How Do We Sensitively Approach the Driver Safety Issues of Our Older Friends and Relatives?

With an aging population, it is becoming more commonplace for drivers to reach their late 70’s and 80’s and still continue to drive. This is not a problem if the person’s driving is skillful and they are alert enough to avoid violating any of the multitude of vehicle code rules and regulations and stay free of any accidents.

These are some of the things to look for when you assess your loved one’s driving skills.

1. Braking and accelerating smoothly.
2. Abrupt lane changes with or without signals.
3. Reactions to changes in their driving environment.
4. Drifting into other lanes.
5. Does the driver tire easily is a big question.
6. Difficulty reading traffic signals or signage.
7. Uses and/or cancels their turn signals without any reason.
8. Driving too slowly or too fast.
9. Not checking before lane changes and pulling out from the curb and running into the curb or over the curb.
10. Difficulty turning to look over his/her shoulder due to injury or just old age.
11. Not paying attention to traffic signs, traffic signals, pedestrians or bicycles.
12. Not paying attention to reactions of other drivers.

fl-older-drivers-b, west of Boynton Beach, 1/26/2011 -- Portrait of Morry Wasserman, who at 93-years-old, still drives every day and says he has never had an accident, drives away from his home west of Boynton Beach.  Sun Sentinel, Mark Randall

You should evaluate all of your observations and concerns and make a list of them so that this checklist that is provided above can be discussed with other family members. It is best to try to get all of your family members to support your effort to either reduce or prevent the elder driver from continuing to endanger him or herself and members of the public. If medications are a factor, then it is a good idea to check with the pharmacist or a geriatric specialist to see if any of these medications may have an adverse effect on your loved one’s driving ability.

We recommend that you start early with this process. Preferably, have conversations about safe driving long before the driving becomes a problem. The establishment of open dialogue allows time for the elder adult driver to consider his/her driving skills and make the appropriate modifications on their own without the added pressure of being told “what to do.” Nobody likes to be told what to do especially respected elders who may have held very responsible positions in industry law or medicine.

It is a good idea to choose which family spokesperson should do the talking since some members of the family may garner more respect. Hearing sensitive and personal information from the “right person” can make a very big difference to the elderly adult driver. To increase the chance of success with the limitation of driving or the cessation of driving, please carefully select the person who is going to initiate the discussion. It is important that the person chosen is someone who the elder adult driver really trusts and respects.

How to start the conversation? One way would be to begin with letting the elder driver know that you have genuine concerns about his/her safety and that you love them so much that you want them to be safe at all times and you want others to be safe too. Always offer help and support. Always suggest that you will answer any questions they may have an be there for their ultimate decision.

Here are some helpful tips that you can give to help the elder driver:

1. Suggest traffic routes that are less demanding and torturous. We all know there are bad roads and horrible interchanges that make driving a nightmare so start off with a joke or some sort of light conversation without getting heavy and serious.

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Here are some other suggestions since I have had to do through this with a loved one too:

1. Suggest limiting driving or not driving at all during the nighttime.
2. Suggest driving during the day when the traffic is light, especially at certain intervals after and before rush hour.
3. Suggest avoiding certain difficult intersections and segments of the highway that are prone to accidents. This will appear to be a loving gesture.
4. Suggest driving for shorter distances or limiting driving to just the essential places.

These are just a few of the tips that can really make a bit difference in the quality of life for the elder driver that you love and cherish and which will ultimately yield results.

Our law firm has represented many senior and elder drivers at all types of DMV Hearings, so please feel free to give us a call at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507 today!

North Bay Bicycle Safety Month

May is Bicycle Safety Month

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is getting ready to focus on bicycle safety. Since May is Bicycle Safety Month, they’re encouraging riders and drivers to be “Roll Models.” Anybody can be a “Roll Model,” and all it means is that you’re focused on being a safe rider or driver and you’re setting an example for others.

Officials with the NHTSA are hoping that the “Roll Model” program will help to decrease the risks of traffic crashes and preventable injuries and deaths associated with bicycles each year, and although May is Bicycle Safety Month, cyclists and drivers are encouraged to practice bicycle safety every day of the year.

