Attorney Portrait Truck Accidents

What Should I Do If I Was Hit By a Company Vehicle?

| Read Time: 4 minutes

Pursuing a personal injury claim for compensation following a car accident can be complicated, especially one involving a company vehicle. A company vehicle is any vehicle owned by a business and driven by an employee or other “agent” of the business. The vehicle could transport equipment or goods or be an employee’s assigned company car. Understandably, prospective clients come to us to find out, “What should I do if I was hit by a company vehicle?” If you suffered injuries due to another driver’s negligence, don’t hesitate to contact the Beliz Law Firm. We can help you determine the best course of legal action when a negligent driver in a company vehicle causes an accident. What To Do Immediately Following the Accident The steps you take immediately following an accident can impact your injury claim later. Here are some helpful things to remember following an accident with a company-owned vehicle in California. Contact the Police It’s crucial to contact the police following an accident with injuries, especially when a company vehicle is involved. In a traffic collision report, it usually states the driver’s name and the owner’s name. An officer may determine that the vehicle being driven was a company vehicle. In addition, the report will state the insurance information like company and policy number.  This insurance information may also lead to the finding of the vehicle and/or the insurance being with a company.   Exchange Contact Information Be sure to exchange all information with the other driver. Exchanging information will get you details on insurance and the owner of the vehicle. The insurance information will lead to the value of the policy limits. If the other driver was in the course and scope of employment and driving under their employer’s insurance plan, the policy limits may be higher. Most company insurance is higher than the average personal auto insurance limits.    Further, remember to gather information on independent witnesses. Witnesses are essential in these collisions because the insurance adjuster will strongly argue that the company representative was not at fault. Take Scene Photos If you can do so safely and not further injure yourself, take photos of the damage and surrounding scene. You don’t need a professional camera; cell phone images are fine. Try to get pictures of all vehicle damage, debris on the ground, skid marks, or any element of the scene that might be important to your claim. Most importantly take photos of the other vehicles. There may be a decal that shows it was a company vehicle. Don’t forget other factors like weather conditions, road hazards, a broken or blocked traffic sign, or any other relevant detail. Seek Medical Treatment Right Away If you do not require emergency medical transport from the scene, you still need to seek medical treatment right away. Even if you do not think you are severely injured, it’s crucial to get checked out. You could have internal injuries or soft tissue injuries that are not visible. If you delay treatment, the defendant’s representatives will likely use that fact to say that you weren’t that injured. Or they might suggest that another intervening event—that happened after the crash but before seeking treatment—caused your injuries. Contact an Attorney The other driver’s insurance will try to dissuade you, but it’s best to hire a lawyer right away. The sooner you have legal representation, the more your rights are protected. Having a legal advocate from the start will allow your attorney to do your talking for you, thereby keeping you from saying something that could harm your case. Determining Liability in a California Car Accident California follows the rule of pure comparative negligence. This means that you can still collect compensation if you share fault for the accident. However, your award or settlement will be reduced by your percentage of fault. So someone who is 20% liable would not receive more than 80% of their total damages. Claims involving company vehicles differ from other common accidents in several ways. Company vehicles can be commercial vehicles, but it doesn’t only mean 18-wheeler trucks. It could be a delivery van, shuttle, courier, etc. The driver could also drive a company car because they do outside sales, conduct inspections, attend meetings, and more.   If the other driver was acting within the course and scope of their employment at the time of the crash, the company would likely be responsible for the driver’s actions. Company vehicles typically have commercial insurance policies with higher limits than a personal auto insurance policy. That could be important if you sustained severe injuries. However, if the driver was on personal time, their personal insurance policy might be responsible for your damages.     Speak with Our Lawyer at the Beliz Law Firm You might be thinking, What should I do if I was hit by a company vehicle? If so, contact the Beliz Law Firm to discuss your case and your options. No two accidents involving a company-owned vehicle are alike, so it’s best to speak with a car accident lawyer to help you make sense of the confusing legal process in California. The legal team at the Beliz Law Firm has years of experience assisting injured victims just like you. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation and learn more about how we can help.

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Attorney Portrait Pedestrian Accidents

I Was Hit by a Car in the Crosswalk. Now What?

