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About Los Angeles Accident Center

Los Angeles Accident Center was created to provide useful information for anyone who has been injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence in Los Angeles and throughout the state of California. Author and attorney Sherwin Arzani and his team have over 17 years of personal injury experience. If you have been injured in accident, you will find useful information to assist you during this difficult time.


How to Find a Good Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney

Have you recently suffered an injury in a Los Angeles accident? You may be able to recover much-needed compensation by filing a personal injury claim for damages. The chances of being fairly compensated for your accident-related injuries increase when you hire an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney to represent you. There are thousands of personal injury attorneys in the Los Angeles area; how can you decide which one is best suited to handle your case? The attorneys at the Los Angeles Accident Center have created a list of suggestions to consider when you are searching for a personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles.

Do an Online Search

The internet can be a wealth of information for accident victims. There are hundreds of different sites that offer information about local Los Angeles personal injury lawyers. While many of these websites can be great, some can prove to be more confusing than helpful. Try to stick to search engines, legal directories, and the California State Bar website when narrowing down your choice of attorney.

Search Engines

Search engines like Google and Yahoo can be a great way to learn about personal injury attorneys in your Los Angeles neighborhood. Use a search engine to conduct a broad search for terms like “Los Angeles personal injury lawyer,” “good personal injury lawyer near me,” or simply “Los Angeles accident lawyer.”

For even better results, try including the type of accident you were involved in and your personal neighborhood. If you were in a car accident in Glendale, try “Glendale car accident attorney.” If you were injured on the job in Ventura, try “Ventura worker’s compensation attorney.” The more specifics you include in your search, the more relevant the results will be.

Legal Directories

Legal directories are great, because they are generally easy to navigate and contain a lot of information about attorneys, including education, experience, publications, and contact information. Many of these directories have incorporated rating systems, which allow you to get a sense of what prior clients think about an attorney. Take the time to read these reviews, they can provide a lot of information that will be extremely helpful in narrowing down your search. You may feel great about an attorney’s background and education, only to find out that prior clients have been disappointed with his/her representation. Great legal directories for finding a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer include:

Los Angeles County Bar Association

The Los Angeles County Bar Association website can be great if you need help finding an attorney. The website has a referral system to match clients with prescreened and qualified attorneys. The process, which is fairly easy to use, requires you to:

  • Choose the type of attorney you need to hire;
  • Indicate your preferred language;
  • Provide contact information; and
  • Explain your legal issue.

The referral service will then match you to relevant attorneys in your area.

California State Bar

Always check the California State Bar website for information about an attorney you’re thinking about hiring. This is where you can find official information about an attorney’s education, experience, and areas of specialization.

Request a Free Consultation

Most Los Angeles personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation for prospective clients. Once you have narrowed your search for an attorney down to a few you should ask to meet with them in person. During a free consultation the attorney will begin by giving you an overview of their experience and try to explain why they are well-suited to represent you. You will have an opportunity to explain why you want to pursue a legal claim and listen to their candid thoughts about your case.

Prepare For Your Free Consultation

Don’t walk into a free consultation without doing a little bit of homework. This includes checking out the attorney online and reading up about your type of accident injury case. The more information you have walking into the consultation, the better equipped you will be to have a frank conversation about your legal needs.

Ask Questions to Learn More

During your free consultation, you will have the opportunity to ask the attorney you are meeting with a series of questions. The questions you ask should help you to determine if you would be comfortable and confident hiring that attorney. Questions that you should be prepared to ask during a free consultation with a Los Angeles personal injury attorney include:

  • How long have you been practicing as a personal injury attorney?
  • Do you practice personal injury law exclusively?
  • Have you ever been disciplined by the California State Bar?
  • Have you handled other cases like mine?
  • How many jury trials have you handled?
  • Are you confident in the courtroom or do you prefer to negotiate cases before trial?
  • What verdicts and settlements have you recovered in the past?
  • How much do you think my case is worth?
  • How much are your legal fees?

Consider What is Important to You

What is the most important characteristic of the attorney you hire to handle your Los Angeles personal injury claim? Is there a specific factor that will lead to you hire one attorney over another? There are many things to consider when you are hiring a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer, and you will have to decide which are most important to you. This answer will help you decide which attorney is best-suited to handle your case.

Personality

You don’t have to be best friends with your attorney, but you do have to trust them. It is important to choose an attorney who you would feel comfortable confiding in. Details can make or break a case, so it is important to be as detailed as possible when discussing your case with your attorney. When you are meeting with an attorney during your free consultation try to assess whether you feel comfortable and confident when speaking with them.

