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What Is A Jackknife Accident?

Feeling uneasy whenever you’re sharing the same road with a big rig or a massive vehicle is understandable. The sheer size of the vehicle nearby may make you wary of a possible jackknife accident taking place. Truthfully, any accident involving a truck is a serious cause for concern. If a truck driver loses control or crashes for any reason, the consequences could be dire. It depends on everyone on the road to be more careful so you can prevent those types of accidents. For this article, we’ll focus more on jackknife accidents. We’ll discuss how they occur, the damage they cause, and how you can avoid them. What Is a Jackknife Accident? To get started, let’s first define what a jackknife accident is. Jackknife accidents describe those occurrences during which the front of the vehicle and the trailer suddenly stop moving in unison. Instead of the attached trailer continuously moving behind the vehicle, it may suddenly start going in different directions. There are different reasons why drivers may lose control of the trailer attached to their vehicle, and we’ll get to those a bit later in the article. With the attached trailer now out of control, it could end up sliding to the side of the vehicle. The trailer could form an “L” or “V” shape along with the front of the truck. The reason why this type of occurrence is referred to as a jackknife accident is due to the angles that the trailer forms with the vehicle. It closely resembles those folding blades that some hobbyists, hunters, or campers may use. Jackknife accidents aren’t limited to big trucks. They can also involve smaller vehicles that come with trailers attached. Jackknife accidents are more dangerous when larger vehicles are involved. What Causes Jackknife Accidents? Jackknife accidents are scary, and it would be in everyone’s best interests to understand them better. Finding out how they occur would be helpful in that regard. According to How Stuff Works, those types of accidents usually occur due to the vehicle and/or its connected trailer losing traction. To achieve adequate traction, you need plenty of static friction between the ground and the tires. That static friction emerges between the wheel’s point of contact that is technically static and the ground. More static friction means the tires have a better chance of staying where they should be, thus keeping the truck and the trailer in their right positions. So, what happens if the tires suddenly lose the right amount of static friction? Often, that means that they will start to slide. You’re not getting traction anymore. Instead, the force keeping the tires in place is sliding. That’s a problem because sliding friction doesn’t offer as much grip compared to static friction. The lack of adequate friction can lead to the trailer going out of place, moving to the side of the truck, and causing destruction in the process. What Leads to the Loss of Static Friction? Now that we know how important static friction is for the truck and trailer’s wheels, we’ll identify the reasons why it can happen while driving. Listed below are some of the most common explanations. The Brakes Were Not Properly Applied Big trucks don’t work the same way as the more ubiquitous passenger vehicles, especially when it comes to matters such as brakes. If you’re in a typical car and you suddenly slam on the brakes, you may skid forward a bit, but your vehicle will come to a halt. The same thing won’t necessarily happen if you’re driving a truck. After slamming on the brakes, they may lock up, but your vehicle may still be moving forward. What’s even more concerning is that only the front tires may have been the ones that locked up. The rear tires may still be moving after you applied the brakes, and the momentum could propel them forward when the rest of the vehicle stops. It’s a situation that could easily lead to a jackknife accident. The Roads Are Slippery There’s a reason why road advisories are usually issued whenever it rains or snows in an area. Roads that have layers of water or ice are more dangerous for driving. Most of us like driving over paved roads that look super smooth, but the reality is there are small openings along the surface of the road that creates friction. You won’t feel them while driving, so your ride will still feel smooth and comfortable. The problem is that when the roads have water, those small openings fill in, and the surface becomes smoother than intended. It becomes harder for your tires to maintain a solid grip with the road in that scenario because of the lack of static friction. As we’ve established already, less static friction is bad news for your vehicle. The Truck Is Going Too Fast Truck accidents can also be a byproduct of the vehicle going too fast. Think of the machine you’re operating here. It’s a mammoth vehicle that can plow through road barriers and property because of its sheer size. Now imagine trying to stop a vehicle of that size if it’s moving fast. It will require an enormous amount of force to stop. If you’re driving the truck at high speeds, you’re putting your brakes in a position to fail. They likely can’t stop a truck that is barreling down the road at alarmingly high speeds. When you try to stop, the trailer will likely fly out and jackknife. The Truck Turns Too Quickly Turning your truck too quickly is another potential cause of a jackknife accident. Vehicles will swing out if you are too quick to turn the wheel. This can happen in a normal passenger vehicle. If it happens with a truck, the whole thing could be more destructive. The trailer may act almost like a tail whipping around as the truck turns in one direction. This movement could damage smaller vehicles in the path of the trailer. The Trailer Is Empty An empty trailer is more […]

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How to Write A Demand Letter

