pothole in roadAs a bicyclist, a pedestrian, or another user of public roads or sidewalks, you are entitled to expect that the roads and sidewalks will be maintained in a safe condition and, if a hazard exists, that you will be appropriately warned about it. When that doesn’t happen, and you get hurt as a result, you may be entitled to compensation. Sometimes, this compensation may be achieved through a judgment and, other times, a settlement. A skilled Southern California bicycle accident attorney can provide you with needed representation in your case, including helping you analyze decisions like settling versus going forward with litigation.

A few months ago, the Los Angeles Times reported on one California bicyclist whose serious injures led to a large settlement. Peter was operating his bike along Valley Vista Road in the Sherman Oaks neighborhood of Los Angeles when his accident took place. While pedaling down the road, Peter encountered a large pothole. Unable to avoid the pothole, the bicyclist tried to drive through the hazard. The attempt was unsuccessful, and Peter lost control, with the crash throwing him to the ground. Peter then sued the City of Los Angeles.

In a case like Peter’s, there are certain essential things that you’ll need to accomplish in order to achieve a favorable result. First, you will need to show that the entity you sued was liable for the harm you suffered. In Peter’s case, he presented proof that the pothole was hazardous due to the deficient maintenance of the road and the low lighting in the area of the hole, which made the pothole “a concealed trap” for people like bicyclists, the Times reported.

bicyclistAs a bicyclist, there are certain risks that come with taking to the road on your bike. That is especially true if you are a racing bicyclist. One of the risks that shouldn’t “come with the territory,” though, is the risk of injury or death due to the negligence of a driver of a car, truck, or van. In one recent case, a van driver’s decision to park that vehicle in the path of a group of bicyclists was potentially an action that elevated the risk of harm to the bicyclists and allowed the family of one dead cyclist to pursue their wrongful death claim. Whether you’re bicycling to race or simply as a means of transportation, you may be entitled to damages if you are hurt by a driver’s negligence. You should act without delay to contact an experienced California bicycle accident attorney about your case.

Suzanne, the cyclist whose fatal accident spawned a recent lawsuit, was from Bakersfield but was participating in a road race in Mariposa County in May 2012. During the race, the race organizer had support vans to assist riders. At one point, a support van stopped to help a rider, and the driver parked the van in the road, within a lane designated for racers. When Suzanne and a group of other racers encountered the van in their lane, the other cyclists were able to swerve into a lane intended for vehicle traffic. Suzanne wasn’t able to steer around the van and crashed into it. As she lay on the ground, at least one other cyclist was unable to avoid her and ran over her. The woman died from her injuries.

Suzanne’s family sued the organizer for wrongful death. The family faced some clear hurdles to success in their case. The law says that there are certain types of activities that carry with them a degree of risk. When you voluntarily choose to participate in that activity, you do something called “assumption of the risk.” That means that you have voluntarily chosen to accept the consequences, including possible harm, that can come from taking part in that activity. In other words, if a football player breaks his leg as a result of a regular and legal tackle executed by an opposing player, the injured player is generally not entitled to a recovery for his damages (absent other special circumstances) because he voluntarily chose to take part in the potentially dangerous activity of football.

motorcycleIn any personal injury case, there may be facts that make you feel good about your case and other facts that make you pessimistic. If you’ve been hurt in an auto accident, the key, as a layperson, is simply to recognize that you’ve suffered harm and to contact experienced California counsel about your rights and potential for recovery. Sometimes, even very challenging facts may not be “deal breakers.” Recently, one motorcyclist’s family was able to hold a restaurant owner partly to blame in court (Los Angeles County Superior Court Case No. SC112366) for a California motorcycle accident that happened outside the bounds of the restaurant’s property.

The case began with a tourist’s ill-fated visit to an oceanside restaurant. After Terry, a tourist from Oklahoma, left the Malibu restaurant, he turned left because he desired to go north on the PCH. Unfortunately, there was a median barrier in that part of the PCH, and traffic leaving the restaurant was only allowed to access the southbound lanes of the highway. What Terry had done was turn northbound onto the southbound lanes of the highway. Joseph, a southbound motorcyclist, made a desperate attempt to avoid Terry’s vehicle. In the process, Joseph fell off his bike and died from his injuries.

Looking at this case, you might think that Joseph’s family only had a case against Terry. Joseph’s parents’ legal team realized, however, that the blame for this fatal motorcycle accident went beyond just the misguided tourist. The exit from the restaurant parking lot onto the highway was unclear, which meant that it was foreseeable that a customer might become confused and turn the wrong way onto the highway. Since such an accident was foreseeable, that meant the restaurant was potentially liable for harm occurring as a result of the exit’s confusing nature, even though the actual incident took place outside the bounds of the restaurant owner’s property.

