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How Do I Know If I Have A Personal Injury Case in Orange County?

If you want results, call us. If you want peace of mind, call us. If you want representation who understands the hardship that has been thrust upon you, call us.

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Archive: Dec 2018

How Do I Know If I Have A Personal Injury Case in Orange County?

If you or a loved one recently suffered injuries and/or economic losses from a specific event, you may wonder whether you have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit to recover your damages. You should take several steps to determine whether you can file a personal injury claim.

Determining the Scope of Your Damages

Personal injury lawsuits exist to make victims “whole” again after suffering injuries and other damages due to the negligence of another party. If no damage occurs, no grounds for a claim exist. Additionally, if the damages you sustained were minimal, it may not be worth the expense to pursue a lawsuit for a minimal payout. To determine if you are eligible to file a personal injury claim, gather all documentation that proves the extent of your losses.

Contacting an Orange County personal injury attorney and scheduling a consultation can help you better understand the scope of your damages. For example, if you suffered an injury that required hospitalization, you may know that you can claim your hospital bills, but an attorney can uncover additional avenues of compensation such as your long-term medical complications resulting from negligence, pain and suffering, and time you missed from work recovering from your injury.

Discovering the Party Responsible for Your Damages

Once you have confirmed that you have indeed suffered measurable losses, you must determine who is responsible for those damages. This is easier in some cases than in others. For example, if you suffered injuries in a car accident with a drunk driver, then the drunk driver is obviously responsible for your damages. However, if you developed a disability due to toxic exposure, it can take time to determine the root cause of the exposure and the party responsible.

Understanding Negligence in Personal Injury Law

“Negligence” is the legal term for one party’s failure to meet an acceptable standard of care in a given situation. For example, all drivers have a duty of care to others on the road to operate their vehicles responsibly and obey the traffic laws. A plaintiff must prove four elements of negligence to succeed with a personal injury lawsuit.

  • The defendant in the claim owed the plaintiff a duty of care.
  • The plaintiff must show how the defendant failed to meet his or her duty of care. For example, a driver who runs a red light breaches his or her duty of care to follow the rules of the road.
  • The plaintiff can only sue if he or she incurred a measurable loss or suffered an injury.
  • Finally, the plaintiff must prove that his or her claimed damages only happened due to the defendant’s negligence, or would not have happened but for the defendant’s negligence.

Remember: a plaintiff must not only prove that he or she suffered damages, but also provide evidence of the extent of those damages. This is partly why it is so important to hire a personal injury attorney to handle a personal injury claim. A good attorney can help a client maximize his or her recovery after a personal injury and find additional avenues of compensation the plaintiff may have missed on his or her own.

Take Advantage of Free Consultations

Many personal injury attorneys offer free consultations to potential clients. This is a mutually beneficial arrangement as it helps the attorney attract new clients while offering prospective clients the opportunity to better understand their legal rights and options. If a personal injury attorney offers free consultations, compile a list of questions to ask the attorney so you can gauge his or her overall experience level and familiarity with the area of law that pertains to your case.

If you suffered a personal injury of some kind and the injury resulted from the negligence of another party, you likely have the right to file a personal injury claim and recover your damages. If you are unsure about your right to file a lawsuit, reach out to a personal injury attorney and schedule a consultation.

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Bike Rules and Laws for Orange County

Orange County residents should know the bicycling laws and regulations in the county to prevent injuries and limit the chance of liability for an accident. That is why the Orange County personal injury lawyers at the DAM firm put this blog together.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) reports that each year, about 100 bicyclists die in road accidents and more than 10,000 suffer injuries from bicycle accidents. Don’t let that be you or one of your loved ones.

California Laws for Bicyclists

California prohibits riding bicycles under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and violations of this law may lead to heavy fines. It is also illegal for anyone between the ages of 13 and 21 to operate a bicycle under the influence, and doing so could lead to a delay of one year before the individual may exercise his or her driving privilege.

All bicyclists under the age of 18 must wear helmets at all times while riding bikes in Orange County. While no law requires helmets for riders over 18, wearing them dramatically reduces the chances of a fatal head injury in an accident. Bicyclists should purchase appropriately sized helmets with a functional strap that goes under the chin to protect the most vulnerable parts of the head. It is also advisable to wear eye protection while riding that protects against dust, debris, and harsh UV sunlight.

California also has specific laws for riding at night. Bicyclists should refrain from wearing dark clothing while riding at night and they must have a front lamp attached to the helmet or bicycle with a visible range of at least 300 feet.

