The wrongful death laws in California allow certain family members to file a wrongful death claim to obtain compensation when a person’s or entity’s actions lead to the death of a loved one. You may be entitled to compensation in a wrongful death action whether the death was because of negligence, such as running a stop sign, or malice, as with a murder. Speak to our Oakland wrongful death attorney at Bracamontes & Vlasak for more information about the state’s wrongful death laws and your case.
A California wrongful death claim can arise from many situations, including motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, workplace accidents, criminal activity, and more. To receive compensation in a lawsuit, you must prove the following:
Note that proving wrongful death only requires showing a ‘preponderance of the evidence’ to prove liability. This is a lower standard than needed to obtain a guilty verdict in a criminal case, which is ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’
CCP 377.60 (a) in California states that the following parties may sue for wrongful death:
If you are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit in California and receive a settlement or favorable verdict, you may be entitled to some or all of the following:
You have only two years from the death to file a wrongful death lawsuit in California. If the case is not filed in the appropriate court at that time, the family usually loses the right to file a lawsuit.
If you lose a loved one in an accident because of someone’s negligence, the wrongful death laws in California protect you. You may be entitled to compensation for your terrible loss, so please contact our Oakland wrongful death attorney at Bracamontes & Vlasak, P.C., today at (415) 835-6777.
If you are a tenant and have a claim against your landlord for a fire, the fire investigation and evidence preservation are critical parts of the case. While many firefighters understand the basics of evidence preservation and will work to preserve the scene to a degree, their primary focus is on fire suppression and ruling out arson. An independent comprehensive fire investigation should often be conducted to determine the cause and origin of a fire with more specificity.
First, the fire investigation team must preserve evidence at the scene. This information is vital to understanding what happened and could be an essential part of a lawsuit. Learn more about fire investigations below, and speak to our California landlord-tenant attorneys if you need help with a claim.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) offers extensive guidance for fire investigations. Following NFPA guidelines is critical to the investigation and a lawsuit. It also offers a strong foundation for fire investigators whose views on the fire could be challenged in litigation.
Fire investigators conduct their investigations within the NFPA 921 guidelines using a systematic approach to inspecting and documenting fire scenes. Investigators carefully study burn patterns, gather and preserve evidence, and document the fire scene. Independent fire investigators also perform comprehensive fire scene investigations, submit reports, and may offer expert testimony in a tenant lawsuit.
Additionally, fire scene investigators often reconstruct, as much as possible, the original condition of the structure, appliances, equipment, and vehicles. This allows them to determine how and where the fire started and understand what could have been altered, removed, or destroyed from the scene before the investigation started.
One of the investigator’s key roles is identifying and handling physical evidence. NFPA 921, Section 17.2.1 states that physical evidence is a tangible or physical item that may prove or disprove a fact or issue. Fire scene physical evidence can be critical to understanding the cause, origin, spread, and the person responsible for the incident.
Physical evidence could be smoke alarms, appliances, sprinkler systems, furniture, portions of burned structures, and machinery. This evidence could show charring or burn patterns that help investigators determine the origin and cause of the fire, which may or may not support a tenant lawsuit related to the fire. It is up to the investigator to decide which evidence must be gathered from the scene.
After fire investigators collect evidence, the next step is to preserve it. NFPA 921, Section 220.127.116.11 states that the responsibility for preserving evidence is with the police, firefighters, and fire investigators. However, improper evidence preservation by first responders and scene contamination could lead to the destruction or loss of physical evidence. This is why firefighter commanders, and later, the investigator should ensure the scene is secure and no unauthorized intrusions are allowed. If a party, such as a landlord, fails to preserve critical evidence of a fire, that could result in an adverse evidentiary presumption in court later.
An independent fire investigation is often critical for determining the cause of a fire, and a tenant claim or lawsuit may hinge on that determination. Working with a landlord-tenant attorney ensures a fire investigation is conducted to provide critical evidence for your case.
