Highway 62When you’ve suffered harm as a result of someone else’s negligence, there are many important hurdles that you and your legal counsel must clear to obtain the compensation you deserve. You have to collect all of the factual evidence you need, navigate all of the required procedural steps, and then, at trial, put on your case and thwart all of the defenses the other side will offer. In a case from earlier this year, juryveridctalert.com reported that a San Bernardino County jury imposed $3.5 million in damages against a negligent driver who crashed head-on into a mom’s SUV, injuring her and killing her 16-year-old daughter. The parents succeeded in part because they successfully countered the at-fault driver’s defense that she was not liable due to a “sudden emergency.”

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medical billSometimes, legal concepts and rules are, in theory, based upon straightforward notions. For example, the law says that an injured person should be allowed to recover the “reasonable value” of the medical services she received as a result of her accident. This sounds like a direct and common-sense method, right? Unfortunately, these theoretically straightforward concepts can become highly complex in reality, especially given the ultra-complicated and byzantine system of medical billing and payment in this country. The Third District Court of Appeal tried to bring some clarity to this murky issue in a recent ruling, declaring that an injured plaintiff can use the full amount of a medical provider’s charges to establish “the reasonable value of the services” received.

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motorcycle crashA California motorcyclist received a favorable jury verdict recently, as reported by juryverdictalert.com, in his claim for damages arising from the negligence of another driver whose inattentive and abrupt lane change triggered a chain reaction of evasive maneuvers that ended with the motorcyclist’s bike landing on top of him. The verdict in this case is illustrative of the importance of making wise choices in accepting or refusing statutory offers of compromise, as well as a reminder that a change in California’s vehicle laws may make cases like this motorcyclist’s even more valuable in the future.

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blind spotsWhen you get behind the wheel of a vehicle, there are several people or entities who owe you a legal duty. Other drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles safely. If they don’t, and their negligence injures you, you can sue them for the harm you suffered. Additionally, governments have a duty to maintain the roads and intersections they control in a safe condition. In one recent case from Southern California, the Los Angeles Times reported on a case in which the City of Los Angeles’ failure to maintain an intersection in a safe condition, instead allowing unlimited parking to create a “blind” corner, triggered a $23 million verdict in favor of the family of a scientist killed at that intersection.

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paramedic uniformA man injured in a Southern California auto accident received approval from the Second District Court of Appeal to resume pursuing his negligence case against the driver who injured him. The appeals court overturned a dismissal of the injured man’s case on statute of limitations grounds, ruling that, since the paramedic who allegedly caused the accident was not in the act of providing services to a patient, the injured man had two years, rather than one, to file his lawsuit.

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potholeA bicyclist injured in a crash during a charity road race successfully managed to revive his case after a trial court had previously issued a summary judgment against him. The bicyclist’s defeat had arisen from his lack of proper evidence in opposition to that summary judgment motion, which was the result of the bicyclist having an attorney who was unable to perform properly due to a serious pulmonary illness. The First District Court of Appeal recently upheld the lower court’s decision to revive the case. The bicyclist’s ability to continue pursuing compensation for the damages he suffered highlights the importance of responding properly when faced with unexpected events that you could not necessarily anticipate but that could damage or destroy your case.

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highway trafficA recent ruling by the First District Court of Appeal offered a useful insight into what happens when you’re a victim of an unfair strategy by your litigation opponent. The decision upheld a lower court’s order giving the family of a deceased trucker a renewed opportunity to pursue their case arising from the fiery crash that killed their loved one. The state’s Department of Transportation carried out a pretrial and trial strategy that unfairly surprised and prejudiced the trucker’s family, and when that happens, you have certain rights, such as the right to a new trial, which the court awarded to the family in this case.

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crosswalk signalWhen you are injured in a vehicle accident in California, whether you are a driver, a passenger, or a pedestrian, there are many hurdles along your path to obtaining a damages award to compensate you for the harm you’ve suffered. One of the biggest impediments can be the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company. In one recent case, a pair of teens struck by a drunk driver ended up in a prolonged battle with the driver’s insurance company regarding payment for their injuries. Since the insurance company improperly declined to settle the case, a California court awarded the teens $3 million, and the Second District Court of Appeal recently upheld that decision.

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contract paperworkWhen you are injured in a vehicle accident, there are many steps and hurdles that go with seeking recovery for the harm you’ve suffered. In California, one unique element of this process occurs when you receive a statutory “998 offer” from the party who caused your injuries. Rejecting such an offer and going to trial can carry with it its own set of potential risks related to recovering the fees and costs you rack up in the pursuit of your case. In a recent case originating in Alameda County, an injured motorcyclist avoided these risks because, as the First District Court of Appeal ruled, the terms of the offer he received did not meet the law’s standards for a valid 998 offer.

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hand shakeThere are many vital decisions that you must make in an auto accident case. Are you willing to settle, and, if so, for what amount? If you are willing to settle, what degree of authority do you want to hand off to your legal team, and what do you want to hold onto yourself? Sometimes, the success or failure of a case may depend on these strategic decisions. In one case, recently decided by the Fourth District Court of Appeal, the appeals court ruled in favor of an injured woman, deciding that she was not bound by a settlement agreement and was free to litigate the case against the driver who injured her. The injured woman won because the law required proof that the injured woman specifically authorized her law firm to settle the case on her behalf, and the at-fault driver lacked that evidence.

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