Category Archives: California Law

Questions to inquire about prior to hiring an Attorney or Lawyer

California Attorney at Law Norman Gregory Fernandez

California Attorney at Law Norman Gregory Fernandez

Chatsworth – California April 8, 2012

How can you know you have hired the ideal attorney for your legal matter? Exactly what are your legal rights when it comes to a given situation? Are you protected, guided properly, and will all the things involved in your matter be considered before decisions or actions are undertaken? Finding legal help right now can certainly be challenging, further, finding the right legal assistance can certainly be costly.

A part most typically associated with the initial challenge to locate a good attorney is a result of simply not understanding where to begin your actual search. Worse, the expense problem makes this process actually more daunting, presented with the probability of high retainer fees as well as hourly fees, and in the event that you will be looking out for your individual or your family’s needs, here are some thoughts to assist you.

A. Keep family as well as friends away from the legal advice area. I love the phrase “you don’t understand what you don’t understand.” Friends and family don’t understand what they don’t understand. Supplying you with imperfect or outright incorrect information and facts might be dangerous. Your circle of family and friends might be perfect for socializing and receiving everyday views on some things, but not for legal counsel. The majority of people do not know the actual law, how to legally resolve a legal matter, as well as the consequences of measures or omissions in the legal process.

Everyone has an opinion; however, when it comes to protecting you legally, in addition to guiding yourself, one’s family, or perhaps your business, you need more than a family member’s opinion. Family member’s advice may be well intended. But their advice may turn out to be very harmful to your legal case or issue. You should retain a completely independent attorney to deal with your actual legal issue, whether trivial or major, so you can actually obtain the proper legal guidance you need.

B. Stay far away from the ever increasing on-line document preparation solutions on the internet. These normally do not allow for a complete exchange of information and additionally may result in imperfect outcomes which may not fulfill ones actual needs. Documents produced in this manner might address your specifications. But if you have not really been asked proper inquiries, or if you don’t know everything involved, what is produced will be incomplete and could result in complications later because something crucial was not considered.

An example might be a simple Partnership Contract for the organization of a small business. Without terms within the Contract regarding what takes place if a Partner dies, you might have significant problems should that event arise. If you do not know to include a “death involving partner” provision in the contract, the actual on-line preparation service’s questionnaire may not either. Then, you might be devoid of an important part associated with the Contract, causing potential problems for you later on.

There is no way an online document preparation service can replace an experienced attorney.

Having an attorney can cost you more than using the on-line system, but the cost is well worth it. Just like you would never operate on yourself, you should never represent yourself. It is said that only a fool has himself for a client.

C. Find an attorney with a specialization or concentration within the area of law in which you need advice or legal assistance. Attorneys specialize similarly to doctors. You wouldn’t speak to a foot doctor about heart problems or a pediatrician about your aging parent’s memory difficulties. As plainly obvious as these examples appear, you actually might be undertaking the legal equivalent by talking to the incorrect attorney. Find an attorney that practices in the area you need help in.

D. When searching for an attorney, request family and friends (now is the time to involve them) if they know someone good. Go to your computer or smart phone and use the internet to search for a lawyer. For example to find a biker lawyer, type into the search engine “Biker Lawyer,” or if you are looking for a car accident attorney in Chatsworth, California, type in “car accident lawyer in Chatsworth, California. The more specific you type in your search the better.

A word of caution, major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo usually reserve the first 3 spots on the top of the search engine results for sponsored listings or paid advertisements. This means that the first three results on any search you do are paid advertisements. Further, all of the listings on the right hand part of the screen are usually also paid listings and paid advertisements.

There are also major directories that pop up in the search results that contain nothing but attorneys and lawyers who pay for listings.

Just because a lawyer pays for a sponsored listing or advertisement, does not mean they are the best attorney for you. As a matter of fact I recommend that you stay away from the hacks that pay for sponsored listings or advertisements all over the search engines.

Instead you want to find attorneys who are experienced and who you can speak to. A fancy ad does not make a good lawyer.

Yes, attorneys can certainly be expensive. Ask the attorney before you hire him or her how they will charge you. Ask for an estimate of the actual total costs that will most likely be involved. Ask if the lawyer will allow a few minutes for a free of charge consultation. Ask the attorney about their experience. Notice if you get through to the lawyer or if staff members block your actual access. There is nothing wrong with staff addressing your routine questions, however if you want to talk to the actual attorney, you should be allowed to do so.

Types of Fees.

Flat fees tend to be routine for “one-time” legal services, such as representation in a courtroom for a traffic or certain criminal offenses, as well as for the preparation of papers, such as a contract or perhaps a will.

Hourly fees are normal for matters which will entail continuing services, including representation in a divorce or child custody matter, or for business lawsuits. Often attorneys may ask for a “retainer” in advance; this allows them to acquire their fee while they do the work, and it safeguards them in case you decide to not pay them. As the retainer is used up, the lawyer will ask for another retainer.

Contingency fees are often charged for personal injury matters, such as automobile accident cases, or slip and falls, wherein the attorney will receive a percentage of the total recovery when, and only if there is a recovery for you.

Understanding how fees will be charged and collected is an integral part associated with the attorney selection process. Possessing this information will enable you to compare attorneys and then make an informed decision. Note that the least expensive attorney is not always the best. Per hour fees tend to increase with the attorney’s degree of experience. My advice is to take your time with a selection and ask questions. Shelling out money for legal matters may not be fun, but the results should be better than not hiring an attorney to safeguard you, and will most likely in the end save you money.

Norman Gregory Fernandez is an attorney at law licensed throughout the great State of California, and has been practicing law since 1997. He represents personal injury victims and routinely fights insurance companies and big businesses that won’t accept total responsibility for the harms and losses that they cause. He can be reached anytime by calling 800-816-1Law (800-816-1529), via email, or through his website. He’s also available to talk to your group about numerous legal topics.

If you or your family have been the victim of a truck crash, car crash, or other motor vehicle accident in Oxnard or anywhere in California call us for a free consultation at 800-816-1529 x. 1, or go to http://www.thepersonalinjury.com.

