| Read Time: 4 minutes | Sexual Abuse

How to Support Someone Who Has Been Sexually Assaulted

The Me Too movement has sparked a wave of sexual assault victims coming forward to share their stories. The number of individuals who continue to recount their experiences is a testament to their bravery, but it also raises questions of how to best support someone who confides in you. In the United States, one in six women have experienced some form of sexual assault. This amounts to, on average, 463,634 new sexual assault victims every year. This means everyone knows a survivor, and it is important to be prepared to support someone who has been sexually assaulted.  When determining how to support someone who has been sexually assaulted, there a few things not to do. These words and actions include: Doubting their story, Blaming them, and Forcing them to share their experience before they are ready. If you’re reading this post, you want to help your loved one through an extremely challenging part of their life. To support someone who has been sexually assaulted, be patient, be compassionate, and let them take steps toward recovering on their terms. Encourage Them to Seek Professional Help If someone comes to you right after they are sexually assaulted, the best thing you can do is take them to a hospital. Sexual assault victims are a priority at hospitals and are often treated very quickly. Medical providers like hospital staff know how to collect evidence and treat injuries incurred during the assault. Hospitals are also equipped with sexual assault trauma counselors who can provide guidance and advice to victims. Of course, your loved one might object to going to the hospital. They also might object to calling the police, but you should gently encourage them to do so. Filing a police report is the first step in holding a sexual assaulter liable for their actions. Having a police report on record can also help with obtaining a restraining order if that becomes necessary. While getting professional help is highly encouraged for sexual assault victims, it is important that you not push your loved one to seek these services if they don’t want to. Remember, this person has just been forced to do something against their will. The last thing they need is someone else making them do something that they don’t want to. Listen, Don’t Speak It is natural to want to launch into a series of questions when someone tells you they have been sexually assaulted. Who did it? When did it happen? What did they do? However, this interrogation-style inquisition is likely not helpful to your loved one. They are confiding in you because they have decided they want to talk to you about what happened to them. They are capable of deciding what and how much to share. By allowing them to have this control over the conversation, you are empowering them to begin rebuilding their confidence and self-esteem. Let your loved one tell you the information they are comfortable sharing. Once they have finished, you can ask, What can I do? Sometimes a sexual assault victim just needs to get the experience out into the open. Other times, they might look to you for recommendations or other guidance or support. It is important that you honor their answer to your question and not push them to do more than they’ve asked.  Encourage Them to Seek Counseling As a family member, friend, or colleague, it is your job to be there for your loved one. However, it is important for you to remember that you are not a licensed counselor, nor is it your job to be one. After they have gone through the initial process of opening up to you, you should encourage your loved one to talk to a professional counselor. A counselor can help victims of sexual assault process what happened to them and their emotions surrounding the encounter. Counselors can also refer their patients to other medical services or other resources. Help Them Find an Attorney to File Legal Action Depending on how your loved one wants to proceed, you can help them file legal action against their assailant. If they want to pursue charges, it is very important that any evidence from the sexual assault be preserved.  Once you have filed a police report, the victim should obtain legal representation. Some attorneys specialize in sexual assault victim litigation. The team at Silvia Injury Law is equipped to handle your loved one’s case with respect, care, and professionalism.  The legal process takes time. A lawyer can help your loved one understand and navigate the process, so they can focus on healing. Refer Them to Resources Even if your loved one does not want to seek professional help or pursue legal remedies, you can still offer them resources for sexual assault survivors. These resources are well-established as a great way to support someone who has been sexuallly assaulted. They include: RAINN, National Domestic Violence Hotline, and California Attorney General’s office. When someone chooses to open up to you about their sexual assault story, it is important that you know how to support someone who has been sexually asssaulted. By encouraging them to go to the hospital, file a police report, retain a personal injury attorney, and consult with a counselor, you are participating in their recovery.  If you ever find yourself overwhelmed when trying to help your loved one, that is okay. Refer them to one of the resources listed above and take care of your own mental health.  We Are Here to Help At Silva Injury Law, we are here to help. Whether your loved one is ready to seek the assistance of an attorney or they just want to understand their options, we can answer any questions. We have extensive experience helping sexual assault victims. We put the needs of our clients first, and our compassionate, personalized approach is what sets us apart. Call or contact us online today to learn more.