In an ideal world, someone whose negligence brought you injury or property damage will compensate you properly for what happened with no questions asked. That doesn’t always happen, though, which is why you may need to send a demand letter first if you want your due compensation. Of course, you cannot scribble anything out and expect it to work. A lot of thought and care must go into the process of crafting a demand letter if you want it to produce the intended result. In certain scenarios, even a demand letter that does not cause a defendant to act right away can prove useful. Feel free to use this article as a guide if the need ever arises for you to compose a demand letter. This article will also offer tips regarding how and when to send the letter. Find out more about this important document by reading on. What Is a Demand Letter? To start, let’s first discuss the proper definition of a demand letter. Demand letters are formal documents that are sent by one party to a separate party. Their purpose is to request some form of compensation from the recipient. The compensation sought could come in the form of money or perhaps something else that the sender has in mind. According to Investopedia, you don’t need a demand letter if you want to file a lawsuit against someone. Still, the letter may bolster your case if you craft it correctly. Calling a demand letter, a warning would be a bit strong. It would probably be more accurate to describe it as a reminder you send to another person that they still have not fulfilled their legal obligations to you. Why Do You Need to Write a Demand Letter? Given that they don’t require you to have demand letters in the process of filing a lawsuit against another party, one may think that it is not worth the time to write. In a sense, yes, the demand letter is not guaranteed to do anything for your case, but there are still genuine benefits you can glean from this document. A Demand Letter Can Open Up a Discussion In cases where you and the other party immediately had disagreements, discussions can break down rather quickly. The facts in the case and your recollection of what happened may be different from how they remember that incident. It’s only natural for the other party to be resistant to your demands if they believe their account is accurate. This is where the demand letter comes in. You can use the document to provide an accurate recounting of the events that took place. Upon seeing those facts, the recipient of the letter may become more amenable to talking again. A Demand Letter Can Lead to Acknowledgment of Facts The chances of the recipient accepting everything in the letter and complying with all of your demands are low. However, sending that demand letter could still prove beneficial. Upon restarting the conversation again, the recipient of the letter may send you a response. In that response letter, the other party may agree to certain things they did not acknowledge previously. That’s a huge win for you, and it could be important if the case makes it to trial. A Demand Letter Can Speed Up the Negotiation Process Waiting for the other party to respond so that you can pay your hospital bills is frustrating. On top of their negligence harming you, their stubbornness is also an inconvenience. If the other party knows that they are responsible, they may try to stall things as long as they can, hoping that you will grow tired of trying to draw a response out of them. By sending a demand letter, you can emphatically show the other party that you have no intention of dropping this matter without compensation first. If they were dragging their feet before, the demand letter should serve as notice that they need to act. Plus, outlining your demands clearly may also make it easier for the party to decide what to do next. A resolution may come about sooner rather than later because of that. A Demand Letter Shows the Other Party That Settling Could Be Smarter There’s something about receiving a letter that makes a matter seem more official. You were happy upon learning that you made it into your dream college but seeing and holding that acceptance letter is different. For the other party in your case, receiving the demand letter may have a somewhat similar effect. They may have previously been downplaying your demands in their head. They may have assumed that you are only trying to squeeze them and that you’ll eventually quit if they ignore you long enough. Getting that letter in the mail lets them know that you are serious about your demands. It could also be the kick in the pants they need to start negotiating with you properly. Court cases are not something people volunteer for. There’s a good chance the other party in your case will become more open to settling once they read your demand letter. A Demand Letter Can Save Both Parties Time and Money Going to trial is often regarded by many as a last resort because it can be bothersome. You’ll likely need to go to the courtroom on more than one occasion, which means clearing out your schedule more often. Legal fees also must be considered. The accused may end up having to pay extra if they decide to go to trial. Negotiating using letters can save all the parties involved plenty of time and money. That idea may come through to the recipient after reading your letter. When Should You Send a Demand Letter? The demand letter should not be your first attempt at negotiation. That would be an ultra-aggressive move, and it may not be needed. Start first by negotiating with the other party. After obtaining their contact information at the scene of the accident, give them a call […]

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Understanding the California Tort Claims Act

When the negligence of another party causes you injury, you can take legal action to secure compensation and hold that person responsible. It’s not quite that simple if you’re dealing with a government entity, but the California Tort Claims Act (CTCA) allows you to receive fair compensation. For this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the California Tort Claims Act and see how it can prove helpful. We’ll also discuss the steps you need to take if you want to pursue a lawsuit against a government agency or employee. We all know how complex dealings with the government can become. Allow the information included in this article to shed more light on the matter so that you can take the right course of action in the future. Sovereign Immunity and How It Complicates the Process of Suing To better understand why creating the California Tort Claims Act was even necessary, we first need to talk about the concept of sovereign immunity. According to Cornell Law School, sovereign immunity is an aspect of British common law that was adopted and tweaked before being implemented here in the United States. Basically, the idea behind establishing sovereign immunity was to protect the monarchs. In the eyes of the old law, you cannot hold the monarchs in power at fault. Since that was the case, no citizen could put forth a lawsuit against them even if their actions brought about harm. Instead, what we have here is immunity that protects government agencies and their employees. Sovereign immunity is the doctrine from which governments have sought protection. That doctrine has shielded them from possible lawsuits on numerous occasions. However, government agencies and officials no longer enjoy blanket immunity from the negative effects caused by their actions. Numerous laws have passed since then that make it possible for private citizens to hold the government accountable for their negligent actions. The California Tort Claims Act is among those many laws. What Is the California Tort Claims Act? The California Tort Claims Act does a few things that all residents of the state need to know./p> First off, it does clarify that public entities are not liable for injury in many situations. That again is due to the concept of sovereign immunity we have adopted. Notably, though, what the CTCA also does is highlight specific situations where you can file claims against the government. Those include a variety of personal injury cases. The Cases Covered by the California Tort Claims Act Vehicular accidents are in the CTCA. If you were in an accident involving a car or bus being utilized by the government at the time, you can file a lawsuit to receive compensation for any injuries you sustain. In cases where the medical negligence of a government employee caused you injury, you can proceed with filing a lawsuit. Government employees who willfully harm you resulting in assault and battery can also be held liable. It doesn’t all need to be related to physical injuries. Private citizens can also file lawsuits against the government if the entity in question committed a breach of contract or became a nuisance to the plaintiff. Sorting Through Premises Liability When Government Entities Are Involved Picture this scenario for a moment. Let’s say that you were on government property when you slipped, fell, and sustained an injury. Is it possible for you to receive compensation from the government in that scenario? The answer is yes, but there are some major caveats to consider. If you want any chance of receiving compensation for injuries you believe were caused by negligence on the part of the government, you must prove a few things. Prove That the Place Where You Got Injured Was Dangerous The first thing you must do is prove to the court that the place where you were hurt was hazardous when you were there. You must prove that the poor maintenance or a lack of diligence on the part of the government led to that place becoming dangerous. Prove That the Accident Caused Your Injuries Next, you must prove that the accident caused your injuries. You’ll need to prove that the fall is the reason why you injured your back or something like that. Prove the Condition of the Building Could Have Caused Your Injury and That it Involved Negligence One more thing you need to prove is that it was reasonable to think that the condition of the government building could have caused the injury you ultimately sustained. The roof may have been leaking in that government building, thus causing puddles of water to form. Given the presence of the leak and the puddles, it would be reasonable to believe that someone could be hurt while walking through that building. It’s not enough to show the condition of the government building; you also must demonstrate the fact that negligence on the part of a government entity is what led to that dangerous situation. What that means is showing that the government entity had more than enough time to remedy the danger but opted not to. You can also attempt to prove that a willful and negligent act on the part of a public employee is what led to the building becoming so hazardous. Who Should You File Claims Against? Filing a lawsuit under the California Tort Claims Act is different from how you would sue private individuals in several ways. Among the most significant dissimilarities is that you’re not suing the person directly responsible for what happened. The party you’re filing against if you want to receive compensation is the agency or entity responsible for that individual. What that means is that you’ll need to determine which specific government agency or entity employs the negligent individual in your case if you want to push forward with a lawsuit. Government employees are not the only parties that are in the CTCA. Independent contractors hired by the government can also be held accountable by suing the agency responsible for them. When Is […]

