FAQ

FAQ

Auto Accidents        Dog Bites           Workers’ Comp        Premise Liability/Slip and Fall

Auto Accidents

1. What should I do if I’m involved in an auto accident?

Document the entire situation making daily notes of the effects of your injuries. Also report the accident to the DMV, do not admit responsibility, and do not discuss it with anyone other than your attorney.

2. Can I get ticketed for speeding even though I am going the posted speed limit?

 California’s “Basic Speed Law” says that you must never drive faster than is safe for the current conditions. California’s speed limit signs state maximum speed under good conditions only.

3. How long will it take to get money in my case?

Settlement negotiations for your personal injury generally do not begin until you have completed all necessary medical treatment. The property damage portion of your claim is frequently resolved very soon after your accident.

4. I didn’t go the doctor right away and now I have pain?

You should always see a doctor after an accident even if you’re not feeling pain right away. Be sure to document when you noticed the pain and when you went to the doctor and tell the doctor you were injured from an auto accident.

5. Do I need an attorney?

It is always in your best interest to consult an attorney. Remember, the insurance company on the other side will have a very experienced adjuster or lawyer negotiating for them.

6. The other driver doesn’t have car insurance; how am I supposed to collect money from him now?

If a person is uninsured or underinsured in an accident in California, their personal assets become at risk. If you have uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist coverage on your own policy, we may be able to proceed against that insurance policy.

7. Will my insurance company pay for my medical bills while I wait to go to trial?

Often times, yes, to a certain amount and then they will get reimbursed once the case is complete, if you have coverage. We will review your medical coverage option with you.

8. How am I supposed to get back and forth while my car is in the shop?

Check your insurance policy; many will have a clause that allows you to rent a car. Be sure to track the expense involved as this is considered a cost that you suffered and ultimately compensable.

9. I can’t work; can I file for unemployment even though litigation is pending?

No, however, you may file for state disability benefits.

10. Can I afford an attorney?

Normally, in cases such as these, you don’t pay the money upfront. When we win your case, your lawyer will receive a percentage of the settlement amount as payment in full. You and your attorney will agree upon this percentage amount at the time you retain your attorney.

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DogBites

1. Should I report the vicious dog attack? If so, to whom & where?

Yes. California dog bites should be reported as soon as medical attention is supplied. Report any dog bite in California to the local county animal control and/or the police or sheriff’s department. Keep a note of the date of the report and the name of the person that you spoke with, to later assist with your California dog bite injury claim. A California dog bite lawyer from our law firm will freely assist you with this.

2. What if the dog bite or dog attack happened on the dog owner’s property?

A California dog owner has an obligation to restrain his or her animal for public safety. As long as you are on private property legally (or you are legally on public property) the dog’s owner will be held responsible for any damage done by the biting dog.

3. What are my priorities if attacked by a dog or bitten by an animal?

Seek medical treatment immediately for any dog bites or puncture wounds. Any dog bite or animal bites pose a serious health risk for infection and disease. -Report the dog bites or animal attack to the proper California authorities. -Photograph the wounded area where the dog bit or animal attacked. -Write down names and contact info for any witnesses to the dog bite injuries.

4. What if I was bitten by the dog when I was just playing with the dog?

Any injuries or damages you sustained from the dog bites are still the responsibility of the dog’s owner. Strict liability law on dog bites in California is very clear: if the dog bites, the owner of the dog is responsible and liable, Period.

5. Should I make a dog bite claim on the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance?

If the owner of the dog who has bitten or attacked has a homeowners’ policy, that insurance will usually cover dog bite injuries. However, it is not wise to either make a claim for dog bite injuries or give a statement about the dog bite incident or accident without first consulting with an attorney. Anything that you say can and will be held against you if the insurance adjuster taking the statement is clever and skilled.

6. Are there laws in California that specifically cover dog bite injuries & damages?

Yes. Many animal injury and damages cases are covered under general personal injury laws of California, but there are also specific references in the California Civil Code that refer to dog bites, referred to as California strict liability dog bite laws.

 

The statistics on Dog Bites and Animal Attacks in America are alarming. Dog bite statistics have shown that almost 2% of the population suffers from dog bites annually. Each year the number of innocent children and adults seriously injured or killed by dogs increases dramatically. California is first in the nation in fatal dog attacks and dog bite injuries.