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Sexual Abuse

Sexual Abuse Resources in California

Unfortunately, sexual abuse occurs all too often in today’s society. In the wake of sexual abuse allegations, you might decide to pursue criminal charges against your assailant. Many victims struggle with the idea of confronting their attacker in open court or fear retaliation after reporting the identity of the perpetrator to law enforcement. Even if you decide to file charges against your attacker, that doesn’t necessarily mean he or she will receive a guilty verdict and face time behind bars. The outcome of criminal cases rest in the hands of the jury or the judge in the event the case goes all the way to trial. However, many people don’t realize that other ways exist to hold the perpetrator accountable for their actions. One way involves bringing a sexual abuse civil lawsuit against the perpetrator for damages incurred as a result of the abuse.  If you or a loved one suffered from sexual abuse or harassment, contact one of our sexual abuse attorneys at Silva Injury Law to start your free consultation. What Forms of Sexual Abuse Authorize a Civil Lawsuit? When people discuss civil lawsuits surrounding sexual abuse allegations, most think about serious crimes like rape or attempted rape. However, many other sex crimes victims qualify to bring a civil lawsuit as well. The term “sexual abuse” covers crimes including: Rape, Attempted rape, Sexual assault, Sexual battery, Statutory rape, Sexual bullying, and Sexual harassment in the workplace. Crimes like prostitution, human trafficking, and possession of child pornography can also give rise to a sexual assault civil lawsuit. Who Can File a Sexual Abuse Civil Lawsuit? Obviously, the victim of the sexual abuse can file a civil lawsuit against the attacker. However, California allows family members of the victim to sue for damages if they meet one of the following requirements: The sexual assault/abuse resulted in the victim’s death; The family member witnessed the assault/abuse; or The assault/abuse resulted in a loss of moral support, intimacy, or companionship to a spouse or domestic partner of the victim. If the family member satisfies one or more of these requirements, he or she may bring a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator of the crime.  California’s Sexual Abuse Resources If you or a loved one suffered or are suffering from sexual abuse, know that you’re not alone. Sexual abuse resources in California can help you escape your dangerous situation or obtain counseling for your trauma. Some of these resources include: The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) or visit thehotline.org. The National Teen Dating Helpline at 1-866-331-9474 or visit loveisrespect.org. National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or visit rainn.org. When Everyone Acts Violence Ends (W.E.A.V.E.) at 1-866-920-2952 or visit weaveinc.org. The California Victim Compensation Program at 1-800-777-9229 or visit victims.ca.gov/for-victims/. Once you feel secure and safe, consider reaching out to a sexual abuse attorney to get your civil case started. What Should I Do If I’m Sexually Assaulted? We understand that the moments following a sexual assault are overwhelming and often devastating. Here are some steps you can take from the beginning to preserve valuable information about the incident and increase your chance of recovering civil damages. Get Medical Attention Even if you didn’t suffer any obvious injuries, you should seek medical attention immediately. A lot of times, the physical evidence of sexual abuse disappears quickly if steps aren’t taken to preserve it. Give the medical professional details about the attack, even if it feels uncomfortable. Medical professionals are trained to assist individuals dealing with sex crimes and can offer specialized treatment to preserve evidence of the attack. Report the Abuse We understand that reporting the sexual abuse might be the most difficult step you have to take. However, it’s crucial to document what happened. Try to provide as much information as you can remember. Additionally, you could receive guidance on California’s sexual abuse resources  when you make the report. Collect Evidence from the Attack Even if you’re unable to report the abuse right away, keep any physical evidence you have that is relevant to the attack. This could include text messages, the clothing you were wearing, or statements from your attacker after the fact. Having this evidence can mean the difference between being able to prove your sexual abuse civil claim and having your case thrown out. Contact a Sexual Abuse Attorney  Sexual abuse civil lawsuits can help you recover compensation for any suffering caused as a result of the sexual abuse you endured. However, you have to prove several factors and demonstrate the monetary value of the harm you suffered. Our sexual abuse attorneys at Silva Injury Law can help you file your claim and determine what damages you’re entitled to.  Victim of Sexual Assault or Abuse in California? Contact Silva Injury Law Today Many victims of sexual assault or abuse feel like the incident was all their fault. At Silva Injury Law, we know that’s not the case. Your attacker bears total responsibility for the harm you endured, not you. We realize that many victims of sexual abuse suffer serious psychological trauma after their attack, and we are ready to provide whatever support you need. Our team of sexual abuse attorneys will aggressively pursue the party responsible for your sexual abuse so they pay for the suffering that you endured.  We believe that our duty goes beyond achieving large monetary awards for our clients. We strive first to be decent human beings who seek not to stir up fights but to solve problems. We know that winning a civil settlement won’t take away the pain and heartache you went through, but it can be a step in the right direction. At Silva Injury Law, our compassionate approach is what sets us apart. Contact our office today to find out for yourself.

