it. 

However, do not do ANYTHING until you speak to a knowledgeable gender discrimination attorney. Though you are entitled to report discriminatory acts to your HR department, your company may use your report as Advance Notice of a potential lawsuit. Next, they will do everything they can to protect the company. Some examples are: coaching employees on how to develop their narrative and destroying evidence. 

Do NOT give them the chance to react. 

If you believe there have been incidents at your workplace that meet the criteria for gender discrimination, contact an experienced gender discrimination attorney who can guide you on your next steps. 

Find a Gender Discrimination Attorney Today 

Working with a gender discrimination attorney can help you get justice and substantial compensation under the law.  We recognize that this can be a complicated and confusing time.  It’s worthwhile calling a skilled attorney for advice on how to proceed. 

Call 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a free and confidential consultation today.  We’ll direct you to local lawyers with expertise representing victims of gender discrimination. 

Gender discrimination example.

Hostile Work Environment Definition and How to Prove it Happened

As Americans spend most of their time at work, there are several laws that protect employees from a hostile work environment and hostility in the workplace. Thankfully, lawmakers agree the workplace should be a place where employees feel safe and comfortable. 

The working public often finds the concept of a hostile workplace confusing, as everyone has their own sensitivities. For example, one person may feel that a rude co-worker is creating a toxic work environment, while another may have no problem with it. 

Legal realities are quite different. 

Under the law, a hostile environment depends on a range of different criteria. Moreover, having a rude co-worker is not sufficient to qualify as hostility in the workplace. If you believe that your workplace does meet the criteria for a hostile work environment, contact an experienced hostile work environment attorney to address your concerns. They can and will guide you on to the next steps. 

For now, let us explore some basic definitions so that you have a better understanding of what a hostile workplace environment really is. 

What is a Hostile Work Environment? 

A hostile work environment is a situation where a coworker’s behavior makes it difficult for another employee to do their job. This can vary from state to state. Conduct includes words, actions, and so forth. 

Sometimes, reporting these conditions to a supervisor or manager does not fix the situation, and it can become severe. That’s usually where the assistance of a qualified hostile work environment lawyer is necessary. 

What Four Factors Could Contribute to a Hostile Work Environment? 

Analyses on this matter are not subjective. In other words, it is not enough to feel bothered by something your coworkers have said or done. The misconduct must be objectively problematic. 

How does the law measure this? 

Legal requirements to qualify for a hostile workplace include: 

  • Discriminatory harassment is unwelcomed and offensive conduct that is based on discrimination. This can include words or actions based on someone’s sex, gender, race, pregnancy status, religion, disability status, national origin, or age. 
  • The harassing conduct is regular, not a one-time event. 
  • Conduct lasted for a sufficiently lengthy period. 
  • The harassment is bad enough that an average person would find it offensive, scary, or abusive. 

If you can show that your employer did nothing to remedy the pervasive conduct, they will lose a lot of strategic leverage in the dispute. So, what constitutes a hostile environment in the workplace?  

Here are a few common examples of toxic workplace behaviors

  • Unwanted touching 
  • Sabotaging employees  
  • Offensive jokes about protected characteristics 
  • Sexual language or discussions of sexual acts 
  • Displaying racist or sexual pictures to others  
  • And more 

Unsurprisingly, many employees find these behaviors difficult to deal with, negatively impacting their ability to properly do their job. Simply put, discrimination and harassment create workplace hostility. 

How Does a Hostile Work Environment Tie Into Discrimination and Harassment Complaints? 

Discrimination occurs when one party treats another party unfavorably or unfairly due to a protected characteristic. 

Types of discrimination are: 

  • Sex 
  • Gender 
  • Age 
  • Race 
  • Religion 
  • National origin 
  • Pregnancy status 
  • Disability 
  • Veteran status 
  • And more 

When an employee experiences discriminatory behavior, they feel incapable and unwelcome, leading to a bad work experience. 

FIND: DISCRIMINATION LAWYERS AND SEXUAL HARASSMENT LAWYERS

Hostile Work Environment Retaliation 

Even if you correctly identified that you work in a hostile environment, your employer may make it difficult for you to report by engaging in retaliation. It is important to understand that retaliatory behavior is one of the things your boss can’t legally do, and it is also illegal. 

Those who speak up about unfair and discriminatory actions in the workplace may be subjected to retaliatory behavior from their employer. Retaliatory behavior involves any adverse behavior in the workplace setting — it can include everything from being fired to being passed over for a promotion. 

If you have been retaliated against, then the law will give you an additional and independent claim against your employer on that basis. And, this could result in even more compensation. In other words, you’ll have even more leverage to secure a positive outcome to your case. 

How to Prove a Hostile Work Environment? 

All legal claims — including discrimination and harassment — require proof. Without sufficient proof, many claims are dismissed (or are settled for less than they are actually worth). 

To win your case, you will need to show that there was workplace harassment or discrimination. The more evidence you have, the better. This evidence may include work performance reviews and assessments, for example, which can be used to show that the hostile work environment affected your job performance.  

But how do you know what to preserve and document? 

It is simple, really. Whenever you observe or experience anything that could be linked to a hostile work environment, document that behavior as best as possible. To strengthen your case, include:  

  1. Date 
  1. Time 
  1. Notes 
  1. Recordings 
  1. All written correspondence 

Make sure to include any documentation that involves co-workers, too. Why? Well, many people do not realize that when a coworker makes disparaging comments, it can also lead to a hostile environment. 

Additionally, an employer is liable for harassment, discrimination, and bullying in the workplace in certain circumstances. One example is: non-management staff exhibits offensive pervasive conduct. Employees inform their boss of the situation, but management does nothing to fix it. In this case, they are liable for the toxic work environment. 

Find a Hostile Work Environment Attorney Today 

Many employers have a workplace bullying policy in place to prevent a hostile or unsafe work environment.  However, good intentions aren’t enough.  Don’t assume that your employer has your best interests at-heart. 

Get in touch with experienced hostile work environment lawyers who can advocate on your behalf. 

You may be wondering: can you sue for hostile work environment?  If your case meets the legal criteria, you may be able to file a claim and secure compensation. But to understand what legal recourse there is, you should speak with a local hostile work environment attorney as soon as possible. 

Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 today for a free and confidential consultation.

Example of hostile work environment

Workers’ Compensation Benefits: the Basics

Work related injuries are common and often misunderstood. In general, a workplace injury entitles an employee to workers compensation benefits. Sometimes substantial, workers’ comp benefits help employees recover from their losses and are essential to injury recovery.

Curious about whether you have a claim?

It is worth looking for an experienced workers’ compensation attorney near you. An attorney will ensure the correct filing of your workers’ comp claim. In addition, they will evaluate other strategies so that you can secure the maximum possible compensation.

CALL 888-943-0190 TODAY to find an Injury Lawyer Near Me.

For now, let’s explore some basics.

What Are Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

Workers’ compensation benefits act as a compromise solution for job-related injuries. In the event of a work injury, employees receive guaranteed benefits, and employers potentially avoid an expensive workers compensation lawsuit.

Injuries covered under workers’ comp include those sustained within the course and scope of employment. In other words, the injury must have happened during a job-related duty.

If you were injured in a car accident while commuting home from work, that would likely not qualify for benefits.

How Does Workmans Comp Work?

If you receive an injury on the job, inform your employer immediately. Stay calm. If you cannot directly notify your employer, have a co-worker notify your boss instead. Lastly, don’t delay in seeking treatment. To ensure your injuries receive treatment and that their documentation exists, obtain medical attention as soon as possible.

It is worth noting that workers comp falls under Strict Liability Laws, meaning you do not have to prove your employer was negligent. However, you must prove that you were injured and that this injury occurred during your employment. That gives you a lot of negotiation leverage for securing compensation.

What Losses Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?

As you move forward with the workers’ compensation process, there are several limitations that you should consider. Among these is that workers’ comp benefits may not cover all your losses.

Some losses, like pain and suffering associated with your injuries, are not covered by worker’s comp benefits. To obtain compensation for these losses, you will have to pursue an alternative legal strategy. Suppose you have substantial losses not covered by workers’ comp benefits. In that case, your attorney may rightfully encourage you to pursue a traditional lawsuit.

What Do Workers’ Compensation Benefits Cover?

Coverage may include things such as:

  • Medical care
  • Permanent disability
  • Temporary disability
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Wage loss benefits
  • Death benefits
  • And more

Typically, workers’ comp benefits end when you return to work. Every state is different, so make sure to discuss the particulars with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney near you.

Which Workers are Qualified to Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

Workers compensation laws require most employers to carry workers comp insurance. Despite having coverage, not every injured worker is qualified to claim benefits.

There are many eligibility requirements, so before you ask how workers’ compensation works, consider the following:

  1. Your employer must have workers’ compensation insurance.
  2. You must be a covered worker; independent contractors are not entitled to workers’ comp benefits.
  3. Your injury or illness must link to a job-related accident.
  4. You must file a claim within the applicable statute of limitations deadline. Time is of the essence.

One of the most common points of contention in workers’ comp disputes is how a worker is classified. If you are a covered worker, you may be entitled to compensation. However, if you are misclassified as an independent contractor or volunteer when you are, in fact, an employee, you may wrongfully lose access to essential workers’ comp benefits.

Misclassification is a serious issue worth disputing, but you’ll want to secure the assistance of a qualified attorney for guidance.

Retaliation in the Workplace

In some workers’ comp cases, the employer doesn’t want their insurance premiums to increase, so they’ll discourage you from filing a claim. If you file a workers’ compensation claim, they will retaliate against you.

Retaliation can take many forms, such as firing or passing you over for a promotion, pay raise, or refusing to pay out a bonus. However, any adverse action your employer takes against you in the context of employment qualifies as retaliation.

Always remember: Retaliation in the workplace is illegal.

Contact an experienced retaliation lawyer today. CALL 888-943-0190

If you have filed a workers’ comp claim, your employer cannot fire or retaliate against you. If your employer retaliated against you, you would have an independent claim for damages against them, leading to additional compensation.

Real Take: My Boss Let Me Go, What Should I do?

Retaliation disputes can be complex, so do not move forward alone. Contact a work injury lawyer who has experience dealing with the many problems associated with work injuries as soon as possible.

When Does Workers’ Compensation Pay Out?

Injured workers often wonder how long they wait until a claim is paid. After all, they may sink under the weight of unpaid bills and costs.

Claim payment schedules can vary from case to case and state to state. As a general rule, however, benefits are typically paid within 21 days of an employee informing their employer of the injury or illness.

Many factors can affect the payment schedule. Whether you receive a payout depends on whether your claim was approved or denied. Remember that if your claim was denied, you could challenge the denial with the help of an experienced workers compensation attorney.

Find a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Your Area Today

If you have a job injury, it is essential to contact an experienced local work injury attorney as soon as possible.

Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, we maintain an extensive network of work injury lawyers experienced handling workers’ compensation disputes. To learn more about filing a workers’ compensation claim, or to find a workers’ compensation attorney near me, CALL 888-943-0190 to connect with a local attorney.

workers compensation benefits, a guide for those injured at work

How Many Car Accidents Occur in the U.S. Each Year?

Statistics by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that car accidents happen frequently. So, what are the car accident statistics and how many car accidents happen per year in accidents in the US?

Car Accident Statistics & How Often Car Accidents Do Happen

According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, 37,000 people die annually due to car accidents. Additionally, 2.35 million people are injured or disabled due to car crashes. Children under 15 account for 1,600 traffic fatalities, while the fatality rate for people ages 16-20 is nearly 8,000 annually. 

While technical and legislative changes have been addressed to reduce fatal accident rates, many car accidents are due to driver impairment or behavior. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 29 deaths every day in the U.S. that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. Numbers for 2014 put total DUI crash fatalities at 9,967, accounting for nearly one-third of all traffic accidents in the country that year. 

These numbers are overwhelming. With over 200 million drivers on the road, the unimaginable can happen in a split second. Drivers, passengers, and even pedestrians are at risk of fatal injuries at every moment. Therefore, it is important to understand the rules of the road and how to handle various situations to avoid crash deaths and car accidents. 

Safe Driving Tips

  • Wear your seat belt at all times. Get in the habit of buckling up as soon as you enter the vehicle.
  • Obey all speed limits and signs.
  • Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These days, there are great options when it comes to getting a ride. Whether you order an Uber or Lyft ride share, call a local car service or taxi, or ask a friend to give you a ride, there are various options. Getting on the road if you are impaired can have a negative impact on your life, and the lives of others, for years to come. 
  • Keep your eyes moving. Get used to being aware of what is happening on all sides of the road. Also, check your rear view mirror regularly.
  • Know that other drivers will make mistakes and drive irresponsibly. It is important for you to be alert and ready to react in a manner that keeps everyone on the road safe. While you may be angry with the other drivers or pedestrians, causing an accident on purpose will result in bigger problems.
  • When approached by an emergency vehicle, pull over to the right of the road and stop.
  • When driving on multi-lane roads or highways, know that the left-most lanes are for passing only. If you do not intend to pass a vehicle, stay in the right lanes.

Car Safety Check

Before driving a vehicle, and especially in bad weather conditions, do a simple car safety check.

  1. Turn on the lights and walk around the vehicle to ensure all lights are working properly.
  2. Make sure your turn signal indicators, or blinkers, are working.
  3. Check that there is no sign of fluid leaks or things hanging from the vehicle.
  4. Don’t forget your tires. If they look flat, stop by a gas station or repair shop for air before driving long distances.

Next, adjust mirrors before you get on the road. To adjust the left mirror, place your head against the left window and adjust the mirror so that you can just see the left side of the car. For the right side, move your head towards the center of the car and adjust the mirror the same way. This will help reduce your blind spots.

Car Accidents Lawyer

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to damages under the law.

At 1-800-THE-LAW2, we maintain a network of experienced car accident lawyers who are standing by to provide a free consultation. Our agents will connect you to an attorney who will guide you through the litigation process after evaluating your case.

Contact us today at 888-943-0190

Car accidents happen often in the US. Know how many car crashes a year and car accident statistics before getting on the road. Image is of cars driving on highway at dusk. Photo is taken of behind cars; head lights are all on. Sky is orange and road is asphalt. There are many cars on the road.

How to Talk to Insurance Claims Adjusters After an Accident

If you have been in a traffic accident, here is everything you need to know about how to talk to insurance claims adjusters. We know you are not enthused about going through the potentially lengthy legal claims process, and would rather focus is on recovering from injuries and returning to everyday life.

This is understandable, and therefore it is important to work with an attorney as soon as possible.

An attorney will handle your case from start to finish. When dealing with your insurer, your attorney will work as your advocate.

Your insurance company wants desperately to reject your claim and leave you with as little money as possible. That is the core of their business, after all.

We know, it is a lot to take in. But, let’s clarify so that you understand.

How Insurance Companies Actually Work

It is easy to assume that when an auto accident occurs, you will be protected. The reality is unfortunate and harsh.

Insurance companies profit by paying out as few claims as possible. The fewer claims an insurance company pays, the higher its profit margins. When they have to pay a claim, they will generally make the lowest settlement offer possible, known as insurance underpayment.

In America, we are often told your insurer should be among your first calls after you have been in a vehicle collision. This is horrible advice.

Insurers profit when their customers:

  1. Don’t get into car accidents, or
  2. Get into accidents, but have their claims rejected or underpaid.

Simply put, your insurer hopes you’ll fail and be left with nothing. They want you to contact them “as soon as possible.” While you’re on the phone with the insurance adjuster, they’ll coax you with a pre-prepared conversation, so that you’ll reveal sensitive information about your accident. If they catch you saying a single thing that could be used to reject your claim, they will write it down and undermine your attempt to obtain benefits.

So, what should you do?

How to Talk to Insurance Claims Adjusters

Contact an experienced auto accident attorney. Their job is to be your advocate, and they will speak to your insurer on your behalf. They will protect your claim and negotiate a favorable outcome. It’s no surprise that working with an attorney leads to significantly better payouts on average.

How to Deal With an Insurance Claims Adjuster

Even if you avoid contacting your insurer, they may try to contact you.

If you’re wondering how to talk to insurance claims adjusters, the answer is: don’t.

We encourage you not to speak to them, even if they take steps to contact you. Avoid conversation, and have your attorney speak on your behalf.

It’s important to reiterate this because it is the key to maximizing compensation.

After an accident, your attorney will know what to say to your insurance company. Moreover, your attorney will have the experience necessary to guide you through your legal options.

Now, suppose you’re still curious about how to speak to an insurance claims adjuster without undermining your claims. In that case, there are a few considerations to keep in mind: their responsibilities and your legal rights.

Insurance Claims Adjusters Responsibilities:

  • Investigating claims
  • Determining if the insurance company is liable
  • Determining the losses
  • Identifying whether a claim should be rejected
  • Making settlement offers that are as “low” as possible
  • And more

What You Should Not Say to an Insurance Claims Adjuster, and What to Do

When speaking to a claims adjuster, write down their contact information. Specifically, this includes their: phone number, business address, and insurance company.

Again, we do not encourage you to speak to the adjuster. But if you insist, do not disclose any information about yourself or details of the auto accident. Offer only basic information about your identity, so that they know that you’ve been in an accident.

If the adjuster offers to let you make a recorded statement, do not agree. It’s a common tactic for insurance claims adjusters to get the information they need to deny your claim.

If the insurance claims adjuster makes a settlement offer, do NOT agree. It is almost certainly a low-ball offer. Agreeing to the low-ball offer leaves many thousands of dollars (even tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars) on the table.

Finally, the adjuster may attempt to have you sign documents that admit fault or otherwise harm your claim. Do NOT sign anything. This is a common and aggressive tactic of insurers. Instead, contact a qualified local attorney and ask them for guidance on how to proceed.

How to Handle Claim Denials

The best way to handle a claim denial is to simply avoid it by working with an attorney to submit the claim in the first place.

If you already filed an insurance claim and it was denied, you have options. You can resubmit the claim or otherwise challenge the claim denied.

Insurance claim adjuster secret tactics include focusing on the tiniest details to shift the blame to you. They want you to be at least partially at fault for the accident, so they can justify underpaying your claim or even denying it entirely.

Find an Auto Accident Attorney Today for a Free Lawyer Consultation

Working with an attorney who handles claims against insurance companies is invaluable. Their goal is to protect your rights and secure the maximum possible compensation.

Contact an accident lawyer in your area. Call 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a free consultation with experienced local lawyers who sue insurance companies.

how to talk to insurance claims adjusters and how to handle claim denials, car collision.

Injured in a Single Vehicle Accident? You Might Be Entitled to Damages

Across the United States, single-vehicle accidents are common. However, when people envision a typical car crash, they often think it involves two vehicles. As a result, one car accident where no one admits fault or no one else is involved is not usually perceived as a legal claim. After all, if the driver who caused harm (the defendant) and the driver who receives the injury (the plaintiff) are not both present during the accident, is it even a legal claim?

Single vehicle collisions occur with surprising frequency, and they do not always involve two vehicles. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), in the United States, 9,973 deaths linked to single vehicle collisions occurred in 2019. As such, it is fair to say that single vehicle collisions are a problem area for major and minor car accidents that deserve more attention.

If you have an injury as the result of a single vehicle accident, you may find your case strategy requires a more skillful touch. For free lawyer consultation over the phone, Call 1-800-THE-LAW2 and connect to an experienced car accident attorney near you in our network.

Curious about single vehicle collisions?

Check out our short video on the subject below, or keep reading!

WATCH THE LATEST VIDEO SHORT FROM 1-800-THE-LAW2: Single Vehicle Accident video on Youtube

1800THELAW2 ON YOUTUBE: WATCH SINGLE VEHICLE ACCIDENT VIDEO

Liability is Not Obvious in a Single Vehicle Accident

In a single-vehicle collision scenario, it’s not always obvious whether someone can be legally liable for injuries. This stands in stark contrast to car accident scenarios where liability is obvious, such as a drunk driver accident. Whereas in DUI cases, there is clearly a driver in the wrong. However, in a single vehicle crash, that is not always the case.


To determine liability, a comprehensive evaluation of evidence is necessary. In the early stages of any legal claim, assistance of an experienced car accident attorney is invaluable.

As the injured person, you might not realize that you have an actionable claim for damages under the law — but an attorney can determine who is potentially liable, and how much they potentially owe you. Naturally, this has an impact on your legal claims for a single car accident. No insurance? If you lack proper insurance coverage, it’s much more critical to work with an attorney, as you won’t have any benefits to fall back on if you don’t sue and recover damages.

Who Can You Sue in a Single Vehicle Collision?

In a single vehicle crash, there is no driver who collided with your vehicle. Thus, you’ll have to explore other avenues for damages recovery and legal compensation.


Many victims do not realize that there are many other parties who are potentially liable for their injuries. A few examples are:

  • Vehicle manufacturer
  • Government or other public agency
  • Private business and/or property owner
  • Negligent drivers
  • And more

What are the Two Collisions that Happen in a Crash?

Two examples of one car accident cases where no one admits fault, yet another party is potentially responsible.

Tree Accident Example

For the first example, suppose you have an injury that resulted from a fallen tree while driving. Here’s what happened. The tree was located on City property, and it was poorly maintained. The City made no proper inspections, and thereby allowed the tree to become structurally damaged. As a result of improper maintenance, it fell on a nearby car. Specifically, the tree accident involved your car, the tree, and no other vehicle. If this happened to you, you could sue the City and recover compensation for the one car accident, even though it involved no one else.

DUI Crash Example

In the second example, imagine your injury was a single vehicle collision that resulted from a DUI crash. This is what happened. A drunk driver swerved into your lane, and you suddenly switched lanes to avoid a car reck. In turn, you lost control and crashed your vehicle. Under these circumstances, you can sue the drunk driver despite the fact taht they never actually touched your vehicle.

Leaving The Scene Of An Accident

Here’s an important single care collision advice:

If you’ve been in a single vehicle collision, avoid leaving the scene until you can do everything needed to preserve your legal claims. This may involve recording pictures and video evidence of the car crash scene, calling an attorney to help you physically evaluate the situation, and speaking to nearby witnesses to get their contact information. Many times, witnesses are a useful resource to prove that your version of events is correct.


Since environmental hazards and road defects cause many single-vehicle accidents, it is important to record that information in detail. When possible, collect video evidence, take pictures, and write down every detail you observe and remember from the car crash.


Also, be sure to secure medical assistance as soon as possible. Failure to seek timely medical assistance can undermine your legal claims. So, if you are seriously injured, do not delay. Get the medical attention you need.

Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 For Free Lawyer Consultation Over the Phone

If you had an injury as a result of a single vehicle accident, please call us today. In order to preserve your legal claim, it is important to contact a qualified attorney as soon as possible. Our network of highly skilled auto accident attorneys provide free lawyer consultation over the phone. After investigating the evidence, your lawyer will develop a case strategy that may potentially lead to recovery of damages. Consultations over the phone are confidential.


Call us now to get connected to an experienced car accident attorney in 10 minutes or less. Legal consultation is free and confidential. If you decide to not move forward with the case, there is no commitment.

single-vehicle accident

Distracted Driving Awareness Month

April is distracted driving awareness month, so we feel it’s important to take a moment to explore some basic issues, and to bring the facts to light.

Distracted driving is an issue that doesn’t get enough attention, even though it contributes to so many accidents. Given the widespread use of mobile phones over the last 20 years, car accidents are becoming more common due to inattentive or distracted drivers.

If you are a driver, passenger or pedestrian, you should be aware of the risks posed by distracted drivers, how to avoid them, and what you can do legally if you are injured.

How to Win Your Case

In auto accident cases, you are entitled to damages under certain circumstances. You’ll have to prove that the defendant not only hurt you, but also that he was negligent, reckless, or intentional.

Distracted driving is “negligent” or “reckless” conduct. In other words, the driver who caused your injuries didn’t mean to cause injuries, but he behaved recklessly under the circumstances. Their behavior increased the likelihood that someone would get hurt, and that’s exactly what happened.

For more information on: What is the Difference in Negligent vs. Reckless Driving?

To win a distracted driving case, you have to prove that the driver was distracted while he was driving, and that his behavior wasn’t justified under the circumstances.

Confused? Don’t worry, let’s use a brief example to clarify. 

When It Is Not Considered Distracted Driving  

Let’s say you’re injured in an auto accident. You believe the defendant was distracted while driving, which led to the collision (they weren’t paying attention to the road).

As you investigate the case further, you discover that the defendant-driver had their attention diverted because their passenger had a seizure. The seizure caused the passenger’s arms and hands to enter the driver’s field of view, and even interfere with their use of the steering wheel. The driver had to take a moment to deal with the situation, which distracted them from the road.

In these circumstances, the driver’s distraction would be justified. It would not be unreasonable. It might be a bit harder to win the case, or the damage recovery might be reduced.

On the other hand, suppose the driver was distracted because he was texting friends while driving. This behavior is unreasonable and unjustified, and qualifies as negligence or recklessness under the law, so you might be entitled to damages.

Statistics of Distracted Driving Infographic 

Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, we have created an infographic to help the public better understand some important facts and statistics of distracted driving. Enjoy!

Click Here to Download

April is national distracted driving awareness month. Distracted Driving Infographic by 1800thelaw2.com

Examples of Distracted Driving 

Distracted driving can take on many forms, including: 

  • Texting while driving 
  • Cell phone use while driving 
  • Talking to other passengers while driving 
  • Inattentiveness (i.e., looking at the sidewalk instead of the road ahead) 
  • And more 

For example, while most people associate cell phone use with distracted driving, a driver can be drawn into conversation with his friend in the passenger seat. This conversation could distract the driver, causing them to make a mistake that leads to an accident.

Suppose the passenger contributed to the accident by distracting the driver. In that case, it may be possible to sue the passenger for damages. For a strategic approach, this makes it easier to secure the maximum possible compensation.

Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a Free Consultation 

If you’ve been in a car accident because of a distracted driver, you may be entitled to significant damages. When pursuing your claim, you’ll want to work with a qualified attorney who can help you from start-to-finish.

Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, our attorneys are standing by to help you. We have a network of lawyers who are experienced in handling distracted driving cases.

Call us at 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a free and confidential consultation. We’ll connect you to an experienced attorney in 10 minutes or less. 

distracted driving

What to Do When Involved in a Parked Car Hit and Run Accident

According to an Allstate Insurance study from 2010, 69 percent of all hit-and-runs in the U.S. involve parked cars. If you unknowingly hit a parked car, you may feel embarrassment and want to drive off. Or if your parked car was hit, it can be extremely frustrating if the person did not leave a note with any contact information. Here is how to proceed in both instances.

If you hit a parked car:

  1. Stay at the scene – it’s the law. Leaving the scene after you hit a parked car is considered a hit and run. Conviction of a hit and run can lead to a substantial fine, jail time or community service, and suspension of you license.
  2. If the owner/driver of the parked car cannot be found, leave a note. Most states require you leave a note that includes your name, address, contact number, an explanation of what happened, and if you were driving another person’s car, their name and address as well. You may want to leave your insurance information if you have it handy, as well. There’s no need to admit in writing that you weren’t paying attention or any other information that might be used against you later on when the insurance companies are settling the claim. Tuck the note securely under the windshield wiper.
  3. Before you leave the scene, take pictures and videos that show the condition of both cars, in addition to the license plate numbers. This can help safeguard you if the driver of the parked car claims you did more damage than you remember.
  4. Try to find a few witnesses. Get their contact information and take a video of their description of the hit. This will help show that you were diligent in trying to find the owner, and take responsibility for the accident.
  5. Call your insurance company as soon as possible so they can expedite the claims process. The property damage liability portion of your coverage will pay for damages to the parked car, while collision coverage will cover your own car, once you pay the deductible.

If your parked car was hit:

  1. If you get back to the parking lot from the mall and notice your car has been hit, the first thing to do is check to see if the driver is still around and collect his or her information. If the driver did not stick around, look around for a note or information the other driver may have left.
  2. If no note was left, check the area for any witnesses. Ask security to view footage from the parking lot and see if you can identify the other car’s license number. If you can find eyewitnesses, get their account of what happened and be sure to get their names and contact information.
  3. Take photos of the damage to your car expedite the claims process with your insurer.
  4. If the damage was bad enough, call the police. They can take a report and probably expedite the time it takes to access any surveillance cameras.
  5. Contact the insurance company – or both companies, if the other driver left the information in a note.

What is a Hit and Run?

Hit and runs refer to an auto accident where a vehicle hits a person, object or other vehicle. Then, the driver flees the scene without providing their information.

Hit and run statutes vary from state to state, however it is usually considered the crime of a driver of a vehicle who is involved in a collision with another vehicle, property, or person, who knowingly fails to provide his or her name, license number, and other details as required by law to the injured party, witness, or police officials.

If a vehicle has hit property and no other persons are involved, it may suffice to leave the information attached to the damaged property, provided that the person who caused the accident make a police report.

Examples of hit and run accidents include:

  • A driver hitting pedestrians in the crosswalk and then speeding off
  • A driver hitting your unattended parked car without leaving contact information or any means of collecting damages

What to Do After a Hit and Run Accident

If you are the victim of a hit and run, getting medical attention is the number one priority. Call the police for help if you can, otherwise call out for help from fellow drivers/pedestrians. If your injuries are not serious, it is important to remain calm and try to gather as much evidence as possible given the status of the scene. Having more information increases the likelihood of the police catching the driver who hit you, and helps your car insurance company make decisions about your claim.

Try to get information about the make, model, and license plate number of the car. Next, look around and talk to witnesses. Perhaps, they were able to view additional details about the car, or can supply missing information about the driver’s profile.

Document the scene, take pictures and videos on your phone. Be sure to get different angles of your car, especially if there are remnants of paint from the other car. (This will help prove you are not attempting to defraud your insurance company.)

If the hit and run occurred when your vehicle was parked, you should also document as much information as you can – the time you discovered the damage, the location of the vehicle, and details on the damage.

While it may be tempting to go after the other car, either by driving or on foot, this may cause more harm than good. Not only are you putting other vehicles at risk with reckless driving, but also you may injure yourself further.

It is best to call the police and file an accident report that includes the details you gathered, as well as the names and contact information for witnesses you were able to find. Even if the police cannot find the driver, having an official police report can go a long way in processing your auto claim.

Contact your car insurance company. In terms of auto insurance, hit and run accidents are the only accident in which you are not at fault for which you will be required to pay your collision deductible, in most cases. There is no other coverage on your auto policy that will cover a hit and run, which is why you will be required to pay the deductible. If you do not carry this optional coverage, you will not have insurance benefits to cover your damage.

What Are Potential Hit and Run Consequences?

A hit and run is generally defined as being involved in a car accident, either with another vehicle, a motorbike, or even pedestrians, and then leaving the scene without stopping to identify oneself, or provide aid to anyone who might need assistance.

Common hit and run circumstances include:

  • Drivers causing serious injury to a pedestrian and fleeing the scene because he or she was driving with a suspended license from a previous DUI charge and did not want to be charged for another offence
  • Drivers hitting a parked car and leaving the scene to avoid paying for property damage
  • Drivers hitting police cars that have been set up as part of a roadblock to avoid getting in trouble

Fleeing the scene of an accident has serious consequences and all drivers should think twice before leaving the scene of any accident they have been involved in.

Hit and Run Charges

In most states, it doesn’t matter whether a driver caused the accident or not. The fact that a party left the scene is enough to face consequences of a hit and run. An exception to this is if someone left to try to get help, as long as he or she returns to the scene immediately.

Major vs. Minor Penalties

Hit and run consequences vary from state to state, but many classify the charge as either a felony or misdemeanor depending on specific circumstances. Felony charges tend to be imposed in instances where a person has suffered any kind of injury, whether the injured person was a pedestrian or occupant in another vehicle. Guilty persons may be fined anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000, in addition to the possibility of jail time of up to 15 years. A misdemeanor offense, while less severe than a felony, is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and also up to one year in jail.

In addition to criminal consequences of a hit and run, almost every state imposes administrative penalties related to the person’s license. Any conviction will usually result in automatic suspension or revocation of the driver’s license for about six months. Some states impose the suspension for as long as three years, or even a lifetime depending on the circumstances of the accident.

At-fault drivers may also be subject to civil cases. An injured party can file a claim for damages to their property, in addition to compensation for medical treatment and lost wages.

What Evidence is Needed to Convict a Hit and Run?

In a criminal trial, a prosecutor must usually prove the following facts to find someone guilty of a hit and run:

  • While driving, the defendant was involved in the vehicle accident
  • The accident caused serious injury, permanent injury, or death to someone else
  • The defendant knew he or she was involved in the accident that caused injury to someone else, or knew that injury was probable given the circumstances of the accident, AND he or she willfully failed to perform one or more of the following duties:
    • To stop immediately at the scene
    • To provide reasonable assistance to any injured persons
    • To give involved parties or authorities their contact and vehicle information; if not their vehicle, to provide the details for the owner of the vehicle; to provide the name and details of injured individuals in his or her vehicle; to show a driver’s license upon request at the scene; to notify authorities without unnecessary delay to fatalities as a result of the accident.

