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Bike Rules and Laws for Orange County

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  1. Bike Rules and Laws for Orange County

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    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.

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

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    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.

  3. Do My Workers’ Compensation Benefits Continue After I Quit My Job?

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    If you’ve quit your job after a work-related injury, are you entitled to workers’ compensation benefits? Some employers may not believe your claim, especially if you have yet to resume employment elsewhere.

    Work-related injuries need the expertise of an established law firm to help wade through the workers’ compensation laws, as the laws vary from state to state. Injuries at the workplace can cover a multitude of issues from upper and lower back pain and strain, neck pain, overexertion, repetitive motion injuries, and head trauma due to slips and falls or exposure to harmful substances, chemicals, and environments. Contact a workers compensation lawyer in Orange County today.

    Compensation Claims Common in Many Industries

    Workers’ compensation claims are common in many industries, because of the hazards of the job. Construction workers often find themselves with a higher incidence of job-related fatalities or injuries. The most serious are those due to electric shocks and falls from heights. Other related injuries are repetitive motion injuries, sprains, and breaks.

    Industries using chemicals also have a high incidence of workers’ compensation claims. Although it’s difficult to measure the exact amount, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates there are at least 860,000 chemically related issues annually. The skin absorbs chemicals, causing burns and other significant harm. Respiratory illnesses and brain injuries from inhalation are also common. Some chemical-related industries are hospitals, manufacturing plants, cleaning industries, and offices.

    Get Your Injury on the Record

    The first thing you should do is get medical care as soon as you notice the injury. Your workers’ compensation benefits will pay for your medical expenses, so don’t worry about the bills – just find the help you need as soon as possible. This is the first opportunity you have to get your injury “on the record.” It will be very important to your claim.

    If you have proof of your injury and/or a witness for your claim, you might have the opportunity to collect workers’ compensation. If you do not have a witness, it is imperative that you report your injury to your previous employer as soon as possible. In the state of California, an employee has 30 days to submit a claim from the time of injury. After that, you’ll need to file a workers’ compensation claim with the insurance company. If workers’ compensation denies your claim, you will need to find an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation to help you.

    Ask Attorney About Exceptions to Law

    Exceptions exist to workers’ compensation cases that your attorney can explain to you, should the workers’ compensation board deny your claim. Your attorney will be able to tell you how the laws in your area apply to you and your case. For instance, in California according to  (CJS Co. v. Workers’ Comp. Appeals Board, 74 Cal.App.4th 294 Cal. Ct. App. 1999)), a claim can move forward if the resignation was voluntary, even if you didn’t file your claim within the 30-day time limit.

    A Few More Things to Consider

    Other things to consider are who is liable for your injury at work, and how are you going to prove that liability? Do you have any witnesses to the injury? You will need to work with your lawyer to prove negligence on the part of your former employer. All information you can gather and give to your attorneys will help your case.

    Your attorneys will assess the value of your claim and help you through the litigation process. If you cannot work, they will protect your right to any disability wages that may be due to you. Insurance companies have been known to set the compensation bar low for people who do not have legal representation, which is another reason hiring an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation is imperative.

  4. Can You Claim Workers’ Compensation for a Bad Desk Setup?

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    As today’s personal workspace has changed, the hours we spend sitting and standing on the job have increased. Your job may require you to stay at your desk for extended periods. Many people experience prolonged and chronic pain because of the time they spend working in one spot. The pain can cause a person to need extra care (for instance, physical therapy) and to take off quite a bit of time from work.

    If you’ve discussed your workspace issue with your boss, but have seen no changes, you probably feel stuck at a crossroads. You don’t want to lose your job but think your need for a different workspace is of the utmost importance for your physical and mental well-being.

    Speak to an Orange County workers compensation lawyer today to find out what you can do about your specific situation.

    Take Steps to Sooth Pain Yourself

    Many ways exist to temporarily alleviate your pain, especially if your posture is ergonomically correct. This will prevent you from slumping when sitting at your workspace and will keep your spine aligned properly. It will also prevent you from putting a strain on the muscles and ligaments in the lower back.

