How to stay safe on a motorcycle

Driving a motorcycle can be a cheap, effective and exciting mode of transportation. However, accidents are bound to occur, and when they do such accidents almost always result in serious injuries and extensive medical bills because bikers have little protection. But by taking some safety precautions, you can greatly reduce the risk of being severely injured in a motorcycle accident.

Listed below are some tips for staying safe while driving a motorcycle:

  • Maintain your bike — Before hopping onto your motorcycle, test your brakes, lights, turn signals and the position of the mirrors. Also, take your bike to a mechanic every so often to make sure that everything is functioning correctly.
  • Buy the right gear — Fashion is not vain when it can save your life. Many motorcycle drivers wear leather because it is strong enough to protect their skin in the event of a fall. If leather isn’t your thing, many companies make armored motorcycle gear in a variety of styles designed to keep you safer on the road.
  • Know the weather — Check the weather before you leave the house, and if it’s expected to rain, leave the bike at home or give yourself ample time to get to where you’re going.
  • Obey traffic laws — Going the speed limit and staying within your skills as a driver greatly reduces your chances of an accident. Don’t be coerced by friends, who may be more experienced drivers, into doing something dangerous.
  • Wear a helmet — If you do nothing else to stay safe on the road, protect your head and wear a helmet.

Driving a motorcycle is inherently more dangerous than operating a standard vehicle, so there is no need to take extra risks. And in the event that you are ever injured in a motorcycle accident because of the negligence of another driver, contact Steven P. Roberts Personal Injury Lawyers.


Combating insurance company bad faith

In 2013, a California court ruled that insurers could be found to be acting in bad faith against their clients, even after they provided counsel for them and paid settlement funds to them. In California, insurance companies are subject to heavy state regulation designed to prevent insurer bad faith. Despite this, insurance company bad faith is prevalent.

Your insurer acts in bad faith when it:

  • Does not pay, communicate or process your claim in a timely manner
  • Does not provide you with a lawyer
  • Refuses to pay you a fair amount

Your insurer is obligated to provide you pay your claimed damages when you are entitled to it under your policy ― not look for ways to deny your claim in an adversarial manner. You may miss court-filing deadlines due to insurer foot-dragging during the claims process, which may unfairly enable the insurer to further resist paying your claim.

Below are some tips on how to fight an insurance company that acts in bad faith:

  • Claim but do not necessarily settle now. You have a limited time to settle your claim or file suit. However, be suspicious of hasty settlement offers. The insurer may be settling for cheap, especially if you do not yet know the full extent of your injuries.
  • Hire a lawyer who knows their game. Claims adjusters are trained negotiators who use many ploys. For example, they may call you at 7:00 am when you are still groggy, or, before Christmas time when you need extra money for gifts. Lawyers understand the insurer tactics and will be less likely to be taken advantage of.
  • Do not let your guard down. Adjusters sometimes record your conversations, and these can be used to fight your damage claim, especially when you concede your faults. Note that your insurer may have opposing interests from you. Do not provide an authorization to your medical records, they may use them to assign responsibility of your injury to non-accident factors, to reduce their payout. Do not believe everything they tell you.
  • In general, review your policy carefully. Sit down with your lawyer to verify their statements and see what you are entitled to receive.
  • Be prepared to fight. You may have to appeal several denials before you get the result you deserve.

Increase your chance of receiving fair and timely compensation for your injuries in an accident by hiring a firm that knows how to talk to California insurance companies that act in bad faith. Contact Steven P. Roberts, Personal Injury Attorney to learn more.


California products liability theories

There are many consumer products that can cause serious injury including, for example, defective children’s toys or auto parts. After you have suffered a serious injury, a product recall may be an insufficient remedy for you. An alternative may be a products liability lawsuit. Lawsuits involve intricate issues, many potential defendants, and focus on issues such as mislabeling, negligent or faulty design, and general manufacturing defects regarding the item that caused your injury.

Consider a defective heart medicine tablet. If the product inadvertently contained a toxic material, it is a manufacturing flaw. If you took the same medicine without toxic components and suffered a heart attack as a result of the medication, that is a design flaw. If the pharmaceutical company designed and made the heart medicine pill carefully, but did not warn about its unsafe combination with another drug that you then took, that would be a labeling defect.

Defective design claims are brought because of the fundamental danger of the product — even if the product and its design fit the manufacturer’s requirements. For instance, a car model that has problems with its electronic system. If you purchased the car with the defect, and got hurt while the car door suddenly open due to a glitch with the electronic system, you have a design defect claim.

Sometimes a product is inherently unsafe — there may have been a manufacturing defect at the factory, making it different from all the others for sale. For example, an acid reflux medicine may have included a poisonous component, or a motorcycle with a faulty disk brake that resulted in an accident trying to avoid an oncoming vehicle.

Mislabeling claims involve a company’s failure to give appropriate instructions or warnings about a product’s correct use, especially when that product requires unique precautions when using it, such as a cold medicine that does not warn you about which other medications to avoid while on the drug.

