Attorney Portrait Personal Injury

How to Get Your Long Beach Car Accident Report

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Have you been involved in a Long Beach accident? If so, it’s important to request a copy of your accident report. The responding police officer fills out this document which contains all the details related to your accident. The report is useful for legal purposes, ensuring you get the most compensation for your losses. Getting your Accident Report In-Person According to the official Long Beach website, you can request your report in-person. You must fill out an application for release of traffic collision report information and bring it to the Long Beach Police Department: Long Beach Police Department 400 West Broadway Long Beach, CA 90802 Get Directions The Records Inquiry Desk is open Monday through Friday, 7:00am – 7:00pm, and Saturday, from 9:00am – 1:00pm. The front is closed on the last Saturday of each month. Let The Beliz Law Firm Help Get a Copy of Your Long Beach Car Accident Report Submit your information below about the details of your accident in Long Beach and we will will contact you to go over the details of what happened. Getting Your Accident Report by Mail You may request a copy of your collision report by sending a completed request form in a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the Long Beach Police Department: Long Beach Police Department 400 West Broadway Long Beach, CA 90802 ATTN: RECORDS DIVISION Additional Information about Accident Report Requests The Long Beach Police Department does not charge a request fee for accident victims. The average processing time for reports is around 3 weeks. If you decide to request your report in-person, you must present your valid government-issued ID to the desk clerk for verification. If you submit your request via mail, make sure to include a photocopy of your ID. If you have any questions or concerns, you may call the 24/7 Long Beach Records Division at (562) 570-7381. Contact A California Personal Injury Lawyer If you’ve been injured in a car crash, you should contact a car accident legal expert for guidance. Our experienced attorneys can help you with the next steps.  Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

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Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

What are the Laws in California Regarding a Pedestrian Hit by a Car?

| Read Time: 3 minutes

It’s dangerous out there being a pedestrian. Not only do you have to worry about California’s crumbling sidewalks, but distracted and aggressive motorists show very little respect for pedestrians. According to one source, pedestrian deaths account for 22% of all traffic fatalities, so it important that pedestrians protect themselves. At the Beliz Law Firm, we receive a common question: “I got hit by a car while crossing the street. What are my rights?” In this post, we will explain how the law protects pedestrians in California and what to do after a collision. Hitting a Pedestrian in a Crosswalk All motorists must operate their vehicles with sufficient care. This does not mean that they must be perfect, but they must use due care so as not to injure anyone—including pedestrians. When drivers fail to be sufficiently careful, they are negligent and legally responsible for the injuries they cause. Examples of negligence include: Failing to stop Running a red light Trying to scoot around a pedestrian Distracted driving, such as texting or talking on the phone while driving Backing up without checking in the rearview mirror California Vehicle Code § 21950 confirms that both pedestrians and motorists owe each other a duty of care. The code specifically states that motorists who are approaching a pedestrian in any marked or unmarked crosswalk must slow down their vehicle and take any other action necessary to avoid hitting a pedestrian. However, the Code also says that pedestrians must not rush in front of a vehicle so that they create a hazard. Pedestrians also cannot delay traffic while in the crosswalk. If a driver fails to operate their vehicle carefully, and they injure a pedestrian, then the pedestrian can sue the driver for compensation. However, if the pedestrian did not exercise care, they might not have a lawsuit. Use Common Sense Pedestrians and motorists can protect everyone’s safety by using common sense and not being in a rush to get somewhere. Simply wait for vehicles or pedestrians to get through the crosswalk before heading across. The California Driver Handbook implores pedestrians and motorists to exhibit courtesy to each other, which will reduce the chances of an accident. Of course, some accidents are unavoidable, and pedestrians should do everything possible to protect their right to compensation. For example, you should do the following after getting struck: Contact emergency services to have an ambulance come out. Take pictures of anything, such as damage to the car that hit you, or the area where you landed. If you are in extreme pain, ask someone else to take these pictures with their camera. Contact the police to come out to the accident and write up a police report. These reports will contain important information. Identify any witnesses to the collision. Get their names and contact information. Promptly seek medical attention. The more information you find, the greater your case for compensation. If you are too injured to collect anything, then ask for help or have your lawyer look for this information as soon as possible. Contact Us Today If you are a pedestrian hit by a car, laws in California protect you. These laws allow injured pedestrians to hold negligent drivers accountable when they negligently injure other people. At the Beliz Law Firm, we meet with many people who have suffered devastating injuries in pedestrian crashes, such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and permanent nerve damage. We know how stressful it is to be in pain and possibly unable to work. To speak with an attorney, please reach out to us today. One of our pedestrian accident lawyers can meet with you to discuss your case. Avoid delay. California law gives injured pedestrians a short amount of time to request compensation after a crash.

