Attorney Portrait Public Safety Research

2019 Study for DUI Crashes in Long Beach

| Read Time: 5 minutes

Crashes related to the consumption of alcohol have long plagued the United States. Even in the modern age of Uber, Lyft, and other low-cost ridesharing options, some still make the decision to consume, perhaps even over-consume, alcohol, and get behind the wheel. Every year during the holidays The Beliz Law Firm has offered free cab rides to get home safe. Find out more information here. The recent trend of DUI injury accidents in Long Beach, California, shows that such horrific and entirely preventable incidents are on the rise. In 2016, the last year for which the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) has data available, 304 collisions in the city of Long Beach were ‘alcohol involved.’ That means that more than 10% of collisions in the LBC involved alcohol and those who had consumed it shortly prior to the wreck. Obviously, collisions related to drinking and driving remain a very serious problem in the city, in Los Angeles County, and in California as a whole, especially as crashes related to driving under the influence continue to trend upwards. In 2015, Long Beach had 278 such collisions. In 2014, OTS defined 230 collisions in city limits as related to alcohol. The number of DUI-related crashes in the city has been on the rise, steadily, since 2011. Interactive Chart   Mapping Long Beach Driving Under Influence Injuries For those hoping to avoid a similar collision, mapping the collisions in 2016 shows a handful of interesting patterns, and provides information about areas that appear to be ‘hotspots’ for wrecks involving those who consumed alcohol before driving. When viewing the data on a map, a number of problem stretches of road and intersections appear. Alcohol Related Collisions 01/01/2016 – 12/31/2016 Source: TIMS.com Dangerous Stretches Of Road When the data is properly mapped out, some portions of the street seem to be a bit more dangerous than others. The major highways and freeways which run through the Long Beach corporate limits all have a large number of DUI incidents recorded on them in the 2016’s statistics. There is a correlation with more drivers that use a certain roadway; the more likely any type of collision will happen. Therefore since the San Diego (Interstate 405) and the Long Beach (Interstate 710) freeways have the most traffic, both have the highest numbers of DUI crashes. In 2016, the Long Beach Freeway saw 24 collisions that the OTS said were ‘alcohol involved’ in nature, which produced one death and 29 injuries. That same year, the San Diego Freeway was home to 20 collisions involving alcohol, which caused one death and 23 injuries. However, some short stretches of road were home to a surprising number of collisions as well. One block of West Anaheim Street was home to three alcohol-related collisions, which caused three injuries. The entirety of Anaheim Street saw 17 collisions in 2016, including one death and 16 injuries. Long Beach Boulevard was also home to a large number of such collisions, with nine crashes that produced 15 injuries, but no deaths. One particular crash shortly before Thanksgiving 2016 involved five injuries alone! Redondo Avenue was also home to a large number of collisions, specifically between Anaheim Street and 7th Street. In less than a mile, there were six collisions involving alcohol. Luckily, these incidents caused only six injuries and no deaths. A stretch of Carson Street just over half a mile in length was home to two severe collisions involving alcohol, each of which took one life and injured one person. Dangerous Intersections As some stretches of the road appear more dangerous than others, some intersections and their immediate surroundings appear more prone to collisions related to alcohol. The intersections of Anaheim Street and Redondo Avenue and Anaheim Street and 11th Street were both the site for two collisions apiece, and two injuries each. The intersection of East Market Street and Lime Avenue saw the same number of collisions and the same number of injuries. Thankfully, it seems that most intersections are relatively free of collisions, or are only home to, at most, two. Severe Collisions For the purposes of record keeping, all reported collisions receive a severity rating between 1 and 4. Collisions rated 4 produced an injury, which consists of a complaint of pain (for example neck pain or back pain). Those given a rating of 3 produced some sort of ‘other visible’ injury. Collisions that earn a severity rating of 2 produced a severe injury like a fracture or broken bone. A wreck with a collision severity of 1 produced at least one fatality. Thankfully, there were only 12 such collisions related to alcohol in Long Beach, California, during 2016. These 12 automobile wrecks took 12 lives and injured four people as well. What the Numbers Say About Alcohol-Related Collisions Of these most severe collisions, ratings with a 1, four of them took place on major roads and freeways. This may be due to more traffic and higher speed limits. Strangely, two of these severe collisions which included fatalities occurred less than a mile apart, on East Carson Street, between Clark Avenue and San Anseline Avenue. For a city with so many accidents related to driving under the influence, this number is quite small, representing less than one out of every 20 alcohol-related collisions. However, that is likely no consolation to the families of the deceased. Moving Forward What can the city, the government, and the people do to reverse the disturbing trend of consistent increases in alcohol-related collisions in the area? Firstly, the education that drinking and driving should not be mixed together. That is a driver is to consume alcohol then that person should avoid driving a vehicle and hand his or her keys to a designated driver. Designated drivers can be a friend or relative. However, with technology designated drivers can be reached via a smartphone. The low cost of services like Uber and Lyft make it much cheaper to get home after a night out on the town. Additionally,...

