By Joseph Di Monda

Steps to Take If You Have an Automobile Accident

Obviously check to see if anyone is injured. If anyone is injured immediately called 911.
If any air bags have deployed verify that no one is injured. Airbag deployment can cause serious injury.

Immediately upon exiting your car photograph all other vehicles. It is not uncommon for uninsured motorists to wait for the other driver to exit the vehicle before speeding off. So have your smart phone ready and as soon as you leave your vehicle be prepared to photograph the license plates of all vehicles involved in the accident, as well as all damage or lack of damage.

Exchange pertinent information with other drivers, such as driver’s license and insurance information. If you have a smart phone, photograph the driver’s license and insurance cards of all other drivers. Then photograph the accident scene including all vehicles and license plates. Make sure the photographs show the damage to all vehicles. It is helpful to take a 360° video, standing at the center of the accident scene, and rotating 360° around the entire accident scene. This will show all road conditions, street signage, traffic lights, pedestrians, all other vehicles, drivers and passengers.

If the police or paramedics arrive at the scene make sure to get contact information of all emergency personnel. This will help later on when trying to obtain a police report or ambulance report.

If possible, get the names, address and telephone numbers of all witnesses.

When giving a report to the police stick to the facts and don’t editorialize. Be careful how you characterize the accident as it’s not possible to determine how the police will write the report.  What you say may be sued against you by the insurance company.  If you’re injured, no matter how minor, say so.  Don’t try to be strong and act like you’re not hurt.  The insurance company will also try to use that against you.

Lastly, call an experienced personal injury attorney.

Workers’ Compensation – How Much Can I Collect?

If you have been hurt at work you have probably been told that you need to file a claim for Workers’ Compensation benefits. There is a common misconception that if you’re injured at work your only recourse is to file a Workers’ Comp claim. While you must file a Workers’ Compensation claim if you’re injured at work, that may not be the only way you can collect money for your injury.

In some cases, there may be a third party that is liable for your injuries and you may file both a Workers’ Comp claim and sue the third party. This is common in many industries where there are workers from many different employees working at the same location.

For example, a construction site has many sub-contractors working at the same time. It is not uncommon for an accident to occur where a truck being driven by one sub-contractor hits an employee of another sub-contractor. In that situation, the injured worker may file both a worker’s comp claim and sue the third party.

Other examples are when a worker is injured while using a defective product or is involved in a motor vehicle accident with a third party on city streets or highways. There are many examples of when an injured may be able to collect for their injury from a third party and they are too numerous to list here. What’s important is that if you or a loved one are injured at work, that you call an attorney who understands third party recovery and not rely solely on your workers’ compensation attorney to file a third party lawsuit on your behalf. They may not always see or understand that there are others who may be responsible for your injury.

Depending on the severity of the injury, the injured worker may actually receive more in compensation from the third party then they would receive solely from the worker’s compensation carrier.

If you have any questions regarding your workplace injury, please call for a free consultation at 1-84-INJURYLAW (1-844-658-7952)

Westlaw publishes Angelo & Di Monda Mercury Decision

Westlaw Insurance Coverage Weekly Newsletter
Westlaw Insurance Coverage Weekly Newsletter

We were pleased to be recognized by the foremost legal publisher, Westlaw, and featured as the lead story in last week’s Insurance Coverage newsletter. The Mercury Decision from the California Court of Appeal overturned a lower court’s judgment that denied coverage for a college roommate of a policyholder in an accident.

You can read the whole article here: http://www.84injurylaw.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/ICR2504_103114.pdf

Make your insurance company pay you for a loss

An all too common occurrence is when a consumer, after years of paying insurance premiums, suffers an injury or a loss from an accident and the insurance company refuses to pay. All of a sudden, there is some fine print or obscure definition in your insurance policy that the insurance company points to and says your injury or loss is not covered and that they are not going to pay.  Many personal injury lawyers would walk away and refer to you an appellate attorney.  At Angelo & Di Monda, we do our own appellate work for you.

How to beat the “fine print” excuse from an insurance company.

The personal injury lawyers at Angelo & Di Monda do not accept insurance companies’ excuses. In a recent decision by the California Court of Appeal, in a case titled Mercury Casualty Insurance Company v. Hung Chu, Mercury insurance refused to pay on a claim that a jury found was worth over $300,000.00. Mercury pointed to obscure language in its automobile policy and claimed that the loss was not covered. Angelo & Di Monda challenged Mercury Insurance Company’s interpretation all the way through the Court of Appeal and won.

In a stinging unanimous decision against Mercury Insurance, Mercury was told that its policy exclusion was against the public policy of the State of California and that it violates the California insurance code.

Quitters never win.

Many other lawyers would have walked away, but not the personal injury lawyers at Angelo & Di Monda. They stay with you to the end. They exhaust every appeal, and help you to force your insurance company to cover your losses.

Whether it’s a loss from an automobile accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident or any kind a loss suffered by you, when your insurance company says “No,” call Angelo & Di Monda and we will help you to get them to say “Yes.”

