Attorney Portrait Wrongful Death

What Constitutes Wrongful Death in California

| Read Time: 4 minutes

Losing someone you love is a tragedy. It’s even worse when the cause of death is negligence. If you lost someone close to you because of someone else’s actions or failure to act, then you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. You can recover financial compensation if you can prove that the other party’s negligence caused the death of your loved one. Our experienced attorneys at Beliz Law Firm can explain what constitutes wrongful death in California. Contact us today and schedule a free case evaluation. What Qualifies As Wrongful Death? California law defines wrongful death as a “cause of action for the death of a person caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another.”  A wrongful death lawsuit can come about as a result of various situations. You must prove that someone either committed an intentional act or acted negligently.  Intentional Act An intentional act is an act committed purposefully. It is a wrongful act if it endangers others.  If the intentional act causes the death of another, a wrongful death claim may be pursued.  For example, suppose someone engages in a physical altercation with another person. The attacker has committed the wrongful and intentional act of battery. If the victim later dies of the injuries they sustained in the fight, then the victim’s family may be able to file a wrongful death action against the attacker. Note, if your loved one was murdered you might be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit even if the murder suspect is acquitted. Negligence Most wrongful death lawsuits arise from incidents of negligence. Negligence occurs when someone acts carelessly doing something or not doing something. A wrongful death claim may be initiated when negligence results in someone’s death.  Negligence wrongful death claims can arise from the following incidents: To prove negligence, you must prove the following four elements. Duty of Care You must prove that the person you are suing had a duty of care to the deceased. Determining the duty of care is fact-intensive. Examples include: The lawyers at Beliz Law Firm will help investigate to see if the person you are suing had a duty of care to your deceased loved one. Breach of Duty Next, there must be a breach of duty to the deceased. You must prove that the party you are suing did something or failed to do something. This action or inaction caused them to breach their duty. For example, when motorists fail to stop at a red light, they breach their duty to drive safely. Or, when a doctor diagnoses a heart attack as heartburn without performing proper tests, then they breach their duty to provide an appropriate level of care. Causation To be successful in your negligence claim, it is not enough that you prove a breach of duty. You must connect the breach to the death of your loved one.  Your California wrongful death attorney will help you gather the evidence necessary to hold the parties responsible for your loved one’s death accountable. Damages No amount of compensation can reverse time and bring your loved one back to life. But a wrongful death claim allows you to recover losses that resulted from your loved one’s death, including the following: Calculating damages can be complex. Let the experienced attorneys at Beliz Law Firm handle the work while you and your family recover from your tragic loss.  Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim? California law outlines who can bring a wrongful death claim. They include the following: The putative spouse of the decedent and any children they have may also be able to file a wrongful death claim.  A minor who does not fit any of these categories may also file a wrongful death claim if they lived with the decedent for 180 days before the decedent’s death and were dependent on the decedent for at least one-half of their support. How Long Do You Have to Bring a Wrongful Death Claim in California? There is a specified time frame to bring civil and criminal claims in California. This time frame is called the statute of limitations. Once this deadline has passed, a plaintiff can no longer pursue a claim. In California, a party has two years to bring a wrongful death claim.  Even if you can prove all the elements of what constitutes a wrongful death lawsuit, you cannot hold the negligent party accountable if you fail to bring the claim within two years. Be aware that the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim starts on the date your loved one passed away, which may not be the same date as the incident or accident. Contact Beliz Law Firm for a Free Case Consultation California wrongful death cases can get complicated. It may be hard to determine what is considered a wrongful death. That’s why you must talk to the experienced attorneys at Beliz Law Firm. With almost two decades of legal experience, founder Michael A. Beliz has recovered millions of dollars for his clients. Michael understands the difficult time you are going through. At Beliz Law Firm, you don’t have to deal with the aftermath of this tragedy alone. Contact us today and find out how we can help you.