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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 Truck Accidents

What is the Average Semi-Truck Accident Settlement in California?

| Read Time: 4 minutes

When a car and a truck collide with each other, the crash is more likely to injure the occupants of the car than the truck driver. This is due to the sheer differences in weight and power between a semi truck and a passenger vehicle. While commercial trucking companies have a responsibility to operate their large vehicles in a safe manner, semi-truck accidents remain a serious public safety problem. According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), around 300 people are killed in large truck crashes in the state each year. Truck accident victims can file personal injury claims to compensate for their damages. These damages can include their medical bills, their lost wages, and their pain and suffering damages. This may include their emotional distress and need for hired domestic help while they recover. How much compensation can you actually expect to recover in the average case? The answer is that it is complicated: every commercial truck accident claim is unique. A truck accident attorney is committed to helping our clients recover the maximum compensation. We know how to hold negligent trucking companies legally accountable. To find out more about how much your semi-truck accident claim is worth, please contact our law firm for a free consultation. Semi-Trucks Usually Carry Higher Insurance Values In California, every passenger vehicle driver needs to carry insurance. Minimum coverage is $15,000 per person, $30,000 per incident. However, a semi-truck usually carries higher liability insurance. This is because semi trucks can cause more serious injuries in crashes. The insurance limits for semi-trucks may be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is even possible to have a seven-figure policy. Therefore only in catastrophic injury cases like death, paralyzation, or brain injury, may an injured person not be fully compensated for his or her losses in a truck crash. Factors that Can Impact your Settlement With your personal injury claim, you can seek compensation for your medical bills, your lost wages, and your pain and suffering. California divides damages into two categories, general and special. Special damages come with a tangible price tag. These include your medical bills and the wages you could not earn while recovering. General damages are the less tangible expenses you face, as the cost of a permanently reduced quality of life. There is no definite way to calculate fair compensation figure for your general damages. Parties of a case will look at how the incident affects your social life with family and friends, household chores, and spousal relationships. Testimonies from loved ones and documentation showing your ongoing need for psychological counseling to overcome the emotional distress of the injury may be used to show your general damages. Other factors that can impact your settlement amount include: Whether you received medical care in a timely manner after the accident; Your level of fault for the accident; The amount of medical bills; The amount of loss of earnings; Any future medical treatment; and The amount of evidence you can provide showing the extent of your damages. With limited exceptions, your settlement offer should account for your specific, individual damages. In practice, this means that your truck accident injury claim must be well supported by the evidence. Without well-organized, comprehensive documents and records that establish the value of your damages, it will be difficult to get the full and fair settlement offer that you deserve. A collision with a semi truck may leave you severely injured. You are facing extensive medical treatment, time out of work, or even an end to your career. These, compounded by issues like emotional trauma following the accident, chronic pain in the time that follows, and past and future expenses related to the injury, maybe collectible damages in a potential personal injury claim. Indeed, under California law, you have the right to hold the negligent defendant legally liable for the full value of your damages. Unfortunately, recovering fair compensation after a commercial truck accident can be deeply challenging. The personal injury claims process is notoriously complex. The large insurance providers that typically defend personal injury cases on behalf of the trucking companies are extremely aggressive in settling and litigating these claims. In fact, insurance companies are known to try to resolve claim as quickly and as low as possible — even trying to deny liability altogether if possible. Work With An Experienced Semi Truck Accident Lawyer in California Today At The Beliz Law Firm, our Long Beach, CA truck accident attorneys fight to protect the rights and interests of injured victims. Among other things, our legal team will: Conduct a free, comprehensive review of your truck accident injury claim; Take action to investigate the collision and ensure that all evidence is obtained; Prepare all medical documents and records to prove the value of your medical damages; Organize all financial documents and records that indicate your other economic damages; Negotiate for a full and fair settlement offer with the insurance company; and If necessary, prepare to file a truck accident injury lawsuit. We want to make sure that you and your family get access to every dollar that you deserve under the law. Our law firm will push for the best settlement offer. Most personal injury claims can be settled prior to litigation. At the same time, we are always ready to litigate your truck accident claim if the truck company or its insurer refuses to play by the rules or treat you fairly. At The Beliz Law Firm, our California personal injury attorney has the skills and experience needed to hold negligent trucking companies liable. If the truck driver, trucking company, or truck manufacturer was at fault for your accident, you should seek compensation for your losses. You will need to file a personal injury claim. To find out more about your legal rights and your legal options, please contact The Beliz Law Firm today to set up your 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 Car Accidents

