A California Personal Injury Lawyer’s Perspective on Accidents


                A
California personal injury case can take on many forms.  If you, or someone you love, has been injured
in any one of the following situations, you may have a personal injury case worth
pursuing. 

  • Car accident 002
  • Bike accident 001
  • Bike accident 003
  • Bus accident 001
  • Train accident 001
  • Vicious dog 001
Vicious dog 001

 

 

  • Assault Injuries
  • Bicycle Accident
  • Bus Accident
  • Car Accident
  • Dangerous Product
  • Defective Product
  • Dog Bite / Animal Attack
  • Elevator / Escalator Accident
  • False Arrest
  • Medical Negligence
  • Motorcycle Accident
  • Nursing Home Neglect / Abuse
  • Pedestrian Accident
  • Railroad Crossing Accident
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Slip & Fall Accident
  • Trip & Fall Accident
  • Truck Accident
  • Wrongful Death

Call me to discuss whether you
have a personal injury case.  Consultations are free and unlike a
vicious dog, I won’t bite! (But I will give you my undivided attention).

LS 2012

What’s My Personal Injury Case Worth?

Personal injury value              Is my case worth
$1 million? $10 million?  We’ve all heard
the stories.  “My friend broke her
fingernail and got $150,000.”  “My
brother-in-law’s friend’s cousin’s son’s wife got $4 million when she fell at
the A & P and broke her wrist.”  “Bob
Hartman got $2.7 million because he was rear-ended by a drunk driver and the
drunk’s insurance company was afraid to go to court.” 

            How
are these crash-to-riches cases possible? 
Well, in a word, they’re not!  

Are there multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements?  Of course there are but they are based on major injuries, good liability and deep pockets.  

Click here for details about a motorcycle accident that my office settled for almost $8 Million

Urban Legends

Urban-legend-rumor             Let’s
face it, folks.  Insurance companies are
not in the business of handing out huge settlements – they’re in business to
make money and unreasonable payouts fly in the face of their business model.  Unreasonable (and unjustified) large payouts
are just not the reality, they are simply urban
legends
.

Snopes.com quells the
examples of alleged gazillion dollar recoveries from people filing outrageous
lawsuits by researching the real facts (or lack thereof).  The Stella Awards,
named for Stella Liebeck, the plaintiff in the famed McDonald’s Burn Case (read
the real story here
) was a leader in putting out annual lists of crazy
lawsuits with alleged crazy
settlements and jury verdicts – but these lawsuits are not real, they are more
examples of urban legends. 

Really, Now.  What’s My Case
Worth
?

         Reality
check everyone: Every case is different.  Your rear-end case has a different value than
your neighbor’s rear-end case.  Sonny’s slip
& fall case has a different value than Chastity’s slip & fall case.  Chester’s
product liability case is different than Field’s product liability case.

            Why?  Because every case has its own unique dynamic
based on many of these factors:

*     
People/entities involved

o      
Parties

o      
Medical providers

o      
Employers

o      
Eye-witnesses

o      
After-the-fact witnesses

o      
Expert witnesses

o      
Insurance company(ies)

*     
Facts of the accident

*     
Who’s at fault and to what extent?

*     
Injuries sustained

*     
Medical bills (past, present and future)

*     
Loss of earnings (past, present and future)

*     
Property damage

*     
Pain, suffering, inconvenience, embarrassment,
disfigurement

 

Case Study

 Scalding Water Burns Tourist in Restaurant 

            As you know,
personal injury cases come in all shapes and sizes. There are, to name a few, traffic collisions, injuries
when someone has a slip
& fall
, product
liability
cases and premises liability
cases.  I am using this premises
liability case to illustrate the points raised in this particular article. 

Note: This story has been fictionalized and all persons appearing
in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead,
places or events is entirely coincidental. 

Boiling water              Facts: Kiki, a
30-year old female Japanese tourist visiting relatives, went to a Chinese restaurant
in Los Angeles’s famed Chinatown for a family meal.    Chinese Restaurants serving large parties
often place a Lazy Susan
on the center of the table to make it easier to serve the meal family style.  

            Early
on, the restaurant placed a teapot filled with scalding water on the edge of
the Lazy Susan.  While Kiki, with her
four-year old daughter Ling on her lap, and 11 other family members sat around talking,
the condensation began to form on the outside of the teapot.  Engrossed in conversation, no one at the
table was paying attention to the Lazy Susan or the teapot until disaster
struck.

            Suddenly,
the teapot was on its side and the contents spilled out all over Ling and Kiki.
 Little Ling began screaming and Kiki rushed
to cover her in cold water all the time unaware that her own arm was drenched
in hot water.

            Kiki
was able to save Ling from serious injury.  Although Ling was burned, the burns were first-degree
and quickly healed, leaving no scars.