U-HaulThere may be many reasons why you, as a person injured in an auto accident, might prefer to litigate your case in court as opposed to arbitration. You may feel that a jury will give you a fairer hearing, or that a jury will be more likely to award the full and fair amount of damages for the harm you’ve suffered. Regardless of the reasons, if you and your California truck accident attorney have identified trial as a better option than arbitration, it is important to avoid traps that will force you to arbitrate your claim.

One example of an injured person who avoided arbitration was Virgil, a warehouse worker for a company that sold fitness equipment. In the summer of 2013, the worker’s supervisor, Charles, instructed him to haul a load of massage chairs and exercise machines to the Sacramento State Fair. The employer sent Virgil to Sacramento in a truck that the employer had rented.

During the trip from San Bernardino County to Sacramento, the truck blew a tire. The blow-out caused Virgil to suffer injuries. Virgil sued the company that owned the rental truck, arguing that the owner had negligently maintained the truck, and that negligent maintenance had caused the blow-out and the man’s related injuries.

semi truckWhen you’ve been injured in an auto accident, you may have a case for damages. Even with a strong claim, there are several things you’ll need to do if you are to convince a jury and receive a favorable verdict and award of compensation. In many cases, achieving a successful result may rely, to a significant degree, on having compelling and persuasive expert witness testimony. Knowing which type of expert testimony, and which type of expert witnesses, you need to succeed is one of the areas where experienced California auto accident counsel can help you and your case.

One case (Monterey County Superior Court Case No. M133274) in which experts played an important role was a truck accident involving Sabino, a man who was hurt traveling along Highway 101 in Monterey County. Sabino was headed southbound on Highway 101 at around the same time that Dalvir was approaching Highway 101 on eastbound San Juan Road. Dalvir steered his tractor-trailer onto the southbound 101 and stopped. Sabino tried to stop his Honda Accord in time but could not, eventually crashing into the rear of Dalvir’s truck. Sabino suffered serious injuries in the accident. Specifically, Sabino alleged that the accident inflicted a lumbar spine injury upon him and that it forced him to undergo lumbar decompression and fusion (back) surgery.

The car driver sued the trucker and the trucker’s employer for the injuries he suffered. Sabino’s lawsuit asserted a fairly common and familiar claim as the basis for recovery:  that Dalvir was negligent because he improperly failed to yield the right of way when he pulled in front of Sabino and stopped, and that the employer was liable because Dalvir was acting within the scope of his job when the accident happened.

bicycleThere are many different rules established by the law (whether through statutes or court cases). Some are very well known, while others are known mostly only by lawyers. One of these rules, called the “going and coming” rule, affects whether the law considers you to be on the job or on your own time when an accident happens. While many people often associate this rule with claims for workers’ compensation benefits, it can also play an important role in your personal injury case, potentially in a negative way. With representation from a knowledgeable California accident attorney, however, you may be able to overcome this rule and still maximize your claim for damages.

One recent case in which this rule had an important impact was the injury lawsuit filed by a bicyclist named Andres. Andres was riding his bicycle in San Diego County when he collided with a vehicle owned by Brian. Andres hit Brian’s vehicle because Brian opened his vehicle door into Andres’ path, and the bicyclist could not avoid the collision.

Clearly, Andres had a potential claim against Brian, alleging that Brian was negligent in opening the door and that that negligence caused the accident. Pursuing only Brian, however, might mean that Andres might not be able to recover a damages award that fully covered all of the harm he suffered.

back painWhen you are injured in a vehicle accident, you may suffer many different types of damages. The harm you suffer may be primarily physical, involving extensive medical treatment and care and considerable pain and suffering. Other times, though, your damages may be mostly something other than physical. In some cases, the effects of your accident may have a dramatic impact on your employment situation. When this happens, you may be entitled to a large award for lost wages, even if your physical harm and property damage were relatively low. With the help of a skilled California truck accident attorney, you can pursue everything that the law permits you to recover.

A recent trial court case (Orange County Superior Court case number 30-2016-00852025-CU-PA-CJC) showed this in practice. The plaintiff, Christie, suffered injuries that were a result of a Southern California freeway accident. Christie was heading westbound across the Riverside Freeway in Orange County when a delivery truck driver, who had been traveling in a lane adjacent to Christie’s, changed lanes. The truck driver was attempting to slide in behind Christie but clipped the right rear side of Christie’s vehicle.