| Read Time: 3 minutes

As a pedestrian, you should feel safe crossing the street while walking in the crosswalk. Drivers must wait for a pedestrian to finish crossing before they continue driving. However, some drivers do not pay attention and strike a pedestrian who is lawfully crossing the street. If you were hit by a car in the crosswalk, you have legal rights in California. Contact the Long Beach car accident lawyers at the Beliz Law Firm today to learn more. What Should You Do Following a Pedestrian-Car Accident Immediately following an accident, the steps you take are essential and can impact your injury claim for compensation. Try to remain calm, so you remember everything you need to do. Contact the Police Start by contacting the police if no one else already has. It’s important to let the 911 dispatcher know a driver struck you as a pedestrian in the crosswalk. You want medical personnel to respond and assess your injuries. Be very cautious about what you say at the scene of the accident. The driver might take something you say out of context, and the insurance adjuster might use these statements against you in a liability investigation. Exchange Contact Information Hopefully, the driver of the vehicle did not flee the scene. You will need to exchange contact information and get their insurance information. Did anyone else witness the accident? If so, you will need to obtain contact information for each witness. Don’t assume that the witnesses will still be there when the police arrive. Someone may not be able to wait, so get their information before they have a chance to drive away. Take Photos If you are physically able, you can also try to take photos of the accident scene. Include pictures of the driver’s vehicle and any debris on the ground. Are there skid marks before the crosswalk? Is it raining? Be sure to capture this information as well. If you can get photos of your injuries, that’s also helpful evidence.  Seek Medical Treatment If you do not require transport to the emergency room following the accident, be sure to visit a doctor as soon as possible. Insurance adjusters will use any delay in treatment to their advantage. They could allege you were not seriously injured or that another event after the accident caused your pain. Contact an Attorney Pursuing a pedestrian accident claim is complicated, and you will need an advocate on your side who can help you navigate the legal challenges. Anything you say to the insurance company can be used against you, so it’s best to get an attorney right away. Let them talk to the insurance adjuster for you so you don’t accidentally say something you regret later. Determining Liability in a Pedestrian Accident The driver’s insurance company will be looking for any option possible to place some liability onto you—thereby lessening their exposure. California follows the legal theory of negligence known as pure comparative negligence. With pure comparative negligence, you could be partially responsible for the accident and still collect compensation for your injuries. However, your percentage of liability would reduce your overall award or settlement. For instance, if a court found you to be 20% at fault and your total damages were $100,000, you would likely end up getting $80,000 in compensation. Who Pays for Your Injuries? Determining who pays for your injuries and damages depends on who is legally responsible. Potentially liable defendants include: The driver of the vehicle, The vehicle owner if different than the driver, A company if the driver was in a company-owned vehicle, or A government agency if the person was driving a city or county vehicle. The driver might allege a vehicle defect contributed to the accident, such as brake failure. If there is a verifiable defect, an additional defendant could be an auto manufacturer or mechanic. Hire Our Lawyer Working with an attorney after a pedestrian accident is crucial. It is best to have a legal advocate on your side who will protect your rights after being hit by a car in the crosswalk. Your lawyer will help you determine all liable parties and handle communication and settlement negotiations with the defendants and their legal representatives. Getting the maximum compensation for your injuries requires strong evidence and an understanding of insurance company tactics aimed at lowering your recovery. At the Beliz Law Firm, we know every trick the insurance companies will try to use to avoid paying you the money you deserve—and we know how to hold their feet to the fire until they make a reasonable offer. Don’t risk getting less money than you should receive. Contact the Beliz Law Firm today to schedule an initial consultation. Let us help you hold the liable parties responsible for the harm they caused you.

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Attorney Portrait Dog Bite Injury

How California Law Treats Dangerous Dogs

| Read Time: 4 minutes

If you suffered injuries after being bitten by a dog, you likely have many questions, including who will pay for your damages. You might also wonder what happens to the dog after an attack. California has multiple laws dealing with dog bites and what the state defines as a vicious dog. You may hear dogs get “one free bite,” but that isn’t necessarily true as owners can be liable for every bite. The California dangerous dog law defines potentially dangerous or vicious dogs, but the law is not breed-specific. Understanding the laws surrounding vicious dogs in California can be confusing. You need a California dog bite attorney to help you pursue a claim against the responsible parties. Definition of Potentially Dangerous and Vicious Dogs in California The dangerous dog law in California spans several different sections, including the California Food and Agriculture Code. Division 14, Chapter 9, Section 31602 defines a “potentially dangerous dog” as: A dog that acts in a way that requires a person to take defensive action to prevent injury when the dog and person are not on the property of the dog’s keeper or owner—the dog must act this way when unprovoked at two different times within the previous 36 months; An unprovoked dog that bites someone, causing injuries more minor than a severe injury; Any dog that has seriously bitten, killed, inflicted an injury, or otherwise caused injuries by attacking a domestic animal while away from the dog’s keeper or owner’s property—the dog must have been unprovoked, and this must have happened at least two different times within the prior 36 months. As you can see, the law defines more than what happens when a dog bites a person. This statute also means that if a dog bites another dog, the law in California will declare it a potentially dangerous dog. But an attack on another animal must be unprovoked and happen twice in 36 months. Section 31603 of the same code also defines a vicious dog as being one that either: Acts in an aggressive manner when unprovoked, and inflicts severe injury to or kills a person; or Was previously declared to be and is currently defined as a potentially dangerous dog—and after the owner was notified, the dog continues behavior as described in Section 31602, or the owners maintain it in a manner that violates Section 31641, 31642, or 31643 of the code. If you sustained injuries from a dog bite, don’t worry about trying to determine if the dog was already declared a potentially dangerous or vicious dog. Let an experienced dog bite lawyer in California help you. At the Beliz Law Firm, we have years of experience dealing with dangerous dog claims and can help protect your rights. What Do Owners Need to Do for Potentially Dangerous or Vicious Dogs? Under the California Food and Agriculture Code, owners must take specific actions with a potentially dangerous dog. A potentially dangerous dog must be registered, vaccinated, and the owners could pay an additional licensing fee. The dog must be kept inside the owner’s home or behind a secure fence where the dog cannot escape, and children cannot trespass. If the dog is not on the owner’s property, they must have it restrained by a substantial leash of appropriate length and controlled by an adult. The owner must notify animal control in writing if the dog is sold, transferred, dies, or permanently removed from the city or county where the owner resides. They must notify animal control about the dog’s new location within two working days of the change.   If the court declares the dog vicious, animal control departments have rights under the dangerous dog bite law. Euthanasia might possibly be ordered by the court in this situation. If animal control does not destroy the dog, owners will be subject to additional conditions to protect others from potentially being attacked. The dog owner may be subject to additional rules and restrictions depending on their city. Various cities and counties in California have provisions for controlling dangerous or vicious dogs. The caveat is that these programs cannot be restrictive as to breed. What Happens if an Owner Violates the California Dangerous Dog Law? As stated, a victim may bring a personal injury lawsuit against the dog’s owner. But the owner could also face criminal prosecution for violating the dangerous dog law in California. California Penal Code 399 can impose criminal charges for failure to control a dangerous animal. This statute applies when the keeper or owner fails to use ordinary care to confine a dangerous or vicious animal, and someone else suffers severe injuries. Depending on the circumstances, the dog’s owner or keeper might be facing a misdemeanor or a felony charge. Both offenses could result in jail and fines. Contact Beliz Law Firm Today If you suffered injuries due to a dog bite in California, let the skilled legal team at the Beliz Law Firm assist you. Dog bites can result in severe physical and emotional injuries. You could be entitled to compensation for your damages. We understand what a stressful and traumatic time this is for you and can help you pursue compensation from the responsible parties. Call today to learn more about how we can help. You only have a limited amount of time to bring a claim for damages related to a dog bite. Schedule an appointment today to ensure you don’t miss the filing deadline.

