Attorney Portrait Personal Injury

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

| Read Time: 4 minutes

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

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Attorney Portrait Personal Injury

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

| Read Time: 4 minutes

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

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Attorney Portrait Personal Injury

Filing a Claim After a Lyft Accident

| Read Time: 4 minutes

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

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Attorney Portrait Personal Injury

Filing a Claim in a Motorcycle versus Car Accident

| Read Time: 4 minutes

California’s scenic environment provides ideal riding conditions for motorcyclists. In fact, the state boasts the largest number of registered motorcycles in the country. With over 800,000 bikes traveling the roadways alongside California’s 26 million licensed car drivers, accidents are bound to happen. Unfortunately, auto drivers may not pay attention to the motorcyclists around them, leading to serious collisions. Motorcyclists find themselves at a disadvantage when colliding with an auto. Due to a motorcycle’s small size and lack of safety features like airbags, bikers can suffer serious injuries. If you were involved in a motorcycle versus car accident, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries. At The Beliz Law Firm, we help accident victims in Long Beach, Riverside, and throughout Orange County. Here, we provide an overview of steps you should take to file a motorcycle accident claim. What Should You Do After a Motorcycle Accident? After an accident involving a motorcycle and car, you can act to give yourself the best chance of obtaining compensation. Take these steps as soon as possible: Seek medical treatment; Exchange driver license and insurance information with the car driver; Call the police to the accident scene and file an accident report; Take photos of the damage to your bike and the other vehicle; Take photos of the surrounding scene; Get the names and contact information of witnesses; and Call an attorney. Of course, you may not be able to take photos and speak to witnesses if you were injured in a motorcycle crash and need urgent medical care. In that case, see if a trusted friend could gather this information for you. An accident attorney can also help investigate your crash and gather critical information to support your claim. How Do You File a Claim? After filing a police report, you’ll want to notify your insurance company of the motorcycle and car accident. Whether you also file with the other driver’s insurance depends on who caused the accident. Even if you and the other driver both made mistakes that led to the motorcycle and car accident, you might still be able to receive compensation from the other driver’s insurance. If the other driver was responsible for your accident, you can file a claim with their insurance company. When you file a claim, an insurer will conduct these steps to evaluate your claim: Review the police report, Take a statement from you and the other driver (be wary of giving a statement to the other side’s insurance without an attorney representing you), Review accident evidence, and Offer you a settlement. While you should never rush to accept a low settlement offer, it is important to quickly file a claim. In California, you have only two years to file an accident lawsuit.  However this timeframe may be shorten if the negligent party is against the government. Insurance companies usually require you to notify them of an accident immediately. Also, you must notify the DMV within ten days of your accident. What Should You Know About Insurance Claims? There are some things you should be aware of before filing an insurance claim. Acting carefully and consulting an accident attorney can enable you to receive more compensation. Don’t Talk to the Other Insurer Don’t give a statement to the other driver’s insurance company until after you speak to an attorney. The insurer may try to get you to accept blame for the accident, and a skilled attorney can help you avoid this trap. Understand the Extent of Your Harm Evaluate the extent of your motorcycle accident injuries and understand what medical treatment you need. If you are injured in a motorcycle crash, an insurer may try to get you to settle your claim before you know the extent of your medical expenses. Of course, this rushed claims process saves insurers money. Instead, you should not agree to a settlement until you understand your medical treatment expenses. Don’t Take the First Settlement Many bikers take the first settlement an insurance company offers, but that’s not the best strategy. Insurance companies goal after a motorcycle versus car accident is to resolve the matter as quickly as possible and settle it for the lowest possible number. You should think carefully about the settlement offer and consult an attorney if possible before you accept any settlement offer. How Much Money Can You Get for a Motorcycle Accident? The value of your motorcycle wreck depends on many factors. The first factor is the liability of the case. The stronger the case for negligence on the other driver, the greater likelihood of better compensation.  If the other driver is 100 percent at fault is better for your case than if the other driver has partial fault.  If you have negligence for the accident, this may lower the value of your case.  The second factor is your damages.  Damages are your injuries.  Injuries from a motorcycle versus car crash maybe soft tissue injuries to your neck and back to broken bones to your legs to road rash to your arms to a traumatic brain injury.  An injured person can receive compensation for past medical expenses, future medical expenses, loss of earnings, and loss of earning capacity.  In addition, an injured person can receive compensation for pain and suffering.  The third factor is insurance.  Depending on the amount of insurance available factors into the value of the settlement.  You can go after the negligent party’s insurance.  Also if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage, you may receive compensation through your own insurance policy.  It’s hard to give an estimate of how much money you should aim for without knowing the specifics of your experience. An accident involving a motorcycle and a car that causes serious harm should provide significant compensation. Contact an Experienced Motorcycle and Car Accident Attorney If you experienced a motorcycle and car accident, an attorney can help. At The Beliz Law Firm, we’ve helped motorcycle accident victims recover milliions of dollars.  Every case is different. To get help with your...

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Attorney Portrait Personal Injury

How to Get Your Long Beach Car Accident Report

| Read Time: 2 minutes

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

| Read Time: 3 minutes

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?

| Read Time: 4 minutes

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

| Read Time: 3 minutes

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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