    Another way is to use a footstool as a prop, so your legs will have support and take the pressure off your lower back. You can also try a lumbar pillow to cushion yourself from bad posture. This will force you to sit in a different position, and it will help you in the long run. Physical exercise can be your saving grace when it comes to back discomfort. One of the best ways to cure back pain is to do abdominal crunches two to three times a week. This will strengthen your core muscles and relieve the tension in your back and neck.

    Chronic pain and discomfort from work-related injuries occur in all types of work environments. Some of the most common workers’ compensation injury claims are for neck pain, upper and lower back pain, and leg and foot pain due to slips and falls, repetitive motion injuries, and injuries due to over-exertion. It turns out that musculoskeletal injuries are quite common, especially for women in the workplace. You can make workers’ compensation claims for all these injuries.

    California Employers Must Carry Insurance

    In California, employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees injured on the job. This insurance should cover medical care, temporary or permanent disability, and in some unfortunate cases, death benefits for the family of the deceased. Of course, all compensation will vary according to the injury of the individual patient.

    If you feel your injury or pain is due to your work environment and working conditions, you will need to determine how you received your injury, how your employer is liable, and then you’ll have to prove negligence on behalf of your company in court.

    Hire a Top Legal Team for the Best Results

    The best way to prove your claim in court is to hire a top-notch legal team. Insurance companies often set the bar of compensation low for those parties who don’t have legal representation. The litigation process can be very complex, and your case may go to trial. In that case, you will want the best representation available.

    While the laws pertaining to workers’ compensation are there to protect the individual employee, it is important to do what you can on your own to alleviate your physical issues. Should you decide to pursue a legal claim, your attorneys are there to guide you through the process and give you some peace of mind.

  5. 5 Driving Tips to Remember in Orange County

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    Driving in California can be a bit overwhelming – the traffic congestion moves at a snail’s pace, one-way streets often going in the direction you don’t need to go, and sudden name changes on street signs make navigating the area difficult.

    Different rules exist for different counties. Although heavy traffic in California seems to be a statewide forgone conclusion, Orange County appears to have that problem under control, more so than Los Angeles. Except for your normal rush hour traffic, navigating Orange County is fairly easy. Of course, there are a few rules that will make your life on the road more manageable.

    If you were recently in a car accident near the Santa Ana area, contact our experienced Orange County car accident lawyers today.

    1- Don’t Use Your Cell Phone While Driving

    In California, using your cell phone without a hands-free connection is against the law. If you’re using your phone for your GPS, set the destination before you hit the road. Even picking up your phone to look at it can land you with a traffic violation. When using your GPS, you must mount it in either the lower left or lower right-hand corner of your windshield. It mustn’t obstruct your view and the only way you may touch your phone is to swipe or touch your screen with one finger.

    2 – Use HOV and Carpool Lanes When Possible

    Traffic in Orange County can be heavy at times. When traveling on the freeway, carpool lanes help traffic flow move more quickly. Remember these tips when moving into the HOV lane. First, there is a two-person per vehicle minimum in the carpool lanes, and you should only cross over when you see a broken line or opening. Failure to do so will result in a traffic violation.

    3 – Don’t Drink and Drive

    In any part of California, it is unlawful to drive with a blood alcohol level of more than 0.08%. However, if you’re deemed impaired, an officer can charge you, even if your BAC is below the limit. You may see sobriety checkpoints on the road from time to time after an event. If you are traveling with an open container of alcohol, it needs to be in the trunk of your car.

    Driving under the influence (DUI) in Orange County can have severe consequences. In fact, Orange County has tougher rules than the rest of the state. Depending upon the case, a DUI in Orange County can lead to criminal and administrative penalties. It may also include heavy fines, jail time, community service, and the loss of your driver’s license. For a commercial driver or a driver under 21, the penalties are more stringent.

    4 – Watch for Motorcycles – and Know Lane Splitting Laws

    In California, motorcycles can cross into your lane and share it with you. Being aware of this law and watching out for motorcyclists can help prevent accidents.