California Personal Injury Attorney Website

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A California Traffic Study finds a Decline in Cell Phone Related Accidents

woman on cell phone while driving

Notwithstanding California's cell phone use while driving ban, people are still violating the law

We have seen a lot of debate about the success of California’s controversial ban on the use of cell phones while driving. However, a new study by a state agency confirms that these particular laws have been accountable for decreasing the amount of accidents caused by the use of cellular phones.

According to the report from the California Office of Traffic Safety, the number of traffic accidents involving cell phone use while driving in California dropped by 32% after the laws were implemented. The report says that during the two years following the time when cell phone laws came to be, there were approximately 53 fatalities a result of drivers who had been using cellular phones while driving. In the two years before the law was implemented, greater than 100 fatalities were caused by drivers using cell phones while driving.

The research tracked the success of the cellular phone while driving ban. According to Sen. Joe Simitian, Democrat-Palo Alto, who authored the bill which made it an offense to drive an automobile or other motor vehicle while using a hand-held cellular phone, the state has made substantial progress in reducing the number of motorists who use cellular phones while driving.

Safety agencies such as the Governors Highway Safety Association have much praise for the way California has managed to implement its anti-distracted driving laws. A number of other states have similar laws against the usage of hand-held cell phones while driving. However, in those states, these laws have experienced a limited effect, primarily because of absence of aggressive enforcement.

In California, however, law-enforcement is aggressively enforcing these laws, which means that cell phone use while driving has dropped, although penalties for these particular offenses remain low. The penalty for driving with a hand-held cell phone is $20. This past year, there was an attempt to pass legislation that would increase the fines substantially for using a cellular phone while driving, violations. However, the proposal was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown. California Car accident attorneys, and Motorcycle Accident Lawyers such as me have strongly supported any proposal to increase the fines for persons found using a hand-held cell phone while driving.

Progress against distracted driving is going to take years. Sen. Simitian compares California’s war against distracted driving with the war against drunk driving and also the campaign to get additional motorists to buckle up while driving. Progress in these initiatives did not come overnight. After aggressive enforcement, we’re able to see a decrease in cell phone use while driving.

Notwithstanding the State report showing a decrease in cell phone usage, I myself personally see people holding cell phones up to their ears while driving, in violation of the law, all of the time.

It upsets me because I know that these people are not only violating the law, but they are accidents waiting to happen.

It is my practice to subpoena all cell phone records of persons involved in a car, truck, or other motor vehicle accident when I am doing a case against them for one of my personal injury clients. The cops may not have caught you, but I will.

California Car, Truck, Motorcycle Vehicle Accident Attorney Website

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What should you do immediately after a car, truck, or other motor vehicle accident?

California Attorney at Law Norman Gregory Fernandez

California Attorney at Law Norman Gregory Fernandez

Nobody plans on getting into a car, truck, or other motor vehicle accident, so most people are really do not know what to do if they are involved in a vehicle collision. You may have read the DMV handbook, or heard from friends what ought to be done immediately after a crash, but maybe you are not exactly sure what you should do.

Just after an accident, you could be injured, your emotions and adrenalin may be running on overload, and you might be worried about any family and friends in your vehicle. You should follow the steps below after any accident, no matter how serious.

Stay at the scene of the accident.

Leaving or fleeing the scene of an accident, even if it was not your fault, may lead to criminal charges. After an accident you should pull to the side of the road if you can; you should not leave your car in traffic lanes if it can be moved.

Ensure everyone is OK

Check on passengers, if any, and any drivers or passengers of other motor vehicles involved in the vehicle accident. If someone is hurt, never move them unless it is absolutely necessary, call 911 immediately if you can, or have someone else call if you cannot.

Call Law Enforcement.

You should always call law enforcement from the scene of an accident no matter how serious the accident is, no matter what. Law enforcement won’t always show up, especially when there aren’t any injuries; however you should at least try to get them to come out and write an accident report.

Exchange information with the other driver

The more information you get, the better it will be for you later on. At the minimum you want to obtain their Driver’s license number, driver’s license name, driver’s license address, driver’s license expiration date, any restrictions on driver’s license, vehicle license plate number, all info from their vehicle registration card, all information from their insurance card, write down a description of the driver in case they try to claim someone else was driving.

Take as many pictures as possible of all things. The car, the scene, the damage, skid marks, the road conditions, weather, traffic signs, everything, even the other drivers license, passengers, the actual other driver, etc.

Try to find witnesses.

If there are witnesses try to get their version of the events. If their version is helpful to your case, get all of their information and ask them if they will be a witness for you.

These are the first steps you need to take at the scene after you’ve been in an auto accident.

Whatever you do, DO NOT apologize or make any unnecessary statements. Don’t speak to anyone; keep your statements to the minimum, above all, never admit you are at fault!

If you or your family have been the victim of a truck crash, car crash, or other motor vehicle accident in Oxnard or anywhere in California call us for a free consultation at 800-816-1529 x. 1, or go to http://www.thepersonalinjury.com

California Car, Truck and Other Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney Website

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Lawsuit seeks to block New Los Angeles Police Department Unlicensed Driver Policy

city of los angelesA lawsuit has been filed to try and block a new Los Angeles police policy that will let unlicensed drivers, including undocumented immigrants, skirt a mandatory 30-day impound rule after a traffic stop.

A group of civil rights attorneys filed the complaint on Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

The complaint seeks to block enforcement of LAPD Chief Charlie Beck’s new policy to prevent “wasteful, unlawful and unconstitutional police policies.”

It names Beck, CHP Commissioner Joseph A. Farrow, the city of Los Angeles and also the state of California.

“The problem with the 30-day impound is it’s enforced against people with basically not much money,” said Donald W. Cook, an attorney who filed the complaint. “It really is a financial racket. It’s a Robin Hood in reverse.

“This isn’t regarding the state’s power to seize and take away from the street cars that cannot be left on the street for just about any number of reasons,” Cook said. “It’s about ability of the owner to obtain the car back less than Thirty days and in many cases immediately.”