Can You Recover Damages If You Were Not Wearing A Seatbelt?

If you’ve been injured in a car accident (due to the fault of another driver), but you weren’t wearing a seatbelt, then you may be wondering if you’re legally entitled to sue and recover damages. After all, failing to wear your seatbelt could have contributed significantly to your own injuries, and could be considered negligent behavior.

Whether you’re entitled to damages — and to what degree — depends in large part on the rules of the state in which your case will be litigated. It also depends on the specific facts and circumstances of your accident.

Except for a few states, however, you should be able to sue and recover damages in many no-seatbelt cases. As these cases can be a challenge to litigate, it’s important that you work with an experienced car accident attorney who understands how to navigate the strategic roadblocks. Call 1-800-THE-LAW2 to get connected to a skilled attorney in our network today for a free legal consultation.

For now, let’s explore how fault works in accidents where both sides engaged in negligent behavior.

Comparative Fault and Contributory Fault Basics

States implement one of three fault doctrines when evaluating how to allocate fault after a car accident. So, if you were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of your accident, one of the following may apply:

Contributory Fault

Under the contributory fault doctrine, if you — the plaintiff — are even 1 percent at-fault for your own injuries, then you are prohibited from suing and recovering damages in a car accident. For example, if you failed to wear a seatbelt, and that failure contributed to your injuries, then the court would preclude you from obtaining any sort of compensation through a lawsuit.

As the contributory fault doctrine is extremely strict and anti-plaintiff, you’ll want to work closely with an attorney to ensure that you do not run afoul of the rule. There may be ways in which you can strategically develop the case (and present the facts) that show you are not responsible for your own injuries, even if you engaged in negligent activity at the time of the accident.

Pure Comparative Fault

Under the pure comparative fault doctrine, you can be 99 percent at-fault for your own injuries and still recover damages. The law would not prevent you from suing and obtaining compensation from the defendant, no matter how fault is allocated. However, it’s important to note that while you can sue and recover damages, those damages will be proportionally reduced by your contribution of fault.

How does this work?

Suppose that you are injured in a car accident in which you were not wearing a seatbelt. The court determines that you were 30 percent at-fault, due to your failure to wear a seatbelt. The total damages is roughly $100,000. You would be entitled to recover 70 percent of the total damages, or $70,000.

As such, even in pure comparative fault states, defendants have much to gain from showing that you were also at-fault — by doing so, they can reduce their damages’ liability to some degree.

Modified Comparative Fault

Under the modified comparative fault doctrine, you can sue and recover damages in a lawsuit against the defendant, but only if you were less than 50 percent at-fault. If you are 50 percent (or more) at-fault, then you will be prohibited from recovering damages entirely.

The modified comparative fault doctrine is thus a mix of pure comparative fault and contributory fault.

For example, suppose that you are injured in a car accident and were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident. The court finds that you were 60 percent at-fault, as if you had been wearing your seatbelt, you would not have sustained any significant injuries. Under modified comparative fault, you would not be entitled to recover any damages through a lawsuit. If the court found that you were 40 percent at-fault, however, then you would be entitled to recover damages.

Proving that the Defendant “Caused” the Injury

Whatever the particular “doctrine” of fault that applies in your state, you can reduce how much fault the court allocates to you by showing that your negligent acts were not actually connected to the injuries — and that it was the defendant’s negligent acts that caused your injuries.

This can be a bit difficult to understand, so let’s use a brief example for clarity.

Suppose that you are injured in a car accident, and you weren’t wearing your seatbelt at the time of the collision. The defendant-driver sideswiped you, causing you to sustain multiple fracture injuries on your left side.

Now, the defendant knows that you were not wearing your seatbelt, and they are attempting to paint that you as highly negligent. They want to prove that your failure to wear a seatbelt is what led to severe injury. In truth, however, your failure to wear a seatbelt — though negligent and somewhat irresponsible — is not linked to the injuries you sustained. It is not as though you were flung forward through your window.

Here, the same sideswipe injuries would have occurred had you been wearing your seatbelt. As such, your negligence in failing to wear a seatbelt did not actually contribute to your injuries (and thus, fault cannot be allocated to you in this context).

Contact A Car Accident Attorney In Your Area For A Free Consultation

Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, we operate a large network of experienced car accident attorneys who are standing by to provide assistance, whether or not you were wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident.

Call us to get connected to a skilled accident lawyer in just 10 minutes or less. Consultation is free and confidential, so there’s no downside to contacting us to schedule an initial consultation.

We look forward to speaking with you.

What is the Difference Between Negligent and Reckless Driving?

Negligent and reckless driving cases may result in injuries and damages that are essentially the same. If there are similar injuries or damages to one’s property, you may be wondering about the differences when it comes to negligent vs reckless driving. The latter tends to have worse consequences in many states across the nation. Negligent driving is typically a civil traffic offense, but reckless driving may be considered a crime.

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving includes unlawful and unsafe driving with a disregard for the safety of other motorists and pedestrians. Individuals who engage in reckless driving are aware of the risks involved with their actions behind the wheel, but continue to drive in a dangerous manner. A reckless driver has not only taken unnecessary risks, but do so in areas where the chances of injuries or damages are high. Due to the willfulness and intention of the driver, it is usually considered a criminal activity.

Examples of reckless driving include:

  • Driving well above the speed limit
  • Not using turn signals when turning or changing lanes
  • Driving under the influence
  • Texting or talking on the phone
  • Refusing to stop at Stop signs and/or red lights
  • Failing to turn on lights while driving at night or in rainy conditions
  • Racing on public roads or illegal street racing
  • Knowingly operating a vehicle while intoxicated

Negligent Driving

Negligence occurs when drivers fail to use reasonable care while operating a vehicle, which could lead to personal injuries and damages to one or more vehicles. Drivers have a legal obligation to act in a certain manner that is dictated by law but when he or she proceeds to breach that duty by acting in a particular manner or failing to act at all, they are being negligent. Unlike reckless drivers, negligent drivers do not know about the inherent risks associated with their behavior, which is why these accidents are often classified under traffic infractions.

Negligent driving includes:

  • Unintentionally failing to provide a safe environment for other drivers and pedestrians
  • Incidents where the term “accidental” may be used to describe the event
  • Driving on private property without the owner’s consent
  • Driving under the influence of non-prescribed drugs or alcohol

Suing A Defendant For Negligent vs. Reckless Driving

If you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident, then you may be entitled to damages under the law. Though many plaintiffs aren’t aware, the potential compensation — and the legal strategy you pursue — could be influenced by the defendant’s actions.

Suppose a defendant was street racing when they collided with your vehicle. The lawsuit will be different than if the defendant was driving at a reasonable speed but distracted. The street racing defendant would be considered a “reckless” driver, making it easier for you to hold them liable. Bonus punitive damages might also be available, depending on the circumstances.

There are a number of unique issues in car accident disputes involving either negligent or reckless driving. It’s worth connecting to an experienced car accident attorney for guidance on how to proceed. Call 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a free consultation today.

Damages May Be Different

As a general rule, it’s easier to “scale up” the damages claim in a reckless driving case (as opposed to a negligent driving case), as the driver that injured you not only is more likely to have caused serious injury, but also engaged in behavior for which a jury may feel like “punishing” them through a large damages award.

Additionally, however, reckless driving cases may also provide ample opportunity for a punitive damages recovery.

Punitive damages are bonus damages that multiply the baseline damages. For example, if your case is worth $50,000, then the punitive damages amount may be up to $350,000, for a $400,000 total recovery.

Punitive damages are only available at the discretion of the court, however, and that too, only when you can show that the defendant-driver engaged in malicious or egregious misconduct that recklessly disregarded the safety of others.

Given the possibility of maximizing the damages award, it’s critical that you pursue punitive damages where it might be potentially available. Doing so requires the assistance of a skilled car accident attorney who has experience securing such damages for clients.

Consequences & Safety Tips

Penalties for negligent and reckless driving differs by state, but may include suspension of one’s driver’s license, fines, and even imprisonment depending on the severity of the accident. Given the more serious nature of reckless driving, the consequences associated are greater than negligent driving.

Avoid reckless and negligent driving to keep yourself, fellow motorists, and pedestrians safe by following these tips for safe driving:

  • Allow plenty of time to get to your final destination. This will help you avoid speeding, changing lanes quickly without signaling, and overall aggressive driving.
  • Wear glasses and/or contact lenses when driving to see clearly, especially at night.
  • Avoid distracted driving such as texting, talking on the phone, eating, and playing with the radio. When engaged in any of these activities, it’s easy to go too fast, swerve into other lanes, and run traffic lights/signs.
  • Don’t drive under the influence. Always assign a designated driver, keep a local taxi number handy, or stay at a friend’s place. A conviction related to DUI can lead to license suspension and jail time.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney for a Free Consultation

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, then you may have a right of action against the defendant. Of course, depending on whether the defendant-driver was acting negligently or recklessly, the legal strategy (and damages) involved may change. It’s important to work with an attorney who understands how to navigate these challenges.

We’re here to help you secure the compensation you deserve.

At 1-800-THE-LAW2, we maintain a network of experienced car accident lawyers who are standing by to provide a free consultation. Our agents will connect you to an attorney who can guide you through the litigation process after evaluating your case.

Don’t delay. Call 1-800-THE-LAW2 to get connected today.

The Difference Between Negligent and Reckless Driving

Hiring a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Made Easy

After a workplace injury you may be asking why you should hire a workers’ compensation attorney if your employer has insurance? The answer is simple. The insurance companies are interested in one thing: settling for the least amount possible. You could be eligible for so much more, and one of the benefits of hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer is that he can help you get it.

Your next question may be w how soon you  should  hire a lawyer after  you’ve been hurt at work? The answer, again, is simple: As soon as possible!

The sooner you get a workers’ compensation lawyer, the better he or she can help protect your legal rights, help you receive proper medical care, make sure your accident is properly reported, and help maximize the workers’ compensation benefits you receive.

What are the Next Steps After hiring a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?

In addition to contacting an attorney right after your work accident, you must notify your employer within 30 days of an injury, or as soon as you learn or believe your injury was caused by your job. If you don’t report your injury within 30 days, you could lose your right to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Missing this deadline could potentially cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical care, disability payments and lost wages. And not immediately seeking medical help could cause your injury to worsen.

What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?

Workers’ compensation covers wage replacement, medical treatment, vocational rehabilitation and other benefits to workers (and/or their dependents) that experience work-related injury or occupational disease.

Many factors determine the amount of one’s workers’ compensation disability benefit, including the seriousness of one’s injury, how long one is disabled, and how much money one would earn if it weren’t for the workplace injury.  Monthly workers’ compensation benefits vary by state, but most states pay two-thirds of your pre-tax weekly wage.

The workers’ compensation system can be confusing, frustrating, and it could take months, even years, before your claim is finally settled. This is when the benefits of hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer reveal themselves. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can be responsible for dealing with your employer’s insurance company, help arrange medical evaluations, get you to the right doctors, and represent you at the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB).

Temporary and permanent disability benefits will not cover your lost wages 100 percent, so the sooner you are medically well enough to return to work the better it can be for you, your family, and your overall quality of life.

If you’ve been injured at work, get proper medical attention as soon as possible. And as soon as you’re able, get legal help to be sure your rights – medical and legal – are fully protected as well.

How to Choose the Best Workers Compensation Attorney

When looking for the best workers’ compensation attorney, treat the process like you would any other professional you count on: choose carefully. After all, you wouldn’t trust your health to just any doctor, or your teeth to just any dentist, right? Choosing the right attorney for your workers’ comp case is just as critical.

  • Look for experience. If you’re hurt and out of work because of a work accident, there’s a lot at stake. Medical bills can pile up fast, and any income loss could make it really tough to pay the bills and buy everyday necessities. Look for an attorney who has years of experience working with cases similar to yours. This experience can be a huge benefit to your case, especially when it comes to dealing with insurance companies.
  • Be impressed by success. Experience is one thing; success is another! You want both. Be sure to ask any potential workers’ compensation attorneys about their successful cases. Ask as many questions as possible about the details of the case, including the amount awarded, how long the case took, what the challenges were and how the attorney solved them.
  • Make sure the price is right. The best workers’ compensation attorney doesn’t have to come at a high cost. Our workers’ compensation attorneys work on a contingency basis, so they don’t get paid until they win your case. Because there are no out-of-pocket fees, just about anyone who needs high-quality legal help can get it quickly and easily.
  • Look for signs of dedication. If an attorney is active in workers’ compensation associations or groups, that’s a good sign. It shows that the attorney is dedicated to staying up to date on workers’ compensation issues, exchanging information with peers, and building good relationships that could come in handy in the future.
  • Go with your gut. Chemistry is important. There are no one-size-fits-all guidelines for defining what feels right for you, but asking yourself the following questions can help guide a gut check: Do you feel comfortable with the attorney? Does he or she look you in the eye? Is the attorney’s office clean and well-organized? Are your questions answered in a way that makes you feel secure and informed? Do you feel hopeful after talking to the attorney?

Another note on choosing the best workers’ compensation attorney: Avoid anyone who claims they’re a specialist but, in fact, has little to no experience. When your life is on the line, you can’t afford to take risks.

The easiest way to find the best workers’ compensation attorney near you is to call us. We offer free legal consultation 24/7.

PS: One last piece of information you must always keep in mind: Making a false or fraudulent workers’ compensation claim is a felony in California subject to up to 5 years in prison or a fine of up to $50,000 or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.
The information within the blog is not to be construed as legal advice.

Is Workers’ Comp Taxable?

Getting hurt on the job can be financially worrisome. Injured workers must deal with the stress of recovering from an injury or illness, and possibly coping with permanent disability. In addition, even with workers’ compensation insurance, it is unlikely that individuals are bringing home 100% of the salary they previously earned.

In terms of federal income tax, workers’ compensation awarded under a worker’s comp act or statute due to a work-related injury or sickness is fully exempt from tax. Payments to survivors under the same circumstances are also exempt.

Workers’ comp is in the same category of non-taxable income as:

  • Payments from the public welfare fund
  • Compensatory damages for physical injury or sickness
  • Disability benefits under a no fault car insurance policy for loss of income or earnings capacity due to the extent of injuries
  • Compensation for permanent loss or function of loss for part of the body, or for permanent disfigurement.

The lone exception to this is when an individual also receives disability benefits through the Social Security disability insurance or Supplemental Security Income. In some cases, the Social Security Administration may limit a person’s disability insurance or supplemental payments so that the combined amount of the worker’s comp benefits and disability payments remain below a specific number.

To figure out the taxable portion with this exception, individuals should be aware that it is the same amount by which the Social Security Administration reduces the disability payments. For example, if disability insurance is reduced by $100 due to the workers’ comp offset, then $100 of the workers’ comp payment is taxable.

Talk to an Experienced Workers’ Comp Attorney

An experienced workers’ comp attorney may be able to assist in structuring workers’ comp settlements in a manner that reduces taxable income. If you or a loved one has been injured on the job, call today for a free consultation with a workers’ comp lawyer to ensure all your medical needs are being met, and to ensure you pay as little taxes on your workers’ comp insurance as possible. 

Is Workers' Comp Taxable

Wage Loss Damages In A Personal Injury Dispute

If you’ve been injured due to the fault of another, then the law may give you a right of action to sue and recover damages. If you are employed and are forced to miss work due to the injuries you sustained, then the damages claim is very likely to include what is referred to as “wage loss” damages.

In cases where wage loss damages are available, they tend to comprise a major portion of the total damages claim. Effectively arguing for wage loss damages is therefore necessary to obtain full and adequate compensation.

Let’s take a closer look.

Past And Future Wage Loss

Wage loss can be split into two sub-categories: past and future.

Past wage loss accounts for the wage loss that you — the plaintiff — sustained already due to accident-related injuries. For example, suppose that your legs were seriously fractured in a car accident. As a construction worker, you were forced to take six months off before you could return to work. Your past wage loss claim would account for the income you “would have” earned had you actually worked for those six months.

To support your past wage loss claim, you’ll want to introduce proof that you were forced to take the time off from work (i.e., medical records, testimony from a vocational expert explaining what the requirements of the job are, etc.) as well as how much money you lost as a result (i.e., pay stubs).

Future wage loss accounts for the wage loss that you will sustain. Let’s return to our previous example. Suppose that your injuries are sufficiently severe that you will be forced to take three more months off in order to completely rehabilitate. You haven’t yet taken that time off, but you intend to do so. Though you haven’t yet suffered “damages,” you’ll be able to claim those damages by proving that you will, in fact, have to take the time off in the future due to your injuries.

Loss Of Future Earning Capacity

Claiming loss of future earning capacity is a unique and powerful tool for disputes that involve severe, career-altering injury. Put simply, the loss of future earning capacity is meant to account for career-long shifts in how much you could potentially earn, as the trajectory of your career might have been altered by severe injury.

This can be difficult to understand, so let’s use a brief example for clarity.

Suppose that you are injured in a slip and fall accident at a popular retail store. You suffered serious back injuries. Now, you normally work as a hospital nurse. Due to the back injuries, however, you cannot stand up and walk around for more than 15 minutes at a time. This limitation will follow you for the rest of your working life.

Thus, not only are you forced to miss time for work (past and future wage loss), but your career trajectory is altered. It’s unlikely that you’ll ever be able to work as a nurse again, given your physical limitations. Most clinics and hospitals are unlikely to accommodate your inability to be “on your feet.”

There may still be some options for you to shift into a different career path in the healthcare field. A desk job may be possible, though it may also pay less (on average) and may have fewer promotional opportunities. When claiming loss of future earning capacity, you’ll have to compare your new, alternative career path (earnings potential) with the earnings potential of your previous career path. That difference can and should be compensated by the liable defendant.

Contact A Personal Injury Lawyer In Our Network For A Free Consultation

If you’ve been harmed in an accident that was caused by another’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct, then you could be entitled to significant damages, including damages for wage loss. Wage loss claims can be surprisingly complicated — as such, it’s important that you work with an attorney who understand how to effectively navigate this challenge.

Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, we are proud to operate a network of hundreds of experienced personal injury attorneys, many of whom have handled disputes centering around complex wage loss issues.

Call us today to connect to a qualified personal injury attorney in your area for a free and confidential consultation — our staff are standing by 24/7, ready to help you connect to an attorney in just 10 minutes or less.

We look forward to speaking with you.

How Do Punitive Damages Work In A Personal Injury Case?

If you’ve been injured in an accident due to the fault of another, then you may have a right of action to sue and recover damages. Every case is different, however. In some cases, the defendant has engaged in such egregious behavior that the court sees fit to impose what are referred to as punitive damages.

Punitive damages multiply the total damages that you — the plaintiff — can potentially recover through the lawsuit. In serious accident disputes, a punitive damages award can sometimes lead to a multimillion dollar recovery.

Let’s explore some basics behind how punitive damages work.

What Are Punitive Damages

Normally, damages recovered in a personal injury dispute are compensatory in nature. In other words, they are meant to “compensate” the injured plaintiff for their losses — to put them in a position (financially) that closely approximates where they would have been had they not been involved in the accident.

Compensatory damages account for a number of losses, from medical expenses, to pain and suffering, to wage loss, and more.

Punitive damages are fundamentally different. Punitive damages are not meant to be compensatory — instead, they are meant to “punish” the defendant for engaging in extremely problematic behavior, and to discourage others in society from engaging in similar behavior.

By imposing bonus damages in the form of punitive damages, the court is thereby punishing the defendant and discouraging others in society from doing the same.

Calculating Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are calculated by multiplying the baseline compensatory damages available in the dispute. The multiplier can go as high as seven times the compensatory damages amount.

How does this work?

Suppose that you’re injured in a slip and fall accident. Your total damages are roughly equivalent to $100,000. After further investigation, your attorney discovers that the business owner knew that there was a spill on the floor of their retail store, but actively discouraged their employees from cleaning it up because they wanted to see a customer slip on it — they thought it would be “funny.”

The court finds this behavior malicious, and they decide to award punitive damages. The court decides that the punitive damages should be $800,000 (seven times the compensatory damages amount). Your total recovery would thus be $900,000.

Qualifying for Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are not available in the large majority of personal injury cases. Where they are potentially available, however, it’s important that you and your attorney push hard for a punitive damages award.

Under what circumstances are punitive damages available?

In most states, punitive damages are only available if you — the plaintiff — can show that the defendant acted maliciously, intentionally, and/or egregiously. Mere negligence is not enough to qualify for punitive damages. The defendant’s conduct must be significantly more egregious for punitive damages to be available in the case.

Recall that punitive damages are awarded as an attempt to discourage such behavior in society. As such, the behavior must be especially problematic to justify the attempt to discourage it through punitive damages.

In the car accident context, illegal street racing that led to an accident would very likely qualify for punitive damages, but mere speeding would not (unless the defendant was speeding well over the speed limit, and speeding to such an extent that they displayed a reckless disregard for human life).

Drunk driving may also qualify for punitive damages, though the circumstances have to point to particularly egregious conduct. So, for example, if the defendant was warned to stop drinking because they might endanger others, and they laughed it off and said they “don’t care,” that would likely be enough to make punitive damages available.

It’s worth noting that even if punitive damages are available, the court is not required to award them. Courts have discretion whether they will impose punitive damages. It is up to your attorney to develop a persuasive enough argument that will “win” the court over.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Our Network for a Free Consultation

Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, we have hundreds of skilled attorneys in our network, standing by to provide assistance. Call us today to get connected to an experienced personal injury lawyer in just 10 minutes or less. Consultation is free and confidential, so there’s absolutely no downside to speaking with one of our in-network attorneys about your case.

We believe that effective legal help should be easily accessible. To that end, our staff are available 24/7, and can communicate in both English and Spanish. We look forward to speaking with you further.

Punitive Damages In A Personal Injury Case

Pain And Suffering Damages In A Personal Injury Case

If you’ve been injured in an accident that was caused by another’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct, then the law may entitle you to damages. The losses can be quite varied in a personal injury dispute, but they are very likely to include pain and suffering damages.

Many first-time plaintiffs do not fully understand what pain and suffering damages are, the unique challenges associated with pain and suffering damages, and how best to maximize these damages.

Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, our staff are standing by to connect you to a qualified attorney who can help you move forward with your case. An experienced personal injury lawyer can evaluate the case comprehensively, and determine an effective strategy for securing the maximum possible damages (including pain and suffering damages).

Let’s take a closer look.

Understanding the Damage Categories

In the personal injury context, compensatory damages for a lawsuit can be split into two relatively broad categories: 1) monetary losses and 2) non-monetary losses.

Monetary losses account for those damages that are financial in nature. They include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Medical expenses
  • Wage loss
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Property loss
  • and more

Non-monetary losses account for those damages that are not directly tied to your finances. In general, non-monetary losses involve problems with your quality of life — whether that occurred for a brief period, or is now a lifelong issue. They include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of guidance
  • and more

Pain and suffering fits into non-monetary losses, and as such, can be somewhat more difficult to “prove” to the court. If you claim $100,000 in pain and suffering damages, for example, you will have to introduce expert testimony and other evidence — and be persuasive in your legal arguments — that show your losses should qualify you for a $100,000 pain and suffering recovery.

It’s worth noting that damages are meant to “compensate” the injured plaintiff by putting them in a position where they would have been had they not been involved in an accident.

In the pain and suffering context (non-monetary), there is really no way to measure — with perfect accuracy — what amount of damages would put you in a position where you would feel fully compensated for the losses suffered. As such, success will often be determined by your attorney’s ability to argue the issue persuasively.

Pain And Suffering Basics

Pain and suffering represents a number of different, related losses. Boiling it down into its simplest components, pain and suffering damages are meant to compensate you — the injured plaintiff — for the physical and mental harm that you sustained due to the accident.

Pain and suffering damages can include everything from the physical pain you experienced after a car accident, to the mental pain you experienced due to feeling humiliated and embarrassed by your post-accident disabilities.

Calculating Pain And Suffering Damages

Perhaps the biggest challenge in claiming pain and suffering damages is evidentiary. In other words, you’ll have to “calculate” a reasonable damages amount based off your physical, mental, and emotional suffering.

This is ultimately a fact-based, subjective endeavor, making it quite difficult to arrive at a number that the defendant is likely to accept.

To get around this conflict, most attorneys ultimately rely on a “multiplier” methodology for calculating pain and suffering damages.

Put simply, the pain and suffering damages are “estimated” at roughly 1-to-3 times the monetary losses. How high the multiplier goes depends on the particularities of your case. If your case involves significant physical, mental, or emotional suffering, then the multiplier is likely to be higher (i.e., up to 3 times the monetary losses).

So, for example, if your monetary losses (i.e., wage loss, property loss, medical expenses, etc.) add up to $100,000, and you were horribly disfigured by your injuries and are unable to engage in any recreational activities, then the physical, mental, and emotional trauma might give rise to a $300,000 pain and suffering claim, for a $400,000 total damages claim.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in our Network for a Free Consultation

Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, we operate a large network of qualified, skilled personal injury attorneys who are standing by to provide legal assistance. Call us to get connected to an experienced personal injury lawyer in our network — during this initial discussion, they will evaluate your case and provide guidance on how best to proceed.

We believe that friendly, accessible legal representation is critical to success. As such, our staff are available 24/7 (in both English and Spanish) to take your call. Consultation is free and confidential, so don’t hesitate to contact us as soon as possible to get started with the process.

We look forward to speaking with you further!

Pain And Suffering Damages In A Personal Injury Case

Carpal Tunnel Lawyers

Carpal tunnel, or carpal tunnel syndrome, is a repetitive stress injury that can leave you too hurt to work or do the simple things you do every day.

What Are the Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Symptoms of carpal tunnel include:

  • Pain in your arm
  • Tingling sensations in parts of your hand
  • Loss of sensation in parts of your hand
  • Weakness in your hand, especially when you attempt to do your work or carry out tasks like holding objects
  • Thickening or swelling of your wrist

Who is at higher risk for carpal tunnel syndrome?

Certain professions may be at a higher risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome, including:

  • Assembly line workers
  • Receptionists
  • Journalists
  • Writers
  • Research assistants
  • Paralegals
  • Accountants
  • Teachers
  • Construction workers
  • Carpenters

What Are the Risks or Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Some activities may contribute to developing carpal tunnels syndrome, including:

  • Repeated motions that put a strain on your wrist
  • Repetitive typing or mouse use
  • Using power tools or devices that vibrate intensely

Carpal tunnel syndrome could be a result of:

  • Having diabetes, elevated blood pressure, arthritis, or some autoimmune disease
  • Having a condition that causes a buildup of fluid in your wrist
  • And injury to your wrist

If you’re feeling pain in your wrist, arm, hand or have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome by a doctor,  workers’ comp may cover carpal tunnel related costs.

Does workers’ comp cover carpal tunnel?

Most people think that you have to have a life-altering injury to get workers’ compensation benefits. But the reality is a large percentage of workers’ compensation claims are for injuries that develop gradually because of an activity that’s part of a person’s everyday job. One example is carpal tunnel syndrome, a type of repetitive stress injury that affects a wide variety of workers, including assembly line workers and anyone who uses a computer  daily.

Workers’ compensation benefits are designed to cover the medical bills, income loss, and future medical expenses that a worker incurs  because of an on-the-job injury. The key to any workers’ comp claim is establishing that the injury actually happened on the job. With some injuries, such as slips, trips and falls, it’s pretty obvious. But with repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, detailed information is required to prove that the injury stems from work.

That’s why it’s so important to talk to a workers’ comp lawyer. Without first-hand knowledge of workers’ comp laws, it’s too easy for injured workers to make the kind of mistakes that result in a denied claim. It never hurts to talk to a lawyer, even if you’re not sure that you have a case.

Why You Need a Lawyer if You Have Carpal Tunnel

Once you’re diagnosed with carpal tunnel due to a repetitive motion you perform at work, you only have 30 days to file a workers’ compensation claim, or you could lose your right to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Waiting to file your injury claim can cause your carpal tunnel injury to get worse. A workers’ comp attorney can answer questions like “does workers’ comp cover carpal tunnel,” help prevent you from getting fired because of your injury, help get your doctor bills paid, and help maximize the workers’ comp benefits you receive.

A lawyer can also help you connect with medical experts who can examine your symptoms, determine the extent of your injuries, and advise when and whether you are fit to return to work. This can be a critical part of your claim, since the vast majority of workers’ comp claims are denied due to insufficient evidence. By working with a lawyer, he or she can help ensure that you have all the proper documentation and expert support required to get the benefits you need.

 What Compensation is Available?

If you’ve experienced a repetitive motion work injury such as carpal tunnel, a workers’ compensation lawyer could help you get:

  • All the workers’ compensation benefits you’re entitled to
  • Monetary compensation to cover your doctor and medical bills
  • Payments for up to 104 weeks of temporary disability
  • Payments for up to 240 weeks of disability for severe injuries
  • Total disability benefits

A workers’ compensation lawyer will be your ally throughout the entire workers’ compensation process.

NOTE: Making a false or fraudulent workers’ compensation claim is a felony subject to up to 5 years in prison or a fine of up to $50,000 or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.

The Enforceability Of Liability Waivers In A Personal Injury Dispute

If you’ve been injured in an accident due to the fault of another, then the law may entitle you to damages as compensation. Every legal dispute is different, however. In some personal injury cases, there may be a liability waiver that — at least on the surface — seems to prevent you from suing the defendant and obtaining compensation for your losses.

For example, if you were injured while bungee jumping, the defendant is likely to point to the fact that you signed a liability waiver before you put on the equipment and jumped. This can lead to a lot of confusion for plaintiffs. Does the liability waiver actually apply to their case, or is it unenforceable?

The truth is that many liability waivers are unenforceable. Though businesses will often attempt to minimize their liability by forcing people to sign waivers, that does not necessarily mean that the waiver will be enforced. In fact, there are many exceptions to enforcement.

Let’s take a closer look at some liability waiver basics.

Liability Waiver Basics

Waivers allow businesses to contract around liability — in other words, to reduce their potential liability by adding on new, stricter limitations on injury liability. Worth noting: liability waivers are legal regardless of the applicable state jurisdiction.

What might a liability waiver look like?

Suppose that you’ve been injured in a recreational boating accident. The boating tour operator made all passengers sign a waiver, however, which states that they have given up the right to sue the business for related injuries. More specifically, the waiver states that the business is not responsible for any harm sustained on the boat or due to the boat.

How does this actually work in real-world scenarios?

Generally speaking, courts are uncomfortable with allowing businesses to redraw the bounds of liability to a significant degree. Courts do not want businesses to be able to circumvent their duty of care entirely. As such, they tend to be quite careful not to enforce overly broad liability waivers.

Exceptions To The Enforceability Of A Liability Waiver

A significant percentage of liability waivers are unenforceable, for a number of different reasons. States tend to impose different rules when it comes to liability waivers, but there are some general principles that remain true between states.

Liability waivers must be:

a) Sufficiently specific as to the harm that is covered by the waiver (i.e., limited in scope);

b) Not be coerced and must not be between parties with a significant difference in relative bargaining power; and

c) In accordance with public policy.

So, for example, a liability waiver that shields a boating operator from liability for all harm sustained due to the boat will likely be considered too broad. The waiver is not sufficiently specific or limited in scope, and this “over broadness” is most likely violative of public policy, too.

Now, it’s also worth noting that liability waivers can only cover simple negligence. Even an enforceable liability waiver cannot apply to reckless or intentional misconduct.

Though intentional misconduct is obvious (i.e., if a boating tour operator intentionally crashes your boat to cause you injuries), reckless behavior can be more difficult to understand. As a rule, reckless behavior is when a defendant acts in a way that they know has a substantial risk of causing harm to others, but they disregard this substantial risk and engage in that behavior anyway.

For example, a boating tour operator that does not stock enough life vests is likely engaging in reckless conduct, as they are aware that failing to stock enough life vests on-board is a substantial risk that could lead to injury/death for the passengers.

Contact A Personal Injury Lawyer In Our Network For A Free Consultation

If you’ve been harmed in an accident (in which you may be subject to a liability waiver), then it’s important that you consult a qualified personal injury lawyer for guidance on how best to proceed with the legal dispute.

Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, we operate a large network of attorneys who are standing by to provide skilled assistance. Call us today to get connected to an experienced personal injury attorney in just 10 minutes or less. Consultation is free and confidential, so there’s no downside to contacting us as soon as possible.

Our staff are available 24/7 in both English and Spanish. We look forward to speaking with you.

Liability Waivers In A Personal Injury Dispute

When and How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim

Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees after a work injury.

When a workers’ compensation claim is eligible, the employer or insurance carrier must pay the injured employee for time away from work and medical expenses related to the work injury.

Workers’ compensation laws are complex, and the filing process can be confusing. For this reason, workers’ compensation claims are often denied.

How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim

The most important thing you can do after getting injured at work is to tell your employer: supervisor, manager or HR Department right away. Typically you have 30 days after being injured to notify your employer or you run the risk of losing your right to file a workers’ compensation claim.