Some lawsuits may include multiple alleged concerns with the product. And in some situations, there may be many potential defendants in those lawsuits, including manufacturers, design experts and others within the manufacturing and distribution chain. If you have been involved in a products liability lawsuit, contact Steven P. Roberts Personal Injury Lawyers.


Spinal cord injury sufferers new hope

Nearly one quarter of a million people suffer from the effects of spinal cord injuries. Auto accidents and workplace accidents account for over 50 percent of new cases. In some instances, these spinal cord injuries can cause permanent or temporary paralysis.

Treatment for a spinal cord injury can be very expensive. The average treatment costs in the first couple of years after the injury range from approximately $250,000 to $750,000 annually. The lifetime costs of a person’s treatment and rehabilitation can approach $3 million. With these injuries typically affecting people under 30, victims can face a long existence of grueling rehabilitation and a diminished quality of life.

Two recent studies provide hope. A 2013 study shows that a combination of physical therapy and stem cell treatment can repair many lost neurological functions in spinal cord injury victims. In this study, scientists at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School conducted a clinical trial of spinal cord injury patients who had not responded previously to six months of treatments. The doctors placed the patients into two groups, one receiving only physical therapy and the other group combination treatment. The combination treatment group indicated improvements after just a month. After two more months, some patients previously unable to control their bladders could now relieve themselves without catheters. After 18 months, some patients previously unable to walk independently could walk without support.

Previously, in a 2012 study, doctors performed the first human cell transplant on a spinal cord patient. Doctors grew cells from the patients’ own extracted nerve tissues, and then placed these cells back into the patients. Researchers plan to monitor the patients for another two years to measure overall improvement.

Scientific developments in stem cell research may ultimately help many spinal cord injury victims recover many of their lost functions and/or physical sensations. While the medical community is hopeful for a cure, it recognizes that substantial work lies ahead.

If you are suffering from a spinal cord injury, speak with San Luis Obispo personal injury lawyer, Steven P. Roberts. He can help you pursue the compensation you need to cover your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.


Three behaviors avoid accident

When involved in an auto accident in Aurora Grande, few people know exactly what they should do. Collisions are often chaotic, confusing messes, and the right action might not be clear to you right away. However, your behavior directly following an accident can have a significant impact on any personal injury claim you make afterward.

To get through those first few difficult moments following an accident, there are a few behaviors you should try to avoid:

1) Do not leave the scene. Even if the accident appears to be minor and nobody seems injured, leaving the scene of an accident is usually a crime. After a collision, you should immediately exchange insurance information with the other driver and report the incident to the police.

2) Do not forget to call 911. Often, if nobody is injured, drivers will agree to just let the insurance companies handle any damages resulting from the accident. This can be a bad idea because many drivers are either uninsured or underinsured. Filing a report with the police provides you the added assurance just in case the other driver is not being completely honest.

3) Do not let your emotions get the better of you. It can be difficult to hold back your emotions after a traumatic experience like a car accident, but flying off the handle or apologizing profusely can hurt you in the long term. The best course of action is simply to ask if the other driver is okay and keep the conversation about the accident to a minimum.

Of course, if you have been involved in an accident, you should speak with a lawyer to determine your liability and find out if you might be able to receive compensation. To learn more, contact Steven P. Roberts, Personal Injury Attorney.


Premises liability public falls

Although it can be embarrassing to fall in public in front of other people, in the eyes of the law, your falling may not entirely be your fault. In most cases, if you fall and injure yourself in a public place, the liability for your injuries rests with the premises owner. And, while it is important to seek legal assistance in determining liability, it is helpful to have a basic understanding of how fault is determined under the law.

Premises liability places the responsibility for your safety in the hands of the premises owner. If the owner has failed to address or remove potential hazards that contributed to your injury, it may constitute a negligent act. Some examples of these types of hazards include icy walkways, inadequately lighted stairways, falling objects or slick surfaces.

If there is a reasonable expectation that the premises owner had prior knowledge of any hazards that contributed to your injury, that person may be found negligent. In addition, the premises owner has a responsibility to deliver adequate warning of any known hazards on the property. If the owner has failed to do so, you may be entitled to damages to cover any medical expenses or lost wages you experience due to your personal injury.

After sustaining an injury as the result of a fall on public or private premises, you should immediately seek dependable legal representation. It may be that your fall is the result of negligence on the part of the premises owner, and a skilled California lawyer can help you pursue any damages from property owners or their insurance companies.


Dog bites children: Special circumstances

In most dog bite cases, there are arguments to be made on both sides. Maybe the dog owner acted negligently, but, in some cases, the victim may have provoked the attack in some way. However, in cases in which children are bitten by dogs, there are some special rules that apply in Santa Barbara County that make it a little easier to establish fault.