Cook and his fellow colleagues have a similar case that’s pending in federal court.

Several cities, including L.A., produced motion recently to have that case dismissed, claiming the issues are already decided by an earlier appellate court ruling.

The judge could rule on the motion any day, Cook said.

No court date in the most recent case has been set.

LAPD spokesman Gus Villanueva said the department had not seen the complaint and could not comment.

The complaint argues the LAPD policy change illegally requires a mandatory 30-day impound of drivers stopped with an expired California driver’s license or even a foreign driving license.

It argues the department unlawfully prevents the owners of vehicles from getting their cars back before 30 days when another driver who is not the owner was to blame for any violation and impound.

The complaint also contends LAPD procedures for notifying vehicle owners of an impound deny alleged violators due process by not notifying them of any hearing date to contest an impound.

The city Police Commission a week ago approved a new policy that allowed offenders who have valid identification, car registration and proof of insurance to avoid a mandatory 30-day impound.

Under the policy, drivers who were at fault in an accident, or had prior convictions for driving unlicensed wouldn’t be eligible for a shortened impound.

Beck, who proposed the policy with the backing of immigrants’ rights groups and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, said last week the modification was an attempt to get rid of confusion by officers in the field over two conflicting laws regarding when to impound a car or truck as well as for how long.

He also said the policy discriminated against undocumented immigrants, who are unable to get driver licenses.

Two attorneys behind the lawsuit argued it did not go far enough, saying it does not curtail the high costs of getting a vehicle towed and impounded.

A 30-day impound costs about $1,500, as outlined by attorney Cynthia Anderson-Barker.

The Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union representing rank-and-file police officers, challenges the plan. The union believes the law encourages more unlicensed drivers to be on the highway and jeopardizes public safety.

The LAPD impounded about 30,000 cars last year. About Eighty-five percent of such were for violations of the state vehicle code that mandates a 30-day impound.

A memo by the state Legislative Council, which provides legal counsel to state legislators, questioned its legality, even though the Los Angeles City Attorney said the law is legally defensible.
Da Steve Cooley sent a letter to the commission stating the plan violates state regulations and would make the city vulnerable to lawsuits.

The polarizing impound policy has taken place within a heated and emotional national debate over immigration.

“What I’m saying really is easy. We all have to cut off the magnets which are drawing individuals to come here illegally,” California Assemblyman Tim Donnelly said..

“We must stop rewarding people, giving them free college tuition – Hey incidentally, if you don’t possess a driver’s license we’ll make totally new classification. Hey, when you get your vehicle impounded we’ll clear that with another law.”

Beck acknowledged after the commission’s vote that the debate was “far from over,” but insisted the policy would still crack down on unlicensed drivers who are repeat offenders or cause accidents.

“This isn’t a free ride,” the chief said.

The commission’s vote isn’t automatically susceptible to review by the City Council, but the council could vote to take up the issue.

As a personal injury and car accident attorney who does many cases throughout the City of Los Angeles, and who follows the law, I for one am against the new Los Angeles Police Policy and think that State Law should be followed.

I see many accidents where one of the parties are unlicensed and should not be on the road. Also many hit and run accidents are done by persons with no license or persons whose license has become suspended.

To reward those who don’t follow the law and allow them to skirt the 30 day impound period, at least to me an accident attorney, is a threat to public safety and should not be done.

It is the Law of California that all drivers be licensed. If someone wants to drive without a license and endanger us all, they should be made to pay.

If you or your family have been the victim of a truck crash, car crash, or other motor vehicle accident in Los Angeles or anywhere in California call us for a free consultation at 800-816-1529 x. 1, or go to http://www.thepersonalinjury.com.

Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney Website

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Basic California Motor Vehicle Collision Information.

California Car Accident InformationVehicle collisions can and most often are traumatic. So much is happening, and you may not understand what you need to do. Save this article on your computer or in your vehicle just in case you find yourself in a vehicle collision.

You and Your Passengers Must Wear Seat Belts?

Most drivers, no matter how carefully they drive, will be involved in one or more vehicle collision throughout their lifetime. The chances of you being killed or injured in a vehicle collision are greater than you may think. One person in three is going to be injured or killed. To increase your odds of surviving an accident, use your seat belts each and every time you are in a moving vehicle. Ensure you and your passengers wear both your lap and shoulder belt if the vehicle comes with both, whether or not the vehicle comes with air bags. Wear your seat belts each and every time you drive. It’s the law!

Children eight years and older, but under 16 years old must be properly secured by having an appropriate safety belt. Children under eight years old, who are less than 4 feet 9 inches tall, have to be properly secured in a child passenger restraint system which fits federal safety standards. However, children under eight years old, that are 4 feet 9 inches tall or taller, may be secured with an appropriate safety belt.

Here are a few additional techniques for using a child passenger restraint system:

The back seat is the safest place in the car for kids 12 years old or younger.

Children, who weigh to 20 lbs. up to age 1, must be secured in a child passenger restraint system secured to the back seat facing the back of the car. Children must not be placed facing forward or backward in the front passenger seat if the vehicle comes with an air bag. Your local law enforcement agencies, fire departments, or perhaps a child passenger safety (CPS) technician can check out proper installation of your child passenger restraint system.

Common Causes of Vehicle Collisions

A few of the common reasons for vehicle collisions are:

  • Unsafe speed
  • Driver distractions
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road
  • Improper turns
  • Violation of the right-of-way rules
  • Violation of stop signals and signs
  • Cellular telephone use

Choosing a Lane

When news stations report vehicle collisions, they refer to numbered traffic lanes. The left lane is the “Number.1 Lane.” The lane on the right of the “Number 1 Lane” is the “Number 2 Lane”, then the “Number 3 Lane”, etc.

For anyone who is made aware of a motor vehicle collision through the news or your GPS, avoid driving close to the collision or take another route, if possible. In the event you must drive near a collision scene, do not slow down or stop and look at the accident because you could cause another collision. Drive carefully and watch for people in the road. Always obey an order from a police officer or firefighter directing traffic at a vehicle collision scene, even if you must ignore normal traffic laws or signs to accomplish this.