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What You Should Do If You Have A Tire Blowout

Few things are as frightening as experiencing a tire blowout during your drive. All kinds of problems can occur in the aftermath of that blowout. It jeopardizes the safety of everyone in your vehicle, and it’s not that difficult to imagine how bad things can go in that situation. To keep yourself and everyone who rides in your car safe, you need to know more about tire blowouts. In this article, we’ll talk about the causes and the signs of a tire blowout. We’ll also discuss how you should react if you experience this issue and how you can avoid it moving forward. Without further ado, let’s start learning more about tire blowouts. What Causes Tire Blowouts? Your tire blowing is not a random occurrence. It can happen for a variety of reasons, including ones you cannot control and those that you can avoid with due diligence. Being mindful of the potential causes of a tire blowout is crucial if you want to avoid being in a car accident or any other unfortunate incidents. Detailed below are those potential causes. Your Tires Are Underinflated Tires losing air is natural. Constantly using your car will lead to your tires losing air gradually. If you live in an area with a colder climate, your tires are more likely to lose air pressure at a faster rate. Damaged tires are also more susceptible to losing air and becoming underinflated. The main issue here is that the lack of air pressure can cause the internal components of the tire to become warped. Once this happens, it will only be a matter of time before it compromises the strength and durability. Not long after that, you will have a tire blowout on your hands. Underinflation can also happen because of how you maintain your tires. Out of caution, you may have been too light on the air when you were re-inflating your tires. That miscalculation can prove costly. Your Tires Are Taking a Beating from Road Hazards While we would all prefer to drive on smooth and flawless roads, the reality is that most of us don’t have that luxury since many across the country have formed potholes. It probably comes as no surprise that your tires snagging on a pothole is not a good thing. The impact of hitting the hole can damage the tire’s internal components and cause a full blowout on its own. Beyond potholes, you should also be mindful of other road hazards that can hit your tires hard. Anything solid that gets in the way of your tires while driving can be the possible cause of a blowout. Your Tires Support an Excessively Heavy Load Overloading is a mistake more than a few car owners make. If you’re going on vacation or moving, you may pack way too much in your vehicle, thinking that it can handle the burden with no problem. Of course, vehicles don’t work that way. The excessive amount of pressure caused by overloading will cause damage to the tires. The tires blowing out is a possibility at that point. Your Tires Are Worn Down Tire blowouts don’t always happen because of a sudden and unexpected event. They could also be the result of accumulated punishment that your tires have endured. Consistently underinflating your tires, overloading your vehicle, or running into road hazards can take a real toll. Sooner or later, those incidents will catch up to you unless you do something about your tires beforehand. What Are the Risk Factors for Tire Blowouts? After reading about the common causes of tire blowouts above, you’ve probably guessed that overall negligence on the part of the vehicle owner is one of the primary risk factors. If you do not pay close attention to car care, there’s a greater chance that you will suffer a blowout in the future. Apart from negligence, the weather outside can also be a contributing factor. As noted by Popular Mechanics, people are more likely to suffer tire blowouts from the middle of May up to early October because of the warmer weather. The issue is not with the weather itself. Instead, it’s the fact that more people are driving fully loaded vehicles greater distances during that time of the year for vacation purposes that causes the uptick in blowouts. Your tires are taking on even more punishment during that time, and they become more susceptible to blowouts as a result. What Are the Signs of a Tire Blowout? You should get a feel for a tire blowout as it occurs. The first thing you should notice is a disruption in the car’s normal movements. You expect the car to be moving along without issue over the road, but a blowout can change that. You may start to feel a thumping sensation emanating from one side of the vehicle. Suddenly, you may also feel the tire go flat. You’ve probably dealt with flat tires before, so you may be familiar with that sensation. The next sign of trouble is your car pulling in one specific direction. Most likely, that’s your car losing equilibrium as it leans towards the side of the blown-out tire. How to Handle a Tire Blowout The reason why tire blowouts lead to worse accidents is because drivers make some simple mistakes. They get caught up in the moment, panic, and do things that cause them to lose control of the vehicle even further. It’s important to remember that you can still maintain control over your vehicle even in the event of a tire blowout. Follow the steps detailed below so that you can manage that incident properly and get off the road safely. Step 1: Maintain Control One of the worst things you can do right after a tire blowout is to give up control of the vehicle. Doing so is probably going to lead to an accident. What you want to do instead is to keep your hands on the wheel and maintain control. That is an essential part of managing this […]

