Holiday traffic

Fall Weather Driving Hazards

Parts of California may enjoy some of the most predictably sunny weather in the country, but even minor changes can result in major safety hazards. An increased awareness of road conditions that can result in dangerous conditions may help you avoid an accident.

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Wet Roads

We all know that California cities often crawl to a stop during heavy rains, but most of the precipitation on the roads is not heavy rain, or rain at all. With daylight savings time approaching, the days feel shorter and many drivers will be making their morning commute in the dark. Condensation settles on the road heavier this time of year than most. Even cities in Southern California, like Los Angeles, Orange County (which includes major business hubs like Costa Mesa and Irvine), and all the way down to San Diego, experience higher levels of morning dew. Similar to black ice in colder climates (some parts of California of course to have black ice as well), dew can be unrecognizable and therefore even more dangerous. If you are driving in the morning or evening, consider there may be more condensation on the roads than you can see, making fast stops and high speeds dangerous. Every year, drivers are injured and killed in California car accidents that are the result of a driver not realizing slick conditions on the roadway. Slow down, give yourself more time to break, and remember that there's more water on the road than you see, even if it is in the form of dew or fog.

Fog

Similar to dew, fog becomes a safety issue this time of year, especially in coastal cities and mountainous areas. Fog presents many safety hazards, and is a more obvious dangerous condition than dew, as drivers can readily see their visibility is impaired. Don't use your bright beam headlights - it doesn't help and it makes the situation even more dangerous for other drivers. Drive slower, put your normal lights on, and give yourself plenty of time to get to and from your destination. Keep your foot on the brake, as fog can be more dense in some areas and significantly decrease vision. The California Highway Patrol responds to fog-related accidents resulting in injury and death every year at this time, sometimes single-car accidents where the driver becomes disoriented and crashes. Avoid crashing your car in fog by taking it slow and proceeding cautiously.

Pedestrians

Halloween is, of course, a time of great excitement and increased pedestrian traffic. It is not just the neighborhoods, either. Consider there are more people at the grocery store and shopping mall, and as happens during every holiday season, people preparing for holidays are often aloof and not paying attention. Auto versus pedestrian accidents often result in serious injury or death, as no person is a match for a moving automobile. Pedestrians bear responsibility too: if you are walking in areas that pedestrians share with cars, remember to keep your eyes up and stay off your cell phone. Drivers owe pedestrians a heightened level of care because they are driving heavy machinery that can be dangerous and deadly. Pedestrians too can help avoid accidents simply by paying attention and acknowledging they see drivers, and visa versa.

Darkness

Daylight savings time results in more darkness, especially in the early evening. You should drive more slowly in the dark, taking more time to get to your destination. Remember that visibility is decreased, meaning other cars, bicyclists, and pedestrians are more difficult to see. Drive slowly, and remember that your response time is diminished when it is dark outside.

Involved in a Fall Weather Car Accident or Injury?

For those unlucky enough to be injured in a car accident, or an auto versus pedestrian accident or slip and fall injury, the road to recovery can be challenging. Insurance companies are notoriously difficult to work with and even more difficult to get fair compensation for your losses. Speaking with an experience personal injury attorney may be advisable. If your injury wasn't your fault and you are wondering how you will pay for everything, a good injury law firm will be able to give you sound counsel regarding your options. The Lions Injury Lawyers help people throughout California bounce back after an accident. If you are wondering what to do and how you will recover, the attorneys at The Lions Injury Lawyers will be more than happy to give you a free case assessment, as well as recommend medical providers that may be willing to provide high quality healthcare at no cost up front.

Going With a "Local" Attorney: Pros and Cons

After a car accident in which you were injured, you may wisely decide to discuss your case with an injury attorney. The benefits of talking about what happened can be great, and there really is no risk - all injury attorneys will gladly discuss your incident free of cost. But before you get on the phone, which law firm or attorney should you call? This blog post will address the pros and cons of going with a "local" attorney.