When You See a Motor Vehicle Collision

Should you be the very first person at a vehicle collision scene, pull completely off the road, away from the collision. Emergency personnel have to be able to see the collision and stop next to it for quick access to injured persons.

Determine if someone is injured. Search the area for victims who may have been thrown from a vehicle. They can be hidden in tall grass or bushes.

Call 9-1-1. If another person stops to help, ask that person to call 9-1-1.

The individual calling 9-1-1 must be prepared to respond to questions and supply information, including the location of the emergency (cross streets, freeway on/off ramp information) and exactly how many people require assistance (is anyone bleeding, unconscious, or with no pulse).

Don’t hang up the phone! Allow the emergency dispatcher to hang up first.

If at all possible, use flares or emergency triangles. If you find a gasoline leak or fumes, don’t use the flares and don’t smoke!

Help anyone that isn’t already walking and talking. Do not move an injured person unless she or he is in a burning vehicle or perhaps in other danger. Moving someone incorrectly often makes an injury worse.

Move the automobile(s) involved out of the traffic lane if it’s not disabled. Turn off the ignition of wrecked vehicle(s). Don’t smoke! Fire is a great danger.

If you are Involved In A Collision?

In case you are involved in an automobile collision-STOP. If you don’t stop, you may be convicted of a “hit and run” and may be severely punished. Someone could be injured and require help. Call 9-1-1 immediately to report the collision to the police or CHP. You must show your driver license, vehicle registration card, proof of financial responsibility, and current address to the other driver or persons involved in the accident, or any peace officer. Evidence of financial responsibility is usually an insurance provider name and a policy number. If you do not have it, you will get a citation along with a $250 fine.

You must do the following:

Move your motor vehicle off the street or highway if no one is killed or injured. Should you not move your motor vehicle or have it taken off the road or highway, any peace officer or authorized personnel may have your motor vehicle removed and impounded. (CVC §§22651 and 22651.05)

Pull to the side of the road and stop in the event you kill or injure an animal. Look for the owner. In the event you can’t find the owner, call the nearest humane society, police, or CHP. Don’t attempt to move a wounded animal. Never leave an injured animal to die.

Try to look for the owner in the event you hit a parked vehicle or any other property. Identify yourself before you leave. In the event you can’t find the owner, leave a note with your name and address (and the name and address of the owner of the vehicle that you are driving) inside the vehicle or securely attached to it. Report the collision without delay to the police or, in unincorporated areas, to the CHP.

Report the collision in writing to the police or CHP without delay if anyone is killed or injured and law enforcement wasn’t present at the scene. In the event the driver of the vehicle involved in a collision is physically unable to report a collision to the police or CHP, any occupant inside vehicle at the time of the collision shall make the report on behalf of the driver.

You or your agent, broker, or legal representative should do the following:

Report the collision by completing a Report of Traffic Accident Occurring in California (SR 1) to the DMV within 10 days when there is in excess of $750 in damage to the property of any person, or anyone is injured (no matter how slightly) or killed.

How Much Insurance are you required to have?

You must be financially responsible for your actions whenever you drive as well as for all motorized vehicles you own. Most drivers decide to have an automobile liability insurance policy as evidence of financial responsibility. If you have a collision not protected by your insurance, your license will be suspended. When the driver involved in the collision is not identified, the owner of the motor vehicle involved will have his or her driver license suspended.

The minimum amount your insurance must cover in the state of California is:

$15,000 for a single death or injury.

$30,000 for death or injury to multiple people.

$5,000 for damage to property caused by one accident.

Reporting a traffic accident to DMV

If you have a collision, report it to the DMV using the SR 1 form. You or your insurance agent, broker, or legal representative must complete the SR 1 report and send it to the DMV within Ten days if a person is injured (regardless of how minor the injury) or killed or property damage is over $750. The SR 1 report is necessary in addition to every other report made to law enforcement, CHP, or your insurance company.

The SR 1 form is available at DMV field offices, at CHP offices, or online at www.dmv.ca.gov. The SR 1 form is necessary whether you caused the collision or not, and even if the collision occurred on private property.

Your driving privilege is going to be suspended if you don’t complete a SR 1 form or if you didn’t possess the proper insurance coverage at the time of the automobile collision.

Every vehicle collision reported to the DMV by law enforcement shows on the driving record unless the reporting officer says someone else was at fault. Unless there is a corresponding police report on file that indicates someone else was at fault, every vehicle collision reported by you or some other party in the collision will likely show on your driver record if:

Any vehicle or property involved has over $750 in damage, or

Anyone is injured or dies.

It does not matter who caused the vehicle collision. The law says DMV must keep this record.

California Motor Vehicle Accident Recap

The subsequent information can help you complete the SR 1 form (maintain it in your glove box). Avoid the use of this article instead of filing the SR 1 form.

Your insurance company name and policy number.

Time and date of the accident.

Location of the accident.

NOTE: You have to give your current address and show these documents to any peace officer and person(s) involved in the vehicle collision:

Your driver license.

Your vehicle registration card.

Evidence of financial responsibility which includes your insurance company name and policy number.

Other Party’s (Driver’s) Information:

Driver’s date of birth.

License number and state.

Driver’s name and address.

Vehicle license plate number and state.

Driver’s insurance company name.

Policy number and expiration date.

Policy holder’s name and address.

Vehicle owner’s name and address.

Injuries or property damage.

The Law Offices of Norman Gregory Fernandez & Associates handles car accident cases and other motor vehicle accident cases all over the state of California. You can read about these cases at http://www.thepersonalinjury.com . If you want to discuss your case, you may call us for a free consultation at 800-816-1529 x. 1.

California Car Accident Attorney Website

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Fleeing hit-run driver injures 5 people, 3 seriously in second crash; Maybe it is time to increase penalties.

Scene of Woodland Hills, CA Accident Caused by Fleeing Hit and Run Driver

Scene of Woodland Hills, CA Accident Caused by Fleeing Hit and Run Driver

WOODLAND HILLS, LOS ANGELES – California

A driver fleeing the scene of an accident ended up colliding with two other cars on Ventura Boulevard at Desoto Avenue in Woodland Hills on Saturday.

