Truck Accidents In California: Causes & Compensation

Common causes of interstate big-rig truck accidents are:

  1. Speeding or traveling too fast for conditions
  2. Overloading
  3. Poor vehicle maintenance
  4. Driving while tired or under the influence of amphetamines
  5. Driving trance
  6. Vehicle blind spots
  7. Reckless driving

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Why Do Big-Rig Tractor Trailers Cause Such Serious Accidents?

Interstate trucking accidents commonly cause major injuries such as broken legs and bones, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, head injuries, brain damage, and death because of the very large mass and weight of the semi-truck. The weight of an eighteen wheel truck towing a full trailer is equal to at least four or five regular vehicles. Couple that with the typical high rate of speed of a careless truck driver and this is a recipe for disaster.

Jackknife Big-Rig Truck Accidents

Jackknife tractor trailer wrecks typically happen when the driver suddenly applies his brakes causing the coupling between the big-rig cab and trailer to buckle and “jackknife.” This type of accident can also be caused by entering a curve at a high rate of speed, suddenly accelerating on a low-friction surface such as ice or on a rain-slicked surface, or downshifting while coming down a hill or grade.

In addition to a negligent truck driver, other third parties and entities may be responsible for causing your injuries.

For example, the manufacturer of your car or big-rig might be responsible due to a defect in design or even a defective part that prevented you or your loved one from avoiding the collision due to faulty brakes, steering system or any other moving part.  There may also be liability for the government entity in charge of maintaining or designing the road. Typically this means investigating the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and their possible role in the accident.

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Call Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC Today

Interstate trucking companies are governed by a complex set of federal and state laws and regulations.

Due to this complex regulatory structure, it is very important to hire an experienced California truck accident lawyer who can help you navigate these laws and apply them to your case to hold the trucking company and  ALL others responsible for the harm they have caused you and your loved ones.

That is where Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC comes in to help

Our trained vehicle accident attorneys Michael A. Fiumara, Justin O. Milligan along with our Team of personal injury attorneys together with our skilled legal staff will review your case during our free and confidential consultation and help you win by getting the justice that you deserve.  WE DON’T get paid until you do since your case will be handled on a CONTINGENCY ARRANGEMENT.  Let us explain.

Do not trust the trucking company or their insurance carrier to be fair or straight with you!

In every accident, the insurance company tries their best to delay, deny, and defend claims against their insureds.  In interstate trucking accident cases, the trucking companies are extremely difficult to work with and unreasonable. They want to scare you and your loved ones into taking a settlement that is inadequate which will not cover your medical bills, lost earnings or future medical treatment if any.

Contact us today at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507 to receive the help you deserve.

We are here with you, fighting for you!  “The Right Attorney Makes All the Difference.”

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Misuse of Deadly Police Force On The Rise Across The United States and COUNTING

Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri;  Tamir Rice and Tanisha Anderson of Cleveland, Ohio; Eric Garner of Staten Island, New York;   and Walter Scott of North Charleston, South Carolina.

These are just five names and five cities that you may have heard in the news over the past year.  These people have one thing in common—They were killed at the hands of Law Enforcement.  Another commonality is that they were all African-American, but are we expected to believe that this is a coincidence?

YOU don’t have to go very far to feel the effects of an entire community torn apart by a police killing.  Here in our own backyard, Andy Lopez, a 13 year old Latino boy was shot to death in his Santa Rosa neighborhood by a Sonoma County Sheriff while walking on the sidewalk with a toy replica of a gun.

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The point of mentioning these names is not to reexamine the cases to determine whether any of those killings were justified (in fact, the officer who killed Walter Scott is now charged with murder).

Instead, it is to point out the sobering fact that these are just five people out of the estimated THOUSANDS killed by police officers each year in the United States alone!  Staggeringly, the figure lies between 930 and 1,240 annual deaths per year, with the exact number remaining unknown because there is no national consensus on how the figures are reported.

The lack of a consensus approach to reporting the number of killings by police is just one symptom of a larger problem in the United States that has drawn the ire of Amnesty International USA, Black Lives Matters and other Civil liberty related organizations around the country.  For example, Amnesty International USA, a non-governmental organization, dedicated to ending human rights violations around the world, released a scathing report in which it declared that law enforcement agencies in all 50 states in the U.S. are failing to comply with international standards regarding the use of deadly force.