    5 – Know the Laws on Smoking and Littering

    Did you know that smoking is a punishable offense if there’s a minor in your vehicle? It’s largely due to the dangers of secondhand smoke. In California, the penalty is punishable by a fine that can go up to $100.

    And if you’re a smoker, don’t even think about throwing your lit cigarette butt out the window. It’s no surprise that littering is against the law in Orange County or anywhere in California. Be aware that this offense is punishable with a $1,000 fine.

    You should be able to navigate your way around Orange County pretty easily, without any problems. Just be aware of heavy traffic times and soon you’ll learn the easiest and safest routes to get to your destination.

  6. Texting & Driving Laws in Orange County

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    Negligent distracted drivers took at least 3,450 lives across the U.S. in 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). By now, most states have recognized the seriousness of texting and driving and passed some form of distracted driving law. California is no exception. Although texting and driving is never a good idea, in some states and cities it can result in traffic citations and hefty fines – as well as liability for a resultant car accident. Here is what you need to know about texting and driving laws in Santa Ana, California.

    If you or a loved one was recently injured by a distracted driver, you may be eligible to file a personal injury claim. Speak to a car collision lawyer in Orange County to see if you are eligible.

    The Dangers of Texting and Driving

    Texting and driving kills. More than 44% of Californians believe texting and driving is the most serious form of driver distraction, according to a survey by the California Office of Traffic Safety. More than half of drivers surveyed (54%) said someone had hit them or nearly hit them while talking on a cell phone. National crash statistics found that something distracted at least 10% of drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal accidents – likely cellphones. Cellphone use behind the wheel triples the risk of getting into a crash.

    Texting and driving is such a deadly form of driver distraction because it removes a driver’s eyes, hands, and thoughts from the road. A driver must look at the phone to read a message, touch the phone to text back, and think about the conversation instead of the driving task. It is one of the only forms of driver distraction that requires all three types of attention. The NHTSA states that reading or writing one text message (looking at a phone for five seconds) at 55 miles per hour is the equivalent of driving across a football field with your eyes closed.

    Understanding the dangers of texting and driving is the first step toward preventing this deadly mistake. Not only could you cause serious injuries or death while texting and driving – but you could also face civil and criminal repercussions. On top of traffic fines, you may be liable for damages if you cause a collision. This could result in higher insurance premiums and a civil case against you. You could also face criminal charges, such as vehicular assault or manslaughter if you hurt someone while texting.

    Statewide Ban on Handheld Cell Phone Use

    The state of California has one of the strictest universal cell phone bans in the country. California Vehicle Code Section 23123.5 states that no person shall drive a vehicle while holding and operating a handheld cell phone or other electronic communications device. This prohibits texting, scrolling, emailing, and even talking on handheld cell phones while driving anywhere in California – including in Santa Ana.

    The only acceptable forms of cell phone use while driving are voice-operated and hands-free operations. The cell phone law does not apply to manufacturer-installed devices embedded in the vehicle. To operate a hands-free device, a driver must mount the device in the vehicle is the same way they mount GPS systems. The only time a driver’s hand can touch the device is to activate or deactivate hands-free features, with a single tap or swipe of the finger. Exceptions exist for making emergency phone calls to 911 or another emergency service agency.

    Motorists under the age of 18 cannot use cell phones while driving in any manner – even hands-free use. The state’s handheld wireless phone law took effect July 1, 2008, while the texting and driving law took effect on January 1, 2009. The law is primary, meaning police officers don’t need any other reason to conduct at a traffic stop. Violating the statewide texting and driving ban can result in a fine of $20 for a first infraction and $50 for subsequent offenses, plus additional costs that can bring the fines to $159 and $279, minimum. Protect yourself and others. Put your phone down while driving.

  7. What Minor Injuries Can You Claim Workers’ Compensation For in Orange County?

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    Although many work-related injuries are serious, you don’t have to suffer a concussion or permanent spinal cord injury to qualify for California workers’ compensation. The state program extends to all injured workers, regardless of the severity of the injury, if the incident occurred during a job-related task and the employee qualifies for benefits. You can claim workers’ comp for many different minor injuries to avoid out-of-pocket medical expenses. The following are a few common minor injuries that qualify for a claim in California.

