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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.

How Safe Are Motor Scooters in California?

Motor scooters first came on the market in the 1900s and they have since gained immense popularity.  The most common brand of motor scooter is the Vespa. The Vespa was designed in Europe after WWII as an easier means to get around since many streets were impassible because they had been destroyed during the war. This new form of transportation allowed Europeans to move around again and aided in rebuilding cities.

In California, motor scooter use is the most evident in large cities like Los Angeles and San Diego. They are used with higher frequency in populated areas to avoid parking issues and help alleviate traffic woes.

However, like motorcycles, motor scooters are prone to crashes and accidents. This is mostly due to their smaller size, lower speeds, and the inability of other drivers to see them. There are precautions an operator can take to ensure that they are driving safely and that they arrive at their destination without harm.

What is a Motor Scooter?

A motor scooter is a two-wheeled vehicle that has a footrest platform and a step-through frame. Unlike many motorcycles, they are designed for only one rider. The motor size for a scooter is small and usually between 50cc and 250cc. They are generally run by electric charging and they operate on 10-inch wheels. Motor scooters are beneficial because they are easier to maneuver in large cities and smaller spaces.

Motor scooters are sometimes confused with mopeds. However, mopeds are less used in America, are smaller, have less powerful engines, and operate at a slower speed. In California, motor scooters are defined as either motorcycles or motor-driven cycles, depending on the engine size.  

To be classified as a motorcycle, the engine size must be 150cc or greater. If a motor scooter meets this classification, it needs to be registered at the local DMV as a motorcycle. The driver also needs to obtain an M1 motorcycle license.

If the motor scooter has an engine size of 149cc or less, it is classified as a motor-driven cycle. The majority of motor scooters will fit into this category and can usually only reach speeds of 30 mph or less. Motor-driven cycles also need to be registered with the local DMV and the driver must obtain an M1 motorcycle license.

Common Motor Scooter Accidents

Many motor scooter accidents are similar to those that are commonly seen with motorcycles. These are usually attributed to either operator error or other drivers not seeing the motor scooter. 

Aggressive Drivers: Motor scooters operate at a lower speed, which can exacerbate the possibility of a collision because other drivers want to go faster. The other drivers may act erratically to get around or cut off the driver of the motor scooter. A car could also easily sideswipe the motor scooter if they are trying to get around them to make a turn or go faster.

Rear-End Crashes: Rear-end collisions are also a big threat to motor scooter drivers. This is because the scooter is smaller and harder to see. A car may not be able to brake fast enough when approaching a scooter that is at a stoplight or waiting to make a turn. Additionally, a car may over or underestimate the distance between the car and motor scooter, which could also cause an accident.

Loss of Control: Finally, another common motor scooter accident is losing control of the vehicle. Because the scooters are smaller and can maneuver in reduced spaces, an untrained driver can easily lose control and crash or fall over. They could also tumble off the vehicle if they take a turn too quickly or stop abruptly.

California Motor Scooter Safety

If the scooter qualifies as a motorcycle, it can be driven on the highway. If it qualifies as a motor-driven cycle, it cannot be operated on a freeway or highway if there are explicit signs that forbid their use on that particular road. Like motorcycles, motor scooters cannot be driven on bike lanes. Smaller vehicles like electric scooters can use bike lanes if they meet certain California regulations.

Regardless of the engine size, in California, any person operating a motorcycle or a motor-driven cycle must wear a Department of Transportation (DOT) compliant helmet during operation of the vehicle. Basic safety tips can also help keep drivers safe and sound including:

  • Do not drive or take precautions when driving in rainy, windy, or snowy weather
  • Travel on lightly crowded or local roads, rather than large highways
  • Wear brightly colored clothing to make sure other drivers can always see you, and
  • Follow all road rules and never drive without a helmet.

If you could find yourself in a motor scooter accident in California, don’t hesitate to call an attorney for help. You could be entitled to compensation if someone else is at least partly to blame.

What Happens If Others Try to Blame Me for a Car Accident?

Imagine that you were in a car accident. You were not at fault and there is significant damage to your car. You may even have had injuries that needed medical attention.

Now, imagine that the other driver, the one who was actually at fault, decided to blame you for the accident. What do you do to protect yourself and make sure that you are not found to be responsible for the accident?

Sadly, it is a common occurrence for the responsible party to blame others for the accident. There are many reasons they may do this including not wanting their insurance rates to go up or not wanting to get in trouble if any driving laws were broken. They may also claim that you were fully or partially at fault so that they have to pay you less money if you sue them for the accident.  

What to Do at the Time of the Accident

The first thing you need to do is to make sure everyone is okay. Then, call the police. Call a non-emergency line if it is a minor accident. If it is a major accident, call 9-1-1 and report the accident and any injuries.

If possible, move the vehicles out of traffic to the side of the road. Do not make any statements about the accident and wait for the police to arrive.

No matter how small the accident it, you want to get a police report filed. This is helpful to identify the drivers, describe the cars and the accident, and collect driver information. 

You want to also gather as much evidence as possible. Make sure to take pictures of the accident and the damage to any car. Try to capture driving conditions and any other factor that may have added to the accident. This information may be used in the future if there is a trial.