Safety tips for Fall and Winter motorcyclists

Winter riding season will soon be upon us. We’ll be turning back the clocks and it will be getting dark earlier. To motorcycle riders this means we become less visible and have to ride in harsher weather conditions.  Here are a few safety issues to help avoid motorcycle accidents.

Think visibility first: The #1 motorcycle safety tip.

Visibility is always a key issue between motor vehicles and motorcycles. Obviously as it gets darker earlier, lighting on your motorcycle becomes critical. Rear lights get lost among the cars you are following. Therefore anything a rider can do to increase lighting at the back of the motorcycle will increase the possibility of being seen.  Remember, visibility is a key in avoiding a bike accident.

Tip #2: The clothes you ride in are not a fashion statement.

Reflective striping on clothing and helmets also helps increase visibility. I’ve seen some riders with flashing LED lights that were Velcroed to various parts of the motorcycle or helmet. Although some of us may think this looks funny they certainly get everyone’s attention. This is especially true to a left turning driver who may be getting ready to turn in front of you and sees a flashing LED coming at him.  Left-turn accidents between cars and motorcycles are all too common.

Tip #3: Think about your motorcyle tire choices.

Tires are another important consideration. Lightly grooved summer tires that we all like because they give us amazing traction in turns, work against us in the rain. It’s a good idea if you’re in an area where there’s significant amount of rainfall, to switch tires to ones whose tread pattern sheds the rain easier provides increased traction on wet streets.

Tip #4: Be a dry comfortable biker.

Obviously protective clothing is important all year round but carrying a rain suit in Fall and Winter is always a good idea. Water resistant gloves are also important. A dry comfortable rider is a safer rider.  I’ve always been an advocate of fullface helmets with drop-down face shields. They keep the rain out my face, they keep the bugs off my face and they offer full protection to my jaw and teeth.

Safe riding!!

How to recognize elder abuse | Excellent resource from California State Bar Association

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, the statistics are alarming. California alone accounts for over 10 percent of the elder abuse cases in the U.S. and that translates to over 600,000 cases each year. These are just the ones that are reported.

With the aging of the baby boomers, elder abuse in California is a serious issue.

Elder abuse is one of our practice areas at Angelo & Di Monda. We practice throughout Los Angeles County, Riverside County, Ventura County, and San Bernardino County. If there’s a senior loved one in your life, there’s a great resource that we recommend from the California State Bar Association web site. It’s a brochure called “What Should I know About Elder Abuse” and you can download it if you click on the red link.

In this brochure, you’ll learn more about the legal definition of elder abuse. It can involve:

  • Neglect
  • Exploitation
  • “Painful or harmful” mistreatment
  • Physical violence
  • Psychological abuse
  • Isolation
  • Abandonment
  • Abduction
  • False imprisonment
  • Unlawful taking of money or property

The brochure gives you telephone numbers to call for help and goes through many common examples of how elders are abused. Things to beware of are Charitable Donation scams, Credit Card insurance and Credit Repair scams, Door-to-Door Solicitations and more.

Elder abuse comes in so many forms and if you believe that you or a loved one is a victim of elder abuse, you need a law firm that has a history of fighting hard for its clients’ rights. Don’t hesitate to call Angelo & Di Monda if you need help at 84injury law (844-658-7952).

Safeguarding against swimming pool accidents

Desert pool photograph
Desert Pool by D. Ferris. All rights reserved.

Unfortunately, swimming pool accidents tend to be catastrophic. All of us are too familiar with the stories we hear about children drowning in a swimming pool. Obviously the best safeguard to prevent against this is never to allow children to be left alone and unsupervised in a pool or spa. Children should always be supervised by an adult. It makes no difference whether they can swim or not. A wrongful death accident is not uncommon if children are left unsupervised in a pool.

Another common swimming pool accident results in paralysis. This is caused by diving into a shallow swimming pool and striking the bottom of the pool with one’s head. The dive can be either off the edge of the pool or off a diving board. Diving boards should not be installed on swimming pools. The only place a diving board should be located is in a pool specifically designed for diving. Only then can one be reasonably assured the water will be deep enough. Unfortunately diving accidents tend to result in quadriplegia injuries. This occurs because ones head strikes the bottom of the pool breaking the diver’s neck and resulting in quadriplegia.

Another common injury involves the spa. Hot water and alcohol, drugs or medicines do not mix. People under medication or intoxicated should avoid the spa. Also, long exposure the hot water can cause nausea and dizziness or fainting. Elderly people and pregnant women should avoid the spa.

If a swimming pool or spa accident should occur,

Dial 911 or the emergency number posted on the signage around pool/spa area. Ask if anyone in the pool area is familiar with CPR and if so administer CPR immediately.

If an accident should occur, after medical attention has been administered, photograph the entire pool area, including all signage, safety equipment, and all gates into the pool/spa area. Pay attention to signage on the entry gates. If there are any witnesses, obtain names addresses and all contact information from them.