Bicycle Injury and Death Facts

• In 2012, 726 people were killed in bicycle accidents involving motor vehicles.
• An estimated 49,000 people were injured in bicycle accidents in 2012.
• Between 2001 and 2011, there was an 8.9 percent increase in bicyclist injuries across the nation.
• The total cost of bicyclist injury and death is over $4 billion each year.

Bicycle Safety in The North Bay 

Bicycle safety in Sonoma County and along the North Bay needs to be a top priority for motorists. Bicycle riders don’t have the same level of safety as passenger vehicle occupants. If you get into a minor fender bender with a car, everybody might be okay, but even striking a cyclist at relatively low speeds could send him or her to the hospital, or worse. Be a “Roll Model,” and show others how to respectfully look out for cyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable roadway user groups.

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Be a “Roll Model”

• Ride and drive focused- never distracted.
• Ride and drive prepared- expect the unexpected.
• Safety first- always buckle up in the car and wear your helmet when riding a bicycle.
• Rules of the road- a bicycle is considered a vehicle, with all of the rights and responsibilities of other vehicles.
• Sharing the road- drivers and cyclists need to look out for one another and show mutual respect.

After a Bicycle Accident In The North Bay 

Bicycle accidents can leave victims in the hospital and out of work. You could be facing extensive medical bills and who knows how long without employment.

Contact Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC today at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507 if you or a loved one has been involved in an accident relating to a bicycle anywhere in the North Bay of California.

Highway 121 Fatal Accident

Automobile accidents are a fact of life in Northern California, where getting around without a motor vehicle is extremely difficult.

Unfortunately, too many car accidents are the fault of drivers who operate carelessly or negligently.

When people are injured or killed in such crashes, the victims or surviving family members are often left with enormous medical bills and other costs that cause economic and emotional hardship. Drivers who are responsible for such losses can be held liable for compensation.

Just earlier this morning on Highway 121, At least two people have died, and a third suffered major injuries in a crash Wednesday morning on rural Highway 121, according to initial reports from the CHP and emergency dispatchers.

The wreckage was blocking the highway in both directions just west of Napa Road and the CHP issued an alert that it could be closed for at least two hours.

The rural route is a main connector to the Napa and Sonoma areas.

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Two ambulances and several fire engines rushed to the 9 a.m. collision. Two people were found to be deceased and a third, who reportedly suffered major injuries, was taken by ambulance to the Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa, according to dispatcher.

Firefighters had to extricate at least one person from the wreckage, according to initial reports.

People who have lost loved ones in car accidents can only file a legal claim such as a wrongful death lawsuit if the accident was caused by another person’s negligence.

If evidence supports such a claim, the family can proceed with a suit, although it is advisable to seek legal advice before filing.

If you have lost a family member as a results of someone else’s negligence, Please contact Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC today at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507 for your free case evaluation.

We will FIGHT for YOU!

North Bay Car Accident Claim

When you’ve been hurt in an accident, you need an accident attorney with experience—someone who has helped victims like you for more than 40 years.

At Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC we understand what you’re going through. You have questions about the worth of your insurance claim and how long it will take to get a fair settlement. A car accident lawyer from our law firm will give you straight, simple answers about medical payments coverage, property damage, and lost wages, as well as assist you in completing necessary paperwork.

Whether you need help getting money for medical bills and car repairs, or you need someone to step in and deal with the insurance company, we’re here to help get you back on your feet.

Upset driver After Traffic Accident

DO YOU HAVE A CLAIM?

After a car accident, you may be confused about whether or not you have a claim for compensation. To be eligible to collect damages, your accident must meet two criteria:

  • The accident was at least partially caused by another party’s negligence.
  • The accident caused you or a family member to suffer serious physical injuries.

Mr. Fiumara and his team can answer any questions you may have about what constitutes negligence and what it means for an injury to be “severe.” If we determine that your accident meets both of these criteria, we will immediately begin building your claim.