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Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

What Are Common Uber Accident Settlement Amounts?

| Read Time: 6 minutes

Rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft continue to gain popularity in Southern California and around the country. Uber drivers transport passengers, packages, food, and more. More people signing on to be drivers means more cars on Los Angeles and Orange County roads. Additional cars on the road mean a greater chance of an accident. Pursuing a personal injury claim involving an Uber driver can be complicated. Understandably, injured victims want to know California’s average Uber accident settlement amounts.  Unfortunately, every case is different, which means Uber car accident settlements will vary greatly depending on the circumstances. Your potential case value depends on individual factors. Uber is not always responsible for paying your damages either, which could also impact your compensation. If you suffered injuries in an accident with an Uber driver, contact the California rideshare lawyers at the Beliz Law Firm today. To help you better understand how much your potential settlement could be, here’s everything you need to know about pursuing an Uber accident claim in California. Uber Insurance Policies Rideshare companies understand that accidents happen, so they have large insurance policies to cover potential Uber accident settlement amounts. Uber has paid damages to injured rideshare passengers, pedestrians, motorcyclists, other motorists, and bicyclists. However, Uber policies don’t necessarily cover every accident involving an Uber driver. That is why we recommend hiring an attorney to assist you. Uber insurance policies only become primary in certain instances based on what the Uber driver was doing when the accident occurred. Uber liability coverage for an accident depends on the driver’s status. The breakdown is as follows. The Uber App Is Turned Off, or the Driver Is Offline If the Uber driver does not have their app turned on or they are offline, then the Uber driver’s personal auto insurance policy would be primary for the accident. The Uber Driver Has the App Turned On or Is Waiting for a Ride Request The Uber policy will provide coverage when the driver has the app turned on or is waiting for a ride. Usually, during this phase, the Uber driver’s personal auto liability policy denies coverage. However, the Uber policy coverage is lower in this type of accident. Applicable coverage is $50,000 in bodily injury per person, $100,000 in bodily injury for all parties in one accident, and $25,000 in property damage per accident. Uber Driver Was on a Trip or Traveling to Pick Up a Ride In accidents involving a driver with a passenger in the vehicle or en route to pick up the passenger, the Uber policy would apply with higher limits of up to $1,000,000. Factors that Impact a Potential Uber Settlement in California Various factors will impact your potential Uber accident settlement payout. It’s crucial to take the appropriate steps to build the best case possible. The more substantial evidence you have, the more money you may receive from a settlement or trial award. Type and Severity of Injuries One essential factor in your claim involves your injuries. If someone has soft tissue injuries that heal within three months, their case will be worth significantly less than a case where the victim has a spinal cord injury with permanent paralysis. Following a car accident, timely medical treatment is a necessity. Even though serious injuries may not be apparent immediately after a collision, pains and injuries may increase over the days and weeks following. Insurance companies will argue that you must not be that hurt because you waited weeks to see a doctor. Or they might allege something else happened in the meantime that caused your injuries, not the accident. Liability Liability is another factor that can impact your potential Uber settlement in California. California is a pure comparative negligence state. That means you can still collect a portion of your damages, even if you are partially at fault. However, your Uber accident settlement would be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if a jury determines you are 20% at fault, you will receive 80% of your damages. If the jury decides you are 70% at fault, you will only receive 30%. Determining liability for an Uber-related accident can be challenging. Complicated factors, such as what the Uber driver was doing when the collision occurred, and your role, can significantly impact your potential Uber accident settlement. If you were a passenger in an Uber vehicle and another vehicle was at fault for the accident, you would need to pursue a claim against the negligent motorist. If applicable then you may be able to bring an underinsured motorist claim against Uber to be fully compensated for your injuries.   To maximize an Uber accident settlement payout, you need to build the strongest liability case possible. It doesn’t matter whether your claim is against Uber’s insurance company or the insurance company of another driver; the claims adjuster will do whatever possible to pin most of the liability away from them. Total Amount of Damages The total amount of damages also impact Uber accident settlement amounts. The more damages you have, the higher your case could be worth. Damages can be divided into two main categories—economic and non-economic damages. Your economic damages include tangible financial losses such as medical expenses both past and future, property damage, and time off work. Non-economic damages are harder to calculate because they are more subjective. They are pain and suffering, loss of consortium, emotional distress, and more. When you have the Beliz Law Firm representing you, we will work tirelessly to provide evidence of your damages.   Liability Plus Insurance Policy Limits Plus Damages Equals Settlement Amount The Amount of Liability Coverage The amount of settlement will depend on the combination of liability, the policy limits, and the damages. The higher percentage of liability on the Uber driver with higher insurance limits plus serious injuries may lead to a greater settlement value. However, the opposite is true. The lower percentage of negligence on the Uber driver with the lowest limits of insurance and soft tissue injuries that...