If you are making a claim against your landlord for a fire, an independent fire investigation may be a critical part of the case. Tenants who need assistance with a fire claim or lawsuit should contact our Oakland landlord-tenant attorneys at Bracamontes & Vlasak today for a legal consultation at (415) 835-6777.
Were you injured in an Oakland accident recently that someone else caused? California law states that every person who suffered injuries or losses because of another person’s unlawful act can receive financial compensation. Learn about special damages in this article, then speak to our Oakland personal injury lawyers at Bracamontes & Vlasak if you have a case.
There are two kinds of damages in a California personal injury case: general damages and special damages. General damages, also called noneconomic damages, includes pain and suffering and emotional distress compensation.
On the other hand, special damages, also called economic damages, refer to medical bills, lost earnings, and additional out-of-pocket costs stemming from the injury:
Special damages include medical expenses for the past and future. To prove your damages, you must show the medical costs were reasonably required because of the injury, and that you received them.
Medical expenses can be proven to the insurance company or in court by showing medical bills, the medical diagnosis, and medical records. Your Oakland personal injury lawyer can also call your doctor to testify about your injuries. Or, a medical expert witness can provide this critical testimony.
Remember that the medical bill amount that may be paid in a settlement might not be the total amount on the bill. Many health insurance organizations in California contract with other providers at a lower rate. Your attorney will negotiate the best costs for the medical services rendered. Even if you had insurance and your carrier paid your medical bills, you are entitled to compensation for medical specials because you own the policy and paid the premiums.
Lost earnings, lost future earnings, and the inability to earn a living are the other special damages in many personal injury lawsuits. Lost earnings include wages, commissions, bonuses, and other earnings and benefits you would have enjoyed if you were not hurt.
If you have a regular job, you may be entitled to receive this compensation because you could not be at work because of your injuries. Sufficient proof of lost earnings for traditional W-2 employees includes pay stubs, W-2s, and other documents that show your wage or salary.
Loss of future earnings includes what you would have earned at your regular wage or salary if the injury did not happen. This compensation includes benefits, such as Social Security, for lost time. Proving loss of future income requires you to show how long you will not be able to return to your job, and how much you would have earned absent the injury.
Your physician’s testimony usually proves how long it takes to return to your job. They should be able to offer their expert opinion, backed by medical evidence, about what will prevent you from going back to your old job or if and when you can return to work. An economist or other financial expert also can be called to testify to demonstrate what you would have earned.
If you were injured in an accident in Oakland, Montclair, or Glen View, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. Contact our Oakland personal injury lawyers at Bracamontes & Vlasak today at 415-835-6777 for a complimentary consultation. If another party caused your injuries, we will fight for the best personal injury settlement or take the case to court.
You can get many types of injuries in an accident in California. But a brain injury is a severe injury that can affect the rest of your life or even be fatal. Common brain injuries in California are outlined below. If you or a loved one have a brain injury after an accident, contact our Oakland personal injury attorneys at Bracamontes & Vlasak, P.C., for assistance.
A concussion is the most common brain injury after a variety of accidents. A concussion is brain trauma that happens because of a sudden momentum change, impact, or change in direction or movement. Many concussions cause a loss of consciousness. However, you may have less severe symptoms, such as difficulty maintaining balance or confusion. If you watch NFL football this has been a big concern in the league with player safety.
Always seek immediate medical attention if you suspect you or a loved one has a concussion. The concussion could get worse, and even a brain bleed is possible.
A brain contusion is a bruise on the brain. This can happen when you have a severe blow to the head. Brain contusions are common in auto accidents and trip and fall cases. While many brain contusions will heal independently, they can also cause serious medical issues. For example, a minor contusion could lead to bleeding on the brain or blood clots.