All bicycles must have rear red reflectors visible from a minimum of 500 feet. Pedals must have a white or yellow reflector viewable from at least 200 feet. Tires must have a reflective coating, or each wheel must have a white or red reflector to increase visibility.

Bicyclists also have the right to “take the lane” as long as they move with the flow of traffic and signal appropriately. Bicyclists can use turning lanes the same as other vehicles as long as they yield to oncoming traffic and obey traffic signals just like any other driver.

Cyclists must also ride with the flow of traffic, meaning staying to the right at all times except on one-way streets with left-side oriented bike lanes. Riding against the flow of traffic may appear to make the bicyclist more visible to oncoming traffic, but this creates a serious risk, especially when it comes to drivers turning right into the path of the cyclist.

Best Practices for Cyclists

All California bicyclists should remember that they have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles. This means cyclists should stay as far to the right as possible and use designated bicycle lanes wherever available. Bicyclists must also obey all traffic signals and signs just like all other drivers.

Bicyclists should use hand signals to indicate when they intend to turn. This helps other drivers anticipate cyclists’ actions and avoid accidents. An extended left arm indicates a left-hand turn while a raised left arm bent at the elbow indicates a right-hand turn. A cyclist can also extend his or her right arm to indicate a right-hand turn. Dropping one hand to the side of the bicycle with the palm facing behind the bicyclist indicates slowing or stopping.

What to Do After a Bicycle Accident

Bicycle accidents involving cars and bicyclists almost always cause more damage to the cyclist, and anyone involved with such an accident should report it to the police immediately. Handle immediate medical concerns first, and then consider your legal options. If a driver caused an accident with your bicycle and injured you, he or she is liable for the resulting damages. Contact a reliable bicycle accident attorney in your area as soon as possible to start building a case.

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Can Employers Visit You at Home If You Call in Sick?

Many American employees use sick days when they aren’t actually sick, but to what lengths can an employer go to verify that an employee who called in sick is actually sick that day?

Ultimately, an employer should take an employee’s statement that he or she is sick at face value; it probably is not worth the time or energy to confirm that every sick day request is for a legitimate medical issue. However, employers may want to track employees who call out on a regular basis, and it is important to know what protections employers can put into place to prevent abusing sick days.

To learn more about your rights as an employee, speak to an Orange County workers compensation lawyer attorney.

How Employers Verify Sick Days

The most common method employers use to verify employee sick day use is requiring doctor’s notes. About 70% of employers require employees to present a doctor’s note upon returning to work after calling out sick. Other employers reported calling employees at home to verify they are actually sick, and a small minority of employers reported actually physically driving to employee’s houses to perform firsthand checks.

An employer visiting an employee at his or her home is not breaking any laws as long as the employer respects the employee’s personal space and privacy. For example, an employer could knock on the door and ask to speak with the employee, but the employer cannot force his or her way into the home to demand to see the employee.

Best Practices for Employers

Usually, an employer should not worry too much about an employee calling out sick unless the employee seems to have developed a habit of using sick days. Employers can try a few methods to cut down on the number of sick day abuses without damaging employee morale or encouraging discrimination claims. Keep a few best practices in mind to prevent sick day abuse without sowing division in your workforce.

  • Welfare checks. If an employee calls out sick the night before a shift or early in the morning before a shift, the employer may want to call the employee later in the day simply to check up on him or her. If the employee does not answer, it would be reasonable for the employer to visit the sick employee’s home to perform a welfare check, just in case.
  • Require check-ins. If an employee develops a serious illness or needs to miss several days of work, it is perfectly reasonable to request check-in phone calls with a supervisor for each day of absence.
  • Refrain from using other employees to check on sick employees. This will ultimately create division in the workforce and may lead to serious tensions between employees. If checking on an employee is necessary, the employer should handle it personally.

It is also important for all employers to remember that several federal regulations protect the privacy of employees and their medical records. An employer cannot demand to review an employee’s medical records simply to check if the employee lied about taking a sick day. This is completely unreasonable and ultimately destructive for the entire workforce.

What to Do If an Employer Violates Your Rights

If you called out sick with a legitimate medical issue and faced harassment or adverse treatment, as a result, you may have grounds for a lawsuit against your supervisor, manager, or employer for creating a hostile work environment. The same applies to an employer who harangues an employee for calling out sick.

Anyone who has experienced this type of situation with an employer should contact an attorney as soon as possible. A good lawyer can help an employee determine if an employer’s behavior was acceptable and in line with all applicable employment laws.

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