10 Things to Remember if You're in a Car Crash

What Should You Do?

The minutes and hours following a car accident can be a confusing blur. Assuming you've moved your body outside the zone of danger, there are a few things you can do to help avoid conflicts regarding the facts of the accident:

1. Seek Medical Attention.

  Yes, there are other things that are important, but be sure to take care of your health first. Try to take a few deep breaths and evaluate your physical condition. Do the same for your passengers. 

2. Decide Whether to Move Your Vehicle.

If you're on a highway or freeway and you're safely able to do so, most jurisdictions prefer parties involved in the accident to move their vehicles off the roadway. If, however, you're unsure of the safety of doing so, leave it there. Some vehicles are obviously unmovable due to damage caused by the accident, so don't force the issue if the vehicle won't move. If possible, take photos of the scene from multiple angles prior to moving your vehicle.

3. Contact law enforcement.

Usually, this means calling 911. There are many reasons that having a police officer or highway patrolman take an official report may be helpful. 

4. Exchange Insurance Information.

Be sure to exchange information with all involved parties, not just the party you think is at fault. Don't forget to get drivers licenses as well. Most people drive with cell phones that have cameras, so the exchange of information is easier now than ever before. 

5. Take Photos.

You should take photos from multiple angles of all vehicles and the surrounding areas. If possible, do this prior to moving vehicles from where they came to rest after the accident.

5. Witnesses.

You may think it is obvious who caused the accident, but it is always important to have the contact information of witnesses, just in case there is a conflict later on about who caused the wreck.

6. Call An Injury Attorney

Nearly all injury attorneys give free consultations. A short phone call to an injury attorney will help you determine how to move forward. If you were injured, an injury lawyer will know the best path forward, and will be able to give you advice and counsel as to how to best proceed with your claim.

7. Call Your Insurance Provider

Most insurance companies require you to report all accidents involving your vehicle.

8. Don't Talk

Do not talk to the other driver's insurance company. You should never give a recorded statement to the other party's insurance carrier without first consulting an experienced injury attorney. There are countless seemingly insignificant things their insurance adjuster may ask you to say or confirm that can hurt your ability to recover a fair and reasonable settlement for your losses.

9. Follow Up

If you were injured in a car wreck, and you sought medical treatment, you should follow up with your doctor. Usually this means getting the treatment they prescribe. At a minimum, you should go to the follow up visit to discuss your injuries as time passes. Remember, if it isn't well-documented by a doctor, the insurance company will not take your word for it. Harsh as it seems, if a doctor doesn't specifically say you were injured, you were not injured at all in the eyes of the insurance adjuster.

10. Don't Settle For Less Than Fair Value

Insurance companies are incredibly savvy at getting injured people to accept small amounts of money to resolve their claims. If you were hurt, you deserve not only the cost of your medical expenses, but also money for pain and suffering. Don't settle for less than fair. If you feel like you're not making progress with the insurance adjuster, you're not alone: nearly every personal injury claim is valued higher when it is handled by a skilled injury attorney. The lawyers at The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. have the experience to help you recover a fair settlement for your injury.

 

Distracted Driving

When discussing injury cases with clients and potential clients, and it's amazing how many accidents are the result of distracted driving. Unfortunately, due to the long nature of many Southern Californian's commutes, many people leave work overworked and tired and have an hour or more of stop-and-go traffic ahead of them.  According to the US Department of Transportation at any given moment there are over 660,000 people manipulating a smart phone at any given moment. As scary as that statistic may be, distracted driving can certainly be avoided on your part, and there are several indicators that a driver near you is driving distracted. 

What To Look For

Similar to spotting drunk drivers, distracted drivers are often driving above or below the normal speed of traffic. Commonly a driver who is manipulating a smart phone is driving slower than the traffic around them. Driving too slow can be a hazard to everyone on the road. Of course, many distracted drivers drift out of their lane veer into another and cause a car crash.

Distracted drivers are also known to have unpredictable spacing between the cars around them. For example, they might not catch the green light until the cars in the neighboring lane have gone leagues ahead, or they speed up and then slam on their breaks quickly.  If you're driving at night and see someone with their blinker on for a prolonged period of time, take caution. Similarly, distracted drivers may forget to turn their headlights on, or may not turn their lights on all the way. Distracted drivers may also use their overhead lights on to more easily manipulate their smart phone while driving.  

