How to Win a School Expulsion Hearing in California

School expulsion is a black mark on a student’s record.

Students who are expelled not only have to attend a school out of the district, but an expulsion could also impact their ability to get into colleges, the military and the record often times comes up on background checks.

That is why you need to know that every student who is recommended for expulsion is entitled to a school expulsion hearing under the CA Education Code.

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At an expulsion hearing, you have the right to be represented by an attorney, but unlike in a criminal case, an attorney will not be provided to you if you do not hire one. If you want to win an expulsion hearing, you should speak to an experienced expulsion lawyer who can aggressively advocate for your minor child.

At Fiumara & Milligan Law, we have handled and Won numerous school expulsion cases throughout Sonoma County and Marin County for over 25 years. We know what it takes to WIN for our clients!

How School Expulsion Cases Work

Under California Education Code Section 48900, a student can be expelled for any number of reasons, including:

-Causing physical injury to another person

-Possessing a dangerous object

-Using or selling illegal substances

-Bullying, assault and battery

-Sexual assault crimes

However, once a student is recommended for expulsion, he or she has the right to request a a school expulsion hearing.

The hearing can be conducted by the governing board of the student’s school district, a panel of three appointees, the county hearing officer or an independent hearing officer.

At the hearing, testimony from any witnesses, including other students and teachers is heard. All rules of evidence are relaxed which gives a false impression that this is an informal proceeding, but it is not.

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How to Win a School Expulsion Hearing

The best thing you can do if you wish to obtain a favorable result at a school expulsion hearing is contact an experienced attorney to represent you and your minor child at the hearing. An expulsion hearing has some of the same aspects of a regular criminal trial, but not quite.   So you will want to be represented by someone who has years of experience successfully arguing for clients.

How can an experienced attorney make a difference at your school expulsion hearing?

First, your expulsion lawyer will interview you or your child about the alleged incident.  After learning the facts of the case, your attorney could determine whether the rights of the student have been violated based upon the strict timelines and procedures enacted in the CA Ed. Code.  

Minors in school have certain rights, but they are often violated by school officials or police at school. If your child’s rights have been violated, your lawyer may be able to get the recommendation for expulsion overturned or modified to a suspended expulsion instead.

Additionally, your school expulsion attorney will attempt to work with school and district officials to fashion a contract or a suspended expulsion agreement that avoids the harsh result and an adverse permanent record of an expulsion.  There are many options that may be agreeable to both the student and the school rather than going through the agonizing and protracted school expulsion hearing process.

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If an agreement can’t be reached, your lawyer will fight zealously on your behalf at the expulsion hearing. Your lawyer will attempt to present evidence and witness testimony that highlights your child’s good character and reputation while attacking the credibility of the accusations against him or her.

This approach often shows the administrators who hear these types of cases that there are less drastic alternatives to school discipline than an expulsion. 

Experienced school expulsion hearing attorneys in our law firm insist that school district administrators and teachers first exhaust other alternatives before expelling pupils under: 

Educ. Code §48900.5.

Suspension shall be imposed only when other means of correction fail to bring about proper conduct. However, a pupil, including an individual with exceptional needs, as defined in Section 56026, may be suspended for any of the reasons enumerated in Section 48900 upon a first offense, if the principal or superintendent of schools determines that the pupil violated subdivision (a), (b), (c), (d), or (e) of Section 48900 or that the pupil’s presence causes a danger to persons or property or threatens to disrupt the instructional process.

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Contact the School Expulsion Attorneys at Fiumara & Milligan Law Today

If your child is facing expulsion from school, you should contact an experienced school expulsion attorney immediately.

At Fiumara & Milligan Law, our skilled and knowledgeable lawyers have over 25 years of experience successfully representing clients facing expulsion from school. We’ve helped hundreds of students in their time of legal need, and we can help you or your child now.

Call us now at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507 for a FREE consultation. We will get through this together.

For more info on Education law and how we can help you, CLICK HERE.