Ideally, you should do this prior to seeking medical treatment unless you have a medical emergency. You will need to be evaluated by a doctor approved by your employer’s insurance company if you want to file a workers’ compensation claim.

Your employer may refer you to a doctor who is part of its medical provider network. You will need to be evaluated by this doctor but workers’ compensation law allows you to be treated by your private doctor.

Workers’ compensation doctors have to answer to insurance companies and this could affect their level of care, this is important for you as an injured worker to consider.

Once you’ve been treated, you will need to provide the following to your employer:

  • A DWC-1 claim form
  • An Application for Adjudication of Claim
  • A Declaration Pursuant to Labor Code 4906(g)
  • A document cover sheet and document separator sheets

Your employer will provide this to the workers’ compensation insurance company to start the claims process.

While the time you have to file a claim is limited, the claims application process can be complicated. That’s why it’s important to make sure you gather all of your documentation and file everything correctly.

When to File a California Workers’ Compensation Claim

This is very important: If you are planning to file a workers’ compensation claim, you must file your DWC-1 form within 30 days of your injury. If this time has elapsed your claim may be denied for exceeding the “statute of limitations.”

If you miss the deadline, there are some circumstances in which you may be excused for missing he deadline. One of those reasons is that your employer did not properly advise you of your right to file a workers’ compensation claim.

Every case is different and for this reason it’s beneficial to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer.

What Workers’ Compensation Benefits Can I Receive?

As part of the workers’ compensation claim, you’re typically entitled to four types of workers’ compensation benefits:

  • Compensation for lost wages
  • Payment or reimbursement of medical expenses
  • Disability benefits
  • Rehabilitation

To learn more about your rights as an injured employee and discover what benefits you may be owed, call today for a free consultation with a workers’ compensation lawyer.

Disclaimer: This article provides a general overview of the workers’ compensation claim process.  It is not intended as specific legal advice for any particular case.

Understanding Vehicle Recalls and Car Safety

Reading news headlines, it can start to feel like vehicle safety recalls are being issued daily. While the number of car complaints and vehicles affected continues to grow, you might ask yourself if this means vehicle safety is declining?   

The truth is that it depends on the model, make, and year of manufacturer of the car you drive. Many recent automobile recalls have to do with older vehicles, and we’ve seen some historically massive recalls in recent times. One example is the Takata airbag recall, which is still growing.   

Headlines boast big numbers, but they don’t provide much detail. So, how dangerous is a recall anyway, and what should vehicle owners do after one is identified to keep their car safe?

What Are Vehicle Recalls?  

An auto recall is a way for manufacturers to warn you that something about your vehicle presents a potential for injury or property damage. After the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determines a safety risk exists, they issue a recall, and manufacturers are required to fix the problem.

Safety Defects

A safety defect is a problem that:   

  • poses a risk to vehicle safety   
  • exists in a group of vehicles of the same design or manufacture   

If a product is recalled, you should not have to pay for any repairs or replacements.

If your vehicle, car seat, or tire is under recall, a safety defect has been identified through the recall process.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Recalls Process  

In the U.S., the NHTSA sets safety standards that keep your car safe. Part of what the NHTSA does is require manufacturers to repair safety-related defects at no cost to vehicle owners and drivers.   

Costs associated with the parts and labor that go into getting defects repaired are significant for manufacturers and can lead to resistance to full-scale recalls. However, the NHTSA follows a recall process to ensure that safety-related defects are addressed. The process is as follows:

Car Complaints  

Sometimes, manufacturers discover hazards and start the recall process willingly. For other manufacturers, the NHTSA or the courts kick-start the recall process. The latter can come from consumer discovery. If you find a safety concern, there are three ways to report it to the NHTSA:   

  • Call the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Vehicle Safety Hotline: 877-421-5154 or 844-660-5805.   
  • Report the issue online here   
  • Send a letter addressed: S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Office of Defects Investigation (NVS-210) 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE Washington, DC 20590

ODI Investigation  

If there are enough reports about the same issues with the same make, model and year of the vehicle, the NHTSA may open an investigation. At this point, the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) will take charge of performing the car recall investigation. The investigation process is as follows:  

  • Screening: Review of consumer complaints to determine whether an investigation is necessary   
  • Petition Analysis: Review of petitions for defect investigations   
  • Investigations: Two-phase investigations into alleged safety defects   
  • Recall Management: Monitoring the effectiveness of safety recalls

NHTSA Issues a Car Recall   

The NHTSA is responsible for issuing safety defect recalls. Manufacturers can dispute claims and present new information, but the NHTSA has the final say.  

  • Once the recall is issued, the word is spread, and consumers are informed of the next step. Most often, consumers are asked to make an appointment with their dealership to service their vehicle.   

If you’re worried about recalls and aren’t sure whether your vehicle may be affected, you can subscribe to notifications.

Vehicle Recall Notifications: Is My Car Under Recall?  

You may wonder, “Is my car safe or under recall?” If it is recalled, you should receive a notification. Manufacturers must notify car owners of a recall decision within 60 days, and send a notification letter to registered owners within that time frame.

You can always sign up for email notifications for NHTSA recalls by visiting this link.   

Additionally, you can check the NHTSA recall database to see if your car is under recall. You can do this by searching your car’s 17-character vehicle identification number (VIN).   

You may be curious if recalls affect some manufacturers more than others, and the answer is that recall rates vary by make and model. 

Least And Most Vehicle Recalls   

Using data from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall database, a study was conducted to identify vehicles with the highest and lowest recall rates.     

Top 10 Highest Recall Rates   

  • Mercedes-Benz C-Class   
  • GMC Sierra   
  • BMW 3/4 Series   
  • Dodge Durango   
  • Nissan Pathfinder   
  • Ram Pickup   
  • Toyota 4Runner   
  • Dodge Charger   
  • Chrysler 300   
  • Chevrolet Tahoe   

Top 10 Least Recalled Cars   

  • Hyundai Accent   
  • Chevrolet Equinox   
  • Toyota Corolla   
  • Honda Civic   
  • Honda CR-V   
  • Honda Accord   
  • Subaru Crosstrek   
  • Toyota Camry   
  • Hyundai Elantra   
  • GMC Terrain   

We understand what prompts a recall, but what types of defects are considered “safety-related” and therefore monitored by the NHTSA?   

Common Defects Considered Safety-Related  

  • Steering mechanisms that break suddenly, causing loss of vehicle control   
  • Accelerator controls that break or stick   
  • Wheels that crack or break   
  • Seats that fail during normal use   
  • Airbags that deploy when they are not intended to deploy   
  • Car seats with defective safety belts, buckles, or parts that create a risk of injury

Common Defects Not Considered Safety-Related  

  • Ordinary wear of equipment is required to be checked, maintained and replaced regularly, like brake pads  
  • Excessive oil consumption  

Car Recall FAQs  

Who Is Responsible for Reporting a Safety Recall?  

Manufacturers are responsible for their vehicles and all original equipment installed on them. Meaning they have the responsibility to report defects to the NHTSA, notify owners and offer them a free fix to the problem.   

Equipment not originally installed by the vehicle manufacturer is the responsibility of the equipment manufacturer to notify, report, and recall.   

It’s essential to ensure your vehicle registration is up to date (including your mailing address) to get proper notification. 

Do I Have to Pay for Repairs to Keep My Car Safe?  

Manufacturers must cover the cost of safety defect fixes. If you pay for any costs associated with the recall, you are entitled to reimbursement, which may even include the costs you incurred before the recall announcement. Manufacturers must reimburse owners for expenses they footed up to one year before the notification of a defect. 

Can I Take Action for Injuries I May Have Suffered During Vehicle Recalls?  

Yes, your best course of action is to consult with a lawyer to explore your legal options and what compensation you may receive. 

Understanding vehicle recalls and what you need to know to keep your car safe. Photo is of a car engine, the hood is up and someone is holding a red towel and a mechanics tool above the engine, looking like they are working on it.

Most Common Workplace Injuries

Any workplace can be dangerous, even if you are just going into a standard office environment every day. While injuries may differ depending on industry and atmosphere of the job, there are several common workplace injuries that occur across the board. Employers and employees should recognize the warning signs and dangers associated with each injury in an effort to prevent or eliminate future threats.

Workplace injuries can have a host of negative consequences – for both employers and employees. Companies may face decreased work morale, reduced worker productivity, increased insurance rates, and workers’ comp claims. The sick or injured employee may have a difficult recovery, extended time off work, reduced income, and even social embarrassment due to their injury.

Employers must do their best to ensure a safe and productive work environment, while employees should always be extra vigilant and careful in performing daily tasks.

Avoid risks by being aware of these common causes of work injuries and illnesses.

Most Common Workplace Injuries and How to Avoid Them

Slips, Trips, and Falls

These incidents account for one-third of all personal injuries in the workplace and are the number one cause of workers’ compensation claims. Anyone who has experienced a slip, trip, or fall due to their workplace environment may have suffered a variety of ailments including head and back injuries, broken arms or legs, cuts, sprains, muscle injuries, etc.

In order to prevent these common injuries, clean up spills, wipe off oily surfaces, and get rid of rugs, mats, or flooring that does not have the right amount of traction. Improve lighting, reduce clutter, organize cables and plugs, and keep the workplace neat and clean. These simple tasks can go a long way in saving the company money and reducing accidents. Proper footwear should also be required, and employees should be reminded to take their time and pay attention to where they are going.

Injuries Caused by Machinery

Machinery that is not properly maintained, managed, or operated may cause debilitating injuries. Common occurrences include body parts getting caught in or struck by exposed moving parts, flying objects from machines, and improper usage. This may lead to crushed arms, severed fingers, blindness, or worse. Mechanical hazards typically happen at the point of operation (where the work is being performed) or due to components such as pulleys, malfunctioning belts, loose chains, and other moving parts.

To reduce the risk of injuries caused by machinery, safeguard the operational procedures that go along with each piece of equipment. Ensure proper operator training as well as protective clothing.

Transportation and Vehicle-Related Accidents

Employees that work in transportation or around vehicles are at risk of being struck or run over, falling from the vehicle, being hit by objects from the vehicle, and even getting stuck or worse under an overturned vehicle. Industrial, manufacturing, and agricultural companies are especially prone to this category of injuries.

Companies should determine who is at risk, where and when accidents are most likely to occur, and then create prevention measures that focus on workplace design, vehicle/work orientation, and rapid response drills for emergency situations.

Fires and Explosions

Faulty gas lines, bad pipe fitting, and improperly stored materials lead to unexpected fires or explosions. Injuries may include burns, possible disfigurement, and damage to the respiratory system. OSHA recommends following its hazard communication standards as a way to help workers avoid fires and explosion injuries.

Employees should also wear protective equipment and keep material safety data sheets for chemicals handy. A clear evacuation plan, and practicing these drills regularly, can go a long way in reducing injuries.

Overexertion and repetitive stress injuries

These injuries can sneak up on employees over time, causing musculoskeletal disorders, which are actually the most costly workplace injuries. Pulling, lifting, pushing, holding, carrying, and throwing may cause overexertion. These kinds of injuries mean loss of productivity for employers, and back pain alone accounts for about $7.4 billion annually.

Prevent stress related injuries by allowing frequent short breaks, resting, and stretching. In cases where items over 50 pounds need to be moved throughout the day, manual or mechanical lifting equipment should be provided to ease the burden on employees.

Fatigue

If your tasks push you beyond a reasonable limit to stay on top of your workload, you may be subject to physical and/or mental exhaustion. This may lead to impaired judgment, slower reflexes when operating machinery, and delayed response in emergency situations. 

Toppling objects

Furniture that is not secured properly, or objects that are in dangerous locations put workers at risk. Bookcases can fall from too much weight, desks can topple during earthquakes, or bumping into an object may cause many other items to fall.

Hazardous materials

Lack of warning around hazardous materials can cause sickness for employees who are not wearing the proper protective gear. Companies must make protective clothing, eye wear, and gloves mandatory for all employees who will be around chemicals or other toxic substances. Slip-ups may lead to burns, explosions, blindness, and other traumatic injuries.

Workplace violence

All employees and managers must stay alert when it comes to potentially violent situations at work. Do not let arguments between coworkers go unresolved – especially when it comes to sexual harassment or assault accusations.

Top 4 Types of Construction Accidents

If you work in construction, you understand that getting hurt goes with the territory. According to OSHA, four types of work accidents were responsible for the majority of construction-related deaths in 2011:

  • Falls
  • Electrocutions
  • Being struck by an object
  • Getting caught in between machinery

Construction accidents don’t always result in fatalities, however. There are also a high number of construction accidents that cause common workplace injuries.

How Common are Construction Accidents?

In California alone, nearly 4,000 people were injured in a construction accident and missed work because of their injuries in 2011. Most construction accidents occurred in three areas:

  • Construction of buildings
  • Heavy and civil engineering construction
  • Specialty trade contractors

Although injuries and construction work seem to go hand in hand, that doesn’t mean you’re powerless. Injured workers are protected by the law – but you have to exercise your rights in order to get the compensation you deserve.

Most construction companies have insurance to cover on-site injuries. Their insurance companies work with a network of medical practitioners that you may be instructed to see. The problem is insurance companies are interested in one thing: settling for the least amount of money as possible. Oftentimes that means you’ll get denied for the medical care you really need and offered far less financial compensation than you legally deserve.

Unlike insurance companies that want to settle for the least amount, a lawyer can help you get the most out of your injury claim. This is true even for 3rd party contract workers, who may be able to file a claim against the contractor, the contractee and the subcontractor.

What to do After a Construction Accident

  1. Report your injury to your employer or contractor.
  2. Get medical attention, whether or not you feel pain.
  3. Talk to a lawyer right away.

We know that a work accident can happen at any time. That’s why we’re here to help you 24/7, 365 days a year. Don’t guess whether you should hire an attorney or not. Call us for a free consultation with an attorney near you!

What NOT to Say After a Car Accident

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, then the law may give you a right of action to sue and recover damages to cover your losses. Oftentimes, however, injured plaintiffs don’t fully understand how their legal claims could be impacted by the statements they make following an accident.

Even basic, amicable conversation (whether with an insurance adjuster, the opposing attorney, or the driver who caused the accident) can lead to disclosures that undermine your claims and prevent you from securing the compensation you deserve.

Of course, you should be careful about the statements that you make, but first-time plaintiffs may not realize what sort of statements qualify as “risky.” As such, it’s important to get in touch with an experienced car accident lawyer who will take over your case and communicate on your behalf. This will prevent any potentially damaging disclosures. Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 to get connected to a lawyer today for free legal advice.

For now, however, let’s briefly explore some basic issues tied to verbal disclosures.

Disclosures Can Undermine Your Case

Disclosures can undermine your case in a number of different ways:

a) Disclosures that can be interpreted as an “admission of fault” can impact the allocation of fault and liability in the dispute; and
b) Disclosures that lead to an inconsistent interpretation of the facts (surrounding the accident) can weaken the proof of liability, or reduce the potential damages amount available to be claimed.

This may strike some readers as indecipherable “legalese,” so let’s explore a simple example for clarity.

Example

Suppose that you are injured in a car accident. Before you head to the hospital for diagnostic work and treatment for your injuries, you’re able to spend some time at the scene of the accident, speaking with the driver who caused the accident by rear-ending you. In your conversation with them, you apologize for having stepped on the brakes too suddenly, as you thought you saw something on the road — this may have contributed to the rear-end accident itself.

Though it may seem like an unproblematic apology, the truth is that your statements could be used in court to undermine your claims. After all, if you’re arguing that the defendant was liable for your injuries, then they could challenge that by arguing that you actually caused the accident by breaking suddenly, and at an inappropriate time.

Accidents are complicated. Instead of evaluating the accident yourself and speaking about it with others, it’s best to remain quiet about what you “think” happened and consult an attorney first.

Some Evidence Is Inadmissible In Court

If you did happen to accidentally make some statements at the scene of the accident, it’s worth noting that some of them will not be allowed into evidence. This will be significantly to your benefit.

Generally speaking, “hearsay” statements are inadmissible in court. Hearsay statements are those introduced to prove the matter at-hand.

So, for example, if the defendant is trying to prove that you were distracted from the road at the time of the accident and is trying to introduce evidence that you said you were in a heated conversation with your passenger (when they talked to you at the scene of the accident), then that could potentially be inadmissible. It likely qualifies as hearsay — a statement that is only meant to prove the fact.

However, it’s worth noting that there are a number of exceptions to the hearsay rule. Examples include:

A) If the statement was an “excited utterance” that you spontaneously made at the spur of the moment, that can be admitted into evidence;
B) If the statement was clearly against your own interest (i.e., a statement about how you were speeding);
C) If the statement was one that reflected a “present sense impression” of the situation at-hand;
D) And more.

Hearsay and its exceptions can be quite complex and challenging to argue. As such, we encourage you to get in touch with an experienced attorney who understands how to navigate the evidentiary record and ensure that problematic statements are not admitted into evidence.

For A Free Consultation, Contact An Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Near You.

If you’ve been in a car accident, then there are a number of people (and entities) that you’ll be interacting with as you explore your recovery options. These interactions could lead to disclosures that undermine your damages claims, and prevent you from securing the maximum possible compensation. As such, it’s critical that you work with an attorney at an early stage in your case.

Your attorney will act as a “middleman,” ensuring that you can avoid the frustration and hassle of these legal interactions, while also avoiding potentially damaging disclosures.

Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, our staff is standing by and ready to accept your calls. Contact us to get connected to an experienced car accident lawyer near you.

Get free legal advice now!

How to Write a Victim Impact Statement for a Car Accident

When you’re the victim of a car accident, it can have a devastating impact on your life. People experience painful injuries, lifelong physical injuries, trauma, PTSD, anxiety, stress, and more. Additionally, a victim could have lost a friend or loved one who was in the accident with them.

If you’re the victim of a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you may want to pursue a lawsuit against the other party. One factor that can significantly impact your case is a victim impact statement. Keep reading for a full overview of what a victim impact statement for a car accident is, how to write one, some popular tips, and an example statement.

What is a Victim Impact Statement?

A victim impact statement is a personally written account of how the car accident affected you. Many times, a serious car accident can have long-standing consequences. It’s an opportunity for a victim to explain the full extent the car accident may have had. For example, a police report may mention that the victim had a broken leg. But, what might not be mentioned is the other consequences, like:

  • Time off of work
  • Hospital bills
  • Cost and time of physiotherapy appointments
  • Canceled vacations or plans
  • Stress, anxiety, or depression when it comes to driving
  • The impact of the injuries and accident on friends and family

Your victim statement is a comprehensive overview of how the individual’s life has changed due to the car accident.

How to Write a Victim Impact Statement

A victim impact statement for a car accident doesn’t need to focus on the details of the accident itself. You shouldn’t feel that this is the time to explain what happened and who is at fault. That will be covered in the legal proceedings. Instead, the victim impact statement should discuss the physical, mental, emotional, and financial impacts you’ve experienced.

Wrapping up the whole experience in a statement can feel overwhelming. Here are some tips to walk you through the process:

  • Start with the emotional impact. You can discuss how you felt that day and how you feel now. You were probably scared and shocked on the day and might still feel anger and fear today. Describe these emotions in as much detail as you can so the jury can understand just how emotionally traumatizing the car accident was.
  • After covering the emotions, you can transition into your physical injuries and disabilities. You’ll want to cover how much these injuries hurt, how long and challenging recovery has been, if recovery made you take time off work, time lost with family, friends, hobbies, and other consequences. You may want to wrap this up in a personal story. Some common examples are having to cancel a booked and paid vacation because you were recovering. Or, having to become a burden and reliant on your family members during recovery, which impacted them as much as you. You need to go over these details, so the jury understands the full consequences of your injuries.
  • Lastly, you’ll want to emphasize the financial consequences. You can cover how much this accident cost you in terms of healthcare and recovery costs, wages lost at work, and more. This will help the jury decide the amount of compensation you and your family may deserve.

Do’s & Don’ts Of Writing A Victim Impact Statement for a Car Accident

While writing your victim statement, try to keep these common do’s and dont’s in mind:

  • Do: Write in “I feel” and “I believe” statements rather than definitive “The defendant did…” statements. You should only include what you believe to be true, as the defendant can question the legitimacy of your statements.
  • Don’t: Use this as an opportunity to go over the details of the accident and lay blame on the defendant.
  • Do: Express your emotions clearly, add details, and paint a picture of what you’ve been through.
  • Don’t: Mention the type of punishment you think or want the defendant to receive.
  • Do: Have someone review your statement for proper spelling and grammar.
  • Don’t: Swear in your statement; it can cause the jury to see you in a negative light.
  • Do: Staple and include related paperwork that can help verify your statements, such as receipts.

Example of A Victim Impact Statement

Your Honor,

On August 25, 2021, at the intersection of Fir Street and 96th Avenue in San Diego, California, I was in a car accident with Mr. Smith. The accident happened at approximately 2:00 in the afternoon. My car was totaled as a result of the accident and I walked away with a broken arm.

That day, I had left work for a brief period to go to a routine doctor’s appointment. It was easily the most shocking and traumatizing experience of my life having a car ram into the side of my driver’s door. I couldn’t get out of the car and I sat there shocked with my arm pinned under the wheel. The paramedics arrived on the scene and were able to pull me out. I remember screaming in pain like I have never screamed before. I was taken to the hospital and informed I had broken my arm.

It took nine weeks for me to fix my broken arm. I had to cancel a vacation I had booked for Mexico. I also had to move into my parent’s home, so my mom could take care of me. I became a burden to those I love most, needing help eating, changing my clothes, showering, and more. I couldn’t even go to the grocery store and take my debit card out of my wallet to pay for my groceries. I needed someone to come with me everywhere I went. I felt helpless, useless, and an annoyance to everyone.

During my recovery, I had to take a leave of absence from work, losing nine weeks of wages. The hospital bills alone were tremendous, but I have also been in six months of physiotherapy. Not only are those appointments expensive, but they take up my time every week.

Today, I still don’t have full use of my arm. There’s a dull pain that shoots down my arm constantly. More importantly, I haven’t driven a car since the accident. I still have trouble getting into a car. I experience flashbacks and sometimes have panic attacks.

This accident has shattered me in every single way – financially, mentally, physically, and emotionally. I don’t know when I will be the same again, but it’s quite possible I’ve been changed forever. I ask the court to consider the full impact this accident has had on my life when deciding on a settlement. The jury needs to understand that I am not who I used to be and it’s been hard to reconcile that for myself, my family, and my friends.

Thank you for listening to me today.

Why Write A Victim Impact Statement?

The point of the victim impact statement is for the individual to present a more complete picture of how the car accident changed their lives, either for the short-term or the long-term. The added benefit is that writing and reading out a victim statement can feel very therapeutic. It allows the victim to feel heard and tell their side of the story to the person who caused the accident or to the court.

Lastly, a victim impact statement adds a personal touch to your lawsuit. It’s an opportunity to speak to the jury, so you can get the compensation you deserve.

Contact Us For Car Accident Legal Representation

If you’ve been in a car accident, consider getting legal representation so you and your family can get the maximum compensation for your injuries. Our experienced car accident lawyers have helped thousands of injured drivers get their rightful compensation. We’ll help you in every step of the process, including your victim impact statement for your car accident. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Writing Victim Impact Statement

Can I Sue My Employer for an On-the-Job Injury?

If you’ve suffered an on-the-job injury, then you may be entitled to significant damages, either as part of a workers’ compensation benefits package, or through a lawsuit against your employer (and other liable parties).

It’s critical that you consult with a qualified workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible after your injury. They will work with you to ensure that you submit your claims in a timely manner, and that an effective case strategy is developed.

Unfortunately, many first-time plaintiffs do not understand the limitations and restrictions surrounding an on-the-job injury. With the aim of clarifying some of these complexities, let’s explore some basics.

Workers’ Compensation And The Employer Liability Shield

Injured employees — regardless of whether the employer was actually “at-fault” for causing the injuries — are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

Workers’ compensation is a broadly applicable protection that works for both employees and employers. These benefits cover lost wages and medical expenses linked to the injuries suffered on-the-job.

Importantly, you have to show that you were actually injured in “the course and scope” of your employment. If you were on a lunch break at a restaurant when you slipped and fell and injured yourself, for example, then you wouldn’t have a workers’ compensation claim.

While workers’ compensation benefits provide broad coverage, they are also useful to employers because they protect them from additional lawsuits linked to the injuries their employees suffered — even if the employer was negligent and therefore caused the injury themselves.

Specifically, workers’ compensation laws prohibit lawsuits against the employer except in limited circumstances.

This isn’t always a “big problem” for injured employees, as they might find it more convenient to simply receive workers’ compensation benefits instead of suing their employer in an extended lawsuit. However, in situations where an employee has suffered serious injuries on-the-job, there may be damages that aren’t fully accounted for by workers’ compensation benefits: pain and suffering, emotional distress, and more.

These damages can add up! As such, if you’ve suffered a severe injury on-the-job, it’s sensible to consider your strategic options for suing your employer directly (over just receiving workers’ compensation benefits).

Exemptions To The Liability Shield

You can sue your employer directly in a number of scenarios. Two common exemption scenarios include:

1) You were not actually an employee; and
2) The employer intentionally or recklessly caused injury.

Consider #1.

Suppose that you are an independent contractor for a business. You work as a freelancer, doing regular projects for them — but they are not your only client. If you’re injured while working on-the-job for that business client, then you would not be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits at all. As such, you’re also not subject to the restriction preventing you from suing them. You are well within your rights to bring a claim against them and recover damages through a lawsuit.

Consider #2.

Suppose that your employer acted beyond basic negligence — they were reckless (or even intentionally malicious) in causing your injuries. Perhaps they chose not to provide safety equipment to employees just to save some money, even though they knew the equipment would be necessary to prevent injury. That would be considered reckless misconduct, and would give you the right to sue and recover damages through a lawsuit.

Contact A Workers’ Compensation Attorney For A Free Consultation

If you’ve been injured on-the-job, then you may be entitled to either workers’ compensation benefits or — in some cases — damages through a lawsuit against your employer. Litigating a case against your employer can be a unique challenge, however, as you’ll have to show that workers’ compensation restrictions don’t apply.

Our attorneys are standing by to provide assistance.

Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, we operate a large network of attorneys, some of who are experienced in handling on-the-job injuries. We encourage you to contact us as soon as possible — our agents will connect you to a qualified workers’ compensation attorney in just 10 minutes or less.

Consultation is free and confidential, so don’t delay. There’s no downside to calling in and speaking to an attorney in our network.

We look forward to helping you.

Can I Sue My Employer

5 Questions To Ask A Personal Injury Lawyer During Consultation

If you’ve been injured in an accident that was caused by the fault of another, then you may be entitled by law to sue and recover damages.

As you explore your legal options, however, there are a number of issues that you’ll want to have clarified by your attorney. Let’s explore some basic questions that you should ask a personal injury lawyer that you’re considering working with.

1) Are there any potential conflicts of interest?

In personal injury litigation, there are potential conflicts-of-interest that could prevent an attorney from being able to effectively advocate on your behalf. It’s important that you discuss this possibility with prospective attorneys.

For example, there are attorneys who represent plaintiffs and defendants in litigation. This can lead to a potential conflict-of-interest, as the attorney might have represented the defendant in your case before (or they might be interested in taking on that client later). They might not be incentivized to advocate aggressively on your behalf if they believe that there is more money to be made by “playing nice.” As such, you’ll want to assess this before you agree to be represented by the attorney.

2) What are the possible consequences and outcomes?

Perhaps the most obvious initial question you’ll have for an attorney is what you can expect to happen in your case.

Though most litigation is quite complex, and there’s no “certain” answer, an attorney will have an idea of what you can expect under ideal and non-ideal circumstances, from damages to likelihood of proving the defendant’s liability (given the case evidence that they’ve been made aware of).

Understanding what could happen in your case can help you decide whether and how to proceed.

3) What legal strategies are we considering if we move forward?

Though the initial attorney consultation is not necessarily going to lead to a set-in-stone case strategy, your attorney will likely have an idea of what potential legal strategies you can pursue (and are likely to pursue) going forward.

Ask your attorney about the strategic approach. This will give you a clearer understanding of your case and will empower you to request a different approach should you feel uncomfortable with the current one.

4) What will you need from me (i.e., documentation, behavior, etc.) as we litigate the case?

Plaintiffs are a fundamental part of personal injury litigation. As the plaintiff, you aren’t meant to take a backseat.

While your attorney will handle most communications and will take steps to gather evidence and develop your case, they may need you to provide additional information on the case. They will also want to consult you as to what your concerns are and what your goals are throughout the process.

Generally speaking, involved plaintiffs are a positive. Attorneys who more actively engage with plaintiffs are better equipped to effectively litigate the case.

5) Could you highlight next steps, and how long you expect the case to take?

Attorneys cannot necessarily predict how long a case is going to take due to complexities in the legal proceedings, including procedural disputes. But they’ll be able to give a rough estimate for how long the case “should” take. This can be valuable, as litigating a case can be demanding mentally. It’s important to know how long you can expect the fight to last.

You’ll also want to be fully aware of the next steps that your attorney is planning on taking the case. A skilled personal injury attorney should have a “plan of action” in place and should be able to highlight specific steps that they want to take to secure a positive outcome for you.

Contact An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer In Our Network For A Free Consultation

Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, we operate a network of experienced attorneys who are standing by ready to assist you.

Call us today to connect to a skilled personal injury lawyer in just 10 minutes or less. Consultation is free and confidential, so there’s no downside to getting in touch to schedule an initial consultation with one of our in-network attorneys!

Our staff are available 24/7, in English and Spanish. We look forward to speaking with you further.

Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer

Suing for Damages In A Slip and Fall Injury Case

If you’ve been injured due to a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property, then you may have a right to sue and be compensated for your losses. Unfortunately, slip and fall disputes are rather common in the personal injury context. Many property owners simply do not do enough to maintain a safe premises — this can expose visitors to an unreasonable risk of harm.

Slip and fall disputes can be difficult to understand for first-time plaintiffs, as there are many challenges that are particular to such cases. For plaintiffs, having clarity as to the dispute (and its various issues) is an important initial step when exploring the litigation process.

Let’s explore some basics.

Premises Liability Basics

Slip and fall disputes fall under the umbrella of premises liability claims (i.e., claims linked to personal injury caused by a hazard on someone else’s property).

To successfully recover in a slip and fall dispute, you’ll have to show that:

  • There was a dangerous condition of property (i.e., a hazard);
  • The property owner (or whoever is in control of the property) knew or should have known that there was a hazard;
  • The hazard was not corrected, either through fixing the hazard or creating a signage to warn visitors of the hazard; and
  • You were injured as a result.

Cleanup “Timeliness” In Slip and Fall Disputes

Defendants can only be held liable in a slip and fall case if they knew or should have known that the dangerous hazard existed. However, a defendant cannot simply be ignorant as to the presence of hazards by failing to conduct regular inspections. They are required to conduct inspections with some regularity.

Whether the defendant “knew or should have known” is a difficult question, but ultimately turns on the timeliness of their response to the hazard.

This can be a bit difficult to understand, so let’s consider a brief example.

Suppose that you’re injured in a slip and fall accident at a retail supermarket. You slipped on a puddle of spilled liquid in one of the supermarket aisles. Your attorney investigates the case further and finds that the puddle had been sitting for well over an hour when you slipped and fell, injuring yourself.

Under these circumstances, a court is likely to find that the defendant was negligent, as they should have discovered the hazard by conducting a routine floor inspection. Had the defendant conducted the floor inspection on an hourly basis, they would have discovered the hazard in time (and therefore been able to correct it).

In determining whether the defendant “waited too long” to inspect and correct the hazard, the court will look to the standards typical of the defendant’s industry. In a bar, for example, the standard for floor inspections is likely to be higher (i.e., more frequent floor inspections, perhaps once every 30 minutes) compared to, say, a clothing store.

Was The Slip and Fall Hazard Obvious?

In most jurisdictions, you — the plaintiff — cannot successfully recover damages in a slip and fall injury case where the slip and fall hazard was “obvious” to the plaintiff.

In other words, in situations where the plaintiff could have been expected to avoid the hazard, they cannot sue and recover damages. Blame for the slip and fall injury is thus entirely put on the plaintiff.

There’s no clear, one-size-fits-all standard for whether a slip and fall hazard was obvious or not. Instead, the issue is based on the unique facts of the case. The court will evaluate the facts and determine whether — under the same circumstances — the slip and fall hazard would have been obvious to a reasonable person.

For example, suppose that you are injured in a slip and fall case outside a retail store. One of the entryways into the store was blocked by a pile of scrap material. You cannot physically “miss” the visual of the hazard. Thus, the court is likely to consider it obvious, and if you were to slip and fall and injure yourself due to the scrap material, you would not be entitled to damages.

Contact An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer In Our Network For A Free Consultation

Have you been harmed in a slip and fall injury on someone else’s property?