    To learn more about what you need to file a work injury claim, contact one of our Orange County workers compensation lawyers today.

    Minor Lacerations

    If you cut yourself at work, you may need to visit a doctor for disinfecting treatments, stitches, or bandages. Open cuts are prone to infection without proper medical treatment and follow-up care. A cut in the wrong place could force you out of work for a week or longer while the wound heals. If you work as a chef, for example, your employer may not permit you to keep working with an open cut on your hand. Although a minor laceration isn’t a serious injury, you could still seek restitution for your doctor’s visit, treatment, and time off work.

    First-Degree Burn

    Working around hot equipment, electrical components, or harsh chemicals could result in minor job-related burns. A first-degree burn can be painful, but won’t form blisters or break the skin. Thus, the risk of infection is very low. Still, a first-degree burn could be enough to send you home for the day, or require medical care if it covers a large portion of your body or a vulnerable area, such as the face. If you lost hours or must visit a doctor for your first-degree burn injury, you could be eligible for workers’ compensation.

    Bump on the Head

    You should always see a doctor immediately after an incident that involves something striking your head, even if you feel normal and don’t think you have a concussion. Many head and brain injuries have hidden or delayed symptoms. A medical scan may be the only way to diagnose your brain injury in its early stages. If you fall and hit your head or something falls and strikes your head, tell your supervisor and request an immediate visit to the hospital – even if you don’t feel any symptoms. You may then request workers’ compensation coverage for the medical visit and any treatments the doctor recommends.

    Sprain or Strain

    Bending and lifting objects, repetitive motions, and slip and fall accidents can all result in muscle sprains or strains. Soft-tissue injuries can cause significant pain and temporary disability. If a work-related sprain or strain puts you out of work or requires medical attention, file a claim for workers’ compensation. Request reimbursement for visits to a doctor, chiropractor, or rehabilitation center, as well as any days you had to miss from work. If a strain temporarily puts you in a different position for lower pay, you may also qualify for lost wage compensation.

    Allergic Reaction

    If something at work – such as a bee sting – triggers an allergic reaction, you may be able to file for workers’ compensation for related health problems. Allergic reactions may require a hospital visit and treatment to reduce swelling, as well as emergency actions such as using an EpiPen. You may have to go home for the day or take a few days off to completely recover. Even minor allergies may qualify if they require medical care or days off.

    Get More Information About Minor Injuries and CA Workers’ Compensation

    Almost all injuries can qualify for workers’ compensation in California. Minor injuries will give rise to workers’ compensation claims if they cost the employee damages in the form of medical bills and/or missed income. You may not qualify for disability benefits or lost wages if your injury isn’t serious enough to put you out of work for at least a week. However, you can receive medical care compensation if you’re a covered employee and the injury occurred at work. Contact a lawyer if you encounter problems obtaining workers’ compensation for a minor injury in Orange County.

  8. How to Safely Share the Road with Big Rigs

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    Truck accidents aren’t necessarily more common than typical car accidents, but they are deadlier. When big rigs crash into smaller vehicles, passenger vehicle occupants almost always suffer worse injuries than truck drivers. In 2016, 4,213 fatal traffic accidents in the U.S. involved commercial trucks. Most fatalities were passenger vehicle occupants. Reduce your risk of a collision with a large truck by being proactive. Use the following safety tips to share the road with big rigs – without risking your life.

    If you were recently involved in an accident with a big rig, speak to a truck wreck lawyer from Orange County now. A qualified attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve.

    Leave Plenty of Room to the Front of the Truck

    Never drive too closely to the front of a big rig. Large trucks take longer to stop than passenger vehicles traveling the same speed. It takes about twice as much distance for an 18-wheeler to stop than a smaller vehicle. Assuming a truck driver can stop before hitting you can lead to a deadly rear-end collision. Don’t swerve in front of big rigs and hit your brakes, as odds are the driver can’t stop the truck fast enough to avoid striking you.