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Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

Can an Auto Accident Settlement Exceed the Policy Limit in California?

| Read Time: 4 minutes

Even though, as a whole, people drove less in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, auto accidents were unfortunately widespread. Distracted driving accounted for approximately 14% of all car accidents resulting in injuries in 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration (NHTSA). Also in 2020, over 1,100 people lost their lives due to alcohol-related car accidents in California. NHTSA estimates that in 2021, over 4,000 lost their lives in a traffic accident. Car insurance serves to help make sure that a crash victim receives a minimum amount of compensation for their injuries and damages. But what if the damages are more than the insurance policy limit? Can an auto accident settlement exceed the policy limit in California?  California Insurance Policies and Limits California has special laws when it comes to car insurance. By law, individuals can carry traditional motor vehicle insurance or provide proof of financial responsibility in lieu of insurance. This allows individuals flexibility to choose how they would like to cover car accident liability. Additionally, it protects the public by requiring individuals to secure a method to compensate car accident victims for losses.  Types of California Insurance Policies California allows drivers to carry the following types of liability policies:  Some individuals may qualify for a low-cost insurance program. This program improves access to insurance coverage to individuals who can’t afford traditional car insurance. In return, however, the policy limits and coverage are less than those of traditional insurance.  California Insurance Policy Limits California’s drivers must provide evidence of the following minimum amounts of financial responsibility in case of an accident: If the individual carries a low-cost automobile insurance policy, the following limits apply: These are the minimum amounts of coverage that California’s drivers must carry or bear responsibility for. But drivers can opt to take out policies with higher coverage amounts.  Can an Auto Accident Settlement Exceed the Policy Limit in California? It depends. Part of the insurance contract is that the driver agrees to pay the insurance company X amount in exchange for the insurance covering losses totaling X amount or less.  Typically, insurance policies and limits represent the highest amounts that the insurance company may agree to pay if there’s an accident.  In California, you have to give the at-fault insurance company one opportunity to resolve the claim within their limits by sending over enough information to show the limit amount should be tendered. If the insurance company disagrees and does not pay, then the insurance policy limit is open.    You can still negotiate with the insurance company and at-fault parties to reach a settlement agreement that works for everyone. Additionally, if you have underinsured motorist coverage, your insurance company may cover some of your damages.  Having an experienced auto accident lawyer to help you increases your chances of recovering. The Beliz Law Firm helps people like you negotiate with the insurance company. We’re not afraid to go to court to help victims and their families get the compensation they need and deserve.  What Are My Options If My Damages Exceed the Insurance Policy Limits? Some car accident injuries like traumatic brain injury can incur a lifetime cost for medical treatment of thousands to over $1 million dollars. Aside from medical costs, you or your loved one may be missing out on wages, enduring pain and suffering, and going through other hardships because of the accident. Do you have options?  If you’re unable to negotiate a suitable settlement outside of court, filing a lawsuit may be your best option. If you go to court, the money award you receive isn’t limited by the insurance policy limits. California’s personal injury damages laws set how much you can receive from the at-fault party or parties.  Under California law, you may be entitled to full, fair, and reasonable compensation for the damages that the at-fault party caused. This includes direct damages, like to your car and your body during the accident. Additionally, you may receive compensation for the harm to you, your life, and your family because of the accident. In other words, compensation for your pain and suffering and lost wages. Unfortunately, just because a court may award you damages does not mean you will be able to collect them. Underinsured drivers often lack the resources to pay a judgment. Your attorney can investigate to help you determine whether filing a lawsuit will be worthwhile. If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on your own insurance policy, you can make a claim with your own insurance company up to the limits of that policy. A lawyer can help you navigate claims with both the at-fault driver’s insurance company and your own insurance company. Hiring a knowledgeable and trustworthy auto accident lawyer helps you maximize the recovery you receive.  The Beliz Law Firm—Trusted By Southern California Since 2011 Car accident victims need someone they can trust on their side. After all, insurance companies want to save money and at-fault parties aim to pay as little as possible. Meanwhile, car accident victims and their families must pay the price of an accident that wasn’t their fault.  Without an attorney in their corner fighting for them, victims may unknowingly sign away their rights to compensation and accept a car accident settlement that’s far less than what their claim is worth. For nearly 20 years, Attorney Michael Beliz has helped numerous victims recover for their losses. We take on faceless insurance companies and hold at-fault parties responsible. We offer free case reviews and don’t charge you a dime in upfront legal fees. Contact us today.