WHAT TO DO WHEN THE INSURANCE COMPANY CALLS YOU

Once they are notified of your accident, representatives from either your insurance or the at-fault party’s insurance company may contact you. It’s best if you avoid speaking with them. Innocent comments can be manipulated to make it look like the accident was your fault or used to claim that your injuries aren’t severe. They may also try to pressure you into quickly signing a settlement worth far less than you actually need.

Our legal team will take into account your current and future medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses, so you get the compensation you need to cover the true costs of your accident. We’re used to dealing with insurance company tactics, so when the insurance company calls, hang up and contact us instead. We’ll help you figure out whether or not a settlement offer is fair, and we’ll talk to the insurance company for you.

CAR CRASH FACTS AND STATISTICS

No matter what caused your auto accident, your injuries are your biggest concern. As injury attorneys, some of the most common injuries our clients suffer in highway accidents include:

  • Broken bones
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Head, neck, and spinal injuries
  • Internal bleeding and organ damage
  • Paralysis and nerve damage

CONTACT US FOR A FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION

If you’re the victim of an auto accident, don’t try to take on the insurance company alone. You have rights that protect your best interests, and you may be entitled to more money than the insurance company wants to admit. But you may not know unless you contact us.

Don’t let an insurance company decide what your claim is worth. Call us today for a free consultation at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507.

How To Protect Yourself From A Hit and Run Accident In Sonoma County

The level of hit and run accidents in Sonoma County has risen over the past few years and continues to go up every year.

As a personal injury lawyer that practices in Sonoma County, our firm would like to provide some legal advice on how to protect yourself from the damage that is caused by these horrific incidents.

The main legal and risk management protection that anyone can prepare for is to make sure that you have uninsured motorist coverage in their auto insurance policy and know what is legally required to incept coverage in a hit and run scenario.  The provisions of CA law that protect victims of hit and run incidents from bearing the financial burden of medical expenses, property damage and other financial losses as well as pain and suffering really lie in the insurance code provisions on incidents caused by drivers who have not shown “financial responsibility” by having auto insurance coverage.

A car on the verge of a country road, following a skidding accident. Please note shallow depth of field, with focus on the foreground.

  1. Uninsured Motorist Coverage is Automatic Unless Waived in Writing: Every policy of insurance written in the State of California has uninsured motorist coverage at the same level of coverage as personal injury protection unless expressly waived by the insured.
  2. Uninsured Motorist Coverage Covers Hit and Run Accidents: Uninsured motorist coverage will cover any hit and run accident including being struck as a motorist, bicyclist or pedestrian so long as certain conditions are met as follows:
  • Physical contact between the vehicle that hit and ran
  • Prompt report of the incident to the police and the request of a report
  • Prompt report of the incident to your automobile insurance company

What this means is that every motor vehicle operator in the State of California including Sonoma County residents can protect themselves by doing the following:

  1. Never waive uninsured motorist coverage in their auto policy
  2. Always try to maintain as high a limit as you can afford for bodily injury and property damage
  3. Always report hit and run incidents to the police and request that a police report be made
  4. PROMPTLY report this to your auto insurance company
  5. Even though uninsured motorist claims are being filed against your own insurance company, retain an attorney to be your advocate to ensure that you obtain full and complete and maximum compensation 

If you are unfortunate to be involved with a careless driver who strikes you or your vehicle and then takes off without providing any information, don’t become a victim.

Don’t be stuck with present and future medical expenses, or fail to be compensated for the physical pain and emotional toll this type of event can take on your life.  Get professional legal help and don’t delay!

Contact Our Law Firm Today At 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507.

North Bay Pedestrian Accidents On The Rise

According to the most recent data from the California Department of Transportation, 838 people died in pedestrian accidents over the course of a year. Of this group, close to 150 were teenagers and school-aged children. Over 200 were elderly. Their lives, changed forever due to a terrible decision made by a driver of a motor vehicle.