    Don’t Drive in the No Zone

    The No Zone describes areas on all sides of the big rig where the truck driver has blind spots. The length and height of a big rig makes it impossible for truckers to clearly see all parts of the roadway. Although many drivers assume truckers have a better vantage point from so high up, the opposite is true. Stay at least 30 feet away from the back of the truck, 20 feet from the front, one lane from the left, and two lanes from the right to avoid a truck’s No Zone. This will minimize your odds of the truck merging on top of you, or colliding with the truck if it stops.

    Go Slowly

    Braking isn’t the only thing big rigs do differently. All types of maneuvers take longer from behind the wheel of a large truck. Truckers must make slow, wide turns, and cannot maneuver to avoid a collision very quickly. Give a truck driver plenty of time and space to make his/her move, always assuming the trucker cannot see you or stop in time. Never cut off a truck to reach an exit or while the truck is making a turn. Don’t tailgate a big rig, or you could end up in a fatal underride accident. Go slow in all that you do around a big truck.

    Pass Quickly

    Don’t linger behind or near a big rig if you can help it. Minimizing time spent around the commercial truck can reduce your risk of a serious accident. Pass the large truck as soon as it is safe to do so. Pass as quickly as you can without speeding. Spending too much time hovering by the side of the truck puts you in a dangerous No Zone. The large size of the truck also creates a wind tunnel that can push and pull your vehicle. Carry out your passing maneuver as quickly and efficiently as possible.

    Don’t Underestimate a Truck’s Speed

    A common mistake passenger vehicle drivers make is assuming the big size and heavy weight of a big rig means all trucks are driving slowly. This can lead to motorists trying to turn in front of oncoming trucks when they don’t have enough time to do so safely. Don’t underestimate the speed of an approaching big rig at an intersection. Remember, large trucks cannot stop as quickly. The truck will smash into you if you make a turn without enough time. T-bone collisions with big rigs are often fatal for motorists.

    Yield Right Away

    To be safe, avoid thinking you always have the right-of-way since a commercial truck is slower than your vehicle. The slowness of the large truck does not determine right-of-way at an intersection or freeway on-ramp. The regular rules of the road still apply with a big rig in the picture. Yield a truck driver the right-of-way when applicable. Give the truck driver enough time and space to make his/her move before proceeding.

  9. What You Should Do After a Car Accident

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    Unfortunately, the rate of auto accidents around the U.S. makes getting into an accident probable, not just possible. For most drivers, collisions are a matter of when, not if. Whether you’ve just been in an accident and are looking for advice moving forward or preemptively researching what to do after a car accident, start here. The most important thing you can do is to speak to a Orange County car accident attorney. If possible, take the following steps as well.

    Protect Yourself – Call the Police

    Do not believe the misconception that it’s better to handle a car accident without involving the police. This is generally a bad idea and can even be illegal depending on the severity of the accident. In California, the Department of Motor Vehicles says you have to call 911 and report the accident if it caused injuries, deaths, or property damage exceeding $1,000. Failing to report your accident could result in criminal charges.

    Calling the police isn’t just the lawful thing to do – it’s the best way to protect your rights. Involving the police gives you an official report of what happened, who caused the crash, and what injuries/damages it caused. Get to a safe location, check for injuries, and call 911 while still at the scene of the wreck. Request an ambulance if necessary. When police arrive, make sure to give them a statement with your side of the story. Calling the police can prevent the other driver from giving you false information and getting away with causing the crash.

    Document Your Crash From Day One

    If you’re in a state of mind and/or physical condition that allows you to do so, document your crash from the beginning. Take down important facts about your collision, such as the other driver’s name, vehicle description, license plate numbers, and car insurance information. Write down what you think happened while the details are fresh on your mind. Take photographs of the scene of the accident, property damage, and injuries. Get at least one wide-angle shot of the entire scene.

    Keep copies of crash-related documents, including the official police report, medical records, x-rays and scans, treatment prescriptions, and all communications between you and insurance companies. Create a folder or binder where you keep your accident-related documents and information. The more facts you collect about your case, the better your chances of a successful suit. A lawyer can help you preserve and collect evidence regarding your car accident.

