February 15, 2013

Five Immediate Steps You Should Take After an Accident or Injury

You’re going to need the advice and representation of a personal injury attorney if you’re injured in California.  Chances are, though, you’re not going to be hiring an attorney within the first few hours of the incident. 

So, with or without an attorney, here are Five Very Important Steps you should take immediately after an accident or injury.

Step One: Don’t Discuss The Incident With the Other Party or Their Representative

Steps 003 silenceThe other party, or their representative (usually an insurance company adjuster or investigator) may try to get to you to answer questions soon after the incident – oftentimes within hours.  Statements that you make at the time of the accident or following the accident could be used against you as the case unfolds.

Do not talk to the other party or their representative with your attorney present!

Step Two: Seek Immediate Medical Attention 

Steps 002 medicalIf you’ve been injured, or there is a possibility that you’ve been injured, get thee to a doctor, emergency room or an urgent care facility immediately.  Be sure that the medical practitioner documents your injuries and the fact that you’ve just been involved in an accident (or fall, or dog bite, etc.)

 

Step Three: Write Things Down 

Steps 003 write it downIt’s natural for our memories to fade with the passage of time.  We’re all human.  Make written notes so that you can refresh your memory about the incident.  In California, some cases don’t get to court for years.   Defense attorneys (the lawyers who are going to try to gut your case) will do their best to paint you as a liar or exaggerator if you don’t have a great recollection of the incident.

Step Four: Save The Evidence

You want to be sure, to the extent possible, that evidence is preserved.  Evidence is essential in proving your case down the line!

Do not lose, alter or destroy evidence!

Steps 001 evidence
Vehicle Accident: Repair work should not be started until detailed pictures have been taken of your vehicle (car, truck, bicycle, motorcycle, etc.)

Dangerous or Defective Product: Save the product and its parts (for example, if a bottle breaks, save the broken pieces!).  Keep the box in which it came.  Save the receipt!

Dog Bite or Animal Attack: Save the torn clothing and any other evidence of the attack.  Don’t wash the clothes you were wearing.

Slip and Fall  / Trip and Fall: Keep the shoes you were wearing, do not throw them out and do not keep wearing them.  You will want to keep them in the condition that they were in at the time of your fall.  In other words: Don’t wear, repair or throw them out until your case is settled!

Step Five: Take Pictures of Your Injuries

Steps 001 picturesTake pictures of all parts of your anatomy that show signs of injury before the healing process begins.  Date the pictures accordingly (be sure that your digital camera has the right date!).  Then take daily pictures of your injuries.

If you have scarring, be sure to get pictures.  If you’re going to have the scars surgically removed or reduced, be sure to take before and after pictures.

In some situations, your lawyer may hire a professional medical photographer to take these pictures.

 

 

I represent people who have been injured due to the carelessness of others.  It's my job to take the pressure off of you so that you are free to heal.

Call me 002

(877) 487-8221

Email me now 001lowell@steigerlaw.com

LS 2012

All Consultations Are Free

February 10, 2013

Shame on Lance Armstrong - and he's got the lawsuits to prove it

Armstrong 001

Oprah Winfrey gave Lance Armstrong the opportunity to come clean about his doping past.  He told Oprah that he was never afraid of getting caught and attributed his actions to a "ruthless desire to win."

Read the NPR article Lance Armstrong Admits to Using Performance-Enhancing Drugs

Do you care whether Lance Armstrong used performance enhancing drugs? 

He cheated, he lied but, actually, I don’t care that he chose to destroy his body.  I’m guessing that he wasn’t the only one doing it.  So, as they say, caveat emptor.

BUT

What I DO care about is that he took people down, in a big way, in order to perpetuate his lies.  He sued people, ruined people and lied under oath to keep the lie alive.  He was a heartless bully whose need to keep it all going knew no bounds. 

Natural News (.com) published an insightful article Lance Armstrong empire implodes under mountain of lies, intimidation, doping and betrayal back in October 2012

            Armstrong 002Shame on him.

            This will cost him.  He’s now the subject of two lawsuits and I’m sure there will be more.

 

SCA Promotions vs Lance Armstrong, et al

SCA Promotions is suing Armstrong for $12 Million.  Read the New York Times article here.  Here’s a nice highlight, sort of sums everything up: 

Armstrong 003 tillotsonJeffrey Tillotson, a lawyer for SCA, said that Armstrong and his representatives were “confident and cocky” back then that Armstrong would never be stripped of his titles.

“They never thought this would happen,” he said. “It was like they were saying, ‘If you can find a unicorn and produce him, of course we will give you your money back.’ To them, losing those titles was unimaginable.”

Class Action: Readers Sue Lance Armstrong

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Sacramento, said the plaintiffs "would not have purchased the books had they known the true facts concerning Armstrong's misconduct and his admitted involvement in a sports doping scandal."

