Seatbelt systems are designed with multiple safety features to prevent inadvertent unlatching. However, in rare cases, certain factors or issues can contribute to a seatbelt inadvertently unlatching. Some potential causes include:
Seatback failure in an auto accident can pose a serious risk to passengers seated in the rear of a vehicle. The seatback is designed to support the occupant and withstand the forces generated during a collision. If the seatback fails, it can lead to various injuries for rear-seat passengers. Here are some potential consequences and types of injuries associated with seatback failure:
What is a door latch failure and what kinds of injuries can occur when a car door latch doesn't work properly?
In the context of a personal injury auto accident, door latch failure refers to a situation where the door latch mechanism in a vehicle does not properly secure the door, leading to the door opening unexpectedly during a crash. Door latch failure can be a significant safety concern, as it can increase the risk of occupants being ejected from the vehicle, which can result in severe injuries or even fatalities.
When a door latch fails during a car accident, several types of injuries can occur:
Door latch failure is a serious safety issue, and it can be caused by manufacturing defects, design flaws, or damage sustained in a prior accident. Regular vehicle maintenance and prompt repair of any door latch issues are crucial to ensuring the safety of vehicle occupants in the event of a collision.
Additionally, automakers are expected to adhere to safety standards and regulations to minimize the risk of door latch failures in their vehicles. If a door latch failure is suspected to have contributed to injuries in a car accident, it may be subject to investigation to determine liability and assess the potential for legal action.
Let's take a few moments and try to outline the steps of a lawsuit. First, you have to decide whether or not it makes sense to file a lawsuit. In some cases, the costs involved with filing a lawsuit and going on that journey may equal or exceed the value of your case. If your case is worth $10,000, it doesn't make sense to spend $100,000 to present a case in court. There are many costs involved in filing a lawsuit. There are filing fees, deposition costs, jury fees, expert witness fees, and the list goes on.
Filing a lawsuit should be done after careful consideration. You want to make sure you file your lawsuit within the statutory time limits. For example, as this blog post is being created, the current time limit to file a lawsuit in California is 2 years from the date of the accident. That means if an accident happens on January 1st of that year, you have until January 1st, two years later, to file a lawsuit against the individual who harmed you. Keep in mind you are not filing a lawsuit against an insurance company. The insurance company did not crash into you. The insurance company, however, will be involved in the lawsuit as I will explain later.
Once you have made sure that you have complied with the statutory time limit, and you have made every effort to settle the case outside of filing a lawsuit, and you have determined that filing a lawsuit would be financially prudent, then you have to file a lawsuit with the court. A lawsuit begins when the "plaintiff" (the person/s who was injured) files a "complaint" with the court. A complaint is a formal document that outlines why you think the defendant is responsible for your injuries and what you are seeking from the court, typically monetary compensation.
There are different ways to prepare the lawsuit complaint. In some cases, you can use court forms that are sanctioned by the state of California. In other cases, your attorney may choose to draft an original complaint if the case warrants it. Generally speaking, the more complex the case, the more inclined you may be to prepare an original complaint - not one based on the basic forms. In most cases, there is no need to recreate the wheel, and using the typical forms provided by the court is fine.
When the complaint is filed with court, a filing fee is required. This fee is typically anywhere between $400 and $500. Once the court processes the complaint, the court will assign a trial date which can be a year or more away. For example, if you file a lawsuit in July of the current year, you might not get a trial date until December of the following year. Along with the trial date, the court usually provides additional documentation back to the plaintiff or the attorney. The documentation is generally proof the lawsuit was filed.
Now that the lawsuit has been filed and processed, the defendant must be made aware of the lawsuit. Unless the defendant is clairvoyant, the defendant is not going to intuitively know that a lawsuit was filed. They need to be "served" with that lawsuit. Serving the lawsuit involves hiring a "process server" - typically an individual who will take all the paperwork to the defendant and presents it to them. If you've never been served with a lawsuit, you've likely seen someone being served on television. Then, the process server will provide you with "proof" that he or she served the defendant with the paperwork. This proof is called a "Proof of Service" which is nothing but a form filled out by the process server. Now the defendant is formally aware of the lawsuit. The plaintiff now needs to file the "proof of service" provided by the process server with the court so the court is also made aware that the defendant has been served.
Once the defendant receives the paperwork (has been "served"), the defendant has to file something called an "answer" with the court. In the context of a car accident case, the defendant would likely call their insurance company and inform them of the paperwork they received by the process server. The insurance company would then provide their client with a defense lawyer (either an inhouse lawyer or one from an outside law firm). One of the reasons people pay insurance premiums is that most insurance companies will provide you with a defense attorney if you are sued in court.