If so, you may be entitled to sue for damages under the law — but litigating a slip and fall case isn’t necessarily simple. You’ll want to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer for guidance on how best to proceed with your case.

Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, our team is standing by to connect you to a personal injury lawyer in our network who can handle your case. We are available 24/7, and our in-network attorney consultations are free and confidential, so don’t delay! There’s no downside to calling in for an initial consultation today.

We look forward to speaking with you.

Suing for Damages in a Slip and Fall Injury Case

Car Accident In A Borrowed Car – Who Is Responsible?

Car accidents disputes are common in the personal injury context — but they are not always straightforward. The unique circumstances of each case may change the way in which the case has to be litigated.

Consider accidents involving a borrowed car. If the defendant-driver was using a borrowed car at the time of the accident, then you, the injured plaintiff, may have some alternative options for suing and recovering damages. This can actually be an advantage.

Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, we encourage you to get in touch with a qualified car accident attorney as soon as possible. Call us today to get connected to an attorney within just 10 minutes or less. Consultation is free, so we encourage you to get in touch as soon as possible!

Suing The Driver

As the plaintiff, you may be entitled to sue and hold liable the driver whose negligence (or intentional misconduct) caused the accident. This is likely the primary defendant in your car accident dispute — even if they borrowed the vehicle from someone else. For the purpose of suing the driver for their misconduct, it is irrelevant whether they borrowed the vehicle from someone else.

Suing The Vehicle Owner

Now, in some cases, the car that the defendant-driver is using is owned by a different person, who either did or didn’t give them permission to use the vehicle. Depending on the circumstances, you may have a right to sue the vehicle owner — they could be at least partially at-fault for your injuries.

For example, suppose that you are injured in a car accident. You discover that the driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident. You investigate the case further and discover that the driver was an alcoholic, and that the vehicle owner knew that the driver was an alcoholic. Despite that, the vehicle owner let the driver borrow their car. These facts would give rise to an actionable claim against both the driver and the vehicle owner.

This is known as negligent entrustment.

Negligent entrustment is a legal principle in which a vehicle owner can be held liable if they lend their vehicle to someone who they know — or should know — is unqualified to operate the vehicle, or is unreasonably likely to cause an accident. This may include intoxication, or a driver who does not currently have a valid license. It may even include lending to a driver who has a long track record of car accidents.

Aside from negligent entrustment, there may be other ways in which you can impose liability on a vehicle owner: negligent maintenance of the vehicle, for example. If a vehicle owner has failed to properly maintain their vehicle, and it is in a state of disrepair, then they could be held liable for an accident caused due to a vehicular malfunction on the roadways — even if the accident occurs while the car is being operated by someone else.

Suing the vehicle owner can provide a significant advantage in situations where the driver does not have substantial insurance coverage. If the vehicle owner has a greater amount of insurance coverage, then you can secure damages from them (to help cover your losses to some degree).

Other Liability Issues

What happens if the vehicle owner’s car was stolen, or used without permission? You may have limited options to sue them. If the vehicle owner did not actually give the driver permission to use their car, then they cannot be held liable for the incompetence or misconduct of the driver.

In those situations — if the driver has minimal insurance coverage — you may want to explore alternative legal strategies. The vehicle itself may have some defect that contributed to the accident, for example, allowing you to bring a claim against the manufacturer. Alternatively, there may have been other drivers involved in the accident (i.e., a multi-car pileup). These may present litigation opportunities.

Given the complexity of a car accident dispute, and how it may dynamically take different shapes over time, it’s important to consult with an experienced car accident attorney for guidance on how to proceed.

Contact A Car Accident Lawyer For A Free Consultation

If you’ve been injured in a car accident — whether or not the driver was borrowing someone else’s vehicle — then you may be entitled to damages under the law. These claims can lead to significant payouts, but may be complicated by various factors.

We’re here to help you secure the compensation you deserve.

At 1-800-THE-LAW2, we maintain a network of experienced car accident lawyers who are standing by to provide a free consultation. Our agents will connect you to an attorney who will guide you through the litigation process after evaluating your case.

Don’t delay. Call 1-800-THE-LAW2 to get connected today.

Car Accident In A Borrowed Car – Who Is Responsible

Choosing The Right Attorney To Handle Your Personal Injury Case

If you’ve been injured in an accident, then you may have a right to sue and recover damages as compensation — but searching for and selecting the right attorney to handle the case can cause additional anxiety and confusion.

In personal injury litigation, who you choose to represent you can make a significant difference in the outcome of the case. After all, your personal injury attorney is the one who will negotiate with opposing counsel and with insurers to secure the best possible outcome.

Personal injury attorneys work on contingency — they only get paid if they successfully obtain compensation on your behalf. As such, skilled attorneys understand how to not only get you a win, but how to maximize the damages so that you (and they) get a bigger reward for all the hard work.

But how should you choose? Let’s take a closer look.

What To Look For When Hiring An Attorney

Here’s some advice for hiring a lawyer in a personal injury dispute:

  • Choose an experienced attorney who is familiar with how the system works, knows where to look for weaknesses, and can investigate the claim effectively. Putting your claim in the hands of an inexperienced attorney may be a headache in the long run.
  • Choose a lawyer who specializes in personal injury law. This practice area is extremely specific when it comes to rules, regulations, statute of limitations, etc. The majority of personal injury lawsuits are settled before trial, and a lawyer who is skilled in negotiations will know how to deal with lowball offers. Do not risk quality representation by putting your case in the hands of an attorney who has limited personal injury knowledge.
  • Your attorney’s reputation is important in resolving your case because insurance companies and opposing attorneys who have had previous dealings with him or her are more likely to offer a fair settlement within a reasonable timeframe.
  • Select someone who has trial experience – they will not be afraid to turn down bad settlements just because they don’t want to go to court. Many attorneys can get comfortable staying out of the courtroom and this has negative consequences for their clients who may not end up with the strongest deals.
  • Opt for an attorney who is willing to devote resources into your case, especially if you have a serious personal injury claim. Prepping for cases can be expensive because of the need to hire experts to testify on your behalf, as well as investigators who follow every lead that can prove your claim.
  • Be wary of attorneys that will not allow you to talk with past clients – this may be an indication that they have not gotten satisfactory results in a number of cases.
  • Hire a personal injury attorney who has a strong record in winning cases – both in and out of the courtroom. Ask for specific numbers because you want to work with someone you can trust will fight hard for your best interests.

It’s worth taking the time to talk to your attorney and truly get to know them and their approach to handling a case — make sure to evaluate their communication style, attitude, and success rate. That way, you’ll be sure that you’ve found the right attorney to handle your case.

Call Us To Connect To The Right Attorney Near You

Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, we operate a legal network of hundreds of experienced attorneys who are standing by for you to call in and talk about your case. Our attorneys fight relentlessly to secure compensation on their clients’ behalf.

We strive to make the process of selecting an attorney easier. Normally, after an accident, it’s incredibly difficult — and confusing — to search for an attorney. You may not have the mental bandwidth to make such a decision. There’s a lot to consider, after all, and there are countless firms out there listed on the internet and in the phone book.

Instead of calling up all of those firms and making a decision after evaluating each one, contact our team here at 1-800-THE-LAW2.

We make the process quick and easy. Call in, and we’ll ask you a few questions about your case. Within just 10 minutes, you’ll be connected to a qualified attorney who is more than capable of handling cases like yours.

Ready for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney? Call 1-800-THE-LAW2 today.

Choosing the Right Attorney to Handle Your Personal Injury Case

What are the California Statutes of Limitations?

A statute of limitations is the amount of time you have to file a claim. If you file a claim after the statute of limitations has expired, your claim could be subject to denial. Every case is different and similarly the statute of limitations for every claim may vary depending on the circumstances. This is why it’s important to speak to a lawyer right away. You don’t want to risk the statute of limitations expiring and losing your right to a claim.

In California, and elsewhere, the “statute of limitations” operates as something of a deadline for each of your claims. The statute of limitations period gives you a set amount of time by which you have to file the applicable claim. If you wait too long and file after the statute of limitations period has expired, then your claim can (and likely will) be dismissed by the court.

Every case is different, and as such, the statute of limitations for every case is likely to vary depending on the circumstances. The dynamic nature of litigation can be quite confusing for those who are unfamiliar with the practice of law. Thus, it’s important to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible — you don’t want to risk having the statute of limitations expire, as you’d lose your right to secure damages in a court of law.

Now, when it comes to the statutes of limitations, each state has its own set of rules. It’s therefore critical to understand the basics, and to keep these limitations top-of-mind as you move forward with filing a claim.

Some of the more commonly-encountered California statutes of limitations, as noted by the Judicial Branch of California, include:

Common California Statutes of Limitations

When it comes to statutes of limitations, each state has their own specification. It is important to understand and keep these limitations in mind if you are considering filing a claim. A few of the common California statutes of limitations, as stated by the Judicial Branch of California, include:

Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

The personal injury statute of limitations in California begins to run 2 years from the date of injury. If the injury was not discovered right away, however, then the statute of limitations period begins to run 1 year from the date that the injury was discovered.

Property Damage Statute of Limitations

The property damage statute of limitations in California begins to run 3 years from the date that the property damage occurred.

Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations

The medical malpractice statute of limitations begins to run 1 year from the date that you discovered the injury, or 3 years from the actual date of the injury (whichever is the earlier date between the two).

Workers’ Compensation Statute of Limitations

In the workers’ compensation context, you — the injured employee — must notify your employer within 30 days of being injured to file a claim. Failure to do so could result in the loss of significant workers’ compensation benefits.

Sexual Harassment Statute of Limitations

In California, those who have been sexually harassed must file a charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within just 6 months of the date of sexual harassment at-issue.

Breach of Contract Statute of Limitations

In California, you have 4 years to file your breach of contract claim (from the date that the contract was broken) if the contract was in writing. If the contract was oral, then you only have 2 years from the date that the contract was broken.

Government Claims

According to the Judicial Branch of California, you must first file an administrative claim with the particular branch of the government that you are taking action against before you can sue in a court of law.

With respect to filing that initial administrative claim, you’ll be subject to a 6-month statute of limitations period. Specifically, you’ll have to file within 6 months (of the date of the inciting incident) for personal injury and property damage claims, and within 1 year for breach of contract and real property damage claims.

The Discovery Rule

California law establishes a number of exceptions allowing plaintiffs extra time to file their claims for the statute of limitations deadline. Perhaps the most important exception is known as the “Discovery Rule.”

The discovery rule carves out an exception whereby the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the date that the plaintiff discovers (or should discover) that they were actually injured and therefore entitled to bring legal action.

How does this work?

Suppose that you are involved in a low-speed car accident. You walk away thinking that you haven’t been injured, and in fact, early diagnostic tests by your doctor show that you didn’t suffer any serious injuries. Four years later, however, a CT scan reveals that you are suffering from spinal degeneration caused by the accident.

Now, California’s default personal injury deadline is 2 years from the date of the injury. If you attempted to file your claims four years later, it would — normally — fail, and the court would dismiss the claims. However, given the circumstances, you could take advantage of the discovery rule.

The court would give you a year to file the claims (starting from the date that you discovered the injury). Thus, you could file 4 years, or even 7 years after your injuries, and still have an actionable, legitimate claim.

Contact An Attorney For A Free Consultation

Regardless of the type of claim you are looking to file, you should speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.

Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, the California-based attorneys in our network can help you move forward with your claims while ensuring that you do so in a timely manner, without violating the statutes of limitations in California. Our skilled lawyers can let you know if you have a potential case over the phone.

Call us today to connect to an attorney in your area within just 10 minutes or less. Consultation is free and confidential, so don’t delay, as you could be putting your case at-risk of dismissal by waiting too long to file!

Our staff is available to help 24/7 in both English and Spanish. We look forward to speaking with you further.

SOURCES:

  1. American Association of University Women. Know Your Rights: Workplace Sexual Harassment. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
  2. The Judicial Branch of California. Statute of Limitations. Retrieved February 24, 2015.

Workers’ Compensation Laws

One of the most important workers compensation laws is the deadline for notifying your employer of your injury. You must report your work injury to your employer within 30 days of your work accident, or becoming aware of your work injury.

Failure to notify your employer by the deadline may result in you losing the right to file a claim. Like all laws, the workers compensation laws must be followed.

Workers’ Compensation Laws Entitle You to Benefits

After you get hurt at work, a California workers’ compensation lawyer could help you obtain:

  • All the workman’s compensation benefits you’re entitled to, up to $4,400 a month
  • Monetary compensation to cover your doctor and medical bills
  • Payments for up to 104 weeks of temporary disability
  • Payments for up to 240 weeks of disability for severe injuries
  • Total disability benefits

Reasons for workman’s compensation claims because of a work accident may include:

  • Physical injuries
  • Repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel
  • Diseases contracted as a result of exposure to a toxin at work
  • Temporary and/or permanent disability
  • Vocational rehabilitation

Take Action Now to Protect Your Job

Remember, if you don’t report your work injury to your employer in less than 30 days from your work accident, or becoming aware of your work injury, you could make your situation worse. You may lose your right to file a workers’ compensation claim and your injury could worsen if you don’t seek medical help. Plus, it could potentially cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills, disability payments and lost wages.

You’ve already been hurt at work. Don’t let an employer make your life even harder by firing you because of your injuries. Protect your job and your family.

Put all the workers compensation laws to work for you. Call now to get a free consultation with a workers’ compensation attorney. The workers compensation laws are here to protect you.

Disclaimer: Making a false or fraudulent workers’ compensation claim is a felony subject to up to 5 years in prison or a fine of up to $50,000 or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.

12 Workers Comp Claim Facts Everyone Should Know

Every year, millions of people get injured at work. By law employers are required to purchase workers comp insurance to cover their employee’s injuries. Under workers comp employees injured in the workplace may be eligible for benefits. In order to obtain these benefits they must report the injury to their employer and file a workers comp claim.

If you get hurt at work, the following are 12 workers comp claim facts everyone should know:

  1. If you are injured at work, you could be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. There are five types of workers comp claim benefits: medical care, temporary disability, permanent disability, supplement job displacement and death benefits.
  2. You must file a workers comp claim within 30 days of a work injury, or you could lose your right to receive workers’ comp benefits.
  3. A claims administrator is required to authorize up to $10,000 in medical treatment one day after you file a workers comp claim with your employer.
  4. If you disagree with the diagnosis and treatment plan prescribed by the Medical Provider Network (MPN) doctor, you can get a 2nd and 3rd opinion from a different MPN doctor.
  5. An impairment rating is a percentage estimate of how much normal use of your injured body parts you’ve lost. It is based on guidelines published by the American Medical Association.
  6. Temporary disability pays up to two-thirds of your gross (pre-tax) wages, with a maximum amount of $1010.50 per week.
  7. For an injury sustained after January 1, 2008, you could receive temporary disability benefits for a maximum of 104 weeks within a five-year period.
  8. Permanent disability benefits vary, and are based on a disability rating, date of injury and your wages.
  9. Permanent disability benefits are paid after temporary disability ends and after your doctor determines that the injury has had a permanent effect on your ability to work.
  10. There are two types of permanent disability settlements: a compromise (a lump sum payment with no further payments for medical care) and a stipulation (payments made over time, including payment for future medical treatment).
  11. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against you because you have filed for workers’ compensation benefits.
  12. An attorney can be a tremendous help in ensuring that you get the maximum benefits allowed for your type of work injury.

Free Workers Comp Claim Consultation

If you suffered an injury at work you have rights.

Don’t be afraid to take action, it is against the law for your employer to retaliate. Filing a workers comp claim is similar to filing an insurance claim and isn’t a lawsuit against your employer. Think of it more as a request for benefits.

Make sure you file your claim as soon as possible. The time you have to file a claim after your injury is limited and filing late could affect the benefits you are eligible for.

Our workers’ comp attorneys can help ensure that your claim is filed correctly and on time. Having a lawyer on your side greatly increases your chances of receiving maximum benefits from your workers comp claim. Call today for a free consultation.

Workers’ Compensation Stories – Real Settlements

If you were hurt at work, it’s easy to think that you can handle the claim on your own. But the workers’ compensation claims process is difficult to navigate and you will be up against a large company that has their own lawyers and own interests in mind. You need a lawyer who can fight for a fair workers’ compensation settlement to help cover your medical costs and lost wages.

We talk to injured workers every day. Many of them were left with no income and a family to support after they were injured on the job.  Our attorneys were able to help get them workers’ compensation settlements that allowed them to pay their bills, cover their medical expenses, and eventually get back on their feet.  Here are some of their stories:

Christina S. Christina worked as a forklift driver, loading and unloading trucks on construction sites, when she was injured.  She was cutting open bands of sheet metal when one of the sheets slid open and sliced her arm nearly down to the bone. She lost lots of blood and was given 15 stitches.

Christina was out of work for three months, and her employer asked her to pretend as if the accident never happened. When she tried to return to work her employer told her she no longer had a job.

Christina says without receiving her workers’ compensation settlement she would have “lost my car, I would’ve lost my apartment, I would’ve lost… basically everything. I would’ve lost everything.” She added that she wouldn’t have had a way of paying her medical bills, which would have affected her credit.

Her case settled within a month of her contacting us and she received a workers’ compensation settlement that was $5,000 more than she had expected.

Adrian C.  Adrian was adjusting a bale on a truck he was loading by pulling on string. When the string snapped, he fell 16 feet to the ground. He hurt his hip, knee and elbow and suffered bruised bones. When he reported his injury, his employer asked him not to file a workers’ compensation claim and said he would take care of it. Adrian lost two weeks’ worth of work and his medical bills were very expensive. He was billed $16,096.80 for just one emergency room visit.

Adrian realized that he needed help to get his bills covered and to make up for lost time at work. He called our attorneys and the next day an investigator was sent out to his home.

Adrian received help with every step of case and the monetary compensation he deserved. He was happy he didn’t have to pay anything upfront or deal with the complexities of his case: “I wouldn’t know where to begin; it’s just not something a regular, average person can handle.”

Get the Workers’ Compensation Settlement You Deserve

Your employer may not always have your best interest in mind, and it’s up to you to find someone who can fight for your rights as a worker. Keep in mind that you only have 30 days to notify your employer of an injury you received while working. It’s important to report your case, see a doctor and call an attorney as soon as you can.

Problems associated with a work injury don’t end after seeing a doctor or filing a claim, they’re long term. It’s important to make sure that you consult with a workers compensation lawyer to improve your chances of receiving the maximum workers’ compensation settlement. You want to be sure that the money you’re awarded will take care of you and your family for as long as you need it.

Save yourself time, money and frustration. The consultation is free and confidential and with our attorneys, either you get paid, or you don’t pay at all. 

“My workman’s comp claim was denied! Now what?”

It’s easy to panic if you receive a letter that your workman’s comp claim has been denied. Don’t – there’s a good chance you’ll still get benefits.

When your workman’s comp claim is denied, you usually have three options: submit it for reconsideration, request a hearing, or file an appeal.

Consider the first two options if you have additional evidence to provide support for your claim. Without this evidence, your claim will probably be denied a second time. Filing an appeal is the safest approach – and, oftentimes, the best approach. But you’ll need some help.

Five Steps to Increase Your Chance of Getting Workman’s Comp Benefits After Being Denied

  1. Consult with a lawyer. An attorney can determine the exact reasons why your claim was denied, and will gather evidence, contact witnesses, and hire experts to strengthen your appeal.
  2. Request your personnel file from your employer. Copy the contents and be sure to get a copy of the injury form you filled out. Give the copies to your lawyer
  3. Gather evidence for your claim, including: detailed doctor’s reports, emergency room reports, test results, rehabilitation progress reports, witness statements, medical bills, expense receipts (for transportation, medications, etc.) and any additional documents that would support your claim. Your lawyer may work with medical experts to determine if any additional reporting is required to support your claim.
  4. Prepare for a hearing. In some states, appeals are reviewed by a board; in other states, the appeal will be heard by a judge in a hearing. Your workman’s comp lawyer can help you prepare for the hearing. It is critical that you truthfully describe the details of your accident, including the loss of income and expenses you’ve incurred as a result of your injury.
  5. Beware what you do in public. Insurance companies are known for videoing workman’s comp claimants. Participating in any public activities that you claim you are unable to could jeopardize your claim.

Your denial letter should clearly state a deadline to file for an appeal. Do not miss this deadline! As soon as you get it, take action. The faster you act, the faster you could get the benefits you need.

Call today and we’ll connect you with a workman’s comp lawyer who has experience with your type of case. We’re open 24/7 and ready to help.

Occupational Insurance vs. Workers’ Comp

Workers’ compensation and occupational insurance both provide a level of protection for employees in the event of workplace injuries. Whether you are a startup business, a midsized corporation, a full-time employee, or independent contractor, it is important that you understand the differences between the two in order to protect your when it comes to workplace accidents.

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation is a state-regulated requirement for companies that employ a minimum number of workers, or employees who work a certain number of hours per week as mandated by law. The minimum number employees differ by state, but in some instances it refers to one or more employees, while others allow for 5+ employees.

Workers’ compensation may cover wage loss benefits, medical treatment and related expenses, and rehabilitation for employees who suffer an injury at work, or who get sick due to factors within their workplace environment. The insurance also includes employer liability coverage, meaning that employers receive a level of protection if the worker decides to sue in relation to their workers’ comp claim. The legal defense costs are often covered up to the policy limits. Employers still have a responsibility to maintain a safe work environment for their workers.

Occupational Insurance

Occupational accident insurance is a policy that is designed to offer benefits to independent contractors and employees who are not covered under a workers’ comp program. This type of insurance may provide medical, disability, and accidental death and dismemberment benefits, but unlike workers’ compensation – it is not state-regulated. Policies may cover wage loss benefits, medical expenses, and rehabilitation costs for employees or covered independent contractors, but only up to policy limits. Employers are allowed to choose their coverage and deductible amounts based on their own perceived risk.

Workers’ comp involves a higher cost to companies, but it also offers them more comprehensive coverage, especially in terms of their own liability – a component that is not a part of occupational accident insurance.

In some states, employers who choose occupational accident insurance can opt of the required workers’ compensation program. While the employer still has a legal obligation to employees who suffer injuries or death on the job, it comes at a much lower cost compared to workers’ comp.

Employers get statutory benefits with workers’ comp but when signing up for occupational accident insurance, they must make the following choices:

  1. The limit of liability to carry per accident
  2. The deductible to assume per accident
  3. The level of disability coverage to provide
  4. The level of death benefits to provide

Companies will still be responsible for legal obligations to their employees that are not covered by occupational accident insurance. Choosing the wrong coverage option can expose a company to dramatic financial losses – a problem that those with workers’ compensation insurance are less susceptible to.

Disadvantages to Occupational Insurance

While occupational insurance allows companies to save money when compared to workers’ comp, and give employers control of the type and amount of coverage to provide employees, there are several disadvantages:

  • The employer must bear the burden of proof in the event of a lawsuit
  • Employees can win claims for pain, suffering, and punitive damages up to a certain limit
  • If an employee’s expenses exceed coverage limits, employers will have to cover the excess costs

As an employer, consult with an experienced attorney to ensure you understand the risks associated with workers’ comp vs. occupational insurance.

As an employee, talk to a lawyer if you have been hurt on the job to understand the differences on how to proceed with a claim depending on the coverage your company offers.

Personal Injury vs. Workers’ Comp – What’s the Difference?

Workers that get hurt on the job may not be sure about their next steps. Is filing a personal injury lawsuit required or does workers’ compensation cover all expenses?

If you find yourself in this situation and want to know what is the difference between personal injury and workers’ compensation, here are the facts.

The Major Difference is Fault

The most important difference between the two is that a personal injury claim is associated with the fault and negligence of another party, while workers’ comp is not.

For example, in order to recover damages from someone for a slip and fall, a dog bite, a vehicle accident, medical malpractice, or any other type of personal injury claim, you must show that the other person was negligent or at fault in some way.

If you fell on someone else’s property because you were looking at your phone and tripped or you caused a car accident because you were texting, these events do not qualify another person as negligent.

With some limited exceptions, an employee who is injured on the job or suffers illness due to working conditions is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. It is irrelevant whether the fault was due to a coworker error, negligence, or even because of something done incorrectly on your own part. There is no need to prove why the accident happened or who is at fault to receive your workers’ comp benefits.

What’s the Difference Between Eligible Damages?

Personal injury and workers’ comp claims also differ in terms of damages you are eligible to receive. The latter does not entitle you to benefits for pain and suffering, but personal injury lawsuits allow you to sue in order to recover all of the damages you have suffered. Lost wages, lost earning capacity, medical expenses, future medical expenses, permanent disability, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, etc. is all permissible when you file a personal injury lawsuit.

Workers’ comp only allows you to receive weekly compensation, permanent impairment benefits, medical bills, and vocational rehabilitation. Pain and suffering is not part of these benefits because the concept of workers’ comp is a tradeoff between labor and business owners. Before the plan was legalized, the only course of action injured workers had against their employers was to sue for negligence which put them at a disadvantage in getting the financial help they needed if their employer was not negligent or if they decided not to sue at all.

As a result, workers’ compensation allows injured workers to get the financial help they need while preventing them from suing their employers and co-workers for negligence. And the right to collect damages for pain and suffering is not possible.

There are two exceptions of employees that do not fall under the workers’ compensation laws – crewmembers of vessels, and interstate railroad workers. Crewmembers of boats cruise ships, or even small commercial fishing vessels are not entitled to workers’ comp benefits. Instead, a federal law named the Jones Act allows these individuals to sue an employer for damages, including pain and suffering. The same concept applies to interstate railroad workers under a federal law called the Federal Employers Liability Act.

What to Do When Injured on the Job

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there were approximately 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2015.

Sustaining an injury on the job can be a traumatic experience, but all states require companies to have workers’ compensation insurance to protect employees who suffer a workplace injury or illness, regardless of fault. The steps to take after a workplace accident may differ slightly by state or employer.

The following points are general guidelines on how to proceed if you are injured on the job:

  1. Get the necessary medical treatment or first aid as soon as possible. The Workers’ Compensation Board must authorize the health care provider taking care of your injury, except in emergency situations.
  2. Report the injury to your supervisor or the company nurse, making clear that your injury was caused by a work-related factor. This should be done as soon as your injuries have been treated. An injured employee who does not report the accident in writing within 30 days may lose the right to workers’ comp benefits.
  3. Make sure your supervisor prepares a company accident report. If, for any reason, the supervisor will not prepare the report, you should write a letter stating the facts of your accident/illness and give a copy to the supervisor.
  4. Next, get a copy of the accident report and keep it in a safe place.
  5. File a worker’s comp claim. Typically, an employer must offer you a claim form immediately after learning about your injury. Until this claim form is completed, companies have no legal obligation to provide benefits. If for some reason your company cannot or will not provide this form, contact your state Workers’ Compensation Office. Fill out the “Employee” section, sign, and date it. Keep a copy of this form for your records. Ask your employer to fill out the “Employer” section and to provide you a copy of the completed form. If your employer refuses, it may be time to contact a workers’ comp lawyer.
  6. While your claim is being evaluated, make sure to follow all medical directions. If you don’t, your employer may argue that you are not serious about getting better and getting back to work.
  7. If you do not like the outcome of the claim or your employer disputes your benefit claim, you may seek a hearing with the Worker’s Compensation board.

You may be Entitled to Benefits

Workers’ compensation benefits cover employees for lost wages while recovering from work-related illnesses and injuries. The benefit amount is typically two-thirds of an employee’s weekly wage. Disability benefits are classified as 1) Temporary Total Disability, 2) Temporary Partial Disability, 3) Permanent Total Disability, 4) Permanent Partial Disability, and 5) Death Benefits.

Workers’ comp does not cover personal injuries or punitive damages, which an injured employee may be entitled to. In some instances, employees injured on the job can file a lawsuit in civil court to recover additional damages.

Call today for a free consultation with an attorney in our network today to understand your legal rights.

Why It’s Important to Report Accidents at Work

According to Health and Safety Executive Statistics from 2013, 1.1 million workers suffered from an illness they believed was caused or made worse by their workplace. Getting hurt or sick on the job can cause a wide range physical and emotional stress. While some employees have no issues reporting accidents that happen at work, some reports show that up to two-thirds of work-related injuries and illnesses go unreported.

Common reasons for not reporting workplace accidents and illnesses include fear of being fired, fear that the boss will no longer want to consider the employee for promotions, fear of harassment, not wanting to complete the paperwork and process of filing a claim because it seems too complicated or too technical, etc. While these reasons are all understandable, they can have consequences in the future.

The longer an employee fails to report an illness or injury, the less time they will have to file a claim. States require both employees and employers to report accidents within a specific timeframe. The risk of not reporting early is that the injury will persist and worsen. When employees can no longer stand the pain, or cannot afford to pay for the treatment on their own, it may be too late to claim for work or medical expenses.

The employer may also face negative consequences in the long-term. For example, not reporting injuries may result in higher premiums and audits. Also, if the accident is an OSHA reportable event, the employer may have to pay fines and face other penalties.

Best practice for notifying an employer is that is should be done as soon as possible, although some states give employees up to 90 days after an injury or illness occurred to report it. In extreme cases that result in death, the dependents of the worker, or their parents if they have no dependents, are given up to two years after the death date to file a workers’ comp claim.

Employers may feel that reporting accidents is not in their best interest. However, companies that value their workers and workplace safety know that early reporting and intervention has some upsides. These include cutting down on the health costs and legal fees related to workers’ comp, and the ability to improve workplace safety as well as safety programs.

If you are injured at work, inform your supervisor immediately – in writing, if possible. This will start the process towards receiving workers’ comp. This does not mean you are suing the company, but rather requesting benefits for your injury or illness. Under FECA (Federal Employees’ Compensation Act), workers may initially select any qualified doctor to treat them, although there are some restrictions when it comes to the use of chiropractors.

If your employer does not file a claim immediately after you have notified them, it may be best to consult with a workers’ comp lawyer. Your attorney will work on your behalf to ensure you are treated fairly under the law. Having a lawyer to represent you signals that you are serious about the process.

When Hurt on the Job, What are Your Rights?

Companies across America are required to provide their employees with a safe and healthy work environment. Even if an employer has done everything to ensure a safe workplace, the possibility of accidents and injuries is always there. Examples of workplace injuries include broken bones, irritating pre-existing conditions, occupational illnesses, and even mental stress.

Steps to Take When Hurt on the Job

When you are hurt on the job and asking, “What are my rights?”, the first and most important thing you can do is report the injury to your employer. Most states require you do so within a few days of your illness or injury so make this a priority after getting medical treatment.

Next, protect your rights by filing a claim with the workers’ compensation court in your state. This will put your employer, the court, and your job’s insurance company on formal notice of your injury.

Know Your Rights

While workers’ comp laws differ from state to state, there are a number of rights that are standard across the country. These include:

  • The right to file a claim for injury or illness caused by your job in workers’ compensation court
  • The right to see a doctor for medical treatment
  • The right to return to your job once a physician has released you and given you permission to go back to work
  • The right to some kind of disability compensation if you are unable to go back to work due to the injury or illness – whether permanently or temporarily
  • The right to appeal decisions you do not like from your employer, the insurance company, or the workers’ comp court
  • The right to hire an attorney to represent you during the process.

There are also situations in which you have the right to refuse certain offers or requests:

  • You have the right to say no if you are hurt on the job and your employer asks you to use your own health insurance to pay for your treatment
  • You have the right to say no if your employer offers you incentives, such as increased pay, shorter hours, etc. in an attempt to persuade you not to file a workers’ comp claim. Doing so is illegal, and you may want to consult a lawyer right away
  • It is also illegal for your employer and/or manager to make things difficult for you once you get back to work. If harassment or hostility occurs because you filed a workers compensation claim, your company is acting illegally and can face strict penalties for such behavior.

Work injuries are painful enough without the added stress of mental and emotional repercussions. If you are unsure about how to proceed or caught in the middle of a claims battle, call today for a free consultation with an attorney.

How Long Does An Employee Have to Report an Accident?

The short answer is: as soon as possible.

Reporting an injury to your employer is the first essential step to take after you are hurt. Waiting too long to report an injury could end up costing you more than you think.

While laws vary from state to state, ideally, you should provide your employer written notice of a workplace injury within 30 days.  After 30 days you may be compromising your right to receive the worker’s comp benefits, including lost wages, that you deserve.

Once you’ve notified your employer, he is required to complete an “Employer’s Report of Occupational Injury or Illness” form. Review the form, ensure it is accurate, and request a copy for your records.

If you require medical attention for your injury, seek it as soon as possible. Getting timely and adequate medical treatment is essential not only to your recovery but to maximize your workers’ compensation benefits and compensation.

To receive benefits and compensation, you must file the necessary forms to open your worker’s compensation claim. Submitting a claim with your employer is your responsibility.  If at any point you are denied a form or the opportunity to seek medical treatment, it is best to consult with an experienced worker’s comp attorney.