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Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

What Is the Statute of Limitations in a California Car Accident?

| Read Time: 4 minutes

Recovering after a car accident can take a long time. Hospital stays can take weeks, while physical therapy can take months or years. Processing and overcoming the trauma and pain of a car accident can take even longer.  However, if you plan to file a lawsuit because of the accident, you can’t wait forever. California has a strict deadline for filing claims called a “statute of limitations.” In most cases, the statute of limitations in a California car accident case is only two years.  Therefore, if you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident, you need to act quickly. Don’t let the statute of limitations in California make your claim untimely. Contact a knowledgeable Long Beach car accident attorney today.  What Is the Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents in California? Section 340.8 of the California Code of Civil Procedure contains the statute of limitations for car accidents. For most civil lawsuits for losses caused in a car accident, the statute of limitations in California is two years from the date of the accident. If you do not file your lawsuit within the statute of limitations, the court will most likely throw out your case.  That said, this two year statute of limitations does not apply in every situation. One exception applies to car accidents involving government entities. For example, if you were rear-ended by a police vehicle and suffered injuries as a result. Since this is a claim not against a private citizen but a government entity (i.e., the police), a different statute of limitations would apply. Instead of two years, you would have only six months after the accident to file your claim.  Other circumstances can extend the statute of limitations. If a minor child is injured in a car accident, the statute of limitations clock doesn’t start ticking until they are 18 years old.  Two years may sound like a long time, but claims take time. Injuries may need time for treatment plans and diagnoses, and determining fault may need the consultation of experts to parse through the data and witness statements. Your attorney has a lot of work to do gathering evidence and building your case. So it’s never a good idea to wait. Instead, you should reach out to a qualified car accident attorney right away. Why Is the Statute of Limitations Only Two Years? There are several good reasons why the state limits the statute of limitations to two years. For one, limiting the time period to two years helps ensure that sufficient evidence is available. As any attorney or police officer can tell you, evidence degrades over time.  Witnesses move, pass away, or simply forget key facts because memories fade over time. Physical evidence, like documents and photographs, can be lost or destroyed. As the amount of evidence decreases, it becomes harder and harder to get a fair outcome in a case. Capping the statute of limitations to only two years also gives people a sense of finality. If there were no statute of limitations, people could bring lawsuits over events that occurred 5, 10, 20, or even 30 years ago.  What If I Didn’t Know I Was Injured Until a Long Time After the Car Accident? Sometimes, people feel perfectly fine after a car accident. Because they don’t see or feel any effects after the crash, they assume that they’re healthy and don’t go to a doctor. However, car accidents cause all kinds of hidden traumas, like spinal trauma and closed head injuries. Some of the injuries take months or even years to develop.  If you were injured in an accident and waited too long to bring your claim, you may be ultimately barred from receiving recovery from the negligent party.    Consequently, if your injury appeared months or years after the accident, you will need to consult with a qualified legal professional who will help determine whether your claim is still viable and able to file a lawsuit. I’m Short of Cash Right Now. How Can I Afford an Attorney? Many people wrongly assume that they have to pay attorneys an hourly fee. Although attorneys are sometimes paid by the hour, you can sometimes hire them on a contingency fee basis. In a contingency fee arrangement, you pay only when the attorney resolves your case in a favorable monetary outcome. Your attorney will receive a certain agreeable percentage of the payout.   This method allows you to get legal representation even if you don’t have a lot of extra money available to pay upfront fees. It also means that the attorney gets paid only if they win money for you. After damages award money comes in, the attorney takes the agreed-upon percentage as their fee and the rest after disbursement of costs and medical bills will be given to you.   Don’t Wait Another Day to Get Justice. Contact Us Today.  Surviving a car accident is incredibly stressful. It can also be devastating to your finances and physical and mental well-being. However, do not miss your opportunity to recover compensation for your losses. You deserve to be compensated for your pain, suffering, and lost wages. So act quickly and call an attorney today.  Michael A Beliz, Esq. is a dedicated and experienced personal injury attorney who can help you obtain justice. Over the course of almost two decades, Mr. Beliz has represented clients in countless car accident cases. Thanks to his stellar representation, his clients have received some amazing results over the years. If you want a qualified and compassionate attorney to represent you, look no further. Give us a call or contact us online to set up an appointment.

