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Auto Accidents

Los Angeles is a city famous for many things — and traffic is close to the top of that list. The Los Angeles metro area is home to more than 13 million people, and the city’s roads and freeways serve as vital arteries for daily commutes and commerce.

This also means that L.A. roads and freeways are very, very busy. The city ranks number one in the U.S. in terms of traffic density and congestion — and witnesses more than 50,000 traffic collisions during most years.

Busy streets lead to auto collisions — and serious injury and death.

Los Angeles Auto Accidents: By the Numbers

In 2018, there were nearly 60,000 traffic accidents on L.A. roads. Those accidents were responsible for 240 deaths and thousands of injuries. In addition to those incidents, another 127 pedestrians were killed — the second highest total of the last 15 years.

Though living in L.A. has many wonderful aspects, traffic certainly isn’t among them. Local roads are not only dangerous; they’re stress inducing.

In order to stay both physically and emotionally healthy, it’s imperative to minimize the risks associated with the road. Yet even the most cautious person often falls victim to the negligence of another driver. 

What to Do in the Event of an Auto Accident

If you’ve been in a traffic collision, it’s critically important to follow some smart safety protocols. Following the incident, take these important steps:

  • Move out of oncoming traffic to a safe location
  • Seek medical assistance if necessary
  • Take videos and photos of any damage or injuries
  • Ask for witness contact information
  • Seek medical attention if necessary
  • If hurt, keep track of all your medical bills, lost wages, expenses etc.
  • Contact an experienced Los Angeles auto accident attorney

Auto Accident FAQs

The following frequently asked questions (“FAQs”) are not offered or intended as legal advice. If you have legal questions, you should always consult an attorney:

What if I can’t afford California auto insurance?

If you cannot afford liability insurance, you may be eligible for the California Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program. Additional information is available at https://mylowcostauto.com/coverage  or by calling 1-866-602-8861.

What is California uninsured motorist coverage?

Uninsured motorist coverage protects you if you sustain injuries or property damage in an auto accident caused by someone else who does not have insurance. When this occurs, your own insurance company will compensate you for your injuries or property damage up to the amount of coverage you purchased from your insurance company.

What is California underinsured motorist coverage?

Underinsured motorist coverage protects you if you sustain injuries or property damage in an auto accident caused by someone else who does not have enough insurance to compensate you. When this occurs, you must first obtain all available policy limits from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Once this happens, you must then open a claim through your own insurance company to obtain compensation for the remainder of your damages up to the amount of coverage you purchased from your insurance company.

What Is Medical Payments Coverage?

Medical payments coverage is part of an auto insurance policy. It may help pay your or your passengers’ medical expenses if you are injured in a car accident, regardless of who caused the accident.

What is the minimum amount of car insurance required in California?

California requires drivers to carry at least the following auto insurance coverages: Bodily injury liability coverage: $15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident minimum. Property damage liability coverage: $5,000 minimum.

Should I carry more than minimum car insurance coverage?

Yes! If finances permit, it is always a good idea to carry more than minimum coverage.  Why? If you cause an accident and your insurance doesn’t cover the injured persons damages, that person has the right to sue you personally for the difference.

Often, the cost to increase coverage is minimal. It is always a good idea to inquire with your carrier about the cost to increase your policy limits.

Is California a no-fault car accident state?

No, California is not a no-fault state for auto insurance. It is one of the 38 states in the country where the person who causes a car accident has to pay for the damage and injuries. When an accident occurs, the police determine who’s at fault. Then, to collect payment for their losses, victims must file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Liability insurance is the type of insurance that pays victims’ claims, and all drivers in California are required to carry it.

Can I drive in California with a foreign driver’s license?

If you are a visitor in California over 18 and have a valid driver license from your home country, you may drive in this state without getting a California driver license as long as your out-of-country license remains valid.

If I move from out-of-sate do I have to get a California driver’s license?

If you become a California resident, you must get a California driver license within 10 days. Residency is established by voting in a California election, paying resident tuition, filing for a homeowner’s property tax exemption, or any other privilege or benefit not ordinarily extended to nonresidents.

At what age can I get a driver’s license in California?

You can obtain a driver’s license at the age of 16 in California, but only after completing both driver education and driver training courses. Additionally, drivers must have had a California instruction permit or an instruction permit from another state for at least 6 months prior to obtaining a license.

How many points on my California driver’s license can I get before it is suspended?

A California licensed driver can not incur more than 4 points in a 1-year period, 6 points in a 2 year period and 8 points in a 3 year period.

What does BAC mean?

BAC stands for blood alcohol content. It is the percent of alcohol in a person’s blood stream.

What is the legal limit (BAC) in California?

The blood alcohol limit for operating a motor vehicle or a boat in California is 0.08%. For commercial drivers such as semi-trucks, the legal limit is 0.04%. For persons under the age of 21, the legal limit is 0.01%.

Can I refuse a field sobriety test?