Who is Responsible for Uber or Lyft Accidents in California?

| Read Time: 3 minutes

For immediate help from an experienced car accident lawyer, reach out to Michael Beliz today. California is a “fault” state, meaning that drivers who cause accidents are financially responsible for them. Injured victims can make a claim for compensation with the at-fault driver’s insurer for things like medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering. These same rules apply if you are struck by an Uber or a Lyft driver, or if you are a passenger in an Uber or Lyft. Sometimes the driver responsible does not have any insurance, or they do not have enough to cover the full cost of your injuries. In these situations, you will need to check whether uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) coverage is available. Below, let’s look at some common scenarios. You are Injured as an Uber Car Accident Passenger Here, the driver responsible for the crash is responsible for compensating you. This might be your Uber/Lyft driver or it might be another motorist who struck you. Either way, you will make a claim with the responsible driver’s insurance company. Currently, the amount of Lyft or Uber passenger insurance is $1 million, which should certainly cover your injuries. Things can get tricky, however, if another motorist struck you but is uninsured. Helpfully, your ridesharing company should have underinsured motorist insurance for $1 million, which will kick in to cover you. You are Struck by an Uber or Lyft Driver In this situation, the Uber or Lyft driver is responsible for your injuries. It doesn’t matter whether you are another motorist or a pedestrian. In an Uber or Lyft driver car accident, you make a claim with the driver’s insurance. However, the amount of insurance available will depend on whether the driver was logged in the ridesharing app and whether they were actually transporting a ride: If the driver was not logged into the app, then the only insurance available is the personal insurance they carry on their vehicle. This is really no different than being struck by a person who doesn’t drive for Uber. Hopefully, the driver should have the minimum liability insurance required by California, which is $15,000 per person in bodily injury liability. If not, you might be able to use your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, if you have it. If the driver was logged into the ridesharing app and looking for rides when they struck you, then the Uber driver should have at least $50,000 in liability insurance up to $100,000 per accident and another $30,000 in property damage. Uber also carries $200,000 in excess liability coverage. If the driver had accepted a ride when he or she hit you, or if they actually had passengers with them, then the maximum amount of insurance applies. Uber drivers should have $1 million in liability insurance and another $1 million in uninsured/underinsured motorist injury coverage. You are an Uber/Lyft Driver Struck by Another Motorist In this case, you need to make a claim for compensation with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You should get this information soon after the crash and report the accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles, as is required by state law. Confused after an Uber or Lyft Accident? Reach Out to Us Today Injured motorists and pedestrians need compensation to help them piece together their lives after an accident. At the Beliz Law Firm, we are well-versed in the complexity of Uber and Lyft car accidents and understand who you need to file a claim with. In this difficult time, you should focus on getting well and being with your family. Let us do the heavy lifting of obtaining the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, please call us as at 562-452-3772 or send us a private message. Please avoid delay. Injured victims have a limited amount of time to make a claim after an accident.

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Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

 What’s the Average Settlement for a Pedestrian Hit by a Car?