Of course, if the defendant receives the lawsuit and does not make anyone aware, and they don't file an answer to the complaint, the plaintiff can then file a "request for default." Basically, by not "showing up," the defendant is effectively forfeiting. However that usually is not the case. Usually an answer is ultimately filed with the court. An answer is technically the defendant's response to the allegations made by the plaintiff in the complaint. In most cases, they will simply deny all the allegations made in the complaint. That is very common.
Now that the plaintiff and the defendant are formally involved in the lawsuit, a process known as "Discovery" begins. This discovery process is where both sides to the lawsuit "discover" what the other person's position is in the case. Basically, each side is given several months and various legal tools they can employ to learn about what the other side believes about the case, how they will present the case, what experts they will use, etc.
As noted above, there are various discovery "tools" that either side may use to obtain information from the other. First, there are basic "interrogatories." These are a series of form questions, as well as some custom-crafted questions, that each side can send to the other. The receiving party must answer those questions under oath.
Another common discovery tools is a "Request for Production of Documents." This is a formal request sent to the opposing party to produce any documentation that supports their position. In some cases, the responding party may not have much documentation. Therefore, you don't want to serve that request too early as it may not yield much depending on the case.
Another legal tool is a "Request for Admissions." A request for admissions is when one party asks the responding party to admit or deny certain allegations. If the responding party is unable to admit or deny, they can also state that fact. This legal tool is often used to "box in" a responding party to a certain response on relevant issues of the case.
In some cases, if the plaintiff is alleging residual injury, the defendant can demand that the plaintiff be examined by the defense's hired medical doctor. So, if you claim that you have kidney pain from the accident, it is perfectly acceptable for the defense to have you examined by a nephrologist or urologist. If they want you examined by a psychologist, you can object because that's not the issue. A psychologist arguably has nothing to do with kidney pain.
If you make something an issue, they are certainly entitled to inquire. You can't just make allegations in your lawsuit and expect people to simply agree with them without any resistance. After all, you probably filed the lawsuit because you were unable to settle your claim outside of the court system.
Another common legal tool all parties can utilize is the "deposition." A deposition is when one party gets to ask the other party questions they must answer under oath. This is usually done in a conference room of some sort where the attorney for one party will ask another party to the case some direct questions about the case. The person answering the questions is known as the "deponent." Typically, the deponent's attorney is also present for this deposition and is there to guide their client. In some cases, depositions will be taken of medical experts, other witnesses, and other people who may not be directly involved in the lawsuit. Depositions are quite significant because, in most cases, this is the first time the parties are hearing directly from each other - not simply answering written questions.
After all these discovery tools have been used, each party will arguably learn much more about what the other party believes about the case.
At some point, the parties may agree to try "mediating" the case. The parties will exchange names of potential mediators (usually retired judges and some attorneys) and hopefully will agree to a particular mediator. The mediator is a person who tries to facilitate settlement of the case prior to a trial. At the mediation, the mediator will often put the parties in separate rooms and will typically go back and forth between both parties trying to reach a settlement. Typically, Parties will agree to mediation if they believe there is a chance it will help settle the case. Mediation can be quite expensive for both sides. However, the courts really favor mediation because it gets the parties talking and hopefully unclogging the already burdened court system.
Instead of mediation, some parties may agree to go to "arbitration." Arbitration is where a third party, usually a retired judge, will listen to the case and make a decision that is binding upon everyone involved. Certain parameters will be set out before the arbitration and agreed to in writing, such as the minimum amount the plaintiff could recover and the maximum amount of the plaintiff could recover. The arbitrator is typically not made aware of these limitations or it might influence their decision.
Therefore, Instead of spending several days or weeks in court, parties may sometimes more efficiently handle the resolution of their case using these alternative dispute resolution methods (mediation and arbitration).
Finally, if the parties have been unable to resolve the case, they may indeed end up in court doing a trial in front of a jury or sometimes only a judge. Both sides of the case will do their best to present their case to the jury and to make their arguments. The jury then decides how much to award the plaintiff, if any. Keep in mind, the jury may disagree with the plaintiff and may indeed award the plaintiff nothing. Just because you file a lawsuit, doesn't mean you're going to get money. In fact, you may end up losing money if you do not prevail in the lawsuit. In fact, there are situations where you could be personally on the hook for certain costs and fees incurred by the other party. Also, if you received any medical care or other services on a lien, you will likely still owe those providers for those services. There is no "free lunch" when it comes to personal injury litigation. Late night commercials for injury lawyers may lead you to believe there is no down side. However, in reality, you must consider filing a lawsuit carefully and cautiously. Make sure you consult with your attorney as to whether the journey makes sense or not.