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Attorney Portrait Truck Accidents

Eight FAQs About Semi-Truck Accident Lawsuits

| Read Time: 5 minutes

Although we see semi-trucks all of the time, few of us consider how incredibly dangerous they can be. And trucking accidents are very different from car accidents.  Due to the enormous difference in size between a truck and a normal vehicle, it’s all too common for a semi-truck accident to cause life-altering injuries and death. Furthermore, trucks are often owned by corporations rather than individuals. This often makes trucking accident lawsuits more complicated than regular car accident lawsuits.  If you or a loved one have recently been in a semi-truck accident, a lawsuit could be the best way to receive compensation for your losses. Take a moment to review some of our most frequently asked questions about these kinds of cases and contact a truck accident lawyer to discuss your specific case. FAQ #1: What Should I Do After a Semi-Truck Accident? You’re driving along the highway after work one day. Then, out of nowhere, you’re struck by a semi-truck. Things are moving fast but you need to take a few key steps to ensure your potential claim.  The first thing you need to do is get yourself and your passengers to a safe place immediately. However, stay near the scene of the accident. Be sure to call the police and wait for an officer to arrive. After that, get medical attention right away either through emergency personnel arriving at the scene or going to your nearest medical provider, because many times after a collision injuries are not always apparent. If possible, you should also: Exchange information with the truck driver, Collect evidence of the scene of the accident (i.e., photos, dashcam videos), and Get the contact information of any eyewitnesses.  FAQ #2: What Is My Semi-Truck Accident Lawsuit Worth? Our team gets this question all the time, but there isn’t an easy answer. You see, no trucking accident is the same under the law. The value of your case depends on several factors.  One factor is the severity of your medical injuries. Were you left with a bruise, a concussion, or multiple broken bones? The more serious your medical injuries, the higher your potential compensation. Another factor is whether you missed any work because of the accident. Your damages will be greater if you miss a year of work rather than just a few hours.  Yet another factor is who was at fault for the accident. Since 1975, California has followed the doctrine of pure comparative negligence. What this means is that your recovery will be limited if a judge decides that you were partially at fault for the accident. For example, let’s say you sue the truck driver’s employer after the accident. The jury decides in your favor and awards damages of $100,000. However, if a jury decides that you were 25% responsible for the accident, you will only recover $75,000. Another factor is the amount of insurance the semi-truck is carrying while being on the road.   FAQ #3: How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Lawyer for a Semi-Truck Accident Lawsuit? There are two main ways that attorneys charge for their services. One way is an hourly rate that allows the client to pay over time. With this fee arrangement, the client has to pay regardless of whether they win or lose the case.  The second way of paying an attorney is called a “contingency fee.” With a contingency fee, the client pays the lawyer for their services only if the client wins the case. For their fee, the lawyer takes a percentage of the client’s recovery, usually between 30% and 40%.  FAQ #4: Why Should I Hire An Attorney? The reason for this is that very few people understand the full extent of their rights. The goal of the semi-trucks insurance is to resolve your potential claim as quickly as possible for as low as possible.  A truck accident attorney can fix this. They can assess your case and help you understand what legal concepts are at play and sometimes even give you a rough estimate of your chances of success.  Once you’ve hired an attorney, they can do several other vital tasks. First, they can collect valuable evidence, like medical records, police reports, and witness statements. Second, they can assist you with seeking medical treatment. Third, they can negotiate on your behalf with the insurance companies, the truck driving company, and other third parties. Third, they can persuasively present your case to a jury so that you can receive the compensation you deserve.  FAQ #5: What Should I Do If the Truck Driver’s Insurance Company Offers Me a Settlement? Most people assume the best of others. So if an insurance company offers you a seemingly generous settlement right after the accident, you might be tempted to accept it as a nice gesture.  However, you must always remember that insurance companies are not on your side. Their goal is to pay as little as possible. As such, their settlement offers may be far less than you deserve. In many cases, the initial offer may not be based on your lost wages, medical expenses, or emotional trauma. The amount is just enough for you to close your claim against the negligent driver. In addition, accepting the offer is irrevocable and prevents you from filing against the truck driving company later on.  Once you hire an attorney, they will negotiate with the truck driver’s insurance company to help get you a fair recovery amount.  FAQ #6: Is It Okay For Me to Just Speak with the Truck Driver’s Insurance Company? We recommend that truck accident victims avoid speaking with an insurance company unless they have an attorney. There is no law or statute that forces you to have to speak to their insurance company. In many instances talking with them is harmful to your interests. The insurance company will try to get information out of you that will help them later on. In extreme cases, they may even try to misrepresent your words and misconstrue your statements...

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Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

Can a Pedestrian Ever Be at Fault for a Car Accident in California?