Know the Law

When a traffic accident goes to civil court and one driver is suing another, the person filing the suit must be able to show that the other driver was negligent. Negligence can be found in several ways, including: 

  • Drunk driving,
  • Breaking a traffic law
  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving without headlights when required, or
  • Driving a car that is defective.

It can also be found by pedestrians or other non-drivers in ways such as jaywalking, breaking bicycling laws, or interfering with a driver.

Even if you can prove negligence, the other driver may not be fully liable for the accident if they can establish that there was a form shared fault. Shared fault is when more than one person caused or contributed to the accident. Shared fault defenses vary by state and are one of the following types:

1) Comparative Negligence

Comparative negligence means that the court will distribute fault among the parties involved in the accident. This means that one party could be found liable for 30% of the accident and the other is found to be responsible for 70%. The one who was found to be 30% responsible can only recover 70% of their requested compensation because they cannot be reimbursed for their percentage of the cause of the accident.

Most states have adopted some form of comparative fault. In pure comparative negligence states like California, accident victims can always recover some compensation if they were injured. This is regardless of their amount of negligence, even if their fault level is higher than the other driver’s.

Other states had adopted modified comparative fault rules. This generally means that an accident victim is limited from recovery if their fault in the accident reaches a certain degree. For example, after a car accident in Pennsylvania, the defendant’s fault must be 50% or more for the other driver to recover any compensation.

2) Contributory Negligence

Contributory fault means that if you are found to have contributed to the accident in any way, you will not be able to recover compensation. The degree of your fault can be small or large but the result will be the same. You will be barred from being able to claim any sort of payment. This is a harsher form of shared fault and only a few states still use this including North Carolina and Virginia.

What to Do Next?

If you are planning on suing another driver or you are being sued, your first step should be to hire a personal injury lawyer. They should have extensive experience with car accident lawsuits in your jurisdiction.

If you are in a comparative or modified comparative negligence state, your lawyer will work to help calculate your fault to the lowest percentage possible. In a contributory negligence state, your lawyer will seek to show that you were not responsible for the accident in any way and you should be able to recover compensation. 

When Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

If you have high medical bills or emotional pain from a recent injury, you may be wondering if there is a way to recover compensation. The best way to find this out is to consult with a personal injury lawyer who can walk you through the facts of your injury and determine if you have a case. It can be hard to know when to go to a lawyer or even how to choose the right one.

Here are a few tips to help you decide.

What is Personal Injury Law?

Personal injury law is a part of tort law. These cases are heard in civil courts, not criminal courts. There is an injured party who seeks to get a legal remedy, called damages, for losses that occurred because of the injury. This is usually a monetary remedy, but there can be other forms of relief.

Common types of personal injury cases include:

  • Car accidents
  • Other transportation accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Slip and fall
  • Construction accidents
  • Premise liability
  • Defective products
  • Wrongful death
  • Nursing home abuse, and
  • Workplace accidents.

These injuries can be intentional or accidental. However, a good lawyer should be able to help you recover regardless of how and why the injury occurred.

How Do Personal Injury Cases Work?

Every injury and the facts surrounding it are different. However, all personal injury cases have several similarities. First, all cases have both liability and damages. For liability, there has to be a defendant – a person that the injured can sue. This person must have done something to cause harm to the injured. It doesn’t have to be a direct cause. For example, the defendant could be the owner of a company that produced and sold a defective product.

For damages, the point is to make the injured whole and like they were before the injury. This can include compensation for:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering, and
  • Wrongful death.

It can also include punitive damages in some states like California which are intended to punish the defendant, rather than make the injured whole. Many states have damage caps where recovery of monetary amounts is limited depending on the injury.

When to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

If you are injured, one of the first things you need to consider is if you should hire a personal injury lawyer. Even if you are not sure if you have a case, consulting with an attorney is always a good idea. They know the law and can help you determine if you can recover any damages. Many personal injury lawyers offer low-cost or free first consultations.

The main thing to remember is that almost all personal injury claims have a time limit. In legalese, this is called the statute of limitations. For example, in California, you have three years or less from the date of injury to file a claim for medical malpractice. For car or other accidents, it is generally limited to two years. As with all law, there are complicated exceptions. A lawyer can help you sort through these to see if any of them apply to you.

A final factor is whether you have to deal with insurance companies. The large insurance companies deal with claims all day and have legal representation. You shouldn’t have to compete with them on your own, and you deserve your own representation. The insurance company is not your advocate and they are focused on closing your claim quickly and paying the least amount of money. Hiring a personal injury lawyer to help you through your insurance claim will assure that you are well represented and get the compensation you need to pay your bills.

Are There Any Other Considerations?

You are not legally required to hire a lawyer for a personal injury claim in California. You can represent yourself in smaller claims or for minor injuries. However, representing yourself is not an excuse for not knowing the law or missing deadlines. The court will expect you to know what you are doing, and you will not be given any leeway if you decide to represent yourself.

When looking for a lawyer, make sure to do your due diligence. Look at their website and make sure they have experience in your type of injury. Read their reviews online from former clients. Also, when you first meet with them, have a list of questions prepared to ask. Find out their track record with cases similar to yours. Ask if they prefer to seek settlements or do they go to court.

Finally, take note of how the lawyer makes you feel. This person will be representing you and you want to make sure they are a good fit and that you trust them to make decisions on your behalf.