What To Do

Using an abundance of caution, you should avoid getting too close to the driver you suspect is using a smart phone while driving. Pass the car when it is safe to do so, but don't try to force the driver to pull over or take matters into your own hands. I often honk at the driver I notice using their smart phone in an attempt to bring their eyes to the road. If you're a passenger in a car that sees someone who is most likely driving distracted, it is appropriate to give the fellow driver a massive stink eye but most importantly recognize that your fellow driver is distracted and a hazard on the road.  

GET A POLICE REPORT

You may assume that if you were hit by a distracted driver, you won't be found at fault for the accident and your insurance will "take care of it." Unfortunately, rarely is it that simple. First, you should get a police report and specifically request that your observations of the driver's distracted state of mind be noted on the report. If you are injured by a distracted driver, every bit of information that clarifies that you were not at fault can help your case.

Finally, give us a call if you have any questions. We've handled many cases where our clients have been injured by drivers on their cell phones. The experienced injury attorneys at The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. represent auto accident injury cases throughout the state of California, and we're standing by, ready to take your call.

Tips for Avoiding Motorcycle Accidents

Riding a motorcycle is dangerous, regardless of how experienced you are. Because we see so many motorcycle cases where our clients are not at fault but still suffer serious injury, we thought we'd put together a few tips for the motorcycle community. 

DO YOUR HOMEWORK

Most riders think that so long as they know how to operate the motorcycle, the rest will come naturally. For this reason, many riders forego taking a safety course, or even reading the safety manual that comes with most new bikes. The tuition for motorcycle safety courses is usually a lot lower than most riders expect, and the proper course could make all the difference. Most riders who have taken a course attest to the value of what they learn in the course.

WATCH FOR CARS TURNING LEFT

Cars turning left into motorcycles is the most common cause of motorcycle versus car accidents. Drivers of cars turning left often have a hard time discerning how fast the motorcycle is driving. When riding, pay close attention to cars turning left in front of you, or into your same lane. The knowledge that left hand turns account for the most injury-related accidents involving cars and motorcycles alone may help riders be more cautious and aware.

LANE CHANGES

Similar to left hand turns, changing lanes can be difficult for automobile drivers when it comes to evaluating how fast the vehicles surrounding the driver are moving. For this reason, riders should pay special attention to areas of the road where cars are likely to attempt a lane change. Remember, not all drivers use their blinkers, and many drivers fail to check their blind spot prior to moving into another lane. Be attentive and keep an eye out for lazy and distracted drivers who might merge into the lane you're riding in without looking.

REAR END ACCIDENTS

Unfortunately, many injured motorcyclists are hit from behind by inattentive and distracted drivers. Remember, your brake light, no matter how bright, is smaller than the brake light of a car (which has two large brake lights). 

When braking, remember to pump your brakes. This is not only better for the wear and tear on your bike, but it also makes your brake light flash on and off, which tends to draw the attention of other drivers on the road. Also, when you do come to a stop, do so not directly behind the vehicle in front of you, but to the side, if space allows. 

SAND AND GRAVEL

Especially on turns, sand or gravel on the road can be especially dangerous for motorcycle riders. If one of your wheels slips too much, losing control of your bike can happen quickly and recovery from a slide can be difficult, if not impossible. Take extra precaution when riding in areas known to have debris, gravel, and sand on the road. Similarly, when riding in the early morning hours or late at night, be aware that more condensation on the road can lead to minimized grip between your tires and the road. 

If you are involved in a motorcycle accident in California and you need an experienced attorney to help you recover, call our office today. We will provide you with a full consultation at no cost to you, and we'll advise you as to your best options moving forward. 

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. 

Avoiding Drowsy Driving (It Can Be as Bad as Drunk Driving!)

We've discussed thousands of injury cases with clients and potential clients, and it's amazing how many accidents are the result of drowsy driving. Unfortunately, due to the long nature of many Southern Californian's commutes, many people leave work exhausted and have an hour or more of stop-and-go traffic ahead of them.  According to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA), a full 1/3 of all drivers have either nodded off at the wheel, or have fallen asleep while driving. As scary as that statistic may be, drowsy driving can certainly be avoided on your part, and there are several indicators that a driver near you is falling asleep at the wheel.

What To Look For

Similar to spotting drunk drivers, drowsy drivers are often driving above or below the normal speed of traffic. Commonly drowsy drivers drive slower than the traffic around them. Driving too slow can be a hazard to everyone on the road. Of course, many drowsy drivers nod off while driving slow and veer into another lane and cause a car crash.