| Read Time: 4 minutes

Many people think that accidents involving pedestrians mean that the driver is always at fault. However, that is not always the case. Understandably, prospective clients want to know, Can a pedestrian be at fault? Liability differs in every case, and yes, a pedestrian can be at fault in a car accident. You often hear the saying that “pedestrians have the right of way,” but that isn’t necessarily always the case. Drivers and pedestrians have a duty to act as a prudent person with reasonable care. Failure to do so could result in potential negligence against a pedestrian in an accident claim. If you sustained injuries in an accident caused by a negligent party, speak with an experienced California pedestrian injury lawyer at the Beliz Law Firm. Pedestrian Accidents in California Pedestrians have the right-of-way at marked and unmarked crosswalks in California. When a pedestrian fails to comply with the crosswalk or pedestrian laws, the driver may have the right-of-way. The law doesn’t protect pedestrians when they violate the law, such as jaywalking between vehicles. That means pedestrians can be legally at fault for causing a crash.  An example would be a pedestrian who darts out between two parked cars in front of a vehicle, causing the driver to crash into the parked cars. In this case, the pedestrian might be liable for the damage to those parked vehicles. Other examples of situations where pedestrians might be liable in an accident include: Crossing at a crosswalk, but violating a traffic law such as crossing on a red light when it says don’t walk; Walking on a bridge or highway where pedestrian traffic is prohibited; or Acting recklessly, negligently, or while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. While pedestrian traffic is prohibited in places such as a highway or freeway, it doesn’t mean a driver can hit someone and have no fault. A motorist may break down and walk to a call box or get off the highway to get assistance. Drivers still have a duty to be cautious and avoid striking them. Shared Fault for Pedestrian Accidents Pedestrian accident liability is sometimes split between the driver and pedestrian, where both parties are deemed to be partially responsible for the accident. California is a pure comparative negligence state. That means you can collect a portion of your damages in an accident, even if you are primarily at fault for the collision. Even in cases where it might appear a pedestrian is clearly at fault, it’s possible the driver will still have some liability. For example, maybe a pedestrian jaywalked, but the driver was distracted and speeding or under the influence of alcohol. The defendant’s insurance company will do their best to put some if not all the liability on you, whether you’re the driver or pedestrian. Even if they can prove only 10% or 20% liability, it means they can reduce their exposure and potential payout. For example, if a jury finds you 15% at fault, you would collect 85% of your damages. It also means the other party would be able to pursue 15% of their damages from your insurance. How a California Pedestrian Injury Attorney Can Assist You If you sustained injuries in a pedestrian accident, retaining a skilled California pedestrian injury lawyer is essential. You need a legal advocate on your side who can protect your rights and help you fight for the maximum compensation in your case. When you retain the Beliz Law Firm to represent you, we will immediately open an independent investigation. Our team will order your medical records and police report, speak with witnesses, and do a scene investigation. In some cases, we may need to hire an expert, such as an accident reconstructionist. This expert will review the facts of the accident. They will prepare a report deciding whom they believe to be at fault for the collision. They can also testify on your behalf should your case eventually go to trial. An accident reconstructionist’s report can be a crucial part of your case. We will also handle all communication and settlement talks with the other party’s insurance or legal practitioners. Insurance companies rely on the fact that you don’t do this for a living. Adjusters will rarely ever offer you the total value of your claim. Instead, they will do their best to minimize your payout and put the majority of the blame on you when investigating pedestrian accident liability. Should the other party’s insurance fail to negotiate or refuse to accept any liability, we will file a lawsuit on your behalf. Contact a California Pedestrian Attorney Today If you or someone you love sustained injuries in a California auto accident with a pedestrian, contact The Beliz Law Firm. We have nearly two decades of experience assisting injured victims just like you. We understand the applicable laws and tactics insurance companies use to avoid paying damages. Our firm has the skills and resources available should you choose to proceed with preparing a case for trial. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation. We will review your case, help you identify the liable party, and assess what your case is worth. Let us determine the best course of legal action and help you fight for the compensation you deserve.

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Attorney Portrait Personal Injury

What Should You Do After an Accident with a DoorDash, Postmates, or Other Delivery Driver?

| Read Time: 4 minutes

Over the past year, people have relied on delivery services like DoorDash, Postmates, and others. The convenience of these services is undeniable, and they help millions of Americans put food on the table. However, more delivery drivers on the road might lead to more occupational accidents. With delivery drivers rushing from one order to the next, they don’t always drive cautiously. Unfortunately, people are injured and killed by negligent delivery drivers each year. If you were injured in an accident with a delivery driver, what should you do? Here, we explain steps you should take to recover compensation for your injuries. If you need assistance, please contact The Beliz Law Firm for a free consultation. Five Steps to Take After an Occupational Accident with a Delivery Driver Pedestrians, passengers, and drivers can be severely injured in delivery accidents. If you are involved in a delivery occupational accident, you should take these steps. Call Emergency Responders Immediately after the accident, you should call for emergency responders. Stay at the accident scene, moving to a safe place, and wait for help to arrive.  Seek Medical Treatment Your first priority should be to get treatment for urgent injuries. Allow paramedics to transport you to an emergency room if necessary. If your injuries are not urgent, seek medical treatment soon after the accident. If you delay getting treatment for your injuries, an insurance company might claim that you got hurt after the accident. File an Accident Report Respond to police questions about the wreck, and ask them to file an accident report. Make sure police record your version of accident events. Gather Evidence If you don’t require immediate medical treatment, you should gather accident evidence: Take photos of the driver’s license and insurance information; Take photos of the damage to vehicles; and Get witnesses’ names and contact information. Don’t delay medical treatment to collect evidence. If you need medical care, ask a friend or your accident lawyer to obtain evidence for you. Call a Lawyer If you’re worried about paying medical bills or negotiating with the insurance company, an accident lawyer can help. Most accident lawyers offer a free consultation, so you can call or message them without worrying about a fee. Where Should You File a Claim? You should file an insurance claim with the responsible party’s insurer. This requires determining fault for the accident. You might file with several insurers, depending on who caused the accident.  File with Another Driver’s Insurance If another driver caused the accident, you can file with their insurance. In California, drivers are required to carry the following minimum liability insurance: $15,000 for injury or death to one person; $30,000 for the injuries or death of multiple people; and $5,000 for property damage. Of course, not all drivers carry the required insurance. Though California provides one of the lowest minimums for liability insurance coverage in the nation, 15% of California drivers are still uninsured. File with Your Uninsured Motorist Insurance If you carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, your insurance policy may pay for your property damage and medical bills. This optional insurance coverage protects you when your accident expenses are higher than the limits set by the other driver’s insurance policy. File with the Delivery Driver’s Insurance If the delivery driver was not working at the time of the accident, you can file against their personal auto insurance policy. In fact, delivery drivers may have their own commercial insurance policies that provide extra coverage. A driver’s personal insurance may not pay if the driver was driving to or from a delivery. File with the Delivery Company’s Insurance If the driver was working for a delivery company at the time of the accident, you can file against the delivery company’s insurance. This option probably provides the most lucrative settlement potential because DoorDash insurance and Postmates insurance is substantial.  How Much Will Delivery Companies Pay for an Occupational Accident? Delivery companies know their drivers get in many accidents, so companies carry large insurance policies. DoorDash Insurance Coverage DoorDash made 45% of all to-go food deliveries in 2020. This huge share of the market comes at a cost, since DoorDash drivers experience many auto accidents each year. When a driver crashes while making a delivery, DoorDash insurance covers up to $1 million in medical expenses and property repair. Postmates Insurance Coverage Postmates, which was recently acquired by Uber Eats, completes five million deliveries each month. Postmates provides insurance coverage of $1 million for medical expenses and property damage in an accident that occurs while a driver is making a delivery. Both companies’ excess policies kick in after an accident victim has exhausted the driver’s personal policy limits. When Do You Need an Accident Attorney? If figuring out where to file an insurance claim after a delivery accident sounds complicated, that’s because it is. Insurers will try to deflect and deny your claim any way they can, and that often means multiple insurers will try to shift responsibility to another party. This can feel frustrating when you’re trying to recover from accident injuries, pay medical bills, and afford basic living expenses. An accident lawyer can cut through the blame-shifting antics of insurance companies and make the responsible party pay your expenses. An attorney can also investigate your accident, handle insurance paperwork, and negotiate with the insurer for your highest possible settlement. Contact an Experienced Accident Attorney If you need help with your insurance claim against a delivery company, contact The Beliz Law Firm. Attorney Michael A. Beliz knows the risks that delivery drivers present on California roadways. He has helped accident victims get the compensation they deserve for 15 years, winning victims collective millions of dollars.  If you would like to speak with Michael about your accident experience, contact him for a free consultation. You can discuss the accident and learn your legal options. If you choose to hire Michael, you’ll pay nothing until he settles or wins your case.