| Read Time: 3 minutes

Car accidents can cause devastating injuries, especially to pedestrians. Unlike motorists, pedestrians have no protective barrier between them and the car that strikes them. As a result, pedestrians often need tens of thousands of dollars in medical care, and they are at higher risk of suffering permanent injuries. Injured pedestrians also can miss months of work, which makes obtaining compensation that much more critical. After your accident, you might wonder about the average settlement for a pedestrian hit by a car. In reality, there is no “average” settlement amount. Because settlements are usually confidential, no one has collected this information to come up with a believable number. The better course is to focus on the factors that go into calculating your settlement amount. Calculate How Much Your Medical Care Costs The purpose of a settlement is to make you “whole.” Basically, this means the settlement should put you in the position you would be in had you never been involved in an accident. One factor we look at it is how much money your medical care has cost. With minor injuries, like sprains or strains, you might only need a couple thousand dollars in medical care, possibly less. For serious injuries, like traumatic brain injuries or bad burns, you could need much more. It is very easy to calculate the cost of medical care. Find all bills and receipts and add up the amounts. Remember you can receive compensation for things like rehabilitation, prescription drugs, and supportive devices such as crutches or wheelchairs. You might also receive compensation for transportation to the hospital or doctors visits. Add Up Your Lost Wages Another economic loss associated with car accidents are lost wages. If your broken leg or concussion causes you to miss work, then you can receive the wages you would have earned had you not been injured. Look at your pay stubs and calculate the amount. You can even receive lost wages if you are self-employed—provided you can establish what you would have earned with reasonable certainty. For example, if you had to cancel some contracts while you recovered, then you can probably receive their value in compensation. Estimate Your Pain and Suffering If you are a pedestrian hit by a car, settlement negotiations should include discussion of your intangible losses, like pain or emotional distress. The simple fact is that accidents cause some losses that are hard to calculate in dollars and cents. Nevertheless, these losses are very real. Many of our clients report a serious reduction in the quality of life after getting struck by a car. The amount you can receive usually depends on the seriousness of your physical injuries. A sprain that causes a couple of weeks of discomfort probably will not earn you much in pain and suffering. But an injury that prevents you from enjoying your favorite hobbies or playing with your children may be worth much more. When clients suffer permanent, life-changing injuries like paralysis, they can receive a considerable amount for pain and suffering. Analyze the Driver’s Insurance Policy The driver’s insurance policy will usually act as a ceiling to the amount you can receive. Regardless of how much money the accident has cost you—and regardless of the severity of your injuries—the fact is it is very rare for you to get more in a settlement than the driver has in insurance. California only requires that drivers carry $15,000 in injury liability insurance per person, and many drivers only carry the minimum. If your injuries are worth $50,000, you still might need to settle for $15,000. Of course, you can file a lawsuit as a pedestrian hit by a car but, again, you will probably not get more than the policy limit in compensation. Call an Experienced Pedestrian Accident Attorney in Long Beach Negotiating a settlement is complicated, and you need someone experienced to represent you. At the Beliz Law Firm, we have gone up against many of the state’s largest insurers, and we know how to get a favorable settlement for our clients. By hiring us, you will get an advocate who knows how to build these cases the right way and who is not intimidated by insurer dirty tricks. To find out more about whether we can help you, please contact us right away. We offer clients a free consultation, which they can schedule by calling 562-452-3772.

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Attorney Portrait Car Accidents

What to Do After a Hit and Run Accident

| Read Time: 2 minutes

California has strict laws against fleeing the scene of an accident without providing contact information. Unfortunately, too many drivers flee, breaking the law in the process and leaving you with property damage or, worse, physical injuries. If you have suffered damage in a hit and run car accident, you should follow these tips before reaching out to a hit and run lawyer. Get Medical Treatment If you were in the car when it was struck, you should check to make sure everyone is okay. If someone needs help, contact 911 and ask for an ambulance. If injuries are less serious, you might drive to the hospital yourself later, but it is important to get prompt medical treatment because not all serious injuries are apparent or visible after a car accident. Note Details about the Car that Struck You You might have been in a store when someone struck your car, in which case you might not know anything about the offending motorist. However, if you were in the car when it was hit, you should collect as much information as possible: The car’s make and model; The car color; The license plate number; What the driver looked like; and Anything else that stands out, like a bumper sticker or a burnt-out taillight. Check with nearby witnesses who might have seen more than you did. Get their names and contact information as well as what they saw. If you were struck in a parking lot, then surveillance videos might have captured the motorist before they fled. You can stop into a store and ask if they have video of the parking lot. Give them the date and time of the accident. Report the Accident California law requires that you report car accidents to the DMV within 10 days if the accident caused $1,000 or more of damage or if anyone was physically injured or killed. If you do not file this report, your license can be suspended. Check if Insurance Applies California is a “fault” state, meaning the driver at fault for an accident pays for your injuries and damage to the vehicle. Unfortunately, if a driver flees, you won’t be able to make a claim with their insurer unless you find the driver. Nevertheless, you might carry insurance that will cover you, such as: Collision insurance, which can pay to repair your car. Medical payments, which can pay for medical care. Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) bodily injury coverage, which can pay for medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, these forms of insurance are voluntary in California, meaning you might not have them. If not, your only chance of receiving compensation is to find out the driver who hit you so you can make a claim. Confused about What to Do in a Hit and Run? Contact Us Today At the Beliz Law Firm, our hit and run lawyers have helped countless clients get the compensation they need. If you identify the driver, we can help make a claim with his or her insurance company. If you have UM coverage, we can work with your insurer to get you full and fair compensation for your injuries. To schedule a free consultation, please call us today, 562-452-3772.

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