Police said the driver of a red convertible got into an accident on another portion of Ventura Boulevard. He then took off and continued eastbound, colliding with two other cars that were stopped at a light at Desoto Avenue at around 11:30 a.m.

Five people were injured, three of them critically.

The driver of the car involved in the original hit-and-run accident said the red convertible rear-ended him. He and his daughter were not injured.

This particular accident really hits home for me, because it happened right or I grew up.

I don’t know what’s going on lately but it seems to me that there is a marked increase of hit-and-run drivers, and people fleeing the scene of accidents that their in.

In this particular accident, five people were injured, three critically, because some idiot decided not to stop after they were in accident.

It seems to me if there were mandatory jail sentences for hit-and-run drivers, with sentences being much tougher for hit-and-run drivers, that the word would get out and more people would stop after they’re in a car accident.

Furthermore, I believe that drivers, who were convicted of hit-and-run driving, should lose their driver’s license privileges for the rest of their life. I think maybe with these types of stiff penalties, accidents like this would not happen, and more people would stop rather than flee the scene of an accident.

What do you think?

If you or your family have been the victim of a car crash, or other motor vehicle accident in Woodland Hills or anywhere in California call us for a free consultation at 800-816-1529 x. 1, or go to http://www.thepersonalinjury.com

Woodland Hills Car Accident Attorney Website

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5 People are dead so far in Los Angeles County So Far During Labor Day Weekend

California Personal Injury Lawyer Blog NewsA fiery crash on the 110 Freeway and several other traffic accidents have claimed the lives of five people on Los Angeles County streets and highways so far over the Labor Day weekend, authorities said.

A motorcyclist was killed Sunday in a crash on Topanga Canyon Boulevard near the Pacific Coast Highway about 2:30 p.m., the California Highway Patrol reported. The victim was pronounced dead at a hospital. Investigators were still on the scene, and no further details were available.

Also, a man died early Sunday when he was trapped under a flaming 1971 Chevy Monte Carlo that had been stopped on the shoulder of the southbound 110 Freeway near 52nd Street.

The 2:40 a.m. incident began when the 18-year-old driver of a 2008 Smart car slowed to avoid rear-ending a vehicle directly ahead, swerved onto the right shoulder and struck the Monte Carlo. Both vehicles burst into flames.

The Monte Carlo rolled over and fatally injured one of three men who had been standing near the car after it had broken down, the CHP reported. Two other victims were taken to hospitals, one in critical condition and one with lesser injuries.

The driver of the Smart car sustained scrapes and was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder and driving under the influence, the CHP said. Names of the suspect and victims were not released.

About 11 p.m. Saturday, a pickup truck driven by a 17-year-old male overturned on the 710 Freeway, killing a female passenger and injuring three others. The accident occurred in the northbound lanes just south of the 91 Freeway, the CHP reported. No names were released.
A 23-year-old man driving a Honda Accord died late Saturday when he hit a power pole and tree on Somerset Ranch Road near Paramount Boulevard in South Gate.

The accident occurred about 10:50 p.m. when the driver exited the 105 Freeway at a high rate of speed, collided with another vehicle and slammed into the pole and tree, said South Gate Police Sgt. Mario Saldivar.

The driver was pronounced dead at the scene. A female passenger was in stable condition at a hospital with minor injuries. No names were released.

And a 43-year-old Irvine man was killed while trying to cross the eastbound lanes of the 101 Freeway after crashing his car near Laurel Canyon Boulevard about 9:40 p.m. Saturday, officials said.

The man had been driving west in a black Lexus when he drifted off the shoulder, struck a guardrail and came to rest in the number one lane, the CHP reported.

He got out of the car, tried to run across the freeway and was hit by a BMW driven by a 76-year-old Encino man. The driver of the Lexus was pronounced dead at the scene. His name was not released. The BMW driver was unhurt.

Last year, only one traffic-related fatality was reported in Los Angeles County during the first 36 hours of Labor Day weekend, according to the CHP. Statewide, the CHP has reported six fatalities so far, compared with eight last year.

In Los Angeles County, 227 people have been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, up from 209 last year, while statewide, the CHP has arrested 1,008 motorists on that charge, compared with 990 last year.

Traffic-related incidents so far this weekend are also higher than the July 4 and Memorial Day numbers this year, authorities said.
“There was a somewhat downward trend, and we were hopeful that would still be the case because people had gotten the message about safe driving,” said CHP Officer Ming Hsu. “Unfortunately, the numbers we have for this period are spiking.”

If you or your family has been injured anywhere in Los Angeles County or the State of California, you may contact our law firm for a free consultation at 800-816-1529 ext. 1, or submit your case through our website at http://www.therpersonalinjury.com

Los Angeles County Car Accident Attorney and California Personal Injury Website

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California Cell Phone Hands Free Law means Hands Free!

A Biker and Motorcyclist worst nightmare!

A Biker and Motorcyclist worst nightmare!

As many of you know, or should know, on July 1, 2008, a California law took effect which bans the use of cell phones without a hands free device while driving. I wrote an article about it which you can read by clicking here.

Many people think that the law allows you to hold your phone and use the speaker phone function of the cell phone while driving, so long as you do not hold it to your head. Well guess what, you cannot.

Technically under the hands free law, you cannot hold your phone to even dial it while driving.

Now here is the kicker, the fine for the first offense is only around $25.00. However, by the time all of the extra add-on assessments and costs are added onto the ticket, you will be looking at a $160.00 ticket for the first offense.

A second offense will kick it up to over $300.00, and so forth.

I have been informed that the CHP alone is writing almost 10,000 cell phone tickets a month right now, this does not include all of the other law enforcement agencies.

Obviously cell phone violations have become a big cash cow for our broke State, but I think that it is ridicules to be assessing such major fines simply for holding a cell phone and talking on the speaker.