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What Should I Do If Someone Hit My Parked Car?

Picture this scenario: You step out of your front door ready to embrace the grind for another day, but you’re greeted by an awful sight. Your parked car is damaged, and it looks like it’s in no condition to run. That realization could be enough to ruin your day, your week, and possibly even the next few months because getting around will be so much harder. What’s even worse is that you didn’t even see who hit your parked car, and that can complicate matters. Don’t lose hope yet, though. While the situation certainly looks bad, there are still things you can do to hopefully get your car fixed without costing yourself a fortune in the process. Check out the things you must do after discovering that your parked car has been damaged by continuing with this article. The Steps You Must Take after Finding Out Your Parked Car Was Hit The shock of seeing your car damaged can catch you off guard, but you cannot let it take over for too long. Taking immediate action is necessary if you want to save yourself from an even bigger headache. Let’s go over the steps you need to take. Contact the Police Contacting the police is a must after you notice that your car is damaged. Regardless of what actions the driver that hit your car took, you need to have the incident officially documented by the authorities. Call them right away and wait until they show up at the scene of the accident. Once they get there, they will likely talk to you about what happened. Make sure that you’re truthful with your statements. The police officers will also gather the evidence at the site of the accident. The evidence they collect will be useful once the time comes for them to compose an accident report. Once they finish collecting the evidence and making the report, ask for a copy. Don’t forget to list down the names and badge numbers of the responding officers because you’ll likely need the evidence they have later when you’re filing claims. Gather Evidence Yourself Although you’ve called the police, and they will be conducting their own investigation, that doesn’t mean you cannot collect evidence yourself. Be as thorough as you can be when gathering evidence. List down when and where the accident happened. Describe the damage done to your car too. If you have a smartphone, go ahead, and take pictures. Take pictures of your damaged vehicle, of the place where the incident occurred. There may be evidence on the road that you’re missing, so take a picture to be safe. There’s a chance that your neighbors witnessed what happened to your vehicle. Approach them and ask if they have any information to provide. You can also ask for their permission to have the conversation recorded so you can present it to the police later. Check if the Person Who Hit Your Car Left a Note While inspecting your car, you may notice a note left behind by the person who hit it. That’s good news because it will make the next steps considerably less complicated. Look at the note and check to see what details the other driver provided. The other driver may have listed their name, contact details, and insurance information. Things will get more complicated if the person who hit your car drove away without leaving any information behind. You may need to track them down to receive fair compensation for what happened. What You Could Do if the Other Driver Left a Note after Hitting Your Car Let’s assume that the driver of the vehicle left a note behind containing his/her contact information. What should you do in that scenario? Reach Out to the Other Driver You may want to contact the insurance provider listed in the note right away but hold off on doing that for a little bit. Instead, contact the other driver first. Talk to the driver and ask about what happened. You can also ask if they are willing to return to the scene of the accident so they can talk to the police. The hope is that the other driver will cooperate, and this matter can be resolved faster. With the police present, you and the other driver can discuss what to do about the incident. Have Your Car Checked Out by a Body Shop Call over a towing service and have your car taken to a body shop. Go to that body shop together with the other driver. Once there, the mechanics can inspect your car and see the damage. Get the Other Driver to Pay for Minor Car Repairs Out of Pocket If the mechanics say that the damage to your vehicle is relatively minor, you could have the matter handled right then and there. Ask if the other driver is willing to pay for the minor repairs out of pocket. This may seem like a longshot, but it’s worth asking. The other driver may have no interest in dealing with insurance agencies over minor repairs. They may prefer to have everything handled right away by paying for the repairs with their own money. Before you accept that payment, though, double-check with the mechanics to make sure that the damage to your vehicle is minor. If the mechanics say that it has significant damage, consider another option. File a Third Party Insurance Claim California is a fault state when it comes to insurance claims. What that means is that you can file a third party claim with the other driver’s insurance provider to cover the damages to your vehicle. So, how do you file a third party insurance claim? Start by contacting your insurance provider. Don’t worry because they won’t need to pay for anything, and you don’t need to worry about any deductibles. The reason why you’re calling your provider is that they can help you move forward with your third party insurance claim. After starting the process of filing a third party insurance claim, […]