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Falling Below International Standards

Article 3 of the United Nations Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials states in part,  “Law enforcement officials may use force only when strictly necessary and to the extent required for the performance of their duty.” The comments on the article explain that the use of a firearm by a law enforcement officer is “an extreme measure. Every effort should be made to exclude the use of firearms, especially against children. De-escalation is evidently not part of the American approach to law enforcement or these numbers would not be so high.

In general, firearms should not be used except when a suspected offender offers armed resistance or otherwise jeopardizes the lives of others and less extreme measures are not sufficient to restrain or apprehend the suspect. In every instance in which a firearm is discharged, a report should be made promptly to the proper authorities.

According to Amnesty International, not a single state in this country has a law that mirrors the language in the U.N.’s code. Furthermore, 13 states do not even have use of force laws that reflect U.S. constitutional standards, and no state has accountability standards for officer-involved killings, such as filing reports when an officer uses his or her firearm, or independent investigations into a killing by an officer.

These findings are hard to swallow when considering it was the UNITED STATES of AMERICA that spear-headed the League of Nations and eventually the UNITED NATIONS and its universal Charter on Human Rights!  The question is—WHAT HAPPENED?

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Resisting Arrest Could Cost YOU Your Life

Though the report calls upon the legislative bodies of each state to enact new standards to deal with the problem of officer-involved killings, those laws are likely many years away from becoming reality.

In the meantime, it is important for anyone who is facing arrest in California to remember that if an officer decides to arrest you, you must remain calm and patient, and make no sudden moves. While many police officers have received professional training and are able to remain calm during a confrontation any sudden movement by YOU could trigger even a veteran officer’s adverse reactive deadly force when he or she perceives you as a threat. In many cases of officer-involved killings, that instinctive reaction contributed to the death of the arrestee.

Going peacefully is difficult, especially when you feel you have done nothing wrong.  It is even more difficult to remain calm and quiet when you know the police officer involved makes overt or veiled discriminatory comments about your race, sex, sexual orientation of any other part of your being.  However, keeping your cool could save you not only from facing additional charges for resisting arrest, but also from a far worse fate.

Remember, you have a right to avail yourself of the criminal justice system, and you have the right to have an attorney fight this battle for you. Your vindication may be delayed, but allowing the process to play itself out is a far better fate than losing your life in the heat of the arrest.

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REMEMBER you have a strong ally at Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC so Contact us for help!

If you or someone you love has been arrested, you should speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney and his TEAM as soon as possible.

At Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC our skilled attorneys have been successfully defending wronged clients against all types of criminal charges for over 23 years.

We know that facing criminal charges can produce a great deal of stress and aggravation for  you and your family. WE also realize that a conviction could affect you for the rest of your life, and we are dedicated to working tirelessly on your behalf to provide you with the best defense possible.

With have two conveniently located offices in Sonoma County and Marin County, we are here to serve the entire North Bay area.

Call us today at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507 for a free, confidential case evaluation and we will FIGHT this together.

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“THE RIGHT ATTORNEY MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE!”

Our Law Firm Proudly Announces a Donation of $10,000 to the Roseland University Prep High School

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Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC just donated $10,000 to Roseland University Prep School in Santa Rosa toward the construction of a brand new $16 million dollar campus.

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Roseland University Prep is a small college preparatory high school located in the heart of the Roseland Community. Roseland University Prep opened in 2004 with the purpose of giving each student the opportunity to take college prep classes which would prepare them to attend a four-year university.

The mission of Roseland University Prep is to offer students a small learning group environment with the promise to help support high school graduation and preparation for college. Their mission is driven by four basic principles: Academic Excellence, Individualized Learning, Shared Commitment, and a Small Learning Environment.

“The most important gift of giving is the gift of learning and skill building because educational opportunity is the most effective way to lift poor people out of poverty.” Since opening my Law practice almost 25 years ago Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC has been a strong voice and advocate for the Latino Community and hence the majority of our clients are Latino.