Judicial Council Rule, 5.664, Takes Effect July 1

The rule and the commentary around it are at:

The consensus about the training is that nobody is going to go around policing PUBLIC DEFENDERS OR PRIVATE JUVENILE DEFENDER offices or other offices to see what they are doing in terms of training for assignments, but COURTS can ask individual ATTORNEYS about training as specified in the rule.  It will probably play out differently in different courts.

Some COURTS may demand that every lawyer appearing before them must fill out the Judicial Council form with respect to training, and others may not.  In counties that do not have defender offices, there will probably be discussions about how to assure that someone is always available who is qualified and trained to represent youth.

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Again, longstanding practices will probably take a while to change in many places, but the hope is that they will change toward having sufficiently trained juvenile attorneys to cover juvenile hearings and appearances.   The requirements are not that difficult to meet, so a lot of this will be a cultural change both for the COURTS, PUBLIC DEFENDER OFFICES AND PRIVATE COUNSEL….

My hope is that the new Judicial Council Rule, will help to assure that anyone who “stands in” in any juvenile proceeding or hearing has had juvenile specific training.   The practice of “standing in” assumes that there are hearings in which it doesn’t really matter who is there with the minor/ juvenile client.   That simply is not true.  I have seen so many supposedly “routine” stand ins on continuances or review hearings in which something unexpected happened!   You thought it was just a continuance, but it wasn’t.  The lawyer standing in there needs to know the law and respond quickly.

You also need someone trained in interviewing and working with adolescent clients to explain what is going on with the client and to assure that the client’s interests are asserted.

For example, even when it is “just a continuance,” that may mean additional weeks of incarceration for a young person.  You cannot just have any old lawyer present or “standing in” – Counsel needs to be someone who knows the timelines and rules for juvenile cases, and who can clearly explain them to the client so a command of Spanish can be vital if translation and interpretation services are limited as they can be in counties with limited resources.

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All the staff at Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC Speaks fluent Spanish as does Mr. Fiumara.

We don’t rest upon our laurels—we keep current and on top of cutting edge changes in the law to better serve our clients.  Without our clients, we are not in business. Clients come first at Fiumara & Milligan Law.


Since 1992, Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC has been highly regarded as a full-service personal injury bilingual law firm that specializes in the handling of all major accident and catastrophic injury cases including crosswalk injury accidents and wrongful death.

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Unfortunately, much too often, drivers do not pay attention to pedestrians in the crosswalk. In the above mentioned case, a 9-year-old girl was crossing Claremont Avenue in Berkeley, California with her mother when she was struck by a car and seriously injured with two broken legs. The girl was in the marked crosswalk but the driver of the vehicle failed to yield!

Whether injured by a vehicle or if there is a property defect, a pedestrian may recover damages for the injuries suffered if someone else’s negligence caused or contributed to the incident as in this case.

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Here, in the case of the 9 year old girl, the driver who failed to yield, (not acting reasonably), is at fault. Under the law, to establish negligence and fault in a crosswalk or pedestrian accident case the injured party or plaintiff must prove the following in order to prevail:

  1. The driver, (defendant driver) owed a legal duty to the plaintiff, the little girl;
  2. The driver (defendant) failed to fulfill (“breached”) that legal duty through action or inaction-

In this case failing to yield per the CA Vehicle Code;

  1. The driver, (defendant driver) caused the accident or injury (broken bones) involving the plaintiff
  2. The driver, (defendant driver) harmed or injured the plaintiff, (9 year old girl).

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When a pedestrian is injured in an accident there may be more than one party with legal responsibility for the accident. However, in this case, that is not true, but in general depending upon the circumstances, potential liable parties could include the following:

  1. The driver of the vehicle that strikes the pedestrian as in this case.
  2. The party responsible for maintaining the sidewalk or crosswalk or road or parking lot where the injury accident occurred.
  3. The pedestrian himself or herself—but in this case the 9-year-old girl was accompanied by her mother in a clearly marked crosswalk–there doesn’t appear to be any fault attributed to their actions.

However, we don’t know all the facts because there may have been a defective signal or light or some other extraneous or contributing cause or circumstance? However, in this case, it appears that the driver of the vehicle had negligently operated his vehicle and hence will be legally liable to pay damages for personal and property injury/damage caused by that negligence.