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What To Do After A Dog Bite

Dogs are probably the most popular pets to have around. People adore them because of how loyal, loving, and protective they are. That protective nature can be a double-edged sword because it can sometimes lead to a dog bite accident. Whether you’re the owner of the dog who bit someone or the person who was bitten, you need to know how to act after an incident. We’ll discuss these matters in this article. You can also learn more about the dog bite laws the state of California has in place by reading on. What Qualifies as a Dog Bite? California has a clear definition of what qualifies as an animal bite in the state. According to California law, a bite occurs when the skin is broken or punctured by the animal. Knowing what constitutes an actual dog bite is important because it can guide your decisions moving forward. Someone may press charges after claiming your dog bit them. Upon closer inspection, though, you may find that there’s no wound of any kind. That person may simply be trying to take advantage of you. On the flipside, if you subsequently suffered an injury, you now know what to do as well. You can protect yourself better by knowing about California’s dog bite laws, so try to commit them to memory. When Pet Owners Become Liable for the Actions of Their Dogs Are you automatically in trouble if your dog bites someone? No, your dog biting someone doesn’t immediately mean that you will be on the hook for some medical bills. Let’s talk more about when you become liable for your dog biting someone in this part of the article. Your Responsibility if Your Dog Bites Someone in a Public Place Many pet owners enjoy taking their dogs to public areas such as parks, and they sometimes even go to the mall with them. There’s nothing wrong with taking your dog to a public place as long as you abide by leash laws but know that you are taking on some level of risk. If your dog bites someone in a public place, you will be held responsible for what happened. Keep a close eye on your dog to prevent an unfortunate incident such as that. Your Responsibility if Your Dog Bites Someone on Your Property It’s easy to understand why you’re held accountable for your dog biting someone in a public place. But what if the incident takes place on your private property? Can you still be held liable in that scenario? Whether or not you can be held responsible for your dog biting someone on your property depends on why that person was there in the first place. If the person your dog bit was on your property lawfully, then you will be held responsible. According to the state of California, a person can lawfully be on your property if they were there because of their job. Perhaps they were delivering some mail, or you hired them to fix something inside your home. A person can lawfully be on your property if you invited them, such as a friend to hang out. Things are different if the person who your dog bit was a trespasser. In a scenario such as that, you may not be responsible for what happened because you didn’t authorize the person to be on your property. The Element of Provocation Another factor that will help determine if you can be held responsible for your dog biting someone is the element of provocation.Let’s say that the friend you invited over was provoking your dog. Your guest may have been antagonizing your dog, and in response, your pet bit them. What happens then? There’s a chance you may not be liable for what happened. If you can show that your guest was teasing or provoking your dog, you may avoid facing penalties. How Strict Liability Comes into Play The principle of strict liability applies in California dog bite cases. What that means is that you will be held responsible for your dog biting someone regardless of your pet’s history. The fact that your dog never bit anyone before will not absolve you of responsibility. It also doesn’t matter if you didn’t know that your dog had a prior case of biting someone. You will still be the one accountable for the incident that took place. What You Need to Do if Your Dog Bites Someone Pet dogs can be remarkably obedient and well-behaved, but they are not immune from following their animal instincts, especially if they feel threatened. They may also become more vicious if they think you’re in trouble. If your dog has already bitten someone, what should you do next? Let’s talk about some of the important steps you need to take. Move Your Dog to a Crate or A Different Room It’s hard to predict how your pet will behave after he/she bites someone. The most important thing for you to do at that point is to separate the victim and your pet. Don’t put the victim at risk again. Take your dog to another room or place him/her inside a crate if you have one. Keep your pet in there while you sort through what happened. Seek Medical Attention Get on your phone next and call for help. The bite may have caused a serious injury so getting medical attention for the victim right away is essential. Some bacteria may get into the victim’s body following the dog bite. They need to be seen by a doctor right away to prevent things from getting any worse. Exchange Contact Information with the Victim You and the victim will likely need to have further discussions following the incident. After things have calmed down a little, you can ask for the person’s contact information if you don’t have it yet. Do Not Take Responsibility for What Happened The importance of not admitting fault in this scenario cannot be stressed enough. Yes, your dog bit someone, but that doesn’t mean that […]

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Is It Illegal To Shoot Down A Drone Flying Over Your Property?