Yes, in California you have the right to refuse a field sobriety test. However, you may be required to take either a breath or blood test. If your refuse one of these tests, you may lose your license.

Can I refuse a blood test for DUI?

No. Although you can refuse a field sobriety test, the refusal to take a blood test may result in the automatic suspension of your license for one year.

Am I required to stop if I’m in a car accident?

Yes. If you are involved in an accident in California, no matter how minor, you must stop and give your identifying information to all other drivers involved. Failure to do so may result in a hit and run criminal charge being filed against you.

What is a Form SR-1 in California?

A California SR-1 form is a report that you submit to the DMV, placing the DMV on notice of a traffic accident. Submission is mandatory if the accident results in any injury or property damage over $1000.

Am I required to submit a California SR-1 form?

California law requires all drivers involved in an accident resulting in any injury, or property damage over $1000 to submit an SR-1 form to the DMV. You must do so within 10 days of the accident. If you do not submit the form, your license may be suspended.

For a link to the DMV’s SR-1 form, click here: https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/uploads/2020/05/sr1.pdf

Should I call the police if I am in a traffic accident?

Yes! No matter how minor the accident, it is always a good idea to call the police. Although in Los Angeles County police will rarely come to the scene unless there are injuries and/or major property damage.

It is a good idea to at least attempt to get police to the scene and write a report. Doing so ensures that all driver information is obtained, and a determination of fault is made.

What if the person who causes my car accident has no insurance?

If you’re involved in an accident caused by someone else and that person does not have auto insurance, you must either sue that person to recover money, or file a claim with your insurance company if you have uninsured motorist coverage.

What if the person who causes my accident doesn’t have enough insurance?

You must either sue the driver directly or if you have underinsured motorist coverage, file a claim with your insurance company for the difference.

Who pays for my injuries in a car accident?

If you are responsible for the accident, you must pay for your own injuries. If another driver is responsible for your injuries their insurance company will pay for your injuries. If the responsible driver does not have enough insurance to cover your damages, you can either sue the them for the difference or, if you have underinsured motorist coverage you can file a claim with your insurance company for the difference.

Do I have to have my car fixed at a specific body shop?

No. Under California law, you have the right to take your vehicle to the body shop of your choice. If another driver is at fault, and if that driver has auto insurance, the insurance company must honor your choice to get the vehicle fixed anywhere you choose.

Can my insurance company cancel my policy?

According to the California Insurance Code, cancellation of a policy shall be effective only if it is based on one or more of the following reasons:

(1) Nonpayment of premium.

(2) The driver’s license or motor vehicle registration of the named insured or of any other operator who either resides in the same household or customarily operates an automobile insured under the policy has been under suspension or revocation during the policy period or, if the policy is a renewal, during its policy period or the 180 days immediately preceding its effective date.

(3) Discovery of fraud by the named insured in pursuing a claim under the policy provided the insurer does not rescind the policy.

(4) Discovery of material misrepresentation of any of the following information concerning the named insured or any resident of the same household who customarily operates an automobile insured under the policy:

(A) Safety record.

(B) Annual miles driven in prior years.

(C) Number of years of driving experience.

(D) Record of prior automobile insurance claims, if any.

(E) Any other factor found by the commissioner to have a substantial relationship to the risk of loss.

Any insured who negligently misrepresents information described in this paragraph may avoid cancellation by furnishing corrected information to the insurer within 20 days after receiving notice of cancellation and agreeing to pay any difference in premium for the policy period in which the information remained undisclosed.

(5) A substantial increase in the hazard insured against.

(b) Modification of automobile physical damage coverage by the inclusion of a deductible not exceeding one hundred dollars ($100) shall not be deemed a cancellation of the coverage or of the policy.

What is a declarations page?

An auto declarations page is issued by an insurance company listing the amount of their coverage limits. This will include line items listing the dollar amount for bodily injury, uninsured motorist, medical payments, car rental and comprehensive coverage.

Insured’s can ordinarily obtain this page upon request from their insurer either online or by phone.

Does my health insurance have a right to be repaid if I’m in a car accident?

This all depends on the language contained in your health insurance policy. Ordinarily, most companies have a right of reimbursement for all medical treatment if you receive money from another party as the result of an auto accident.

If the accident is your fault, or if you do not obtain money from another party, your health care provider is not entitled to reimbursement.

If I’m a Medicare recipient to I have to report an auto accident to the government?

Yes, by law Medicare MUST be notified whenever a Medicare recipient opens any claim against an at-fault driver. See attached link for more information:

https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Coordination-of-Benefits-and-Recovery/Attorney-Services/Reporting-a-Case/Reporting-a-Case

Does Medicare have a right to be reimbursed if I receive money from an at-fault driver?

Yes, Medicare has a right of reimbursement for all benefits that relate to the auto accident. By law, you MUST report any third-party claims to Medicare.

If I’m a Medi-Cal recipient to I have to report an auto accident to the government?