Hello everyone. This is Robert Mansour and I'm going to walk you through a little consultation checklist here. If you watch this short video, it will walk you through the checklist and give you some good tips about how to prepare for your personal injury consultation. So by now you probably have your appointment set up. So the first thing we want you to bring is all photographs depicting damage to your vehicle and any physical injuries that you might have - bruises, cuts, scrapes, any visible signs of the injuries. Make sure you take pictures of all of those things. With respect to the damage photos, make sure you take damage photos from every single angle. Don't just take real closeups because sometimes it's very hard to tell what it is that we're looking at. Also try to take pictures in different lights, from different angles, whatever you can do.
If your insurance company has your vehicle, they probably took lots of photos so you can call them and ask them to send you all the photos or email them to you. You should also email the photos to email@example.com or you can text them to us to our special text phone number that my staff probably gave you. If you're going to be sending us large photos, you can use a free resource called filemail.com where you can easily send large amounts of photos to our office as well. Please send us all your auto insurance information, the name and address of your insurance company, policy numbers, any claim numbers that you've been given. Also, if you have your declarations page (that is the summary of all the insurance coverage that you have), please sent that to us as well.
When you get that little card that you put in your glove box, they send you a copy of that declarations page. If you click right over here, you will see a sample of the declarations page and what it looks like. If you can't find it, just call your insurance company and ask them to send you your "declarations page." They should be able to email it to you. Also. If you have any insurance information regarding the other parties involved in the accident, their insurance company's policy numbers or claim numbers. If you know an adjuster's name or an adjuster's phone number who's been trying to reach you - any letters that you've been receiving from insurance companies, please send those as well or bring them to the meeting. At the very least, that stuff is very helpful. I would caution you not to talk too much to the insurance company for the responsible party until you've spoken with a lawyer to get some tips.
If you've taken your vehicle to a shop, they may have already generated a property damage estimate. If you can, bring that to the meeting or send it to us in advance. That would be helpful. Please bring a list of any and all doctors or facilities that you've treated with so far. For example, if you've been to the hospital or you went to urgent care or your primary care physician, a chiropractor, anything like that - make a list of all those doctors and facilities and please bring that information with you. Also, if you have health insurance, please bring that healthcare information with you - copies of any healthcare cards that you might have. If you are a Medi-Cal or Medicare recipient, you should have a card. If you could please bring that to the meeting. Also bring your identification - for example your drivers license.
If you have a police report, please bring it to the meeting. If you don't have a police report yet and the police came to the scene and wrote a report, you might want to call the police station and ask them when the report might be ready. Sometimes they will actually have the very first page of the police report ready and they can send that to you even if they can't send you the whole thing. So you might want to ask about that. Also, your insurance company may have already obtained a police report if you gave them the information on that police card that they give you at the scene. Your insurance company may have already obtained that police report. So you might want to check with them.
Basically bring everything that is related to the accident to the meeting. If in doubt, bring it. And then down here you will find some very helpful "do's and don'ts" about accident cases - things you should not do and things that you should do. It's a good idea if you spend a couple of minutes reviewing that information as well. Anyway, I look forward to seeing you at our initial consultation and I hope this video is helpful. Thank you so much.
Before you hire our office to help you with your personal injury case, we will need you to sign several forms. This is true if you are working with our firm or any other firm. Watch this video to learn more.
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: All right, so the first thing you're going to find when you download the forms is the contingency fee agreement, which is the contract between the attorney and the client. We will fill out all this top part here regarding your name and the date the incident occurred. You will find the services to be performed by the attorney. You will note that there is no guarantee, of course, as to the result. There is a section on litigation costs and expenses that will be deducted from the settlement. This is outlines our typical one third recovery from the total seller settlement for attorney's fees and the right for either party to withdraw from the case...arbitration of fee dispute. Very standard stuff here. Read it very carefully and then please date, sign your name and print your name where indicated. Now there's room here for three clients to sign, but if it's only one person, of course, just do the first three lines right here.
Now at the bottom of the form, if it's not too much trouble, please put your best mailing address, your best phone number, and any email account you regularly check (Not one you check every few months), and then a birth date, for this form.
The next form on the list is something called the "Agency Authorization." This basically allows my law firm to represent you. Once again, we will fill out all the top section and all you need to do is date, sign and print your name on the bottom.
The next section here, the next form is the Authorization to Provide Information. This one here is used by my firm if we are dealing with your employer regarding lost earnings or to obtain a copy of the police report. If we already have a copy of the police report, then of course this form is not necessary and it won't be necessary for lost earnings either, if you don't think that that's going to be a an issue. Okay.