The Right to Walk

You should not have to be afraid when you are walking down the street, but the poor decisions of some drivers can make the experience extremely dangerous. California law specifically provides certain protections for pedestrians when they are walking on a public roadway, including the right of way on sidewalks and crosswalks. If someone is speeding, driving recklessly, not paying attention to the road or operating the vehicles under the influence of drugs or alcohol, their poor choices can change other people’s lives forever.
Someone walking on the street should be free to go about their journey without fear of injury or bodily harm, day or night, rain or shine. But because of reckless and negligent drivers, this is not always the case.

通勤途中

Someone taking a simple walk could fall victim to:

Broken bones
Blood loss
Disfigurement
Burns
Organ Damage
Death
Crosswalk Laws

Under California law, motorists are required to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in marked and unmarked crosswalks.

California Vehicle Code section 21950 states: “The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.”

The same section also states that the driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian within any marked or unmarked crosswalk “shall exercise all due care and shall reduce the speed of a vehicle or take any other action relating to the operating of the vehicle as necessary to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian.”

Liability Issues

In cases where negligence or wrongdoing is involved, families of deceased pedestrian accident victims can file what is known as a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for damages such as medical and funeral costs, lost future income, pain and suffering and loss of love and companionship.

An experienced personal injury attorney will also be able to determine whether a dangerous roadway or intersection caused the accident. If that was the case, the governmental agency responsible for maintaining the roadway can also be held liable.

pedestrian accident law

We Will Fight For You

If you or a loved one were the victim of a pedestrian accident, you don’t have to simply accept what happened. You can fight to amend the damage that someone did to your life. Our legal team can help you get compensation for your accident to help pay for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

The first step towards finding justice is contacting our Santa Rosa office at 707-571-8600 OR our Marin County office at 415-492-4507 to review and investigate your case.

For more information on how Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC can help you with your serious injury case please click here.

Also Click Here to view my letter to the editor of The Press Democrat on sidewalk and pedestrian safety in Santa Rosa.

Personal Injury Questions

Here, At Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC we get numerous questions from many people regarding personal injury laws in California.

We have compiled a list of the most frequently asked personal injury questions for your reference.

workers compenaaation 2

What Should I Do If I am Involved in An Auto or Other Accident in Santa Rosa or anywhere in the North Bay?

Get As Much Information at the accident scene as possible including:

(1) The name, address, phone number, license tag number and VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) of the other driver/vehicle or person who caused your injury (this is usually inscribed on the dashboard or door panel of the car). Find out if they are the registered owner of the vehicle and, if not, get the registered owner’s name, address and phone #;

(2) Their FULL insurance information including the name of their insurance company, their policy number, a contact phone number (all drivers in California Are Required to Carry a Card evidencing “Financial Responsibility” (i.e. that their vehicle is insured). This information should be on their card.

(3) The names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses at the scene who saw what happened. Make a brief note of what they saw.

(4) If you are able to do so: Take pictures with your cell phone or other camera of the position of the vehicles, the property damage to all vehicles involved and any injuries you sustained (such as cuts, bruises, etc.).

Do I really need an attorney for my injury claim?

When you have an accident and another party is at fault, they will have an experienced claims adjuster or defense attorney representing them.

INSURANCE COMPANIES ARE IN BUSINESS TO TRY TO PAY AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE ON YOUR CLAIM.

Therefore, it is always best to have someone in YOUR corner, fighting for you.

We are experienced, know the law, and will get you everything to which you are entitled. WE WILL GIVE YOU A FREE CONSULTATION so CALL NOW 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507.

What do I do if the other driver has no insurance?

Many times you may be able to proceed against the other driver if he has personal assets to recover. You may also proceed through a process to collect on your own policy if you have either uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage. WE CAN HELP DETERMINE IF THESE ARE OPTIONS.

How will I get around while my car is being repaired or replaced?

You are entitled to a reasonable rental vehicle. WE WILL HELP YOU GET A RENTAL car so that you can get to work.

How much money will I receive from my accident settlement?