How Do I Know if I Qualify for Worker’s Comp?

Every claim is unique, and your basis of eligibility is dependent on the details of your specific situation. There are, however, a few basic guidelines the insurance companies look for when reviewing a claim:

  • Whether you are an employee of the insured company
  • Whether your injury or illness is a result of a work-related duty
  • Whether your injury was reported to your employer within a reasonable amount of time
  • Whether your claim was filed according to your State’s deadlines

If you are uncertain about your state’s deadlines, have been denied by the insurance carrier or your employer; contacting an attorney may be your best option to determine your next step.

What Benefits Could I be Eligible for?

Worker’s compensation is intended to protect you (the employee) when an accident or work-related illness occurs.  Familiarizing yourself with workers’ compensation benefits can help you determine if your employer’s insurance carrier is holding out:

  • Medical Treatment– Medical care intended to help alleviate or recover your workplace injury
  • Disability Benefits- Temporary or permanent depending on the severity of your injury
  • Supplemental job displacement benefits –A voucher intended to fund the training of a new skill if you are unable to return to the same job duties you performed prior to your injury
  • Death Benefits – Monetary compensation for your spouse or dependents in the event of death due to work-related injury or illness

The benefits listed above are not guaranteed in all situations Often insurance carriers deny claims unjustly, and many go without contesting or consulting with an attorney. Don’t let this be you.

Is My Employer Obligated to Have Worker’s Comp Coverage?

Most companies are legally required to maintain coverage if they staff one or more employees. Heavy penalties and fines often deter companies from being uninsured. There may be a few exceptions depending on the industry and the terms in which you were hired. For example, if you were hired as an independent contractor or consultant, you may not be considered an employee of the company and therefore are ineligible for coverage.

Nonetheless, each state has its own prerequisites regarding worker’s compensation coverage and should be verified with your state Department of Labor.

Are Work Injuries Avoidable?

Although there are safety programs and measures a company can take to create a safe environment for its employees, accidents can still happen.

If you feel that your workplace is unsafe, it is best to report any safety hazards immediately to your employer or to the state Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

How Soon Should I Hire a Worker’s Comp Attorney?

Bottom line: the minute you feel like something is not right; it probably isn’t. But why wait until then?

Suffering from a work injury and worrying about lost wages while trying to pay  your bills can be mentally debilitating. Contacting a worker’s comp attorney as soon as possible can help ease your worry and ensure you receive all the benefits and lost wages you deserve.

Slip and Fall Accident in the Workplace

Often when we think slip and fall accident, we think personal injury. But what if a slip and fall occurs at work?

If slip and fall refers to cases in which someone falls and suffers harm because of a dangerous condition on some else’s property, wouldn’t this include the workplace? It does, and it happens often.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 260,610 workers in the United States suffered injuries associated with slip and falls in 2008 and 847 of those were fatal. Slips trips and falls result somewhere between 15-25 percent of all nonfatal workplace injuries, the highest frequency of injury.

We often think of slips trips and falls as minor, but they are sometimes serious and can result in permanent, even disabling, injuries, including:

  • Broken bones
  • Back or spine injuries that may cause paralysis
  • Muscle strains
  • Sprains
  • Death — someone dies in a fall on the job practically every day

Compensation for a Slip and Fall at Work

Most on-the-job injuries are handled by your state’s workers’ compensation insurance, preventing you from suing your employer. You also don’t have to prove employer fault through workers’ compensation. However, although you do not have the responsibility of proving fault, workers’ compensation laws limit the amount you can receive.

Some states do not require workers’ compensation for small companies. But if your injury was caused by your employer’s intentional or reckless action, or the actions of a third party, such as another company making a delivery to your employer, you may be able to file a lawsuit against that company.

You should always consult with a lawyer if you are the victim of a slip and fall accident. An experienced lawyer can advise you of your rights and responsibilities.

Who’s Looking Out for You?

When a slip and fall accident occurs in the workplace it is usually due to the employer’s negligence.

For your safety and that of your co-workers it is important to recognize slip and fall hazards. These are some things to look for:

  • Cluttered floors
  • Loose floorboards
  • Defective sidewalks
  • Parking lot potholes
  • Poorly constructed staircases
  • Torn carpeting
  • Recently mopped or waxed floors
  • Wires
  • Leaks

Slips trips and falls are preventable by following a few simple steps:

  • Clean all spills immediately
  • Mark spills and wet areas with signs
  • Regularly mop or sweep debris from floors
  • Remove obstacles from walkways, always keeping them free of clutter
  • Tack or tape mats, rugs and carpets that do not lay flat
  • Always close file cabinet or storage drawers
  • Cover cables that cross walkways
  • Keep working areas and walkways well lit
  • Replace used light bulbs and faulty switches

Although your employer may have workers’ compensation insurance and in-house medical staff, you want to be sure that you aren’t rushed back to work too soon or that you are saddled with medical bills.

To sort out your legal rights, it’s important to talk to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in your state. You want to make sure that you are given the proper amount of time off to heal and receive a fair compensation for your injuries.

Your consultation with a lawyer is free, and you won’t have to spend any money out of pocket — either you get paid or you don’t pay at all!

What Is The Difference Between Workers’ Comp And Employer’s Liability?

Workers’ compensation and employer’s liability coverage are usually purchased together under a company’s overall business insurance policy. To understand the difference between workers’ comp and employer’s liability, let’s review what each plan covers.

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation provides coverage for employees that are injured while working, without regard to fault. It is a state-mandated program and a form of no-fault insurance. While the employee must show that they were hurt while performing the duties of his or her job, they do not have to prove that the employer was negligent. Workers’ comp will cover the costs of medical expenses such as treatments and medication, as well as partial wage loss. It does not cover any costs associated with pain and suffering.

Employer’s Liability

Employer’s liability provides coverage for an employer in situations where an employee feels that the workers’ comp provided was not adequate to cover the cost of medical bills or lost wages, and that the employer was negligent. In these lawsuit driven situations, the employee must still show that his or her injury took place while doing their job, but also that it would not have happened if it weren’t for negligence on the part of the employer.

Employer’s liability insurance covers all kinds of employer’s liability claims, unless the policy specifically excludes them. Four of the most common lawsuits involve the following:

  1. Third party cases: In these cases, another party was held liable for the employee’s injury and in turn, they are filing a lawsuit against the employer. An example is if you own a construction business and an employee was hurt using a machine that was not serviced regularly. The employee sues the manufacturer of the machine, who then sues the employer for contributory negligence.
  2. Loss of consortium: An injured employee’s spouse files this type of lawsuit. These damages typically fall into one of three categories – damages for loss of services, damages for loss of support, and damages for loss of quality in the marital relationship, which includes acts like providing affection or emotional support.
  3. Dual-capacity suits: An employee can file this lawsuit when a product their employer makes is the cause of their injury. This means the company is liable both as an employer and a manufacturer.
  4. Consequential bodily injury: If the employee’s family members suffered bodily injury themselves as a result of the workplace injury, they could sue the business. For example, if an employee was injured using a machine and their spouse suffered an aneurysm from stress, the employer may be sued for those damages, as well.

When these claims arise, employer’s liability insurance can cover a company’s legal defense fees, settlements, damages and judgments, and other court costs.

To prove a claim, an employee must show that the employer was negligent in some way. Proof of negligence requires:

  • The employer had a duty to protect their workers from harm
  • Actions or lack of actions breached that duty
  • An injury occurred as a direct result of an employer’s breach of duty
  • The employee suffered tangible harm as a result of the injury

Consult A Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

If you have been involved in a workplace accident, consult with a workers’ compensation attorney to stand by your side throughout the process. He or she can help you determine if the expenses of your claims warrant a lawsuit under the employer’s liability coverage.

Short Term Disability vs. Workers’ Comp: What’s the Difference?

These two benefits are similar because they both provide compensation for injuries. However, the main difference is that workers’ comp covers employees who get hurt at work, while short term disability (STD) is for injuries or illnesses that are not work related.

Car accidents, sicknesses, and diseases are all common examples of things short term disability covers. The employer usually purchases STD insurance and employees contribute toward the payment.

If an employee ever needs to use their STD benefits, they may have to make it known to the company’s HR department, but the company has no say whether the employee is entitled to benefits. The STD insurance carrier makes this decision. STD payments are about two-thirds of an employee’s normal salary, and usually payable for about six months.

Workers’ comp insurance protects workers from loss of wages and medical expenses caused by a work-related injury. While each state has specifics requirements regarding workers’ compensation, employees have the right to benefits if they are injured while performing the functions of his or her job. Most workers’ comp insurance policies pay employees approximately two-thirds of their regular paycheck, as well as reimbursement for all medical bills and rehabilitation caused by the injury.

Choosing which benefit to apply for can be confusing. Generally, if you are hurt or get sick due to a condition on your job, you should apply for workers’ compensation benefits. If your claim is denied, then you can try to file for STD benefits. The most difficult situation for any injured employee is when both insurance companies deny the claim and point the responsibility at the other. This results in zero coverage for the individual, and they may want to consult an attorney who can fight on their behalf.

A common question is whether an employee can be denied short term disability benefits if they are also seeking workers’ comp benefits. The answer is yes. Standard STD insurance policies state that workers’ comp must handle salary reimbursement where work absence is due to work-related injuries. If an employee is approved for workers’ comp benefits, they will be ineligible for STD benefits. The exception is if the workers’ comp claim is denied, in which case the application for STD benefits will be considered. It is also important to note that while workers’ compensation is required, STD insurance is not and falls under the category of “benefits.”

In some situations, an employer may encourage workers to file for short term benefits for an injury sustained at work. Reasons for this may be that the employer is not 100% clear on the differences between the two types of benefits, or they are trying to save themselves money. In the case of the latter, the employer will not be subject to increased premiums if an employee seeks benefits through their STD. If you or someone you know have experienced a situation where a company is insistent that a job injury be filed under STD insurance, consult with a lawyer who can help navigate the situation.

Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

Workers’ compensation benefits are governed by a distinct set of rules and procedures, and if you fail to follow these rules, you may lose your right to receive benefits under the law.

Consult a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible to fight for the benefits you are entitled to. Call 1-800-THE-LAW2 and one of our agents will connect you to an experienced attorney in 10 minutes or less. Consultation is free and confidential.

Difference Between Short Term Disability vs. Workers Comp

Tips for Avoiding a Dog Attack

Dog attacks do happen, but there are steps that can be taken to try and avoid or prevent a dog attack from happening. Research shows that every day about 1,000 people in the United States go to the emergency room for injuries resulting from dog bites. Fortunately, if you are approached by an aggressive dog, there are steps you can take to try and avoid a dog attack.

How to Avoid a Dog Attack

Certain breeds of dogs may be more dangerous than others. A 2011 study by Animal People revealed that pit bull terriers and Rottweilers accounted for 74% of fatal attacks. Being approached by an aggressive dog can be frightening. Your initial thought might be to run away, but in doing so you’re actually enticing the dog to chase you. In an encounter with an aggressive dog try to remain calm and follow these helpful tips from the Humane Society:

  • Resist the impulse to scream and run away.
  • Remain motionless, hands at your sides, and avoid eye contact with the dog.
  • Once the dog loses interest in you, slowly back away until he is out of sight.
  • If the dog does attack you, “feed” him your jacket, purse, bicycle, or anything that you can put between yourself and the dog.
  • If you fall or are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball with your hands over your ears and remain motionless. Try not to scream or roll around.

What to Do If You Are a Victim of a Dog Attack

Although both children and adults are severely injured from dog bites and dog attacks, children are at greatest risk. Kids typically play with dogs more often than adults and are more likely to unknowingly engage with dogs in ways that can make a dog aggressive. Children are also less able to protect themselves against an aggressive dog.

Even when following tips for how to avoid a dog bite, an attack can happen and cause severe injuries requiring multiple doctor’s visits and even surgeries. As though the physical pain and emotional trauma aren’t enough, the medical expenses incurred from a dog bite can cause tremendous stress on your finances. As with any injury, taking the time to heal is critical. In the case of a dog bite, however, protecting your family’s future from a financial drain is also imperative.

If you are a victim of a dog bite, contact a dog bite lawyer immediately, due to the strict liability law. You could receive compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional damages. In order to support your claim, make sure you:

  • Report the incident to animal control
  • Take down the information regarding the incident, dog owner, and witnesses
  • Seek medical treatment – photograph the wound before and after the incident
  • If the injury is severe, contact a dog bite lawyer

If your or a loved one is a victim of a dog attack, speak with an experienced dog bite lawyer. This is a time when a dog bite lawyer can be your best friend. A dog bite lawyer with experience can help you recoup:

  • Medical costs
  • Costs for property damage
  • Lost wages from time off work
  • Rehabilitation
  • Permanent or temporary disability

In dog bite cases, accountability rests with the dog owner and costs are typically recovered from a homeowner’s insurance policy. This is a complex process that’s best handled by a professional – a dog bite lawyer. The situation can be stressful, but a dog bite lawyer can handle the claim for you.

SOURCES:

  1. DogBite.org. Dog Bite Statistics. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  2. The Humane Society of the United States. How to Avoid a Dog Bite. Retrieved February 12, 2014.

Slip and Falls: What Causes Them?

The National Security Council reports that slips, trips and falls account for nearly 9 million emergency visits a year in the U.S. Of those 9 million, 2.3 million are by Americans aged 65 and older. One in every three adults age 65 and older falls every year.? As more and more baby boomers turn 65, this number has the potential to grow by an alarming number. While many people consider slipping and falling a byproduct of growing older, the truth is, anyone, at any age, can be injured as a result of a slip and fall.

Falls are also the leading cause of work accidents — second only to car accidents in terms of personal injury cases. Although they happen frequently, that’s no reason to discount the seriousness of slips, trips and falls. Broken bones, head injuries, back injuries, ankle sprains, cuts and lacerations.

But what are the slip and fall causes resulting in so many  accidents every year? The answer is a combination of poor maintenance, inadequate warnings, carelessness and clutter.

Common Slips and Fall Causes

With slips, anything that makes a walking surface wet is likely to cause someone to slip. Recently polished or mopped floors, kitchen floors and bathroom floors are some examples. Floors made of slick materials such as marble, tile or terrazzo are slippery even when not wet. Snow and ice make sidewalks, parking lots and streets especially treacherous to walk on during the winter. When any of these circumstances are combined with poor lighting, the chances of slipping are even higher.

Many slip and fall accidents are actually preventable. A personal injury attorney can determine if you were hurt because of the property owner’s negligence, because of your own fault, or fault of you and the landowner. Common places where slip and fall accidents happen include:

  • Malls
  • Apartment buildings
  • Supermarkets
  • Warehouse stores
  • City managed places like parks, sidewalks, and airports

If you’ve slipped and fallen in a public place – such as a mall, store, or even an apartment building – you have legal rights. An attorney can help you secure monetary compensation for your injuries and get the insurance companies to pay your accident-related medical bills and expenses.

Did you know that if you slip and fall in an apartment building, the property’s owners could be held responsible for your injuries? Generally, the landlord of the apartment building has an obligation to keep the apartment building in a reasonably safe condition, and if the landlord doesn’t do that, and as a result of that you sustain an injury, then that landlord may be held responsible for your medical treatment costs, your pain and suffering and, your time off from work,

There are many situations when the property owner may be held responsible for preventable, dangerous conditions that lead to a slip and fall injury. They include:

  • Torn carpeting
  • Poor lighting
  • Narrow or uneven stairs
  • Wet or slippery floor
  • Uneven pavement
  • Potholes

Lack of handrailsWith trips, clutter is key. The more clutter there is in a work area or walk area, the more likely you are to trip. Exposed extension cords and telephone cords may seem harmless at first, but tripping over one can cause serious damage. Boxes and other materials should never be stacked in hallways or walkways.

With falls, the primary culprit is walking surfaces. Bumps, potholes, and cracks in a sidewalk  are all contributing slip and fall causes. Sometimes people fall because they step higher or lower than they expected; an unseen curb is likely to cause this type of “step and fall.” Stairways can also be dangerous. It’s estimated that nearly half of falls occur on a stairwell. Uneven surfaces, uneven treads, loose handrails and faulty handrails may also make people more prone to falling on stairs.

What to Do After a Stair Accident

It’s important to always practice stair safety because stairs often times present hidden dangers and stair accidents can result in serious injuries and even death. According to the National Safety Council, about 8.9 million visits to the ER are from fall victims. Victims of stair accidents may often blame themselves but the accident may not be their fault.

Stair Accidents: Negligence

If the stairs have not been properly maintained by the owner, they could be subject to negligence. If you suffer injuries as a result of the negligence, you could be compensated for your injuries and associated expenses. To constitute negligence, the owner(s) must have been aware of the hazard and done nothing to correct it. If you are hurt in a stair accident, look for these indications of possible stairway negligence:

  • Inadequate lighting
  • Loose carpeting
  • Slippery and uneven stairs
  • Broken steps
  • Faulty handrails
  • Design defects
  • Rotting wood

5 Tips for Stair Safety

In the event of a stair accident, insurance companies may try to pin fault on you. Always use stair safety when walking up or down the stairs.

  • Don’t run up and down the stairs
  • Don’t read, text, or look at your phone while using the stairs
  • If you are carrying something up or down the stairs, ask for help
  • Use the handrails
  • Take one step at a time

After a Slip and Fall Accident Consult with a Lawyer

If you’re hurt in a slip and fall accident, don’t make excuses and don’t admit fault, for the simple reason that the accident may not be your fault at all! After you seek medical attention, get an attorney to examine the causes for the slip and fall incident, and to protect your rights.

Keep track of all of your injuries, expenses, and days taken off work. Avoid giving statements to insurance companies until you consult with a personal injury lawyer, first.

Call us for a free consultation with an experienced slip and fall attorney. It’s risk free, either you get paid or you don’t pay at all! Even the call is free. One of our personal injury attorneys could get you compensation for medical bills, emotional and physical damages, lost wages, and financial reimbursement.

SOURCES:

  1. National Safety Council. Protect Your Loved Ones – Know About Home and Recreational Safety. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
  2. National Safety Council. Slips, Trips and Falls. Retrieved March 5, 2015.

What is Premise Liability?

Property owners have a responsibility to maintain a safe environment. When a property owner neglects their duty, and it results in an injury, they can be held responsible. A premises liability lawsuit makes a property owner liable for any damages caused by an injury on their property.

It typically refers to public places, but it can also affect homes and apartments. When a visitor gets injured in your home, this is where  liability coverage comes in.

How can Liability Protect Me?

Premise liability coverage, typically included in your renters or homeowner’s insurance, covers accidents in your home and prevents you from paying out-of-pocket for medical expenses.

  • Medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Wages
  • Death benefits
  • Legal costs

Additionally, personal liability could cover situations that happen away from home. If you are out for a bike ride and accidentally crash into someone resulting in injury, personal liability could help cover medical costs. The same applies to property damage. If, for example, you were to cause damage to a hotel, you’re staying in personal liability coverage may help you.

Situations covered by personal liability insurance include:

  • Your dog biting a guest in your home
  • A FedEx delivery worker slipping and falling in your driveway
  • Your child breaking a window at their friend’s house
  • Food poisoning
  • Libel and slander

If a visitor is injured while in your apartment, renter’s insurance could pay for medical bills up to the policy’s limit. If your kid breaks a neighbor’s window, your policy could pay to replace it.

Do I Always Shoulder the Responsibility if Someone is Injured in My Home?

Proof of burden is on the injured party to prove there was maintenance negligence on the part of the property owner

Additionally, there must be proof that you knew or should reasonably have known that the premises were unsafe and didn’t act to remedy the situation.

These are some ways to avoid common household hazards:

  • Ensuring staircase handrails are secure
  • Adding secured mats or grip to surfaces
  • Using non-slip stickers on floor mats and rugs
  • Install fire alarms
  • Monitor candles
  • Fence in pool areas

What Isn’t Covered by Personal Liability?

Claims that may not be covered by standard home or renter’s insurance include:

  • Injuries or property damage as a result of an auto accident
  • Property damage or injuries as a result of intentional actions by you or family members to someone in your home
  • Injuries or property damage sustained by your or family members in your own home

Claims exceeding policy limits will also not fall within coverage.  If you find that policy limits do not meet your needs, you may want to consider something like an umbrella policy. An umbrella policy would cover costs associated with a severe accident or accident on your property that exceeds policy limits.

Is Personal Liability Coverage Required?

Most home insurance policies have personal liability coverage built-in. Apartments are different. While renters insurance is affordable, it isn’t required, since you don’t own the unit. In fact, according to the Insurance Information Institute, only 40 percent of renters have policies versus 95 percent of homeowners who have home insurance.

Is My Pet Covered?

Most insurance companies provide coverage if your pet injures someone or damages a neighbor’s property. However, this coverage may not extend to your personal belongings damaged by your pet. Additionally, there may be limits for certain dog breeds or exotic animals. Dangerous dog breeds include:

  • Akitas
  • Chows
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • German Shepherds
  • Great Danes
  • Pit bulls
  • Wolf-hybrids

What Should I Do if I’m Being Sued?

Lawsuits seem to be on the rise in recent years. If an injured guest files a claim against you, here are some steps to take:

  • Collect information
  • Contact your insurer
  • Hire an attorney

If the damages or injuries are outside of coverage and your insurance is unable to help, an attorney can step in on your behalf.

How to Know When You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer

If you’ve been hurt in a personal injury accident and have decided to file a claim against an individual or company, you may be wondering if you can handle the process without hiring a lawyer.

While some people may choose to try and handle a case on their own, here’s how to know when you need a personal injury lawyer.

Your Claim Starts to Get Too Complicated

Even if you handled all the initial paperwork and filed the lawsuit on your own, it’s okay to seek help from an attorney at any point in the process.

Typically, if there are too many technicalities or legal complexities, you may have a difficult time working through the paperwork and next steps on your own.

In another instance, if your injuries are severe or you have suffered a permanent disability, your case is more valuable and there is a good chance you can recover a greater amount of money than you think. Having a personal injury lawyer to handle your case in this instance may allow you to maximize your compensation (even after fees) compared to the amount you would recover on your own.

When your case starts to get complicated or stressful, it’s time to consider hiring an attorney.

The Insurance Company Will Not Make a Fair Settlement Offer

If you’ve successfully handled all the paperwork and gotten to the point of negotiating with the insurance company, you may still need a lawyer if they refuse to make a fair settlement offer. Insurance companies may first try to deny that their insured was at fault in any way, hoping you will accept the response and drop your claim.

If you continue to insist you were injured due to the negligence of their client, they may come around and offer you a settlement amount, but if they refuse to budge from their position, you may need help from a lawyer to show you are not going to accept anything less than fair compensation.

Insurance companies may also insist that the circumstances of your accident are not covered by the insurance policy. You should request a copy of the policy and read through it carefully to see if they are right. Even if there is wording that supports their statements, most insurance policy provisions can be interpreted in different ways.

Hiring an attorney at this point may be a wise decision as there may still be a way to force the insurance company to cover the accident due to technicalities in wording.

When You Need Advice on a Specific Rule

In certain cases, your right to collect compensation from the insurance company may depend on whether an employee was acting within his or her job duties during the time of the accident. Or, if you tripped over a cracked sidewalk, the question of who bear the responsibility might involve rules about water damage, tree roots, etc.

If you are unsure who is to blame for your injuries, consult a lawyer to clear up your questions.

When Government Immunity Applies

The right to sue any government entity, like a town, city, county, or state – for an accident caused is controlled by a specific set of laws in each state. Known as “sovereign immunity”, the rules are different than the standard laws relating to when you can sue the government because of an accident and require special procedures.

Due to the complexities of these rules, you will probably have a higher chance of success with an attorney by your side.

What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?

A personal injury lawyer, also known as a plaintiff lawyer or trial lawyer, is a civil litigator who provides legal representation to plaintiffs alleging a physical or psychological injury as a result of negligence or carelessness of another person or entity.

A personal injury lawyer will help their clients receive compensation for their losses, including lost wages due to the inability to work, pain and suffering, reasonable medical expenses, emotional distress, loss of consortium or companionship, and even legal costs/attorney fees. These lawyers help protect their clients from being taken advantage of by insurance companies and the legal system.

Some of the most common types of cases handled by personal injury lawyers include:

  • Dog bites
  • Car accidents
  • Aviation accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Boating accidents
  • Burn injuries
  • Brain injuries
  • Construction accidents and other workers’ compensation issues
  • Defective products
  • Medical practice
  • Insurance/bad faith
  • Slip and fall injuries
  • Wrongful death

Hiring a personal injury attorney does not mean that your case will proceed to trial. In fact, the majority of personal injury cases are settled out of court.

Hiring a personal injury attorney allows plaintiffs to protect themselves against low offers from insurance companies and defendants because they have someone looking out for their best interests.

Due to the vast array of cases that fall under personal injury as well as complexities within the law, lawyers may decide to specialize in one particular area. For example, it is not uncommon for a medical malpractice lawyer to specialize in birthing cases, etc.

Steps Before Settlement

During the settlement negotiation and litigation process, contact with your lawyer may be infrequent.

Initially, your attorney will be busy with gathering facts to establish the foundation of your case. This may include obtaining witness statements, getting access to photographs and video footage, and obtaining official police reports. Regardless, you should still be able to call your attorney’s office and get updates on a timely basis.

Your attorney will not be able to proceed with your case until you have been released by your doctor and have recovered from your injuries, or at least stabilized. Once this happens, your lawyer will have a better idea of the injuries you sustained, the costs associated with your injuries, and any ongoing pain and suffering. Gathering your medical reports, employment reports, and other items needed to document each element of your injuries and damages are dependent on how quickly health care providers and your employer can prepare them.

Your personal injury lawyer will then solicit an offer from the insurance company. When an offer is received, your attorney will send it to your for review and discuss possible ways to move forward, based on his or her experience.

If a fair settlement cannot be obtained, your attorney will likely file a lawsuit or demand arbitration. Your lawyer will need to go through the “discovery” stage of deposing witnesses and experts in order to substantiate your claim. After discovery is completed, a trial date is set based on how busy the court is where the lawsuit is filed.

It can be extremely beneficial to work with a personal injury lawyer because you’ll have someone working for the best outcome on your behalf.

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Should You Settle your Personal Injury Case Pre-Trial?

Being involved in a personal injury claim is stressful for both the plaintiff and the defendant. Settling the case out of court has many advantages for everyone involved. Consult an attorney if you want to consider bypassing court altogether. He or she will advise you on the pros and cons that are specific to your case so you can make the best decision.

When weighing your options, consider the following factors, as they can help you determine whether a settlement is more advantageous or if taking your chances in court is more appealing.

Cost

Trials are expensive compared to settling out of court. While the plaintiff may have a contingency fee arrangement with their attorney, typically the lawyer will get one-third of a settlement, but 40% or more of any amount that is awarded during trial by a judge or jury.

A defendant will also typically hire an attorney that charges an hourly rate, and time-consuming pre-trial preparation means significant out-of-pocket costs compared to offering a settlement. In addition to attorney fees, additional costs must be factored in for expert witnesses, court costs, travel expenses, and lost wages when missing work.

The earlier a case is settled, the less costly it is for both parties.

Time

A trial usually takes up to one year before a court date is scheduled, and even then one of the parties can prolong it by filing an appeal. The entire process for a simple personal injury claim can take up to three years – or longer.

A settlement allows both parties to work toward a fair figure during a shorter timeframe and both parties can put the matter behind them, sooner than later.

Stress

A standard personal injury trial does not last more than a few days in court but the process can be stressful for everyone, especially plaintiffs and defendants who take the stand and are thus subject to cross-examination. Their character will likely be called into question, and this can be a very embarrassing and emotional experience.

The weeks leading up to the court date is also stressful and labor-intensive for attorneys on both sides. Although there will be tense moments involved with any settlement decision, it will not be to the extent of a court experience.

Privacy

All the details of a court case will be public record, unless a judge decides to seal the records, which rarely happens. There’s a good chance that both sides will try to make the other look as bad and malicious as possible. Even when the judge or jury has made their final decision and the case is closed, these details can have serious, negative consequences for individuals and organizations.

Admission of Liability

Settlements do not require a defendant to admit to liability. However, if a defendant loses in court, and loses any subsequent appeals, he or she has officially been proven liable for the victim’s injuries.

Unpredictability

Both parties are taking a risk by going to court. No matter how strong the evidence is the law may not end up working out in your favor. A judge or jury who has the freedom to award compensation may be more or less giving than anticipated. With out-of-court settlements, both parties have more control over the final outcome.

Are Personal Injury Settlements Taxable?

In most cases, the answer is no! Personal injury settlements are usually not taxable under federal or state law regardless of whether you settled the case before it went to trial or won a verdict. Federal tax law specifically excludes damages won as a result of personal physical injuries or physical illness from a taxpayer’s gross income. And all state tax codes reflect the federal tax code’s lead in this matter.

Therefore standard personal injury damages that are meant to compensate the injured party for things like lost wages, attorney’s fees, medical expenses, emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, etc. are not taxable as long as they are the result of a personal injury or a physical sickness.

Once a personal injury claim is settled, you’ll be relieved to put the whole incident behind you. But before you forget the matter completely, you should be aware that there are some exceptions to this general rule.

Exceptions to This General Rule

Compensation is taxable if it comes in the form of punitive damages, which are paid by the defendant as punishment for particularly outrageous conduct, and meant to discourage others from similar conduct. If your award in a personal injury lawsuit separates the personal injury damages from the punitive damages, the funds meant to cover the injuries remain tax-free. And even though you have to pay taxes on punitive damage compensation, you are allowed to deduct any attorney’s fees that relate to the punitive amount.

For example, if you are awarded $10,000 for punitive damages, and you have a 1/3rd contingency fee agreement with your attorney, you can deduct $3,333.33 in attorney’s fees relating to the punitive damage.

Next, even if you suffered a physical injury or illness, you will be taxed on damages relating to a breach of contract if it is the breach of contract that ultimately caused your ailments, and if breach of contract is the basis of your lawsuit.

Another element of a personal injury verdict that is taxable is interest on the judgment. Most states have rules that require adding interest to the verdict for the length of time the case has been pending, usually from the date you filed your lawsuit. For example, if you filed your suit on January 2, 2014 and received your settlement amount on January 2, 2016, you would receive 2 years worth of interest, which is taxable.

Keep in mind that a settlement or verdict is non-taxable only if it arose from a physical injury or a physical sickness. If you filed a claim for emotional distress and have no actual physical injury, your award will be taxable.

In order to protect your settlement amount from taxes, work with your attorney to specifically allocate your settlement into two different settlement agreements – one that states the amount for physical injury, and another that states the amount for punitive damages. Setting it up in this way will give you the best chance of having most of your settlement excluded from taxation.

Why Medical Records are Key to a Personal Injury Case

If you’ve been injured in a car accident or as the result of a slip and fall, medical malpractice, a product defect or dog bite, medical records will be an integral part of your personal injury case.

Your medical records will show what injuries you sustained, the extent of pain you experienced, what treatment was given, what ongoing conditions you have and how the injury may affect your life, now and in the future.

Without medical records, it’s virtually impossible for a personal injury lawyer to prove that you’ve been hurt as the result of another person’s or organization’s negligence.

Medical Records Help Prove Personal Injury

Accessing medical records is governed by a number of laws established by the Federal Privacy Act of 1974, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the U.S. Department of Health, the state in which you live and your employer’s policies.

These days, most medical records are kept in electronic format. Because medical records are protected from disclosure by HIPAA, you will have to sign a release form to obtain copies of your medical records. Hospitals and medical clinics have their own processes, and some may charge a fee for copies.

Insurance companies may ask you to sign a release form authorizing them to access your medical records directly from the doctor’s office. This is a common practice in personal injury cases. DO NOT consent without talking to your lawyer first.

During the discovery phase of a personal injury case, each side in a case may make a Request for Production (RFP) to obtain medical records and other documents that are relevant to the claims being made in the case. Even if a RFP is made, however, the request could be denied. If this happens, medical records and other relevant document could be subpoenaed.

Remember, the other side will be looking for information that can damage your claim or make the severity of your injuries seem less than they actually are. Being honest and open with your lawyer is critical. If the other side tries to use personal information against you that has nothing to do with the claim, your lawyer could have it suppressed. But it’s important to be truthful.

Gathering medical records and other types of evidence for a personal injury case can be complicated and time consuming if you don’t have a lawyer. If you want to consult with an experienced attorney about your personal injury case, call us today. We’re open 24/7 and ready to help!

What to Expect from Your Personal Injury Lawsuit

Every situation is different and each case is unique, however there are common stages of personal injury lawsuits.

If you have been in a car accident where you were injured, you may find yourself filing a personal injury claim. Because you may not know what to expect, we’ve outlined some of the common elements of a personal injury case.

Medical Care

Seek medical care, without getting medical care after your accident a claims adjuster or the other party’s lawyer could claim that your injuries weren’t serious or were not a result of the accident. Always be sure to get:

  • Diagnosis
  • Treatment
  • Prescriptions

It’s important to finish all required medical treatment. Record it all and keep copies of bills.