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Attorney Portrait Dog Bite Injury

Average Settlement for Dog Bite in California

| Read Time: 4 minutes

Dog Attack Compensation in California Navigating through the complexities of dog attack compensation in California requires a thorough understanding of legal and medical processes following the incident. The average dog bite settlement can vary significantly from case to case. If the dog caused severe injuries, the person might have incurred more expenses, possibly meriting a higher settlement. In contrast, if the victim suffers minor bruises or no physical injuries at all, the damage award may be lower. An attorney can help you understand and assert your legal rights to help maximize your settlement.  Michael Beliz has successfully helped numerous clients recover compensation in many personal injury cases, including claims involving dog bites. He understands the trauma and risks that his clients experience when they suffer a dog attack. He and his team provide aggressive yet compassionate legal representation to clients throughout California to help them reclaim their lives and recover compensation.  What Is the Average Settlement for a Dog Bite Case? Every situation leading to a dog bite is unique. For that reason, there is no average settlement for a dog bite case in California. Your chance of recovering compensation depends on a host of factors, such as:  The best way to determine if you have a claim against a dog owner and how much that might be is to talk to a legal professional who regularly practices in this area of law. An attorney understands the nuances of California’s dog bite and personal injury laws and may give you some information on what to expect if you pursue damages.  What Might Affect the Average Dog Bite Settlement Amounts? While no one can reasonably guarantee a particular outcome, there are common types of damages that may arise in a given case. Three common sources of compensation include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The specific amount of these (or whether the victim receives these at all) depends on the surrounding circumstances.  Medical Expenses Dog bites can cause puncture wounds, broken bones, lacerations, bruises, and infections. These can result in the victim paying hospital bills, co-pays, prescription drug fees, and rehabilitation costs. Medical expenses are a common source of damages in a dog bite case. To recover these damages, you’ll need to show that they resulted from the dog bite. In addition, there may be future medical expenses like plastic surgery once the dog bite heals.    Lost Wages Many dog bite victims may have to miss work while they quarantine, receive treatment for their injuries, or recover after an attack. You may be entitled to reimbursement from the dog’s owner to cover the time you could not work because you had to attend attack-related medical treatments or stay home and recover.  Pain and Suffering Pain and suffering is another type of compensation dog bite victims may receive. This type of damage award compensates you for the pain and trauma involved in suffering a dog bite. It can include the trauma of the event and the effects you experience later on.  How Can I Maximize the Average Payout for a Dog Bite? There are steps you can take to help maximize the payout you may receive for a dog bite. These steps include seeking medical attention, taking swift action, and hiring an attorney. While none of these guarantee a particular outcome, they help set you up for possible success.  Take Photos Take photos of the dog and your injuries.  Keep taking photos of your injuries to show the healing process. Documenting your injuries from the very beginning will show the defendant how your life was affected from the attack. Call Animal Control  Call the local animal control. They will go out and gather information about the dog and the dog owner, in addition to getting statements from all interested parties and taking photos of the dog and any injuries. This information will all be put into a report that will be useful for your dog bite claim.    Seek Medical Attention Seeking medical attention after a dog bite is imperative to protect your health. Because dogs use their mouths so frequently and owners do not sanitize their pets’ mouths every day, dogs tend to have a lot of potentially dangerous bacteria in their saliva. The best practice is to go to the doctor even before you show signs of an infection. This helps protect your health and sets a strong foundation for your legal claim.  Take Swift Action California imposes a strict deadline on when injury victims can file a claim against an at-fault party for a personal injury. In most cases, this deadline is two years, but there are exceptions. Some claims may merit a longer or shorter time limit. An attorney can help you identify and meet this deadline.  Hire an Attorney Hiring an attorney can help you prepare, present, and effectively negotiate your settlement. Further, at-fault parties are more likely to take you and your dog bite claim seriously if you have an attorney to help you. A lawyer serves as your advocate to help ensure that your best interests are respected during the case.  The Beliz Law Firm Can Help Dog bites can be terrifying experiences, causing trauma and physical injuries. If you suffered an injury during a dog attack, acting quickly and effectively to protect your physical health and legal rights is essential.  Michael Beliz understands the pain and challenges experienced by California dog bite victims. He can help you understand the applicable laws in your situation and will listen to your dog attack story. He has over 15 years of experience fighting for injury victims throughout California. If you experienced a dog bite in California, contact Michael today to schedule a no-obligation consultation.