Yes, by law these types of claims must be reported. For more information please see: https://www.dhcs.ca.gov/services/Pages/TPLRD_PersonalInjuryProgram.aspx

Does Medi-Cal  have a right to be reimbursed if I receive money from an at-fault driver?

Yes, please see the following FAQ: https://www.dhcs.ca.gov/services/Pages/TPLRD_PIP_FAQ.aspx

Does an Umbrella policy cover car accidents?

Ordinarily, if an at-fault driver has an umbrella policy, it will cover car accidents in excess of that person’s auto insurance policy.  However, each policy is different, and it all depends on the language contained in the policy.

Does a homeowner’s policy cover car accidents?

Ordinarily, no. Your homeowner’s insurance policy only covers accidental injuries that occur on your property or that are caused by you or a family member.

How much Is Uber’s insurance limits in California?

If an Uber Driver is responsible for an accident in which you are involved, either as a passenger in the Uber/Lyft, or if you are in another car and hit by an Uber/Lyft, California mandates a $1 million dollar personal injury policy limit.

Can I lose my driver’s license for unpaid parking tickets in California?

Since 2017, California will not suspend your license if you have unpaid parking tickets. See: https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-driver-license-fees-20170629-story.html

What are the statistics on California car accident deaths?

The most recently published results from the California Office of Traffic Safety are:

Overall

  • Traffic fatalities decreased 8.3% from 3,884 in 2017 to 3,563 in 2018.
  • The 2017 Mileage Death Rate (MDR) – fatalities per 100 million miles traveled – is 1.13.

Alcohol-Impaired Driving

  • Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities (fatalities in crashes involving a driver or motorcycle rider with a blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, of 0.08 or higher) decreased 6.8% from 1,147 in 2017 to 1,069 in 2018.

Drug-Impaired Driving

  • In 2018, 42% of all drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes, who were tested, tested positive for legal and/ or illegal drugs.

Occupant Protection

  • Unrestrained passenger vehicle occupant fatalities in all seating positions decreased 4.3% from 625 in 2017 to 598 in 2018.

Motorcycle Safety

  • Motorcycle fatalities decreased 15.57% from 578 in 2017 to 488 in 2018.
  • Motorcyclist deaths from not wearing a helmet decreased 33% from 45 in 2017 to 30 in 2018.

Teen Safety

  • Teen motor vehicle fatalities (age 16-19) increased 21.4% from 168 in 2017 to 204 in 2018.
  • Teen Driver fatalities (age 16-19) decreased 15% from 106 in 2017 to 90 in 2018.

Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety

  • Pedestrian fatalities decreased 5% from 940 in 2017 to 893 in 2018.
  • Pedestrian fatalities age 65 and older increased from 194 in 2017 to 195 in 2018.
  • Bicycle fatalities increased 6.89% from 145 in 2017 to 155 in 2018.

What are the most dangerous intersections in Los Angeles County?

According to Crosstown LA, a non-profit organization partnered with USC Annenberg, the following is a list of the most dangerous intersections in Los Angeles:

  1.  Van Nuys: Sherman Way & Sepulveda Blvd.
    2.    Vermont Knolls: Manchester Ave. & Figueroa St.
    3.    Van Nuys: Burbank Blvd. & Sepulveda Blvd.
    4.    Panorama City: Van Nuys Blvd. & Roscoe Blvd.
    5.    Valley Glen: Victory Blvd. & Coldwater Canyon Ave.
    6.    Northridge: Tampa Ave. & Nordhoff St.
    7.    Van Nuys: Sherman Way & Woodman Ave.
    8.    Valley Glen: Sherman Way & Coldwater Canyon Ave.
    9.    Vermont Vista: Imperial Highway & Figueroa St.
    10.    Lake Balboa: Balboa Blvd. & Victory Blvd.
    11.    West Hills: Fallbrook Ave. & Victory Blvd.
    12.    Valley Glen: Sherman Way & Whitsett Ave.
    13.    Porter Ranch: Devonshire St. & Reseda Blvd.
    14.    Van Nuys: Sepulveda Blvd. & Victory Blvd.
    15.    Broadway- Manchester: Imperial Highway & Main St.
    16.    Van Nuys: Sherman Way & Kester Ave.
    17.    Panorama City: Van Nuys & Arminta St.
    18.    Winnetka: Saticoy St. & Winnetka Ave.
    19.    Van Nuys: Sepulveda Blvd. & Erwin St.
    20.    Northridge: Tampa St. & Plummer St.

What are the most dangerous highways in California?

  1. 1-5 / 192 Fatalities
  2. US-101 / 139 Fatalities
  3. SR-99 / 110 Fatalities

Finding the Right West Hollywood Auto Accident Law Firm

At The Law Office of Craig Charles, we believe that auto accident victims deserve compassion, communication and compensation for their injuries. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. Located in Weho. LGBT Friendly.