Time Limits to Bring a Case: The ‘Statute of Limitations’

In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases gives an injured person two years from the date of the injury to go to court and file a lawsuit against those who could be responsible.

Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer

You could settle the claim with your car insurance, however if the insurance settlement seems unfair to you, you have the right to legal aid.

A lawyer could protect you from an unfair settlement. With us, the initial consultation is free and we have a network of knowledge and experienced lawyers to connect you with.

Review Phase

After we connect you with a personal injury lawyer they will begin to collect information about your claim:

  • Accident details: witness information, photos of the accident scene, your property and injuries, and police reports
  • Your injuries and medical treatment
  • Medical expenses and records

Upon review, your lawyer will determine the value of your damages and whether to negotiate a fair settlement, file a lawsuit on your behalf, or find that your situation does not merit a claim.

Types of damages your attorney will weigh include:

  • Economic: these are financial losses like damages to your vehicle, medical costs and loss of wages at work
  • Non-economic: these are emotional and psychological tolls

Making a Demand

Once the damages have been outlined and equated to a monetary settlement, your lawyer will formalize a demand letter. Once the demand is made, your attorney will proceed with negotiations, as the insurance company may likely not agree to the proposed settlement amount.

Why Do So Many Cases Settle?

Settling the case out of court has many advantages for everyone involved.

  • Settlements allow a defendant to control risks and avoid legal costs
  • Settlements can allow a defendant to keep the case out of the public eye
  • Settlements allow a plaintiff to avoid a long trial
  • Settlement delays due to trial
  • Settlements allow a plaintiff a guaranteed victory

If they case can’t be settled out of court, the trial will proceed, unless the claim is dropped.

How Often Should I Hear from My Attorney?

The research that goes into determining whether you have a case and then the value of that case is a time intensive process. Personal injury cases are lengthy by nature and negotiations are no different.

It’s natural to be curious about the status of your claim, but know that your attorney’s office has paralegals on staff to help guide your case and answer your questions.

Patience is key in personal injury cases and as the old proverb states often no news is good news.

Top 5 Personal Injury FAQs

1. What exactly is a personal injury case?

A personal injury claim is a case in which you were hurt because of something that somebody else did or was responsible for (e.g., a car accident, truck accident or slip and fall). This usually occurs when someone is negligent. A personal injury lawyer will be able to tell you whether your situation is a personal injury case.

2. What does “negligence” mean?

Negligence is when someone doesn’t do what they are supposed to. For example, drivers are supposed to stop at red lights. They have a legal responsibility to do so. So, if a driver sees a red light but doesn’t stop, they were negligent. If they run the red light and cause you to be hurt, then they are responsible for the damages that result from their negligence.

3. How do I know if I have a personal injury case?

Speak with a personal injury lawyer. Our personal injury lawyers will talk to you for free to determine if you have a valid case. Don’t rely on the advice of the internet or your friends because they simply can’t tell you what an attorney can.

The biggest question is whether you can prove that someone is responsible for your injury; this isn’t always an easy question to answer, and that’s why you should talk to a lawyer.

4. How much compensation can I get?

Personal injury cases can vary drastically in value. The case is worth what your damages are. Damages can be medical bills, loss of wages, missed days of work, etc. One guide is to ask how much your medical expenses are. If you have 500 dollars in medical bills your case is worth much less than if you have 50,000 dollars in medical bills.

The most open damages are “pain and suffering.” Some would say that pain and suffering is usually three times the medical bills.

5. What are the most important things to do right after an accident?

It’s always wise to get medical attention if you are hurt in an accident.

With car accidents, make sure to get a police report. Do this even if the other driver tries to pressure you into not calling the police – it is one of the most important first steps that you take. Take pictures, get a police report, get medical attention, get the other driver’s insurance information and license plate.

Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer

How to Write a Personal Injury Demand Letter

A personal injury demand letter initiates the negotiation process, and as the injured party, you must create the strongest possible arguments for your claim. The details you include will start at the point of impact to your last day of treatment. It helps the adjuster understand the loss you have experienced due to the insured’s negligence.

A well-written demand letter has the ability to limit the adjuster’s objections to the amount of your settlement demand. Because of its importance, it’s usually better to let an experienced attorney write this letter. If you do plan on writing it yourself though, read on.

Your demand letter must contain arguments related to:

  • What your injuries were and are
  • Why the other party is legally responsible for your injuries
  • Details related to your medical treatments including cost
  • Details related to loss of income
  • Damages suffered as a result of the injury

Before you start to draft your letter, review all your notes from the days and weeks following your accident. This will serve as a reminder to the pain, discomfort, inconvenience, lost income, and medical treatments you have had to endure.

When you start drafting the demand letter, follow this layout:

  • The heading
    • Your name, address, contact detail
    • The name of the insurance company, the adjuster’s name and title, and the company’s address
    • The date
    • Include the statement “For Settlement Purposes Only” so the adjuster knows the information included in the letter cannot be used if the case go to trial
    • “Re:” followed by the claim number and information
  • The Body
    • An introduction section that lets the adjuster know your treatment has concluded and you are ready to start settlement negotiations
    • The details of your accident and details that remove any hint of fault on your part
    • The injuries section that sets out your specific treatment, including the full extent of mental and physical pain you’ve experienced. Don’t hold back! Emphasize your pain, the length and difficulty of your recovery, the negative impact on your daily life, any long-term or permanent disability injuries, etc.
    • The liability section should leave no doubt of the insured’s liability by referencing witness statements, etc. Describe how the accident happened and why the insured person is at fault. Give an account of what you were doing immediately before the accident and how it occurred. You may refer to supporting documents you have such as the police report, building code sections, or witness statements.
    • The special and general damages section which details the compensation you’ve incurred for medical expenses, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and past and future suffering. Include a complete list of each medical provider who treated you and the amount paid to each. In regards to lost wages, refer to documentation from your employer verifying your pay and the missed time.
    • The settlement demand section should state a specific amount of money you want as total compensation for your pain, suffering, lost income, and other losses. Use a figure that is higher than what you think your claim is actually worth – a general rule is about 75% to 100% higher than what you would be satisfied with. This allows room for negotiation with the insurance adjuster.
    • In the closing section, thank the adjuster for his assistance and provide a timeframe for their response.

Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer

Not sure what steps to take after being involved in a car accident or any other type of personal injury event? Don’t get overwhelmed or stressed about the process! Call today to ask a 24 personal injury lawyer about your legal rights and potential personal injury claim.

As you may know, accidents and injuries can change your life. If you have an injury from an auto accident, defective product, or work related slip and fall, you may not be able to immediately return to work. Also, paying medical bills and other expenses can be tough without your regular income. A personal injury lawyer can help you file an accident claim, so that you receive justice and fair compensation for your medical expenses.

Unfortunately, there is a limited time frame in which you are legally allowed to file a personal injury claim after an accident. Ask an accident lawyer about these deadlines and whether you are eligible for compensation. Call 888-943-0190 today and schedule a free consultation. Personal injury lawyers protect your rights and shield you from unfair insurance practices after an accident.

Speak with one of our personal injury lawyers, and find out if you are eligible for any of the following:

  • Treatment from medical specialists
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation
  • Car repair or replacement
  • Payment for lost wages
  • Monetary compensation for pain and suffering

Don’t worry about paying upfront fees. Our personal injury lawyers work on contingency, which means one thing alone. That is, either you get paidor you don’t pay at all! Our agents are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Experienced 24 Hour Personal Injury Lawyers

For more than 35 years, we’ve connected accident victims to quality legal help for their personal injury cases. Accident attorneys and personal injury law firms in our network have helped thousands of victims receive the compensation they deserve.

Additional benefits of calling us:

  • It’s easy.
  • We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • You don’t pay a penny out-of-pocket.
  • Find out if you have a case right away.
  • The no obligation consultation is free.
  • You don’t pay unless we win your case.
  • The call is confidential.

Call 888-943-0190 today and ask a personal injury lawyer if you qualify for compensation or other benefits.

24 hour personal injury lawyer. Photo of a lawyer standing in shaded area with arms crossed in front and smiling.

Personal Injury Lawsuit: What Are The Odds Of Winning Your Case?

If you’ve been injured in an accident that was caused by the fault of another person (or entity), then you could be entitled to sue and recover damages under the law. Though a lawsuit may seem straightforward at first glance, securing compensation can be a complex and difficult-to-predict process.

With the help of an experienced attorney, however, you can put together the strongest case possible, maximizing your likelihood of success. Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, we maintain a network of attorneys who are standing by to provide assistance. Contact us today to connect to an experienced personal injury lawyer in just 10 minutes or less. Consultation is free and confidential.

While the question often is, what percentage of personal injury cases go to trial, this article will discuss the factors that are likely to impact the odds of winning your personal injury case.

One of the first questions that a personal injury plaintiff has — even before they contact an attorney — is “what are the odds that I’m going to win my case?” Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to that question. There are many factors that can influence whether you “win” or “lose” your case.

In fact, whether your case is resolved through a negotiated settlement or trial litigation, these factors will impact the outcome.

Let’s take a brief look.

Factors Likely To Impact The Success Of Your Case

Defendant’s Strategic Approach

Defendants often have different strategic approaches to a lawsuit, and that will undoubtedly impact the success of your case (and how the case plays out).

The nature of litigation is that it is public. As such, defendants often prefer to avoid extensive litigation and the potential negative publicity that it could bring — but not all defendants are the same. Some defendants take the strategic position that it’s important to aggressively litigate to discourage others from coming forward with similar cases.

For example, auto manufacturers often prefer to litigate aggressively, as they don’t want other plaintiffs to come forward claiming that they were injured due to manufacturer-related defects in their vehicles. These cases can be more challenging to win, as the defendant will invest significant resources into fighting the case.

By contrast, a discrimination claim may be resolved early by your employer, as they might prefer to avoid the negative publicity of being associated with potential discrimination in the workplace.

Certainty of Liability and Damages

All litigation is uncertain by its very nature. The key to securing a higher settlement offer (or a higher likelihood of success at trial) is to introduce evidence that makes the liability of the defendant more clear. Similarly, the more well-supported the damages claim, the less possible it is for the defendant to successfully challenge it.

For example, if you’ve been injured in a car accident, you can introduce video evidence (perhaps procured from the security footage recorded by a nearby business) of the accident itself. The video evidence may show that the defendant clearly was speeding and through their own negligence caused the accident. With clear liability, you can significantly improve the likelihood of success in securing compensation.

Procedural Issues

There are numerous procedural issues that can crop-up over the course of litigation, such as statute of limitations issues. For example, if you wait too long to file your injury claims, then you may have delayed past the applicable statute of limitations deadline, thus completely abandoning your right to sue and recover damages in court.

Working with a skilled attorney is critical to avoiding procedural roadblocks, whether those roadblocks are linked to statute of limitations issues or other procedural issues.

Contributory Fault Concerns

Fault principles vary from state-to-state. In some states, like California, you — the injured plaintiff — can be 99 percent responsible for your own injuries, and yet you’ll still have a right to sue and recover damages from the defendant (who is just 1 percent at-fault). In other states, if you — the plaintiff — are even 1 percent at-fault for your own injuries, then you are prohibited from recovery. This is known as contributory fault.

As a general matter, your own contribution of fault will make it more difficult to secure compensation (even if the laws do not prohibit recovery for contributory fault). For example, in California, if you didn’t wear a seatbelt and got injured in a car accident, then the defendant will try to argue that you are mostly responsible for your own damages, and they cannot be held liable. Depending on the evidence, you may still be able to secure damages, but those damages may be reduced by your contributory fault.

Settlement vs. Trial

US Government statistics show that about 5% of personal injury cases go to trial. The other 95% are settled pretrial. Many experts say that 90 percent of cases that do go to trial end up losing. And for cases that go to trial and win, a trial judge is likely to grant more compensation compared to a jury.

These numbers may be shocking to you, and even cause you to question whether a lawsuit is worth it. One of the biggest factors for so many pre-trial settlements is due to the fact that a trial can drag out over the course of several years. In that timeframe, personal injury victims may experience the loss of a job and dire financial consequences due to all the bills they have to pay.

Another factor that causes delays, both for pre-trial and settlement purposes, is that of resources. In criminal cases, multiple detectives are typically assigned to investigate a case. In personal injury instances, one investigator is usually assigned to the case. The injuries, the accident itself, witness statements, and the circumstances that caused the accident are all areas that must be investigated. It may take up to six months or more to get all this work done.

In situations where victims need a settlement as soon as possible for mounting debt, it is important they work with a lawyer they can trust to advise them properly. An attorney may suggest arbitration with an appointed arbitrator in order to move the process along.

Negotiating is usually a time-consuming activity, as there will undoubtedly be back and forth from both sides. If you ultimately decide against their final offer, your case will go to trial. At this point, it’s not unreasonable that two years have already passed!

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in our Network for a Free Consultation

You can ensure your chances of the most successful outcome by working with attorneys who have a strong track record of wins. Contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 to get connected to a qualified attorney in our network for a free initial consultation. After listening to the details surrounding your personal injury occurrence, they will give you valuable advice on how to proceed.

Personal Injury Lawsuit: What Are the Odds of Winning Your Case

What is Medical Malpractice?

Did you or a loved one receive medical attention, and leave the hospital in worse condition than you arrived in? You may have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Medical malpractice occurs when a health care provider’s professional negligence results in inadequate treatment, which results in patient injury.

Typically, these types of cases can be difficult to pinpoint, being that there needs to be a strong legal basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, you will need to prove that the physician acted negligently in rendering care, and that such negligence resulted in injury. Injuries or harm resulting from the negligence do not have to be related only to physical and mental pain, but also can be related to lost income and future medical costs.

Legal Requirements

In all medical malpractice cases, these four elements, as stated by the National Center for Biotechnology Information must be proved to provide a legal basis.

  • The existence of a legal duty on the part of the doctor to provide the best care possible to a patient
  • A breach of this duty on behalf of the doctor to adhere to the standards of the profession
  • A causal relationship between said breach of duty and injury to the patient
  • The existence of damages that stem from the injury and solicit a claim for compensation

What is Medical Malpractice: Common Cases

According to the Journal of Patient Safety, there are 400,000 deaths a year from preventable medical errors, making preventable medical errors the third most common killer in the United States.

Common medical errors include: childbirth injuries, medication errors, anesthesia errors, and surgical errors. Most medical malpractice claims fall into 3 categories: failure to diagnose, improper treatment, and failure to warn a patient of known risks.

Why Hire a Medical Malpractice Lawyer

A medical malpractice lawsuit is very complex and the burden of proof lies with you, that’s why it’s best to get professional legal help.

An experienced medical malpractice lawyer knows how to prove negligence, what evidence will support your claims, how to properly examine medical documents, and how to deal with medical companies. If you think you may have a medical malpractice lawsuit, call today and speak to an experienced lawyer about your situation.


SOURCES:

  1. Journal of Patient Safety. A New, Evidence-based Estimate of Patient Harms Associated with Hospital Care. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. An Introduction to Medical Malpractice in the United States. Retrieved February 12, 2014.

Strengthen Your Auto Accident Claim

You may be able to file a personal injury claim for compensation if you have been the victim of an auto accident caused by another driver’s negligence. Your attorney will need to prove that the other driver caused the collision and that you suffered tangible damages. These damages refer to injuries that required medical attention, out-of-pocket costs related to your injuries, lost wages due to your injury, pain and suffering due to the accident, etc.

The actions you take immediately following an accident can have a lasting affect on your claim and the compensation you receive. In order to help maximize your compensation and protect your rights 1-800-THE-LAW2 is breaking down 10 steps you should follow to help strengthen your auto accident claim.

10 Steps You Can Take to Strengthen Your Auto Accident Claim

  1. Call 911 immediately. The other driver may try to convince you to settle with them on the spot, but you need to make an official accident report even if the damage is minimal. While you may feel fine at the scene, your body may suffer pain after a few days and you’ll regret not getting an official report.
  2. Remain calm and caring. Making the effort to comfort others while you wait for authorities to arrive is not only a nice thing to do, but it will help others view you as a caring individual. Just be sure not to make statements that may admit to your own negligence.
  3. Exchange information with the other driver. Ask to see their license and insurance card. Write down the information on the cards and ask for contact information.
  4. Take photos and videos on the scene. Take pictures from every possible angle. Record the scene on video so you and your attorney can refer to it at a later date in case you cannot remember precise details. Be sure to get images/video of all vehicles involved in the collision.
  5. Record any conversation you have with the driver, in case they openly admit fault. You can use these statements as evidence during a trial or settlement talks if they suddenly claim the accident was your fault
  6. After you have finished taking pictures and recording the scene of the accident, approach witnesses and ask if you can get their names and contact information. Ask a witness to write down what they saw, but if they don’t have the time, ask if you can record a video of what they saw as an alternative.
  7. Get a police report which is usually available a few days after a collision. The report will include a description of the accident, a diagram of the scene, and the officer’s assessment of fault.
  8. Accept medical care at the scene of the accident. Sometimes adrenaline can mask the pain of a serious injury so allow the paramedics to check you out and determine what kind of treatment you need.
  9. Meet with an attorney. You can contact 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a free consultation with an auto attorney who can advise you on the best way to deal with your case. Your attorney will handle all the details related to your case, such as contacting the driver’s insurance company.
  10. Seek follow-up medical treatment for injuries you sustained and keep copies of all records and receipts.

To help strengthen your auto accident claim, consult with an experienced and knowledgeable auto accident lawyer from 1-800-THE-LAW2 for free. Our bilingual representatives are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to take your call.

10 Things to do After a Car Accident

According to the National Safety Council, there were an estimated 40,000 deaths in 2016 due to motor vehicle crashes. That number is a 6% rise from 2015 and a 14% increase in deaths since 2014. In addition to these fatalities, the Council also estimates 4.6 million serious injuries as a result of road injuries resulting in costs of about $432 billion.

2 men talking after a car accident

Car accidents can be traumatic experiences, not only for the injured but also for their families, friends, fellow passengers, and pedestrians. While you can never truly be prepared, there are certain steps you can take to ensure the best outcome in terms of financial liability. Here is a list of 10 things to do after an accident:

Check on the status of passengers.

Human injuries require more immediate attention than damage to your property. Try to assess the extent of everyone’s injuries so you can accurately direct medical personnel to those who need attention first. Avoid moving unconscious individuals or those with neck/back pain as doing so may actually end up causing more harm than good.

Stay at the scene.

Even if you are involved in a minor incident, wait until the authorities arrive to give your account of the events. Driving away may cause you more headaches, especially if someone has been seriously injured. You may face serious criminal penalties for fleeing the scene.

Call the police.

Even if there are no serious injuries, calling the police can help protect your rights when it comes to filing a claim with your insurance company. In the event of any kind of accident, pedestrians or witnesses may call the police themselves even if you and another driver agree to handle matters yourself. You should still be prepared to answer their questions and cooperate. For serious accidents that involve injuries, expect to give a statement about what you saw and the actions you took.

Provide an accurate statement.

Tell investigators your account of events to the best of your ability. If you can’t recall specific details, be honest instead of guessing. When asked about any injuries you have sustained, it’s better to say that you are unsure instead of writing off the possibility because injuries from auto accidents may take days to materialize.

Take pictures.

Use your phone to take pictures of specific areas of damage, the position of vehicles, the cross streets, and even shots of witnesses who are standing around. The scene of an accident can be hectic and confusing, so it’s natural that you may be unsure of exact details. Having images to look back on can provide clarity. If the accident leads to court appearances, you can also use pictures as evidence, or your attorneys can try to find witnesses to testify on your behalf.

Exchange information.

Cover all your bases by getting the names, addresses, and numbers of all persons involved in the accident – drivers, passengers, and pedestrians alike. You should also make note of the name of the officer who took your statement and their badge number. Obtaining accident reports or following up on the status of the report will be easier if you have these details handy.

Seek medical attention.

Seek medical attention at the scene of the accident, or immediately after at your local emergency room. Even minor accidents can cause serious injuries to your back or spinal cord.

Talk to witnesses to get an idea of what he or she saw.

Get names, numbers, or addresses if possible. You never know if the other driver will file a claim against you and having witness details can help.

Keep a file of all your accident-related documents and information.

This includes police documents, pictures, witness details, medical bills, medical statements, the claim documents related to your case including the name of the claim adjuster, receipts for rental car expenses, and other expenses incurred because of the incident.

Hire an attorney.

If the accident caused serious injuries to any party, having a lawyer to represent you will alleviate some of your stress. Work with a lawyer who is experienced when it comes to personal injuries so they can get you the best settlement.

Get the Most from Your Auto Accident Claim

Dealing with insurance companies after an auto accident can be difficult and stressful, especially if you or a loved one has injuries resulting from the accident. Insurance companies may try to take advantage of you, and give you as little for your auto accident claim as possible. To get the most out of your auto accident claim, it is essential to remember these tips when dealing with insurance companies after an auto accident.

Dealing with Insurance Companies to File an Auto Accident Claim

What to do:

  1. Call police immediately: It is important to call the police immediately, especially if you suffered injuries in the accident.
  2. Gather as much evidence as possible: Gathering contact and insurance information, as well as taking pictures of the accident can help you get the most out of your claim. If there are any witnesses, make sure you gather their contact information to strengthen your case.
  3. Call your insurance company to report the accident: When calling your insurance company, give only the basic facts of the accident. Don’t give too much information without consulting with a lawyer.
  4. Seek medical attention, or contact your doctor for an appointment: If you are injured, or think you may be injured see a doctor right away. You may have injuries you do not know about, or injuries that will continue to worsen if untreated.
  5. Call 1-800-THE-LAW2: An experienced 1-800-THE-LAW2 auto accident lawyer could maximize the compensation for your auto accident claim. According to a study published by the Insurance Research Council, those who hire an attorney get almost 3.5 times more compensation from insurance companies.

What not to do:

  1. Make any recorded statements: If you are called upon by insurance companies to make a recorded statement, don’t give one until you have consulted with a lawyer. A 1-800-THE-LAW2 auto accident lawyer will guide you through what to say, so your statement doesn’t hurt your auto accident claim.
  2. Make a statement to the other party’s insurance company: Making a statement to the other party’s insurance company may affect your auto accident claim negatively. Their job is to protect their client.
  3. Sign any forms without consulting with a lawyer: By signing forms, you may be signing away your legal rights. A lawyer will make sure you aren’t signing any forms that will prevent you from receiving full compensation for your auto accident claim.
  4. Accept insurance company’s check: You may have a medical injury that does not show up immediately, and by accepting the company’s check early on, you could be prohibiting yourself of getting the full compensation for your injuries. Once you accept the check, you cannot ask for more compensation.
  5. Rush to accept an offer: Accepting the first offer may mean you are accepting a smaller compensation than you deserve. If an insurance company thinks you are unaware of how much your claim is worth, they may offer you less.

Car Accident Costs

A Vehicle Accident Costs More Than You Think

If you live in Los Angeles or another metropolitan city with heavy traffic, vehicle accidents are the norm. There are just too many cars on the road to avoid getting in an accident.

When most of us think about vehicle accidents, two things come to mind: our health and our car. The first thing to think about after an accident is your health. No matter how minor your injuries might seem, don’t self-diagnose. Go see a doctor right away. If you don’t, it could cost you.

Being in a car accident is expensive. But do you know how expensive?

And after a car accident, should you have to spend one night in the hospital, depending on what medical procedures and tests are prescribed, you could easily see a bill of $10,000 or more!

Let’s say you don’t go to the doctor but start feeling pain in your neck a few weeks later. Another few weeks go by and the pain is still there. Finally, you go to the doctor. You’re told you have whiplash and should stay out of work for the next few weeks. Whoa. You never thought a vehicle accident would lead to this. How are you going to pay the bills if you take time off?

Hopefully, if you’re in an auto accident, your injuries will be mild and you will quickly recover. Here’s another scenario. You get in an accident and your car is so damaged that you have to rent a car to get to and from work. Your insurance only covers so much, so you have to pay a ton out of pocket. Then you get the bill to fix your car. Ouch! You don’t have enough to cover it, and it’s going to take weeks to save up. Then you go to the doctor and find out your leg was actually hurt pretty badly and you’ll need rehabilitation therapy for at least six weeks. Your insurance doesn’t cover the full cost of therapy, so you’ll have to cover the difference each session.

Let’s talk about the costs of repairing your car. According to a recent survey by Bodyshopbusiness.com (of body shop owners from around the country), the cost to repair the frame of your car is nearly $60 an hour. Body repair and painting is at least $50 an hour. Mechanical repair is nearly $70 an hour. And these prices do not include the cost of parts and materials!2

Add in your lost wages, physical therapy, insurance deductibles and possible increases in premiums to your auto insurance and health care, and you’re looking at tens of thousands of dollars in accident-related costs, from even a moderate “fender bender.”

Unfortunately, insurance companies don’t always pay you all you need to cover your losses. There have been reports of insurance companies routinely denying and delaying payment of claims in hopes you’ll accept any amount of money they offer, no matter how small.

How Do Car Accidents Impact Insurance Rates?

Feeling hesitant about contacting your insurance company after an accident is understandable. Most drivers make the assumption that filing any kind of claim with their insurer will automatically result in higher premiums. While this is true in some cases, how car accidents impact insurance rates really depend on specific state and provider rules.

A 2015 study by insuranceQuotes.com found that drivers who make just one claim could end up paying an average of 41 percent more for their car insurance – this is usually the case for single claims of $2,000 or higher. The average U.S. auto insurance premium is $815 and this would equate to an increase of $335 per year. Drivers who make two claims in one year can expect an increase of more than 90 percent.

Fortunately, if the accident was not your fault then your payments should not be affected to such an extreme extent. Minor accidents and fender benders may not automatically cause an increase, especially if you have a long history of safe driving. This may also be the case when it comes to fault. If you were not at fault in the accident, there is the possibility that your rate could remain the same.

Some insurance policies include accident forgiveness for your first violation or claim. If you’ve just had your first accident and your insurer provides accident forgiveness, you do not have to worry about a rate hike. Review the details of your policy or call your provider to find out if you are protected by this clause.

In general, states with stricter insurance regulations seem to have larger rate spikes after an accident. This is because laws mandate that insurance premiums be based solely on a handful of factors. In California, for example, a driver’s premiums are based on driving safety record, miles driven per year, and years of driving experience. If you get into an accident, your driving record does not help you, leaving insurers only two factors for determining your rates. However, states like Maryland allow insurers to include many factors in deciding rates such as gender, age, occupation, credit score, etc.

When it comes to how long drivers will have to pay increased premiums, there is no exact answer. These payments also vary by insurers and state, but here are some general guidelines:

  • Minor tickets – Moving and non-moving violations aren’t likely to impact your premiums too much. However, if you receive a second ticket, you could see a 3 to 10 percent increase to your premium. A third ticket could result in an additional 10 to 15 percent increase. Repeat offenders with a history of bad driving can expect to see the worst penalties. Traffic violation tickets will usually stay on your record for three years from the date that you are convicted.
  • Major tickets – One major ticket can cause a big increase to your monthly payment, possibly for the next two to five years. It is not uncommon for one major ticket to result in a 10 to 50 percent increase, while subsequent tickets will result in even higher percentages.
  • Car accidents – If you have an at-fault accident within a six-year period, your rates are unlikely to be affected, but you should consult with your insurer to confirm. If you get into a second accident, you could experience increased rates lasting between three to six years.

A Vehicle Accident Lawyer Can Give You The Protection You Need

Insurance companies are smart! To reduce their operating expenses, sometimes they will offer you a settlement check right away for a “full and final release.” While you may think they’re providing great service, what they’re really trying to do is buy you off before you discover how serious your car’s damages or your physical injuries are. Generally speaking, once you accept their settlement check, you can’t go back for more money. Clearly, with so much money at stake, it’s critical for you to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. Time is money – especially in relation to an auto accident.

A personal injury lawyer works for you. He or she is on your side and will work to protect your legal rights and your best interests.

A personal injury lawyer can help get your doctor and hospital bills paid, while your insurance claim is being reviewed. An attorney can help get your car repaired and your auto body shop bills paid prior to settlement of your case. Life without a car is challenging, imagine having to wait weeks or months for your claim to be settled before getting your car repaired. Nobody in Southern California should be forced to wait that long!

A personal injury lawyer will deal with the insurance companies and their adjusters so you don’t have to, saving you time and frustration.

Your personal injury lawyer will work to maximize the monetary compensation you receive for your pain and suffering.

There’s one additional cost of being in an accident that no dollar figure can be put against: the impact it has on your family and your quality of life. An accident that happens in the blink of an eye could affect you and your loved ones for life.

These are just a couple of ways the costs of a vehicle accident can quickly add up to thousands of dollars that you don’t have. If money is tight, it can start to feel like a car wreck is wrecking your life in more ways than one. The good news is you could avoid a catastrophe with one quick call to us. You need not go thorough this traumatic experience alone. I encourage you to get help by immediately retaining an attorney you feel comfortable working with. Everyone has the right to get justice after a car accident. Hiring an attorney is step one to making sure you get it.


Whiplash Injury Facts: The Long-Term Effects

Whiplash is a common injury resulting from a car accident, truck accident or any other type of accident where the head is rapidly and abruptly “whipped” forwards and backwards.

The most common type of car accident is an impact in the rear. Typically, the vehicle that gets “rear-ended,” or impacted in the rear, is at the greatest risk of experiencing a whiplash injury.  

Contrary to popular belief, a whiplash injury is not trivial. In its early stages, whiplash can cause pain in the neck, shoulders, head and base of the skull. Other symptoms include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, sleep problems, blurred vision, ringing in the ears, and poor concentration and memory. Most people recover from whiplash symptoms in a few weeks to a few months. However, about 15-20 percent of people develop chronic pain.

Whiplash Injury Treatments

The causes of whiplash pain may be related to sore and inflamed muscles, and strained discs and ligaments. This pain will not go away by itself; regular medical treatment is required.

Treatment typically involves X-rays and, possibly, an MRI for a diagnosis, followed by regular physical therapy – strengthening exercises, body mechanics – and, sometimes, spinal injections. In some cases, surgery is required.

Whiplash victims receiving treatment early on have a significantly better chance of fully recovering. Without proper treatment, whiplash victims can continue experiencing muscle pain, joint pain, chronic headaches and more for years following an accident.

But getting the right treatment can be a problem, and paying for the right medical care can be expensive.

A personal injury lawyer can be a tremendous help. Experienced whiplash injury lawyers can refer you to their network of medical specialists to ensure that you get the care you need. A lawyer can also help you get compensation to cover your medical bills, time off work, rehabilitation therapy, emotional distress and more.


Sources: 

What is Whiplash?” Spine-health: Trusted Information for Back Pain. Retrieved August 5, 2015.

7 Ways to Strengthen Your Passenger Car Accident Claim

When it comes to car accidents, most of the focus is on the health and wellbeing of the drivers involved. But passengers in car accidents get hurt, too. In fact, passengers often sustain injuries that are far worse than the drivers involved. Fortunately, the law works in your favor if you’re a passenger in a car accident.

Your rights are more favorable than a driver’s rights in one very significant way: You can file a claim regardless of who is at fault.

Depending on who is negligent, you can either file a claim against the driver of the vehicle you were in or against the driver of the other vehicle involved in the accident. If you have insurance, you can also file a claim with your insurance company under the medical coverage portion of your insurance.

But it’s up to you to take action. As a passenger, it’s important that you collect information about the car accident. Don’t rely on the drivers or other passengers – do it yourself to ensure that you have everything you need when you need it.

Steps to Protect Your Passenger Car Accident Rights

  1. Take pictures of the accident scene and the vehicles involved.
  2. Don’t talk about the accident with the other driver, the driver of your car or any other passengers. This might be difficult, but it’s in your best interest to keep mum.
  3. Stick to the facts when giving your statement to the police.
  4. Accept medical attention offered at the scene. You may not realize the severity of your injuries at that moment, and they could worsen without care. Plus, refusing care could work against you when you file a claim.
  5. See your doctor right away. This is critical; any delay in seeking medical care could prevent you from recovering full compensation for your injuries.
  6. Get a lawyer. A vehicle accident lawyer can help you get the most out of your accident claim.
  7. Avoid talking to insurance adjusters. Insurance adjusters are trained to get statements that help them minimize your claim. Refer them to your lawyer.

An experienced attorney who specializes in passenger accidents is your best asset after a car accident. With professional legal representation, your chance of receiving compensation is much higher than if you filed a claim on your own.

What To Do After a Bike Accident

Bicycle accidents can be stressful situations, and the injuries may be severe making it difficult for you to remain calm and think clearly. Knowing what to do before a bicycle accident happens is the key to handling the accident correctly and ensuring fair compensation for your injuries and damaged property.