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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: 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: 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 Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle vs Truck Accidents in California

| Read Time: 3 minutes

California is one of the country’s most desirable destinations for riding a motorcycle. Scenic routes and temperate weather make it a dream. However, the risk of getting into an accident is high, especially with all the large trucks transporting cargo up and down the state. If you or a loved one was involved in a motorcycle vs truck accident, you have the legal right to pursue a claim for damages.  The aftermath of a motorcycle accident can be daunting. Victims likely face challenges with mounting medical bills, a slow recovery, and a stressful claims process. Hiring an experienced California accident lawyer can help. Read on to learn more about the causes of these collisions and what damages you can typically recover.  Common Causes of Truck-Motorcycle Collisions Accidents involving motorcycles versus trucks can happen for any number of reasons. Some of the most common causes include the following:  Numerous other factors can lead to a motorcycle vs truck accident, but these are some of the most common ones we see.  Recoverable Damages in a Motorcycle vs Truck Accident Understandably, injured victims want to know what they can recover in a claim against the responsible party. Every case differs, but some of the most common damages available in these types of collisions include the following:  Hiring an experienced attorney is crucial to protect your rights and maximize your chances of recovering the most compensation.  Injuries and Fatalities in Motorcycle and Truck Accidents  When you compare these two types of collisions, there’s no comprehensive data on motorcycle vs truck accident statistics in California. According to the California Highway Patrol, accidents involving motorcycles in 2019 resulted in 480 fatalities and 12,707 injuries. During the same year, truck accidents resulted in 344 deaths and 7,009 injuries across the state.  Contact a California Accident Attorney If you sustained injuries in a motorcycle vs truck accident, contact the Beliz Law Firm. Attorney Michael Beliz has nearly two decades of experience representing injured victims of accidents in Southern California. When you need assistance getting justice after someone else’s negligence caused an accident, our legal team stands ready to help. Schedule a consultation today and learn more about how we can assist you.

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Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

What Is the Average Settlement for a Drunk Driving Accident in California?