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Auto Accidents

The Most Dangerous Days for Auto Accidents During The Year

You assume risks every time you get into a vehicle. All drivers face risks of injury posed by inexperienced or teenage drivers, distracted drivers, drivers who speed or otherwise drive recklessly, nighttime driving, and the list goes on.  However, there are some more dangerous days for auto accidents than others. Mostly, these days are holidays where the potential for driving under the influence and driving while distracted are heightened. Additionally, there are seemingly random days of the year that also see an increased number of auto injuries. If you are reading this article, you are likely a cautious driver who wants to be aware of potential dangers so you can be prepared. For drivers like you, we have researched the most dangerous days for auto accidents during the year. Holidays Holidays increase the risk of dangerous driving conditions. Among the most dangerous days for auto accidents are St. Patrick’s Day, New Year’s Eve and Day, July 4th, Christmas Eve and Day, Thanksgiving Eve and Day, Memorial Day, and Labor Day. St. Patrick’s Day There is no way around it: drinking holidays heighten the risk of drunk drivers. St. Patrick Day is one of the biggest drinking holidays in the U.S. In 2019, 57 people died in drunk driving collisions on St. Patrick’s Day. The best way to lower this number is to designate a driver on St. Patrick’s Day. Another option is to stay home and invite friends to celebrate in a more low-key way. New Year’s Eve and Day Also unsurprisingly, New Year’s Eve and Day are two of the most dangerous days for auto accidents during the year. Americans, on average, consume 4.4 alcoholic beverages on New Year’s Eve. In addition to the increased number of drunk drivers on New Year’s Eve, people are more likely to be distracted when driving on New Year’s Day. This distraction is attributable to people being focused on their new year’s resolutions or recovering from the night before.  July 4th As people are celebrating America’s independence, they don’t realize that Independence Day is among the deadliest driving days of the year. Combined with occuring during the heat of the summer—which is always a more dangerous time for drivers—many people chose to celebrate the holiday with alcohol and a barbeque. Alcohol consumption coupled with spending time outdoors in the backyard, at the lake, or in the wilderness can lead to dehydration and increase people’s BAC. This can faster reduce people’s inhibitions and lead to a higher occurrence of drinking and driving.  Christmas Eve and Day Another holiday that sees an increase in dangerous driving conditions is Christmas. Both December 24th and 25th record higher-than-average auto collisions, and in 2019, 38% of those crashes involved drunk drivers. In addition to the stress and excitement that surround the holiday, Christmas also takes place during one of the snowiest months of the year. Snow and ice on the roads lead drivers to be less defensive and can increase the number of collisions. Thanksgiving Eve and Day Similarly to Christmas, this late autumn holiday yields one of the most dangerous days for auto accidents during the year. Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year, and AAA reports that more than 50 million people traveled more than 50 miles from home to celebrate this holiday in 2018. In 2020, the National Safety Council estimated that 485 people would die in auto collisions on Thanksgiving.  Memorial Day and Labor Day The bookends of the summer, Memorial Day and Labor Day are highly celebrated holidays. People will spend time outdoors and with their friends on these three-day weekends. With this increased socializing and potential for consuming alcohol comes a higher number of DUIs on Memorial Day and Labor Day. For example, California arrested nearly 1,000 people for DUI over Memorial Day weekend in 2021. Other Dangerous Days While holidays greatly increase the risk of finding yourself in dangerous road conditions, they are definitely not the only days of the year that are dangerous for motorists. In addition to these days, some other days also top the list of the most dangerous driving days for auto accidents during the year. June 21 June 21 is the summer solstice, making it the longest day of the year. This means there is the most daylight during this day, so people are busily out and about. This high congestion on the roadway might contribute to June 21 being one of the most dangerous driving days for auto accidents. August 2 Nationwide Insurance reports that August 2 is one of the deadliest driving days of the year. Some attribute this to the warm and sunny weather that often accompanies August. Additionally, as most schools return to session in late August and early September, teenagers are soaking up their last days of summer on August 2. This means that they might be more distracted and paying less attention to the road, making road conditions more dangerous for other drivers. September 16 In 2019, the month of September saw 3,308 traffic deaths nationwide. September 16 in particular saw an average of 131 deaths between 2015 and 2019.  November 11  Finally, as the holidays approach, November 11—Veterans Day—is another dangerous driving day for vehicle drivers and pedestrians alike.  Snow Days and Saturdays Finally, snow days and Saturdays are also more dangerous driving days for auto accidents. On all these days, the risk of getting injured in an auto accident is much higher than the average day you decide to get in a vehicle.  Silva Injury Law Is Here for You If you are hurt in a collision, an attorney can help you recover compensation for your injuries. The attorneys at Silva Injury Law are experienced car accident lawyers that can represent your accident claim for numerous car accident injuries like Traumatic brain injury, Broken bone, Spinal injury, and Post traumatic stress disorder. If you are injured in a car crash on one of the most dangerous days for auto accidents during the year, or any other...