Coup-contrecoup is a brain injury that causes trauma to both sides of the brain. For example, in a car accident, the brain can be thrown forward into the front of the skull, then rebounds and hits the back of the skull. Many violent car accidents cause serious coup-contrecoup brain injuries, which can lead to brain damage on both sides of the brain.
This brain injury is not caused by a jolt or blow to the head. Instead, it is due to another problem in your body, such as a lack of oxygen, which is called an anoxic brain injury. A brain injury from a lack of oxygen can happen in a medical malpractice case, a fire case from smoke inhalation, near drowning, and other accidents when the brain is deprived of required oxygen or nutrients. There can be severe health consequences if the brain does not receive enough oxygen for a few minutes.
A diffuse axonal injury happens when the brain structure is torn because of head rotation in an accident. This is a severe kind of concussion; you could have serious headaches, seizures, difficulty walking or speaking, and even memory loss. In the most serious diffuse axonal injuries, severe brain injury can lead to coma or death.
This severe brain injury happens when an object penetrates the skull and brain. This is a relatively easy brain injury to identify because of the apparent external injuries. For example, in a car accident, a penetration injury could occur when your head hits something in the vehicle or a flying object penetrates the skull.
If you or a loved one suffered a brain injury in a recent accident, you could be saddled with piles of medical bills and other financial difficulties. The attorneys at Bracamontes & Vlasak, P.C., may be able to obtain compensation for you in a personal injury lawsuit. Contact our Oakland personal injury lawyers for a complimentary consultation at (415) 835-6777.
Children and adults play sports for fun, relaxation, and exercise. But sometimes that fun can turn into tragedy when someone suffers a serious head injury on the field. While there is an understood risk of injury while playing sports, the team, league, coach, or school district must ensure the correct safety procedures are followed.
If you want to avoid head injuries in sports, the tips below will help. But if someone suffers a head injury while playing a sport, the Oakland personal injury attorneys at Bracamontes & Vlasak can help.
Most states today have concussion protocols to protect children and teens from head injuries during athletic events. For example, in California, public, private, and charter school students must have limited full-contact practices. Young players also must be removed from the activity if there is a concussion risk.
The school also should follow ‘return to play’ rules to ensure the athlete does not go back and play too fast. For example, a child diagnosed with a concussion cannot return to the sport without getting a medical clearance.
First, every student-athlete should wear the appropriate safety gear and helmet when engaging in most sports, such as football and baseball. Proper safety gear should also be worn for biking, rollerblading, skateboarding, skiing, and snowboarding.
Second, headgear is the most important thing to avoid concussions and head injuries. Make sure you always wear an approved helmet during sports that require them. You also should not take excessive risks just because you have on a helmet.
Coaches should teach athletes the correct techniques and skills to avoid head injuries. For instance, in football, it is imperative not to lead with your head when tackling. Keep your head up and lead the tackle with your shoulder, not your head or face.
The basic answer is when the doctor says you can play again. Concussions are problematic. You could feel like usual, but your behavior, thinking, and balance could be out of whack. Only your physician can tell if you can return to the field. Your doctor should provide you with a written order that you can go back to sports after your head injury is healed.
You should see your doctor regularly after suffering a head injury in sports. The doctor will see if you still have symptoms and when or if you recover all of your concentration and memory. They also will watch that you do not have symptoms when sprinting, jogging, or doing sit-ups and push-ups.
If you or a loved one suffered head injuries playing a sport, you could have a pile of unpaid medical bills and significant stress and uncertainty in your life. However, in some cases, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages. For example, if the school allowed your child to go back to the field too soon after a concussion, you could have a case. The Oakland personal injury attorneys at Bracamontes & Vlasak are ready to help, so contact our Bay Area attorneys today.
Accidents can happen at any time and cause severe injury and monetary losses. In some cases, the accident will result in an insurance “policy limits demand” to the insurer covering the person or business responsible for your injury. In California, pending law changes will affect policy limit demands in Oakland and across the state. Please contact our Oakland personal injury attorneys if you need legal assistance involving policy limit demands after reviewing this article.