| Read Time: 4 minutes

Overview of Drunk Driving Accident Settlements in California Drunk driving remains a serious public safety problem in California. According to the most recent data from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), more than 1,000 people were killed in DUI crashes in the state in 2017. Many thousands more innocent victims suffered severe, even life-changing injuries in wholly avoidable DUI accidents. When a drunk driver hits you, it is a trying experience, especially if there are serious injuries. As you recover from injuries, it is natural to think about recovering compensation from the drunk driver who hit you. You have to consider medical bills, rehabilitation costs, missed work, and more. This raises an important question: How much can you expect to recover and what is the average drunk driving accident settlement in California? The truth is, there is no true ‘average’ drunk driving accident settlement amount because each claim is different and unique. If you were injured by an intoxicated driver, your potential settlement will vary based on the severity of your injuries and circumstances surrounding your case. Your DUI accident settlement can include compensation for pain and suffering, lost earning capacity, and reimbursement for medical bills. At The Beliz Law Firm, our top-rated Long Beach, CA drunk driving accident lawyer is standing by, ready to fight for your rights. Car accident lawyer Michael Beliz can help you understand what your case is worth. Consultations are always free – reach out today. Average Settlement for Drunk Driving Accidents in California After an injury in a car accident, the driver at fault for the accident may be liable for your injuries. In some cases, the person that caused the accident was driving under the influence. If that happens to you, there is a good chance the other driver owes you compensation. An accident involving a drunk driver can often yield a higher settlement or judgment than a case in which the driver at fault was not impaired. However, the value of any personal injury or wrongful death claim depends on the case. Is There a Normal Drunk Driving Personal Injury Settlement? There is no “normal” settlement for car accident injuries caused by a drunk driver. In California, some personal injury awards are more than a million dollars. Other cases settle for under $10,000. The compensation owed in your personal injury case depends on many factors. They include the severity and permanence of your injuries, the economic loss you suffered, and the degree of comparative fault. The defendant’s insurance coverage and ability to pay will also play a large role in the value of a settlement. How Do We Calculate Damages in Drunk Driving Accident Cases There are two kinds of damages in personal injury cases: compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages compensate an injured person for his loss. We categorize these into economic (special) and non-economic (general) damages. Punitive damages (also called exemplary damages) punish the defendant for extreme neglect or bad behavior. To award punitive damages, California law requires the defendant must have “willfully and deliberately failed” to avoid the known consequences of his negligence. Not every drunk driving personal injury case will include punitive damages. In some cases, however, juries have awarded millions of dollars in punitive damages to the families of those killed by an intoxicated driver. How to Maximize Your Compensation After a DUI Accident in California Whether you are seeking compensation for direct economic losses — such as medical bills, lost wages, etc — or you are seeking compensation for non-economic damages — such as pain and suffering, disfigurement, or emotional distress — it is crucial that your damages are properly documented and effectively presented. Ultimately, compensatory damages must be tied to your losses. To obtain compensation through a settlement or personal injury verdict, your claim should be carefully documented with strong supporting evidence either through receipts, bills, photos, etc. Indeed, the key to obtaining successful results in the personal injury settlement process often lies in the evidence. Notably, the large insurance companies that typically defend DUI accident claims have a well-established reputation for being highly aggressive. It is rare that these insurers will lead with their best and final settlement offer at the beginning of the negotiation process. Their fundamental goal is to settle drunk driving accident claims for the lowest amount possible and as quickly as possible. Insurers train their representatives to look for any information that they can use against plaintiffs in order to reduce a personal injury settlement. For this and other reasons, it is highly recommended that you deal with the insurance company through your attorney. Your attorney will make sure that your interests are protected. When Can You Recover Punitive Damages in a California DUI Accident Case? Punitive damages will only be awarded in cases where there was gross negligence or extraordinarily reckless misconduct by the defendant. In DUI accident cases, California courts are instructed to look to the state’s statutes on punitive/exemplary damages (Civil Code § 3294). What is notable is that California requires plaintiffs to present ‘clear and compelling’ evidence in seeking punitive damages. This is a significantly higher legal threshold than the ‘preponderance of evidence’ standard that is used for compensatory damages. In order to recover punitive damages for a drunk driving accident, you must be able to clearly demonstrate that the defendant (the intoxicated driver) was grossly negligent or willfully reckless. The worse the behavior of the defendant, the more likely punitive damages are to be awarded. An example of willfully reckless behavior is a prior DUI conviction. If you are considering seeking punitive damages in your case, it is imperative that you seek guidance from an experienced Long Beach drunk driving accident lawyer who can help you prepare the strongest possible legal claim. Need Help Receiving a DUI Accident Settlement in California? Contact The Beliz Law Firm If you or a loved one is in a car accident, and you suspect the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, speak with an attorney right away....

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Attorney Portrait Personal Injury

How Much Is the Average Settlement for a Back Injury?