"It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life" in 2000 and "Every Second Counts" in 2003 are the works in question.

Read the Los Angeles Times article here

Don't be bashful.  What are your thoughts?

Underinsured Motorist Causes Injury. Now What?

    Time and again people are severely injured in a car accident and the at-fault party has insurance but not enough insurance to compensate the victim.

Uim uninsured 001    Well, if you're the victim and have Uninsured Motorist Coverage in California then it becomes Underinsured Motorist Coverage.  The legality and logistics of Underinsured Motorist Coverage can be quite tricky so you will want to consult a California Personal Injury lawyer in this regard.  Basically, your car insurance provider "steps into the shoes" of the at-fault driver and, without increasing your premiums, affords you more coverage.

Peggy Gets Rear-endedReal Life Example

                My client, Peggy (not her real name), was minding her own business at a stop light when a driver, let's call him "Texting Bob", smashed into the rear of her brand new VW Bug, totaling it and sending Peggy to the hospital.

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                The hit was so hard that it blew out a disk in Peggy’s neck.  Peggy had to undergo surgery to remove and replace the disc in her neck.  Apparently Bob invested significant money in his iPhone but not in his automobile liability insurance. 

                Peggy’s medical bills were $105,000.  Bob had a $25,000 policy limit.  Bob’s insurance immediately offered the $25,000 to settle the case. 

                Peggy had Uninsured Motorist Coverage in the amount of $500,000.  I spoke with Peggy’s insurance carrier and asked what it was that they needed, in particular, to open an Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Claim for Peggy.

                Her carrier wanted a certified copy of Bob’s Declarations Page, a declaration under penalty of perjury that he carried no other applicable insurance, a copy of the signed Release of All Claims and a copy of the Settlement Check for $25,000.

                My office provided all of the requested documents along with the relevant medical documentation including reports, chart notes and bills along with a demand to Peggy’s insurance carrier that, due to the seriousness of her injuries and treatment, they pay the $500,000 policy limit.

                After several rounds of negotiations, fighting, arguing and legal wrangling, Peggy’s insurance carrier offered the $500,000 less an offset (to which they are legally entitled) for the $25,000 paid by Texting Bob’s insurance. 

Uim settlement 001                If Peggy didn’t have Uninsured Motorist Coverage, she would have been out of luck because Texting Bob had no more insurance, no significant assets (we did an asset check) and worked at a low-paying job.  Essentially, Texting Bob was judgment proof.

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

Call or E-Mail Me to Discuss Your Auto Insurance Coverage

                It is so important to have the proper insurance coverage in California.  My practice focuses on personal injury so car insurance is something with which I’m intimately familiar.  Even if you’re not a current or past client, I am more than happy to sit down with you in person, by phone or by e-mail, and discuss your car insurance coverage BEFORE YOU NEED IT.

                This is so important that I’m happy to provide you with this consultation without charge.

  Call me 002

(877) 487-8221

Email me now 001lowell@steigerlaw.com

LS 2012

February 08, 2013

Free Consultation With a California Personal Injury Lawyer

    Being injured in a serious accident or losing a loved one due to negligence is an unexpected event that shakes your foundation right out from under you. I'm here to help you get through this traumatic, life-changing event.

Fc legal rights
    Our first meeting is the first step in determining your legal rights.  You’ll have a lot of questions for me, I’ll have a lot of questions for you. 

    In order to make the most of our first meeting together, I’ll be asking you to bring some things with you.  I know that you may have all or none of what I request so don’t stress yourself.  Once I’m representing you, my office will be able to get whatever you don’t have.

    If you can e-mail or fax some these things in advance of our meeting, great!  If not, bring them with you

 

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CAVIAT: it’s very likely that some of the things that I’m requesting may not yet be available!!!

  • Names, addresses, phone, e-mail of those involved in the accident and their insurance information (policy number; claim number)
  • Names, addresses, phone, e-mail of witnesses
  • Written statements by you, the other party and/or witnesses
  • Police reports
  • Pictures of accident scene, vehicles or objects involved
  • Pictures of your injuries
  • Evidence of the accident such as torn clothing, broken or damaged instruments or equipment
  • Medical and hospital reports
  • Medical bills
  • Repair estimates
  • Rental bills
  • Documentation of lost earnings (pay stubs; employer information)
  • Insurance policies or declarations pages

  LS 2012

Please call or e-mail me

I'm here for you

(877) 487-8221 Toll Free

lowell@steigerlaw.com

 

February 07, 2013

Motorcycle Helmets: California Personal Lawyer Says “Who Needs ‘Em?”