It is well understood in California that an insurance company should accept a reasonable policy limits demand when there is liability and damages exceed the policy. The concepts of good faith and fair dealing in insurance contracts require the insurer not to expose their client to personal liability if a claim exceeds policy limits.
California Code of Civil Procedure sections 999-999.5, which takes effect on Jan. 1, 2023, establishes critical statutory requirements for making policy limit demands in the state. The purpose of the new law is to lay out guidelines for using time-limited demands within insurance policy limits to settle civil injury lawsuits for auto, motor vehicle, commercial, and homeowner premises liability claims before filing suit.
A time-limited demand means the following, according to C.C.P 999 (b) (2): “an offer before the filing of the complaint or demand for arbitration to settle any cause of action or a claim for personal injury, property damage, bodily injury, or wrongful death made by or on behalf of a claimant to a tortfeasor with a liability insurance policy for purposes of settling the claim against the tortfeasor within the insurer’s limit of liability insurance, which by its terms must be accepted within a specified period.”
The California statute, Senate Bill 1155, sets the following requirements when a claimant makes a time-limited demand. The demand letter must have the following attributes:
When the insurance company receives the policy limit demand, it is authorized by the new law to ask for more information or clarification. Making such a request does not mean there has been a counteroffer or demand rejection. If the insurance company opts to reject the demand, the claimant must be informed in writing before the demand expires and the insurer must state its grounds for rejecting the demand.
If you were injured in an Oakland accident, you may be overwhelmed with bills and uncertainty. Perhaps you have lost months of income and have piles of medical bills on the table. What can you do regarding a policy limit demand in your case?
The Oakland personal injury attorneys Bracamontes & Vlasak, P.C., have the experience and knowledge to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact our personal injury lawyers for a complimentary consultation at (415) 835-6777. Our attorneys serve people who have been injured in Oakland, the Bay Area, and Northern California.
Were you injured in an accident recently in Oakland? Just because you are hurt does not mean you have a valid personal injury claim. There are several factors to consider determining if you can sue someone for your losses after an accident. Have a question about your case? Talk to the Oakland personal injury attorneys at Bracamontes & Vlasak, P.C., to see if you have a possible injury claim.
Suppose you were hurt in an Oakland car accident near Lake Merritt or Jack London Square. If you were in an accident by yourself, it is unlikely you can sue another party for damages. However, they may have been negligent if someone else caused the accident.
Proving negligence means proving the following:
Your Oakland trial attorney will conduct a free consultation with you. They want to learn if the claim has merit. They will interview witnesses, review medical reports, and consult with accident reconstruction experts. You could have an actionable case if they can prove the other party was negligent.
Many accidents in Oakland could be the subject of a personal injury lawsuit:
It is possible to represent yourself in an injury claim or lawsuit, but hiring an Oakland personal injury lawyer is always preferable. Your attorney knows California laws for personal injury cases and can expertly negotiate with the insurance company. In addition, many lawsuits result in a settlement, so it’s essential to have an attorney who can haggle the most money from the insurance adjuster.
If you are concerned that the personal injury attorney will be too expensive, rest assured: The attorney will not be compensated unless they win your case or obtain a favorable settlement. Personal injury attorneys usually handle all legal expenses incurred during the case. They take their fees and costs out of your award. So, there typically are no out-of-pocket expenses.
If you have been injured in an Oakland accident, you could have unpaid medical bills, lost earnings, and terrible pain and suffering. What will you do to get your damages covered and obtain justice?
The Oakland personal injury attorneys Bracamontes & Vlasak, P.C., have the skills and experience to hold the liable party accountable for their actions. Contact our Bay Area personal injury lawyers to learn how we can get the most compensation for your injuries. Our attorneys serve injured clients in Oakland, the Bay Area, and Northern California. Please call (415) 835-6777 for a complimentary consultation.