Drowsy drivers are also known to forget things they wouldn't if they were well rested. For example, if you're driving at night and see someone with their blinker on for a prolonged period of time, take caution. Similarly, drowsy drivers may forget to turn their headlights on, or may not turn their lights on all the way. Drowsy drivers may also use their bright beam lights for extended periods of time in an effort to stay awake. Finally, drivers with their windows down or with extremely loud music may be trying to avoid falling asleep. Of course, not everyone who matches these descriptions is drowsy, but they are indicators that the driver behind the wheel may be fighting exhaustion. 

What To Do

Using an abundance of caution, you should avoid getting too close to the driver you suspect is falling asleep. Pass the car when it is safe to do so, but don't try to force the driver to pull over or take matters into your own hands. If you're a passenger in a car that sees someone who is most likely falling asleep, it is appropriate to call the police, similar to what you would do if you saw an obviously drunk driver.

How To Avoid Driving Drowsy

  • Get enough sleep! This may seem obvious, but when your body wants to sleep, there are very few things that will keep it awake. Eventually, the human body succumbs to exhaustion, even with caffeine and other stimulants in the system. Also, don't assume you can only become drowsy in the evening - many drowsy driving car accidents happen in the early morning hours and involve drowsy drivers who are heading to work early.
  • Don't rush it. If you plan ahead, you'll give yourself plenty of time to arrive at your destination, allowing for rest breaks if exhaustion arises.
  • Avoid driving at night. Drowsy drivers, inattentive drivers, and drunk drivers are all out at night!
  • Check your medications. Many medications cause drowsiness, so if you're taking something new, take the time to make sure you are aware of the possible side-effects. Err on the side of caution and do not drive if drowsiness is a possible side effect and you have not taken the medication before.
  • Drink a caffeinated beverage if you're trying to stave off exhaustion, but be aware that the stimulating effects of caffeine are no match for an exhausted mind or body. Caffeine should be a last-ditch effort, and you should never assume that because you're drinking caffeine, you won't fall asleep. Many accidents that have resulted in serious injury and death were caused by drowsy drivers who were drinking caffeine at the time they caused the accident.

What To Do If You're Injured By a Drowsy Driver

The Lions Injury Lawyers help individuals who are injured in car accidents, and we have helped many Californians recover from car accidents caused by drowsy drivers. Some of the car accidents that result in the worst injuries are caused by drowsy drivers, but insurance companies generally do not view drowsy driving on the same level of seriousness as drunk driving. The Lions Injury Lawyers fight to help people injured by drowsy drivers recover both physically and financially. Call (888) 248-1409 if you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by a drowsy driver. Contact The Lions Injury Lawyers today with any questions!

Documenting Your Expenses For Your Personal Injury Claim

The cost of an auto accident can quickly spiral out of control. When you face the potential for large medical bills due to someone else's negligence, it is understandable that many people become distraught and frustrated. Add to the mix the cost of childcare, time off work, transportation costs to and from treatment, and prescription medications, and your out-of-pocket expenses may become substantial. With the help of a good injury attorney you can be reimbursed for these expenses, but not without receipts. Insurance companies are notorious for refusing to pay for any expense without a receipt. 

Keep All Receipts

The best thing you can do is to keep all of your receipts. Most smartphones are able to scan receipts easy. Give these to your personal injury attorney. In the hands of an experienced injury lawyer, the at-fault party's insurance company will likely eventually pay up. Unfortunately, some costs can be impossible to recover without a receipt. For example, if you have young children and you have to pay someone to watch them when you go to your doctor appointment, you must have some documentation of this in order to get your money back.

Keep A Diary

The better you keep track of your expenses and physical recovery, the stronger your case is likely to be. Detail your progress physically, and of course record all out-of-pocket expenses. Remember, if the accident was not your fault, you should not have to pay for your recovery. The cost of transportation adds up. After a few months, that ten mile drive (one way) to your doctor cost you a lot more than a few dollars! Don't just pay for it - keep track of it!

Provide Your Injury Lawyer Your Bills

Billing departments commonly send out frequent reminders of outstanding bills. Your attorney should have these, as they make your case stronger. Your attorney should be the first point of contact for medical billing departments, but if this is not the case, you want to make sure your lawyers have the most accurate cost of your medical expenses. 

"I Don't Want To Sue Anyone"

If someone hit you and injured you, that person's auto insurance policy will pay for your injuries eventually. Of course, most people who try to reach a settlement on their own either settle for a small amount, or become so frustrated that a good injury attorney is needed to get a realistic and fair settlement worked out. Don't feel bad about filing a claim - this is what auto insurance is for. Most of us do not keep tens of thousands of dollars in our bank accounts, just in case we injure someone. This is what insurance companies do, and they make enormous amounts of money. You are only hurting yourself by not filing a claim if you were hurt by the negligence of an insured driver.