Cost

Most Los Angeles personal injury lawyers will take your case in exchange for a percentage of any compensation you recover. However, this is not always the case. Even when it is, this percentage will vary from case-to-case. Many times, this percentage can range anywhere from 25 percent to 40 percent of your compensation. A personal injury attorney will consider the type of case, complexity of the case, and value of the case when deciding the percentage they will take in any given case. Ask the attorney you meet with to give you a firm offer and to disclose any hidden fees (e.g., court costs, deposition fees, etc.) that may be linked to your case.

Experience

Some Los Angeles personal injury attorneys have decades of experience under their belt. They have handled thousands of cases and know the Los Angeles court system like the back of their hand. Maybe they’ve been practicing for so long that they have earned a reputation with local insurance companies and judges. This can be of great value to you when you hire that attorney to represent you.

However, this experience may also come at a cost. Established attorneys may charge more than attorneys with less experience. Just because an attorney does not have a significant amount of experience does not mean that they are not qualified to handle your case or that they will be any less effective. You will have to weigh the importance of experience when deciding which attorney is best for you.

Contact the Los Angeles Accident Center

Have you been injured in an accident in Los Angeles? Contact the Los Angeles Accident Center today to find out if you have a viable legal claim for damages. We will review your case, explain your rights, and answer any questions you have. You have a limited amount of time to act after an accident, so do not hesitate to call us today.

Miles Teller, Uber Sued in Connection With 2016 Car Accident

In 2016, actor Miles Teller was involved in a multi-vehicle car accident in Studio City. At least one of those other vehicles was being operated as an Uber at the time of the crash. Nearly two years later, a passenger who was injured in the accident has filed a personal injury lawsuit. She is seeking more than $25,000 in damages from Teller, Uber, and another unspecified party.

Los Angeles Car Accidents Involving Ridesharing Vehicles

There are hundreds of car accidents in Los Angeles every day. Many of these collisions involve vehicles that are being driven for popular ridesharing services, including Uber and Lyft. When these cars are involved in an accident, victims have the right to seek compensation from:

  1. the Uber driver

  2. Uber

  3. other negligent third parties; and/or

  4. relevant insurance policies.

Uber Driver’s Insurance Carrier: All drivers in California must purchase and maintain a valid car insurance policy. This includes anyone who uses their vehicle to drive for a ridesharing company. When you’re injured in an Uber accident, you may be able to recover compensation from a negligent Uber driver’s insurance company. However, most insurance companies refuse to cover accidents that occur while a driver is engaged in commercial activity – such as driving for Uber. Unless the driver has purchased a special commercial policy or wasn’t engaged in commercial activity at the time oft he accident, you may be out of luck.

Uber Driver: Has the Uber driver’s insurance company refused to approve your claim because the driver was engaged in commercial activity at the time of the accident? You always have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit against the driver. If you can prove that the driver was negligent in some way, you may be able to recover compensation directly from them.

Uber Insurance Carrier: Uber is required to carry at least $1 million in insurance coverage for all active trips. Coverage kicks in when a driver is logged into the app and accepts a ride request. Coverage terminates when the passenger exits the vehicle and the ride is terminated in the app. This insurance policy can be used to compensate victims – including vehicle passengers – who are injured in an accident, regardless of the driver’s fault.

Uber: Uber is doing everything it can to limit its own liability for accidents involving its drivers. The company regularly attempts to classify drivers as independent contractors, rather than employees. This can sever the vicarious liability that’s typically extended to employers. It’s also asked the state to not classify the service as a common carrier, which comes with an increased responsibility to passengers. However, it’s Uber’s status remains unclear. As a result, lawsuits filed directly against the company may be successful.

Third Parties: Anyone involved in an accident can potentially be sued for damages. Miles Teller, for example, is being sued by one of the Uber passengers who was injured in the crash. Teller maintains that the Uber cut him off and that the accident was “unavoidable” as a result. However, if there’s any indicator that his own negligence contributed to the accident, he can be held partially responsible for the victim’s damages.

What Happens If Insurance Doesn’t Pay Enough?

Insurance policies are typically the first source of compensation after an accident. However, insurance payouts will be capped at a driver’s policy limits. In other words, an insurer will only pay as much as a driver’s policy covers. So, if a driver has only purchased $15,000 in bodily injury liability, their insurance company will pay a maximum of $15,000.

