Get Knowledgeable, Straightforward Answers To Your Personal Injury Questions
After a serious accident, it is perfectly understandable to have an abundance of questions. I am personal injury attorney Brooke Tafreshi. In more than 17 years in practice, I’ve been asked countless questions by clients and prospective clients. On this page, I’ve provided answers to some of the questions people ask most often. After reading, I invite you to contact the Hannegan & Tafreshi Injury Law, P.C., and ask me your own questions during a free initial consultation.
Can I hold a business owner liable for slipping and falling in their store?
Yes, you can, depending on the details of the accident. Under California’s premises liability laws, you can seek compensation if your slip-and-fall accident was caused by the negligence of the property owner or manager. An example would be slipping on a spilled liquid that hadn’t been cleaned for a certain period of time, even though store management knew about the hazard.
Proving negligence can be complicated, so it is a good idea to consult with an experienced attorney.
Can I sue the trucking company for a truck accident caused by a negligent commercial driver?
Usually, the answer is yes, if that driver was an employee and not an “independent contractor.” California recognizes a legal principle known as respondeat superior, which makes businesses liable for the negligent actions of their employees. In a truck accident lawsuit, the defendants would likely include the truck driver, the trucking company and the insurance company underwriting the commercial policy.
Both trucking companies and insurers have a strong incentive to contest truck accident claims, which are often very expensive (because the injuries tend to be catastrophic). Therefore, it is wise to hire a skilled attorney who will fight for the compensation you deserve. I am one such attorney.
I was struck by a car door while lane splitting on my motorcycle. Do I have legal options?
Typically, you can pursue compensation for a “dooring” accident. In California, lane splitting is legal and common for motorcyclists. The state also has law requiring vehicle occupants to use due caution and to check their surroundings before opening a car door. As always, the details of a given case are important, but it is quite possible to hold a negligent driver accountable for a dooring accident.
Will Uber or Lyft pay for my injuries after a rideshare accident?
You likely have the option of an insurance payout, but these cases can be complex. Both Uber and Lyft require their drivers to be insured, and they also offer supplemental commercial insurance coverage. However, the coverage can change from moment to moment, depending on what a driver’s status is (waiting for ride request vs. carrying a passenger, for instance).
If the companies and their insurers can contest liability or dispute when an accident occurred, they likely will. I have been practicing in California since 2006, and I have kept up to date on evolving laws and regulations governing rideshare services as well as the court rulings that set precedent for future cases.
How much does it cost to hire an accident lawyer?
Most personal injury attorneys, including me, take cases on a contingency-fee basis. That means I charge no money upfront, and you don’t owe any legal fees until and unless I help you recover money. When we are successful, my fees are paid as a portion of your settlement or jury award, so your legal fees will never exceed or even match your payout. In short, hiring a personal injury attorney is very affordable and comes with virtually no risk for you.
What should I do after my accident?
In order to best represent you, we will need your cooperation and ask that you to follow these instructions:
- DO NOT SPEAK TO ANYONE – Do not, under any circumstances, discuss your case with anyone, except members of this office. Do not contact your insurance company, their attorneys or representatives before you call us.
- RECORD YOUR COMPLAINTS AND KEEP A FILE – Please keep a daily or weekly record of your complaints and progress. This can be very helpful if and when you should be asked to recall your pain and difficulties. Also, keep a file for copies of all letters, papers, and bills related to your case.
- REGULARLY UPDATE OUR OFFICE – Regularly update us on your condition and treatment progress.
- YOUR DOCTOR – Notify us immediately when your doctor discharges you from his care. If you change doctors, or if your treating doctor refers you to a specialist, notify us at once, giving us the name, address and telephone number of the doctor. Tell your physician about every problem and symptom. The doctor’s record can only be as complete as what you tell them. The medical record verifies your complaints to the insurance company. Your doctors need to know what is wrong in order to develop a treatment plan. It is extremely important that you follow your doctors’ orders and instructions, including attending all prescribed doctor visits and therapy sessions. Your failure to do so could seriously hinder settlement of your case.
- MEDICAL RECORDS AND BILLS – Please forward us any medical records or bills you have in your possession or receive related to the accident. This includes receipts and/or cancelled checks for prescriptions and orthopedic appliances (such as crutches, cane, brace, etc).
- OTHER EXPENSES – If you incur expenses for car rental, travel to and from doctors’ office, the hiring household help, or any other additional expenses, please obtain a receipt or a copy of the cancelled check, and forward it to our office.
- CAR REPAIRS – If your automobile was involved in this collision, do not have an autobody shop repair it, sell it or otherwise transfer it, until photographs have been taken and a detailed estimate of repairs has been obtained. These items should also be sent to us promptly.
- STORAGE CHARGES – If your car is currently at a storage facility, tow facility, or repair facility and is incurring storages charges, contact our office immediately. It is your responsibility to mitigate (reduce) your expenses. Therefore, arrangements must be made to move your car as soon as possible.
- YOUR PERSONAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE – Under California law, it is important that we, as your lawyer, be informed of your automobile insurance coverage. Please send us a copy of your insurance policy which was in effect at the time of your accident, including the declarations page of the policy. If you did not maintain personal automobile liability insurance at the time of the accident, we must be notified of that fact immediately.
- LOSS OF EARNINGS – Please keep a record of days missed from work as a result of your accident and the amount of money lost (including lost wages, loss in pension and profit sharing benefits, loss in vacations and sick pay, loss of opportunities for promotion and/or advancement). Upon your return to work, inform our office, giving us the name, address and telephone number of your employer so that we may request from them a statement of your lost wages. We will also ask you to provide pertinent paycheck stubs. If your injuries have prevented you from seeking and/or obtaining employment, please give us the names, addresses and telephone numbers of those persons who would be able to prove your claim in this regard.
- PHOTOGRAPHS – It is important that we obtain photographs of any injuries that you sustained in this accident, such as any scarring, bruises, etc. These should be taken as quickly as possible following the accident and the prints and digital images sent to our office.
- WITNESSES – Please provide us with the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all persons who claim to have witnessed the accident.
- RETAIN AND PRESERVE EVIDENCE – If your injuries require you wearing and/or using a cast, brace, support, crutches, cane, etc., retain these items and forward it to us for safekeeping. Also, please retain any clothing or other damaged property as a result of this accident. If your case involves a slip and fall please retain all footwear and do not wear it again without consulting this office.
- DISABILITY BENEFITS AND INSURANCE BENEFITS – If you apply for and receive disability, unemployment insurance, or workers’ compensation benefits, keep a record of the dates and amounts of such benefits, the name and address of the insurance carrier, the policy number, and inform us accordingly.
- PRIOR INJURIES – If you were injured at any point in the past, let us know. It’s critical that we are aware of any preexisting conditions.
- NEW ACCIDENTS/INJURIES – Should you be involved in any accident and/or sustain any injuries after this accident, inform our office immediately.
- COSTS – These may include the Police Report, Investigation Service, Court Filing Fee, copying Medical Records, Medical Reports the doctors submit, Depositions, Jury Fees, Transcripts (if required) Service Fees on the Defendants, and Witness Fees.
- CHANGES IN ADDRESS, ETC. – Keep us immediately informed of any changes in address and telephone numbers, occupation, marital status, and/or out of town trips.
Have Additional Questions? Ask Me During A Free Consultation.
The Hannegan & Tafreshi Injury Law, P.C., is based in Tustin, and I serve clients throughout the surrounding areas of Southern California. To schedule your free consult with an experienced attorney, call me today at 866-740-9460 or reach out online. Se habla español.