When To Call An Injury Lawyer

If keeping track of all your medical expenses becomes too much, a good injury law firm will have an experienced staff ready to help you. Also, if you're trying to get your medical bills reimbursed but the driver's insurance company is not playing fair, you need a lawyer. Unfortunately, often the only way to get the insurance company's attention is for a lawyer to call on you behalf. When this happens, their review process automatically changes. This works in your favor, and most of the time it means you will walk away with more money in your pocket. 

For more information about California Personal Injury claims, contact The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. today. 

How To Escape If Trapped Inside Your Vehicle Following An Accident

If you've ever been trapped inside your vehicle following a car accident, you know it can be scary and frustrating. The experience of being involved in an accident is alone enough to cause significant anxiety. Couple that with the inability to escape the vehicle and the possibility of having incurred an injury during the accident, and you have a stressful situation.

Call 911

If you are able, call 911 immediately. If you cannot, signal to someone outside the vehicle to do so. The authorities have the technology and equipment to get you out. The sooner someone who is able to get you out is on the way, the sooner you will be able to escape from your vehicle.

Remove Your Seatbelt

If you are trapped upside down, remove your seatbelt. So long as the car is not moving, you can remove your seatbelt and try to get comfortable. 

Roll Down Windows

If you are able, roll down the windows. This will increase airflow into the car. Also, if your vehicle is in water, the electrical system will give out eventually; you want to roll down your windows before this happens. 

Remain Calm

Panicking will not help. Trust that the police will arrive and help. If there are any witnesses or people passing by, they may be able to help, but remember that they are unlikely to have the expertise or equipment necessary to open your vehicle and get you out. 

Seek Medical Treatment if Necessary

If you were injured in an accident that trapped you in your car, you will likely want to go home and rest immediately after getting out. Remember that the insurance company of the person who caused the accident will look to see how long it took you to go seek medical care. If you wait too long after the accident to go to urgent care or the hospital, you may have a difficult time getting the at-fault driver's insurance company to pay for your medical expenses. 

Can an Injury Attorney Help?

Possibly. If you were injured, you owe it to yourself to speak with a professional. The injury attorneys at The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. have represented many clients who were trapped in their vehicles after an accident. Contact The Lions today to discuss the details of your case.

Common Mistakes After a Dog Bite

Not Seeking Medical Care Will Hurt Your Claim

Many people feel apprehensive about seeking medical treatment following a dog bite injury. A dog bite is nothing to be ashamed of. Some of the worst injuries come from dog bites. Occassionally people injured in a dog bite incident feel shy about seeking medical treatment because they feel they should not have been injured by the dog. Young dogs, for example, have extremeley sharp teeth. Injuries caused by an aggressive, young dog can be severe, and the injured should not hesitate to treat wounds appropriately.

How Common Are Dog Bites?

The CDC estimates there are approximately 4.7 million dog bites each year. Of these, nearly 800,000 people require medical attention immediately. In 2015 alone, 34 dog bites resulted in fatality. 

Studies show that victims who hire an attorney settle their claims for approximately 3.5 times higher than their counterparts who attempt to settle on their own.

Frequent Mistakes

If you require medical attention, seek it right away. Insurance carriers will try to reject your claim for compensation if you wait too long. Also, regardless of how serious the bite looks, a dog's mouth is home to bacteria that may lead to infection. Sometimes, an infection from a dog bite can spread throughout your body without you knowing. The safe route is to seek medical treatment if the skin is broken.

Contact the Police or Animal Control

Also, you should contact local authorities. Animal control should be aware of the incident. This protects you, and it also protects your community. If nothing else, this shows you are a responsible citizen who is concerned about the safety of others. Animal control (often called in by the police) will have additional information that may be helpful.

Document Your Injuries

Failure to document injuries will hurt your claim. It is best to take photos immediately after the bite, as well as occasionally in the weeks and months following the dog bite. This will enable your lawyer to show the extent and long-term effects of the dog bite. 

Don't Settle On Your Own

Attempting to settle your claim on your own is unlikely to result in you receiving the true value of your claim. Insurance adjusters tend to especially dislike dog bites, as they view them as somehow less severe or significant. Do not be pushed around by an insurance adjuster who tells you your injury does not merit compensation. 

Speak With An Injury Attorney

Nobody expects to be bitten by a dog and then have to contact an attorney. However, failure to review your case with an attorney will ensure you receive less money from the dog owner's insurance company. Some of the worst injuries we have seen at The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. are from dog bites. We know that a serious dog bite can result in life-long scarring, both mental and physical. Contact The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C., today for a free evaluation of your dog bite or animal bite case.