In addition to property damage, the accident also caused Christie to suffer strains to her neck and her lower back. In a lot of personal injury cases, an accident that caused the injured driver to suffer low back and neck strains and that damaged a bumper and fuel tank on her car might not necessarily create a claim for a large amount of damages. If, for example, the vehicle was reparable, and the driver had to undergo a limited amount of treatment and missed only a modest amount of time at work, the total amount of damages might be moderate.

traffic lightWhen you are injured in an auto accident, one of the most important things you’ll have to decide is if you have a case for damages and, if so, who is liable for the injuries you suffered. While the other driver is an obvious candidate, the facts of your case may indicate that there are others who are liable to you for the harm you suffered. Experienced California car accident attorneys can help you as you make each of these very important decisions.

One case that presented facts that allowed for an action against an arguably unlikely defendant was the lawsuit that arose from a Sept. 4, 2011 crash in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale. Joanne was driving through Glendale late one Sunday when there was a power outage. As she passed through the intersection of Glendale Avenue and Broadway, another vehicle slammed into Joanne’s car. The broadside impact sent Joanne’s vehicle into a pole. Everyone in Joanne’s car was hurt, but she suffered the most severe injuries.

In intersection accidents, there may be a variety of individuals or entities you can potentially sue for the harm you suffered in the crash. This group could include, obviously, the other driver. Also, though, you may be able to sue the governmental entity responsible for the roadway(s) involved if the intersection was designed or maintained in an unsafe fashion. Several injured drivers or passengers have successfully litigated or settled cases recently in which they alleged that an intersection was unsafe either in its design or in its maintenance.

cracked pavementMany times, a bicycle accident is a result of the negligent conduct of another driver on the road. Sometimes, though, the source of your injuries may have nothing to do with the conduct of any other driver. In a portion of bicycle injury instances, the harm the bicyclist suffers results solely from the presence of a dangerous condition located along the path the bicyclist took. Just like drivers who are injured by such dangerous conditions, bicyclists too may be entitled to compensation, which is why, if you’re injured in a bicycle accident, it pays to consult a California bicycle accident attorney right away. A recent case from Southern California reported by the San Diego Union Tribune illustrates this.

In other recent cases, injured drivers in the Los Angeles area have recovered damages awards based upon a failure to maintain public property properly. The family of a scientist killed at a blind intersection in San Pedro recovered $23 million in 2016. Another intersection in Redondo Beach with sight-line issues was the basis for a former UCLA football player recovering $35 million.

Further south, a bicyclist who was injured in 2014 while cycling in the early afternoon hours along a sidewalk in Del Cerro, a neighborhood in the eastern part of San Diego, recently secured a multi-million dollar settlement for his injuries. The bicyclist’s injuries resulted when he hit an area of the sidewalk that was raised roughly seven inches, due to the growth over time of a tree root. The root’s effect of raising part of the surface had created an incline such that the sidewalk had become, in the bicyclist’s description, a “launching ramp.” In his lawsuit, the bicyclist contended that the dangerous condition did launch him some 28 feet. After that, he allegedly skidded for another 10 feet, the Union Tribune reported.

rear end collisionPeople who are injured in auto accidents come in all shapes and sizes, varieties, and walks of life. Some are young, some old. Some are the “picture of health” before their accidents, while others have pre-existing conditions. If you are someone who has a pre-existing health problem, and you find yourself injured in a crash for which someone else was at fault, it is very important to act decisively and quickly. One thing you should do is retain an experienced California car accident lawyer. Just because you have pre-existing health problems doesn’t mean you cannot recover damages. In fact, depending on the facts of your case, the damages award you receive may include an amount to cover the extent to which your accident worsened your pre-existing condition.

One example of this was an action decided in Los Angeles Superior Court (Case No. BC557692) recently, which involved a scenario that is likely one of every parent’s nightmares. The child who would become the plaintiff in the case was sitting in the back seat of a vehicle, directly behind the driver’s seat. The driver was fully stopped at an intersection controlled by a stop sign. The defendant slammed into the stopped vehicle at a high rate of speed. The crash inflicted multiple fractures upon the child and also a traumatic brain injury, according to the plaintiff’s case.

The driver who rear-ended the vehicle with the child admitted liability and was determined to be 100% at fault. Medical professionals determined that the girl was a “4” on the coma scale (which translates to “severe traumatic brain injury”) at the scene of the accident and later assessed her as a “12” (which translates to “moderate traumatic brain injury”) at the hospital.