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Usually the motor vehicle driver is insured and their insurance carrier will eventually pay for all expenses, medical treatment and care related to the accident and pay for lost wages, future lost wages and pain and suffering for the injured plaintiff.


We recommend that you do the following:

  1. Immediately call the police.
  2. Don’t leave the scene of the accident before help arrives.
  3. Gather names, phone numbers, and any other information from any and all witnesses.
  4. Don’t make any statements to anyone including drivers and insurers.
  5. Take down as much information about the location, the addresses, circumstances surrounding the accident including taking any photographs on your iPhone or Android along with videos if you remember to do this to document the event later.


If you or somebody that you love has been injured in a pedestrian or crosswalk accident you may be wondering what to do next. Since there are statutes of limitations and other barriers, you only have a set amount of time to bring a claim for your injuries. Thankfully, you can have one of our highly skilled and experienced attorneys at Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC provide you with a free consultation and case evaluation. Then, you will have a clear idea of what your next step should be, while you focus on a speedy recovery and getting your health back on track.

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Please feel free to contact us. Please call our offices at (707) 571-8600 in our centrally located Santa Rosa office in Sonoma County or call our office in San Rafael in Marin County at (415) 492-4507 to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. “The right attorney makes all the difference.”

Please CLICK HERE to view more information on how we can help with any crosswalk accident you may have been involved in.

Community: Criminal Threats Arrest by the Santa Rosa Police. Criminal Threats Arrest /Case #16-3375

THESE are the Typical kinds of criminal cases Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC has been handling successfully for accused defendants for over 24 years since the Firm opened its doors in 1992:

422 PC Criminal Terrorist Threats
1203.2 PC Violation of Probation
25850(a) PC Possession of a Loaded Firearm in a vehicle

The most important decision that you need to get right is choosing an attorney who has the skill and experience needed to help you, along with the commitment to your case necessary to secure the best possible resolution.

Why risk jail or worse? Your liberty and freedom are priceless and you deserve aggressive, but yet compassionate legal counsel who will zealously represent you and force the prosecution to prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

On March 10th 2016, a Santa Rosa Police Officer was dispatched to contact a female victim who was reporting that her estranged husband was making criminal threats toward her. The suspect, identified as Brian Eduardo Munoz (21yrs), was sending multiple text messages to the victim indicating that he intended to harm her.

The victim was in fear for her safety. Munoz then sent the victim a series of texts and video messages in which he displayed a shotgun and ammunition. Munoz implied that he intended to shoot her with the shotgun in his possession.

During the course of the investigation, officers learned that Munoz was driving in his vehicle, searching for the victim. Through his messages, it was determined that he was attempting to find the victim at her residence and also her parents’ residence. Officers conducted an area check for Munoz and his vehicle. They eventually located Munoz’s vehicle parked in front of his residence in Santa Rosa.

Officers approached the vehicle and located a male sitting in the front passenger seat. That male was subsequently determined to be a relative of Munoz. As the officers detained that subject, Munoz suddenly appeared from inside of his residence and walked outside. He was safely taken into custody without incident. Officers located a shotgun inside of Munoz’s home that was believed to be the same one that he threatened the victim with.

Munoz was arrested and booked at the Sonoma County Jail on the following charges:

422 PC Criminal Terrorist Threats
1203.2 PC Violation of Probation
25850(a) PC Possession of a Loaded Firearm in a vehicle

Don’t risk going to jail or having your liberty taken from you! Please feel free to make an appointment. We will gladly provide you with a free confidential consultation and case evaluation.

“Lawyer-up” with the experienced and highly skilled criminal defense attorneys from Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC with two conveniently located offices, one in Central Santa Rosa and the other in San Rafael.

Please call our office today at (707) 571-8600 in our centrally located Santa Rosa office in Sonoma County or call our office in San Rafael in Marin County at (415) 492-4507 to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.

Don’t bargain with your freedom! The right attorney makes all the difference between your freedom and incarceration!


The three main types of distractions while driving include:

(1)  Visual—Taking your eyes off of the road.

(2)  Manual—Taking your hands off the wheel.

(3)  Cognitive—Taking your mind off of driving. 