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Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

Seat Belt Laws in California

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Seat belts save lives. This simple fact is the reason that every passenger in a car in California must wear a seat belt, even when riding in the back seat. The California seat belt law is found in the Motor Vehicle Code § 27315 and is strictly enforced. Seat Belts are Required Under the California seatbelt law, no person can operate a vehicle on a highway unless the driver and all passengers aged 16 or older are wearing a safety belt. This law applies to passengers riding in the front seat as well as in the back. At a minimum, the seat belt should be a lap belt that crosses at the hips and upper thighs. If there is an upper portion to the belt, then it should cross the chest. The motor vehicle owner also must make sure to maintain that there are seat belts in the vehicle that works. This law also applies to anyone operating or owning a taxi. Penalties The seat belt law in California identifies the penalty that you will have to pay if the police pull you over and you are not wearing a belt: $20 fine for a first offense $50 fine for each subsequent offense Instead of paying the fine, you might be able to attend traffic school, where you will learn about traffic safety. Child Safety Seats Children have different safety needs, and for that reason, California has created separate seat belt requirements for children. Because restraints save lives, the state will require that you put your child in an appropriate car or booster seat. The type of seat you need will depend on several factors. Here are the details of the law: If your child is younger than 2, you should put them in a rear-facing seat unless the child is large for their age, e.g., 40+ pounds or 40+ inches tall. After age 2, they should be in a forward-facing safety seat. If your child is under age 8, then they must be secured in a booster or car seat located in the back seat. Children 8 or older, or any child that is 4’9” tall, can also be secured in a booster seat. If you choose not to use a booster seat, then but at a minimum,q the child must wear a safety belt. Children 16 or older must follow the seat belt law in California as described above. Some questions arise about when a child can move on from a car seat that has a five-point harness to a booster seat. California law does not lay out precisely when you should make this move. Instead, the state recommends that you take things slow. Graduating your child to a booster seat actually decreases the amount of restraint and safety they have, so California recommends that you keep your child in their current seat for as long as possible. California also provides some basic guidance: Your child is ready for a booster seat when they have surpassed the limits for a forward-facing harness, typically between 40 and 65 pounds. Children should stay in their booster seat until they are at least 4’9” tall and 8-12 years old. Remember that safety belts were designed for men around 165 pounds, so the belts are an awkward fit for smaller children. Seat Belts and Car Accidents California is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that the law recognizes that a car accident victim could have contributed to their accident or injuries. The victim can still sue, but their own negligence will reduce the amount of compensation they can receive. Under the state’s seat belt law, failure to wear a seat belt is not per se proof of negligence. This means the driver cannot point to your failure to wear a seat belt as automatically proving you were negligent. However, a jury can still use the fact that you were not wearing a seatbelt to find that you contributed to your injuries. For this reason, wearing a seatbelt not only protects you but protects your right to compensation in the event of a collision. Speak to a Long Beach Car Accident Lawyer At the Beliz Law Firm, we have helped countless accident victims get the compensation they deserve. Please reach out to us today for a free consultation. One of our Long Beach car accident lawyers will be happy to meet with you to discuss your case as well as your options for compensation. Call 562-452-3772.

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Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

What Time of Day do Most Car Accidents Happen?