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In appreciation of the Latino Community’s love and support over all these years, I felt that it is justified to give back to the next generation of Latino students—states attorney Michael A. Fiumara, Founder and managing partner of Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC.  Further our Law Firm has a long history and tradition of direct community involvement. Our attorneys and staff are committed to serving organizations and deepening our ties to the local community, which further enhances our advocacy skills.

We are committed to the principle that legal professionals should give back to their communities. Our attorneys and staff members volunteer their time and professional expertise to assist  and volunteer at a variety of non-profit organizations,  community based organizations, sponsor events for homeless shelters, churches, food banks, youth programs, after-school programs and gladly speak to students at a number of schools in the North Bay.  We regularly support our community through donations and other community volunteer service projects.

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“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”-Nelson Mandela

Please click on the link below to see what other community events we are involved with.

http://www.fiumara.com/santa-rosa/in-the-community

When Injured in an Auto Accident in California There Are Certain Pieces of Information to Obtain From the Other Driver

If and when you are involved in a car accident in California, you should collect certain pieces of information from the other driver or drivers involved.

Most people do collect this information, but some do not.

We suggest you collect the following:

  1. Name of the other driver;
  2. Driver’s license number of the other driver.
  3. Date of birth of the other driver.
  4. Insurance information of the other driver, including the insurance company and policy number
  5. License plate of the other driver’s car.

If possible, verify all this information by requesting that the other driver produce their driver’s license and insurance card.

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If you have a phone that can take pictures, take a snapshot of the front side of all documents produced by the other driver. It is possible the other driver could lie to you and provide false information. Having pictures or copying directly from documentation will reduce the chance that the other driver could take off without giving you enough or adequate information to identify them.

Remember to always call 911 to have law enforcement come out to the scene to facilitate the exchange of information.

Many police departments write police reports, but are not required to write a report. Ask the officer if the officer intends to write a report. If he does, make sure you get the accident report number. You will be able to get that report a few weeks after the accident most times for a nominal cost.

If the officer informs you that no report will be produced and you believe you are not at fault, it is always a good idea to attempt to get the other driver to admit fault in the officer’s presence. If the officer is not writing a report, it is extremely critical that you collect the abovementioned  5  pieces of information and keep it in a safe place.

It is always safe to call a Personal Injury Law Attorney before you talk to your insurance company, especially the insurance company of the other driver.

Whatever you do, do not give anyone, whether it be your insurance or the other driver’s insurance, your recorded statement. Nothing good can come of it.

It is best to call an Auto Accident Attorney and have them represent you. This way there is a protective barrier between you and the insurance company. Remember, the insurance company makes money by paying out as little as possible on each claim. They would much prefer to NOT pay you a dime and will use your words against you to avoid paying you.

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If you or a loved one is involved in any type of ACCIDENT whether you think it is your fault or not, PLEASE Contact Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC NOW at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507 for a free and confidential consultation and find out what over 40 years of combined legal experience in personal injury law can do for you!

What Is The Value Of Your Car Accident Settlement in the North Bay?

Many factors are at play in determining the value of a car accident bodily injury settlement amount.

Some of the factors are objective facts surrounding the accident and injury, while others are subjective based upon the perspective and interests of the involved parties.

Before diving into an analysis of settlement value, it is important to note that not all factors are always known and are almost certainly unknown early in the case.

Only after full discovery and only after a complete analysis by a licensed and highly experienced attorney can a true opinion on settlement be rendered by a lawyer for their client. Even then, calculating settlement value is speculative and based upon many shifting variables that may change during the course of the negotiation to arrive at the final settlement.

Remember, no one knows the future and both sides must find common ground to arrive at a settlement.  If the opposing party or their insurance carrier refuses to negotiate a fair settlement in good faith, no matter how experienced or savvy your attorney may be, your case will not settle.  At this point hard tactics litigation will be the only mechanism to force the other side to negotiate in good faith and offer a fair compensation package that covers, both the injured party’s economic and non-economic damages along with lost wages.

One common formula employs a multiplier  and your medical expenses to come up with an estimate of non-economic damages (money for your pain and suffering). Adding this figure to your economic losses (medical bills, property damage, and lost income) gives you a dollar amount from which to negotiate.