| Read Time: 3 minutes

One of accident victims’ most commonly asked questions is, How much is the average settlement for a back injury? Although it is not the answer most people want to hear, the truth is that it is difficult to accurately determine the average payout for a back injury from a car accident, work incident, slip and fall, or any other type of accident. The value of a back injury depends on the strength of the liability, the severity of the injuries, and the size of the insurance policy. However, upon speaking with an experienced attorney and discussing the specific factors and circumstances surrounding your back injury, you may better understand what you might expect in a settlement or award. Average Back Injury Settlement The average payout for a back injury at work or elsewhere can vary significantly.  Because of the severity and complexity of many back injuries, it is common to see six- and even seven-figure payouts. Remember, every case is unique and presents facts and circumstances that will influence the exact settlement or jury award.  Factors that may impact your settlement or award include: Contact the Beliz Law Firm to discuss the specifics of your case. We can help you assess each factor and how it might affect your potential settlement. What Is the Average Payout for a Back Injury? While many factors play a role in determining the payout for a back injury victim, one significant factor significantly influences the outcome: whether surgery is necessary. A back injury settlement with a surgery recommendation vs. one without can differ drastically.  Any back injury can be life-altering and require significant medical intervention. Typically, the more severe the injury, the more damages you will be entitled to. It is undoubtedly challenging to calculate average back injury settlements. However, a reliable indicator of what your case may be worth is whether your back injury requires surgery.  Back Injury Settlements with Surgery Back injuries requiring surgery are typically severe and unlikely to resolve independently. Individuals necessitating back surgery are more likely to end up with a higher settlement because their economic damages (e.g., reimbursement for medical expenses), which are intended to cover the cost of any medical treatment, including surgery, will be higher. Surgery, and the rehabilitation and therapy that come after, will significantly increase an individual’s medical expenses. Back injuries requiring surgical repair are also more likely to increase other economic and noneconomic damages because of the extended recovery period. Extensive recovery might mean you will be unable to work for a long period of time, resulting in lost wages. It can also mean you cannot participate in your normal daily activities, leading to pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.  Settlements Without Back Surgery While victims requiring surgery might see a higher settlement, surgery is generally a last resort option and should not be taken lightly. Your doctors and medical team will advise you on the best action for your injury and situation. Usually, a doctor will prescribe non-invasive treatments first to avoid surgery. While back injury settlements that do not require surgical repair tend to be overall lower than those requiring surgery, it does not mean you will not be entitled to significant compensation. In fact, some non-surgical treatment options can cost just as much as surgical repair. Every person and injury is unique, and what may be minor to one person could be catastrophic in another’s life, leading to a hefty settlement. Types of Back Injuries Many types of back injuries can result from a car or work accident, all with varying degrees of severity. Some are minor and will resolve with little to no medical intervention, while others are severe and permanent and can significantly impact your life. Common back injuries include:  Depending on the accident, it is possible to suffer from more than a back injury. Regardless of circumstances, you should always receive medical treatment, follow doctors’ orders, and seek legal guidance to identify your options. Back Injury Accident Attorney At The Beliz Law Firm, we have helped back injury victims recover millions of dollars. Here, we provide one-on-one attention to every client to ensure they receive the best possible outcome. Contact us today to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

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Attorney Portrait Truck Accidents

Who to Sue in a Truck Accident in California

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Being the victim of a truck accident can completely uproot your life. Trucks are enormous vehicles that can cause catastrophic damage due to their size and weight. Sometimes it can be hard to know who to sue in a truck accident. Many parties can be responsible for a truck, not just the truck driver. An experienced California truck accident lawyer can help you file your claim, determine who was at fault, and get you the compensation you deserve. Can I Sue for a Truck Crash? If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, you may be able to sue for damages. Though compensation cannot reverse your injuries, it can help you bear the financial burden of the accident. Hiring a California truck accident attorney can help you receive fair and just compensation for your injuries. Before you sue, the first step is to file a claim with the responsible party’s insurance company. After reviewing the evidence for liability and damages, the insurance company will make a settlement offer. Know that this offer may be low. An insurance company’s goal is to resolve a claim as fast as possible for as low of a number as possible. Remember an insurance company is the adversarial party and they are not in the position to help an injured person. An insurance company wants to protect their assets.  Speak with an attorney before you accept the settlement offer. The truck accident attorneys at The Beliz Law Firm will negotiate with the insurance companies and fight to get you a higher settlement. We will not let them threaten us or undervalue your claim. The truck accident attorneys at The Beliz Law Firm will stand by you from filing the claim stage to a potential lawsuit, and all the way until the final verdict. Who Can I Sue for Being Hit by a Semi Truck? There are many different parties you can file a claim against or sue if you suffered injury in a truck accident. To determine the appropriate party, you must determine who is at fault for the accident. The following are parties who are commonly responsible for a truck accident: A truck accident lawyer can help identify the responsible party. What Can I Sue For? Truck accident claims are rooted in the doctrine of negligence. Negligence is the failure to act with care when there is a duty to do so. To succeed in a negligence claim, you must prove four elements: You must prove that the responsible party had a duty to you and that they breached that duty through their actions or failure to act. Then you must show a direct causal connection between the breach of duty and your injury. Last, you must give proof of the damages. Damages can include financial, physical, mental, and emotional injuries from the accident.  Different parties may owe different duties: For example, suppose a truck driver hit your car and they were driving while intoxicated. You may be able to sue the trucking company if it hired a truck driver with a history of DUIs and you can show the driver’s DUI caused your injuries from the accident. Or you might be able to sue a government entity for failing to maintain the roadways if a defect in the road caused your accident. At The Beliz Law Firm, we work with expert witnesses who can help recreate the accident scene to prove negligence. How Long Do I Have to Sue for a Truck Accident? All claims have a statute of limitations. Truck accidents are personal injury claims. In California, you have two years from the accident date to bring a personal injury lawsuit. Failure to file a lawsuit by the deadline generally bars you from recovering compensation. It’s important to contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible, so you do not miss your opportunity to sue the party responsible for the accident. Contact The Beliz Law Firm Moving forward with a truck accident case can be complex. At The Beliz Law Firm, our experienced truck accident legal team will prepare your case from start to finish. They will: Our team is fully committed to helping you through this difficult time. We always treat our clients respectfully, and we are committed to helping you achieve the best possible outcome. Contact The Beliz Law Firm to schedule a free consultation with us.