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Auto Accidents

What to Do After a Car Accident When It’s Not Your Fault

A serious auto vehicle accident can be a very traumatizing experience. Many accident victims may have no idea what to do afterward.  After an accident that wasn’t your fault, you may understandably assume that the other driver’s insurance company will pay for all your damages. However, insurance companies have teams of highly skilled lawyers whose job is to minimize the amount of money the insurance company needs to payout. The days, weeks, and months following an auto vehicle accident are important time. While your primary focus should always be on your physical and mental recovery, it is also important to consider the possibility of bringing a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party who caused the accident. If you’re wondering what to do after a car accident when it’s not your fault, read on to learn how to protect your interests. Report the Collision Regardless of how serious the accident was, it is imperative you call 911 or the local police department to report the collision. Reporting a car accident accomplishes two important things. First, the 911 operator will send a team of emergency responders to the scene to determine if you or anyone else needs emergency medical care. Second, when you report an accident, it will also trigger an official police investigation. An accident report also serves as proof that the accident occurred, making it harder for the negligent driver or their insurance company to claim your injuries were caused by something else.   Seek Immediate Medical Attention While some accident victims realize they’ve been injured immediately, that is not always the case. Some very serious accident-related injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, present no immediate symptoms. By going to the emergency room, urgent care facility, or your primary care doctor, you can be sure you receive the appropriate treatment. Visiting the doctor right after an accident can also help you prove that your injuries were serious. Survey the Scene for Potential Evidence If your condition allows it, take a few moments and perform your own mini-investigation before leaving the scene. For example, you can get the names and contact information of any witnesses and take pictures of the scene. When taking photos, focus on any damage to the vehicles involved in the collisions and any road signs or traffic markings. You can also document any visible injuries you sustained by taking a few pictures. Be Careful When Talking to Insurance Companies After a not-my-fault car accident, you need to report the collision to your insurance company. A representative from your insurance company will reach out to you to discuss the accident and your injuries. The at-fault driver’s insurance company may also contact you. When speaking to any insurance company representative, remember that they do not have your best interest at heart. Anything you tell an insurance company representative can be used to deny your claim or reduce its value. Of course, it is important to tell the truth and convey the basic facts about the accident. However, avoid making any admissions or qualified statements that an insurance company could use against you. Schedule a Free Consultation with a California Auto Vehicle Accident Lawyer When you are ready, your next step should be to contact an experienced auto vehicle accident lawyer. While there is no legal requirement that you have a lawyer, doing so will make the recovery process much easier for you. An attorney will know what evidence is critical to your case and can present it in a compelling way. Your attorney will also communicate with the insurance company on your behalf in hopes of securing a favorable settlement offer. If the insurance company is unwilling to extend a fair offer, a skilled auto vehicle accident attorney will not hesitate to take your case to a jury in pursuit of the compensation you deserve. Have You Suffered Debilitating Injuries in a Car Wreck? If you or a loved one was involved in a not-my-fault car accident, contact Silva Injury Law, Inc. today. At Silva Injury Law, Inc., we promote healing through compassionate advocacy. Our knowledgeable injury attorneys have extensive experience investigating, preparing, and litigating all types of car accident claims. We are also experienced negotiators. This means we can often obtain fair settlement offers for our clients, eliminating the need for a long, drawn-out trial. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation, give Silva Injury Law, Inc. a call at 209-600-0874. You can also reach us through our online form. We handle all cases on a contingency basis, meaning we won’t charge you for our legal representation unless we can secure compensation on your behalf. We also advance all litigation costs.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Auto Accidents