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Car accidents can strike at any time. However, your chances of suffering an accident increase when there are more people on the road. For that reason, drivers should expect the most accidents to occur during rush hour traffic. And statistics bear this assumption out. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the most dangerous time to drive on the road is during afternoon rush hour traffic. Read on for more information about when your risk of getting into an accident is elevated. A Closer Look at the Most Dangerous Time to Drive Avvo looked at Fatality Analysis Reporting System data, provided by the federal government and broke down the number of fatalities according to the time of day in 3-hour increments: 1:00 am to 3:59 am: 4,019 fatalities 4:00 am to 6:59 am: 3,520 fatalities 7:00 am to 9:59 am: 3,345 fatalities 10:00 am to 12:59 pm: 3,864 fatalities 1:00 pm to 3:59 pm: 5,273 fatalities 4:00 pm to 6:59 pm: 6,201 fatalities 7:00 pm to 9:59 pm: 6,067 fatalities 10:00 pm to 12:59 am: 4,829 fatalities One thing that jumps out is how safe the morning rush hour period is compared to driving home from work.  For example, traffic fatalities early in the morning are very low. In fact, it seems that drivers are much more careful early in the morning. Indeed, fatalities are much lower in the 7:00 am to 9:59 am window than even in the 1:00 am to 3:59 am a window when fewer people should be on the road.  This could mean driving skills decrease as the day goes on.  Being drained from work may increase the chance of a serious accident while driving home.  Finally, darkness and visibility may increase fatal vehicle collisions. The Most Dangerous Day to Drive According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the most dangerous day to drive is the Fourth of July, based on a 2016 analysis. This should not be entirely surprising. As part of the festivities, many people enjoy far too much alcohol to drink, which impairs their driving ability. Also, because the weather on the Fourth is often hot, a driver will be even more impaired. With so many vehicles on the road, even sober drivers can become frustrated and engage in dangerous driving. Based on the same 2016 analysis, the other most dangerous days to drive include: January 1 September 18 August 2 August 27 July 5 October 2 Of the seven days of the week, Saturday is the most dangerous according to NHTSA. Actually, the weekend is when the most fatal accidents occur.  Less traffic with higher speeds may be the reason for the higher numbers.  Conversely, the safest day to be on the road is Tuesday. (Interactive Map) In 2016, the number of car crash-related fatalities were as follows: Sunday: 5,809 Monday: 4,883 Tuesday: 4,444 Wednesday: 4,695 Thursday: 5,002 Friday: 5,826 Saturday: 6,802 If you need to go on a long trip, then Tuesday or Wednesday would seem to be ideal days. Protecting Yourself The reason so many accidents happen on certain days and at certain times is that roads are congested. But you probably need to be on the road at the same time, along with everyone else. What can you do? Clearly, drivers should exercise extreme caution when driving during rush hour. Remember to leave enough room between you and other vehicles, preferably four seconds of time. Also be reasonable when someone is trying to merge into traffic. If possible, you can scoot into the other lane, leaving the room. You should also avoid drinking on holidays, since alcohol will dramatically slow down your reflexes and impair your judgment, thus increasing the likelihood of a crash. If you see someone driving erratically, report them to the authorities. If you are feeling fatigued, remember to pull over to the side of the road. Speak to a Long Beach Car Accident Lawyer Rush hour might be the most dangerous time to drive, but motorists and pedestrians can suffer a serious injury at any time. If you have been injured in an accident, you need compensation to help you cover medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. Your pain and suffering also warrant compensation. Contact the Beliz Law Firm today. Our car accident lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve and are prepared to negotiate aggressively on your behalf. Call 562-452-3772 for a free consultation or send us an online contact form.

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Attorney Portrait Personal Injury

8 Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer During Your Consultation