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Attorney Portrait Category Name

Motorcycle vs. Car Accident: Similarities and Differences

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Traffic accidents are unfortunate no matter the circumstances, especially when they result in severe, life-threatening, or even deadly injuries. Motorcycle and car accidents fall under two distinct categories among the various potential accidents. It likely doesn’t shock most people to know that motorcycles are far more dangerous than most vehicles. However, this does not necessarily mean that you will recover more compensation after a collision with a motorcycle vs a car accident. Each accident differs in terms of causes, damages, and legal implications. Car vs. Motorcycle Accident Statistics When looking at the statistics of motorcycle crashes and crash-related fatalities, it’s alarming to see how many involve motorcycles. Over the past couple years, Insurance Information Institute (III) statistics show that the occupant fatality rate was 10.79 for every 100,000 registered cars and 60.03 for every 100,000 registered motorcycles. These figures show the risk of a fatal crash was almost six times higher among motorcycle riders. Another alarming difference can be seen when comparing the fatality rate in proportion to the miles traveled. The III estimates that the fatality rate for motorcycles is 25.67 for every 100 million miles traveled, which is shocking compared to the mere 0.67 for passenger cars. Causes of Motorcycle and Car Accidents A common cause of both motorcycle and car accidents is human error. Human error could be distracted driving, speeding, impaired driving, or failing to obey traffic rules. For motorcycle accidents, additional factors can contribute to the cause, such as lane splitting, lack of visibility, and the smaller size and maneuverability of motorcycles. Additionally, due to the fundamental differences in size, weight, and maneuverability, motorcycles and cars handle differently on the road. Motorcycles are more susceptible to loss of control due to road hazards, potholes, or uneven surfaces, which can cause an accident. In contrast, cars are relatively more stable but are prone to rollovers, especially during high-speed collisions Damages in Motorcycle and Car Accidents Regarding a personal injury case, the more severe injuries a rider or driver sustains, the higher the damages and the more compensation the individual may recover.  A significant distinction between motorcycle and car accidents is the level of protection offered to the individuals involved. Car occupants benefit from the safety features such as seat belts, airbags, and the vehicle’s structural integrity. On the other hand, motorcyclists are exposed to direct impact with the road, other vehicles, or roadside objects, leading to a higher likelihood of fractures, head injuries, spinal cord injuries, or even fatalities. Car accidents can also cause significant injuries, but the safety features in cars often provide more protection for the occupants. The greater risk to motorcyclists tends to correlate with higher injuries.  Property damage is another factor considered in a personal injury recovery. Motorcycle and car accidents can both result in property damage. However, due to the size and weight difference, car accidents may lead to more substantial damage to the vehicles involved. At the same time, motorcycles are more prone to complete loss, especially in high-speed collisions. Legal Options for Car Accidents VS Motorcycle Accidents In California, the legal options for motorcycle and car accidents share some similarities, but there are also distinct considerations. Motorcycle riders in California must carry liability insurance, just like car drivers. However, the insurance coverage for motorcycles may differ from that of cars due to the increased risk associated with motorcycles. Additionally, California has specific laws and regulations pertaining to motorcycles, such as helmet requirements for riders. These unique laws could impact liability and the legal options available for motorcyclists involved in an accident.  Lastly, California follows a comparative negligence system, meaning an insurance company or jury can apportion fault among multiple parties involved in an accident. There is a perceived bias against motorcyclists due to certain stereotypes associated with motorcycle riders. The bias could mean the insurance company or jury might award a motorcyclist an unfair percentage of fault. So while the potential for greater damages exists in a motorcycle accident case, it could be offset by the rider’s contributory negligence or perceived bias against them. That’s why it’s in the best interest of a motorcyclist to gather strong evidence and seek legal representation to protect their rights. California Accident Lawyer If you are a motorcycle or car accident victim and would like to pursue legal action against an at-fault party for damages, we can help. Michael A. Beliz has handled hundreds of accident cases as an attorney for over a decade. You can be confident The Beliz Law Firm will handle your case professionally and as efficiently as possible. Contact us today!