Drone flying is a hobby that more people are getting into. It’s hard to blame them, given how awesome drones are when they’re zooming through the air and performing spectacular maneuvers. Still, it can be annoying when some people go overboard with their drones. Your neighbor flying drones is one thing, but it’s different when you start to see their drones intruding on your property. It’s easy to understand why you would get annoyed at that point. Before you do anything rash like shooting down your neighbor’s drone, though, you need to learn about the laws related to them. Let’s go in-depth on California’s drone laws and discuss what you can and cannot do if one of them is bothering you. The Different Types of Drones and the Guidelines That Cover Them To get things started, let’s talk about the kinds of drones that you may find flying around your area. Generally speaking, the drones you see in public are either flown for fun or business. Why is it important for you to know what kind of drone you’re dealing with? That distinction matters because they impose specific guidelines on drones that depend on their usage. The Guidelines for Flying Recreational Drones First, let’s discuss the guidelines concerning recreational drones outlined by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Registration Is a Requirement Before pilots can take their drone out for a spin, they must first register it. The FAA is in charge of drone registrations. Operators must register their drone under the exception for recreational flyers. Airspace Restrictions Drone owners are not allowed to fly their machines anywhere they want. For instance, there’s a restriction on how high the drones can go. According to the FAA, recreational drones are only allowed to fly at or below 400 feet when they’re in uncontrolled airspace. Flying their drones inside controlled airspace is also a big no-no for drone operators. They are only exempted from that rule if they are flying within FAA-approved controlled airspace locations. Recreational drones are not allowed to fly close to other aircraft, airports, groups of people, stadiums, sporting events, military bases, and emergency sites. Failing to abide by those airspace restrictions can land a drone pilot in plenty of hot water. Safe Drone Flying Safety is a must when it comes to drones. A crashing drone can still cause a lot of damage after all. To help curb instances of drone crashes, the FAA places limitations on how you operate the machines. When it comes to the actual flying, the pilot must always have the drone in their line of sight. The pilot must see their drone using only their eyes or with the help of glasses or contacts. If the pilot needs binoculars to keep track of the drone, then the machine is flying too far. People are also not allowed to fly drones if they’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Safety can be an issue when it comes to drone operation. You must be sober to fly them correctly and responsibly. The Guidelines for Flying Business Drones The rules for operating business drones are a bit different from the ones that govern recreational drones. Operators must note the differences and keep them in mind if they want to avoid getting in trouble. Proper Registration Registration remains a requirement for those operating a business drone. This time around, business drone operators must secure a Remote Pilot Certificate. Part 107 Waiver Exceptions The restrictions placed on where you can fly the drone and how it’s operated remain the same for recreational and business variants. However, those operating business drones can secure a Part 107 Waiver if they want a bit more freedom when it comes to flying. With a Part 107 Waiver secured, drone operators may fly in certain restricted areas. They may also fly the drone above people or from a moving vehicle. A single operator can also fly multiple drones simultaneously if their Part 107 Waiver specifically accounts for that. Securing a Part 107 Waiver may be a necessity for drone operators if they want to get the most out of their machine. Without that waiver, they could run afoul of certain rules. Upcoming Changes to Drone Operation New rules related to drone operation are expected to take effect soon, according to the FAA. Soon, the FAA will issue new guidelines regarding how community-based organizations will be recognized. There’s also a new rule that will require drone operators to pass an aeronautical knowledge and safety exam. Upon passing the exam, the drone operator will receive proof that they passed the test, and they must hold on to that. Make sure you keep those rules in mind as well because they could come in handy when dealing with your neighbor’s drones in the future. What You Should Do if a Drone Is Flying over Your Property A drone flying over your property by mistake one time is understandable. Perhaps your neighbor is still getting the hang of operating their new toy, and they accidentally flew too close to your home. It’s different when that happens all the time, though. You may even start to think that your neighbor is flying over your property on purpose. So, what should you do when faced with such a problem? Let’s discuss the steps you need to take below. Keep Your Cool Seeing your neighbor’s drone constantly crossing into your property can be infuriating. It may tempt you to react forcefully by shooting down their annoying aircraft. We urge you against doing anything that drastic, though. Shooting down your neighbor’s drone can be interpreted as a violation of the Aircraft Sabotage Act. Per the Cornell Law School, violating the Aircraft Sabotage Act could lead to you facing a hefty fine and prison time. Violating that law carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. On top of those penalties, you may need to pay for the drone and any damage it causes as it crashes to the ground. Simply put, shooting a drone […]

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Are Punitive Damages Taxable?

Accidents happen, and while no one desired that outcome, people still need to be responsible for the unfortunate incident. Among the tools at the legal system’s disposal for disciplining negligent parties are punitive damages. Punitive damages are unique in terms of their intended purpose. You must know how to manage them, or else you could be the one who runs into trouble with the law. In this article, we’ll go into the topic of punitive damages and how to handle them from a tax standpoint. Dealing with punitive damages can be complicated, so allow the information featured in this article to help you out. What Are Punitive Damages? Once it’s proven in court that you were involved in a car accident or some other incident you did not cause, They will likely award you some form of compensation. In court cases, they call that compensation damages. You can break damages down into two major categories. First off, you have the compensatory damages. The name should tip you off to what compensatory damages are. They are supposed to offer financial compensation for the losses you incurred due to the accident. The courts classify compensatory damages as either actual or general damages. Actual compensatory damages refer to your quantifiable losses such as your medical expenses, damage done to your property, or paychecks you missed out on due to your injuries. Actual damages are supposed to provide direct and equivalent compensation for those losses. General damages are the opposite, meaning they compensate you for losses that you cannot quantify. Examples of general damages include emotional distress, a decrease in quality of life, and potential job opportunity losses. The different kinds of compensatory damages are with your losses in mind. They are supposed to cover your needs. Punitive damages are different because they are more focused on the guilty party. Courts set punitive damages to punish the guilty party. They are additional penalties handed down to defendants with possible incarceration and other forms of punishment. The courts also set punitive damages because they want to teach the guilty party a lesson. They want to discourage that party in question from engaging in that behavior again. The hope is that the financial blow will get that lesson to stick a bit better. When Are Punitive Damages Awarded? An important thing to note about punitive damages is that they are far from common. Judges will not order them to be included in compensation simply because another party was negligent. For courts to include punitive damages in the financial award handed down to a plaintiff, they must prove that the defendant acted recklessly with malice or deceit. They must also show that the guilty party willingly engaged in the activity that led to the incident in the first place. Judges may also decide to include punitive damages in their ruling if they believe doing so will be an effective deterrent to others in the future. As you can probably guess, there’s a high threshold for setting punitive damages and often isn’t reached. Even so, you must know how to manage them if they include them in your case. Do You Have to Pay Taxes on Punitive Damages You Receive? Now that we know more about punitive damages, it’s time to figure out if they are taxable. The short answer is yes, punitive damages are indeed taxable, according to the IRS. That’s another point of difference between compensatory and punitive damages because some of the former are not taxable. You may be wondering why punitive damages are considered taxable. The IRS has an explanation for that as well. According to the agency, punitive damages are taxable because they consider them as taxable income. Their main goal is not to provide compensation, so they see them as a windfall for the plaintiff. They aren’t similar to lottery winnings per se, but they are on the same wavelength. Are There Cases Where Punitive Damages Are Not Taxable? Most of the time, if you received punitive damages, you would pay taxes on them. That’s the law, and you must abide unless you want to experience some legal troubles yourself. However, there are exceptions to that law, and they mainly come into play in wrongful death cases. Financial compensation in wrongful death cases is sometimes harder to parse through because there are so many elements included. Financial awards for wrongful death cases account for actual and general compensatory damages, and they include punitive damages because the offending party has likely met the conditions for them. The compensatory damages may or may not be taxable. That’s contingent on a few factors that we can discuss in a separate article. But what about the punitive damages? Are they still taxable in this scenario? To find out the answers to those questions, you will need to consult with your state’s laws. In wrongful death cases, the courts usually refer to the state statutes to come up with a ruling. If the state laws indicate that the financial awards provided in wrongful death cases are all punitive damages, they will be exempt from taxation. Seeking out a lawyer familiar with the laws in your area should help you understand the status of the compensation you received. Don’t hesitate to seek out their help if you need more guidance regarding your taxes. What Happens if You Reach a Settlement? Not all cases reach a verdict in court. These matters often double as negotiations, and both sides may decide that settling now is more palatable than potentially spending months or even years tied up in a long legal battle. Settling offers a way for both sides to compromise and put the issue behind them. So, how will opting for a settlement affect your tax situation? That is an interesting question. Determining whether a certain amount is taxable is easy enough if the court decides because the rulings usually indicate which damages are considered compensatory or punitive. The opposing sides don’t need to do that if they were negotiating a settlement. The two sides […]