 

 

Bicycle Accidents

Urban cycling is experiencing a renaissance in major U.S. cities, and L.A. is no exception. Currently, there are 350 miles of bike paths in the city, including the Los Angeles River Bicycle Path, which runs from Burbank to Long Beach.

However, given L.A.’s extreme traffic density, the city can also be quite dangerous for cyclists.

Bicycle Accidents by the Numbers

Nationwide, bicyclists account for just one-percent of all road traffic. Yet they also account for three-percent of all traffic fatalities. Roughly 50,000 cyclists are injured every year in auto collisions.

The reason why is simple: Although bike lanes and other safety measures have grown more popular in recent years, cyclists have much less protection from other travelers and the surrounding environment. One moment of inattention can have grave and lifelong consequences.

Los Angeles is especially dangerous not only for its traffic congestion, but also for its design. The city’s streets are engineered for cars and designed for maximum traffic flow. The number of bike-specific lanes in L.A. lags other large cities.

Avoiding Cycling Injuries

In order to avoid being seriously hurt in a cycling accident, it’s important to follow basic safety rules, including:

  • Wear a safety helmet
  • One person per bike
  • Have proper reflective and safety gear
  • Ride on the right side of the road, with traffic
  • Use hand signals
  • Be aware of road hazards

If you’ve been unfortunate enough to suffer a cycling-related injury, you’ll also want to speak with an experienced attorney.

At the Law Office of Craig Charles, we specialize in bicycle accident litigation. Don’t hesitate to call today for a free consultation. Located in West Hollywood. LGBT Friendly.

Brain Injuries

At Craig Charles Law, we have the experience needed to litigate the most challenging brain injury cases.

Perhaps no personal injury is so devastating as brain damage. Losing the ability to walk, talk or think in the manner to which we’re accustomed can be a deeply traumatic experience that strikes at the core of our identity. Due to the catastrophic nature of many brain injuries, lifelong physical, emotional, mental and financial consequences often ensue.

In a scenario like this, it’s absolutely imperative that you have an experienced legal advocate by your side — one who can fight to ensure you receive fair compensation and compassionate treatment.

Let’s take a closer look at the nature of brain injuries, and what steps to take if this situation affects you or someone you love.

The Facts About Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries are a major cause of disability in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC). These injuries, sadly, are on the rise: The CDC reports that the number of ER admissions for traumatic brain injuries rose 53% from 2006 to 2014. Thousands of people die each year from serious brain injuries in the US, and hundreds of thousands more are seriously injured.

According to the CDC, traumatic brain injuries are caused by bumps, blows or jolts to the brain that disrupt normal brain function. These injuries range from mild to severe, with the mild form being what is commonly called a concussion.

The CDC reports that there are nearly 3 million brain injury related ER visits, hospitalizations and deaths each in the US. Brain injuries are listed as a contributing cause in more than 50,000 deaths each year. Falls are the most common cause of brain injuries, followed by being struck by an object, being in a traffic collision or engaging in self harm.

The most critical risk factor for brain injuries is age. People 65 and older are much more likely to sustain a serious brain injury after suffering from a fall or striking their head in some fashion.

What To Do In The Event Of A Brain Injury

As mentioned, the stakes are extremely high where brain injuries are concerned. Recovery from a brain injury can take years, and caring for someone with a traumatic head injury can cost millions of dollars. This situation is often made doubly difficult by the fact that victims often can no longer work to support themselves following an incident.

Fortunately, the right experienced brain injury attorney can help ensure that you are fairly compensated and treated with compassion. At Craig Charles Law, we pride ourselves in being available to anyone seeking brain injury attorneys in West Hollywood and surrounding areas — and we have the necessary experience to take on even the most complex cases.

The Law Office of Craig Charles is located in Weho on the Sunset Strip. We are LGBT-friendly and we have the experience to handle even the most complex and challenging brain injury cases. Contact us today for an immediate consultation.

Business Interruption

COVID-19 Business Interruption Claims

The current COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in the suspension of standard business operations, as well as the closure of thousands of businesses and public places, including shopping centers and malls around the globe. Local, national, and international health organizations, including the World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have issued recommendations and directives to suspend public gatherings. In addition, the majority of local and state governments have also ordered restrictions on the operation of non-essential businesses and/or ordered residents to shelter-in-place.

In anticipation of catastrophes such as the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses pay for and obtain insurance coverage known as Business Interruption Insurance under their existing Property and Casualty Loss policies.

How Does Business Interruption Insurance Work?

Business Interruption Insurance is a type of coverage intended to compensate policyholders for their losses if a business is forced to close temporarily. Most typically, it’s used during events like fires and natural disasters. Business Interruption Insurance can cover things like lost revenue, employee wages, rent, business loan payments, and taxes. If an event requires a business to reopen in a new location, Business Interruption Insurance can also cover relocation expenses.