The following factors provide guidance on how to have a meaningful conversation with the firm providing representation to the injury victim.

Chicago Car Accidents and Insurance

Factors Determining Car Accident Settlement Amounts

Fault – Where fault, also known as liability, falls on the other party without dispute, settlement value will depend mostly on the nature and extent of the injuries suffered by the plaintiff. Where fault is not clear or likely to be split equally between the two parties to the lawsuit, value will depend on the severity of the injuries plus either an offset for comparative fault or a discount on the basis that liability could go against the plaintiff.

When considering a settlement, consider whether fault is clearly against the defendant to the insurance claim or legal action. If it is, move to the next factor. If liability is clear or partially against the plaintiff, talk to the lawyer about what kind of discount must be taken on the basis of risk of losing the case outright.

Nature and Extent of Sustained Injuries – Next consider the nature and extent of the bodily injury suffered as a result of the car accident. Severe injuries that are permanent in nature and that are not relieved by cheap and/ or conservative medical treatments are generally worth more money. Consider what body part was damaged and to what extent there is objective medical evidence of injury.

If the injury victim complains of severe pain in the neck but comes out with a clean MRI, that person must face the fact that the value of their case may not be as much as someone with an objective disc herniation or fractured vertebrae. So credibility surely affects the final settlement amount.

While neck strain/pain is worth something, the cost of medical care usually (not always) drives claim value in personal injury auto collision claims. Where the harm causes an objective need for surgery, that injury is considered to be more severe. The more objective finding and the more severe the subjective pain and suffering it causes, the greater the case value. If liability is clear and the nature and extent of injury are also severe, consider it a bigger case.  BUT BEWARE the amount of the ultimate settlement  can be reduced by what is known as pre-existing medical conditions that cause the same or closely similar symptoms or pain.

Defendant’s pocketbook and net worth –One must consider whether the party at fault or offending tortfeasor has adequate insurance coverage, money, assets or resources to cover the cost of the plaintiff’s injuries. If the defendant is poor or without insurance, there is no money to collect even if liability is clear and the extent of injuries are severe.

Suing is not worthwhile if the insurance policy is minimal, non-existent or the entity that caused the accident is without an insurance policy at all, already in bankruptcy proceedings or files for bankruptcy. Your attorney  should be able to investigate the insurance policy of the defendant party at fault prior to a settlement demand to discover exactly what type of recovery is possible despite liability and extent of the harm.

Subjective Factors – Sometimes a party fights a claim extra hard for reasons beyond the understanding of the opposing party. For example, some insurance carriers decide to litigate cases despite clear liability. This means the plaintiff is going to have to prove their case in the face of what is seen as obvious. This can happen for a variety of reasons.

Sometimes the insurance carrier has limited exposure and doesn’t mind exposing its insured to the risk of a jury awarded greater than the policy limit.

In California, this could open the insurance company up to paying an amount greater than their policy. In other circumstances, the lawyers for the insurance carrier have no incentive to settle early since they want to rack up larger legal bills before conclusion of the matter.

This overbilling by insurance carrier lawyers has the effect of driving up the cost of litigation since the injured plaintiff has to expend a great deal more money and time on his/ her case than  would have been the case had the insurance carrier acted in good faith from the onset.  The delay eventually adds more costs for expensive experts,  deposition transcripts, court costs, filing fees and other incidentals.

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Free Consultation with an Experienced Attorney

Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC offers free case consultations to victims involved in motor vehicle collisions and accidents of any kind.

Once you speak with one of our skilled personal injury attorneys, you will know that we mean business AND that we care to get you the RESULTS that you deserve!

Contact us today at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507 and find out what 24 years of personal injury experience can do for you!  Also check out our recent personal injury results on our website together with what over 20 people have to say about our law firm on Google +.

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“The Right Attorney Makes All The Difference, ” has been our motto driving force since we opened our doors serving the public since 1992. 

Bicycle Accidents & The Steps To Take After One

Cyclists face a unique risk compared to other vehicles on the road. They are almost invisible to drivers of motor vehicles.  Most drivers are not used to sharing the road with bicycles. In fact, some think they belong on the sidewalk and not in their way.