What To Look For In an Injury Attorney

Consider first that your lawyer will be your advocate, your representative. You want he or she to be familiar with all aspects of injury law where you live. If you live in California, this means the lawyer will be admitted to practice law in California. The laws regarding injuries are the same in California whether you live in San Diego or San Francisco. In this regard, the attorney who's office is down the block from where you live is not more qualified or experienced to handle your car crash if the accident happened locally. More important than geography is experience and expertise in the specific practice of injury law. Thus, if the attorney practices injury law exclusively, he or she may be more likely to be successful in handling your claim than a "generalist" attorney. This is similar to medicine. If you have a specific injury, say to your eye, you could certainly visit your primary care physician, who would be able to help you with your injury, to some extent. However, a doctor specialized in eye injuries, such as an opthamologist, would certainly have the expertise and experience to give you thorough, high-quality care. The law is similar. The more specific an attorney's practice, the more likely they are to be up to speed on that specific area of law. 

Is Local Better?

In short, no. Consider that your attorney will be corresponding with the at-fault driver's insurance company on your injury claim. Your attorney will be your advocate, fighting for your fair and reasonable recover. This is done via letter, over the phone, and if necessary, in court. The vast majority of injury cases in California, no matter where you live, will settle out of court. Your attorney will be discussing your claim with attorneys for the insurance, who may be located anywhere in the country. For example, several large insurance companies have their main offices in Georgia, Arizona, and on the east coast. Their attorneys may or may not be in California. Again, technology allows representatives from all over the country to handle the matter. Thus, whether your attorney lives hours away or down the street, his or her skill in injury law is what matters, not how close you live to the office.

Should I Meet My Attorney In Person?

This may be a surprise to many people, but often times claimants (injured people who hire an attorney) never meet their attorney in person. Why? It is simply not necessary in most cases. How is this possible? Again, technology. Your attorney's office will request all medical documents directly from your doctors. You will provide the office with photographs and any applicable documents related to your California car crash, and your attorney will go from there. There are, of course, some cases where meeting in person with your attorney may be beneficial. Some attorneys utilize Skype or FaceTime, or other live video apps, to make this possible. Your attorney should be willing to meet with you personally, but don't assume you will get a better outcome if you meet with your attorney in person. Your case comes down to the facts - and you attorney's skill in advocating your injury claim. A good injury lawyer will do this regardless of whether you meet in person.

What About Going To Court?

Most car accident cases never go to court. Court is expensive, inefficient, and takes a very long time. In the end, you are not likely, in many cases, to get more money for your injury case if it goes to court. Thus, your injury lawyer will, in many cases, be able to get you just as much money outside of court, either in pre-litigation negotiations, mediation, arbitration, or any setting prior to court. If your case goes to court, your injury attorney will make appearances on your behalf, regardless of where their office is located. Therefore, injured people are usually better off choosing an attorney who handles lots of injury cases, rather than just choosing the lawyer who has an office in town or down the road, or where the accident happened. In most cases, where the attorney's office is physically located is not important. 

The Lions Injury Lawyers represent clients throughout the state of California, from San Diego all the way to the Oregon state line. The Lions Injury Lawyers practices injury law exclusively. Wondering what your case is worth, how to proceed, or what you should be doing after a car crash? Call the Lions Injury Lawyers to discuss your car crash case with an attorney today. 

"Delayed" Car Accident Injuries

The variety of injuries you may suffer if you are involved in a car crash is expansive. There are typical injuries, such as fractures, cuts, whiplash, and neck strain. Some of these appear immediately, such as a broken bone or a laceration (cut). However, some injuries do not appear until several days or weeks after the accident. What then?

See A Doctor

The best advice is always to seek the treatment and evaluation of a qualified medical professional. Often times this means a visit to your primary care provider. However, if your health care provider is like most medical offices, getting an appointment is not easy. For many offices is Los Angeles and Orange County, which are heavy populated areas, it can take weeks and even months to get in to see your doctor. If you are frustrated with the amount of time you have to wait to see a doctor, you are actually appropriately justified in feeling that way: it is critical to your health that you see a doctor after an injury accident, especially when you cannot determine the full extent of your injuries by yourself. 

Go To Urgent Care If Necessary

If you can't get in to see your doctor, or you feel you are being marginalized and turned away with minimal "gloss-over" care at your normal doctor's office, you should go to an Urgent Care facility, even if you have to pay out of pocket. Sometimes, an established injury attorney may be able to sign a lien so you can visit an Urgent Care facility at no out of pocket cost to you. The important this is to see a doctor as soon as possible.