Under the law, children under the age of five are considered incapable of negligence. The reason for this rule is understandable enough, as young children are prone to misunderstand the risks associated with a given situation. This is particularly true in cases of dog attacks, as children are more likely to approach a dog without recognizing the threatening behavior the animal exhibits. The law and our society do not expect small children to understand the difference between friendly dogs and dangerous ones.

As a result, liability will often rest with the dog’s owner when a child is bitten. In some rare cases where a child is found to have committed a willful act of misconduct resulting in an attack, liability may be extended to the child’s parent or guardian. Even in situations where an adult is responsible for provoking an attack, a child will typically be held blameless.

If your child has been the victim of a dog attack, you may be eligible for compensation to cover medical bills, lost time at work and pain and suffering. It’s important to consult with a San Luis Obispo personal injury lawyer to determine liability based on the specifics of your case.


Rear end collisions left turns liability

You likely know the general rules regarding rear-end collisions and left-hand turns when driving. Typically, in rear-end collisions, the driver in the rear is at fault. For left-turn collisions, fault usually rests with the driver who was turning left. While these generalities hold true in most California cases, some recent studies have shown that these issues are not as cut-and-dried as originally thought.

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta have discovered a peculiar quirk in human perception that may contribute to rear-end collisions. It turns out that humans are only capable of detecting that a vehicle ahead of them is traveling slower if the difference in speed between the vehicles is greater than eight miles per hour. So, if a vehicle ahead of you is only traveling slightly slower than you are, you have a higher likelihood of running into it.

In another interesting revelation, traffic engineers are beginning to view the common layout of intersections as the major contributing factor in left-turn collisions. More than 40 percent of all auto accidents and one-fifth of all fatal collisions occur at intersections. To better protect drivers, traffic engineers are now looking into revising the standard intersection design in favor of something much safer.

While these studies may eventually result in safer roadways, unfortunately the old rules remain in effect. Unless the other driver was in some way negligent or in violation of Paso Robles traffic laws, such as having a burned-out taillight or running a red light into an intersection, liability still rests with the person turning left or the driver in the rear.

If you’ve been in an accident and have questions about liability, speak with Steven P. Roberts, Personal Injury Attorney today.


Car vs truck liability

In a collision involving cars or other light vehicles and professionally driven semi-trucks, you might expect liability to vary depending on the specifics of each individual case. However, recent studies by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute have shown that, in more than 81 percent of accidents between cars and trucks, the car drivers are found to be at fault. There are some interesting reasons why this turns out to be the case:

1) Truck drivers are professionals. Truck drivers spend a lot of time on the road, and qualifications for receiving a trucker’s license can be rather rigorous. Thus, it makes sense that truck drivers tend to be found at fault less often than other drivers. If you do something for 10 hours a day, every day, you tend to get good at it. Compare this to the average half-hour a day commuter, and you can probably understand why car drivers are usually the ones to blame for most car and truck accidents.

2) Car drivers often fail to maintain a safe distance from trucks. Many drivers tend to maintain the same distance between their cars and other vehicles on the road, regardless of the situation. The problem is that large trucks require much more than the standard two car lengths to actually see the vehicle behind them. This means many drivers inadvertently tailgate trucks without even knowing it.

As a rule, you are not far enough behind a truck until you can clearly see its mirrors. After all, if you cannot see the mirrors, the driver obviously cannot see you.

If you have been involved in a collision with a truck in San Luis Obispo County, it’s especially important to seek legal representation to determine who is at fault. Steven P. Roberts works with individuals throughout the region and can help you after a trucking accident.


Filing suit after the tragic loss of a child

Recently, a 6-year-old girl living in San Francisco with her family was struck and killed by a Honda driven by Syed Muzaffar while he was logged on to the transportation app called Uber. Police arrested and charged Muzaffar with vehicular manslaughter, gross negligence, and failure to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk. For the Lius, however, that wasn’t enough. The Liu family is suing Uber for wrongful death.

Burying a child is a pain that no parent should have to endure. This is especially true when the child dies because of the wrongful act or omission of another person. When this occurs, the parents or guardians of the child can bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the liable parties. Here’s what you need to know: 

Statutory eligibility — Under Indiana’s statute for wrongful death of a child, a “child” is defined as:

  • An individual who is under the age of 20 and not married
  • A student who is under the age of 23 and not married
  • A viable fetus 

Potential damages — In a lawsuit for the wrongful death of a child, you may seek compensation for:

  • Hospital and other medical expenses
  • Burial and funeral costs
  • Loss of companionship and love
  • Loss of the child’s services
  • Mental health counseling for the parents and minor siblings 

Statute of limitations — Generally, a lawsuit for the wrongful death of a child must be filed within two years of the date of the child’s death. If the lawsuit is filed after the two-year statute of limitations expires, the surviving parties may be barred from recovering damages.

If your child was killed because of another person’s wrongful act or omission, contact a California wrongful death attorney. At the Steven P. Roberts, we fight hard to obtain compensation for those affected by wrongful death. Contact our office today to discuss your situation.