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What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

The safety of our roads depends on how careful and responsible we are. Sadly, not everyone holds up their end of the bargain, which is why uninsured motorist coverage is a policy you should consider purchasing. We know that the idea of taking on another expense probably doesn’t sound appealing. You may even be wondering if the policy is something you need. To help you better understand what uninsured motorist coverage is for and why you might need it, we’ve put together a comprehensive article that breaks it down neatly. Please feel free to read on and see why an uninsured motorist plan is something that can prove immensely valuable. The Need for Uninsured Motorist Coverage Securing auto insurance is the law. It doesn’t matter where you live; you will need to purchase auto insurance before driving. If the authorities catch you driving without insurance, you could face legal issues. Car insurance is mandated by the law to protect all motorists. After being involved in a car accident, you may find yourself saddled with a mountain of medical bills and enormous debts due to the loss of your ability to work. Several other factors can increase how damaging your losses stemming from the accident are. Unfortunately, there is no way to go back in time to prevent the accident from taking place. The only thing you can do at that point is to hold the offending party responsible for what happened. The other party’s insurance provider should pay for your expenses. But what happens if the other party doesn’t have insurance? You can try to sue the other person and get them to pay that way, but there’s no guarantee they have the money you need. If they did, they would probably have auto insurance in the first place. After realizing that the person who caused the accident has no insurance and no money, you are suddenly facing the worst-case scenario. You may have to shoulder all your losses on your own. No one should ever be in that position, but it’s a possibility you cannot rule out. Preparing for that scenario is also why you need uninsured motorist coverage. Understanding the Importance of Uninsured Motorist Coverage The expectation is that everyone you’re sharing the road with has insurance, but that is not guaranteed. Some people are simply irresponsible, and that sadly puts the people around them in trouble. Uninsured motorist coverage provides that extra level of protection that all drivers can benefit from having. Taking out car insurance protects the people around you, while uninsured motorist coverage shields you from negligent drivers who go on the road. You can feel a bit more relaxed knowing that an accident is not going to put you in a big hole financially. That remains the case even if the other party has no insurance policy. Think of uninsured motorist coverage as a type of policy that shores up a potential blind spot in most auto insurance plans. Many motorists will argue that uninsured motorist coverage is important as your car insurance. The Types of Uninsured Motorist Coverage Now that we can better comprehend the value of uninsured motorist coverage, it’s time to learn what type to get. Your insurance provider will present you with two types of uninsured motorist coverage plans. Let’s talk about them in detail below. Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage The first type of uninsured motorist coverage plan you can purchase focuses on medical expenses. Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage comes into play if you were injured during an accident caused by a driver with no insurance. The total cost of your medical expenses can climb in a hurry depending on the severity of your injuries. You may have a hard time paying for them on your own if you’re too injured to work. There’s no need to worry about that if you have uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage. Aside from your medical bills, this policy accounts for pain and suffering that were byproducts of your involvement in the accident. You should also know that uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage does more than offer you protection. If other people were in the vehicle when the accident took place, your plan would cover their expenses also. Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage The other policy made available to drivers is uninsured motorist property damage coverage. As you’ve probably guessed, this plan acts as a safety net if the guilty party without insurance damages your vehicle. Having no car for an extended time can be inconvenient and quite costly too. Taking out an uninsured motorist coverage plan allows you to get your car repaired quickly and prevents that from affecting your daily routine. How to File a Claim for Your Uninsured Motorist Coverage Following an accident, they urge drivers to immediately perform certain tasks to ensure their safety. Once the driver determines that everyone is safe and that no one has sustained any serious injuries, they are to run through a checklist of things to avoid bigger problems. Examples of things you should do right after the accident include contacting the authorities, gathering evidence, and speaking to the other driver involved. This may also be the time when you find out that the other driver is not insured. Don’t let the driver being uninsured deter you from acting, though. Failing to act correctly at this point lowers the chances of you filing a successful claim with your insurer. Mentioned below are things you must do if you want to file a claim for your uninsured motorist coverage. Collect as Much Information and Evidence as You Can Gathering evidence and information remains incredibly important even if you know that the other driver cannot cover your expenses. Don’t assume that your insurer will take your word for it simply because you are their client. They will still require you to provide evidence before they issue a payout. Collect evidence by taking pictures of the accident scene and talking to witnesses. You should also talk to […]