Just because an insurer caps payouts doesn’t mean that an accident victim can’t recover money elsewhere. In many cases, victims decide to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages that exceed what they were able to recover from an insurance company. The lawsuit is a tool that allows the victim to hold the driver or other at-fault party personally responsible for the harm they’ve caused. The fact that they’ve already recovered money from an insurance company or another third party cannot be used to prevent or reduce recovery in that lawsuit.

 

Have you or someone you love been injured in a Los Angeles car accident? You need to fully understand your legal rights and options. Contact our experienced personal injury attorneys to schedule a free consultation. We’ll help you fight for the money you deserve.

25 Injured in Los Angeles Bus Accident on the 405

At least 25 people were recently injured in a Los Angeles bus accident. According to reports, the private charter bus was traveling north on the 405 Freeway in North Hills when it struck a vehicle. The impact of the collision caused the bus to crash through the median and strike several other cars. While no fatalities have been reported, at least 5 of the victims are in critical condition. Los Angeles police are still investigating to determine the cause of the accident.

Who Can the Injured Bus Accident Victims Sue?

The majority of the bus accident victims were passengers on the vehicle at the time of the crash. They may be entitled to compensation from the person (or people) who are responsible for causing the accident.

The Bus Company

Buses are common carriers in California. Common carriers are companies that transport people from one place to another in exchange for a fee. As common carriers, bus companies are held to a heightened standard of care. While buses can guarantee that passengers get to their destination safely, they can do everything that is necessary to prevent foreseeable harm. Bus companies must make that they “ do all that human care, vigilance, and foresight reasonably can do under the circumstances to avoid harm to passengers.”

If a bus company is the least bit negligent, they can be held responsible for injuries sustained by its passengers. As an employer, bus companies can also be held accountable for the negligence of its drivers. So, if a bus driver is to blame, victims may be able to recover compensation from the driver and/or the employer.

The Bus Driver

Bus drivers have an obligation to use “reasonable skill” to make sure that passengers are safe during a bus trip. Unfortunately, many bus accidents happen because bus drivers are negligent. Examples of negligent behavior can include speeding, changing lanes without signaling, or following another vehicle too closely. Bus drivers may also be negligent if they become distracted behind the wheel. This can happen if bus drivers text, talk on the phone, eat, or engage in lively conversation with passengers.

The Bus Manufacturer

Sometimes bus accidents are caused by defects or problems with the vehicle. If an investigation shows that the bus or its equipment malfunctions, the accident victims may be able to hold the manufacturer responsible for their injuries.

Other Drivers

Bus accidents aren’t always caused by bus drivers. In fact, other drivers on the road frequently contribute to devastating bus crashes accidents Bus accident victims can seek compensation from anyone who caused their injuries, including other drivers.

Los Angeles

This particular accident happened on the 405 Freeway in North Hills. An investigation will search to uncover the cause of the crash. If the investigation finds that hazardous or dangerous road conditions contribute to the accident, the government may be held accountable. Specifically, accident victims could file a special claim with the government agency in charge of maintaining that particular stretch of the Freeway.

Can The Bus Driver Recover Money If She Caused the Accident?

California recognizes the legal principle of comparative fault. This basically means that contributing to an accident will not automatically prevent you from recovering compensation. You can still get money as long as someone else is also to blame.

So, can the bus driver recover compensation? That will really depend on the results of the investigation. She will not be entitled to money if she is solely responsible for the accident. She may be entitled to compensation if she shares fault for the accident.

Consequences of Shared Fault

If the bus driver shares fault, her financial award will be reduced by her contribution to the accident. She won’t be prohibited from recovering compensation, the amount she can get will be limited.

For example, let’s say the investigation finds that the bus driver and a third party are both 50 percent responsible for the accident. The bus driver can recover compensation, but she’ll only be able to recover 50 percent of her damages. So, if she suffered $100,000 in damages, she will only be entitled to a maximum recovery of $50,000.

If the driver shares fault for an accident, she will also be responsible for a portion of the damages suffered by other victims. So, if she is 50 percent to blame, she will be responsible for 50 percent of other victims’ damages.

 

It’s important to fight for the money you deserve after an unexpected accident. Hiring an attorney can help you make the most of your personal injury case. Call our skilled legal team to schedule your free case assessment today.

Earlier this month, a limousine accident in upstate New York claimed the lives of 18 people. The limousine driver, 18 passengers, and 2 pedestrians were killed in the fatal crash. Preliminary reports indicate that the stretch limo involved in the accident had failed a safety inspection about one month before the crash.