            Unfortunately,
Kiki, who was wearing a long-sleeved sweater at the time, was not so lucky.  While Kiki tended to her child, the scalding
water caused her polyester sweater to literally meld into the skin of her arm.  She removed the sweater and several layers of
her skin in the process. 

            Kiki,
suffered second degree
and third degree burns
as a result.  That night she went
into shock
and was rushed to the emergency room. 

            Kiki’s
healing process was long and arduous.  She
returned home and underwent a major skin graft
where they replaced the damaged and dead skin on her arm with skin from her
scalp (and to answer your question in advance, her arm did NOT grow hair).  She has been left with permanent, unsightly
scars on her forearm.

 Who's Fault Is It That Kiki Was Hurt?

             Well,
this case had some unique twists and turns.  In evaluating this case, several of the factors
listed above had to be considered.  The
first, of course, was who was at  fault
was this incident?

            On
first blush, it appears to be the restaurant’s fault.  However, it’s important to note that the plaintiff
(the person making the claim) has the burden
of proving
that it is, in fact, the restaurant’s fault.

            Since
everyone at the table was talking when the incident occurred, we had no
witnesses who could honestly say how or why the teapot tipped over.  It was through the use of an expert witness’s forensic
analysis
that we were able to develop the viable condensation theory.

            The
expert, a physicist, based his analysis on an examination of the location, the Lazy
Susan, the dispenser from which the hot water was poured into the teapot, the
teapot itself and the depositions of Kiki and Shuau, the restaurant employee
who placed the teapot on the Lazy Susan.  Shuau testified at her deposition, under penalty of perjury,
that she was instructed by the restaurant to wait until the temperature gauge
on the dispenser was pointing to red before filling the teapot with water.  

            “What
does it mean when the needle points to red,” I asked.

            “Dangerous.”

            “Dangerous?”

            “Yes,
dangerous.”

            The
restaurant’s attorney covered his face with his hands upon hearing this admission.   It is also important to note that an employer
is responsible for the acts undertaken by its employees while in the course and
scope of their employment
. 

            This
is not to say that the restaurant’s lawyers weren’t mounting a defense.  The severity and degree of the injuries were
definite and obviously caused by the hot water dispensed by an employee of the
restaurant.  

 Who's fault             So
what could they say to mitigate their responsibility?  Simple: Kiki should have removed her sweater
sooner and none of this would have happened!  Yes, this was their defense.  (Defense lawyers ALWAYS have a trick or two
up their sleeve – click
here to read Anderson Cooper’s relevant expose
).  

There were
other family members there – why didn’t they take care of Ling while Kiki took
care of herself?  Actually, I hoped that
the defense would bring this up at trial because what juror would buy that
argument?  If anything, it would inflame
them because any parent, any human being for that matter, is going to tend to a
child before they tend to themselves.  That’s
just human nature. 

What Is Kiki Entitled To? 

Dollar sign              There
are various types of damages that someone is entitled to.  In Kiki’s case she was entitled to special
damages and general damages.  She sued
the restaurant for Negligence for her injuries as well as Negligent Infliction
of Emotional Distress for having witnessed her daughter’s injuries.  Since this writing is devoted to damages, I’m
not going to go into any detail on the actual legal theories of liability.

            Special, or economic, damages
are those that are quantifiable such as past, present and future medical bills
and loss of earnings that arise from the injury.  In this case, Kiki had about $40,000 in
medical bills incurred for the emergency hospital visit and her skin graft.  It was agreed upon by everyone that these
bills were reasonable and certainly necessary.  Therefore, she was entitled to reimbursement
for $40,000.

            General, or non-economic,
damages
are subjective damages for pain, suffering, disfigurement,
embarrassment, emotional distress, humiliation, loss of pleasure in life.  Normally, I’d put the actual figure in here upon
which we settled.  However, I’m going to
leave this to you.  What do you think Kiki is
entitled to by way of general damages
?  
Please put your answer in the comments
section!          

“Wait!” You Say!  “Didn’t You
Forgot Something?

             Just
checking to see if you were paying attention!  No, of course I didn’t forget little Ling.  That would be clumsy of me (not to mention a
tad bit of legal
malpractice
).  Thankfully Ling
suffered no permanent injuries.  She was
scared and had some blisters which healed and left no scars.  Naturally (and necessarily), she was included
in the lawsuit. 

            Ling’s
special damages amounted to $800 for a visit to a local doctor and some healing
ointments.  Again, both sides agreed that
this was reasonable and necessary.

            Again,
I’m going to leave it to you to decide her general damages. 

 Injured? Questions? Concerns? 

