James McKiernan Lawyers
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Auto Accidents

Successful Results Achieved in
Over 15,000 Auto Accident Cases

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Motorcycle Accidents

Largest Motorcycle Accident Injury Verdicts
in San Luis Obispo County

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Truck Accidents

Even Professional Drivers Can Cause an Accident

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Serious Injury

Over $200 Million Recovered in
Settlements and Verdicts for Victims

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Dog Bites

Resolving Cases Quickly, Efficiently, so that You
Can Focus on Your Recovery

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Death Cases

Offering Support, Assistance and Representation
After the Tragic Loss of a Loved One

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California Accident Injury Trial Lawyers

Here’s How to Make a Disaster Preparedness Plan for Your Family

If you live in northern California, you know about the constant news coverage of wildfires throughout the state. Recently, the raging Delta fire has scorched several northern California neighborhoods and cities, and the fires have closed down multiple sections of Interstate 5. It’s very important that you have a preparation plan in case you need to pick up and evacuate.

8 Key Components to Have in Your Disaster Preparedness Plan

The Red Cross Foundation has a complete disaster preparedness plan template that you can download and fill out. Fill this out with your whole family present so everybody is on the same page and knows what their responsibilities are.

  1. Determine what disasters are most likely to affect your family and your home. Right now, the most prevalent disaster is a wildfire, but discuss with your family how your plans would change in case of a flood, earthquake, or other event.
  2. Figure out escape routes from your home. It’s important to know the safest way you and your family will be able to leave your house during a disaster. Also, decide on a meeting place outside of your house and neighborhood that you will be evacuating to, and the route to get there.
  3. If separated, where will everyone meet? Pick a nearby and easy-to-access location or area that you and your family can meet at in case everyone is separated during an emergency.
  4. Write down emergency contact information. If there is no cell phone service or family members are unable to communicate with each other, everyone should know and memorize an emergency contact outside of the immediate area.
  5. Know where children will be evacuated. You can’t always be with your children, and if your kids are at school, daycare, or an after school event when a disaster strikes, everyone should know where they will be evacuating to (include an address and contact information).
  6. Have a detailed plan for people in the house with a disability or special needs. Write down the name(s) and a detailed plan to determine how these family members will be helped during an emergency.
  7. Is there a safe room? If it is too dangerous to leave the house, you should have an accessible and safe room with sealed windows, vents and doors.
  8. Allocate family responsibilities. Create or fill out a chart that outlines all tasks and descriptions with the family member who is responsible. Tasks can include stocking and grabbing the disaster kit, staying informed with the media and online, and accessing important medical and pet information.

Please follow our website for future safety tips, and if you have any further questions about wildfire liability, call our office at James McKiernan Lawyers today.

Helpful Fire Safety Tips for California Families

This summer has been one of the hottest summers for the state of California, and with this unbearable heat comes the sharp increase in wildfires throughout the state. Over the last few years, Cal Fire’s Fire Safety Education Programs have aimed to provide statewide education on fire safety. This education has been in the form of exhibits, posters, flyers, community meetings, radio and television spots, and even one-on-one contact with homeowners.

What Are Some General Fire Safety Tips?

Inside your home:

  • Regularly check your smoke detector battery. Many fire-related fatalities occur inside the home because a smoke detector is no longer working. Replace the battery every year to ensure that you and your family will have fair warning when a fire erupts.
  • Practice fire drills with your family. Inform your children that they should stay low when there’s heavy smoke in the house and to be careful with burning hot doorknobs. Your family should have a set fire escape route to ensure everyone gets out safely.
  • Have multiple fire extinguishers in your home. Have a large extinguisher in your kitchen and have small extinguishers in easy-to-spot locations upstairs and in the living area near any fireplaces.

Outside your home:

  • Create and maintain clearance around your home. Maintain 100 feet of “defensible space” when a wildfire begins. Also, make sure that your home is hardened with fire resistant building materials.
  • Cut weeds and dry grass. During the fire season when the humidity outside drops and the winds pick up speed, fire hazards increase. Weeds and dry grass should be kept to a low level in order to prevent a quick spread in case of a fire.
  • Follow appropriate guidelines for burning debris on your property. Always follow proper regulations for burning branches and other debris on your property. Also be cautious during campfires or while lighting fireworks.

If you would like more information on the California wildfires, or if you have been injured in a California fire, you should speak with a personal injury attorney. Contact James McKiernan Lawyers today for more information.