The tragic accident, which is believed to be the most devastating traffic accident in recent history, has sparked a conversation about limousine safety across the country. California is one of a handful of states to have fairly strict licensing, insurance, maintenance, and operation regulations in place. Violating state law can make limousine companies vulnerable to personal injury lawsuits in the event of an accident or injury.

Are Limousines Common Carriers?

Yes.  In California, limousines are considered to be common carriers. A common carrier is defined as a business that transports people from one place to another in exchange for compensation. Other examples of common carriers include buses, trains, planes, and even amusement parks.

Why is it important to note that limos are common carriers? This means that they are held to a higher standard of care than others. When you hire a limousine service you are trusting that the company (and driver) will get you from Point A to Point B safely. Limo drivers and companies can’t guarantee your safety. However, they can use all possible caution and care to ensure your safety. Under California law, limousines and other common carriers must:

  • Use the highest care and the vigilance of a very cautious person;
  • Do all that human care, vigilance, and foresight reasonably can do to avoid harm; and
  • Use reasonable skill to provide everything necessary for safe transportation.

In other words, limousine companies have to do everything that is necessary and reasonable to ensure the safe transport of clients. This includes abiding by all applicable local, state, and federal laws.

California Limousine Safety Laws

California has strict licensing, insurance, and operation regulations for limousine services.

Limousine Licensing: Limousine companies must apply for a special operating license with the California Public Utilities Commission. This license is known Charter-Party Carrier, or TCP. In order to obtain the license, companies must provide detailed information about all vehicles that will be used to transport clients throughout the state. The CPUC must be notified whenever a new vehicle is added to the fleet. The company will receive a special permit that relates to seating capacity. Limousine companies must not transport more clients in a single vehicle than allowed by the TCP permit. Companies that intend to use modified limousines must apply for additional licenses and permits.

Insurance Requirements: All limousines in California must be fully insured. The state has minimum insurance requirements, which depend on the seating capacity and size of a vehicle.

Driver Restrictions: All limousine drivers must be licensed and comply with all requirements of the California Vehicle Code and California Code of Regulations. Drivers must either hold the TCP authority or permit or be “under the complete supervision, direction, and control of the operating carrier.” In other words, the driver must apply for CPUC permits or work for an authorized limousine company. New laws limit the amount of time a modified limousine can spend behind the wheel at one time. In most situations, limousine drivers cannot drive more than 10 hours at one time after taking an 8-hour break.

New Safety Regulations for Modified Limos in California

Many companies use modified limousines. A modified limousine is defined in 378(b) CVC as “any vehicle which has been modified, altered, or extended in a manner that increases the overall wheelbase of the vehicle, exceeding the original equipment manufacturer’s [specifications]…in any amount sufficient to accommodate additional passengers.” In California, modified limos can’t transport more than 10 people, including the driver.

Following a pair of fatal limousine accident in 2013, state lawmakers turned their attention to the legal treatment of modified limos. A new string of regulations changed how limousine companies in the state could operate. Under the new laws, modified limousines must:

  • Be retrofitted to include two more points of exit on the vehicle (either pop-out windows or a window and roof hatch)
  • Be designed with five doors and an emergency exit (pop-out window or roof hatch)
  • Be subject to regular safety inspections every 13 months, and
  • Ensure drivers adhere to strict traveling restrictions.

Under old laws, modified limousines weren’t subject to inspections. There were also few oversight requirements to ensure that vehicles were modified safely. The new laws aim to protect passengers who hire limo services for travel in and across California.

Holding Limousine Companies Liable After an Accident

Who can you hold responsible if you’re injured in a Los Angeles limousine accident? The answer will really depend on what caused your accident. Determining the cause will help your attorney to identify fault. However, possible defendants in a limousine accident lawsuit could include:

  • Limousine companies
  • Limousine drivers
  • Companies contracted to modify stretch limousines
  • State inspection agents
  • Other drivers on the road, or
  • Government agencies responsible for road maintenance and safety.

Anyone who contributes to your accident can be liable for damages. The best thing you can do after an accident is to speak with an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney. Your attorney will review your case and help you fight for the compensation you deserve.

 

Have you been injured in a Los Angeles accident? Are you confused about your legal rights and options? Are you concerned that you won’t be able to recover the money you need? Contact the Los Angeles Accident Center to schedule a free consultation with our skilled legal team today. We’re here to help you after you are injured in a Los Angeles accident.