    Hey, our brains are a good thing.  For us to survive, we need them to stay undamaged.  So there is a law in California designed for that purpose.  In fact, California Vehicle Code Section 27803(a) requires that “a driver and any passenger shall wear a safety helmet meeting requirements established pursuant to Section 27802 when riding a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized bicycle.”

 

 

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Motorcycle helmet 002

 

 

    What’s the reasoning behind the law?  Simple.  Section (g) states “it is the intent of the Legislature to ensure that all persons are provided with an additional safety benefit while riding or operating a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized bicycle.”

    Motorcycle helmets help protect your most valuable asset: Your Brain!

Love your brain
    A June 2012 report by the Centers for Disease Control states "Helmet use consistently has been shown to reduce motorcycle crash–related injuries and deaths." Read article here

    The CDC article "Motorcycle Safety" is a short piece chock full of great motorcycle safety tips for riders and passengers:

  • Always wear a DOT-approved helmet.
  • Never ride your motorcycle after drinking. Alcohol greatly impairs your ability to safely operate a motorcycle. If you have been drinking, get a ride home or call a taxi.
  • Don't let friends ride impaired. Take their keys away.
  • Wear protective clothing that provides some level of injury protection. Upper body clothing should also include bright colors or reflective materials, so that other motorists can more easily see you.
  • Avoid tailgating.
  • Maintain a safe speed and exercise caution when traveling over slippery surfaces or gravel.

Please call or e-mail me (consultations are ALWAYS free) if you have any questions or concerns related to motorcycle accidents or safety.  In my 14 years as a personal injury lawyer, I've represented many motorcyclists who've suffered injuries from broken bones to traumatic brain injury

LS 2012
(877) 487-8221 Toll Free

February 06, 2013

A California Personal Injury Lawyer's Perspective on Accidents


                A California personal injury case can take on many forms.  If you, or someone you love, has been injured in any one of the following situations, you may have a personal injury case worth pursuing. 

  • Car accident 002
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  • Assault Injuries
  • Bicycle Accident
  • Bus Accident
  • Car Accident
  • Dangerous Product
  • Defective Product
  • Dog Bite / Animal Attack
  • Elevator / Escalator Accident
  • False Arrest
  • Medical Negligence
  • Motorcycle Accident
  • Nursing Home Neglect / Abuse
  • Pedestrian Accident
  • Railroad Crossing Accident
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Slip & Fall Accident
  • Trip & Fall Accident
  • Truck Accident
  • Wrongful Death

Call me to discuss whether you have a personal injury case.  Consultations are free and unlike a vicious dog, I won’t bite! (But I will give you my undivided attention).

LS 2012




October 21, 2012

Boy Scout Childhood Sexual Abuse: How Long Do You Have to File a Claim?

Boy_scouts_abuse_files

    The tragedy of childhood sexual abuse is so horrific, so unspeakable that oftentimes innocent victims do not come forth until many years after the abuse took place.

    This is, in part, why the California Statute of Limitations allows a victim to file a lawsuit against the abuser and those that knew, or should have known (and stepped in to protect the child) of the abuse until he or she turns 26 years old.  In some instances, the victim can file a lawsuit even after they have reached the age of 26.  Download Childhood Sexual Abuse Statute of Limitations

    Against whom can you file a claim?

  • The person who committed the act of childhood sexual abuse
  • Any person or entity (i.e. The Boy Scouts of America) who owed a duty of care to protect you from the person or persons who did this to you

    Attorney Kelly Clark of Oregon has successfully fought to get the Boy Scout "Perversion Files" released to the general public.  This reminds us that we must be vigilant in protecting our innocent, vulnerable children from the pedophiles and child molesters who use their positions in the Boy Scouts of America to build trust in the child only to then abuse that trust in the most heinous ways. 

    If you, or someone you love, was or is a victim sexual abuse at the hands of a Boy Scout Leader, please call or e-mail me directly to confidentially and sensitively explore your rights.  As an attorney, I'm in a position to help you.  As a human being, I want to help you.

e-mail: lowell@steigerlaw.com

(323) 852-1100

June 09, 2012

Text, Drive and Kill: Go To Jail

I'm burning mad. It takes a moment to pull over to read or respond to a text, to program your GPS, to dial the phone (should you not have voice command) yet people do it while their car is moving.  And, more importantly, while other cars, bicyclists, pedestrians, cats and dogs are moving.  And while buildings are stationary.  Taking our eyes off the road seems harmless enough but it can cause injury and death.

 

In New Hampshire, 18 year old Aaron Deveau was sentenced to jail for vehicular manslaughter.  He was convicted of causing an accident which never, ever would have happened had he been watching the road.  Instead, he was texting his girlfriend. Now an innocent 55 year old grandfather has been taken from his family. His girlfriend was critically injured.  And Aaron will spend, at most, one year in jail.  And, oh yeah, his driver's license will be suspended for 15 years.