Every case is different but, in general, you are entitled to the following:

(a) All of Your Medical Bills Paid (present and future) and your lost wages;
(b) All of Your Property Damages Paid;
(c) Compensation for pain and suffering;
(d) Potentially other compensation

What are the fees for hiring a quality personal injury lawyer?

Believe it or not, in most cases, we charge NOTHING until we recover a settlement for you. When a settlement is reached or upon winning at trial, we will charge only a percentage of the recovery as our fee plus any costs that we have advanced.

How much time do I have to submit my claim?

There are very strict time deadlines on submitting a claim. This is why you should consult an attorney AS SOON AS POSSIBLE after your accident. Delay of even a few weeks in seeking treatment or setting up your claim can significantly reduce the value of your case. Further, failure to file a lawsuit by the statutory deadline can result in losing ANY right to recovery so, CALL NOW !

Every lawyer says they are “good”, how do I know I  have the “best” personal injury lawyer?

There are several things you should consider when hiring an accident attorney.  These include the following:

  • Experience: Our team of lawyers has over 40 years of combined experience litigating accident claims.  We have and do take cases to trial, if necessary in order to obtain the maximum value on the case.
  • Reputation: We have consistently received the highest awards and accolades from our peers and prior clients.  This includes a Superb Avvo rating (the highest rating possible), being named a Top 100 Trial Lawyer, by the National Trial Lawyer Association. A good percentage of our business comes from referrals from other attorneys, past clients and people in the North Bay community who know we have done and will continue to do good work.
  • Attitude: We treat each and every case as if it is our only file. We keep you updated as the case goes along.  This is what we demand and this is what sets us apart from many other “mill” type law firms who simply “churn and burn” files for minimal value, hoping to make it up by “volume”.  We fight hard for each and every one of our clients!
  • Results: Although every case must be evaluated on its own merits, we feel our past results speak for themselves.  We have recovered millions of dollars for our clients over a long period of time.

 

Construction Accidents In The North Bay

By now, some of you may have heard about the Novato man who was crushed to death by a rolling pipe while working on a construction site a couple days ago in Petaluma.

Each year, thousands of construction workers are injured or killed in construction related accidents. Whether it’s a falling girder, a defective piece of equipment, or a bulldozer without a warning signal, construction workers are constantly exposed to dangerous work environments.

As a result they can suffer serious injuries resulting in a loss of employment, permanent disabilities, and a lifetime of medical bills and in some cases even death.

Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC have years of experience in representing injured construction workers, and know what it takes to bring these cases to a successful conclusion.

Because construction injury cases are complex, you will need an experienced construction accident attorney to successfully handle them. Construction cases typically require the injured worker to bring claims against contractors, subcontractors, developers, owners, material suppliers, architects, engineers and insurance companies, as all of these parties typically attempt to avoid liability for their wrongful conduct and pass it on to others.

Additionally, construction cases frequently require expert witnesses-both medical and construction industry experts-to demonstrate both the cause of the accident and the nature and extent of the employee’s injuries. Accordingly, without an experienced and aggressive construction accident attorney, an injured worker may suffer for years without any compensation while the construction lawsuit carries on.

construction 56

Construction companies and contractors must by law carry workers’ compensation insurance, no matter what the size of the company. Workers’ compensation covers medical care and lost wages, but the payments are limited and do not assign fault. We seek damages above and beyond Workers’ Comp, as the law allows, ensuring that the victim’s current and future needs are fully met. The employer owes a safe work environment for its workers, and is obligated to take reasonable measures to ensure safety.

We seek compensation for victims of construction site accidents relating to negligent or reckless actions and orders, unqualified equipment operators, OSHA violations and other employer liability.

Our California construction site accident lawyers will need to interview witnesses, procure files and plans, study the site of the accident, etc. Some of our clients include steel workers, carpenters, electricians, roofers, sheet metal workers, structural workers, and all tradesmen.

Injuries due to construction accidents are frequently severe, resulting in crushed or amputated limbs, paralysis and spinal cord injuries, burns, vision loss or hearing damage, back and neck injuries, loss of mobility and other permanent disability.