While any single type of distraction will endanger the driver and others, texting while driving is the MOST dangerous because it is not only visual, manual, but cognitive at the same time!  Don’t text and drive!!


Texting while walking across the street or even in a crosswalk is dangerous and potentially deadly!  Many of our clients who are struck in the crosswalk where they have a legal right to safely walk are demonized by the opposing insurance carrier for not paying attention! 


In other words, the opposing insurance carrier will be successful at decreasing the amount of compensation you receive because you will be deemed contributorily negligent.  Your compensation will be reduced by your fault which will be apportioned by some formula. But we know how to fight that argument.

Hence, paying attention and NOT using your electronic devices while crossing a street or crosswalk not only helps to avoid a pedestrian accident but if there is one, increases the value of your own personal injury case enormously.  Insurance companies and their adjustors are very crafty and know how to demonize the victim.  Don’t be victimized by an unscrupulous insurance adjustor or insurance carrier. 

Please schedule an appointment with one of our highly skilled and experienced attorneys for a free and confidential consultation if you are the victim of a hit and run, crosswalk accident, pedestrian accident or you were struck by a vehicle while riding your bicycle, pushing a stroller, riding a skateboard or hoverboard.   


We are here to assist you in any way possible.  Please feel free to call us at (707) 571-8600 and (415) 492-4507 in Marin County. “The Right Law Firm Makes All the Difference!”

Dog Bite Liability in California

When you’re attacked by a dog, it’s natural to have questions. For instance, you probably wonder why the dog bit you, if you ignored the warning signs of an attack, what’s going to happen to the dog, and what kind of treatment you’ll have to endure for your wounds.

Next, your mind will probably travel to the topic of costs, and whether or not you’ll be held responsible for the medical bills from the attack. Fortunately, because of California’s strict liability law, the owner of the dog will likely be held liable for the attack.

Dog Bite Liability in California

Strict Liability

The strict liability law is good news for dog bite victims, but owners of dogs who bite may not feel the same way.

The strict liability law essentially holds the attacking dog’s owner responsible for the dog’s behavior. The dog’s owner cannot escape liability for the attack by claiming that he didn’t know the dog would bite, or that their dog has never attacked or bit anyone before.

Whether the dog has a history of aggression or not, the owner is responsible. The dog’s owner is responsible for all costs and expenses related to the bite.

They usually include but are not limited to: ambulance and medic bills, medical bills from the doctor or hospital and lost wages due to the injury.

Dog Bite Liability in California


Even if owners do all that they can to restrain their dogs with leashes, fences, or gates, they are still negligent or responsible if their dogs attack or bite—the reason for STRICT LIABILITY…

A few exceptions to this law do exist, however. Trespassers who are attacked by dogs are not protected by the strict liability law, and neither are veterinarians who are injured while treating the dogs.

Those who provoke dogs to act aggressively by hitting them or displaying other behaviors are not protected by this law and may not have rights to pursue legal action.

Dog Bite Liability in California

Dog Bite Victims Have Rights

While some dog bites are minor, others can be severe and life-changing.

Along with the physical pain of the bite, you may also have endured emotional pain or mental anguish particularly if the bite creates a noticeable scar that alters your appearance.

Further the attack may have caused you to suffer Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. You don’t have to suffer in silence—you have the legal right to hold the dog owner fully responsible for your physical and mental pain and suffering and all of your costs, expenses, lost wages and future losses if related to the dog bite and or attack!

We have successfully handled dozens of dog bite and animal attack cases since 1992 and we would be happy to offer you a free and confidential consultation with our experienced and skilled personal injury attorneys.

Dog Bite Liability in California

The attorneys at Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC will fight for your rights.

Contact us today by calling 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507. We have helped numerous accident and injury victims get back on their feet and on with their lives.

How Insurance Adjusters Work When Evaluating Your Accident Claim

The role of an insurance provider is twofold; to sell you on an insurance plan or police that provides the required coverage and to make sure as little is lost through future accidents. The role of an insurance adjuster is to determine how much the insurance company will settle for in the future.

The first number that they offer to settle a claim is oftentimes what I refer to as a “low-ball” guestimate or ballpark. Sometimes, it is thrown out to see what the parties are made of what the insured’s reaction would be at this first attempt to settle their claim.