Safety Tips for Bicyclists in a Busy City

California has many heavily populated towns, and San Luis Obispo is a busy city for families and workers. Many working people choose to bike as their primary mode of transportation, especially through busy and heavily-trafficked cities. Bicycling is better for the environment than driving, and it also is a great form of exercise and cardio. If you are thinking about biking more and you want to know how to navigate your busy city streets, read on for these helpful safety tips for a bicyclist:

  1. Pass other cyclists on the far edge of the lane: Just like when you’re driving, you should pass other cyclists the same way: use the far left of the bike lane to pass others. If the bike lane is to the left of traffic, pass on the right.
  2. Lock your bike: Big cities have a bigger chance of theft, so it’s crucial to learn how to keep your bike safe from bike thieves. Buy a heavy-duty bike lock and secure your gear properly.
  3. Buy the right bike: Depending on where you live, you’ll need a suitable bike to take on the specific terrain you’ll be riding on. For city bikers, it’s best to purchase a simple single-speed bike. They’re lighter and require less maintenance, but if you live in a hilly city, you could go for a multi-speed bicycle.
  4. Know about any potholes or road damage on your route: Bicyclists need to be extra vigilant while riding through the city, because if you take your eyes off the road or space out for a second, you could run over a pothole or other road block and cause yourself serious injuries.
  5. Be cautious of pedestrians: Pedestrians are more aware of cars then bicycles because bicyclists are a much smaller visual target than cars, making them difficult to see, especially without aids like bright, reflective clothing. Be aware of any pedestrian jaywalkers that aren’t checking the bike lane before crossing; it will be up to you to swerve out of the way and also not hit any other cars, bicyclists or crossing pedestrians.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a bicycle accident, you should contact our San Luis Obispo bicycle accident lawyers today for a consultation and more information.

Ways That Social Media Can Affect Your Injury Claim

car accidentDo you use social media websites, like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? Chances are, if you are reading this article, the answer is yes. According to Pew Research Center in 2014, nearly 75 percent of Internet users were active on some form of social media, and that number has likely gone up since then. Social media is an excellent tool for people to keep up with their friends and families, reconnect with old acquaintances and even for seeking new meaningful employment. But social media can have a dark side, and this is especially true if you are pursuing a personal injury claim.

How is it that your social media posts can come back to bite you when you’re trying to seek damages for an injury? When you make a claim against another party, that party is going to do everything in its power to limit the amount of damages it is liable for. So, you can bet that the opposition’s attorneys are going to pore over every aspect of your life that they have access to. That includes social media, information that is public domain.

Here’s an example of how your injury claim can be challenged based on social media. Christine is involved in a slip-and-fall accident at a local hotel. She is walking down a set of stairs when a loose guardrail slips, sending her tumbling to the landing below. Christine hurts her hip and sues the hotel for damages, claiming that her hip injury has left her unable to drive to work.

A few weeks later, Christine’s daughter has a birthday. On social media, Christine posts a selfie of herself driving her daughter to the local theme park for a day of fun. The hotel’s attorneys find the picture and use it as evidence that Christine lied about her inability to drive.

Christine also claims emotional distress following her accident that left her depressed and unable to see her friends – two points both contradicted by a gushing Tumblr post describing her amazing girl’s night out with friends.

Do yourself a favor – if you are in the middle of pursuing an injury claim, stay off social media.

Boy Hit on Crosswalk By Truck While Riding His Bicycle

“It simply didn’t sit well with us that this young man was allowed to be run over in a crosswalk, sustain serious injury, and not receive any compensation for his loss.

DK Global’s video brough to life our main argument – that the Defendant’s perspective gave him ample notice to see the Plaintiff, and avoid this incident altogether.

That is why our client is now enjoying a settlement that will take care of him for years to come.”

Caleb J. Anthony
James McKiernan Lawyers

What To Consider When Hiring An Accident Injury Attorney

If you’ve been injured in an accident that was not your fault , you may be entitled to compensation from those liable for your injuries. You should contact a personal injury attorney, and hire one that is right for you and your situation. You definitely want to consider the following prior to hiring an accident injury attorney: (more…)

What are the Similarities and Differences between Wrongful Death and Personal Injury Lawsuits?

What are the Similarities and Differences between Wrongful Death and Personal Injury Lawsuits?

Whether dealing with a personal injury or wrongful death, our Paso Robles wrongful death attorneys can review the unique factors of your case and work to maximize your recovery.

Both types of cases require proving that the defendant was responsible for causing damages, usually based on either negligence or strict liability law. In a wrongful death case, there are two California statutes that apply and they involve two different types of lawsuits. California Code of Civil Procedure 377.30-377.35 allows a survival action where the representative of the estate can pursue legal actions for recovery that the deceased person could have pursued, had the person lived. In this respect, the survival action is similar to a personal injury case where you can recover economic losses such as medical bills or punitive damages if the conduct causing injury and death was particularly egregious. Under the Californiawrongful death statutes 377.60 ― 377.62, every family member entitled by law to recover damages files their own claim separately. In addition to spouses, children, siblings and grandparents, putative spouses and their children also have rights to recovery. A putative spouse is one who believed in good faith that the marriage was valid even though it was not (for example, bigamy). In addition, children under the age of 18 who lived with deceased persons for more than 180 days and depended on them for more than half of their survival needs also have a right to recovery, whether related or not.