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Attorney Portrait Bike Accidents

Most Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in California

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California, with its picturesque landscapes and cycling friendly cities, is a haven for bicycle enthusiasts. However, cycling, like any other mode of transportation, comes with its own set of risks. Bicycle accidents can occur due to various factors, ranging from human errors to environmental conditions. Exploring the most common causes of bicycle accidents in California sheds light on the potential liability of another if they caused you harm. What Are the Most Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents? The main cause of bicycle accidents in California involves collisions with motor vehicles. The size and speed disparity between bicycles and cars can lead to catastrophic consequences. Factors contributing to these accidents include distracted driving, failing to yield, dooring incidents, and unsafe road conditions. The condition of roads and cycling infrastructure can significantly impact the safety of cyclists. Common causes of accidents resulting from unsafe road conditions include the following: Confusion regarding right-of-way rules can also cause collisions between bicycles and other vehicles. This is especially true when a cyclist or motorist does not stop at a stop sign, ignores the traffic signals, or takes a turn without properly signaling. Liability and Damages in California Bicycle Accidents Determining liability in bicycle accidents is based on the evidence available in each particular case. Liability is generally based on the principles of negligence. For the most part, everyone owes a duty of care to operate a vehicle or bicycle with reasonable care. When someone doesn’t fulfill their duties, they could be negligent and therefore liable for any injuries or damages they cause to another.  If a motorist’s negligence, such as distracted driving or failure to yield, leads to a bicycle accident, they can be held responsible for the damages. If an unsafe road, inadequate signage, or poor maintenance contributed to an accident, liability may fall on the responsible government agency. In some cases, if a defect in the bicycle or its components causes the accident, the manufacturer may be held liable. On the other hand, if a cyclist contributes to their own mishap through negligence, they may not be able to recover as much compensation for their losses related to the accident. Cyclist negligence might be traveling in the opposite direction of traffic, disregarding traffic rules, or riding under the influence. Alcohol and drugs affect a cyclist’s judgment, coordination, and reaction time, significantly increasing the risk of accidents.Once you determine liability, you can calculate the potential damages and what a case could be worth. Damages that can be recovered in a bicycle accident case include compensation for past and future medical treatment, lost wages, and pain and suffering. California Bicycle Accident Lawyer After a bicycle accident, you may suffer losses you never expected. With the help of an experienced attorney, you can be sure you’re maximizing your recovery to recoup your losses. Michael A. Beliz has worked on and handled hundreds of cases as an attorney for over a decade. You can be confident the Beliz Law Firm will handle your case professionally and as efficiently as possible. Contact us today.

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