What Happens If Your Uber Gets into an Accident?

Ridesharing services have rendered the taxicab industry all but obsolete in the last decade. Ridesharing services are typically less expensive than cabs, more flexible, and also more accessible. Instead of calling a taxi cab dispatch center where they may put you on hold for a while, all you have to do is open the app on your smartphone. While other ridesharing companies exist, Uber is far and away the most recognizable. The mere mention of the word Uber today evokes images not of yellow taxis, but consumer vehicles marked by the familiar Uber symbol ready to give you a lift. While Uber rides are convenient, they are still fundamentally cars on the road. As a result, they are just as likely as any other car on the road to get into an accident. One question and concern that people often raise about Uber has to do with these accidents. Since Ubers are owned by the driver instead of the company itself, who is liable for the damages? What happens if your Uber gets into an accident? The truth of the matter is, it depends on the circumstances. But just like car accidents in general, who is liable in a California Uber accident depends on who is at fault for the accident. Thus, if you are in an Uber accident, you seek compensation from the at-fault party.  First Things First: Speak with an Attorney Aside from seeking medical care, collecting insurance information, and filing an accident report, you should speak with an experienced auto vehicle accident lawyer as soon as possible after an Uber accident. Doing so will help ensure that you direct your legal claim in the right direction and avoid common pitfalls in the process. A car accident attorney will help you parse through the accident report to see who is at fault, help you account for all damages suffered, and answer any other pertinent questions you might have. Your attorney might even say that their services are not necessary, which will save you money. Best of all, after getting a free consultation, you will immediately have someone in mind if you do need to file a lawsuit.  What Happens If Your Uber Driver Is at Fault? If your Uber driver is at fault for the accident, you will seek compensation through their insurer. All Uber drivers are covered by a blanket insurance policy. There are two policies that can apply, but as an Uber passenger, there is only one applicable insurance policy. The other policy applies when a driver is available for pickups or is en route to make a pickup. If they aren’t “on the clock,” only their personal insurance policy applies. If your damages exceed Uber’s policy limits, you will have to sue to recover the rest of your damages. Thus, it helps to have a lawyer review and tally up your damages before initiating any other actions. Uber’s Insurance Policy Limits More often than not, your damages will not exceed Uber’s policy limits. That’s because Uber’s liability insurance coverage is quite extensive. Their insurance policies cover up to $1 million in third-party damages, which includes your damages as a passenger. Thus, while it is absolutely possible for an Uber accident to exceed policy limits, it doesn’t happen every day. What Happens If Another Party Is at Fault If some other party is at fault for the accident (for example, another driver is at fault for hitting an Uber), they are liable for the damages. You will initially seek compensation through their liability insurance provider. However, if their insurer refuses to pay the entirety of your damages or fails to negotiate in good faith, you will need to sue to recover those damages. The same applies if your total damages exceed the at-fault party’s insurance policy limits. You can rest easy if you need to file a lawsuit in the end provided that you have already consulted with an attorney beforehand. They are just a phone call away. Go with the Lawyers Who Have Been There Before If you were in an Uber accident, go with a team that has specific experience with Uber accidents. Luckily, the auto vehicle accident lawyer team at Silva Injury Law, Inc. has just that. Our team of experienced and knowledgeable car accident attorneys has already helped many clients recover from their Uber accidents. With that experience, we know exactly what we are up against and what we need to do to get you the compensation you deserve. Our main purpose is to advocate for injured parties all around California so that we can get them the best possible resolution to an altogether difficult situation. Consultations are always free, so give our lawyers a call today!