For many policies that include Business Interruption coverage, companies may be entitled to up to twelve (12) months of lost profits and/or operating expenses.

Benefits of Working With an Insurance Attorney

Insurance carriers are happy to take premiums and not provide policyholders with the benefits of the Business Interruption coverage needed to sustain their operations. Unfortunately, as business losses continue to mount, insurance carriers have taken a position of regularly denying these claims. These issues have already become the subject of litigation around the country.

Dealing with big insurance companies can be very overwhelming, but we have years of experience taking on insurance carriers and it’s given us a lot of insight to the tactics they use to try and deny claims. In the case of the coronavirus pandemic, we know they’ll try to argue that a company’s location wasn’t physically damaged by COVID-19. We know they’ll try to argue the semantics of a policy. We know they’ll try to say they can’t be liable for claims involving business closures that are temporary, but indefinite.

Not only do we understand how insurance companies work, we know how to use the law to navigate the policy language and advocate on behalf of our clients to have coverage afforded. We’ll be on your side every step of the way to fight to help you get the compensation your business needs.

Can I Get Help With a COVID-19 Business Insurance Claim?

The Law Office of Craig Charles is actively representing California business owners who have suffered losses because of the coronavirus pandemic. Whether you’ve made a claim that has been denied or you’re preparing to make a claim, we can help.

To be eligible for compensation, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You own a business in the state of California
  • Your company has been financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic
  • You have a business insurance policy that includes Business Interruption Insurance

Contact a California COVID-19 Business Insurance Attorney

As business owners, we recognize that this is an unprecedented time that has negatively impacted a huge cross section of our business community and we want to help our fellow business owners keep going.

When you work with us, you don’t have to worry about whether or not you can afford first-rate legal assistance. We’re handling these cases on a contingency fee basis, which requires no hourly fee and no retainer. If there is no recovery on the claim, there is no fee owed and we will advance all costs, which are only reimbursable if there is a recovery.

Every case is unique, so when you receive a free case evaluation from us, we’ll review your business insurance policy to figure out the best way to move forward based on your exact needs. Contact the Law Office of Craig Charles today for your free evaluation. Located in West Hollywood (Weho) on the Sunset Strip. The Law Office of Craig Charles is an LGBT friendly, gay affirming law office. 424-343-0660

Construction Injuries

The Los Angeles skyline is dotted with new construction projects. The construction industry plays a critical role in the local economy, providing jobs for workers, infrastructure for businesses and homes for Angelenos.

Yet the construction industry is often a dangerous place to work. Work sites are full of heavy equipment, and workers must often labor from great heights. One mistake in this environment can lead to devastating lifetime consequences.

The Facts About Construction Injuries

According to data from the California Department of Industrial Relations, the construction industry is responsible for 17-percent  of all workplace deaths in the state. This makes the construction sector one of the most dangerous in which to work.

Though California has relatively strong labor protection laws, hundreds of workers are killed every year on the job. Tens of thousands more suffer serious injuries — often through no fault of their own.

Construction sites are particularly hazardous, given the heavy machinery and accelerated building schedules involved. Common causes of construction injuries include:

  • Falls
  • Electric shocks
  • Scaffolding collapses
  • Being struck by falling objects
  • Being stuck or caught in between heavy objects
  • Power tool/machinery misuse
  • Slips

Overall, falls — whether from a scaffold, ladder or a simple slip —  are the most common form of construction injury. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, falls account for one-third of all construction site injuries.

What to Do if You’ve been Injured on a Construction Site

Construction site injuries can be quite severe, resulting in traumatic brain or spinal injuries, broken bones or damaged organs, or paralysis and amputation.

Those injured in construction accidents may be able to receive compensation through several mechanisms, including worker’s compensation programs or litigation.

If you’ve been injured, it’s imperative to report your injuries, see a physician for treatment and document the process to the best of your ability with notes, photos and videos.

You’ll also need to ensure that you meet all required deadlines. In California, workers must notify employers of their injuries within 30 days to begin the worker’s compensation process. Litigation, meanwhile, must be filed within 24 months.

Finally, it’s critically important to seek counsel from an experienced attorney. At the Law Office of Craig Charles, we have a long track record of fighting on behalf of construction accident victims. Contact us today for a free consultation. Located in West Hollywood. LGBT Friendly.

Electric Scooter Accidents

Over the past couple years, electric scooters have popped up in cities everywhere. In the City of West Hollywood, Bird and Lime scooters can be seen on virtually every block. At any one time, there are more than 16,000 e-scooters in operation in the greater Los Angeles area. These e-scooters provide a fast, inexpensive way to jet around urban areas such as West Hollywood, Hollywood and other Los Angeles locales, but they present many safety issues and local residents in places such as West Hollywood, Hollywood and Beverly Hills have voiced strong opposition to their presence.

Recent safety studies suggest that as many as 1,800 serious injuries have been reported nationwide over the last year, and eight deaths have occurred as the result of e-scooters such as Bird and Lime. In Los Angeles alone, there have been a reported 250 emergency room visits by e-scooter riders and at least 2 deaths related to e scooters.