The next thing is the HIPAA compliant authorization form. So what is this? This allows your medical providers to provide my office with copies of your health care documents. Without this form, they're not going to give me those documents. Now, some facilities will have their own documents and that's fine - but we have found that this one works relatively well for most medical providers. Once again, like with all the forms, only where you see an X, please sign and provide the information only where you see an X, we will fill out the rest of the form. Okay.
Finally there's something called the Client Responsibilities form. And basically this is just a whole bunch of tips that we offer our clients. We try to keep it to one page so it's not terribly overwhelming - but basically read over all of these tips and if you have any questions about them, please call me to discuss them. It's pretty straight forward stuff.
And then please sign, print your name and date at the very bottom of this last page. Once again, thank you very much for the opportunity to assist you and I hope you found this video to be helpful. Take care.
If you have been involved in a serious car accident, it is possible to have a shoulder injury. This can happen with direct impact to the shoulder area - or perhaps while bracing for an impact by gripping the steering wheel very tightly. The rotator cuff or labrum can be injured or torn during such an accident.
If you feel shoulder pain, make sure you discuss it with your doctor as soon as possible. Don't do things that can aggravate the injury or the insurance company will try to blame the injury on a subsequent event. If you are treating with a chiropractor, make sure they know about the shoulder pain right away so they can refer you to an orthopedist for evaluation. This is not the kind of thing where you want to "wait and see" what happens. If you don't mention it, the insurance company will likely conclude a future complaint of shoulder pain must be unrelated to the accident. That goes for any injuries you ignore and/or fail to document.
Generally speaking, when it comes to shoulder surgery, it is an option of last resort. In some cases, the orthopedist may order an immediate MRI if they suspect a shoulder tear. If they are not sure it is a shoulder tear, they might refer you for physical therapy for traditional conservative treatment. In most cases, physical therapy will last approximately six to eight weeks at which time the orthopedist will re-evaluate you.
After the re-evaluation, if you are making good progress, the orthopedist may order additional shoulder physical therapy. In the meantime, the physical therapist should keep your orthopedist aware of your progress or lack of progress or any other concerns the physical therapist has. It is important for the physical therapist and orthopedist keep in touch with each other regularly.
If you are not making progress with the shoulder pain, the doctor may indeed order an MRI to see if you have a tear of any sort. The MRI can be "with" or "without contrast." If the doctor orders the MRI with contrast, that usually involves an injection of a dye into the body. That is a painful procedure but might reveal more than a regular MRI would. Of course, an MRI with contrast is usually more expensive than an MRI without contrast.
If the MRI confirms there is a tear, and the tear is not getting better with conservative treatment, the doctor might recommend pain management. If pain management doesn't work, the doctor might recommend surgery. Make sure you discuss all these options with your doctors after a severe car accident if you are having pronounced and significant shoulder pain.
Hello everybody, this is Robert Mansour, today talking to you about the notion of negligence. Sometimes clients call my office and they say, "Hey, this other person caused an accident," or this other person did this, that, or the other, "I would like to make a claim." And I say, "Okay, first, we have to decide whether it ... was that person negligent?" Because if they weren't negligent and they didn't do anything wrong, we're going to have a little bit of a hard time going after that person or their insurance carrier.
So, negligence generally has four components to it. Number one is duty. Did the other person have a duty to do X, Y, or Z? So, if I'm driving a car, I have a duty to follow the law, for example. I have to stop at a stoplight. I have to yield to pedestrians. I have to drive at a reasonable speed. That is my duty as a driver. The next thing is breach. So, once we establish that that individual had a duty, we have to ask ourselves did they breach that duty? Did they break that promise to do X, Y, or Z? So, if somebody was driving recklessly or driving too fast, or failed to stop at a stoplight, or blew through a stop sign, we can argue that they breached their duty.
So, we have duty, we have a breach of that duty, or a break if you will, of that promise to do X, Y or Z. The next fundamental component is something called causation. So duty, breach, causation. What is causation? Well, just because somebody has a duty and somebody breaches that duty, doesn't mean that that caused the injury, or caused the accident to occur. So, causation is very important because sometimes it's an intervening cause or something entirely different. Or, the individual had a pre-existing injury that he or she is trying to bootstrap onto the accident. So you gotta be very careful. Just because somebody broke the law and did something wrong, doesn't necessarily mean it caused the harm.