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Attorney Portrait Personal Injury

Do I Need a Lawyer to File an Uber Accident Claim?

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Ridesharing has skyrocketed in recent years. Companies like Uber and Lyft provide convenient, affordable transportation to millions of people every day. However, these rides aren’t always safe. Each year, Uber drivers are involved in accidents that injure or kill passengers. Researchers found that when large US cities introduced ride-hailing services, traffic fatalities increased by up to 3%. This fatality increase occurs at all times of travel, including weekdays and weekends, daytime and night. If you were injured in an Uber accident, you should be able to recover compensation. To file an Uber claim, you may need the help of an attorney. This article will explain where you could file an Uber claim and when you should consult an attorney. Where Do You File an Uber Insurance Claim? You have several potential options for filing an Uber insurance claim. The insurance company responsible for paying you depends on who caused the accident.  File with Another Driver’s Insurance If another driver caused the accident with an Uber, file a claim with their insurance company. For instance, if a truck runs a stoplight and crashes into your Uber, file a claim with the truck driver’s insurance. File with the Uber Driver’s Insurance If the Uber driver was off-duty when the accident happened, you can file with their personal auto insurance. Uber drivers are independent contractors, which means that they are not considered employees of the company. So their personal insurance may foot the bill. However, an Uber driver’s personal insurance might not pay if they think the accident is work-related.  File with Uber’s Insurance If the Uber driver caused the accident while working, you can file a claim with Uber’s insurance company. Whether Uber’s insurance will pay depends on whether your driver was working at the time of the accident. If the driver was not transporting a passenger, Uber’s insurance may not pay. The amount of coverage available depends on what the driver was doing at the time of the accident. Driver without passengers If the driver was actively “for hire” but had no passengers, Uber provides insurance coverage of up to:  $50,000 per person for injuries; $100,000 per accident for injuries; and  $25,000 per accident for property damage. In this situation, you would file with the driver’s personal insurance first, and then Uber’s insurance would pick up any excess. Driver with passengers If the driver had passengers or was on the way to pick up a rider, Uber provides insurance coverage of up to $1 million per accident. Note that insurance coverage amounts per accident are shared by all injured parties. That means that if you were injured by an Uber, file a claim quickly before other injured victims claim all the available insurance funds. Uber driver injuries California’s Prop 22 gives Uber drivers extra accident protection. If you were injured while working for Uber in California, you can get: Up to $1,324 in weekly disability payments; and Up to $1 million in medical expenses. If your loved one was killed while driving for Uber in California, you can file a survivor claim on Uber’s insurance for up to $320,000. File with Your Own Auto Insurance You may also be able to file with your own auto insurance company on underinsured motorist coverage. Some California drivers add optional coverage for collisions with uninsured or underinsured drivers. If you have this coverage, your insurance company may pay medical bills that exceed the other driver’s policy limits. It can be confusing to know which insurance company is responsible for your medical bills. When multiple insurance companies try to avoid paying you, a skilled attorney can sort through the stall tactics to get you the money you need. How Much Money Can You Get for an Uber Accident Claim? When you file an Uber claim, you want fair compensation for the harm you suffered. How much money will you get? That’s hard to estimate without knowing the specifics of your experience. Settlement amounts for an Uber accident claim depend on things like: The extent of your injuries; Property damage; Whether you contributed to the accident; Whether your injuries prevent you from working; and Whether your injuries impact your life. Proving that you suffered extensive harm from your accident requires evidence. You should bring any medical report, accident photos, bills, and other relevant documents when you meet with an attorney. If you need more evidence to back your Uber insurance claim, the law firm investigators can look for it. Should You Hire an Attorney for an Uber Accident Claim? When you attempt to negotiate a settlement with a big company like Uber, they have the advantage. Uber drivers get into lots of accidents, so the company’s insurer routinely negotiates settlements with victims. The insurance company may attempt to protect its profits by offering accident victims unfair compensation. However, you may not know how to fight a big corporation on your own. The settlement process can be intimidating, especially when you’re seriously injured. You can give yourself an advantage by hiring a knowledgeable car accident attorney. An attorney can investigate your accident, calculate fair damages, and negotiate with Uber for every dollar you deserve. Contact an Experienced Accident Attorney About Your Uber Claim If you were involved in an Uber accident, you should contact an experienced accident attorney. An honest attorney will advise you on what your claim is worth, explain the accident claim process, and help you pursue maximum compensation.  At The Beliz Law Firm, we’ve helped California accident victims get millions of dollars over the past decade. Attorney Michael A. Beliz provides passionate, personalized representation as he seeks the best financial outcome for each client. Contact Michael for a free consultation, and start pursuing maximum compensation for your Uber accident.