Many cities across the U.S. are starting to create bike lanes and cycling-friendly areas. While riding a bike is great exercise, it comes with risks – just like any other mode of transportation. If you are involved in a bike accident, your immediate actions may impact your recovery and future lawsuits. Here are some tips on what to do after a bike accident:

  1. Before assuming you are fine, take a few moments to slow down, catch your breath, and make sure you can feel all parts of your body. Many cyclists assume they are okay, stand up, only to bend over again in pain. Take your time getting up, stretching, and assessing any damage before getting back on the seat and pedaling away. Some quick tests including walking back and forth a few times, moving your arms in all directions, and looking up, down, left, and right to evaluate whether you have any pain. If you do, call for help.
  2. If you feel nauseous, dizzy, or see any blood, don’t move around too much. Wait for medical assistance. A quick way to check on whether you hurt your head is to look at your helmet. If it is cracked or bent, consider a checkup with a medical professional as soon as possible since some injuries take a day or more to show up. Confusion or disorientation are signs of a concussion so if you don’t know where you are right away, there’s a chance you have one.
  3. Once you have checked yourself out and concluded you don’t have any serious injuries, check the condition of your bike. Wheels tend to take most of the beating in bike accidents, but make sure your tires are holding air, that the wheels are true, and that there aren’t any broken spokes sticking out. Test out the brakes in case they have jammed up.
  4. Next, take a look at the position of the brake levers and shifters. It’s usually easy to push them back into place, but riding away without checking may cause you more problems! Assess any damage or misplacement of the chain, and ensure the saddle is firmly attached to the seat post. Finally, inspect the frame for scratches and cracks that may have occurred due to your fall because even minor cracks can cause more damage as you pedal away.
  5. To minimize the injuries sustained with bike accidents, prepare a basic bike kit – especially if you are riding in remote areas, or for an extended period of time. It should include a multitool, chain link, spare tube, and mini-pump. A few basic first aid supplies are also recommended – bandage and wrappings, for example.

At the Scene of a Bicycle Accident

The best time to gather evidence is at the scene of the accident. Insurance companies need convincing evidence to get an idea of what happened. When gathering evidence, it is best to get as much information as possible and follow these helpful tips:

  • Remain calm
  • Check for injuries: keep in mind some injuries may not be apparent right away
  • Call the police
  • Gather information: insurance information, names of anyone involved in the accident, addresses, phone numbers, car details, license plate numbers, witness information, accident details
  • Take photos: bicycle damage, car damage, accident layout

If your bike crashes into a car, or gets hit by a car, you should go through the steps of a vehicle-to-vehicle accident:

  1. Call the police so they can take an official report. Do not attempt to negotiate with the car driver or entertain the idea of accepting money they may offer to fix your bike. You may not know for several days whether you have actually sustained injuries that cause sprains, whiplash, or joint pain.
  2. Give the police an accurate account of what happened, get the contact information for any witnesses, and swap contact information with the driver. If your accident is serious enough, consider consulting with an attorney to understand what your options are for recovering damages for your property, as well as any medical expenses.

After a Bicycle Accident

The accident does not end at the scene, what you do after the bicycle accident is just as important as what you do at the scene.

  • Seek medical attention
  • Document the accident in detail
  • Pick up your copy of the police report
  • Get your bicycle inspected and repaired
  • Note all expenses
  • Notify your insurance company of the accident
  • Speak with a lawyer

Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents

Bicycle accidents are on the rise, making it important to be aware of actions which are common factors of bicycle accidents. According to the California Highway Patrol, these are the most common causes of bicycle accidents:

  • Bicycle rider using the wrong side of the road
  • Driver making unsafe left or right turn
  • Bicyclist riding from driveway or sidewalk into path of car
  • Driver opening door as bicycle passes
  • Bicycle rider weaving, leaving edge of road or bike lane
  • Bicyclist making unsafe left turn
  • Bicycle without headlight or reflectors

If you were injured while bike riding a bike accident lawyer could help you get the compensation you deserve. Compensation you may receive includes: expense reimbursement for medical treatment, property damage and rehabilitation benefits. It is risk free, you get paid or you don’t pay at all! Calling us is easy and our helpful representatives are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Get your life back on track with the help of a bike accident lawyer.

SOURCES:

  1. California Highway Patrol. Bicycle Riding. Retrieved December 23, 2014.
  2. Washington Area Bicyclist Association. What to do after a crash. Retrieved December 23, 2014.
  3. Washington Area Bicyclist Association. What to do in the event of a crash. Retrieved December 23, 2014.

What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident

Riding a motorcycle may give you a thrill each and every time you get on your bike, but whether you ride as a primary means of transportation or just for fun on the weekends, driving one in California can be dangerous.

Common accidents include those involving blind spots, rear end collisions, driving between lanes or while changing lanes, failure to yield, taking curves too fast, and intersection accidents. Injuries may include amputation, broken bones, paralysis, brain injuries, and in the most extreme cases – death.

Knowing how to handle the aftermath of a motorcycle accident can save lives. As with other vehicle accidents, the first thing you’ll need to do is assess the status of everyone involved. If you are not in need of immediate medical attention move everyone you can to a point of safety, except those who might experience greater injuries due to any movement. If other drivers, passengers, or pedestrians have been hurt, call 911 right away and request an ambulance.

Next, take out your phone and snap pictures of the scene before authorities arrive, as they will likely move things around. Get the license plate number of all vehicles involved, street signs, the position and damage to all vehicles, and images of any possible cause of the accident such as slippery road conditions, fallen branches, debris, etc.

Once you have taken pictures, gather as much information as possible on everyone involved. This includes driver’s license information, vehicle registration, insurance provider, policy number, and license plate numbers (in case the images on your phone are accidentally erased).

Talk to witnesses to get their account of what happened. Take their names and contact information because it may be difficult to get written statements at the scene of the accident. You or your attorney can get in touch with them at some point in the future for an official statement.

Do not discuss the specific events or details of the accident with anyone other than the authorities. And never admit liability, even when speaking to police officers. Explain the facts of what happened without making any subjective statements and let them investigate the specifics to reach their own conclusion. Get the officer’s business card, or take down their name, phone number, and badge number so you can easily contact them to receive a copy of the official accident report.

If you are arrested or taken into custody, do not resist. Do not give statements to any parties until you have had contacted a motorcycle accident attorney. They will direct you on how to proceed.

Otherwise, contact your insurance company to make them aware of the accident.

If an adjuster from the other side’s insurance provider contacts you, do not panic, but do not answer their questions. Explain that it is a bad time and ask them to make an appointment for another day and time. Let your attorney know so he or she can coach you on how to reply, or sit in on the call.

Keep a record of all repair bills, medical expenses, and time off work that has resulted from the accident so that you provide all the paperwork to your insurance provider when filing your claim.

What is the Most Common Motorcycle Injury?

Motorcycles pose a safety risk, even for the most cautious drivers on the road because they are less stable and less visible than cars, vans, and trucks. When motorcycles crash, riders lack the protection of being enclosed and are more likely to be injured or killed.

Most Common Motorcycle Injury

The most common motorcycle injury is to a rider’s feet or legs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

When a fall takes place, a rider may put their hands out to protect themselves, yet hands and arms were much lower on the scale of injuries than feet or legs, which represent 30% of non-fatal injuries. This data highlights the importance of wearing a good pair of shoes that won’t slip off in a crash, like boots that zip, clip, or tie up above the ankle. Riders may also want to invest in long pants that have abrasion protection.

Other Common Motorcycle Injuries

The second most common motorcycle injury is to the head and neck, accounting for 22% occurrences.

Your head is one of the most important and heaviest parts of the body. While concussions may be mild, brain damage may be debilitating, or worse – fatal. Neck injuries may include everything from sprains to paralysis. Protect your head and neck from potential injuries by wearing a helmet at all times.

Road rashes occur when a rider slides across the pavement after an accident. This injury may result in more than just a cut, scrape, or bruise – such as permanent damage to the skin, irritation, infection, and even surface nerve damage. Consider wearing protective garments like kneepads, gloves, and a jacket. Leather is the best material to prevent road rash.

Injuries to the chest, back, shoulders, hands, arms, hips, and pelvis are also commonly caused by motorcycle accidents. As when driving a car, stay alert, follow the direction of traffic, avoid impulsive and unpredictable movements, and wear mandatory safety gear.

While only 19 states and the District of Columbia have laws requiring all motorcyclists wear a helmet, being cautious is better than sustaining any of these injuries.

5 Things Hit and Run Victims Should Do

On average, hit and run accidents account for 11 percent of all national traffic accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTS). Drivers in Los Angeles should be particularly mindful of how common these types of accidents are, as the number is four times higher in Los Angeles, accounting for 48 percent of all traffic accidents.

When we think of a hit and run accident we may think of a car collision, but the reality is that hit-and-runs often involve pedestrians. Any kind of accident is devastating, but an accident involving a pedestrian and someone leaving the scene-of-the-crime is particularly difficult to manage.

If you or a family member are ever involved in this type of tragic situation, there are some things you should do immediately to protect your rights as a victim of a hit-and-run accident.

What to Do Immediately After a Hit and Run Accident

  1. Remain at the scene.  Although hit and run accident laws vary by state, there is a common responsibility shared by anyone involved: to remain at the scene and provide assistance to anyone who may be injured. You should never chase after the car that has fled as you’re only putting yourself and other drivers in danger.
  2. Call for help. Contact law enforcement to document the accident and to obtain an official accident report.
  3. Identify the other car. If possible, you should try to identify the make and model of the car or jot down the license plate number. This applies to a description of the driver as well. Even if the dispatcher doesn’t ask for the descriptions, the officer on scene will need them.
  4. Identify witnesses. This is crucial in hit and run accident cases, as the culprit has left the scene and you will rely on witness accounts to validate your claims. The witnesses will help both the police and your insurance company determine who was at fault. It’s important to act quickly so that your witnesses don’t leave before you’re able to collect their information.
  5. Call an attorney. Getting legal help is especially important if your insurance company fails to cooperate with you or if the police are able to find the person that left the scene of your accident. An attorney can walk you through your rights hit-and-run accident victim, help gather or identify evidence for your case, and fight for compensation for the damages and injuries you sustained.

When you contact one of our hit and run accident lawyers, the consultation is free. Our attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning you get paid or you don’t pay at all!

Our offices are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so regardless of what time your accident occurs we’re available to help.

What to Do When Hit by an Uninsured Driver?

Getting into a car accident is an already stressful situation, but learning the at fault motorist is uninsured can only make the situation worse. Instead of the at fault motorists insurance policy paying for your medical, vehicle, and replacement car expenses, the responsibility falls on, you, the victim. It happens more often than people think, in fact 1 in 7 at fault motorists in a collision were uninsured.

In 2013 there were 250 million licensed motorists in the United States, and 16.1 percent of those motorists were uninsured. It is essential to be prepared for uninsured motorists before a car accident happens.

Steps to Take If You Are in an Accident with an Uninsured Motorist

If you were hit by an uninsured motorist, it is important to remember these simple steps.

  1. Call the police immediately, document, and take pictures of the accident
  2. Exchange contact information, and also get witness contact information
  3. Contact your insurance company, talk to them about uninsured motorist coverage
  4. After the incident: Take care of yourself if you have bodily injuries, and repair your car
  5. Contact a car accident lawyer for a FREE consultation. A car accident lawyer can help you file a claim, protect your rights and help you navigate the legal process.

What Are Your Options for Future Protection Against Uninsured Motorists?

With uninsured motorists being involved in 14 percent of accidents, it is necessary to plan ahead. Insurance companies offer a variety of plans to protect yourself against uninsured motorists, so you aren’t stuck paying medical bills, worrying about lost wages, and vehicle repair or the replacement of your car. Many states require insurance companies to bundle your car insurance with uninsured motorist coverage.

A few examples of coverage that can protect you are: uninsured motorist coverage, collision coverage, and rental replacement car coverage. Talk to your insurance company to find out whether you are protected or not against uninsured motorists. Don’t get stuck paying for your own compensation.

If you’ve been in a car accident with an uninsured motorist and you are the victim, an experienced car accident lawyer can maximize your compensation. Save yourself the stress, time and money while a lawyer handles your claim.


SOURCES:
1) Statistics Brain. Uninsured Motorist Statistics. Retrieved November 18 2014.
2) Esurance. Five-Step Guide to Handling an Accident with an Uninsured Driver. Retrieved November 18 2014.
3) Council of Better Business Bureaus. Victims Pay the Price for Uninsured Drivers: Even though it’s against the law, about 1 in 7 at-fault drivers are uninsured. Retrieved November 18 2014.
4) Statista. Total number of licensed drivers in the U.S in 2012, by state. Retrieved November 18 2014.

Auto Accident Settlement – Real Stories

The effects of an auto accident go far beyond getting your car repaired and seeing a doctor. The injuries you sustain, bills and loss of income are long-term problems. Having to haggle with not only your insurance but that of the other driver is very stressful and often insurance companies- even your own- don’t have your best interest in mind.

Our attorneys work with injured drivers and passengers every day to fight for the fair auto accident settlements they deserve. They understand that an auto accident settlement doesn’t just mean justice- it means being able to pay medical bills, being able to get your car fixed, being able to take care of your family and being able to get your life back together.

Here are some stories of people who decided to take control after their accidents and called us for legal representation:

Macy E. Macy was one block from home when she was rear-ended. The other driver was hostile towards her, so much so that the ambulance couldn’t give her assistance.  The other driver was yelling that it wasn’t her fault and that she wasn’t going to pay anything.

Macy suffered neck and back injuries as a result of her accident and she said the bills were extreme. Her doctor was expensive, the treatment was expensive and she said that she had a lot of bills that were coming in constantly.

She decided to call us to get help with her case and “got more than I wanted. I never would have thought it would have come out to be that much.”

Her auto accident settlement of $15,000 covered the cost of getting her car repaired, her medical expenses and the cost of her travel to and from the doctor.

Macy says of her auto accident lawyer “Still have his contact number and would use him again. When you find somebody you can trust you want to stick with them”

Denise T. Denise was on her way home from work when she was T-boned on the passenger side by someone who ran a red light. Her car was spun around five times from the impact. She suffered bruises and had back problems following her accident. Her car was also totaled.

After her accident she was out of work for four to five months and ended up losing her job. Denise knew that she needed to get help and called our experienced attorneys.

Denise’s auto accident lawyer got to work on her case right away and was able to get her auto accident settlement so that she could buy herself a new Acura MDX.

Denise said she enjoyed how quickly her lawyer began working on her case after she called “They came out to my home the next day. They made me an appointment immediately to go to therapy. I went to therapy for about four months and that helped quite a bit.”

If you were injured in an auto accident, don’t go it alone. An auto accident lawyer can help you get your medical bills paid, get your body shop bills paid, maximize your settlement and save you time, money and frustration.

To get someone on your side that will fight for the settlement you deserve with no out of pocket cost call us today!

How to Get a Car Accident Police Report

In addition to the information you gather on your own at the scene of an auto accident, obtaining a copy of the official police report is crucial to your insurance claim.

In many instances, insurance companies will turn down a claim if the police report is missing from the list of supporting documents.

Police usually gather the following information at the scene of an accident, which can go a long way in providing an accurate assessment of the situation:

  • Date, time, location of the accident
  • Personal data and statements from all drivers, passengers, and witnesses
  • A description of the injuries for each individual who is involved with the accident
  • Descriptions of the cars that are involved including year, make, model, and color
  • The officer’s account of the events that occurred and causes of the accident
  • The officer’s drawing of the accident scene and point(s) of impact
  • Details on the at-fault driver’s actions that ultimately caused the accident
  • Weather and road conditions that may have contributed to the accident
  • The extent of damage of each vehicle
  • Additional contributing factors relating to the event including speeding, vehicle malfunction, etc.

They may also take pictures of the scene and damage to the cars. Once they have secured the area and gotten all the relevant information, officers tend to use a worksheet at the scene and write up the official report back at their desks. Be sure to get the service number (aka reference number) you will need when requesting a copy of the final report.

Although your mind might be racing in a car accident scenario, remember to request the precinct information, badge number, and phone extension of the officer if you have the ability to do so. Having this information will allow you to get in touch with the officer easily after a few days have passed.

Requesting Your Accident Report

When you speak with the officer, start by reminding him or her who you are. Give some background such as the date of the accident, the circumstances under which it occurred, and the location. If you get voicemail, request that he or she call you back in reference to obtaining an official copy of the report for your insurance claim.

If the officer is unable to assist you for any reason, call the police department general inquiry line to find out the procedure for obtaining a report, or call the local courthouse and ask for a clerk. Once you ascertain which department has the report, you can go to the police station or courthouse and pick up a copy yourself. Some locations will charge a fee.

If you are unable to get a police accident report from both the police department and the courthouse, check in with your insurance copy to find out if they have received it. In some areas, your DMV office will have a copy of the report.

The process of obtaining a report can be frustrating if you don’t have many details about the responding officer. It is understandable that you will be preoccupied at the scene, but at the very least, cover your bases by taking pictures of the badge number and the police car as references for getting in touch later.

If you are working with a car accident attorney, he or she can intervene on your behalf to get a copy of the report. A lawyer can also negotiate directly with insurance companies to ensure you get the compensation your deserve.

Does Health Insurance Cover Car Accidents?

If you have been injured in an accident one of the first questions you may ask yourself is, “Does health insurance cover car accidents?”

Yes, typically your health insurance can replace your car insurance but there are specific instances for when it cannot.

Here are some details on how to use various insurance options to pay for your medical expenses related to a car accident.

Personal Injury Insurance and MedPay

PIP (personal injury insurance) is a form of car insurance that is meant to cover injuries, lost wages, and rehabilitation fees associated with a car accident. PIP is mandatory in a dozen states and optional elsewhere. MedPay is another form of car insurance that is required in a few states. If you reside in mandatory PIP/MedPay states, you are expected to use those limits before your health insurance.

The benefits of PIP/MedPay is that individuals do not need to prove that the other driver was at-fault, and reimbursements for bills are straightforward and released in a timely manner. Additionally, because PIP and MedPay do not come with out-of-pocket deductibles that most health plans usually require, you can avoid the payment. Once individuals have used all of their PIP and/or MedPay funds, they can then turn to their health insurance for coverage in most states.

Drivers who do not have PIP or MedPay may use their health insurance to pay for medical bills that were due to a car accident. This is generally the best way to proceed, although individuals may also consider filing a claim against the other driver’s insurance. Even so, the bills will need to be paid and claims can take months to process. It may be wise to send the medical bills to your health insurance as they arrive, as you don’t need to add extra stress to your life by building up debt. And just as you may want to file a claim against the other driver, your health insurance company may decide to recoup the cost of your treatment from the other driver’s insurance company.

If you do not have PIP or MedPay, consider opting in. PIP and MedPay both cover the injuries of other passengers in your vehicle. If you find yourself in the car with friends or colleagues at the time of your accident, this is a huge benefit because your health insurance will not cover injuries to anyone other than yourself.

And as unpleasant as it is to think about, PIP and MedPay will also cover funeral expenses. The loss of a loved one is a terrible tragedy, but the additional worry of paying thousands of dollars for funeral costs creates more stress to the situation.

PIP also covers lost wages due to injury up to a certain limit. Standard health insurance coverage does not include this provision, and you would otherwise need to buy Disability Insurance to recoup lost earnings.

Having multiple options when it comes to medical coverage provides a measure of reassurance and acts as a backup in case your health insurance provider denies your claim.

Arrange a free consultation with a personal injury attorney if you need legal assistance after a car accident. A lawyer can also help answer any questions you have in regards to the laws in your state when it comes to filing a claim.

What to do When Injured in a Car Accident

Increased Car Accidents During the Holidays

The number of drivers on the roads peak as friends and families get together to celebrate during the holiday season. As a result, more drivers are impaired by alcohol leading to a predictable increase in car accidents, according to California State Highway Patrol departments. DUI arrests are at their highest between Thanksgiving and the end of New Year’s weekend. In fact, during the Christmas and New Year period, the average number of fatalities involving alcohol-impaired drivers increased 34% in previous years.

Even pedestrians are more at risk during the holiday season. New Year’s Day is considered by some to be the most dangerous days to walk, as statistics reveal more pedestrian deaths occur on January 1st than any other day.

Car Accident Laws in California

If you have been in a car accident in California, there are time limits for filing different kinds of cases. Personal injury lawsuits must be filed within two years while property damage lawsuits must be filed within three years. These timeframes apply to the date of the car accident – not the date when the insurance claim was filed.

Car accident laws in California differ if your accident involved the government in any way (i.e. getting rear-ended by a city bus). Those rules require you to get your paperwork completed quickly and it may be best to consult an attorney from 1-800-THE-LAW2 as soon as possible.

If you share part of the fault for causing the accident, you can still recover compensation from any other at-fault party in California, regardless of the degree of your own fault. However, the compensation you recover will be reduced by the percentage of your fault.

long beach car accident attorney

How to Prepare for a Trial Scenario

Being involved in any kind of accident is scary, and it is understandable that individuals may panic. However, there are specific steps to take when injured in a car accident in California that will benefit you during a trial.

At the scene, or immediately after – seek medical attention. Even if you feel normal after the accident occurs, symptoms such as pain, discomfort, dizziness, and numbness may appear in the following days. Do not wait days until weeks after the accident to consult a doctor, as it will be harder to prove that your injuries were the result of the car crash.

Keep detailed notes and photos on your injuries, medical treatments, and the names and addresses of any doctors or professionals you were referred to after the accident. Keep receipts for medications and file every piece of paperwork that involves the car accident – whether from the insurance company, police documents, or medical notes. Print emails so you have the hard copy of all documents arranged in order.

Take pictures of the accident location, including stop signs and traffic lights. Snap pictures of your damaged car from multiple angles.

If you are able to write down the names and contact information of witnesses immediately after the accident, that is a huge plus because they may be able to corroborate your claims in court and to the insurance company.

Navigating the claim process can be complicated and an experienced attorney will have the knowledge and resources to help you get the highest possible amount for your claim. Get a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer when you call 1-800-THE-LAW2.

What Are the Different Types of Car Accidents?

Auto accidents may result in injuries, damage to your vehicle, and even increased insurance rates. Accidents can happen in a variety of situations and sometimes it’s not possible to avoid them. However, it may be helpful to be aware of the most common types of car accidents in case you find yourself in a similar situation.

  • Read-end collisions tend to occur due to sudden slowing or braking. The car behind may be following too closely, accelerating too quickly, or simply not realize what’s happening in order to stop quickly. Injuries to the occupants of the impacted car tend to be worse, with whiplash being a common injury for all drivers and passengers. Fault is usually attributed to the car that rear-ends the front car due to not being within stopping distance, following too closely, or lack of attention.
  • Side-impact collisions aka T-bone collisions occur when the side of a vehicle is hit by the front or rear of another vehicle or object. While damages to the vehicle and injuries are more likely to be severe in this type of car crash, these factors vary based on the part of the vehicle that was struck, the vehicle’s safety features including airbags, and the speed of the both cars involved in the accident.
  • Sideswipe collisions happen when two cars that are parallel touch and “swipe” each other. If both vehicles are traveling in the same direction and neither driver loses control of the vehicle, the damage may only be cosmetic. On the other hand, if one driver loses control of the vehicle, there may be more serious injuries and damages.
  • Vehicle rollovers happen when a vehicle flips over and lands on its side or roof. These accidents are very dangerous and scary. Any type of vehicle can be involved in a rollover accident but SUVs and other vehicles with a high center of gravity are more prone to a rollover occurrence due to their height. Rollovers may be caused by sharp turns at a high speed. Serious injuries include spinal cord injuries and brain trauma.
  • Head-on collisions happen when the front of two vehicles that are facing each other collides. This type of car accident is often fatal.
  • Single car accidents do not involve multiple vehicles. In some cases, a car might strike another objects such as a pole, trees, fire hydrant, walls, or may involve a pedestrian. Single car accidents may result in property damage and personal injury.
  • Hit-and-run accidents occur when one driver leaves the scene of an accident. It may be difficult to identify the vehicle and driver if there were no witnesses or video footage of the accident.
  • Multi-vehicle pile-ups involve multiple cars. They usually occur on highways or freeways and are one of the deadliest kinds of car accidents. Being trapped inside or between crumpled vehicles makes it difficult or impossible to escape. Fire presents an additional threat because it can quickly spread to spilled fuel and cover the entire crash area. Determining the cause of these multi-vehicle collisions is often difficult.

What to Do in a Rental Car Accident

Getting involved in a rental car accident may seem much worse than getting into a car accident involving your own vehicle. Taking responsibility for damages to your own car is one thing, but what happens when you’ve damaged someone else’s property? Before panic starts to set in, calm down and consider your situation.

Make sure everyone in your car and surrounding vehicles are safe. Call 911 immediately if anyone requires medical attention. If the cars are in an awkward position and putting other drivers at risk of danger, move the vehicles out of the way or call the police to help redirect traffic. Once the scene is safe, exchange information with the other driver(s) and take pictures of all vehicles that are involved.

What happens next depends on what kind of auto insurance you have. In some cases, individuals may only have car insurance through the rental company if they do not own a vehicle. On the other hand, others may be covered not only by rental coverage but also by their auto insurance and credit card companies.

How to Handle Damages in a Rental Car Accident

  1. If you paid for your rental car with a credit card, figure out what kind of coverage you have. Many credit cards will cover damages to the rental car under the Collision Damage Waiver. However, this does not include damages or injuries that have been inflicted on other cars or individuals.
  2. Before you take a trip, it is worth calling your credit card and asking whether the company offers primary coverage. This coverage means that you won’t have to deal with your auto insurer for coverage of rental car damages. It also helps avoid the chance of your insurance premiums increasing. Some credit cards may only provide secondary insurance, meaning you’ll have to go through your car insurance company first and the credit card company will pick up the costs of what’s left.
  3. Other details to double-check with your credit card company include exclusions on specific types of vehicles and trips. For example, expensive luxury cars are usually excluded, but sometimes vans and SUVs fall under the same category. Likewise, if you booked the rental car on a business credit card, you may need to prove that your travels were indeed business related.
  4. If your credit card does not cover rental car accidents, contact your auto insurance company to verify the extent of rental car coverage. Comprehensive and collision damage for your personal car typically pays for damages to a rental car. In the case where another car is involved in the accident, you’ll need to rely on your personal car insurance’s liability coverage as credit cards do not cover liability.
  5. Rental car companies also offer supplemental insurance. While you may consider this daily cost a waste of money, it can be helpful to exempt you from paying the deductible that your own insurance company and some credit cards will require. It’s also useful to sign up for this insurance when your credit card and personal insurance do not provide enough coverage for your comfort.

Whatever combination of coverage you may decide on, just make sure you have safeguarded yourself enough to avoid having to pay for damages and injuries out-of-pocket.

What to Do After a Car Accident That’s Not Your Fault

Driving to and from work, taking the kids to soccer practice, and weekend getaways are standard activities for millions of people who own vehicles across the nation. And while accidents happen everyday, you may not put a lot of thought into the idea that it could happen to you.

There are about 90 fatalities on the roads each day due to a variety of reasons including drunk driving, driving well above the speed limit, and not wearing seat belts. All drivers should be prepared in terms of what to do after a car accident not your fault.

Below are the steps to take if you find yourself in this situation:

The first thing to remember is to stay calm. If you are injured, call out for help so that people at the scene are aware that you need medical attention. If you are able to move or have not sustained any obvious injuries, check on your passengers, and other drivers/passengers who are part of the accident. Try to keep everyone calm while you call the police and ambulance but do not physically move anyone unless it is to get them out of harm’s way.

If the accident is bad enough, chances are that witnesses will automatically call the police and ambulance. Even if it is a minor accident without major damages or injuries, consider calling the police yourself in order to get a police report which can be used as leverage when you file your claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company.

Try to gather as much information as possible, depending on the severity of your injuries. If the other driver is clearly at fault, then he or she is responsible for reporting the accident to their insurer. However, you should still collect all the relevant details to protect yourself in the event of future litigation including:

  • The other driver’s name, address, number, insurance company name, and policy number.
  • Pictures of the accident, including license plate numbers, cross streets, position of the vehicles, damages to all cars involved, and damages to any private property as a result of the accident.
  • Witness names, numbers, and statements.

In an ideal scenario, the other person informs their insurance company, you submit your expenses, and the insurance company releases the payment for damages/medical treatment.

However, things don’t always work out so smoothly which is why protecting your interests is important. After you leave the scene of the accident, seek help for any physical injuries you experience. Pay a visit to your doctor or the emergency room even if you do not feel any obvious aches and pains as it may take up to a week for symptoms to appear. Keep a record of all your medical bills to provide copies to the at-fault party’s insurer.

Next, contact your own insurance company to let them know what happened. In the event the other person’s insurance company denies responsibility, your own company will likely appreciate your effort of informing them before they launch their own legal challenge against the other company.

If you do not provide a police report with your claim, insurance companies may completely deny it. In this case, your own insurer may cover the damages, sue the other company, or try to reach a settlement that works for everyone.

Consider consulting with an experienced car accident attorney to figure out how to proceed in a way that gives you the best chances for a favorable outcome.

What to Do After a Car Accident with No Insurance

Statistics from a few years ago found that one in seven drivers on the road have no car insurance at all. Being involved in an auto accident is traumatic enough, but if the at-fault driver does not have car insurance, the whole situation can feel like a complete nightmare.

Determining fault and figuring out who is going to pay for damages are two factors to examine after a car accident with no insurance by one of the parties.

Protect Yourself from Uninsured Drivers

While most states have laws concerning insurance coverage, many drivers may not be able to afford the cost, especially during downturns in the economy. Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage are options you should have to protect yourself. In fact, some states like California require all drivers to carry this type of coverage. Individuals involved in an accident with an uninsured driver (or even those who are underinsured) are vulnerable to substantial expenses.

Uninsured motorist coverage means that if the other driver does not have insurance, your insurance company will compensate you for your losses even if the accident is their fault.

Legal Penalties for Car Accidents with No Insurance

Car accidents involving drivers with no insurance are a great danger to all other drivers – and pedestrians. Drivers caught operating a vehicle without valid insurance may be fined $100-$200 for a first offense, and between $200-$500 for a second offense.

Additionally, the car may be impounded and towed away in which case it will not be released until the uninsured party obtains coverage and pays all towing and storage fees.

In California, the license may be suspended up to four years. This can happen whether the uninsured driver is at fault or not. Drivers may be able to get their license reinstated after one year if they obtain valid insurance, provide proof of it at the DMV, and pay a reissuance fee.

Civil Costs for an Accident without Insurance

The at-fault party in an accident is responsible for the cost of all resulting damage. This includes damage to all vehicles involved, medical costs for injuries to all parties, and damage public and private property such as street signs and lights, bus stop fixtures, store fronts, etc.

Uninsured coverage does not mean that an individual will be free from paying for their part in the accident. The insurance company paying out the uninsured coverage will likely sue the responsible party to recover their costs.

What To Do After a Minor Car Accident

A minor car accident such as a fender bender may be inconvenient, but at least you do not have to worry about serious injuries.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are more than seven million car accidents each year. Of those, more than two million people are injured and about 40,000 are killed. Fender benders tend to involve damage to the car, and most people settle quickly.

Vehicle-to-vehicle fender benders may result from various circumstances such as backing out of parking spaces or driveways, the inability to stop at intersections due to faulty brakes or slippery weather conditions, driving too fast in parking lots, distracted driving, as part of a chain reaction, or nodding off on the road.

While no one wants to be involved in any kind of car accident, fender benders have a straightforward protocol compared to more serious events.

Steps After A Minor Car Accident

Don’t panic. The first thing to remember is that no one has been hurt – it’s only steel and glass, and could have been a lot worse. If you are on your way to work, call the office and let them know you’ll be late.

Be pleasant, but not apologetic. Your natural instincts may be to apologize for the fender bender whether or not it was your fault. But it’s better to leave any comments for your insurance company because anything you say to the other driver may be used as evidence against you – even in a civil case.

Do not yell or react negatively toward the other driver(s). You do not want to escalate the event by turning a simple accident into a physical altercation. Avoid pushing, shoving, or threatening anyone.

Check for injuries. Even a fender bender can cause whiplash, soreness, or sprained muscles. If you or someone at the scene seems to be in any kind of pain, do not hesitate to call the police.

Calling the police is not always necessary, but you should do so if the vehicles are in an awkward position that has the potential to cause harm. If your vehicle was badly damaged, call the police in order to get a police report for your insurance claim. They will provide a report with the names and addresses of all parties involved, details surrounding the accident, a diagram, and make a designation of who was at fault. If the other driver was at fault and you reside in an at-fault state, this report will be crucial for your claim.

Exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver. While you may also show the other drivers your own driver’s license, be sure to get it back before he or she leaves the scene.

Take photos and videos with your phone. Even if your car only has a minor dent, it is still a good idea to document the position of the cars, the damage to the other driver’s vehicle in case they claim more serious damages than you remember.

Contact the insurance company to submit your claim. While the other driver should inform their own insurance provider, you may want to call the provider to cover all your bases.