Local cities have taken steps to address public safety concerns:

West Hollywood: It is illegal to rent an e-scooter in the City of West Hollywood. It is also illegal to leave an e-scooter on a city sidewalk in West Hollywood. However, if you rent outside the city, you can ride the e-scooter through the city limits either in a designated bike lane or in a regular traffic lane. Riding on sidewalks in West Hollywood is strictly prohibited and the West Hollywood Sherriff’s Department strictly enforces these rules.

Los Angeles: Scooter companies such as Bird and Lime are allowed to place scooters on city streets and make them available for use. It is legal ride in designated bike lanes or regular traffic lanes, but the speed limit is 15 miles per hour.

Beverly Hills: The use of e-scooters is completely banned. You can’t even ride through the city. The City of Beverly Hills Police Department strictly enforces the ban and regularly tickets e-scooter riders.

Whether you have been injured while riding on a e-scooter or hit by an e-scooter, you may have a right to compensation against the company or the person who caused your injury. It is important to speak with an experienced attorney who understands the often-complex liability issues involved.

If you have been injured in an e-scooter accident and received serious injuries, give the Law Office of Craig Charles a call today for a free, no-cost, no obligation consultation. The Law Office of Craig Charles has vast experience dealing with the complexities of e-scooter liability. Allow us to put our experience to work for you. The Law Office of Craig Charles is located on the Sunset Strip in Weho and is an LGBTQ affirming law firm. Give us a call today at 424-343-0660.

LGBQT Discrimination

California has long been one of the most progressive US states in terms of LGBTQ rights. The state legalized same-sex sexual activity in 1976, legalized same-sex domestic partnerships in 1999 and briefly legalized same sex marriage in 2008, before the law was overturned. After the U.S. Supreme Court refused to recognize the legal standing of same-sex marriage opponents on June 26, 2013, the ban was no longer enforceable, allowing same-sex marriages to recommence shortly thereafter.[1] Same-sex adoption has also been legal statewide since 2003, allowing stepchild adoption and joint adoption between same-sex couples.

California also adopted statewide legal protections for sexual orientation and gender identity and expression in 2003.   Let’s take a closer look at the state of LGBTQ protections in California, and the options you have if you’re facing discrimination.

How California Law Protects its LGBTQ Residents Against Discrimination

LGBTQ Californians enjoy some of the broadest and anti-discrimination protections in the US, covering employment, credit, housing, accommodations etc. Sexual orientation is considered a protected class in California, which means that discrimination claims alleging LGBTQ bias are given added scrutiny. Some of the laws protecting LGBTQ Californians include:

  • The Unruh Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination by businesses based on sexual orientation
  • The California Fair Housing and Employment Act, which protects LGBTQ Californians from discrimination in housing, credit or employment situations
  • California hate crime statutes, which clarify protections for LGBTQ residents against hate crimes
  • Gay panic and trans panic defenses. California was the first state to bar so-called “gay panic” and “trans panic” legal defenses, which defendants in murder trials have used in cases where LGBTQ victims were killed.

Other California LGBTQ Rights Regarding Discrimination

In addition to formal legal protections, California now offers its residents gender neutral birth certificates and driver’s licenses, and has also mandated that all single occupancy bathrooms be gender neutral.

California also requires that health care workers meet certain cultural competency standards when dealing with LGBTQ patients.

Have You Been Discriminated Against Based on Your Sexual Orientation? If so, Call a Seasoned LGBTQ Discrimination Lawyer.

At Craig Charles Law, we are proud of our commitment to protecting the rights of our LGBTQ clients. Our office is based in the City of West Hollywood (Weho) and we are fortunate to live and work in the epicenter of gay freedom and diversity. We believe there is no place in a civilized society for discrimination based on LGBTQ identity.  If you have been discriminated against based on your sexual orientation through housing, employment, adoption services, medical services or financial services, give the Law Office of Craig Charles a call to discuss your rights.  All consultations are free and there is never a fee unless we win for you. Call us today at 424-343-0660.

Lyft Accidents

At Craig Charles Law, we fight for the rights of passengers and motorists injured in accidents with Lyft drivers.

It’s hard to believe that ridesharing is little more than a decade old. Today, Uber and Lyft are inescapable, and help Californians get to where they are going in a faster and more convenient way.

However, that’s not the whole story. According to some researchers, the act of hailing a Lyft and sharing a ride is actually making local roads more dangerous and congested.

Is Getting A Lift From Lyft Making California Roads Less Safe?

A study by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority found that Uber and Lyft are “significant contributors” to traffic gridlock in and around the Bay Area. That study estimated that the ridesharing services were combining to make area roads around 14-percent more congested.