Without the protection of 3,000 pounds of metal, seatbelts and air bags, cyclists face very serious injuries when they collide with a car or truck.

Why are bicycle accidents different?

Bicyclists are completely unprotected. There is no cabin, seatbelt restraint systems, front airbags, side airbags, bumpers, or headrests to protect you. So if you are struck while riding a bike, chances are you will suffer severe injuries. Bicyclists face greater risks of injury and death than occupants of motor vehicles.

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What to do after a bicycle accident

After a bicycle accident these are the steps you need to take:

  1. Call the police. In the off chance you are reading this immediately after an accident, call the police and wait for them to arrive. Be sure to report any injuries. Even minor injuries may later turn into major ones.
  2. Gather driver and witness information.
  3. As soon as possible after the accident, write everything down. What happened, how it happened, the weather, the traffic conditions, the road conditions, everything you can remember.
  4. As soon as possible, go see a doctor if you’re not taken to the Emergency Room via ambulance. See your primary care physician/family doctor.
  5. Preserve as much evidence as possible.
  6. Don’t talk to the insurance adjusters if they call you. It serves you no purpose, only theirs.
  7. Document your injuries, and your daily struggles with them. Be as specific as possible. If your shoulder hurts when brushing your teeth, then write it down. These will be very important later in your case.

Bicycle accident insurance claims

Hopefully the driver of the vehicle that hit you, is insured. But even if they were insured, it does not mean you will have an easy time filing and settling an insurance claim. The insurance companies are in business to make money. The best way for them to make money is to take premiums from their insureds, and to not pay out any money for claims. So they will try to pay you as little as possible.

How long does a bicycle accident case take?

A typical bicycle accident case in California can take a few months to several years. The answer isn’t easy. Simple cases where there are injuries which are treated quickly can be settled in a short amount of time.

The most important requirement is that the medical treatment be completed before settlement. You might not be 100% healed or recovered, but once you have reached a stable condition then settlement talks can begin.

If there are significant injuries, such as fractures, herniated discs, or other injuries requiring surgery, then the case may take longer. If the insurance companies are being unreasonable, expect much further delays–possibly a year or up to three years. A lawsuit will be filed, but settlement talks can still continue after the lawsuit has been filed.

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Maximizing the value of your bicycle accident case

If you are injured through someone else’s own careless acts, bad behavior or negligence, they owe you monetary compensation for those injuries. If it’s their fault and they caused the crash, you are entitled to monetary compensation if they caused you harm.

This is because they were “negligent.” They are responsible for any injuries they caused by their lack of ordinary care and skill.

Why you should talk to an attorney right away

Consultations are free. The longer you wait to see an attorney, the more risk you face in that the insurance carrier does not think you are serious and the value of your case declines.  If you do not ask the right questions, the insurance carrier sees you as an easy target and they assign a lower reserve to your case thus reducing the value of your case in the long run.

Since 1992, here at Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC we will advise you of your rights, help preserve evidence, ensure you are receiving the required medical treatment for your injuries on time, and hold the insurance carrier accountable for its insured’s negligence by getting you the highest and best negotiated settlement.

However, when settlement or negotiation is not enough, we will take your case to a jury trial to maximize your recovery.  The Consultation is free and you don’t pay anything until we win!

Why wait?

We have two convenient North Bay locations; one in Santa Rosa and the other in San Rafael, CA.

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Call us today at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507 and find out how we will FIGHT For YOU!

The Aftermath of Car Accident Injuries in The North Bay of California

A driver education course can teach you how to drive defensively.

Your insurance company can tell you the things you need to do in the immediate aftermath of an accident with another vehicle.

But, if your best efforts to avoid an accident fail, after you have exchanged information with the other driver and contacted your insurer, what should you do next?

Sources of information and guidance can be harder to come by when you get to this point.

Unless you are already an experienced personal injury attorney, you will not likely know how to investigate an accident scene, or what questions to ask witnesses or what information to seek from them.