Attorneys Angelo & Di Monda understand the need for quick action in a pool/spa accident. The pool/spa premises should be inspected immediately to verify conformity with all state-mandated safety signage and equipment. All pool accessories such as diving boards need to be immediately photographed, measured and model numbers and manufacturer names noted. It’s critical that this inspection take place as soon as possible after a swimming pool for diving accident. Any delay in inspecting the premises may result in changes to equipment and all signage which will make it more difficult to prove any negligence on the part of the pool owner.

Common motorcycle accidents and the injuries caused by them

big intersection
Source: Creative Commons

I have logged hundreds of thousands of miles on a motorcycle.  I’ve driven on city streets, rural back roads and interstate highways. There were many times I’ve had to take evasive action to avoid a motorcycle accident.  Cars and trucks often don’t see motorcycles. That’s a simple fact. When they do, the small headlight on the motorcycle just doesn’t seem to register with the driver of a car. Some of them think that because the motorcycle is so small that they could just turn in front of it and somehow the motorcycle can avoid them.

Left Turn Accident: One of the most common motorcycle accidents is the left turn accident. This is when a car or truck turns left across oncoming traffic and either hits the motorcyclist or the motorcyclist hits the turning vehicle. This accident is usually a cause of serious injury to the motorcyclist. That is because the motorcyclist is usually driving at or near the speed limit and is thrown off the motorcycle, sometimes over the car, striking their body either on the car or on the pavement. It’s not uncommon for serious head injuries, concussions, broken bones, broken legs, or a paralysis injury to occur from this type of accident.

Right Turn on Red: Another common accident is when a motor vehicle makes a right turn on a red light and either doesn’t see the motorcycle or believes it could turn in front of it. This usually results in the car running the motorcycle off the road or striking it broadside and knocking it over. This type of accident usually results in a broken leg to the motorcyclist or worse a severed leg.

Lane Splitting: Lane splitting in California is another source of injuries to motorcyclists. This can happen at any speed. At low speeds and traffic it’s common for cars changing lanes to drive into a motorcycle while it is Lane Splitting. This results typically in broken legs. At higher speeds a motor vehicle changing lanes will cause serious damage to a motorcycle and serious injury to the rider.  Any high-speed accident on a freeway can be fatal or, result in paralysis.

Vigilance is the only way to avoid a motorcycle accident. Motorcyclists must pay careful attention to other vehicles in the left turn lane. Lane splitting, though legal, is problematic and must be done with the utmost caution.

6 steps to take right after a motorcycle accident

There are two kinds of motorcycle accidents. The ones you can walk away from, and the more serious ones that result in an ambulance trip to the hospital.

In today’s post, we are going to focus on the less serious kind. And leave the serious motorcycle injury ones for another separate discussion.

Step 1. Call emergency services if necessary. If you require medical care please seek medical attention immediately. Any delay in seeking medical care will be used against you by the insurance company. There’s a tendency for bikers in accidents to shake it off and say “I’m tough,” but don’t do it. If you act strong and act as if you’re not injured, the insurance company will use that against you. They will claim that you were not really injured or else you would have sought medical attention immediately.

Step 2. After calling emergency services, stand as close to the accident scene as possible and review it in your mind. If you’re able, take a 360° photograph of everything surrounding the accident scene. You’re doing this to document the accident scene from as many angles as possible and show all damage to your motorcycle and all vehicles. The photographs are also to show all people standing around (potential witnesses) and other vehicles and their locations.

Show the relationship of all vehicles to any landmarks, such as stop signs, traffic lights, street lines, crosswalks etc. Any photograph that will help to accurately locate the vehicles on the street before they are moved at the accident scene may be critical to your case. Make sure to take photographs that show any passengers inside any of the other vehicles involved in the accident. Photograph the license plates of any vehicles that may have stopped as they may be witnesses.

Step 3. Exchange insurance and drivers license information with the other drivers. Get names, addresses and telephone numbers of all witnesses and any information you can from all witnesses to the accident.

Step 4. Do not give out any information concerning how the accident happened. This applies to the other party and to any witnesses.

Step 5. When the police arrive, cooperate in their investigation. Answer all their questions thoroughly and honestly without volunteering any unnecessary or gratuitous information. Anything you say will be put in a police report and may be used against you in a Civil or Criminal action. Therefore carefully consider how you respond to police questions.

Step 6. Speak to an attorney before speaking to an insurance company. You may hear from an insurance company before you have an opportunity to speak to an attorney. That conversation with the insurance company will be recorded. The insurance company is not your friend. If an insurance company representative telephones you, you have the right to tell them that you do not wish to speak to them until you speak to your attorney. We strongly suggest that you speak to an attorney before speaking to an insurance company. Hire an attorney as soon as possible after the accident. Do not delay.

Here’s our firm’s motorcycle injury page for more information about us, or call for a free consultation at 1-84-INJURYLAW (1-844-658-7952).