For a Free Consultation please contact Attorney Lowell Steiger immediately at

(323) 852-1100

lowell@steigerlaw.com

Skype (with or without video): Lowell_Steiger

"Treated With the Respect and Understanding That You Deserve"

What To Do If You’re In A Car Accident

Things to Do If You're Involved in an Auto Accident

Auto-accident

CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY TO SUMMON POLICE and/or PARAMEDICS

Then get the following information:

  1. Name, address and phone number of other driver(s) involved in the accident
  2. Driver's license number of other driver(s) involved in the accident
  3. Insurance information of other driver(s) involved in the accident, name of insurance company, policy number
  4. Registered owner information of other vehicles involved in the accident
  5. If any of the other drivers appears to be on the job for a company, get the name of that company
  6. Passengers in other vehicles? Get their names, addresses, phone numbers
  7. Actual location of accident (street, intersection, exact address, if possible)
  8. Witness information: Names, addresses, phone numbers
  9. Jot
    down basic information such as weather conditions, street condition,
    traffic (light, medium, heavy), time of day that accident happened
  10. Very
    Important: Do not speak to anyone other than your doctor(s) without the
    advice of an attorney.  In particular, DO NOT give a statement to any
    insurance company, recorded or not, without the advice of an attorney.

What if you don't have auto insurance?  Click here to read Uh Oh, Car Accident With No Liability Insurance: "But I'm Not At Fault"

Keep
a camera in your car at all times (disposable, camera phone, digital
camera, etc.) and take pictures of the cars (including damage, license
plates), people, scene.Camera_phone

Kodakmaxoutdoorcamerapromotional

Some excellent links What To Do If You're In An Accident

MSN Money: Insure Your Car.  Important tips on basic auto insurance

State Bar of California. Links to 14 important questions such as "What Information Should I Get at the Scene" and "Do I Need Auto Insurance?" as well as a link to download an entire pamphlet on the subject.

Roadragers.com. Practical tips and advice from the site whose tagline is "when you just can't take it anymore."

If you, or someone you know, has been injured, please call me immediately at

(323) 852-1100 or send an e-mail to me at lowell@steigerlaw.com

"Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"

Personal Injury Lawyer Los Angeles: How Is A Case Handled?

Personal_injury Despite conventional wisdom, every personal injury case is different. The facts of the accident are unique, the injuries are likewise unique and the manner in which the matter is handled must be carefully tailored to each particular case and client.

There is, however, a certain framework within which personal injury lawyers handle their clients’ cases. It is important to remember that just as each case is unique, so is the client and that client’s needs must be tended to as though he or she is our only client.

The following is the general framework within which we work – subject to all of the modifications that are unique to each particular matter.

Personal injury cases take anywhere from six months to two to three years to resolve, whether that be by settlement, arbitration or trial. I always advise my clients that they must be patient and that the wheels of justice turn ever so slowly. There are periods throughout a case when things get amped up and then quiet down again.

In order to even begin settlement negotiations, we must collect reports and bills from your doctors, the hospitals, information from your employer regarding your loss of earnings and, of course, information gathered regarding the facts of the case through witnesses, police reports and a plethora of other possible sources. Once all of this information is gathered, I am able to begin to analyze your case in terms of its reasonable value and begin negotiations with the insurance company representing the alleged at-fault party or parties.

But before we even get to that point, here’s what needs to happen:

Stethoscope Medical Treatment

It is very important that your doctors, and your lawyer, know about all injuries or medical problems that existed before your accident and those that came about after the accident. I’ve had great cases that literally disintegrated when these conditions were not disclosed early on. Sometimes this happens because we’re human and just forget BUT it is very important to try and recall all such problems. You need to know that the insurance companies keep a database of all claims made by individuals and they will likely know more about your medical and claims history than you do!

Be sure to tell your doctors about all of your complaints. I always tell my clients to take an imaginary trip from the top of their head to the tip of their toes and describe each ache, pain and symptom to the doctor so that it can be noted and analyzed. Diary Keep a diary or journal of your experiences after the accident. What hurts? What kind of treatment are you getting? Are you improving? How is your life changing? What could you do before the accident that you can’t do now? Keep a record of all of your out-of-pocket expenses.

Telephone_shhh Do Not Discuss Your Case

If the insurance company calls you for any reason whatsoever, I always tell my clients that the answer to any question is "Lowell Steiger." As sophomoric as it may sound, if they say "How’s the weather?" you say "Lowell Steiger,          (323) 852-1100        ." Do not talk to anyone other than your attorney, your doctor and, if you must talk to someone else, a trusted immediate family member.

Do not sign any documents without your lawyer’s approval.

In some cases, the other side will put you under surveillance. I always tell my clients that you have nothing to fear when your case is legitimate. As an attorney, I go to great pains to be sure that the cases in my caseload are always legitimate. This begins with the new-client interview process. Do not answer questions about your case to anyone other than your doctor or lawyer. You should be suspicious of anyone unfamiliar to you approaching you with questions about your case. Simply tell them that you have been instructed by your attorney to not discuss your case

Lawsuit The Lawsuit (Suing the "Bad Guys") If we can’t come to a reasonable settlement with the insurance company, then I must file a complaint against the at-fault party or parties on your behalf. In other words, we sue them. The party or parties that are sued then give the complaint to their insurance company who turns it over to their attorneys. Within approximately four weeks, the attorneys "answer" the complaint.