Another study, conducted by the University of Chicago, uncovered a link between higher traffic fatality numbers and cities where Lyft and Uber are operational. The study indicated there is about a three-percent increase in traffic and pedestrian fatalities in these cities that is directly attributable to ridesharing.

Despite their reputation for making transportation more efficient — and picking up drivers who may be too intoxicated to drive themselves safely — it appears that the issue of ridesharing safety may be much more complex than previously believed.

 How To Handle An Accident Involving Lyft

Accidents involving ridesharing services are a bit less straightforward than conventional auto collisions. In the case of Lyft, the company offers four insurance products for its drivers: Contingent liability (which only covers the period when drivers are waiting for customers), primary auto liability, contingent collision and comprehensive and uninsured motorist. When Lyft drivers are not actively looking for riders and operating the company’s app, the driver’s personal insurance policy is in effect.

So, what does this mean for people injured while riding in a Lyft or hurt while in another vehicle that collides with a Lyft? It’s simple: If the Lyft was in service and the driver opted for the Lyft-based coverage, all insurance claims (or litigation) will likely be initially directed to the company policy. Lyft policies offer drivers up to $1 million in coverage. If the accident occurs while the Lyft driver is “off-duty,” action will be initially directed at the driver’s day to day carrier.

It’s important to remember there is some overlap here and the line between on and off-duty can be something of a gray area. This is one reason why it makes sense to speak with an attorney who specializes in ridesharing cases in the event of an accident.

Why Contact Craig Charles?

While Lyft may offer insurance coverage, their carriers are experienced negotiators who have one primary task: To keep all settlements as low as possible. In order to even the playing field, it’s essential to have an attorney who specializes in Uber and Lyft litigation fighting for your rights.

At the Law Offices of Craig Charles, we have the experience to handle even the toughest ridesharing cases. Don’t let the insurance company steamroll you or cause you to take an unfair settlement. Instead, arrange for a consultation and let us walk you through your legal options.

The Law Office of Craig Charles is located in West Hollywood (Weho). We are LGBT-friendly and we have the experience to handle even the most complex and challenging Lyft accident cases. Contact us today for an immediate consultation.

 

Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle accidents are often painful and traumatic. Because motorcyclists are exposed to the elements and have little in the way of protection from other vehicles, the damages from collisions are typically much more severe than seen with auto accidents. This can leave accident victims with financial, physical and mental consequences that will last for a lifetime.

Here’s something that’s even more disturbing: If you ride a motorcycle in California, you’re increasingly likely to be injured in a collision. According to a report from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, fatal motorcycle accidents have been rising for 22 years.

West Hollywood is one of the most congested cities in Los Angeles County. As such, motorcycle accidents occur with great frequency in West Hollywood and the surrounding area. It is important for West Hollywood visitors and residents to be extremely vigilant while riding a motorcycle due to dangerous intersections and inattentive drivers.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at motorcycle collisions in California, and what you need to do in case of an accident.

California Motorcycle Collisions: By the Numbers

Currently, motorcycling accidents make up 14% of all traffic deaths in the US, even though motorcycles only represent about 3% of all vehicles on the road. California, which ranks in the top 15 among all states for motorcycle fatalities, witnessed more than 400 motorcyclist deaths in 2017, and thousands more serious injuries.

In total, motorcycle deaths on California roads have more than doubled since 1997. Summer is the deadliest season, with most motorcycle fatalities occurring in July. Roughly half of motorcycle deaths occur on the weekends, and the majority of those occur after 6 p.m.

With the increase in traffic congestion in West Hollywood and the surrounding are, motorcycle accidents and deaths continue to rise. Despite efforts by the City of West Hollywood to make streets safer for drivers, serious motorcycle accidents in West Hollywood occur on an almost daily basis.

Most Common Reasons for West Hollywood Motorcycle Accidents:

  • Inexperienced riders: Many residents of West Hollywood use motorcycles as a second means of transportation and are often inexperienced when it comes to motorcycle safety.
  • Alcohol & drugs: West Hollywood has a vibrant nightlife with many bars and clubs, leading to an increase in alcohol and drug related injuries.
  • Distractions driving (texting, talking on a cell phone, eating etc.)
  • Weaving in and out of traffic: West Hollywood’s crowded streets tempt drivers to try to beat the flow of traffic, often resulting in serious injuries.
  • Tailgating. Following too close to other vehicles in one of the most common injury scenarios in West Hollywood.
  • Lane splitting: Although legal, drivers of other vehicles are often not paying attention to their surroundings, making lane splitting a dangerous proposition.
  • Improper or no use of helmets: Many residents of West Hollywood feel safe running errands or jetting around town without a helmet because they are close to home and not on freeways.

California Motorcycle Laws

The following are relevant laws related to California motorcycle drivers:

  1. Lane Splitting: California is the only state in the nation to specifically legalize lane splitting. However, the state has issued the following guidelines:
    • Never ride a motorcycle at more than 10 miles over surrounding traffic.
    • Never lane split at speeds greater than 30 miles per hour.
    • Never lane split around large vehicles such as buses or semi-trailers.
    • Never ride on the shoulder.