What If Your Injuries Only Appear Later?

"Delayed" onset injuries are common in car accidents. Why? Your body responds to trauma and high-stress environments differently than it would in other circumstances is one reason you may not feel the injury right away. Consider than after a car crash, you may be scared, worried about your vehicle, worried about the safety of your passengers or the driver of the other vehicle - the number of things you have to consider all at once is overwhelming, for anyone. Your brain can only handle so much stress. It is rare, but occasionally people who suffer even severe fractures and lacerations do not notice until hours after the accident because they are preoccupied with handling immediate concerns at the scene of the accident.

When injuries appear that you connect to the crash, you still need to seek medical attention. Your car accident attorney will be well versed in arguing on your behalf. Don't expect the insurance company to pay you for your injury unless it is appropriately documented in your medical records. The only way to do this is to see a doctor as soon as possible.

What Kind Of Injuries Are Often "Delayed?"

There is no definitive list as to which injuries that result from car accidents show up later, but the most common injuries are whiplash, concussions, sprains to the neck and back, and bruising. Every person's body reacts differently, but injuries to the "soft tissue" areas of your body, such as muscles, ligaments, and tendons, can take time to exhibit symptoms, due to the body's endorphin and adrenaline response, which tries to cover up or less pain associated with damaged tissue or bone. 

Will The Insurance Company Pay Your Medical Bills?

The answer depends on how you approach your injury and your injury claim. If you simply submit your medical bills on your own to the at-fault driver's insurance, you do not have a high chance of having your medical bills paid. Why? If you did not seek immediate treatment, they will almost always deny payment, saying there is an inexcusable "gap in treatment." At The Lions Injury Lawyers, we have seen insurance companies deny payment on medical bills that were incurred only two days after a major accident. (Of course, we fought and won, and they ended up paying. But without an attorney, the claimant would have had to pay out of pocket). A good injury attorney will make sure the insurance company pays them. Do not expect them to be paid just because you say the bills are a result of your car accident. Even if the police report says their insured is at fault, and you went to the doctor immediately, insurance companies are notorious for using a very long list of excuses for not paying medical bills.

You're Feeling The Effects of Your Crash - Now What?

You deserve to be fairly compensated for your injuries. That won't happen easily. The Lions Injury Lawyers know the ins and outs of the insurance industry's approach to injury claims, including the tricks and traps they utilize to minimize the amount of money they will pay you for your claim. Don't get taken advantage of. Even if you don't sign up with our firm, you owe it to yourself to speak with someone who has done this before. (Or, preferably, thousands of times before!) When you call The Lions Injury Lawyers, you'll speak with an attorney, not a salesperson. We are not a legal marketing firm - we don't just sign up clients and sell their files to other law firms. We will fight to get you fair compensation and make sure you don't get taken advantage of by predatory insurance adjusters. Serving all of California, including Orange County, CA, Los Angeles, CA, San Bernardino, CA, San Diego, CA, and the inland empire, we are ready to help you get what you deserve.

Car Accident Injuries - What's a 'Defense Medical Exam?'

If you were injured in a car accident and your case has proceeded to litigation, you may be required to attend what is called an 'independent medical examination,' or 'defense medical exam.' Under the laws of the State of California, a plaintiff can be required to undergo an examination by a doctor or the Defendant's choice.

Why Does The Plaintiff Have To Attend A 'Defense Medical Exam?'

If you were injured and are pursuing your claim against the at-fault party or driver (the defendant), you will of course be required to explain your injuries and provide documentation. The defendant does not have to take your word for it, even if you have hospital records, doctors office records, and other medical records that document your injuries. The law allows the defense or defendant to have an "independent" doctor evaluate the plaintiff. The idea is that the defense gets a chance to have an "objective" doctor evaluate the plaintiff. Most defense attorneys and the insurance companies they represent have strong biases against doctors who treat injury patients on a lien basis, so the "independent" medical examination supposedly levels the playing field. 