How to Win a Car Accident Case – 6 Proven Strategies

If you’ve been hurt in a car accident, hiring a lawyer is one of the best ways to ensure that you get all the compensation you legally deserve. But it’s important to keep in mind that YOU play an important role in the outcome.

Here are 6 easy ways to have a positive influence on your car accident case:

1. Tell your lawyer the whole story, even the embarrassing stuff. Too many people make the mistake of withholding important details from their attorney because they’re embarrassed or afraid that they might have done something wrong. This is a huge mistake.

An experienced car accident lawyer knows how to work with all the facts and how to present less flattering details in a way that minimizes any impact on your case. On the other hand, if your attorney learns of potentially unfavorable details from the other side, it can be devastating to your case.

Remember, anything you say to your attorney is protected by attorney-client privilege; whatever you say is strictly confidential. As a general rule, it’s best to be upfront from the start. This gives your attorney the chance to investigate and prepare to disprove any potentially negative accusations.

2. Go to doctor’s appointments – and follow doctor’s orders. Getting healthy should be your first priority. Missing doctor’s appointments and ignoring your doctor’s advice isn’t going to cut it.

For your health – and for the health of your case – take medical visits and your doctor’s recommendations seriously. Failing to do so can be a detriment to your health — and could send the signal to the other side that you really aren’t hurt.

3. Fill out all necessary forms and return them on time. There will be a number of forms that you will need to complete once you start a personal injury claim.

Throughout the duration of your case, you may also need to provide your lawyer with insurance documentation and medical reports. All of this paperwork is necessary to move your case along, and some forms may have deadlines to file. Be sure to complete any forms in full and on time to avoid a delay in progress.

4. Lay off Facebook and Twitter until your case is closed. Things you say in a post, tweet or status update says a lot about your physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.

If you have a serious personal injury claim and tweet about going snowboarding or post pictures of yourself on a rollercoaster, it could be used against you. Insurance companies are infamous for using private investigators to follow people who have filed personal injury claims; they can do the same thing in cyberspace.

Security settings may not be as effective as you think, so it’s best to curtail or completely stop any social media activity until your car accident case is closed.

5. Listen well and ask questions. The goal of your lawyer is to help you maximize your car accident claim.

What your lawyer asks you to do – or not do – is based on this goal, as well as his or her experience with car accident cases and knowledge of the law. To achieve the best possible outcome, it’s important that you not only ask questions but also listen to and cooperate with your lawyer.

6. Be patient during the process. A car accident case takes time. Your attorney has to gather police reports, interviews from witnesses and medical reports.

This won’t happen overnight. And because injuries are involved, your injuries must be confirmed by a physician, (one reason why it’s so important to keep all scheduled doctor visits). Insurance companies are notoriously slow when it comes to making payments, so keep that in mind, too.

Finally, you should be wary of any attorney who tries to quickly settle your case; this could mean you wind up with less compensation than you really deserve.

If you’re still considering whether or not to hire a lawyer for your car accident case, give us a call. Our attorneys have years of experience and excellence.

How to Determine Fault in a Car Accident

Proving Fault After a Car Accident

Fault or liability is dependent on determining whose carelessness or negligence is to blame for the car accident.

After an auto accident there are two defenses that need to be weighed: comparative and contributory negligence. These two defenses determine the degree to which either driver is at fault for the crash and how much monetary compensation each driver will provide to cover damages.

Comparative Negligence

Essentially comparative negligence ascribes a percentage of the blame to both parties.

For example if Jane and John get into an accident, John may claim that Jane rear-ended him and therefore owes him compensation for the damage to his vehicle.

Jane may counter with a comparative negligence defense, stating that John was illegally double-parked and his car should have never been in her lane, saddling him with some of the responsibility.

When the case reaches trial the jury may find that John sustained $10,000 worth of damages to his car, but was also 40% liable for the accident. Comparative negligence rules deem that Jane must pay John $6,000 in damages ($10,000 less the 40% he is responsible for).

Contributory Negligence

Contributory negligence which is followed in Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and Washington D.C, states that if the defendant can prove any percentage of liability on the plaintiffs behalf, the plaintiff loses all rights to compensation.

Whether your state follows contributory negligence rules or comparative negligence, there are do’s and don’ts of fault.

Even if you really believe that it was your fault, keep it to yourself. Stick to the facts in your conversations with the other driver and the passengers.

How to Determine Fault in a Car Accident

Remain calm and respectful at the scene of the accident. Whether or not the accident was your fault, try to help any victims and respect the other party. Keeping the situation under control signals to witnesses and authorities that you are responsible and will ultimately help determine who is at fault more easily.

Resist any desire to admit that the accident was your fault. If the other parties or witnesses try to provoke you into admitting wrongdoing, step away until the authorities arrive. The last thing you want is to be caught on video or tape admitting fault, apologizing, or recounting any wrongdoing on your part.

Gather evidence at the scene with your phone. Take pictures of the accident, as well as videos. Look for street signs or the layout of the roadways and document everything you can. This will help your insurance company (and your attorney) determine who is at fault.

Police don’t always come to the site of car accidents, but if your collision is big enough, an officer will probably have to make some sort of official report. Be sure to get the names of officers at the scene, the precinct number, and even their badge number. Ask them how to get access to a copy of the report when it is ready. The report will definitely be a factor in determining who is at fault by the insurance companies on all sides.

The type of accident and the position of cars also give clues as to who may be at fault. For example, rear-end collisions are one of the most common types of accidents and the vehicle in the rear is usually at fault. This is because vehicles are supposed to leave enough room between their own car and the vehicle directly in front to navigate safely away from a dangerous situation. If the front car stops suddenly and the rear car still ends up hitting it, they probably weren’t driving safely.

Insurance companies will carry out their own investigations, but the more information you can provide, the better the chance of a favorable outcome. If dealing with insurance companies is too intimidating for you, consider hiring an attorney to represent you.

Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer

If you’re worried about having to pay damages after an auto accident, a lawyer could help you sift through your case and identify the proper evidence to prove fault. Remember there are two types of negligence that you could claim and an experienced car accident attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Post-Car Accident Symptoms

Car crash injuries may not always be obvious after an accident. A correlation between the severity of an accident and the injuries sustained does not always exist. Although you may think you are free from injuries, it is always important to seek medical attention after your car accident. Internal injuries, especially traumatic brain injury (TBI), usually show no immediate evidence of injury, but rather appear after some time. Without proper medical attention and documentation, it becomes more difficult to prove that any injuries you sustained resulted from your accident.

Signs of Underlying Injuries

It is recommended, despite not feeling any immediate pain after your car accident, to still be fully examined by a medical professional to assure you do not have any underlying injuries.

According to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), signs of personal injury can appear several days or even weeks after your car accident.

Common signs of underlying car crash injuries include:

  • Pain / Numbness/ Soreness of the Back
    • Muscular irritation, for example, can be one of many causes for upper and lower back pain as well as spinal pain
  • Dizziness / Migraines
    • Signs and Symptoms can include some, if not all of the following: throbbing pain, nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, flashes of light, bling spots, or tingling in the arms and legs.
  • Whiplash
    • A neck injury that may have some, if not all of the following symptoms: joint dysfunction, disc herniation, faulty movement patters, chronic pain, or cognitive and higher center dysfunction.

If you notice that you suffer from some, if not all, of these car crash injuries, seek medical attention immediately. A medical professional can keep a record of your injuries as well as your current health condition.

Document Your Injuries

A simple way to document any of your underlying car crash injuries is by using your medical record, which includes your current health status and evaluation after your accident. Take pictures of your visible injuries and record any type of pain you may suffer from.

It is also important to keep a record of the financial expenses related to your car crash injuries, including medical expenses and days you had to take off work for your recovery. The more detailed the documentation from your accident is, the better prepared you will be when the time comes to report a claim to your car insurance company.

Get a Free Legal Consultation

For over 35 years, our lawyers have successfully obtained families justice and fair compensation for their accident damages. If you were involved in a car accident, call today to obtain a free legal consultation with an experienced and trustworthy auto accident lawyer.

What are the Leading Causes of Car Accidents?

According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT), there are over 37,000 fatalities due to car accidents each year and an additional 2.35 million people are injured or disabled. A large portion of these accidents are due to human error and may lead to serious consequences with the law (and insurance companies) even for those who avoid harm.

Whether you are a new teenage driver, or have been on the roads for decades, it is important to re-evaluate the major causes of accidents every once in a while.

Leading Causes of Car Accidents

  • Distracted driving. This is the number one cause of car accidents in the U.S. today. Distracted driving includes any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the road. This includes texting, talking on a cell phone, eating, changing the radio station, inserting an address into the navigation system, etc.
  • Speeding is the second most common cause of accidents. Many drivers may be under the impression that there is no harm in going 10 miles over the speed limit. But then suddenly they are 20 over, or 30 over. Going over the speed limit puts other drivers in danger because it reduces their ability to pass, merge, and stop safely. Also, the faster one drives, the lower their response time.
  • Drunk driving. People who drive while intoxicated lose their ability to focus on the road and properly handle a vehicle. Statistics show that someone is injured in a drunk driving crash every two minutes. If you or your friends plan to drink – do not put yourself or anyone else at risk. Arrange for a designated driver, call a taxi or crash at a friend’s place.
  • Reckless driving occurs when drivers change lanes too quickly, purposely drive over the speed limit, and handle their vehicles in an aggressive manner. Reckless drivers are usually impatient in traffic, which can be unnerving for other drivers and lead to dangerous accidents. Before getting in your vehicle, remember to remain calm and that being aggressive is not worth putting your life in danger.
  • Weather conditions like rain, ice, and snow can cause even the safest drivers to end up deadly situations. Rain creates slick and dangerous conditions for all drivers and makes everyone on the road more susceptible to spinning out of control or skidding when braking. Ice and snow can cause the same problems, and black ice is another dangerous element that drivers may not even be aware of.
  • Running red lights and stop signals has the potential to cause wrongful death accidents because they usually cause side-impact collisions at high speeds.
  • Teenage drivers who lack experience may not always know what to do in various situations. Their hesitation may influence how other drivers or pedestrians react, and ultimately lead to accidents.
  • Driving at night almost doubles the risk of a car accident occurring. Limited visibility and not knowing what’s coming up slows down a driver’s reaction time. Seniors and teenagers who are on the road at night may be subject to even greater danger.
  • Tailgating. Maybe someone is just having a bad day and taking it out on the driver ahead of them, but there is never a good reason for tailgating another driver. Driving too close to another vehicle frequently causes accidents when one car brakes and the other lacks adequate space to brake safely. Typically, you should give the car in front of you a one-car-length buffer for every 10 mph you drive.

What Can You Sue For in a Car Accident?

After a car accident, you’ll need to determine how to proceed with your case – especially in the event of serious injuries which require regular doctor visits, time off work, or permanent disability. In deciding what you can sue for, you’ll need to first consider which legal argument will be used to hold the defendant liable and second, the damages (i.e. the dollar amount you will ask for.)

Legal Argument

In regards to car accidents, people usually end up suing for negligence, which is the basis of a personal injury case. Negligence results in the failure to exercise a reasonable level of care considering the specific circumstances.

In the event of a car accident, that means when Driver A fails to use reasonable care that ends up causing Driver B harm, then Driver B can file a lawsuit alleging that there was negligence on the part of Driver A. Failure to comply with driving laws, texting while driving, failure to keep a safe distance, and any other number of careless behaviors can provide the legal grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.

Damages

The amount of damages you’ll sue for in a car accident is based on what you’ve lost – both monetary and otherwise. If you are filing a claim, insurance companies use a variety of methods to determine the value of a personal injury claim. It usually involves compensation for the medical bills you provide as well as lost wages, and possibly some amount money for pain and suffering. “Pain and suffering” is subjective and more difficult to prove. It can be even more problematic if the car accident was minor.

Pain and suffering refers to the physical and/or emotional stress associated with an accident and the injuries caused by it. The majority of states in the U.S. follow a standard fault-based liability system, where the person who caused the accident is considered negligent and thus held financially responsible for all reasonable damages. But there are a handful of states that follow a “no fault” system that prevents the injured party from filing a personal injury claim and from collecting compensation for pain and suffering. The only exception in the latter case is if medical bills exceed a certain dollar amount, which varies from state to state. If you are unsure about the laws in your state, consult with a personal injury attorney.

When calculating pain and suffering, insurance companies tend to look at the severity and permanence of injuries. A person with a broken arm will likely be entitled to less money for pain and suffering versus someone who suffered an injury that put them in a wheelchair – whether permanent or temporary. This makes sense because the more severe and permanent the injury, the more pain and suffering you are likely to experience.

To calculate the dollar value in regards to pain and suffering, insurance companies multiple the amount of your medical bills by a number between one and five. The more severe the injury, the higher the multiplier. Your attorney can help you come up with a figure to request based on their experience, as well as reasons to justify the amount in your demand letter.

What to Do If You Are Being Sued for a Car Accident

Consider the scenario in which you were in an auto accident in the past and your insurer settled the matter at that time. If you’ve put the event behind you and moved on with your life, you may be shocked to learn that you are again being sued for car accident damages.

While this is definitely an unwelcome situation, keep your cool and avoid reaching out to the other party. Yelling or threatening them over the phone or in person will only add weight to their claim about the damages they have suffered since the time of the accident. Anything you do or say may potentially be used as evidence against you.

Contact Your Insurance Company

The first thing you’ll want to do is reach out to your insurance company. Even if you changed companies since the time of your accident, the one who handled the original claim must still work with you. Unless there are extenuating circumstances that justify a new lawsuit being brought, your original coverage is still valid, and the old insurance company would still be responsible for protecting your rights under your old policy at the time of the accident.

In most instances, the policy of the at-fault party is sufficient to cover the penalties and injuries involved. However, in circumstances when this is not the case, you would likely have found out shortly after the accident and paid out the additional funds yourself. If you did end up paying out-of-pocket at the time of the accident, there is a good chance that your insurance company will not be able to cover any further costs for this new case. Keep in mind that while the insurer must defend the suit, they are ultimately looking out for their own best interests.

If you live in a no-fault state, there may be restrictions that limit the right to sue and allow recovery for injury from an insurance policy. Unless there are severe injuries or the injured party can show evidence that meets certain pain and suffering criteria, state laws may restrict general injury suits.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney

After alerting your insurance company, you may want to reach out to a car accident attorney in your area for a free consultation. He or she can review the facts of your case and provide professional guidance based on experience. If you feel comfortable enough with the attorney, consider hiring their law firm to handle the case.

You, or your attorney if you choose to hire one, will need to gather evidence related to who was ultimately at fault for the accident. Factors to evaluate include speed, collision angle, broken traffic laws, weather conditions, time of day, and other causes that may be relevant to the case.

If you were clearly at fault and the lawsuit has any degree of validity, settling may be the right decision. Doing so will save you the long and stressful process of going to court. You can easily hire an attorney to help you move through the settlement process in a shorter period of time compared to the time it takes to prepare for a trial.

I Was Denied Social Security, Now What?

Among the Majority: Denied Social Security

If your social security disability (SSD) claim or supplemental security income (SSI) claim is denied, you are among the high percent of applicants who receive denial letters at the initial application. In fact, according to the Social Security Administration around 30 percent of the claims are approved at the initial application. If you are denied social security at the initial application, that is not saying you are not disabled or your claim is not important. You have the option to push through to the appeals process for further consideration.

The Next Step: Appeal Process for Denied Social Security

If your application is denied, you can continue with your claim through the various levels of the appeal process. You have a 60 day window to submit your appeal after receiving the denial letter. There are four levels of appeals, in which you further proceed to each one if your appeal is denied:

  1. Reconsideration – by someone who did not take part in the first decision
  2. Hearing by an administrative law judge (ALJ)
  3. Review by the Appeals council
  4. Review by the Federal Court

Benefits of Legal Help during the Appeal Process for Denied Social Security

Trying to navigate through the appeal process on your own could be very stressful and time-consuming. The process can be even more difficult for you when the benefits you are claiming for are much needed. Instead of trying to handle the process yourself, let a social security disability lawyer guide you step by step through the appeal process. A lawyer can benefit you and your claim by:

  • Evaluating your evidence and determining what would be best for your claim
  • Providing legal representation at the hearing
  • Preparing you and your witnesses for your hearing
  • Expediting the process

social security and worker disability lawyer will handle your claim for you, and represent you throughout your entire appeal process. Call today for a free consultation with an experienced social security and worker disability lawyer.

SOURCES:
1. Social Security Administration. The Appeal Process. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
2. Social Security Administration. Your Right to Representation. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
3. Social Security Administration. Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program. Retrieved November 26, 2014.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:
Social Security Administration: Online Appeal Application

The 7 Most Common Types of Lawsuits

There are many types of lawsuits that people have heard of, but don’t actually know what they mean or how they might apply to something that has happened to them. Use this guide to get a better understanding of the most common types of lawsuits filed by individuals and families.

1. Car Accident Lawsuits

Car accidents are one of the most common types of personal injury lawsuits. After a car accident, both drivers and passengers may sustain injuries that not only cause a great deal of pain but also be a tremendous financial burden, resulting in high medical bills, expensive repair costs, time off work unpaid and either temporary or permanent disability. A car accident lawyer can help injured victims by investigating the details of the accident, interviewing witnesses, consulting with experts and negotiating directly with insurance companies and other parties involved to ensure that you get the financial compensation you deserve.

2. Workers’ Compensation

Employers are legally responsible to maintain safe work environments for their employees. So if you get hurt on the job – whether you slip, fall, are exposed to toxic chemicals, get hurt by equipment or have an injury because of repetitive activities – you could be entitled to receive workers’ comp benefits. Although you cannot file a lawsuit against your employer for workers’ compensation benefits, a lawyer can handle the process for you to help ensure that you get maximum compensation, medical attention and time off work to recover as required by law. A workers’ compensation lawyer can also help ensure that you are not illegally terminated because of your injuries.

3. Slip and Fall Lawsuits

Slip and fall cases are also very common and can happen anywhere – at work, at the grocery store, in a mall, in a parking lot, at a library and much more. With a slip and fall lawsuit, the goal is to identify that the property owner or manager was negligent in either warning people of a possible danger or in fixing a problem that was dangerous to the public. A slip and fall lawyer is critical in these types of cases, because you need someone who knows what the laws are, who could be liable and how much compensation you could be entitled to receive.

4. Product Liability Lawsuits

Defective products, such as toys, appliances, car seats, vehicle brakes, airbags and others, can cause serious injuries that may entitle you to file a claim for product liability damages. Whether the defect occurred in the design, manufacturing, maintenance or repair of the product, you could recoup financial compensation to help pay for medical bills and other expenses incurred as a result from that injury. Like other types of personal injuries, a product liability lawyer can make the process much easier for you – and help you get maximum compensation.

5. Drug Recall Lawsuits

If you took a medication that has been recalled by the Food and Drug Administration or other government agency, and you have a serious illness, such as cancer, heart disease or stroke, you may be able to file a drug recall lawsuit. A drug doesn’t have to be recalled in order to have a case, though. One example is the prescription drug Actos, which numerous studies have shown to have a link to bladder cancer. Actos has not been officially recalled, but thousands of people have filed lawsuits against the drug manufacturer after being diagnosed with bladder cancer and other serious illnesses. To achieve the results you want, it is vital to retain a drug recall lawyer who has both the experience and the resources to fight large pharmaceutical companies.

6. Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

If you or someone you know was injured or became sick because of a medical physician’s negligence, you could have a viable medical malpractice lawsuit. In medical malpractice cases, a lawyer’s job is to determine whether there was a breach in the standard of care you received, whether that breach increased the risk of injury, sickness or death, and to provide proof of negligence. Because these types of cases can be very complex, it is essential to have an experienced medical malpractice lawyer working on your behalf.

7. Dog Bite Lawsuits

It’s estimated that nearly 5 million dog bite incidents occur every year in the U.S., and that about 800,000 of those incidents require medical care. Half of dog bite incidents involve children under the age of 12. While laws regarding dog bites vary from state to state, in most cases the owner of the dog is legally liable for any injuries or deaths caused by the dog. Oftentimes, dog bite victims are hesitant to seek legal representation because the dog was a pet of a friend, family member or neighbor. However, an experienced dog bite lawyer can help mitigate the tension and proceed with a lawsuit in a way that satisfies all parties involved.

Remember, if you think you have a lawsuit, we’re always here to help you find the legal representation you need. With just one call, you can find out if you have a case over the phone.

The 7 Most Common Types of Lawsuits

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If you’ve been injured as a driver or passenger in an auto accident or have been hurt at work, you deserve justice. Make a confidential call today to get free legal information from an experienced personal injury lawyer or workers’ compensation lawyer.

You have a limited amount of time to take legal action. Don’t worry about money, you get paid, or you don’t pay at all.

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Our accident attorney members are ready to help:

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If you’ve been hurt as a driver or passenger in an auto accident or injured at work, call now. A personal injury lawyer or workers’ compensation lawyer can give you free legal information and tell you if you have a case right over the phone.

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Free Legal Advice From Your Local Attorney

The Internet is a great resource for information, but when it comes to legal matters, you need real advice from a real lawyer. Trying to figure out the law on your own can be a major disaster, resulting in thousands of dollars lost, deadlines missed and the forfeiture of certain legal rights.

Why risk your future when you can get free legal advice from the lawyers at 1-800-THE-LAW2?

Our lawyers offer free legal advice for all types of cases, including:

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With just one call, you can get answers to your most important questions. Find out whether you have a case, how much your case is really worth, what to do and what not to do, and how to get started.

Even better, the lawyers at 1-800-THE-LAW2 work on a contingency basis. That means you can get the legal representation you need without paying a penny out of pocket.

There’s no reason to risk your future. Call us anytime to get free legal advice from a lawyer at 1-800-THE-LAW2. We’re open 24 hours a day, every day!

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Should My Employer Pay me for Working off the Clock?

The short answer is: yes in California. If you’re an hourly or non-exempt employee in California, the Supreme Court has ruled that workers must be paid for time spent completing tasks like locking up after work. The California Supreme Court says that the unpaid time is wage theft.

The ruling is a result of a year’s long battle between Starbucks and a Californian employee of theirs. He sued the company for not paying him for the additional four to 10 minutes it would take him to close after he clocked out each day.

Minimis Doctrine and California Wage and Hour Laws

This case challenged the law in existence known as the federal Fair Labor Standards Act’s De Minimis Doctrine.  De Minimis Doctrine states that infrequent and insignificant periods of work that cannot be precisely recorded and are done outside of work hours, should not be counted as work time. In the case of this Starbucks employee, however, it was found that the work was being done routinely or regularly, and this was the very basis for concluding that he should be compensated.

Starbucks, unhappy with the decision, is appealing. The US Chamber of Commerce sides with Starbucks’s appeal stating that employers in California are already susceptible to costs from weak wage and hour lawsuits.

The Supreme Court countered that a few minutes each day adds up, like in the case of the Starbucks employee whose time spent locking up over 17 months amounted to over $100.

What Does This Mean for California Employees?

The Supreme Court made suggestions for measures employers can take to properly compensate their workers, including:

  • Implementation of time-tracking tools
  • Properly estimating work time and compensation
  • Reorganization of tasks to avoid unpaid overtime responsibilities

Common Types of Work done Outside of Working Hours

Unsure whether you may be a victim of unpaid wages or unpaid overtime? Here are some tasks commonly completed without compensation:

  • Pre-work includes things like loading, transferring equipment, or worksite preparation before clocking in.
  • Post-shift work includes cleaning, returning equipment, or locking up after clocking out.
  • If you’re asked to rework a project without pay, this is also a form of wage theft.
  • Any work being taken home in order to meet a deadline, or staying after your shift to help a customer
  • Making work-related phone calls or sending work-related emails outside your shift

In cases where employees are not being properly compensated for their work, a wage and hour attorney can help you report the unpaid wages, file a wage and hour claim, and recover back pay.

What are the Signs you are being Sexually Harassed at Work?

What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that disrupts the workplace. When sexual harassment occurs, the harasser’s conduct must be unwelcomed, otherwise it may not be considered harassment. Sexual harassment has a negative effect on the workplace and on working conditions –for those who are subject to it and for those who witness it.

Signs you are Being Sexually Harassed at Work

The following behaviors are considered sexual harassment and should ring alarm bells if you see, hear, or experience them:

  • Jokes/Comments of a Sexual Nature – If you don’t want to hear jokes or comments that are sexual in nature and make you uncomfortable, then you are being harassed. Examples include coworkers making disparaging remarks about women, statements that females aren’t equal or as good as men, raunchy jokes that demean and demoralize both men and women, etc.
  • Coercion and Bribery – If a superior offers you a promotion or raise in exchange for sexual favors, this is a form of sexual harassment. If you feel like you will lose your job, be demoted, or ignored due to your denial – you may be coerced into going along with it. Gather evidence that actions were against your will, keep details of dates, times, and comments, and keep track of witnesses who can corroborate your account of the harassment.
  • Physical Harassment – This is the most obvious type of harassment and includes actions like a coworker standing too close to you, putting their hands on your shoulders or neck, trying to give you a massage while you sit, hugging, and kissing you – all unwanted from your end. This type of harassment can get serious very quickly and lead to assault or rape, so it’s best to verbally express your dislike of these actions, and then report it to a manager if the harassment continues.
  • Other Harassment – Whistling, lewd noises, leaving inappropriate notes on your desk, and giving you gifts like underwear are all forms of harassment. Additionally, the display of sexist cartoons or sexual videos viewed in a workplace environment is considered harassment.

How to Handle Harassment at Work

It is best to confront the harasser directly if you do not feel a threat to your safety. If you are afraid of the repercussions of calling out a superior or employee on a management level, speak with your HR representative, or talk to a higher level manager. Keep any evidence of the harassment to prove your accusations are valid.

Don’t let sexual harassment go on. It may lead to fear, embarrassment, depression, anxiety, poor performance, etc. If you are too afraid to confront or report the harassment, contact a sexual harassment lawyer immediately. If you need help, call us today for a free consultation with an attorney in your area.

Are Jokes Considered Sexual Harassment? Funny You Asked…

The term “sexual harassment” has been widely overused and abused – so much so that it’s unclear what actually constitutes sexual harassment and what doesn’t.

Aside from talking to a sexual harassment lawyer, one way to understand sexual harassment is to start with the legal definition. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines sexual harassment like this:

“Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations, as well as to the federal government.

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

  • Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to the following:
  • The victim as well as the harasser may be a woman or a man. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex.
  • The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee.
  • The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
  • Unlawful sexual harassment may occur without economic injury to or discharge of the victim.
  • The harasser’s conduct must be unwelcome.“

From this definition, we see that simply cracking jokes with a fellow co-worker is not necessarily a form of sexual harassment. But it could become so if those jokes are unwelcome, sexual in nature, impair an individual’s ability to do his or her job, or create a hostile or offensive work environment.

Sexual Harassment Jokes Are Not Funny

Ensuring a work environment that’s safe for workers and has zero tolerance for sexual harassment is no joke. Keep jokes neutral; if you think a joke might be offensive, avoid it. If you’re the recipient of unwelcome or offensive jokes, make your displeasure clear to the harasser. And if the harassment continues – or escalates – consider talking to a sexual harassment lawyer right away.

Can Social Media in the Workplace Get You Fired?

Posting on a social media account may seem like a safe place to share your opinion, but depending on the topics you post about, there could be consequences for your statements. Some posts could even lead to you getting fired from your job.

As a rule of thumb, stay away from posts that contain rude or negative comments about your job, boss, or coworkers online. Not only can a post get you fired, but also potentially make it harder for you to find another job. While some posts may be acceptable, it is better to avoid social media in or related to the workplace as a whole.

Social Media in the Workplace

According to DMR, there are 1.393 billion monthly active users on Facebook, so it is highly likely that what you post will be seen.

If you chose to use social media in the workplace, follow these tips:

  • Think before you post
  • If you have any doubts about what you can and can’t say, then don’t post it
  • Keep good or bad news about your employer and co-workers private and confidential
  • Don’t post or send your resume out from work
  • Be prepared for the consequences of a negative post

Avoid making rude comments about customers and clients, which reflect badly on your business. Do not complain about your job online. Making fun of your boss and coworkers on social media can create tension at the office. Your employer and other coworkers don’t want to see it, and it could be seen as workplace harassment.

Remember, what goes on the internet stays on the internet. Posts may come back to haunt you while job hunting.

Have You Been Wrongfully Terminated Due to Social Media Use?

Can you be fired for comments made on your own social media account? Privacy and freedom of speech laws provide protection for some types of statements on social media. If you think you have been wrongfully terminated, call us today to speak with a qualified wrongful termination attorney.

These cases may not always be clear and can be highly stressful; a thorough investigation will be needed. Professional help is highly suggested. A skilled wrongful termination attorney can handle your claim for you. Call today to discuss your rights and your options today.

SOURCES:

  1. About.com. Posting Information Online Can Get You Fired. Retrieved April 2, 2015.
  2. DMR. By the Numbers: 200+ Amazing Facebook User Statistics (February 2015).  Retrieved April 2, 2015.
  3. Time. 10 Social Media Blunders That Cost a Millennial a Job – or Worse. Retrieved April 2, 2015.

Get Free Attorney Advice Today

We know that you’ve got a lot of questions after being hurt in an accident — that’s why we’ll connect you to an attorney who can provide free legal advice regarding your case.

Don’t worry: money is NOT an issue.

By using our attorney network, you won’t have to pay anything until and unless you “get paid” by those who caused you harm!

Free Lawyer Consultations And Contingency Representation

All too often, injured persons — with legitimate claims — don’t seek the legal representation they need to secure the compensation they deserve. They may be under the impression that legal representation will be costly, and that they cannot afford to do so (or that they are simply unwilling to do so).

Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, however, we connect injured persons with attorneys who offer legal assistance at no upfront cost. You can consult an attorney in our network for free, and get an initial case evaluation that provides an understanding of “next steps.” If you decide to move forward with the case, then your attorney will charge you nothing up-front.

Our attorneys work on contingency. This means that you will only pay if-and-when you secure compensation. The contingency fee is a percentage cut of your total compensation that you were paid out in the case.

This creates a favorable dynamic for you — the injured plaintiff. As the attorney is only paid if you “win,” they are incentivized to efficiently secure a win on your behalf. Further, they are incentivized to secure the largest possible compensation amount, as their pay will be distributed from that amount.

More than 35 Years Helping Accident Victims

Our network of experienced personal injury and workers’ compensation attorneys are available to:

  • Answer your questions
  • Help determine if you have a case
  • File your accident claim with insurance companies
  • Assess the true value of your claim
  • Protect you from unfair settlements
  • Save you time and hassle

During your consultation, receive attorney advice and discuss your options for seeking monetary compensation for your injuries and losses.

Our network includes skilled attorneys who have experience handling a variety of cases, including:

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Motor vehicle accidents can involve cars, trucks, motorcycles, bikes, personal electric vehicles, or pedestrians. They count among the most common types of claims that attorneys encounter.

Personal Injury

Personal injury include a broad range of claims, from slip-and-fall accidents to intentional injury scenarios, and more.

Workplace Injury

Workplace injury claims may give rise to workers’ compensation benefits, which cover a range of losses. In situations where those benefits are not sufficient, alternative litigation strategies may be worth exploring with your attorney.

Labor & Employment

In today’s workplace, employers must be careful to treat their employees with decency and fairness. Employees who have experienced discrimination, a hostile work environment, sexual harassment, and other issues may have actionable claims for which they can recover damages.

Your Attorney’s Responsibilities

Receiving attorney advice during your free consultation can help you understand the legal process and what you need to do to help your attorney and your claim.

While the attorney, his or her staff and investigators do most of the work, there are things you can do to help your legal situation:

  • Share any information and photos you have of the accident with your attorney
  • Don’t speak to the insurance companies without first speaking to your attorney
  • Remember, insurance companies record their phone calls. Anything you say could be used to determine the amount of your claim
  • Keep your attorney informed of any pain you may be experiencing and medical care you’re receiving

A personal injury attorney can file all accident-related paperwork with the insurance companies, handle all court documents or filing requirements and prepare you for your court hearing, if required. 

Learn About Your Legal Rights

You may not know what your legal rights are after a car accident or work injury. Find out now.

Injuries resulting from an auto accident, a defective product, or a slip and fall at work or on public property, can change your life forever.

  • Who’ll pay your accident-related medical expenses if you’re out of work?
  • What happens if you’re unable to return to work because of your accident?

Need free attorney advice? Schedule a free lawyer consultation to discuss your legal questions and your legal rights.

Free Attorney Consultation

Our attorneys are experienced and can handle the entire claims process in order to help maximize your monetary settlement and get you all the  benefits you’re entitled to.

An attorney can help get your accident-related doctor and hospital bills and auto body shop costs paid.

After an accident, you only have a limited time to file a claim. Get started with free attorney advice from one of our personal injury attorneys or workers’ compensation attorneys.

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