Paso Robles personal injury lawyers can help you determine your rights to pursue a wrongful death or survival action.

James McKiernan Lawyers offers a free consultation to discuss your case and you owe no fees unless we are successful.

How Does California Negligence Law Affect Recovering Damages?

When you suffer injury because of someone else’s negligence, you generally have the right to recover compensation for damages. Santa Maria personal injury attorneys can review the factors surrounding your injury and devise a strategy to prove negligence and maximize your recovery.

The Supreme Court case ruling that changed how Californiacourts view negligence was Li v. Yellow Cab Co. In this case both the plaintiff and the defendant contributed to causing the accident. Prior to this case, California courts did not allow parties whose negligence contributed to an accident to recover damages. Yet in this case, the Supreme Court set a new precedent by deciding that the plaintiff had the right to compensation. Even so, the court reduced the amount of damages the plaintiff could recover based on her percentage of fault. In the legal world, lawyers refer to this type of negligence law as pure comparative negligence. Even if a plaintiff is 99 percent at fault, they still have the right to recover one percent of damages. The main factor involved in a negligence case is proving the other party was negligent and presenting their actions in such a light that the court assigns the party a significant percentage of fault. Under California Civil Code §1714, anyone lacking ordinary care or skill who causes someone else injury is responsible for damages.

California accident litigators can protect your rights in an accident injury case by thoroughly investigating how the accident occurred and by working diligently to gather evidence and interview witnesses.

James McKiernan Lawyers has established a reputation for being successful in accident cases. James McKiernan is a member of the Million Dollars Advocate Forum, a selective group of lawyers who have obtained million dollar verdicts on behalf of their clients.

What are Some Common Types of Catastrophic Injuries?

Santa Maria catastrophic injury lawyers work with families whose loved ones suffer serious injury because of someone else’s wrongdoing or negligence. When others are at fault,California law allows injury victims to recover compensation to deal with medical costs and other expenses related to the injury.

An injury rises to the level of catastrophic when it permanently prevents the individual from doing any gainful work. Some common severe injuries that fall into the catastrophic injury category include:

  • Traumatic brain injury. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA), every year about 300,000 people who suffer from traumatic brain injury (TBI) require hospitalization and 99,000 experience permanent disability.
  • Spinal cord injury. The Foundation for Spinal Cord Injury Prevention, Care & Cure reports that there are approximately 12,000 new SCI cases every year. The number of individuals living with SCI in 2008 was about 259,000 persons.
  • Amputation. TheNationalLimbLossInformationCenter indicated that approximately one out of every 200 people in theUnited States experiences amputation, totaling an estimated 1.7 million people with limb loss. Males are at a higher risk for amputations than women and amputations can occur as a result of accidents that cause serious injury, infection or disease.
  • Extensive or deep burns. The American Burn Association reports that approximately 3,000 burn deaths occur every year from residential fires and 500 occur from causes such as occupational hazards, traffic accidents and other reasons. Overall, medical practitioners treat around 450,000 burn injuries a year.

Santa Maria injury attorneys can investigate the circumstances of your loved one’s or your catastrophic injury and determine the prospects of recovering compensation.

James McKiernan Lawyers provides excellent representation and has a successful track record for obtaining fair compensation for clients.

How Do Seatbelts and Airbags Save Lives?

Sometimes knowing about statistics can bring home the reality of how important safety precautions are. We all have heard that seat belts and airbags save lives. But to what extent is this true? San Luis Obispo auto accident lawyers can tell you that while following safety precautions reduces the likelihood of injury in an accident, they also serve another advantage. They frequently influence the court or insurance company’s decision to assign you a lesser percentage of fault for injury.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tracks statistics and evaluates safety measures every year. One of its statistics is estimating how many lives seatbelts and airbags save along with how many lives they could have saved, had people used them. The value in calculating these estimates is that it allows NHTSA to determine the effectiveness of safety devices and laws that enforce their use. NHTSA estimated the following statistics for 2007:

  • Seat belts saved the lives of 15,147 people from ages five and older
  • Frontal air bags saved 2,788 lives of people age 13 and older
  • If people used seat belts 100 percent of the time, they would have saved an additional 5,024 lives

NHTSA also estimates that risks of injury and death reduce by 50 percent when people wear seat belts. The combined use of seat belts and air bags offer adults the greatest protection, but you should use both and not substitute an airbag for a seat belt.

If you or a loved one suffers serious injury in an auto accident, you can discuss your accident with a personal injury attorney in San Luis Obispo free of charge and find out about your rights to recovering compensation.

For more than 30 years, James McKiernan Lawyers has protected people’s rights in auto accident cases and helped them recover damages.

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