At that time, they will serve us with written questions called "interrogatories" and a demand for production of relevant documents (i.e., medical records, loss of earnings verification, police report, photographs, etc.). They will also ask to take your deposition which is really just an oral version of the questions asked during the written interrogatory phase. All responses, whether written or oral, are done under oath. You will be fully prepared for your deposition – I always spend many hours reviewing the facts of the case with my clients way in advance of the deposition. The procedure is explained to you in detail. Naturally, you will be accompanied by an attorney who is there to represent your interests and vigorously protect your rights.

And remember: Everything that they ask of you, we ask of them – we’ll take their depositions and serve interrogatory questions.

Although there is much more to the process, I hope that this gives you somewhat of an idea as to what to expect.

If you have questions, please feel free to e-mail me at lowell@steigerlaw.com or call me at          (323) 852-1100        .

Megan Meier: Myspace Hoax Leads to Teen Girl’s Suicide, Lori Drew Indicted

Myspace_megan_meier This story of the tragic teen suicide of Megan Meier is taken straight from the Associated Press article below.  This beautiful young girl, full of life and promise, killed herself as a result of a MySpace hoax allegedly crafted by Lori Drew, the mother of an ex-friend who wanted to see what Megan was saying about her daughter.  It is alleged that Lori Drew created the persona of "Josh" on MySpace to lure Megan into a false sense of budding romance, to gain her trust, raise her hopes and then destroy her.  Evil, just plain evil.  Born November 6, 1992, Died October 17, 2006.  (See video below)
It is clear that, to the extent possible, parents have to monitor their teenagers’ activities on the Internet.  This is not to say that, in this case, the parents could have prevented their daughter’s tragic suicide but parents must be vigilant in controlling access to the net.  If you scroll to the end of this article, I have added some links to various relevant sites as well as a youtube video dedicated to Megan Meier.
Linda Deutsch
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES – A Missouri woman was indicted Thursday for her alleged role in perpetrating a hoax on the online social network MySpace against a 13-year-old neighbor who committed suicide.

Lori_drew_3 Lori Drew of suburban St. Louis, who allegedly helped create a MySpace account in the name of someone who didn’t exist to convince Megan Meier she was chatting with a 16-year-old boy named Josh Evans, was charged with conspiracy and fraudulently gaining access to someone else’s computer.

Megan hanged herself at home in October 2006, allegedly after receiving a dozen or more cruel messages, including one stating the world would be better off without her.

Salvador Hernandez, assistant agent in charge of the Los Angeles FBI office, called the case heart-rending.

"The Internet is a world unto itself. People must know how far they can go before they must stop. They exploited a young girl’s weaknesses," Hernandez said. "Whether the defendant could have foreseen the results, she’s responsible for her actions."

Drew was charged with one count of conspiracy and three counts of accessing protected computers without authorization to get information used to inflict emotional distress on the girl.

Drew has denied creating the account or sending messages to Megan.

Her attorney, Jim Briscoe, did not immediately return messages seeking comment on Thursday.

A man who opened the door at the Drew family home in Dardenne Prairie, Mo., on Thursday said the family had no comment.

Megan’s mother, Tina Meier, told The Associated Press she believed media reports and public outrage helped move the case forward for prosecution.

"I’m thrilled that this woman is going to face charges that she has needed to face since the day we found out what was going on, and since the day she decided to be a part of this entire ridiculous stunt," she said.

Megan’s father, Ron Meier, 38, said he began to cry "tears of joy" when he heard of the indictment. The parents are now separated, which Tina Meier has said stemmed from the circumstances of their daughter’s death.

Tina Meier has acknowledged Megan was too young to have a MySpace account under the Web site’s guidelines, but she said she had been able to closely monitor the account. Meier’s family has also acknowledged that Megan was also sending mean messages before her death.

Megan was being treated for attention deficit disorder and depression, her family has said. Meier has said Drew knew Megan was on medication.

MySpace issued a statement saying it "does not tolerate cyberbullying" and was cooperating fully with the U.S. attorney.

U.S. Attorney Thomas P. O’Brien said this was the first time the federal statute on accessing protected computers has been used in a social-networking case. It has been used in the past to address hacking.

"This was a tragedy that did not have to happen," O’Brien said at a Los Angeles press conference.

Both the girl and MySpace are named as victims in the case, he said.

MySpace is a subsidiary of Beverly Hills-based Fox Interactive Media Inc., which is owned by News Corp. The indictment noted that MySpace computer servers are located in Los Angeles County.