    Go to the Hospital

    Do not risk your personal health and wellbeing by failing to go to the hospital after a car accident. Refusing or delaying medical care could significantly impact your ability to recover – both physically and financially. Failing to go to the hospital right away could signal to insurance companies that your injuries weren’t very serious. It could also give insurers a reason to believe you could have made your injuries worse by delaying medical care.

    See a doctor after a car accident even if you think you’re okay. You could have hidden or delayed symptoms that go unnoticed due to the adrenaline of the crash. Never tell police officers or insurance companies you don’t have injuries until you’ve seen a doctor and confirmed this fact. Instead, say you aren’t sure. Stating you didn’t suffer harm when you have hidden injuries can hurt your chances of securing compensation later.

    Call a Personal Injury Attorney

    Perhaps the most important thing to do after a car accident is to contact a local car accident lawyer. An Orange County personal injury attorney can walk you through the other steps to take after a crash, acting as your trusted confidant and counselor. Hiring a lawyer ensures you do everything possible to protect your rights and strengthens your case right from the beginning. An attorney can get more for your car accident insurance claim in California, as well as take your case to court if necessary for better compensation.

  10. Does Working from Home Jeopardize Your Workers’ Compensation Claim?

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    If you’ve suffered an injury in a work-related accident, workers’ compensation will help cover not only your medical expenses but also a percentage of lost wages for time away from work. This is a great opportunity to rest at home and recuperate from your injuries. Even so, you may feel tempted to use your time off to engage in other activities.

    Many employees have attempted to extend their time on workers’ compensation to reap further benefits. Some also take on additional part-time work to earn income while receiving benefits. Both types are guilty of committing workers’ compensation fraud. But what about working from home?

    The Rise of Remote Jobs

    Remote work has opened up work opportunities, allowing for employees to work from virtually anywhere without going to a physical office. These jobs are easy to access and may even allow the employee to earn some money while recovering from the injury covered by workers’ comp.

    This may make working at home seem like an attractive option for those recovering from injuries. Unfortunately, those who are on workers’ compensation may not be in as great a position for working from home as it may seem.

    Understanding Workers’ Compensation Fraud

    The person who took on part-time work while on workers’ compensation in our earlier example was guilty of workers’ compensation fraud. This is because compensation benefits are meant to make up for the loss of wages from being unable to work, not just paying medical bills. By performing extra work for income, the individual is, in fact, suited to perform work and should return to his or her job.

    Remote and at-home work is no different. While one may not need to perform the same strenuous tasks as one’s regular work, he or she is still earning income. This means that the money distributed by workers’ compensation isn’t necessary to make up for lost wages from being unable to work. Since the employee is working, he or she is committing fraud.

    The amount of workers’ compensation fraud through at-home work has increased in recent years. Unlike taking on part-time work in a physical location, at-home work is harder for employers and insurance companies to recognize and prove, making it a prime method for fraud.

    Workers’ compensation fraud is subject to strict penalties. Often an individual who has committed compensation fraud is subject to charges from both the insurer and the public prosecutor.

    Light Duty

    In some workers’ compensation cases, you may be on “light duty” instead of a full work restriction. This means that you may perform some work but are restricted from performing other tasks. You can still qualify for compensation depending on the extent of work you can do. For instance, if you are on light duty and can only work a limited number of hours, you may receive compensation for your unworked hours.

    During your period of light duty, you must report any income to your employer or the workers’ compensation insurer so that they may account for your proper amount of required compensation. Failure to report any income, even while on light duty, is also subject to civil or criminal prosecution.

    Workers’ compensation benefits are meant to allow employees time to recover from their injuries. Failing to behave appropriately while on leave from work can cost you your benefits and call your claim into question. While you may feel able to do work from home, earning additional money when you should be recovering constitutes fraud.

    California insurance fraud law requires proof of intent to prosecute a case. If you have unknowingly committed insurance fraud by conducting work at home, consult with a skilled attorney to receive help managing the potential legal consequences.