The final component is damages. Let's say somebody has a duty, they breached that duty and it was a cause of the accident. Just because it was a cause of the accident doesn't mean that it was also a cause of the harm, and it also doesn't mean that there was a harm. I got a client call one time, he was involved in an accident and I said, "Okay, well, what happened?" He goes, this, that ... I'm like, "Okay, go on." I said, "Were you hurt?" He said, "No, I wasn't hurt. I'm fine." I said, "Well, then there really is no damage." I mean, there's property damage and the insurance company's fixing his car, but beyond that, he said he's fine. He doesn't have any injuries. So there is no damages to pursue.
So, just because, once again, somebody had a duty, they breached that duty, there was causation, you have to have damages, that last component. Generally speaking, breaking a nail in a car accident or scratching your nail, that's not appreciable injury. Generally speaking, you don't want to pursue a case unless you have a significant or appreciable injury. 'Cause otherwise, a judge or a jury or an insurance company's just going to tell you to go away. People don't like frivolous claims. People don't like folks who try to get away with stuff, who try to make mountains out of molehills.
So, all that being said, just because somebody else did something wrong, doesn't necessarily mean you get to make a claim or that you even have a claim worth pursuing. Duty, breach, causation and damages. Thank you very much for watching this video. I hope you found it helpful. My name is Robert Mansour. Feel free to call my office if you have any additional questions about your accident case.
Today I want to speak to you about the importance of how property damage figures into the evaluation of your personal injury case. After practicing law since 1993, it has become painfully obvious to me that the amount of property damage to your vehicle is an important factor in having an insurance company, or a jury, or a judge, believe that you are injured. What the insurance companies and the defense often do, is they say, "Well, there wasn't a lot of property damage to your car, so therefore you couldn't have been injured." Or, "The extent of your injuries isn't as bad as you say because the damage to your vehicle is not that bad."
The truth is, after years in the courtroom and after years of doing this, there is a lot of truth to that. Generally speaking, juries, judges, insurance adjusters want to see an appreciable amount of property damage to your vehicle, or else they're going to give you a hard time. Now, are they right in doing so? Well, some people out there try to make mountains out of molehills and they do try to allege that they were injured in an accident when in fact they weren't. What the problem is, is that if you were indeed injured, if you don't have property damage that matches the degree of your injury, don't be surprised if the insurance company gives you a hard time.
If you barely have a scratch to your car and you're alleging all kinds of injuries and you need surgery and this, that or the other, just be prepared for the argument. So you need to be able to show, even though there's not a lot of property damage, you still might have been injured. You see, there are many studies out there that show that even at lower velocity, impacts, depending on the individual, they can still be injured. Some people might also be inclined to injury. They may have a predisposition to injury. They might have a prior condition that makes them more susceptible to injury. You might be one of those people who's standing at the edge of the cliff and then an impact occurs and pushes you off that cliff, even though the impact itself wasn't horrific and wasn't terribly large. The other thing you can do is you could see if there was any frame damage to the vehicle. Sometimes, frame damage is a way to show that the impact was stronger than it might look on the exterior of the car.
But just keep in mind that the amount of damage to your vehicle will likely be a factor in the insurance company's appraisal of your injuries. The more significant the property damage, the easier it is for them to believe that you were injured. The lower the property damage, the more they're going to give you a hard time. Thank you very much for watching this video. I hope you found it helpful.
I want to spend a few minutes clearing up a common misconception. Many people seem to think that their car insurance company is going to "take care of everything" after their car accident. That is not what auto insurance companies do. They don't "take care of everything." They only take care of what matters to them. For example, many clients think their car insurance company is going to arrange for health care after an accident. They think the insurance adjuster is going to contact a doctor or give the client a list of doctors to pick from. You can keep waiting by the phone for that to happen, but you will be waiting by the phone forever.
The insurance company's job is not to arrange for doctors to care for you after a car accident. For example, if you have collision coverage on your policy, your insurance company will probably fix your car. If you make a claim of the other party's insurance company, they might also fix your car. Neither one, however, is going to obtain medical care for you.
The problem with this misconception is that many people continue to wait by the phone and, as such, they failed to get any health care after an accident. They keep waiting for the insurance adjuster to call them. I'm not sure where this misconception came from, but that's not what auto insurance companies do.
Even if you were seriously injured, they are not going to arrange for your health care. All they might do is perhaps fix your car and maybe pay some medical bills you present to them. Remember, the insurance company's job is to protect the insurance company, and not to protect you as many of the commercials seem to imply. That's not to say that insurance adjusters are heartless people or that insurance companies don't care about their customers. Most adjusters (notice I said "most") certainly do have hearts and certainly do care. But they are only going to do what the insurance contract calls for. They are not your health care providers or general caretakers after an accident. Obtaining prompt and proactive medical care after your car wreck is your job - not theirs. Don't make that mistake.
by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia,