Monthly Archives:' March 2018

Can Undocumented Immigrants File Accident Claims?

Traversing the legal landscape can be difficult for the average person. It is even more so for those who live as undocumented immigrants. These immigrants typically shy away from vindicating their legal rights out of fear or apprehensiveness. However, this does not have to be the case. People in undocumented status mostly have the same opportunities as any citizen when it comes to taking legal action. For example, undocumented immigrants who are injured in a car accident have the right to sue the other party just like anyone else. Undocumented people in California should not think twice about asserting their legal rights to seek compensation for accident related injuries.
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Erasing Fear: AB 2159 and Section 351.2

Previously, immigrants had a justified fear when participating in a lawsuit. Under former case law a person’s immigration status was an admissible piece of evidence in a personal injury case. A 1986 case decided by the California Court of Appeals, Rodriguez v. Kline, held that an undocumented plaintiff did not have the right to recover future lost wages based on their wages in the U.S. Rather, these plaintiffs could only be compensated at the applicable pay rate in their country of origin. The effect of this case was to reduce or eliminate a recovery for the plaintiff. It also brought up the plaintiff’s immigration status in a public forum which put them at risk for removal proceedings.

Fortunately, Rodriguez v. Kline was nullified by a restructuring of the California Evidence Code. In 2016, the governor signed AB 2159 into law. This law, which went into effect at the beginning of 2017, excludes evidence of a person’s immigration status in a civil case. Due to this, immigrants without documentation no longer have to worry about exposing their immigration status when filing a lawsuit. Your accident attorney will ensure that your status is not divulged in accordance with the law.

Immigration Status Is Not Relevant In An Injury Claim

Over the years many unscrupulous defendants have tried to use a person’s undocumented status to shield liability. In the 2003 case, Hernandez v. Paicius, the court found that the plaintiff’s undocumented status was not relevant to the outcome of the personal injury claim. For years, the Hernandez case stood for the proposition that immigration status is generally inadmissible in a civil case. Several other California court decisions support this concept and grant undocumented people the same rights as other litigants.

Filing A Lawsuit Does Not Equal Deportation

Many undocumented immigrants believe that filing a lawsuit will alert immigration officials. This is not true. The current state of law in California means that a person’s immigration status will not be discussed in court. Furthermore, it is illegal for the other party (or their accident attorney) to dissuade an immigrant from filing suit by threatening to inform DHS officials. The fear of deportation is unfounded.

Car Accident Injuries Deserve Compensation

Undocumented immigrants live, work and participate in society just like everyone else. Therefore, they deserve the same amount of redress for injuries suffered in car accidents. Most auto accidents cause serious injuries that can affect your life for years to come. Thus, as an undocumented immigrant, it is important to seek a sufficient amount of compensation to help you resume your life as normally as possible. An accident lawyer can help you with the process to make sure all of your rights are protected.

If you have further questions about filing a car accident lawsuit talk to an accident lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced accident attorney will evaluate your claim and help you determine if you have a potential recovery. Personal injury lawsuits in California must be filed within three years of the incident. Don’t let time slip away. It is important to begin working on your case right away to have the best chance at a successful outcome.

What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Accident?

For a motorcycle rider, few things are as freeing as hitting the open road. Motorcycles provide a unique experience that allows you to connect to the sights, sounds and scents of the world around you. However, this exposure to the outside world is also what makes motorcycles more dangerous. Even if you’re aware of the dangers, you likely assume that an accident won’t happen to you. Maybe you think you’re too good a driver, or perhaps you simply aren’t the type to plan for the worst. Either way, it’s a good idea to be aware of what you should do in case an accident occurs.
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On the Scene: The Immediate Steps Following an Accident

Get Out of the Road

The first and most crucial step after an accident is making sure you’re safe. If you can move, do what you can to get out of the road. If possible, move your motorcycle out of the way as well. If you can’t move, do what you can to alert people in the area so someone can help divert oncoming traffic until help arrives.

Call for Help

Even if you don’t feel any pain or discomfort, it’s smart idea to call an ambulance. You might be suffering from internal injuries, and you don’t want to pass out later when you’re home alone, and there’s no one around to help you. Getting checked out right away will also ensure you have the proper documentation for a motorcycle accident attorney if you choose to pursue a case. It’s also important to speak with the police, especially if you think more than $500 worth of damage has been done. A police report can help your motorcycle accident lawyer win your case, so be sure not to skip this step.

Get Information

If you’re physically capable, your next step should be to speak to the other drivers who were involved in the crash. Get names, phone numbers, license numbers, plate numbers, insurance information and vehicle descriptions. If witnesses are hanging around, ask for their contact information as well. It’s difficult to track down an unknown person after the fact, so don’t be shy about asking while you have the chance. Most people will have no problem being a witness and will gladly speak to your motorcycle accident attorney if necessary.

Don’t Admit Anything

If you fear the accident might have been your fault, stay quiet. It’s good to own up to our mistakes, but after an accident, you might be dazed, confused and unclear about what actually happened. You could possibly admit to something that wasn’t your fault at all, and if that goes on record, your case might go out the window. If you are at fault, you and your motorcycle accident lawyer can discuss your options at a later time.

The Aftermath: When to Contact a Motorcycle Lawyer in Los Angeles

Call the Insurance Company

As soon as you finish getting checked out at the hospital, you should call your insurance company to report the accident. Have all of the information you gathered ready, including the police report and the names of the officers you spoke with at the scene.

Call a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Los Angeles

At this point, the insurance company will usually try to figure out who is at fault for the accident. It’s a good idea to contact a lawyer at this time. Insurance companies will sometimes assume that the motorcycle driver is at fault and raise the insurance rates. If you’ve suffered injuries as a result of the accident, you may be entitled to damages, and you don’t want to miss out on that much-needed money. A lawyer can assess your situation and let you know if you have a case, but if you wait too long, this will become more difficult.

Don’t Sign or Accept Anything

It’s possible that you might be approached with an offer in the weeks following your accident. Maybe the other driver wants to avoid a legal hassle by paying you directly. While accepting this cash might be tempting, be aware that in doing so, you’ll be ruining your chances of taking this case to court in the future. In certain circumstances, that can be devastating. For example, what if what you thought was a minor injury turns out to have major health consequences six months from now? Don’t accept or sign anything without speaking to your lawyer beforehand.

If you’re ready to get the help you need after a crash, contact Lalezary Law Firm today. Within our team, you’ll find the best motorcycle accident lawyer in Los Angeles for your case. We’re ready to assist you in any way we can, so please give us a call now.

What to Do in a Car Accident

Being involved in an auto accident is a very alarming and confusing situation, so it’s not surprising that many people feel flustered in the midst of that kind of situation. By learning the best actions to take immediately after the accident and in the weeks following the incident, you can be better prepared for such a trial. While you’ll still feel nervously excited in the situation, being armed with this knowledge can help you make the best decisions for your circumstances.
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Assess the Scene

Assuming you aren’t seriously injured, you should assess the scene of the accident as much as possible. This means getting contact information from the other drivers involved in the wreck, as well as getting the names and phone numbers of witnesses to the accident. This will help your car accident lawyer, if the incident results in legal action.

Additionally, try to document the scene. Start by making notes about what you recall about the accident, while the events are still fresh in your mind. If you have a cell phone that’s equipped with a camera, you should also take pictures of the accident scene, as these may be helpful on obtaining a fair car accident settlement. Take various photos of any property damage, as well as of the scene in general.

Seek Medical Attention

Even if you don’t feel injured, you should still seek medical attention for a couple of reasons. First, there may be internal injuries that may not be present, but have not yet caused you to experience any symptoms. For instance, neck or back injuries may take time to develop, or can worsen over time. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are also common in auto accidents, but they can take days or weeks to develop. A medical exam may catch these injuries early, making treatment less invasive and more successful.

Another reason it’s wise to seek medical attention after a wreck is because failing to do so can adversely affect a car accident settlement. Seeking medical treatment shows the insurance company and the civil court that you took action to limit the scope of your injuries. Without treatment, your injuries could worsen, which would make you partially liable for the damages. This means the sum the court awards in your case will be adjusted (decreased) accordingly. In some instances, you may not receive any settlement at all.

Consult a Car Accident Attorney

Even while you’re receiving medical treatment, you may be contacted by an insurance adjuster, who is working for the other driver’s insurance company. Their goal is to settle the case as quickly as possible and for as little money as possible. For this reason, they will attempt to get you to sign off on a settlement offer, before the full extent of your injuries is known. While this is a quick way to get paid, it will likely be less than you deserve to cover all damages caused by the accident.

This is why you should wait to consult a car accident attorney, before considering any settlement. In addition to the medical bills you’re currently incurring, there are many damages for which you may be entitled to compensation. Your car accident lawyer may also try to get you money to cover the costs of damages to your car or other property and the time you have missed from work, due to receiving treatment for your injuries.

Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may require ongoing treatment or long-term physical therapy. If the accident caused a permanent disability, you may even be eligible to receive damages to cover the income that you’re no longer capable of earning. In any case, your attorney will likely also seek money to compensate you for pain and suffering.

After an accident, money will likely be a concern, but that’s no reason to try to handle the complexities of a personal injury case by yourself. An initial consultation with an experienced attorney is free and will give you a good assessment of your case. The attorney can’t guarantee a settlement, but he can tell you what your best options are, based on his experience and the facts of your case. If you choose to hire the attorney, he will work on a contingency, which means you won’t have to pay his fees up front. Instead, the attorney will deduct his fee as a percentage of the settlement. This makes it easier for the client, who is likely already struggling with finances, due to the burdens caused by the accident.

By following these steps after an auto accident, you can better protect yourself. Ensuring your wellbeing in these circumstances means taking care of your financial situation, as well as looking after your health. By enlisting the help of both a professional caregiver and legal advocate, you can trust that interests are being protected.

How Long Do Personal Injury Claims Take to Settle?

One of the most frustrating and difficult aspects of any personal injury claim process is waiting to receive the compensation you need to move on with your life. After your accident, you are left with medical expenses, an inability to return to work, and a painful recovery process. While you certainly want to settle your claim as quickly as possible, your personal injury attorney will encourage you to avoid accepting the first settlement offer you receive from the insurance company. This first offer is likely to be lower than your actual damages.
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A personal injury claim can be resolved quickly, even within a few days or weeks. Still, a fast timeline in most cases means accepting a low offer that fails to fully compensate you for immediate damages, let alone long-term expenses you must face. While the personal injury claim process can take months, a personal injury lawyer will work on your behalf to guide you through the process and seek maximum compensation.

To help you better understand how long it will take your claim to settle, consider the following factors that influence your timeline.

Which Factors Influence My Personal Injury Claim?

While some injury claims are settled in a matter of weeks, others can drag on for years. There are many factors that influence how long it takes your claim to settle, but three factors have the biggest influence:

  • You have a claim involving a large amount of money,
  • You have factual or legal issues with your claim, or
  • You have not recovered or reached maximum medical improvement (MMI).

Legal and factual issues can easily slow down how long it takes for your case to settle and influence how much your case is worth. A personal injury case will settle faster when liability and injuries are clear compared to a case in which liability is uncertain or injuries are not clear-cut. This is a common problem with soft tissue injuries and car accidents in which it isn’t clear which driver caused the accident — or when liability is shared. This is why it’s important to work with an experienced injury law firm to help you investigate your accident and document your injuries and liability.

The second-biggest factor affecting your case is how much the case is worth. Unfortunately, cases worth a large amount of money take the longest time to settle. The insurance company will not approve a large payout until they are certain they have investigated every facet of the claim in an attempt to limit or deny a settlement. The more money your case involves, the more in-depth the investigation. Remember that insurance companies do not like to approve settlements until they are sure they have no defense.

You will also need to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) before your case will settle. If you are still being treated by your doctor, the insurance company cannot be sure if you will remain disabled by your injuries or you will recover, in which case your claim will be worth less. Of course, this can be complicated by the fact that serious injuries take a long time to treat and recover from and you may be unable to work for months while waiting for your settlement.

These are the three most important factors influencing your case, but there may be other issues that affect your timeline. It’s even possible for the size of the insurance company to affect how long it takes to reach a settlement. Your personal injury attorney can help you better understand how long you should expect to wait before making progress on your case.

How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

The more complicated your case, the more important it is to seek experienced legal counsel from an injury law firm. Your injury attorney will act in your best interest to gather evidence that supports your claim and negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company. An attorney can better anticipate roadblocks that may delay your case and build the evidence you need for a speedy settlement.