 

With the popularity of different dog breeds changing so frequently among dog owners, it is sometimes difficult to determine which dogs have a higher likely hood of biting or attacking people. Actually, even though in recent years certain dog breeds have been labeled as “aggressive” and “dangerous,” people of all ages are at risk for dog bites and dog attacks by ANY type of dog. There are numerous factors which may make dogs bite, which include:

  • Whether or not the dog has been fixed
  • How much contact the dog has with people
  • How the dog has been treated by its handler
  • Genetics

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Workers’ Comp

1. What constitutes “premises liability” under California law?

Premises liability refers to the body of law which holds a landowner and/or possessor of property liable for injuries to others sustained on their property. In California, a premises liability lawsuit often arises from a landowner’s or occupant’s failure to either correct a dangerous condition on their property or warn or its existence.

2. What are the legal elements of a California premises liability action?

As in any other California personal injury lawsuit, the injured party plaintiff must prove that the defendant (in this case, landowner or occupant) was negligent towards the injured plaintiff. It must be shown that the landowner/occupant possessed the premises at the time of the accident and that they had control of the premises, and control of the condition thereof. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed a duty of due care to the plaintiff, that this duty was breached, and that the breach was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.

3. What are the most common types of premises liability cases in California?

Slip and fall and trip and fall accidents are by far the most common claims in California premises liability law suits. Common causes of slip and fall or trip and fall injuries are due to a foreign substance on the floor. The foreign substance is often either sticky or slippery. Other common causes are from unmarked uneven surfaces, or unmarked step downs, or holes in the walking surface, or defects in the floor, stairs, or stairways. Dangerous conditions on the premises contributing to injuries may include unsafe design and/or unsafe construction of buildings, or overgrown or uncontrolled landscaping, poor lighting or inadequate lighting, or inoperative lighting. Uncovered holes, unmarked ditches or culverts, dangerous debris or broken glass or sharp objects may also cause injury on the premises, as well as defective equipment or machinery, or malfunctioning traffic lights.

4. Is it possible to file a California premises liability lawsuit if injured by assault or other criminal conduct?

Yes, it is possible. Every situation is different; therefore you must consult with a California premises liability attorney to ascertain where responsibility for your injury lies. Generally speaking, a landowner must exercise reasonable care for the safety of persons on his premises. If the landowner knew, or should have known, of the danger of being injured, by the negligent or willful or criminal behavior of others on his premises, then he (may have) had a duty to provide adequate security to prevent foreseeable injury. Please call us to speak with a California premises liability lawyer regarding your specific circumstances.

5. What damages can I recover in a California premises liability case?

An injured plaintiff who successfully proves their claim, is entitled to recover economic damages for every out of pocket expense he has incurred, or will incur, as a direct result of the accident, including, but not limited to, medical expenses, lost wages and future lost earning potential. The plaintiff is also entitled to monetary recovery for such non- economic damages as pain and suffering and lifestyle alterations. Lastly, if the defendant engaged in wanton, willful behavior in reckless disregard for the safety of the plaintiff, punitive damages may be imposed to punish the defendant and to deter him and others from engaging in the behavior that caused the injury.

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Premise Liability/Slip and Fall

1. Do I have to be injured at work to be covered by California workers compensation?

No. However, your injury must be job-related in order to be covered. For example, you will be covered if you are injured while running a work-related errand, traveling on business, or attending a required business-related social function. However, generally you will not be covered while traveling to and from work.

2. What benefits do I get if I am injured?

Workers compensation insurance provides replacement income, medical expenses and some rehabilitation benefits (job training, vocational schooling or job placement assistance). If you are temporarily unable to work, you should receive two-thirds of your average wage (up to a fixed amount). These payments are smaller but they are tax-free. If you are permanently disabled, you may receive long-term or lump sum benefits. These amounts of payment vary with the type and severity of your injuries.

3. Can I trust a doctor provided by my employer?

It is reasonable to assume that this may not be in your best interest. It is best to choose your own doctor and not leave medical control in the hands on your employer or insurance company.

4. How much would a good workers compensation attorney cost?

In California, the amount that can be charged by your lawyer for your worker’s compensation case is fixed by law and is a certain percentage of the benefits you receive.

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John C. Bush & Associates offers a free consultation to go over questions like this with you.

 

Making a false or fraudulent workers’ compensation claim is a felony subject to up to five years in prison or a fine of up to $50,000 or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.’ [Lab.C. § 5432(a)]

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