There's Nothing "Independent" About It

First thing to remember is that the defense and the insurance company they represent gets to choose the doctor. These doctors are well paid by the law firm/insurance company. When you're getting paid a lot of money by a law firm, with potentially a steady stream of work coming your way, you're likely to make an evaluation that your client (the law firm and insurance company) will like. For this reason, most California injury attorneys refer to these examinations as 'defense medical exams.' They are, after all, the defense's paid doctors making an evaluation of the plaintiff's injuries. Almost without exception, the defense medical examination results in a report that minimizes the plaintiff's injuries in the eyes of the 'independent' doctor.

What Does The Defense Medical Examination Include?

The doctor conducting the exam is instructed to evaluate injuries and make a report. Thus, the doctor will be looking into injuries involved in the claim. The examination cannot include diagnostic tests, or any procedure that is painful or intrusive. Also, the exam cannot be scheduled further than 75 miles from the Plaintiff's residence. The doctor cannot be from a different specialty than those injuries included in the complaint - that is, if the plaintiff is complaining of neck and back injuries, the doctor doing the defense medical examination must be practicing in that area of medicine. A good California injury attorney will be well versed in how to approach the defense medical examination, ensuring that the Plaintiff is not taken advantage of during the defense attorneys' doctor's exam, which could result in a report that could hurt the plaintiff's case. 

The Day of the Defense Examination

If you are required to attend an independent medical examination, don't go alone. You should attend the examination with your injury attorney, or with someone from the injury law firm's staff or choosing. Don't fill out any paperwork. Remember, you're not the doctor's patient. You're there only because the law requires you to attend. Thus, you're not required to fill out any forms. The office will push paperwork on you, but your attorney will dispense of this with ease. Also, remember that the doctor is employed by the other side's attorneys. He or she is not on your side, no matter how friendly or charismatic. Don't answer any questions you don't feel comfortable answering. Some California injury lawyers will allow the plaintiff to make a brief oral accounting of the accident and injuries, while others will not. Remember that the doctor will likely generate a report that downplays the significance and seriousness of your injuries. If you were injured in a car accident, for example, the doctor may say that the injuries were not likely the result of (or caused by) the car accident, but are 'degenerative in nature.' Your injury attorney will have seen this many times before and will know how to respond.

A Few More Things To Remember

The independent medical examination can be very useful for the other side. They may, in the end, have a report that says your injuries weren't caused by their client, or that your injuries are not that bad. If you were injured in a California car accident, for example, you may be well served by seeking the counsel and representation of an attorney whose practice focuses exclusively on injury claims. These attorneys are well versed in the tricks and tactics of defense firms, and are able to respond and protect your rights to recovery. 

The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. represent injured clients throughout the state of California. If you were injured and it wasn't your fault, an attorney at The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. will gladly evaluate your case and discuss your options. Unlike most car accident law firms in California, you will be speaking with an attorney, not a salesman. Contact The Lions today to discuss any questions you might have. The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. maintains its main office in Orange County, California, but represents California plaintiffs in Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego - the entire state of California. 

Car Accidents 101: Call The Police?

If you've never been involved in a car accident, you are lucky. You're also probably unsure what to do if that dreaded day comes when you find yourself on the side of the road after an accident. One of the most common questions is whether you are required to call the police after a car accident. The most straightforward answer is no, you are not required by law to call the police after a car accident, although there are obvious circumstances when calling the police will be required, such as a serious accident where someone is injured.

Should You Call The Police?

If you're trying to decide whether to call the police, consider the ways in which a police report or traffic collision report might help you. For example, even if liability is straightforward (or you think it is), it is better to have the scene of the accident diagramed and explained by a uniformed officer than to rely on your memory. Also, even though you think the facts leading up to an accident or crash are beyond dispute, you never know what the other driver or drivers may say once they leave the scene. Unfortunately, many driver who cause accidents lie to their insurance agents because they don't want their insurance rates to rise. A police report will help explain what happened shortly after the accident and before the at-fault driver has the chance to worry about his or her insurance premiums rising.

What If The Police Do Not Arrive?