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There are thousands of lawyers in California, and finding the right one for your case can take a little bit of legwork. Instead of just picking a name out of the phone book, you should obtain referrals and look at the lawyer’s website. The best lawyers should have websites free of grammatical errors and full of informative content. Helpfully, most attorneys offer a free consultation where you can meet and ask any personal injury questions that you want. At the Beliz Law Firm, we recommend that you ask the following questions to get a feel for whether a lawyer is right for you. Ⅰ. “How Much of Your Practice is Devoted to Personal Injury?” This is one of the most important questions to ask a personal injury lawyer. You want someone who has experience handling your type of case, not someone who dedicates their entire practice to divorce or probate matters. Though a lawyer does not need to practice 100% in the personal injury field, they should dedicate a large percentage of their practice to it. Ⅱ. “Have You Handled a Case Like Mine?” Personal injury is a large field. It encompasses car accidents, truck accidents, slip and falls, dog bites, and medical malpractice. If you were injured while riding a bicycle, you want to know how many cases the lawyer has handled involving bicycle accidents. All lawyers are capable of getting up to speed on the law. But by hiring someone experienced with cases like yours, you will get more efficient representation. Ⅲ. “What Do You Charge for Fees?” Of all the questions to ask a personal injury lawyer, questions about fees make people uncomfortable. There is no reason to feel that way. You should know up front how the lawyer charges for his or her services. Nearly every personal injury lawyer in California represents injured victims on contingency. This means that the lawyer does not require fees upfront, and they do not bill you every month. Instead, the lawyer only receives fees if you win your case. In that situation, you pay a percentage of your settlement or jury verdict to your lawyer, usually 33-40%. Lawsuits also involve many expenses, for things like copy, filing fees, transcription fees, and costs associated with expert witnesses. Lawyers differ on how they charge these fees, so ask for this information ahead of time. A lawyer should provide all fee information in writing. Ⅳ. “How Much are My Injuries Worth?” A key aspect of every case is valuing a client’s injuries. Clients can receive compensation for: Medical care Lost wages Property damage Pain and suffering At the consultation stage, a lawyer might not have all the information necessary to give you a number. But the lawyer can talk about her experience and how much other people with similar injuries have received. Ⅴ. “What is the Likely Outcome for My Case?” No lawyer can promise a result. However, a lawyer can use her experience to estimate your chances of success. Listen closely to how clearly the lawyer describes the legal issues. If the lawyer talks over your head, then it might be hard to work with this person. The lawyer might also point out what evidence you need to strengthen your case. Pay attention to whether the lawyer sounds honest and believable. Anyone who tells you your case is a “slam dunk” probably is not credible. Ⅵ. “How Many Cases Have You Taken to Trial?” The vast majority of lawsuits settle before going to trial. Nevertheless, sometimes trial is unavoidable. You should find out how many trials a lawyer has handled. If you end up in front of a jury, you don’t want someone completely inexperienced. Ⅶ. “Who Will Work on My Case?” Many lawyers employ all kinds of assistants—document clerks, paralegals, case managers, etc. A lawyer might also have junior attorneys who work under him. Find out exactly who will be working on your case. Ⅷ. “How do You Like to Communicate? Phone? Email? In Person?” Of all the questions to ask your personal injury lawyer, this is the most important. Many attorney-client relationships break down because of unclear expectations surrounding communication. You need to know upfront how often your attorney communicates and his preferred method. Some lawyers might send you an email or letter once a month. Others might pick up the phone and provide weekly updates, while others might only call when they receive an offer to settle. Also, you need to know how much time a lawyer takes to return calls. 48 hours? A week? And ask who you will speak to. Some lawyers are so busy you will only talk with a case assistant. Contact a California Personal Injury Lawyer Today At the Beliz Law Firm, we practice personal injury law. Our experienced attorneys have negotiated with some of the state’s most powerful insurance companies, and we know how to win. To talk with a member of our team, please

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Attorney Portrait Personal Injury

What is the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in California?