 

How To Prevent a Rollover

One of the most dangerous types of car accidents is one that involves a rollover. Rollovers occur when a vehicle flips or rolls, which often results in serious injury. Because rollovers tend to result in serious injury, it is important for all drivers to understand how rollover accidents happen, as well as understand a few tips that can help avoid them.

VEHICLE TYPE

Rollovers are more common in tall, narrow vehicles, such as pickup trucks, SUVs and vans. This is because these vehicles have a high center of gravity. Smaller vehicles have a lower center of gravity, and therefore are less prone to roll. Think about the design of a race car, or an exotic sports car: because these vehicles are low to the ground, they rarely roll. On the other hand, imagine a tall truck taking a sharp turn at a fast speed: the center of gravity is higher, and therefore the truck is more likely to roll.

ROAD CONDITONS

The condition of the road can also contribute to the potential of a rollover accident. Roads that are wet or icy are unpredictable. If there are sharp turns or blind corners on the road, these also create a potentially dangerous situation. Common debris, such as blown out tires and trash, can cause rollovers if left in the roadway. When drivers see a large piece of debris, they often swerve abruptly, which is dangerous if the vehicle is moving at a high speed. 

GOOD DRIVING MATTERS

Good driving can help prevent rollover accidents. According to the NHTSA, 90% of single-automobile rollover accidents result after routine maneuvering. Thus, some other driver behavior contributes to the crash. This may include excessive speed, drunk driving, and distracted driving. Otherwise safe and common maneuvers can become dangerous and result in a rollover when coupled with inattentive or dangerous driving.

ROLLOVER PREVENTION

You can start by being aware of the propensities the vehicle you're driving may have. If you're driving an SUV or a long, tall vehicle, be aware that your vehicle is prone to rolling. Use caution when driving at high speeds, and never make abrupt, sharp turns. Be attentive to debris in the road by occasionally looking into the distance while driving. When there's moisture on the road, remember that your vehicle will respond differently, and that road conditions can contribute to rollovers.

INJURED IN A ROLLOVER?

If you were involved in a rollover crash that was not your fault, we may be able to help. The personal injury attorneys at The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. have helped many families recover from injuries incurred from a rollover accident. If you're unsure if you need an attorney to help you with your injury claim, contact The Lions today for a free, no-risk case evaluation.

Involved in a Bicycle v. Car Accident? Here's What to do Next

Road biking is a popular sport in California, and the summertime brings cyclists to the streets in droves. Add casual leisure cyclists to the roads, as well as children on bikes, and you won't drive far this summer without seeing someone on a bicycle. Tragically, bicycle accidents result in many serious accidents every year. Due to the exposed nature of the cyclist, injuries involving someone on a bicycle often result in fractures and injuries to the head. 

The speed of the car that hits a cyclist is not always the most important factor. Even low-speed accidents with a cyclist can result in permanent and severe injury. Cyclists do not have the physical protections that a car does, and so even a slow moving car, if unaware of the presence of a cyclist, can cause severe injury and even death. 

If you were involved in an accident while on your bicycle, it is important to remember a few things. You should try to get as much information about the vehicle and driver that hit you. Of course, first treat your injuries and do what you can do get to a safe area away from the roadway. If possible, identify any potential witnesses. Get the driver's license, insurance carrier, and license plate, if you are able. 

Do not refuse medical treatment if you need it. Many people who are injured on their bicycles want only to return home immediately after the accident. This is often the natural and intuitive response. However, the driver's insurance company will likely use this against you when it comes time for them to pay for your medical bills. Additionally, failure to properly treat injuries will be used against you. Insurance adjusters routinely state that unless an injured cyclist immediately seeks treatment, the injuries must not be severe enough to merit compensation from the insurance provider of the driver. Do not be taken advantage of: if you're hurt, seek medical treatment. 

Some people are understandably worried about the costs of medical expenses. If you need medical attention, seek it. A good attorney will work with the medical providers to try to make payment possible. Ultimately, an injury attorney may be able to establish that the driver was at fault. Then, a good attorney will work with the driver's insurance company to make sure they pay not only for the cost of your medical expenses, but also pay you for the pain and suffering you've incurred.

The lawyers at The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. have successfully handled many auto v. bicycle accident cases. We have recovered large sums of money on behalf of our clients, which helps them pay for their medical bills, as well as receive compensation to cover their pain and suffering. If you were injured on your bicycle, contact the Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C., today for a free, no-risk case evaluation.