Due to juvenile privacy rules, the U.S. attorney’s office said, the indictment refers to the girl as M.T.M.

FBI agents in St. Louis and Los Angeles investigated the case, Hernandez said.

Each of the four counts carries a maximum possible penalty of five years in prison.

Drew will be arraigned in St. Louis and then moved to Los Angeles for trial.

The indictment says MySpace members agree to abide by terms of service that include, among other things, not promoting information they know to be false or misleading; soliciting personal information from anyone under age 18 and not using information gathered from the Web site to "harass, abuse or harm other people."

Drew and others who were not named conspired to violate the service terms from about September 2006 to mid-October that year, according to the indictment. It alleges they registered as a MySpace member under a phony name and used the account to obtain information on the girl.

Drew and her coconspirators "used the information obtained over the MySpace computer system to torment, harass, humiliate, and embarrass the juvenile MySpace member," the indictment charged.

The indictment contends they committed or aided in a dozen "overt acts" that were illegal, including using a photograph of a boy that was posted without his knowledge or permission.

They used "Josh" to flirt with Megan, telling her she was "sexi," the indictment charged.

Around Oct., 7, 2006, Megan was told "Josh" was moving away, prompting the girl to write: "aww sexi josh ur so sweet if u moved back u could see me up close and personal lol."

Several days later, "Josh" urged the girl to call and added: "i love you so much."

But on or about Oct. 16, "Josh" wrote to the girl and told her "in substance, that the world would be a better place without M.T.M. in it," according to the indictment.

The girl hanged herself the same day, and Drew and the others deleted the information in the account, the indictment said.

Last month, an employee of Drew, 19-year-old Ashley Grills, told ABC’s "Good Morning America" she created the false MySpace profile but Drew wrote some of the messages to Megan.

Grills said Drew suggested talking to Megan via the Internet to find out what Megan was saying about Drew’s daughter, who was a former friend.

Grills also said she wrote the message to Megan about the world being a better place without her. The message was supposed to end the online relationship with "Josh" because Grills felt the joke had gone too far.

"I was trying to get her angry so she would leave him alone and I could get rid of the whole MySpace," Grills told the morning show.

Megan’s death was investigated by Missouri authorities, but no state charges were filed because no laws appeared to apply to the case.

Related Links

Megan Meier Police Report (The Smoking Gun)

Protect Kids on MySpace (CBS News)

Why Be Concerned about MySpace and Other Such Sites? (Wiredsafety.org)

A Parent’s Guide to MySpace (a book by Larry Dale)

MySpace Agrees to Protect Children from Sexual Predators (The Plain Dealer)

Who’s Talking to Your Kids Online? (Consumer Reports)

About Teen Suicide (Kidshealth.org)

Teenage Suicide (Wikipedia)

Some Things You Should Know About Preventing Teen Suicide (American Academy of Pediatrics)

And the list goes on and on.  You can google teen suicide or MySpace protecting children to find even more articles about this devastating subject.

13-year-old Megan met Josh at MySpace. Their friendship blossomed until one day Josh turned vicious. Megan killed herself. But it wasn’t Josh who had attacked her online. Watch this youtube video:

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The Law Office of Lowell Steiger Represents Injured Victims

If you have suffered a Personal Injury, Call for a Free Consultation

Contact Attorney Lowell Steiger at (323) 852-1100

or via e-mail at lowell@steigerlaw.com

"Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"

www.steigerlaw.com

New Cell Phone Laws for California as of July 1, 2008: Watch the Video and Read the Text

Drivingoncellphoneandeating Well folks, here's the low down on the new California cell phone laws that go into effect on July 1, 2008 taken directly from the DMV Website.  Whatever you do, do NOT drive while holding your cell phone – you need to be using hands free technology.  And please, please don't text while driving.

Watch the DMV Video by Clicking Here

 

Update: 2009 Law Bans Text Messaging while Driving – See Video

Two new laws dealing with the use of wireless telephones while driving go into effect July 1, 2008. Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions concerning these new laws.

Q: When do the new wireless telephone laws take effect?
A: The new laws take effect July 1, 2008.

Q: What is the difference between the two laws?
A: The first prohibits all drivers from using a hand held wireless telephone while operating a motor vehicle, (Vehicle Code (VC) §23123). Motorists 18 and over may use a "hands-free device." Drivers under the age of 18 may NOT use a wireless telephone or hands-free device while operating a motor vehicle (VC §23124).

Q: What if I need to use my telephone during an emergency, and I do not have a "hands-free" device?
A: The law allows a driver to use a wireless telephone to make emergency calls to a law enforcement agency, a medical provider, the fire department, or other emergency services agency.

Q: What are the fines(s) if I’m convicted?
A: The base fine for the FIRST offense is $20 and $50 for subsequent convictions. With the addition of penalty assessments, the fines can be more than triple the base fine amount.