This is unconscionable.  This must stop. 

Write to your legislators and tell them NO MORE (US House of Reprentatives).

Click here to Find out which states have Cell Phone & Texting Laws in U.S. (A Chart provided by Governors Highway Safety Association)

 

April 22, 2012

Perspective

I just found a poem that I wrote in 1976 at the age of 20

Perspective

The wheelchair grasps another victim

Slowly sucking its energy

With every turn of the squeaky wheels.

Three hundred sixty dreaded degrees

Morbid degrees of freedom

Ecstacy that at least this is left

Never believe in an oil can to smooth a joint:

It makes you slide further into the pit

Getting out is relative.

You always belittled a truck driver before

But how you would love to be one.

It's funny how life treats us --

Yet when we are beyond repair how we treat life.

March 24, 2012

Falsely Arrested For Shoplifting

Mike Ross Headshot
Michael Ross, Attorney at Law

Have you or a loved one been falsely arrested for shoplifting?

  Handcuffs 002 Vectorportal

Everyday, innocent people who have not stolen anything are falsely arrested for shoplifting by store security or even sales staff.  Such action is usually the result of over-zealous or poorly trained security hired by the stores for the purpose of so-called “loss prevention.” 

Although many people are falsely arrested everyday, they may be unaware that they have a right to compensated with money damages for false arrest, civil assault & battery, and intentional and/or negligent infliction of emotional distress.

In all too many cases, the store personnel misinterpret the innocent activities of a legitimate shopper as that of a thief.  Security or store clerks might then execute what is commonly known as a “citizen’s arrest” on the unfortunate shopper, setting in motion a series of traumatic events calculated to humiliate and intimidate the shopper.

Do Not Sign Anything!

Confession 001 seriykotik1970  Shut up 001 oriolsalvador
Do Not Admit Anything!

If you are arrested then above all, do not sign any sort of document for the store that has arrested you, and do not admit or plead guilty to anything.  Neither should you enter a guilty or no contest plea in criminal court, because this will almost certainly preclude you from successfully claiming and recovering money damages from the store.

What Is Theft Anyway?

“Theft” is defined as the taking away of the property of another with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of it. 

Can Store Personnel Actually Arrest You?

Yes, but...

Shopkeepers privilege 001In California, as in most states, there is what is known as a “shopkeeper’s privilege” for storeowners or their agents to perform a citizen’s arrest on a shoplifter.  However, this justification of using this privilege is conditioned on the arrested person actually having committed a theft.  If the arrested person has not committed a theft but is arrested, the store is civilly liable to the arrestee for money damages, and possibly for criminal false imprisonment.

Inspector clouseau 001 txmx2In many cases, an innocent shopper has examined an item of merchandise, somehow arousing the suspicions of security people who end up arresting the shopper, but the shopper had not stolen the item.

Another scenario is when a shopper takes a bag or shopping cart outside of the store – sometimes just a matter of inches and for only a moment – simply to hail a friend or relative.  Cases like these and many others occur ending with false arrests every day.

False arrest victim 002 the GOnce the innocent shopper is arrested, the person is usually handcuffed (although this raises the issue of excessive force, which is impermissible in any arrest) and taken to some windowless office in the back of the store.  There, it is common for security people to use intimidating tactics to force the arrest person into signing a confession. 

Often the arrested person is kept for hours before police are summoned, and preventing the arrested person from communicating with friends, relatives or their attorney.  In extreme cases, children are also “arrested” by security and not allowed to call relatives.  Obviously, this sort of treatment can result in mental, emotional, and occasionally physical trauma that can affect a person for years.

Not guilty
Many people who have been falsely arrested have never been in trouble with the law in their lives.  This makes the experience of being arrested even more traumatic.  They are treated like common criminals throughout the entire arrest process, and this affects the innocent arrestee terribly.  Often the person cannot go out into a public place for a very long time.  Relationships are strained, their work suffers, and the person may feel – correctly so – that his or her very health has been severely affected.

You Can Sue The Store For False Arrest!

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What can be done if this happens to you or a loved one?  The remedy for such outrageous behavior lies with the courts and finding the right lawyer to bring the offending store to account for their wrongdoing.  This means to make a claim for money to compensate you for the store’s wrongdoing, or to file an actual lawsuit for money damages. 

The Law Office of Michael Ross has been successful in recovering compensation for victims of false imprisonment for nearly twenty years in the courts of Northern California.

Mr. Ross may be contacted at:

The Law Offices of Michael Ross

473 Jackson Street, 2nd Floor

San Francisco, CA 94111-1607

(415) 345-1335

Email:  mdr@mikerosslaw.com

 

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