Now as a motorcycle rider, nothing pisses me off more than seeing a cager with a cell phone to his ear, which in my opinion is blatantly illegal. I will usually blare my horn to get their attention.

Bottom line, in California, you cannot hold your cell phone while driving or you will get dinged. You must only use hands free.

Most cell phones these days allow you to voice dial through a Bluetooth device. That is probably the way to go.

By California Personal Injury Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © April 5, 2011

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When a Bad Road Causes a Car or Motorcycle Accident in California.

Dangerous and Defective Roads Kill and Injure Many People Each Year

Dangerous and Defective Roads Kill and Injure Many People Each Year

Many of you may not know that you can recover damages if a dangerous or defective road causes you to crash in your vehicle.

I have dealt with all sorts of defective and dangerous road cases. Some cases involve holes, bumps, debris, rocks, gravel, poorly maintained roads, defectively designed roads, curves, intersections, signals, guard rails, etc.

Some of these types of cases are utterly devastating to the victims.

I recently saw a TV news special where it was flat out stated that many defective roads are known about, but are not being repaired due to budget deficits related to the recession.

The recession and the economy do not excuse anyone from maintaining a dangerous or defective road.

If you are on a public road in California, and the road caused you to crash and become injured, you will need to file a governmental claim with the appropriate governmental agency within 6 months from the day you had your accident.

If the governmental entity rejects your claim within 45 days of receipt of claim, you have 6 months from the date of the rejection to file a lawsuit against the governmental entity.

If they do not reject the claim, you have 2 years to sue from the date of the accident.

If you are on a private road on private property, you have 2 years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.

Defective and Dangerous road cases are very complex to such an extent that many personal injury attorneys do not do these types of cases.

I handle these types of cases. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a dangerous or defective road, give me a call for a free consultation 7 days a week, 24 hours a day at 800-816-1529, ext. 1, or you may submit your case to us through the blog by clicking here.

By California Personal Injury Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © March 9, 2011

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Let’s Talk about Your California Car Accident.

California Car Accident InformationSo you have been in a Car Accident in the State of California. You know the accident is not your fault. You were injured. What should you do?

The first thing two things you need to do are; (1) get the other drivers information, and (2) get medical help; not necessarily in that order.

When you get the other drivers information, try to get as much information as possible, such as all of the information on their drivers license, their phone number, the year, make, model, license plate and vin number of their vehicle, the color of their vehicle, and even a description of the driver and their passengers. You also need to get their insurance information.

Without the other driver’s information, your chances of recovery in the accident are slim to none.

I have had people with great cases, who could not recover because they failed to get the information of the person who hit them.

Most uninsured motorist coverage policies also require you to identify the person who hit you.

With respect to your injuries, you need to seek immediate medical treatment. If you feel like you need to be transported by paramedic to the emergency room, chances are that you are probably right. It is better to error on the side of caution.

Even if you do not have medical insurance, all emergency rooms are required to treat you, and stabalize you. Go to the emergency room if you need to.

When you go to the doctor, make sure you tell the doctor about all of your problems; do not underestimate your complaints.

I cannot tell you how many people I have talked to who are hurt bad, yet when they describe their complaints, they hold back. How can a doctor treat you if you do not tell them what is hurting?

I know you are also concerned about getting your vehicle repaired, finding temporary transportation, and so on.

The best thing you can do now is to retain a personal injury attorney for your California car accident case.

There are many damages that you may be entitled to such as all out of pocket expenses related to the accident, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress, and so forth, which you have no clue how to value or go after on your own.

Further, if you are married, you spouse may also have a cause of action for loss of consortium even if they were not in the car with you.

I estimate that a reputable personal injury attorney such as myself, can get you more money in your pocket for your personal injury case, than you would ever get on your own in 99% of all cases.

The reason is simple, personal injury cases are complex.

The insurance companies exist for one thing only; to make a profit, not pay you money. If they can, they will try to get you to settle for pennies on the dollar for what your case is actually worth.

They may offer you a couple of thousand dollars on a case that may be worth tens of thousands of dollars.

They know that if you are unrepresented, that you are an easy mark!

Don’t be a victim a second time around. You should be worried about getting better, and not about fighting the insurance company. Let me do that for you.

If you have been injured in a car accident, or any other motor vehicle accident in the State of California, give me a call 7 days a week, 24 hours a day at 800-816-1529 ext. 1.

By California Car Accident Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © March 3, 2011

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What can you do if your Lover gives you a Sexually Transmitted Disease in California?

What do you do if your lover gives you a sexually transmitted diseaseYou met someone you really like, you had sex with them, soon after you discover a lesion or something else wrong on your private parts, you go to a doctor, you find out you now have herpes. (Or worse) What can you do?

Well there are a lot of things that you can do. The purpose of this article is to discuss the legal remedies available to you if someone knowingly or negligently gives you a sexually transmitted disease. This body of law is called “Sexual Torts.”

Before I get started with this article, let me lay a foundation; first some sexually transmitted diseases are fatal, such as HIV, and Class C Hepatitis. Others such as Syphilis can be fatal if left untreated.

In California it is a felony punishable in California State Prison, for someone who is HIV positive to willfully expose another person to HIV through unprotected sex.

Many other States have similar laws.

Prosecutors have also prosecuted people who knowingly had unprotected sex when they knew they had HIV or Hepatitis with crimes such as criminal negligence, attempted murder, battery, etc.

If any of you out there know you have HIV or Hepatitis, you should consult with an attorney in your State before you go around having sex with someone, even if you disclose the fact that you are infected or have the disease to that person.

California’s willful exposure law basically means that even with disclosure to your partner, you are still required to use protection.

California does not want you passing your disease to other people. Most other States are the same. It is a public health issue, not a privacy issue!

Now getting back to the gist of this article; what can a person do if they are infected with an STD by another person?

In a nutshell, you can report the conduct to the police, district attorney, or health department, and you can sue them for monetary damages, and potentially punitive damages for a Sexual Tort in civil court.

I deal with civil remedies.

There are two standard civil common law causes of action that normally apply to sex torts cases, battery, and negligence.