Q: Will I receive a point on my driver license if I’m convicted for a violation of the wireless telephone law?
A: No. The violation is a reportable offense, however, DMV will not assign a violation point.

Q: Will the conviction appear on my driving record?
A: Yes, but the violation point will not be added.

Q: Will there be a grace period when motorists will only get a warning?
A: No. The law becomes effective July 1, 2008. Whether a citation is issued is always at the discretion of the officer based upon his or her determination of the most appropriate remedy for the situation.

Q: Are passengers affected by this law?
A: No. This law only applies to the person driving a motor vehicle.

Q: Do these laws apply to out-of-state drivers whose home states do not have such laws?
A: Yes.

Q: Can I be pulled over by a law enforcement officer for using my hand held wireless telephone?
A: Yes. A law enforcement officer can pull you over just for this infraction.

Q: What if my phone has a push-to-talk feature, can I use that?
A: No. The law does provide an exception for those operating a commercial motor truck or truck tractor (excluding pickups), implements of husbandry, farm vehicle or tow truck, to use a two-way radio operated by a “push-to-talk” feature. However, a push-to-talk feature attached to a hands-free ear piece or other hands-free device is acceptable.

Q: What other exceptions are there?
A: Operators of an authorized emergency vehicle during the course of employment are exempt, as are those motorists operating a vehicle on private property.


DRIVERS 18 AND OVER

Drivers 18 and over will be allowed to use a "hands-free" device to talk on their wireless telephone while driving. The following FAQs apply to those motorists 18 and over.

Q: Does the new “hands-free” law prohibit you from dialing a wireless telephone while driving or just talking on it?
A: The new law does not prohibit dialing, but drivers are strongly urged not to dial while driving.

Bluetoothheadsetreview

Q: Will it be legal to use a Bluetooth or other earpiece?
A: Yes, however you cannot have BOTH ears covered.

Q: Does the new "hands-free" law allow you to use the speaker phone function of your wireless telephone while driving?
A: Yes.

Q: Does the new “hands-free” law allow drivers 18 and over to text message while driving?
A: The law does not specifically prohibit that, but an officer can pull over and issue a citation to a driver of any age if, in the officer’s opinion, the driver was distracted and not operating the vehicle safely. Sending text messages while driving is unsafe at any speed and is strongly discouraged.


DRIVERS UNDER 18

Q: Am I allowed to use my wireless telephone "hands-free?"
A: No. Drivers under the age of 18 may not use a wireless telephone, pager, laptop or any other electronic communication or mobile services device to speak or text while driving in any manner, even "hands-free." EXCEPTION: Permitted in emergency situations to call police, fire or medical authorities (VC §23124).

Q: Why is the law stricter for provisional drivers?
A: Statistics show that teen drivers are more likely than older drivers to be involved in crashes because they lack driving experience and tend to take greater risks. Teen drivers are vulnerable to driving distractions such as talking with passengers, eating or drinking, and talking or texting on wireless devices, which increase the chance of getting involved in serious vehicle crashes.

Q: Can my parents give me permission to allow me to use my wireless telephone while driving?
A: No. The only exception is an emergency situation that requires you to call a law enforcement agency, a health care provider, the fire department or other emergency agency entity.

Q: Does the law apply to me if I’m an emancipated minor?
A: Yes. The restriction applies to all licensed drivers who are under the age of 18.

Q: If I have my parent(s) or someone age 25 years or older in the car with me, may I use my wireless telephone while driving?
A: No. You may only use your wireless telephone in an emergency situation.

Q: Will the restriction appear on my provisional license?
A: No.

Q: May I use the hands-free feature while driving if my car has the feature built in?
A: No. The law prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from using any type of wireless device while driving, except in an emergency situation.

Q: Can a law enforcement officer stop me for using my "hands-free" device while driving?
A: For drivers under the age of 18, this is considered a SECONDARY violation meaning that a law enforcement officer may cite you for using a "hands-free" wireless device if you were pulled over for another violation. However, the prohibition against using a hand held wireless device while driving is a PRIMARY violation for which a law enforcement officer can pull you over.

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The Law Office of Lowell Steiger Represents Injured Victims

If you have suffered a Personal Injury, Call for a Free Consultation

Contact Attorney Lowell Steiger at (323) 852-1100

or via e-mail at lowell@steigerlaw.com

"Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"

www.steigerlaw.com 

What To Do If You’re In An Accident

Things to Do If You’re Involved in an Auto Accident

Auto_accident_001

CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY TO SUMMON POLICE and/or PARAMEDICS

Then get the following information:

  1. Name, address and phone number of other driver(s) involved in the accident
  2. Driver’s license number of other driver(s) involved in the accident
  3. Insurance information of other driver(s) involved in the accident, name of insurance company, policy number
  4. Registered owner information of other vehicles involved in the accident
  5. If any of the other drivers appears to be on the job for a company, get the name of that company
  6. Passengers in other vehicles? Get their names, addresses, phone numbers
  7. Actual location of accident (street, intersection, exact address, if possible)
  8. Witness information: Names, addresses, phone numbers
  9. Jot down basic information such as weather conditions, street condition, traffic (light, medium, heavy), time of day that accident happened
  10. Very Important: Do not speak to anyone other than your doctor(s) without the advice of an attorney.  In particular, DO NOT give a statement to any insurance company, recorded or not, without the advice of an attorney.

