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Law Office of Geoffrey A. Norris
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Auto Accident and Wrongful Death Claims
Law Office of Geoffrey A. Norris Services
Motorcycle and Bicycle Accidents
Automobile accidents happen all the time. Sometimes the parties are fine other times not. If you are injured in an auto accident it is important to get photos of the cars involved and the accident scene as soon as possible. Any medical care needs should be immediately addressed at the emergency room or urgent care facility as soon as possible. It is important for an injured person to report all complaints of pain to the provider related to the accident however minor. Many complaints of pain worsen over time so at the outset, it might not be clear what your injuries are especially if they are soft-tissue or whiplash type injury. If an automobile accident happens it is important to get witness identifications and contact information, in case they leave before the police arrive. A police report is very important as the police will usually draw a conclusion as to the driver at fault for the collision which can help the injured party to get the insurance company to agree on who caused the accident.

Usually there are at least 2 policies of insurance involved, the injured party’s car insurance and the third party’s car insurance who caused the accident. If you are the injured party and you have health insurance, they are also going to play a part in the medical billing equation. A typical injury case would have the medical bills going first to the health insurance provider who would pay the contracted amount, any deductible or balance billing can then be turned over to the med pay portion of your auto insurance (typically $1,000-$5,000 in coverage if available). At the conclusion of your treatment, and assuming a settlement is reached with the other driver’s automobile insurance company, the health insurance company and med-pay portion of your auto insurance company policy would be reimbursed , if required less the procurement costs which are your attorney fees and costs incurred in collecting from the automobile insurance carrier.

Typical recoveries include your medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost wages and property damages. Property damages as to repairing or replacing your car are handled as a separate claim from the personal injury claim.  

If as a result of the automobile accident a spouse or child dies, the claim for damages rests with the surviving heirs for the loss of care, comfort, society and support (including present and probable future pecuniary support) that they would have received from the deceased. California Code of Civil Procedure §377.60 lists the people with standing to bring a wrongful death suit. Typically these people consist of the spouse, domestic partner, children and issue of deceased children of the decedent. California Code of Civil Procedure §377.61 gives the jury discretion in calculating the just damages due the heirs of the decede

I have been riding road bikes since 1981 and motorcycles since 1991. There are many choices out there for a personal injury attorney; however, not many attorneys have this type of experience as well. The most common cause of an accident by a third party driver is a failure to yield to an oncoming motorcycle or bicycle or simply hitting the operator of either from behind. Cyclists are also prone to sideswipe injuries due to automobile drivers using the bicycle lane as part of the roadway or highway. Proper accident reconstruction is especially critical if the police report is placing excessive speed on the motorcyclist as a contributing factor to the accident. The at fault driver is usually quick to claim excessive speed of the motorcyclist as the reason that they did not see them. In these situations third party witnesses can be critical to the case. Early investigation and proper accident reconstruction can turn an unfavorable or iffy police report into a winnable case.
Pedestrian Injuries and Slip and Fall Injuries
Dog Bites
California allows for strict liability for dog bites. If a dog bites you the owner is liable for your damages under California Civil Code §3342. If you are injured by an animal and it is not a dog bite, then the owner still may be strictly liable for your damages if the owner knew or should have known of the animal’s type of dangerous condition that caused your damages. Similarly, a landowner may also be liable for the damages inflicted by the dog or animal even if they did not own it, if they knew or should have known of the animal’s dangerous propensities that caused you damages. Sometimes the use of experts such as an animal behaviorists are used to establish the danger of the animal.  
Pedestrians can suffer injuries both in and out of the crosswalk and still have a right to recover. The reasonableness of the actions of the pedestrian and the conduct of the driver are all questions of fact that get decided when assessing liability for a pedestrian versus automobile accident. Pedestrians are also allowed to assume that the streets are in a reasonably safe condition for crossing, such that just because a street defect is visible it does not mean that it is a bar to recovery if it causes the pedestrian to trip and fall. Street or sidewalk defects in any pedestrian case need the advice of an attorney immediately as there are various statutes which must be complied with to avoid having the complaint barred against any governmental entity.

If the trip and fall injury occurs in a store or business, the injured party proceeding under a general negligence theory of premises liability against the landowner needs to show a number of things the primary component of which is that the landlord knew or should have known of the danger that caused the injury. Whether the pedestrian acted reasonably in light of the danger is a question of fact for the judge or jury to decide. Damages can include pain and suffering, emotional distress, medical expenses and lost wages due to the injury sustained. 
If someone hits you and they do not have car insurance, and it is their fault, you may  have to make a claim on your own insurance policy under the uninsured coverage portion. Not all people have uninsured motorist coverage as it is not required under California law. Unless waived by the insured, uninsured motorist coverage is available up to the third party policy limits of the policy. The uninsured motorist coverage is also available to cover an underinsured motorist. If your claims for damages exceed the third party driver’s insurance coverage you may have an underinsured motorist claim on your policy. California law does not allow “stacking” of policies, meaning that the policy limits recovered from the third party driver will be used to offset rather than add to your underinsured motorist coverage.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists
At Law Office of Geoffrey A. Norris, we take care to provide our customers high quality services personalized for their unique needs. We are available to assist you 5 days a week. Our staff members are professional, courteous and efficient.

The following summary is for informational purposes and should not be constructed as legal advice on you case, nor does it create an attorney client relationship.  For Legal advice please call our office to schedule a consultation. 

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