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California Proposition 213 & What It Means For You

Car accidents can have all kinds of adverse effects on people. Lack of oversight on your part may cause Prop 213 to come into play, however, and that can lead to some real problems. In certain situations, Proposition 213 could be the reason why you find yourself in a big financial hole you’re struggling to climb out of. It may make an already difficult situation even more challenging. So, what is Proposition 213, and does it apply to you? Those are some of the questions we’ll be addressing in this article. What Is Proposition 213? Proposition 213 may be something you’re not familiar with, but it’s been around for a long time. Officially, it’s known in California law as “The Personal Responsibility Act of 1996.” California Prop 213’s stated purposes are as follows. First, it notes that you should not reward uninsured motorists, drunk drivers, and felons for breaking the law. The proposition drew attention to “lawbreakers” recovering damages from law-abiding citizens due to the injuries they sustained because of the crimes they committed prior to the enactment of this law. It also urged residents of California to make changes to the law so the individuals would not recover “unreasonable damages” from law-abiding citizens. Evidently, the appeals to the public worked, and they adopted the proposition. In essence, what Proposition 213 does is reduce the number of damages that an individual can receive if they didn’t have insurance on the vehicle they were driving at the time of the accident that follows the established requirements of the state. The individual in question could still sue to recover certain damages, but there are restrictions placed on what they can ask for. The proposition effectively means that those who are insured can sue for more damages than those who aren’t. When Does Proposition 213 Not Apply? Here’s an important thing to note about prop 213. There’s a pretty good chance you’ll never need to worry about it if you’re always up to date with your insurance payments. If you always make sure that you’re covered by insurance whenever you head out for a drive, the effects of the proposition are not going to have an impact on you. Since you are sufficiently insured, you can sue for everything the law entitles you to following a possible car accident. Proposition 213 also has no effect on passengers involved in car accidents. It doesn’t matter whether the car you were riding in was or not. If you are hurt in the accident, you can file a lawsuit requesting both economic and non-economic damages. We’ll get to what those economic and non-economic damages are a bit later in this article. When Does Proposition 213 Apply? We’ve now established that Prop 213 is nothing you need to worry about if you always have auto insurance and if you’re only a passenger in the vehicle. So, when exactly do you need to worry about the proposition affecting you? It’s something you must keep in mind if you go out driving using an uninsured vehicle. Keep in mind that driving with no insurance is illegal in the state of California anyway. If you ever find yourself in the unfortunate position of being involved in an accident, the expectation is that you will be exchanging insurance information with your fellow driver. Having no insurance puts the two of you in a more difficult situation, and it’s something Prop 213, and other laws are trying to prevent. What Happens When Proposition 213 Takes Effect? Like we noted earlier, there are restrictions placed on the amount of money you can sue for if Proposition 213 applies to your situation. To be more specific, the law will only permit you to sue for economic damages. Are There Any Exceptions to Proposition 213? Yes, some exceptions could come into play, which nullifies the effects of Prop 213. Let’s discuss them in greater detail below. The Drunk Driver Exception The first exception applies to incidents involving drunk drivers. Let’s say a drunk driver hit you while you were driving uninsured, leading to you getting injured. The law offers some leeway in that scenario. You’re not going to be penalized because of the drunk driver’s negligence. Instead, you will still be allowed to sue for both economic and non-economic damages stemming from the accident. You Have Insurance for a Different Vehicle You are also exempted from the effects of Proposition 213 if you have an auto insurance policy for a different vehicle. It’s possible you were only borrowing a car from your friend because yours was in the shop for repairs. Upon borrowing the car, you also may not have known that it was uninsured. Because you have an insurance policy of your own, the law will still regard you as someone who’s insured. You can still file a lawsuit for all the damages you are entitled to. The Uninsured Vehicle Belongs to Your Employer Proposition 213 also does not apply if the uninsured vehicle you were driving belongs to your employer. Your employer may have some trouble recovering his/her losses, but the law will not get in the way of you receiving fair compensation. Accidents That Occur on Private Property The place where the accident occurred could also determine whether the proposition will apply. If it occurred on private property, then the proposition will likely not take effect. What Are Economic Damages? We’ve been referring to economic and non-economic damages throughout this article. Now is a good time to discuss them in greater detail.Starting with economic damages, they constitute the compensation you can receive from measurable losses. They are also sometimes referred to as specific damages. When we say economic damages, we’re referring to things such as your medical expenses. Those expenses may include the cost of physical therapy. If you must see a specialist due to the mental and/or emotional trauma you sustained because of the accident, they must cover the cost as well. Future medical expenses for the lingering effects of your injuries may also be added […]

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