Keep a camera in your car at all times (disposable, camera phone, digital camera, etc.) and take pictures of the cars (including damage, license plates), people, scene.Camera_phone

Kodakmaxoutdoorcamerapromotional

Some excellent links What To Do If You’re In An Accident

MSN Money: Insure Your Car.  Important tips on basic auto insurance

State Bar of California. Links to 14 important questions such as "What Information Should I Get at the Scene" and "Do I Need Auto Insurance?" as well as a link to download an entire pamphlet on the subject.

Roadragers.com. Practical tips and advice from the site whose tagline is "when you just can’t take it anymore."

The following video report from Allstate and Newstream explains what to do if you’re ever involved in a traffic accident.

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The Law Office of Lowell Steiger Represents Injured Victims

If you have suffered a Personal Injury, Call for a Free Consultation

Contact Attorney Lowell Steiger at (323) 852-1100

or via e-mail at lowell@steigerlaw.com

"Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"

www.steigerlaw.com

Gas Saving Tips: Video, Links, More

Gas_prices_512_512 It’s no secret that gas prices are climbing up, up and away!  So I’ve done a little research and have found some links and a video with gas saving tips — the most common sense tip, of course, is slow down!  Yahoo! published a report from Kiplinger which lists 5 gas saving tips:

  • Find the Lowest Gas Prices by searching GasBuddy.com or GasPriceWatch.com by zip code or city and state to get the lowest prices in your area.
  • Target the Best Time of Day to Buy Gas: The best time of day to fill up your tank is before dawn or late at night, when the sun and traffic volume are both down. Stations usually will raise prices during the day, especially for rush hour.
  • Improve Your Car’s Gas Mileage: High speeds, quick starts, and squealing stops burn more gas and money. In his own test, Toews found that he could save 15% by driving 62 mph on the open highway rather than 75 mph. Using cruise control can save you even more. Smoother rides, with less pedal pushing, can save up to 37% in fuel economy, according to Edmunds.com. And don’t let your car idle because idling uses up a ton of gas!
  • Keep Your Car in Healthy Shape: Toews says that proper maintenance of air filters, spark plugs, and fluid levels is best for your car and wallet.  And maintain proper tire pressure.
  • Get A Gas Rewards Card: Carrying the right credit card can earn you rebates on gas purchases. One of the most popular rewards cards found using our credit card tool is the Citi Dividend Platinum Select MasterCard. Swiping this card at your gas station earns you 5% cash back, as well as 1% on all other purchases.

Click here to read the entire Kiplinger article on Yahoo!

Here are some links to help you save gas:

Fuel Saving Zone (.com) – Tips, tips and more tips (61 to be exact)

U.S. Department of Energy provides useful information to find and compare cars, gasoline mileage tips, hybrids, diesels and other alternatives and vehicle purchases with tax incentives.

10 Fuel Saving Tips from Gas Buddy in addition to what we’ve already mentioned, use a/c sparingly, keep windows closed, use cruise control and avoid heavy loads.

The Federal Trade Commission has a fun, interactive website which details how to save gas by paying attention to different parts of your car such as the driver’s seat, steering wheel, gas tank, tires, under the hood and the trunk.

Finally, here’s a video from www.fuelsavingzone.com describing 7 (of 61) ways to save gas

The Law Office of Lowell Steiger Represents Injured Victims

If you have suffered a Personal Injury, Call for a Free Consultation

Contact Attorney Lowell Steiger at (323) 852-1100

or via e-mail at lowell@steigerlaw.com

"Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"

www.steigerlaw.com

Work Injuries Resulting From Negligent Third Party (Someone Other Than Your Employer)

On_the_job_injury Through California’s Worker’s Compensation Laws injured employees are able to recover from the limited benefits of their employer’s insurance.  But what happens in cases where an employee has sustained an on-the-job injury caused by someone other than the employer? Simply put, in addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim, the injured employee may sue this third party (i.e., other person or entity) in tort law. Third party cases may fall into categories such as traffic accidents, slip & fall incidents, defective products, defective equipment or the exposure to toxic substances and any number of other situations.

If a worker suffers a significant injury, it is highly probable that they will not receive sufficient funds from a workers’ compensation claim because workers’ compensation claims are not based upon fault whereas tort claims are based on fault and include monetary compensation for pain and suffering.  Therefore, pursuing claims against a negligent third party is critical to ensure maximum compensation for injuries or death.