You may not be familiar with the possibility of how the other driver’s possible violation of traffic safety laws may have a bearing on proving negligence on his part, or if multiple other parties are involved in the crash how their respective degrees of liability may be established.

Dealing with insurers can also raise significant questions, and not just with regard to the other side’s insurance company. These questions can have a direct bearing on how to approach settlement negotiations and how to quantify the amount of money you seek as recompense for the damage to both your property and your person that are connected with the accident.

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Fortunately for you, Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC already have practical, hands-on experience with all of the issues above and many more that pertain to car accident cases.

We work closely with our clients to learn ALL the facts of what happened, the cause, and where necessary to call upon accident site re-constructionists or medical specialists to prepare the strongest possible negotiation package to get the highest settlement amount.  If settlement negotiations do not produce the results you need, we use the same thorough preparation to build a case for trial on the merits of your claim.

Personal injury cases arising from automobile accidents in the North Bay of California can be tedious and complex to negotiate with carriers whose first duty is to low ball you and give you the lowest possible offer.  But if our negotiations fail to produce the results you deserve then we will vigorously litigate your case so that you have the strongest possible legal advocacy working on your behalf.

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Contact us today at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507 for a free case evaluation and find out what over 40 years of combined personal injury experience can do for you and the reason we have so many positive reviews on Google. Click Here to see just a fraction of our many great reviews from past clients.

 

SLIP, TRIP OR FALL IN A GROCERY STORE IN CALIFORNIA- DO I HAVE A CASE?

You slipped on liquid on a grocery store floor, or you may have tripped on the curled edge of a store’s entrance mat. You were injured and want to know if you have a personal injury case.

The property owner is not automatically on the hook for your injuries just because you were injured on their property. The property owner is only legally responsible for your injuries if you can prove that they were negligent.

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PROVING NEGLIGENCE IN A CALIFORNIA SLIP & FALL OR TRIP & FALL CASE

California Jury Instruction CACI No. 1003, “Unsafe Condition,” sets forth the law in premises liability cases involving an unsafe condition on property, such as liquid on the floor, a curled edge of a mat, etc. CACI No. 1003 states that to prove negligence, you must prove that:

  1. The condition on which you slipped or tripped created an unreasonable risk of harm;
  2. The property owner knew or, through the exercise of reasonable care, should have known about its existence and;
  3. The property owner failed to repair the condition, protect against harm from the condition, or give adequate warning or notice of the condition.

APPLYING THE “UNSAFE CONDITION” JURY INSTRUCTION TO COMMON SLIP & FALL OR TRIP & FALL SCENARIOS

If You slipped on water in a grocery store aisle? You have no idea how the water got there, how long it had been there or allowed to accumulate.  You have no evidence that any store employee knew about the liquid on the floor, or any evidence to suggest that a store employee should have known about it. This is by far the most common slip and fall scenario we get calls about from potential clients. Verdict: no case, or worse a defense verdict!

It is possible and thus not a strong case for the plaintiff if a store customer walked down that aisle just moments before you did and spilled that water on the floor. It’s unreasonable to expect store employees to have spotted the spill before you happened upon the liquid and slipped.

Or let’s say you slip on water in the freezer section of the grocery store. Turns out the water was leaking from a broken refrigeration unit. The store knew the refrigeration unit was broken, had ordered replacement parts, but in the meantime had failed to put out any warning cones or signs. Verdict: The store would be at fault in this scenario because it knew about the dangerous condition and failed to give adequate warning/ notice.

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If you were injured in a slip and fall or trip and fall anywhere in the North Bay on someone else’s property, you should contact Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC to discuss whether you have a case.

Call us for a free consultation at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507.

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Insurance Policy Limits For An Auto Accident Claim- Do I Need An Attorney?

If you suffer serious injuries in an auto accident which was the fault of another driver, that driver’s insurance company may offer you the policy limit, even if you don’t have an attorney representing you.

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SHOULD YOU CONSULT AN ATTORNEY BEFORE SETTLING FOR THE OTHER DRIVER’S POLICY LIMIT?

Yes, you should consult with a personal injury attorney before settling for the other driver’s policy limit.

You should not take the adjuster’s word about the amount of the policy limit.