Battery would be alleged if the person who infected you actually knew they had an STD and failed to disclose it to you.

Negligence would be used if the person who infected you should have known they had an STD.

Fraud can also be alleged if the person who infected you lied to you about actually having an STD.

There have been a couple of multi-million dollar cases involving a person who was infected with an STD by another person.

In the case of deceased movie star Rock Hudson’s same sex partner, he sued because Rock Hudson had sex with him while infected with HIV and failed to disclose it. The same sex partner won a seven figure judgment, without even proving that he got infected with HIV.

In another case, a middle aged woman was infected with genital herpes by her elderly lover. He never denied having herpes, but claimed he told her. She won a seven figure judgment in that case.

There are many problems prosecuting sexual tort cases in civil court. One of the big problems is a lawsuit is only as good as the person you are suing.

If a defendant has little or no money, it can be real difficult or impossible to actually collect a judgment. Most attorney’s including myself, will not take such a case on contingency unless there is a substantial likelihood of collecting a judgment.

Look what happened in the O.J. Simpson civil wrongful death case. The families of the decedents got a 50 million dollar civil judgment against O.J. Simpson, but were only able to collect thousands on the Judgment.

What good is a judgment unless you can collect the money on it?

Unless you get a civil judgment for battery, fraud, or another type of intentional tort, the judgment can be set aside in bankruptcy court if the defendant goes bankrupt.

There is also the statute of limitations issue. In California you have two years to file suit for battery or negligence from the time you knew or should have known, that your lover gave you an STD.

I am always willing to give free consultations to victims in these types of cases to determine if a civil lawsuit is feasible.

On a human level, I suggest that all persons get tested for STD’s before engaging in sexual conduct.

If you are a person who has an STD, you should have your partner sign a written disclosure and release before engaging in sexual conduct. As discussed above, if you have HIV, you may still not be protected.

I have seen people more protective of their cars and property than their own bodies.

You must realize that there are people out there infected with some nasty diseases. Some of them have no problem having sex with you without disclosing their diseases.

There are legal remedies available to you.

By California Personal Injury Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © February 16, 2011

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To Retain a Lawyer or to Not Retain a Lawyer, What Should You Do?

California Personal Injury Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez

California Personal Injury Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez

As a California Personal Injury Lawyer, I give free consultations to injury victims throughout the State of California almost every day.

Inevitably about 5% of the people I talk to have either tried handling their California personal injury matter on their own, or are very reluctant to “get lawyers” involved because of what they heard about lawyers, or are clueless about how the legal system works.

Ultimately, out of the 5% of the people mentioned above, about 1% or 1 out of 100 people I talk to decide to handle the matter on their own.

To me, an experienced California Personal Injury Attorney, it is inexplicable why someone would choose not to retain an attorney to handle their personal injury case. Let me tell you why.

Firstly, most people have no clue that they are entitled to recover the following damages in a typical personal injury matter:

Out of Pocket Expenses: All out of pocket expenses flowing out of the personal injury matter such as: loss of wages, medical cost, prescription cost, cost of travel to and from the doctor, prescriptions, loss of use of vehicle, either the repair cost of a damaged vehicle, or the fair market value of a damaged vehicle when the repair cost exceeds the fair market value, rental car, loss of future wages, future medical expenses, etc.

Non Economic Expenses: Pain & Suffering, Emotional Distress, Loss of Enjoyment of life (loss of enjoyment of life consists of compensation to a person for not being able to do things that they used to do, while they are injured. Such as cleaning, cooking, walking, dancing, going out, etc.)

In a nutshell a typical person has no clue that they are entitled to the things mentioned above, how to value such things even if they know about it, and most importantly, how to get it.

Going further, if an injured person is married, they typically do not know that their spouse also has a cause of action against the person who injured them for loss of consortium. Hell most personal injury lawyers in California do not even go for loss of consortium.

Loss of consortium in a nutshell is damages that a spouse of an injured party are entitled to, for the loss of the things that their spouse used to do with and for them in the marriage, because of their injury. In many cases loss of consortium can amount to a substantial amount of money.

I have just touched the tip of the iceberg with this article. Ultimately, only a fool has themselves for an attorney.

I can assure you that in 99% of cases, a person without an attorney will get less than a person with an attorney in a California Personal Injury case.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a California Personal Injury matter you may call my personal injury hotline 7 days a week, 24 hours a day for a free consultation at 800-816-1529 extension 1. You may also check out my personal injury website at http://www.thepersonalinjury.com.

By California Personal Injury Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © February 10, 2011

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I am Really Sick and Tired of Ambulance Chasers who give us Real Personal Injury Attorneys a Bad Name.

California Personal Injury Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez

California Personal Injury Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez

Yes you read the headline of this article correctly; I am sick and tired of ambulance chasers who give ethical personal injury attorneys such as me, a bad name.

An ambulance chaser has been defined by an online dictionary as:

“A lawyer or entrepreneur who hurries to the scene of an accident to try to get the business of any injured persons.”

First of all let me tell all of you something right now, lawyers or their representatives are prohibited from soliciting your business at the scene of an accident in the State of California.

Any attorney who engages in such conduct can face disciplinary proceedings.

If someone is coming up to you at the scene of an accident and recommending an attorney to you; chances are they are engaging in prohibited conduct.

You should never select an attorney based upon a solicitation at the scene of an accident, at your doctor’s office, by the tow truck driver, by a body shop, etc.

Always select someone based upon your own research.

My good friend who is an ex NICB agent, and who now runs an investigative corporation, has told me stories of unethical attorneys illegally paying runners, cappers, doctors, tow truck drivers, body shops, to refer cases to them.

He has also told me stories of personal injury attorneys who are in illegal partnerships with non attorneys to get business.

No attorney can fee share or be in a partnership with a non attorney to get your business.

To be frank, I am absolutely shocked to hear such stories. It is beyond my belief that some unethical attorneys are engaging in such behavior. It is to be frank, despicable.

For attorneys such as me who play by the rules, it is outrageous to think of the poor victims of this type of illegal activity.

Going one step further, you may have recently heard about the explosion in San Bruno and the horrible aftermath.