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Attorney Portrait Personal Injury

Filing a Claim After a Lyft Accident

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Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft have revolutionized the way people get around in the 21st century. Cities with limited public transportation options and scarce local taxi services are now accessible thanks to a simple application download on a smartphone. Even during the age of COVID-19, people still use rideshare apps to get around, while drivers can earn some extra cash for the family. But like any other vehicles, rideshare cars get into accidents. With extra concerns like company liability and multiple insurance carriers, an accident victim may not know what to do. Here’s a short guide to Lyft car accidents, and what to do if you are involved in one. What Is Lyft, and How Does It Work? Lyft is one of the most popular and successful rideshare applications on the market today. A customer downloads the company’s application on their smartphone, enters their name and payment information, and then is ready to ride. The GPS function on your phone alerts nearby drivers that someone needs a ride, and once the driver confirms the trip, they are on their way to pick you up. Once the trip is complete, all payments are done electronically and the driver can move on to the next rider.  Unlike taxi drivers, a Lyft driver uses their own vehicle. This means that it doubles both as a personal vehicle and a work vehicle, which can create real complications if they get into an accident. Lyft Employment Status While most rideshare companies do obviously have full-time employees, none of these are actually their drivers. On Lyft’s website they clearly assert that “drivers are classified as independent contractors, and aren’t employees of Lyft.” All drivers must take information from their IRS 1099 and file their own taxes. This is a move that Lyft and Uber use to cut down on costs. Full-time employees must be provided certain benefits by law, so Lyft gets around this by calling all drivers independent contractors. Most of the time, an “employee” is covered by their employer’s insurance policy when they are out doing business for the company. Independent contractors are generally not covered by these policies. But when your business is giving rides, rideshare companies can’t use this excuse to avoid paying insurance. Therefore, companies like Lyft have a special hybrid policy. Their drivers will primarily be on the hook for accident damages backed by Lyft’s additional coverage. Lyft’s Insurance Requirements All Lyft drivers are required by the company to have a personal auto insurance policy that meets minimum state coverage requirements. The driver’s policy is in use any time they have the application off and are out doing personal things, like picking up the kids or buying groceries. Lyft also provides third-party insurance coverage for drivers during two specific situations. Application On, Driver Waiting for a Passenger When a driver wants to go “on duty,” all they have to do is open the Lyft app and signal they are available to pick up passengers. When the app is on and they are waiting, they can be covered by Lyft’s policy if their personal insurance won’t cover rideshare activities. The policy limits are: $50,000/person for bodily injury, $100,000/accident for bodily injury, and $25,000/accident for property damage. This coverage is available to compensate you if a Lyft driver causes an accident. Application On, Transporting or In-Transit to Passenger When the driver is actually engaged transporting a passenger or on the way to pick one up, Lyft provides insurance for covered accidents: $1,000,000 for third-party auto liability, Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage, and Contingent comprehensive & collision up to the actual cash value of the car ($2,500 deductible). Your attorney can help you determine which policy limits might apply to your claim. Who Is Liable for Damages in a Lyft Accident? If you are looking to file a personal injury claim, you might be confused as to whose insurance will cover the accident. Because their drivers are independent contractors, this means that the company will usually not be liable for the negligent actions of their drivers. Even if the accident was entirely the Lyft driver’s fault, you will not be able to sue Lyft directly. The most common approach to Lyft accident claims is to first file a claim on the driver’s personal policy if they were off-duty or their personal policy covers the “application on, waiting for a passenger” status. But if a Lyft driver is in transit with a passenger at the time of the accident, the situation is different. Here, the driver is covered by Lyft’s primary liability insurance. If a Lyft driver causes a car accident while they are carrying a passenger, this kind of coverage should be available to passengers and those injured in the other vehicle. Injured in a Lyft Driver Car Accident? The Beliz Law Firm Can Help! If you were injured in an accident with a Lyft or other rideshare vehicle, we know the aftermath is stressful. After California failed to pass rideshare reform laws, it is more important than ever to seek a personal injury attorney in these situations. At the Beliz Law Firm, we can help you navigate the complicated process of figuring out where to file your claim, whom you can sue for damages, and more. Attorney Michael Beliz has over a decade of experience with personal injury cases in Long Beach, Riverside, and other cities in and around Orange County and has a proven track record of successful outcomes for his clients. Call 562-452-3772 or visit our website to schedule a free case evaluation today!

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