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The personal injury statute of limitations California can vary from case to case depending upon the type of injury and how it happened. If you recently suffered a personal injury in California, it is extremely important to understand how the statute of limitations can affect your claim and, in some cases, bar you from seeking recovery if you fail to file your lawsuit on time. In the meantime, if you have questions about filing a personal injury lawsuit, you should contact a California personal injury attorney as soon as possible. What is the Statute of Limitations in California? After getting hurt in an accident in California, you might have heard that you need to be careful of the statute of limitations. What is the statute of limitation in California, and how does it apply to personal injury cases? In short, the statute of limitations is a time window in which a plaintiff is allowed to file a lawsuit. For many personal injury claims, the statute of limitations begins “running” when a person suffers an injury, but there are some situations in which the limitations period can be paused, or “tolled” as the law describes it. We will provide you with more information about the specific statute of limitations for many different types of personal injury cases in California. General Personal Injury Claims Based on a Theory of Negligence Under the California Code of Civil Procedure § 335.1, the statute of limitations for most personal injury claims is two (2) years from the date of the injury. In most cases, this statute of limitations applies to claims that arise under a theory of negligence. As the California Courts explains, this statute of limitations applies to cases in which “the defendant hurts you with or without intending to hurt you,” and it can apply to “personal injury accidents, wrongful death, assault, battery, intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress, wrongful act, or negligent act.” Once two years have passed, if a plaintiff has not filed a claim, then the statute bars her from filing a personal injury lawsuit to recover. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For some cases, the statute of limitations is much shorter (meaning that the plaintiff needs to file a claim even sooner), and sometimes the statute of limitations is tolled (giving the plaintiff additional time to file a personal injury lawsuit). Personal Injury Claims Against a Government Employee, Entity, or Agency The statute of limitations is much shorter than two years when the plaintiff wants to file a lawsuit against a government agency. Depending upon the specific facts of the case, the statute of limitations is often six (6) months from the date of injury, although sometimes it can be one year from the date of the incident. This is the timetable that the plaintiff must abide by to file a claim with the government agency. If the claim gets denied, the plaintiff can then file a lawsuit. Often plaintiffs do not realize that their claim is against a government agency, and thus they miss the filing deadline and are barred from seeking compensation. This is one of the reasons that it is extremely important to begin working with a personal injury attorney as soon as you get hurt. Medical Malpractice Claims in California California medical malpractice cases, or medical negligence claims, also have a different statute of limitations. Under California Code of Civil Procedure § 340.5, the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice claim is three (3) years from the date of the injury, or one (1) year from the date the plaintiff “discovers, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have discovered the injury, whichever occurs first.” In other words, if the plaintiff knows about an injury or should have known about an injury caused by medical negligence, then the statute of limitations may be only one year. Otherwise, the statute of limitations cannot be more than three years. There are rare exceptions to this rule. Other Ways to Toll a Statute of Limitations There are some situations in which the statute of limitations may be paused or tolled. While tolling the statute of limitations is not possible in most cases, some of the following factors may allow a plaintiff to obtain additional time to file a personal injury lawsuit in a California court: Plaintiff is under the age of 18; Plaintiff is outside the state of California or outside the country; Plaintiff is in prison; or Plaintiff currently lacks mental capacity. It can be extremely complicated to toll a statute of limitations, and it requires assistance from an experienced personal injury attorney. You should never assume that you can pause the statute of limitations in order to file a claim outside the statutory time window. More often than not, plaintiffs are barred from recovery when they do not file a lawsuit within the limitations period. However, if the statute of limitations has already run out on your case, you should still speak to a California personal injury lawyer to determine whether there is a way to seek compensation. File Your Claim On Time With Help From a California Personal Injury Attorney Determining the statute of limitations personal injury California can be complicated for many accident victims, and misjudging the statute of limitations can result in the plaintiff being barred from obtaining compensation through a civil claim. As such, it is extremely important to discuss your case with a California personal injury lawyer soon after the accident. Your personal injury attorney can examine the specific facts of your case and can ensure that your lawsuit is filed before the California personal injury statute of limitations time period runs out. Contact The Beliz Law Firm to begin working with a dedicated advocate on your case.

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Attorney Portrait Personal Injury

How Long Do Slip and Fall Injury Cases Take to Resolve?