Through jury trial or insurance settlement, Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC will seek maximum compensation for medical expenses and future care, loss of wages and lost earning potential, and other damages such as loss of enjoyment. When these accidents turn fatal, we also represent surviving families in filing wrongful death lawsuits.

If you or a loved one have been seriously hurt in a worksite accident, contact our firm today at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507.

We FIGHT for YOU!

Dog Bites & Animal Attacks In The North Bay

Dog attacks are more common than you realize. The American Humane Association (AMH), estimates that there are 4.7 million dog bites in the U.S. each year; nearly 800,000 of them require medical care.  Most involve children, senior citizens and mail carriers.

About half of all dog bites involve children under age 12 and most – more than 80 percent – of all dog bites treated in hospital emergency rooms involve children under age 15.

The AMH advises parents to educate their children on ways to behave around animals and to properly supervise both your children and your pets. The group has developed a program called Kids Interacting with Dogs Safely.

In the event of an animal attack, the law makes it clear that the owner of the pet is liable. Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC has years of experience in representing children and their families who have been hurt or mauled by animals. We can assist you in obtaining the justice that you deserve.

boxer dog

Types of injuries commonly found in dog bites include:

Bites: Tearing and puncture wounds are caused when the dog clamps down the jaw muscles long canine teeth.

Head or Brain Injuries: Head injuries such as fractured skull and brain injuries can occur as a result of an animal attack and may cause permanent disability.

Broken Bones and Crush Injuries: The jaws of many animals are powerful and may cause bone-crushing wounds during an attack.

Scarring: The face is the most frequent target of attack dogs, including the cheeks, nose, lips and cheeks, causing an estimated 44,000 facial injuries seen in U.S. hospitals each year. These injuries can result in disfiguring scars and can have lingering consequences for victims both physically and emotionally.

Emotional or Psychological Injuries: Victims of animal attacks can be left with life-long emotional scars. Some may develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a disorder characterized by debilitating flash backs, night mares and paranoia which could affect their ability to succeed at school or work and require psychological treatment.

Rabies: The deadly disease is transmitted in the saliva of rabid animals and can be fatal if not treated right away. Animal bite victims should immediately seek medical attention in case the animal had rabies.

Death: Dog attacks result in an average of 18 deaths per year in the U.S. In the event of a death by dog attack, the surviving family members are entitled to file a wrongful death action on behalf of the victim.

Speak With a Knowledgeable California Dog Attack Attorney in The North Bay

If you are bitten or attacked promptly tend to your wounds, even if they seem minor to you, to help prevent a possible infection. Call your doctor immediately. You may need to get a tetanus or rabies shot.

Also remember if you or a loved one has been injured by an animal attack, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights.

At Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC our personal injury attorneys will conduct a prompt and thorough investigation, collect the important evidence, and deal directly and firmly with the responsible parties.  We can take on the insurance companies on your behalf so you can focus on your recovery.

Bicycle Helmet Laws In The North Bay

The state of California has a law requiring all bicyclists below the age of 18 to wear a bicycle helmet while riding. However, there is no mandatory state law that requires all adult bicyclists to wear a helmet while riding.

However, some cities may have their own ordinances in place that require all bicyclists to wear helmets while riding. It is important for you to know whether your city has an ordinance requiring helmet use while riding a bicycle. It could possibly impact your chances for a claim for compensation if you are involved in a bicycle accident.

If you have suffered head injuries in an accident, because you were not wearing a bicycle helmet at the time, it could significantly impact the success of your claim. You can expect the other party to claim that your injuries would not have occurred if you had been wearing a helmet.

bicycle accident

Additionally, because helmet use is so widely promoted as a way of reducing the risk of head injuries, a court or jury may also be unimpressed with your failure to wear a helmet, and could blame your failure to wear a helmet for your injuries.

A bicycle helmet cannot protect against every type of head injury. If you can prove that wearing a helmet would not have prevented your injury in any way, then you may still be eligible for compensation.

Contact Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC today at 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507 if you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident anywhere in the North Bay.

We Will fight for YOU!