Sometimes, depending on the time of day, the police or highway patrol may not respond in a timely manner. Unfortunately, this happens during busy times, such as weekend evenings. However, it is still advisable to call the police and formally request that someone come out. A record of your telephone call will be taken, and your injury attorney may be able to get a copy of what was said on the telephone call. If the police or highway patrol never show up, at least you tried, and the copy of the report of you calling the police is likely to work in your favor if things become combative.

How Long Does It Take For Police To Respond?

Depending on where in California your accident happens, police may arrive within a few minutes, to a few hours after the crash. If you are in rural California and are far from a highway patrol vehicle or police station, you may have to wait. Or, if you are in a busy city, but the police are attending to more urgent matters, you may end up waiting too.

What Should I Do When I'm Waiting?

You should make sure you're safely off the roadway and out of harm's way. Do not play detective, but you should take photographs of the vehicles and the surrounding areas. If there are other people watching and you think liability may be an issue, you may want to get the contact information of these people, as they may be witnesses in the future. You should exchange insurance information with the other driver, if you feel it is safe to do so. It is not advisable to engage in lengthy conversation. Unfortunately, you don't know how the other driver will deal with the stress. Get his or her information if you feel safe doing so, and return to your car.

What If The Police Report Is Wrong?

Of the many things police officers and highway patrolman in California do right, writing detailed and accurate car accident reports is not always on the list. In fact, some officers in Orange County and Los Angeles County simply get it wrong - we see their erroneous reports frequently. We give them the benefit of the doubt, but the police report or traffic collision reports they write are sometimes misleading, inconclusive, or simply wrong. An experienced injury attorney will be accustomed to reading a California traffic incident report or a California police report, and will be able to address errors or misleading statements accordingly. And, if you were not at fault, an injury attorney who is good at his trade will be able to prove that you were not at fault. Some plaintiffs who have settled for large amounts of money almost never consulted with an attorney because they were afraid theirs was a lost case due to a faulty police report.

What Happens To A Police Report?

An experienced and successful California car accident attorney will put a police report or traffic collision report to good use. First, the attorney will usually get a copy of the report by submitting a formal request to the appropriate department. Then, his office will use it to argue on your behalf with the insurance company in order clear any disputes over liability. Finally, a good car accident attorney will use the report to show that you were injured and stated the same at the scene of the accident.

The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. represent injured plaintiffs throughout the state of California, including clients in Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County. Consultations with The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. are conducted by attorneys, not salesmen. You don't know what you don't know when it comes to dealing with a California car crash, and what you don't know can hurt your ability to recover. Call (949) 329-5000, or fill out this form to discuss your case today.

How Long Will It Take To Resolve My Injury Claim?

California Car Accidents and The Waiting Game

Many people who are injured in a California car accident proceed to file their injury claims on their own with the at fault driver's insurance company. At the start, there's a lot happening. There may be telephone calls with insurance adjusters, meetings with insurance representatives to inspect your damaged vehicle, and trips to the doctor to assess your injuries. However, many people are left without any compensation after many months, even years. Why?

Insurance Company Motivation

You may be asked to make a recorded statement with the at fault driver's insurance company. Most injury attorneys strongly advise against this. The insurance company wants to ask you very specific questions, and although the police report may state you are not at fault, your answers may provide leverage for the insurance company to deny your claim. Or, with your recorded response, they may try to reduce the amount of money they say you're entitled to. Either way, once you have given a recorded statement and played their game, the insurance company has very little motivation to work with you. They will likely offer a small amount of money to settle. The insurance adjuster uses a complex algorithm to come up with a settlement number. If you're wise, you will likely reject this first offer, as there is almost always more money on the table. However, in rejecting it, your file may be put on the back burner for a very long time. In fact, the insurance adjuster may just hope you forget about it. If you don't file a lawsuit within two years of the date of your accident, the insurance company will not have to pay you for your losses. The longer an insurance company can avoid paying you for your injury, the longer the company holds on to the money, and the more likely it is you'll end up with nothing.

What Can You Do?

At the very least, we strongly recommend you speak with an experienced injury attorney who focuses on California injury cases. Most law firms offer free consultations. The advice that "you don't know what you don't know" is especially true when in comes to working with insurance companies. You likely do not know what the California Insurance Code requires of insurance companies - these are the rules they are supposed to play by. If you don't know the rules, how can you call them out when they're clearly breaking provisions in the insurance code? A short conversation with a car crash attorney will help you understand what to expect from the insurance company.