| Read Time: 5 minutes

When you get hurt in a serious slip and fall accident, you are probably wondering: how long does a slip and fall case take to settle? The short answer is that slip and fall accidents can take varying times to resolve, and the timetable for any given slip and fall case in California or elsewhere depends upon the facts of the case. At the same time, however, slip and fall claims tend to have similar elements, and it can help for slip and fall injury victims to understand the process of filing a premises liability claim in order to have a better understanding of the length of time for any given slip and fall case or settlement. Example of a Slip and Fall Injury Case in California How long do slip and fall settlements take? In order to provide you with more information about this question, we want to give you a hypothetical example of a slip and fall case that we will use to tell you more about how the premises liability settlement process works. Here is an example of a slip and fall case: Joe was grocery shopping at a local supermarket. He was wearing shoes with a leather sole, which tend to be somewhat slick on flat surfaces, but he came directly from work. Joe usually wears his leather-soled shoes when he makes any stops on his way home from work, and he has never had any problems in the past. Joe knows he needs only a handful of items on a grocery list, including a new bottle of olive oil. He heads down the aisle with oils and other cooking supplies, carrying a shopping basket that is relatively heavy since it is filled with other grocery items. The floors in the supermarket are an off-white color, so Joe does not notice that a bottle of olive oil spilled on the floor. Clearly, someone cleaned up part of the spill previously—there are no signs of a broken bottle, and only the olive oil remains on the floor. Joe is rushing down the aisle to grab the oil he needs because he realizes he is late to pick up his child from daycare. While rushing down the aisle, Joe slips and falls on the oil. As a result of the slip and fall, Joe breaks his wrist and suffers a concussion. Because of the concussion, he needs to take several days off from work, and he also needs extensive surgery and follow-up medical treatments to repair the multiple breaks in his wrist. How is Joe’s slip and fall case likely to proceed? Demand Letter and Insurance Negotiations Typically the first step in a slip and fall settlement is to send a demand letter to the property owner to seek compensation for losses through insurance. The supermarket in the example above likely has insurance, and Joe’s premises liability lawyer could attempt to negotiate with the insurance company for a fair slip and fall settlement. In order to convince the insurance company to offer a fair settlement, the demand letter usually needs to make clear that Joe would win a slip and fall lawsuit because the facts of the case meet the essential factual elements of a premises liability claim: Supermarket owner or manager (the defendant) controlled the property where Joe slipped and fell; Supermarket owner or manager was negligent in failing to properly clean up the oil spill in the aisle; Joe (the plaintiff) suffered harm as a result of the defendant’s negligence; and Supermarket’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing Joe’s injury. In some cases, the defendant’s insurance company will negotiate a fair settlement, but in other cases, the plaintiff will need to file a premises liability lawsuit. When an insurance company makes a fair settlement offer, a slip and fall settlement can occur very quickly—within weeks to a couple of short months after the accident. However, when a plaintiff needs to go to court, the timetable for a settlement offer becomes much longer. Filing a Premises Liability Claim in California A plaintiff has two years from the date of the slip and fall injury to file a premises liability lawsuit in California. This is known as the statute of limitations. As long as two years have not passed, Joe’s lawyer can prepare a complaint. The complaint will provide key factual information about the case, such as who is being sued, where and how Joe slipped and fell, and what kinds of damages Joe expects the supermarket to pay for his injuries. Damages in slip and fall cases typically include compensatory damages, which compensate a victim for losses. These can include economic damages (like lost wages and medical bills) as well as non-economic damages (like pain and suffering). Once Joe files a complaint, the defendant will be able to file a response, which is known as an answer. The answer typically involves the defendant admitting to or denying the statements in Joe’s complaint. In the answer, the defendant can also bring up any affirmative defenses, such as a comparative fault. Under California law, a plaintiff’s damages can be reduced if he bears some responsibility for the accident. In the hypothetical, the defendant might argue that Joe is partially to blame because he worse shoes with slippery soles and that he would not have slipped otherwise. At any point, after Joe has filed a complaint, the defendant can offer a settlement amount. If it is acceptable, Joe can take the settlement offer and end the case. If not, Joe’s lawyer can negotiate a better settlement, or the case can move forward. The longer a case remains in court, the lengthier the timetable before Joe receives compensation. Discovery and Premises Liability Trial Motions If a case moves forward without a settlement, it will go through a phase known as discovery (where both parties gather evidence), and then to trial motions. It can take quite awhile for the discovery process to conclude, as well as to set court dates and...

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Attorney Portrait Personal Injury

Why Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

| Read Time: 3 minutes

Hiring a personal injury lawyer after an accident is an important decision. For many people, being involved in an accident is an emotional and overwhelming event. Hiring a skilled California personal injury attorney can be a wise decision to help bring you peace of mind and ensure you have someone who will represent your interests. Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer? This is a highly personal decision, but one of the main benefits of hiring a personal injury attorney is the ability to have someone who is objective and can negotiate with the other side’s insurance adjuster and/or attorney. Here are some other reasons you should hire a personal injury attorney: Most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations to start. You are not obligated to sign a contingency agreement before leaving the office. A contingency agreement means you are not paying for the time of the attorney but for the attorney’s results.  Take time to meet with additional attorneys if you don’t mesh well with the first one. Your attorney will handle your first party coverages, such as uninsured or underinsured motorist claims as well. These are claims made against your own policy that will maximize recovery on a motor vehicle accident. A personal injury attorney will ensure the statute of limitations is protected. The statute of limitations is the cut off period that can bar recovery on your claim. If the cut-off date passes without a complaint being filed with the court, there is no obligation for the other side to continue negotiations. Personal injury attorneys are familiar with the various insurance laws and have the ability to negotiate. They do this for a living, so they are better equipped to anticipate the other side’s next move. Your attorney can give you a realistic picture of what compensation you’re entitled to. Just because your friend or family member received a huge settlement for their car accident doesn’t mean your claim is worth the same. Every case is unique onto itself .  Cases values are based on its particular facts and injuries. Tips for Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer You need to start by locating an attorney first. You can start your search by asking your close friends and family if they have a recommendation for a personal injury attorney. Doing an Internet search for “personal injury attorneys near me” is another option. Look for independent law firms rather than opting for a directory because there is no way to know where or whom the directory will lead you to. Look at the attorneys’s reviews and his or her reputation. Having experience in the type of personal injury matter you have is key. Read their biography, any testimonials, past results, and blog posts on the types of cases they handle.  Experience is important because you want an attorney who has a proven record of success. Finding Personal injury attorneys near me Finding a California personal injury attorney near you is recommended because you may need to make multiple office visits and attend meetings like depositions. Having an attorney that is convenient to your home or work can help reduce travel time. If you need a personal injury attorney near Long Beach, California, the Beliz Law Firm has over a decade of experience handling hundreds of cases, including car accidents, dog bites, slip and falls, wrongful death, and more. Our firm services clients throughout the Southern California area, including Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties. Contact our office at 562-452-3772 for a free consultation.

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Attorney Portrait Personal Injury

Average Personal Injury Settlement Amounts

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No one really knows the “average” amount of compensation injured victims receive in a personal injury settlement. Many different factors are in play that no two cases are exactly alike. Rather than worry about the “average” amount of money available, you should strive to better understand what factors go into determining how much compensation our clients receive. Calculate Your Economic Damages Economic damages are damages you can prove with a bill or a receipt. Medical Treatment   For example, many of our clients need medical treatment to deal with their injuries, such as: Surgery Doctor’s visits Rehabilitation Transportation to the hospital Prescription drugs Over-the-counter drugs Equipment, such as crutches, wheelchairs, braces, etc. Injured victims can receive compensation for all of the medical treatment that is related to the personal injury accident. If the injuries are serious, you can receive a payout for future medical care as well. For example, clients who have been paralyzed or suffered a traumatic brain injury might need at-home care for the rest of their lives. Loss Wages   Additionally, loss wages is another form of economic damages. If your injuries have kept you out of work, you can receive money to replace the amounts lost. In addition to past loss wages, you can be compensated for future loss wages.  Keep any proof of your income, such as: Paystubs 1099/W-2 forms from employer Tax returns Other proof of self-employment income You can also make a claim for loss of earning capacity.  This is where you could have made more salary in a different profession if not for the injuries from the accident.  For example if you just passed the board exams to become a doctor and received a brain injury from an accident, you may have a claim for loss of earning capacity for years of not being paid like a medical doctor. Property Damage   Also, you can receive compensation to replace any property damage, such as damage to your car involved in a collision.  Further you may recover rental car charges, towing bills, storage costs, and loss of use.  Hold onto repair estimates, charges, or bills that show how much it cost to repair or replace the vehicle and anything else related to the vehicle. Estimate Your Non-Economic Losses California allows injured victims to receive a sum of money for intangible harms like pain and suffering. These injuries are harder to measure in dollars and cents because there is no receipt or bill attached to them. However, you can still receive compensation for these harms, such as: Physical pain Emotional distress Loss of enjoyment of life Disfigurement In some situations, your spouse might also have a claim for “loss of consortium,” meaning negative changes to your marriage caused by the accident. For example, they might have suffered loss of companionship, sexual intimacy, or services of the household as a result of the accident. Estimating the amount of non-economic losses is tricky. Clients may receive some multiple of their economic losses in non-economic damages or the cost of the daily loss of enjoyment spread out for the rest of their life. You can maximize your non-economic damages by carefully documenting your pain and suffering. For example, keep a pain journal where you note the location of pain every day and its intensity. Also explain how the injury has affected your mental health and whether it has prevented you from enjoying your favorite hobbies. Identify Whether You Were Partially at Fault for the Accident California law recognizes that victims sometimes contribute to their injuries by being negligent themselves. For example, you might have been reading a text message while driving when another car slammed into you. Or you might not have been paying attention to where you were walking when you tripped over a hazard and injured yourself. A victim’s own negligence is called “contributory negligence” and it can affect the amount of money you receive. Fortunately, personal injury victims can still pursue settlement or a lawsuit if someone else is at least 1% responsible for the accident. However, your settlement will be reduced by your proportion of fault. For example, your injuries might be worth $100,000, but you were 50% responsible for the accident. In this case, you will only receive $50,000 in compensation. If you were 80% responsible, then you would receive only $20,000. During settlement negotiations, your lawyer will try to minimize your proportion of fault.  The larger percentage you can place on the other party, the greater likelihood the other party will will negotiate.  Therefore before your lawyer can advocate effectively, however, he needs to know what you were doing right before the accident, so always be honest with your lawyer. Analyze the Defendant’s Assets To receive compensation, the other side must have some assets so that they can pay you.  California law states that every driver on the roadways and highways must have automobile liability insurance.  Even though another person caused the accident, the insurance company will be the one compensating you for your damages. If you were injured by a business employee, then you may be able to hold their employer responsible for your injuries. This concept is called “respondeat superior” and it holds companies liable when their employees injure someone in the scope of their employment. Often, suing a business is better than suing an individual because a business has deeper pockets, but everything depends on the circumstances. If your injuries happened at someone home like from a dog bite, the person’s homeowners policy may contribute to your compensation.  A business general liability insurance for may cover you when an accident occurs on the business property like a slip and fall. If someone without insurance hits you in traffic or does not have a homeowners policy, you might not receive anything in a settlement or judgment, especially if the driver/homeowner has no income, savings, or other assets.  Therefore, it is especially important to investigate if the negligent party has insurance. Our Results No lawyer can promise a result, and...

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Attorney Portrait Personal Injury

Were You Injured by a Drunk Driver?

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Nearly everyone understands the dangers associated with drinking and driving. Media is saturated with campaigns that discuss legal penalties faced by those who are arrested while intoxicated behind the wheel. Of course, many other advertisements show the serious injuries and fatalities that may result from drinking and driving. Sadly, even with this information, many people still choose to make the decision to drink excessively and drive a vehicle. And in far too many cases, this one choice can lead to catastrophic consequences. In the aftermath of a drunk driving accident, victims and their loved ones may be unsure of where to turn. They also may be facing piling medical bills and other rising costs. If you find yourself in this position, we invite you to reach out to our legal team today. We have significant experience assisting drunk driving accident victims. We will aggressively advocate on your behalf to help you recover the compensation that you deserve. Drunk Driving Causes Serious Damage in California Just how serious is the problem of drunk driving in California? To be sure, drunk driving crashes caused more than 10,000 deaths and thousands of injuries in California between 2003 and 2012, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC also reported that 1.8 percent of Californians admitted to driving after drinking too much. In many cases, drunk driving may only lead to an arrest and criminal penalties. In others, however, the intoxicated driver may fail to control their vehicle and collide with unsuspecting victims. This could result in massive property damage, significant injuries, and, in the worst cases, death. Suing a Drunk Driver in California If you sustained injuries because of a drunk driver in California, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to recover the compensation that you deserve for your damages. However, you should only do so with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney who can help determine your legal options. Attempting to navigate the legal system on your own may put your rights in jeopardy. Furthermore, it’s important to act quickly, because evidence grows stale, memories fade, and there is a statute of limitations for filing your claim. (A statute of limitations is the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit after sustaining injury or loss.) In California, accident victims have two years from the date of the injury (or wrongful death) to file a lawsuit against the negligent party. Contact Us Today for Assistance If you sustained injuries by a drunk driver in California, there is no reason to proceed any further without the help of our skilled legal team. Don’t hesitate to contact our office in Long Beach, California, for a free consultation if you were injured, or if a loved one was killed, by a drunk driver. Our personal injury attorneys will help recover the compensation that you deserve.

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