Visit the following link for a more detailed discussion regarding lane splitting in California.

  1. Registration: All motorcyclists must register their bike with the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
  2. Insurance: All motorcyclists must carry insurance that specifically covers their motorcycle.
  3. Equipment Requirements: Your motorcycle must meet certain specifications. For instance, your motorcycle must have a muffler and mirrors. Additionally, your motorcycle must have passenger footrests if you are going to carry passengers.

Your handlebars cannot elevate your hands six inches above your shoulders. Almost all motorcycles require front and rear turn signals.

There are also requirements for personal safety equipment. California law dictates that you must wear a helmet that is approved by the Department of Transportation. Your helmet must also have a visible DOT sticker. Passengers must also wear a DOT-approved helmet.

  1. Operation Rules: If you are driving a motorcycle built after 1978, you must drive with your headlights on at all times, even during the daylight.
  2. Minimum Age Requirements: If you are under 21 years of age, you must have a learner’s permit for six months before you can obtain a license. During this period of time, you cannot carry passengers on your motorcycle.
  3. Obey All Laws: As with every other driver in California, motorcyclists must obey all laws and rules of the road.

View the California DMV motorcyclist’s handbook here.

I’ve Been in a Motorcycle Accident. What’s Next?

If you’re unfortunate enough to be involved in a motorcycle accident, there are some key safety steps you need to take.

  • Contact first responders immediately and render first aid if possible. Make sure that no one is left lying in the road or in a dangerous position.
  • Exchange vehicle, license and insurance information. Ask the police officer on the scene to provide an accident report number if possible.
  • Take photos and video of the scene, any injuries and any damage to vehicles. This may help establish liability.
  • Ask any witnesses to provide contact information and/or statements.
  • Keep a running tally of any expenses you’ve accrued as a result of the accident. You may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, medicals bills etc.

It is important not to attempt to handle your case directly with an insurance adjustor as they their primary goal is to settle for as little as money as possible. Insurance companies employ experienced negotiators who are trained to get you to settle for less. They may be friendly and pleasant to deal with, but they do not have your best interests in mind. Instead, put your trust in an experienced lawyer like Craig Charles who fights for victims of car crashes every day. Don’t let the insurance company deny you fair compensation and cause you to leave money on the table.

The Law Office of Craig Charles will handle every aspect of the case for you, so you can focus on healing. Craig Charles will help to ensure that your medical needs are taken care of; if you do not have health insurance and you will never pay any money unless Craig Charles recovers a settlement on your behalf.

If you or your loved ones have been injured in a motorcycle you may be entitled to damages, such as lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering. It is important to speak with an experienced attorney right away before giving any statement to an insurance company adjustor.

The Law Office of Craig Charles is located in West Hollywood (Weho). We are LGBT-friendly and we have the experience to handle even the most complex and challenging motorcycle accident cases. Contact us today for an immediate consultation.

Personal Injury

An unexpected injury can wreak havoc on your life, causing physical pain, mental distress and long-term financial complications. Fortunately, California law protects those who have been injured due to the negligence of another. At the Law Office of Craig Charles, we have a track record of fighting vigorously for those who have suffered personal injuries and helping our clients make a full financial recovery.

Understanding Personal Injury Law

 If you have been injured due to the negligence of another, California law gives you the right to pursue a legal claim that may result in a financial settlement. Common forms of personal injury cases include:

If you’ve been injured in such a scenario, it’s critically important to follow some smart safety protocols to protect yourself and the viability of any legal case. First, immediately after your injury, contact any relevant medical and legal authorities. If possible, document the scene and the conditions that contributed to the injury with photos or video.

Those who have suffered an injury may be entitled to medical bill payments, lost wages and other forms of compensation. Because of this, it’s important to carefully track all expenses during your recovery. Once you’re feeling well enough to move forward, it’s advisable to contact an experienced personal injury attorney.

Finding the Right California Personal Injury Attorney

Those who are liable for causing serious personal injuries (or their insurers) often make an inadequate first offer in the hope that the injured person will accept it and walk away. These offers often underestimate the expenses that occur with long-term injuries, leaving the victim in an even more precarious position.

Our law firm will fight to make sure that doesn’t happen. We’ll negotiate to ensure that you receive equitable compensation. If a trial is necessary, we have access to medical experts, vocational specialists and other professionals who can help substantiate your case. To give yourself the best odds of receiving a fair settlement or prevailing at trial, it’s important to understand how personal injury law works, and the steps you need to take right after being injured.

If you’ve been injured through another’s negligence, we urge you to contact us today for a free, no-cost, no obligation consultation. The Law Office of Craig Charles is located in the City of West Hollywood (Weho) on the Sunset Strip. We are LGBT-friendly, deeply experienced and committed to helping our clients make a full recovery from their injuries.