While many people leave it up to their insurance company to handle any and all payments associated with an accident, others are rightfully turning to the advice of local attorneys such as ourselves to fight for them. For this reason, it is incredibly important that you have your claim looked over carefully by your attorney.

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So, how does the process work?

The first thing that is usually itemized are medical bills and records that relate to the accident which may have been paid out. The adjusters will carefully go through what medical evidence exists and attempt to find holes, gaps and any inconsistencies that they can use to justify rejecting your claim, reducing it or requesting additional documentation and information thus stalling your eventual payment. This deliberate delay and stall in your compensation can discourage many legitimate claimants.

More often than not, the adjusters will search for alternative explanations for what may have caused the physical injuries so as to justify non-payment of your claim. For example, suppose that your legs were seriously injured during your car accident– a crafty insurance adjuster might make a convincing argument that the injury to your legs was caused by the cumulative years of your love of running, and not by the traumatic impact of the accident that you just sustained!

In these cases, the insurance company will do its best not to pay the claim, saving themselves money through the process.

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If your claim is somehow higher than the average claim, this may also raise a “red Flag” or the ire of a claims adjuster. It is similar to the IRS if an insurance carrier and its agents identify a number or figure that is “out of the ordinary” or slightly higher than the standard average median they will “red flag” your entire claim for further investigation.

They are quick to label any “high” amount claim as fraudulent and then begin the hardball and investigatory process which further slows down your compensation payout. It is therefore advisable to hire experienced counsel to cut right through this self-serving nonsense.

Regardless of the reasons why an insurance company may be fighting you for a payout, you will need assistance.

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With countless years of experience helping David fight Goliath, we here at Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC strongly believe in your right for professional and legal counsel.

Don’t allow the big insurance carriers and their skilled and well-trained adjusters push you around and deny you the full compensation that you deserve and are legally entitled to receive for your injuries! YOU have been paying into the ‘system’ for a long time and it’s now your turn to benefit from having paid your high insurance premiums for all these years!

My adage and what I commonly say is: The insurance companies are quick to take your money and hand you an umbrella, but they are even quicker to snatch it back when it rains! When it “pours” their tactics get even worse.

Instead of getting taken advantage of go with a team that will put your best interests ahead of shareholder profits. We will help fight for you throughout the entire process keeping in mind YOUR needs. WE believe in evening the playing field for your benefit.

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Contact our personal injury attorneys today at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507 for a free and confidential consultation.

We serve the great people of Sonoma County, Marin County and the entire North Bay and have been doing so since 1992!

Getting A DUI for A Second Time in Sonoma County & the Consequences that Follow

A second DUI conviction in Sonoma County with a prior DUI in the past 10 years can carry serious consequences, including up to 5 years’ probation, a one thousand dollar find, and up to one year in Sonoma County jail.

If you face a second time DUI, the most difficult potential consequence for you may be the loss of your California Driver License.

If you were convicted of either a standard DUI or a wet reckless, and then you get convicted of DUI again within 10 years, the new conviction triggers a two-year suspension of your California Driver License.


However, if you get the new DUI charge reduced to reckless driving, exhibition of speed, or some offense other than DUI, you can avoid this court-triggered license suspension. A second DUI does not have to destroy your ability to drive.  There is a pilot program and an alternative that we would be happy to determine if it can apply to your situation.

If you were still on probation for the first DUI when you are arrested for your second DUI, the DMV will also seek to impose its own one-year driver license suspension after your second-time DUI offense. This administrative suspension is separate from the Sonoma County court-triggered suspension. However, even if you suffer both suspensions, the total suspension period by law cannot exceed two years.

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You have a right to a DMV hearing to contest the administrative suspension. At the hearing, you can challenge the suspension and can be represented by a Sonoma County DUI defense lawyer, like the skilled and experienced attorneys at Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC.

Mr. Fiumara has been practicing law in Sonoma County for nearly 25 years and knows all of the players from the District Attorneys, Judges and hearing officers at the DMV. If you win at the DMV hearing, no administrative suspension is imposed. If you lose the DMV hearing, the two-year administrative suspension is imposed.

It is important to have a skilled and highly experienced lawyer representing you at both, the criminal hearing and the DMV hearing. If you were arrested for a second time DUI, you must do two things to avoid the one or two-year suspension of your California Driver License.

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First, you must avoid being convicted of DUI in court (or you must at least get the DUI charges reduced). Second, you must win your DMV hearing. If you fail either of these, the DUI will cost you your driving privileges in California.

There are many factors that determine the outcome of a criminal case. Having a highly skilled and very experienced Sonoma County DUI Defense attorney is vital in making sure you get the best possible result in your case.

The attorneys at Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC have been helping those charged with DUIs in Sonoma County win their cases for almost a quarter of a century! Let us help you.   

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You can call us at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507. We serve clients in Sonoma County, Marin County and the entire North Bay.

The consultation is confidential, but more importantly it is free and you will leave with more knowledge than when you arrived.

YOU owe this to yourself.  Don’t delay, “We Fight for you!”

Road Safety Tips to Avoid a New Year’s Car Accident In The North Bay

New Year’s Eve is around the corner and you want to avoid a car accident!

Drinking and celebrating with friends and family go hand in hand with New Year’s Eve. The trick is to enjoy the party and get home safely.

Sadly, along with New Year’s Eve parties comes roads filled with drunk drivers and drunk driving accidents. New Year’s Eve is one of the most dangerous nights of the year for car accidents and drinking and driving incidents.

Road Safety Tips to Avoid a New Year’s Car Accident In The North Bay

With alcohol being such an integral part of the revelry, too many people choose to drive home while under the influence. January 1 is not the deadliest day of the year, but it is one of the worst for serious car accidents caused by drunk drivers.

Rash and negligent driving or driving under the influence of alcohol are the most common causes of New Year’s car accidents, but darkness and winter driving conditions also play a role. The majority of motorists killed on New Year’s Eve are between the ages of 15 and 45.

Road Safety Tips to Avoid a New Year’s Car Accident In The North Bay

New Year’s Eve Road Safety Tips

  1. Plan ahead. If you are planning to drink at a party, plan to stay overnight or to get home safely. Can you book a hotel within walking distance? Call a cab or have a designated driver.
  1. If you are hosting the party, offer your spare room, couch and floor to anyone who would like to stay overnight. Better to have a crowded house then to see your friend or family member get hurt or injure someone else on the road. If your friend insists on getting home be sure that they are not drunk or call them a taxi. You can also make sure that there are plenty of non-alcoholic beverages available along with some hearty snacks to help your guests from getting out of control drunk.
  1. Call the police if you suspect a drunk driver. Help keep the roads safe; pull over and call the police if you see someone speeding excessively or weaving on the road. Keep your distance from the car and don’t approach them yourself. You could end up preventing a car accident.
  1. Celebrate without alcohol if you need to drive home. Be brave and start a new tradition! Keep yourselves entertained with board games and great conversation. The best part will be spending New Year’s day without a hangover!
  1. If you are driving home, drive with extra caution and care. You don’t know the condition of the drivers around you so defensive driving is your friend.


Road Safety Tips to Avoid a New Year’s Car Accident In The North Bay

Call Santa Rosa Car Accident Attorney Michael A. Fiumara and Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC if you’ve been injured in a New Year’s Eve Car Accident!

Please be safe this New Year’s Eve and have fun, but if you are injured in a car accident due to negligent or drunk driving, our skilled legal team will fight for the insurance compensation you deserve.

Call us today at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507! We will get through this together!

Road Safety Tips to Avoid a New Year’s Car Accident In The North Bay

How to Combat the Seven Deadly Sins from the Insurance Industry to Avoid Paying YOU Fair Compensation!

After any kind of accident, the last thing you want to do is fight your own insurance carrier. The old adage from our law firm is: YOUR insurance company will give you an umbrella and as soon as it rains they will snatch it away as fast as they can!

Besides the endless run around and delays, your own insurance company, and especially the third party’s insurance carrier, can make your life a living hell.

Please keep in mind that insurance companies are businesses and they are in it for profit above anything else.

They will do anything to reduce or deny your legitimate claim for the sake of making an even greater profit! You should question every word out of the claims adjuster’s mouth because they are not on your side, they are working for their own company!

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Your goal, unlike theirs, is to fully and fairly recover all of your damages from YOUR accident including but not limited to medical bills, lost wages during your recovery period, pain and suffering, and any future losses.

In order to MAXIMIZE your damages, it is vitally important that you take the following actions/ advice to avoid the seven deadly sins that you can expect from the insurance industry to MINIMIZE your recovery and reward:

1. You must request in writing a written explanation from the insurance carrier for the following: You have a legal right to an accurate time line telling you when you need to submit billing or Med-Pay information. You also need to be alerted to the statute of limitations in order to bring your claim in a timely manner.

2. Organize and keep all of your files, records, and relevant paperwork in one binder. Later, you can hand this to your attorney. Your binder and relevant paperwork should include your original policy, your declarations page, any and all documents that you have signed. Always insist upon getting a copy of any paperwork that you have signed. Your paperwork should specify all of your benefits. Keep every piece of paper that your insurance company has sent to you. You also have a right to request any missing documents from the insurance carrier.

3. We recommend that you thoroughly review all documents that you receive from the carrier to determine whether your claim was legally denied and on what basis. We would be happy to look over vague or convoluted additions, amendments or addendums that appear to permit the insurance carrier to deny you coverage under certain circumstances. These may not apply.

4. Always be skeptical and confirm your signature and review any initials to determine whether they have been forged. Insurance carriers are well-known for being dishonest and downright deceitful. Therefore, you need to request copies of all of your documents which support their denial of your legitimate accident claim. Check to see whether the signature on these documents is really yours or someone else’s.

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5. Every request that you make must be put into writing and you should keep copies of all receipts, especially if you send those as attachments to your carrier or to the adverse insurance carrier. Don’t allow the adjuster to call all the shots. If they are not responding to your written requests, then demand that they forward your written request to the carrier’s legal department and to the upper chain of command. Pretend that you are a pit bull, be persistent and be tenacious. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, but if you don’t want to pursue the matter for yourself, then hire us to help you reduce the stress and MAXIMIZE your compensation.

6. The insurance company is not permitted to legally deny your claim on the basis of you filing an error. Filling out paperwork incorrectly or omitting something minor is arbitrary and capricious and must be challenged to prevent a final denial of your claim. Sometimes a carrier will state that you filed the document prematurely or before some arbitrary deadline. Do not buy that false and misleading allegation! Instead, seriously consider hiring competent legal counsel to represent you.

7. Do not allow the insurance adjuster to record your statement over the phone or in person on how the accident occurred or how badly you were injured. The insurance adjuster will try to catch you off guard and possibly while you are under the influence of some prescribed pain medication that can put your memory at risk for no fault of your own—and that is only the beginning. We don’t allow our clients to speak to any third party insurance adjuster unless we are present. We also insist upon recording the interview ourselves and only after the carrier agrees that their transcripts from the recording will be supplied to our client without cost or delay.

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Finally, one of the most important ways to avoid insurance carrier deceit and to ‘even the playing field’ is for you to hire a qualified personal injury plaintiff’s law firm to represent you from the onset. Insurance carriers will only take you seriously after you have elicited the assistance of a legal professional such as our law firm. Since our law firm does not charge for consultations, you have nothing to lose by calling us and so much to potentially gain.

At Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC since 1992 we have been helping accident victims make the most out of their insurance and that of the offending third party and thoroughly know the insurance claim process. We are familiar with the underhanded tactics that the insurance industry employs to deny or reduce your claims.

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The best way to counteract these deceitful tactics is to contact us immediately. We know when to settle and/or pursue litigation in order to get you the maximum compensation that you deserve and are entitled to under the law.

Knowledge is power and our knowledge used to fight and protect your best interest will yield full and fair compensation that you deserve. We are here to help put your lives back together after a bad accident or incident.

santa rosa personal injury lawyer

For more information about your rights and legal options, please feel free to contact us at (707) 571-8600 in Santa Rosa or (415) 492-4507 in San Rafael.