Expectations When Dealing With Insurance After Your Injury Accident

Don't expect the at fault driver's insurance to pay all your bills. Do expect them to try to reduce the amount, if any, they are willing to pay for your healthcare. Expect your bills to be reduced, regardless of where you sought medical treatment. Is this fair? Not necessarily. Again, the insurance companies know that you are unlikely to call them on it, and for good reason: most injured claimants do not know how to react when an insurance adjuster refuses to pay their healthcare bills. A competent and skilled injury lawyer will argue on your behalf and ensure that you are compensated for the amount of your bills that were the result of your car accident. Negotiating fair payment for your medical treatment can take many telephone calls and the exchange of specific documents verifying your medical care. This takes time, and the insurance companies are more than willing to delay reaching a resolution, as it is in their financial best interest.

What About Litigation?

In the best case scenario, an injured claimant will be compensated for their pain and suffering, as well as the cost of their medical expenses, prior to filing a lawsuit. A good personal injury attorney may be able to achieve this on your behalf prior to filing a lawsuit. However, each case is different, and your case may necessitate litigation, meaning a complaint is filed on your behalf in the courts against the at fault driver. When this happens, the insurance company of the at fault driver hires a law firm. Depending on the complexity of your case, litigation can take years to resolve. However, most injury law firms try to expedite the process as quickly as possible.

So How Long Will It Take?

There is no uniform answer as to how long it will take to resolve your injury claim. If you're willing to settle for pennies on the dollar, you may be able to resolve your injury claim quickly. However, if you want fair and reasonable treatment, and you want to be treated with respect and within the guidelines of the California Insurance Code, you may need to hire a California injury attorney to represent you. Because insurance companies know that injury lawyers know the law and the value of your case, you are much more likely to be handled fairly when you have an attorney in your corner. A good lawyer will expedite the process when possible.

The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. represents injured people throughout the state of California. Located in Newport Beach, California, they represent people from Orange County, San Bernardino County, Los Angeles County, and throughout the state. If you have questions regarding your claim, or whether you have a claim at all, they can be reached at (949) 329-5000. All consultations are free of cost, and you will speak with an attorney, not a salesman. 

Thanksgiving On The Roads

Thanksgiving traffic

Thanksgiving is hands down the busiest travel day of the year. AAA predicts the busiest time of the day to be between 2 and 6 pm. It's crazy out there on the roads any given day but add the fact that on average 37% of people travel on Thanksgiving and you've got a zoo! I was driving on the freeway last week when I saw a large SUV smash into another smaller car. The smaller car pulled over but the at-fault party took off and in mildly heavy traffic. I could hardly believe my eyes!  I hear of situations like this all the time but seeing it first hand was striking.  If you see someone hit someone and drive off please call California Highway Patrol at 1800.TELLCHIP.  I hope none of you are ever in that position! Let's look out for each other when we are on the roads this Thanksgiving holiday! Here are some basics to remember this Thanksgiving holiday out on the roads!

  • PUT THE CELL PHONE AWAY

    • The number one cause of any  accident is distracted driving. It's not drunk drivers or speeding, it's distracted driving.         
  • BE OBSERVANT

    • The number of trucks I see dragging chains or pieces of equipment is astonishing! Watch out who you get behind! Chains, loose equipment, car parts they all can easily fly off of vehicles and they do!  If a driver in front of you is dragging something change lanes immediately. If something were to fly off it would be extremely difficult to swerve around. 
  • STAY ALERT

    • Driver fatigue is serious! How well can we expect anyone to drive when they are having a hard time staying awake? 
  • SPACING

    • Tailgating on the freeway is always a bad idea, proper response time is critical! Especially during the holiday, everyone is in a rush to get to where they need to be and traffic is heavy! 
  • DON'T DRIVE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL OR DRUGS 

  • BE CAREFUL CHANGING LANES

    • When changing lanes use your turn signal and always check your blind spot; being in a rush or recklessly changing lanes can easily lead to an accident.