           Every on-the-job injury should be evaluated by an experienced attorney to determine if a third party claim exists.

The personal injury component of a workers’ compensation claim is oftentimes overlooked.  Here are just a few examples of such cases that my office has successfully handled (all clients were on-the-job but we also sued a third party on their behalf):

·         Male bus driver rear-ended by automobile.  He suffered a knee injury which required arthroscopic surgery. Significant confidential settlement.

·         Female building maintenance person who slipped due to wet carpets when exiting the elevator of her office building.  At the time of the incident, a carpet cleaning company (third party) was cleaning the carpet and failed to post signs warning of the dangerous condition.  Serious knee injuries. Large 6-figure settlement against the carpet cleaning company.

·         U.S. Postal Worker who was in Los Angeles on business suffered severe burns to his left foot due to the hotel’s providing scalding hot water to the shower.  The client almost lost his leg due to complications.  Significant settlement against the hotel.

·         Male law firm investigator was rear-ended while in the field. He suffered injuries sufficient to require him to undergo neck and back surgeries. Policy limit settlement against the driver of the offending vehicle.

·         Female Cal-Trans worker was in a lift changing a street light when an the top of an 18-wheeler grazed the bottom of her bucket, throwing her several feet out of the bucket. She hung in the air by her safety belts.  The worker suffered severe physical and emotional injuries as a result. Significant 6-figure settlement against the trucking company.

The attorney handling the third party portion of the claim must work closely with the workers’ compensation attorney as well as with the workers’ compensation insurance carrier because of the unique legal issues presented in these situations.

If you have suffered a work related injury and have reason to believe that a third-party may bear some liability, please call or e-mail me to discuss your legal rights.

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The Law Office of Lowell Steiger Represents Injured Victims

If you have suffered a Personal Injury, Call for a Free Consultation

Contact Attorney Lowell Steiger at (323) 852-1100

or via e-mail at lowell@steigerlaw.com

"Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"

www.steigerlaw.com

Foreclosure “Rescue” Scams

001_dreams_foreclosed Yahoo! News published a fascinating article by Nick Carey entitled "Troubled Homeowners Fall Prey to ‘Rescue’ Scams." 

Among the byproducts of the U.S. housing crisis is a surge in scams that cheat people out of their money, their homes, or both, under the guise of offering to rescue them from foreclosure.

"There is a lot of money to be made if you are good at committing fraud," said Debra Zimmerman, an attorney at Los Angeles-based Bet Tzedek Legal Services, which provides free legal assistance to stricken home owners. "Foreclosure rescue scams are big business right now."

Groups like Zimmerman’s say that as soon as borrowers end up in foreclosure — a matter of public record in the United States – they are bombarded with calls, leaflets and knocks on the door from people armed with fraudulent offers of help.

Huston Julian, 54, of Eastpointe, Michigan, nearly fell for such a scam. Julian bought a home in this working class suburb of Detroit in October 2006, but fell behind with his $1,084 monthly payment when his disability benefits were cut off. He ended up in foreclosure in December. Read the rest of the article here

According to Fraudguides.com, Mortgage Foreclosure Rescue Scams usually fall into one of three categories:

  • Phantom Help: The "rescuer" charges very high fees for basic phone calls and paperwork that the homeowner could have done on his or her own
  • Bailout: "Rescuer" helps homeowner get rid of their house and, somehow, title always ends up in the "rescuer’s" name
  • Bait and Switch: Scammers tell victim they are signing new loan documents to bail them out of current problems but they are actually signing forged documents that give the scammers ownership of their home.  Victim will still owe for the mortgage but will no longer have the asset.

The National Consumer Law Center, Inc. has published a 4 page treatise entitled Consumer Facts for Older Americans which warns that "older Americans who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments are being disproportionately targeted for so-called "rescue" scams."  They discuss the issues of Phantom Help, False "Bailouts" and Bait-and-Switch scams.  The article goes on to describe how a foreclosure rescue scam works, how to avoid foreclosure "rescue" scams, some major don’ts for homeowners in trouble and they provide a link to their 68 page report Dreams Foreclosed: The Rampant Theft of Americans’ Homes Through Equity Stripping Foreclosure "Rescue" Scams.

A Google search on Rescue Scams provides a wealth of links with some very valuable information.

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How has the Subprime Crisis affected you? 

  • Foreclosure?
  • Victim of Real Estate Fraud? 
  • Skyrocketing mortgage payments?
  • Negative credit rating?
  • Victim of Predatory Lending? 
  • Misled by lenders?

Call or e-mail me to learn about your legal rights.  Maybe all is not yet lost…

Lowell Steiger, Attorney at Law (323) 852-1100

lowell@steigerlaw.com