Sure enough, there are some bottom feeder law firms putting out press releases trying to scavenge business from those poor souls in San Bruno.

Historically in the State of California, attorney advertising was prohibited. In the last several decades attorneys have been allowed to advertise. Some have taken it too far.

I am not against attorneys being allowed to advertise, but I am against what I consider to be ambulance chasing in advertising.

The same thing happened after the Chatsworth Metrorail crash, and many other disasters.

As for me, I am no ambulance chaser. I do not need to be because I am good at what I do.

All of my past and present clients know this to be true. To be good at what you do, you need to actually care about your clients, and get them the money that they deserve.

Ask yourself a question; have you ever heard any other personal injury attorney discussing the topic of this article? Heck No. Do you wonder why? It is the dirty little secret that no one wants to talk about.

Well I am talking about it.

I would like to hear any comments you have. You may comment by clicking the comment link below.

By California Personal Injury Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © September 15, 2010

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8 People are Killed at an Off-Road Racing Event in Lucerne Valley; What are the Legal Ramifications?

Many of you have heard by now that 8 people died in the Lucerne Valley, at an off road racing event, when a truck went out of control during the event. Many of you may not know that 39 other people were injured; 10 seriously.

I personally send my heartfelt condolences to all of the family and friends of the victims of this tragic accident, and wish those injured a speedy recovery.

You can see by the raw video below that the spectators were standing way too close to the racing vehicles. Many have said that the reason why so many people were killed and injured was preciously because the fans were way too close to the action.

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I have heard that there will be no charges filed against anyone having anything to do with the race, but that the national park service is going to do an investigation, since they were the ones that gave a permit for the race.

I have seen news reports that the promoters and organizers of this event put signs up stating that people should stay at least 150 feet away from the racing vehicles. I am sure they think that this warning is sufficient to protect them from being responsible for this horrible accident; I disagree.

As a Personal Injury Attorney, I deal with negligence cases in one form or another every day. The way I see it, the organizers and promoters of this event are legally responsible for the deaths of 8 spectators, and the injury of 39 others.

They owed a duty of due care, to provide a safe way for the spectators to watch the race. They should have had adequate security at the event to keep the spectators a safe distance from the race. The owed a duty of due care, to erect barriers, tape, or something so that spectators such as the ones who were killed and injured, would have known where to stand during the race.

They apparently did nothing but put signs up saying that spectators should stay 150 feet away from the action. Hell, I for one do not know how to measure 150 feet without some kind of tape measure.

Many might argue that the persons who were killed and injured assumed the risk of harm that they suffered at this event. I disagree. Spectators are not engaged in a dangerous sport, they are simply there to watch. With some minimal precautions from the organizers and promoters of this event, this tragedy could have been avoided.

If you or your family suffered through the wrongful death of a loved one at this event, or your or a loved one were injured at this event, all me now for a free consultation at 800-816-1529 x. 1. You may be entitled to substantial compensation for your loss.

By California Personal Injury Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © August 2010

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A Fatal Napa Valley Accident Tied to Speeding

A Fatal Napa Valley Accident Tied to SpeedingFour people who died in a horrible SUV versus big rig truck crash on Jamieson Canyon/Highway 12 Thursday morning have been identified as three generations of a family from Oregon and two eastern states.

The Napa County California Sheriff’s Office identified the dead as Matthew Jay Smith, 48, of Ashland, Ore., Laura Katharine Smith, 19, of Downingtown, Pa., and Richard Smith, 80, and Sally Smith, 74, both of Simbsbury, Conn.

Napa Sheriff’s Capt. Tracey Stuart said Sally and Richard Smith were on vacation in the Napa Valley. They were returning to Napa after picking up their son and granddaughter when the deadly chain-reaction collisions occurred.

The California Highway Patrol said a westbound big rig driven by Gustavo Lopez, 42, plowed into the back of the victims’ Suburu Forester that was stopped in heavy rush-hour traffic.

The Forester was pushed into the path of an eastbound tractor-trailer hauling concrete pipe. The big rig, driven by Woodland resident Luis Marabilla, 44, crushed the car, pushing it back across the westbound lane onto the shoulder of the road.

Lopez’s truck continued west and side-swiped a Chevrolet flatbed truck that Hilario Trujillo Jr., 33, was driving.

The victims were declared dead at the scene, the CHP said. Trujillo and Marabilla were uninjured, and Lopez was taken to Queen of the Valley Medical Center with minor injuries.

It appears Lopez was driving too fast for the conditions, based on the slow traffic and the size of the truck he was driving, CHP spokesman Jaret Paulson said.

Lopez told officers that traffic was stop-and-go as he traveled along Jamieson Canyon Road. 

He had stopped just prior to the crash, then accelerated through his gears. 

When traffic stopped again ahead of him, he had too much velocity to stop in time, CHP Officer Ryan O’Day said.

Lopez likely wasn’t speeding, but he was going too fast for conditions, Paulson said.

“It just looks like gross inattention at this point as to what caused the collision,” O’Day said.

Under federal law, commercial drivers must submit to a chemical test if they are in an accident. There was no sign that Lopez was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, O’Day said.

Lopez had started his trip in Woodland so he likely hadn’t been on the road long enough for fatigue to be a factor, O’Day said. Lopez wasn’t carrying a load so he wasn’t in a hurry, he said.

The CHP will decide whether to forward the case to the Napa County District Attorney’s office for prosecution. 

“Being that four people are dead because of inattention, I would be surprised if they didn’t press some sort of charges,” O’Day said.

They could range from reckless driving to vehicular manslaughter, he said.

Thursday’s crash brings the fatality total this year to eight victims from five crashes on Napa County roads.

The last time four people died in one crash was on Nov. 15, 2008, on Deer Park Road near Sanitarium Road outside of Angwin, O’Day said.

Napa County hasn’t seen a crash that killed more than four people since it started keeping records in 1999, he said.

The last time someone died on Jamieson Canyon Road was in December 2004, Paulson said.

Napa Valley California Truck and SUV Accident Attorney Website

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