Before recommending that you accept the policy limit, an experienced personal injury attorney will do four things:

  1. Your attorney will demand a copy of the other driver’s insurance declarations page that was in effect on the date of the accident. It will state the amount of the other driver’s liability policy limit. The amount stated needs to match the amount being represented to you by the adjuster.
  2. Your attorney will also require the other driver sign a written statement under penalty of perjury which states that at the time of the accident, the driver was not driving the vehicle in the course and scope of employment and had no other insurance which may apply to the accident.
  3. Your attorney will discuss with you the option of hiring an investigator to conduct an asset check on the other driver. It is possible that an asset check will turn up property and assets well in excess of the policy limit, in which case your attorney may recommend against accepting the policy limit offer. Instead, your attorney may recommend that you only accept the insurance policy limit if the other driver kicks in some of his/her own money to increase the settlement. All of this depends upon your injuries and future medicals.
  4. Your attorney needs to make sure there are no other potentially at-fault parties to go after. This needs to be done before you sign the release because language in the release will typically state that you are releasing everyone, which would preclude you from later going after any other responsible party.

BOTTOM LINE

You should always consult with an attorney before signing ANY settlement release. Your attorney will protect your interests and make sure there’s no more money “on the table” to be had before you sign the release.

If you have suffered serious injuries in a car, truck, bicycle or any accident anywhere throughout the North Bay, call Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507.

We have been representing serious injury auto accident victims for 25 years and we know what it takes to WIN!

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Amusement Park Season In Full Swing In California

Most kids who see the signs and flyers for upcoming State and County fairs, carnivals, and amusement park specials get excited. Parents, on the other hand, begin to worry.

Most parents may not even know that the Ferris wheel, roller coaster, Tilt-a-Wheel, and Gravitron were thrown up in one day, on a wet, soft grassy area by unskilled labor or worse! Not only are these rides in carnivals and fairs quickly assembled, but often-times they are operated by non-professionals, kids, temporary workers, or seasonal workers that are not at all familiar with any of the safety issues or potential dangers these rides can cause.

Although amusement parks, usually have a more professional run operation sometimes the same problems of safety training and inexperienced workers make it possible for an otherwise “safe” ride to become dangerous.

Have you ever wondered who is liable if you get injured while riding a roller coaster or any other ride at an amusement park?

We’ve all seen the dramatic footage of unfortunate thrill seekers hanging suspended from a malfunctioning roller coaster, precariously dangling and hoping for a quick repair. Many times, the damage to the park visitor is simply more thrills than he or she bargained for, but sometimes physical injuries occur too. Anything from exhaustion, dehydration (baking in the sun for hours without water), mental anguish and fear to spinal cord injuries.

On average, about 5-7 amusement park accidents occur every year in California. That figure may be much lower because of glitches in reporting and the non-conformity of reporting. WE think the number is much higher.

Sometimes even being stuck for hours in an awkward position while waiting for the ride to be fixed is enough to cause soft tissue injuries such as neck and back strain and other physical injuries, some permanent.

Unfortunately there have even been cases where freak accidents have resulted in passenger deaths. So allow our experienced team of personal injury attorneys to evaluate your case on a free and confidential basis.

Some people may think that riding a “thrill ride” means that they assume some risk of injury and that perhaps the amusement park is absolved of liability, or fault. However, the courts in California have not found that to be the case.

In fact, they hold the amusement parks to a high standard of care with regard to roller coasters and other rides.

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California courts have held that a rider should not face any more risk on a roller coaster than they would when riding an elevator or regional or public bus. Roller coasters have been found to fall under the category of “common carrier”, which is when a party accepts money to transport a person. Such transportation falls under common carrier liability and the degree of care is much higher than that held to an average person.

This means that riding a roller coaster and other rides in an amusement park is pretty safe and non-threatening as long as the rider is healthy. Cal-OSHA inspects amusement park rides in California once per year. However, as a quick search of YouTube will show you, accidents still can happen.

If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident in an amusement park in Northern California, call us today at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507 for a free and confidential case evaluation.

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We are here for you, always just a phone call away.

For more information regarding Amusement Park Accidents, please visit our dedicated webpage here