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Motorcycle Accidents

Can I Make A Claim or Sue For A Hit and Run Motorcycle Accident?

Riding motorcycles is an excellent activity for the wild at heart. There isn’t much in this world that compares to cruising down an empty highway at one with your bike, with the wind howling in your ears. Not to mention the practical advantages of motorcycles: their fuel efficiency; the ease of parking; and their maneuverability. For many, there is simply nothing better than riding a motorcycle.  Still, there is one less-than-savory fact about riding a motorcycle: it’s more dangerous than driving a car. Due to their size, motorcycles are harder than other vehicles to see, so they are easier to hit accidentally. Furthermore, motorcycles do not offer the same physical protection that the frame, body, and windows of a car offer their drivers. Outside of your protective gear, there is nothing between you and your surroundings.   Hit and Runs and Motorcycle Accidents Hit and runs, which are illegal for good reason, can happen to anyone. People think they can drive away from their mistakes, but more often than not, they are caught. Because motorcycles are small, some drivers may feel more emboldened to drive off after hitting a motorcyclist than they would after a car accident, especially if they feel that their car is undamaged. They think to themselves, Who will know?   Motorcyclists often ask us what they should do after a hit and run. After all, they are entitled to compensation from the responsible party. The logical way to seek compensation for a hit and run is to file an insurance claim or initiate a lawsuit. But it may be difficult to identify that person.  How Do They Find the Responsible Party? The truth is, hit and run drivers aren’t always found. In fact, in many cases, they aren’t. Many people wonder how authorities find the responsible party after a hit and run. After all, the responsible party probably thinks they can get away with it; otherwise, they wouldn’t flee the scene. One way authorities track down hit and run drivers is by speaking with witnesses at the scene of the accident. Those witnesses may have the license plate number of the responsible party thanks to their memory or dash cam. Police can also use traffic cameras to find the responsible party. Still, it doesn’t always work. What You Can Do If Authorities Cannot Identify the Responsible Party If the police cannot identify the responsible party, you won’t have anyone to sue, and you won’t have anyone else’s insurance policy to file your motorcycle accident claim with. Really, all you have is your own insurance provider. Depending on your coverage, your insurer may compensate you for some or all of the damages you suffer. Of course, you will have to pay your deductible, and your rates may increase, but that all depends on your particular policy. If you have collision coverage, your insurance provider may compensate you for part or all of the damage done to your vehicle. If you have personal injury protection or PIP coverage, your insurer will compensate you, up to a limit, for damages associated with your injuries. Finally, if you have uninsured motorist coverage, your insurer may treat a hit and run as such, and compensate you both for injury damages and property damage. All of this depends entirely on your individual insurance policy. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can help you review your options and negotiate with your insurance company to recover fair compensation. What You Can Do If Police Identify the Responsible Party If the police are able to identify and track down the responsible party, you have more options. You can file a motorcycle accident claim with the responsible party’s insurer, or you can file a lawsuit against them. Whether you need to file a lawsuit will depend on a few things—notably, the extent of your damages and how negotiations go with the responsible party’s insurer.  If the total value of your damages exceeds the insurance policy limits, you will probably need to sue to recover those damages. Similarly, if the insurance company is unwilling to negotiate fairly regarding your damages, you will need to sue to recover them. If you have an attorney on your side from the start, your chances of negotiating a fair settlement without having to file a lawsuit are far greater. Without an attorney advocating for you, insurers are more likely to employ unethical tactics to avoid paying out the entirety of your motorcycle accident claim. Silva Injury Law Can Help If you were in a hit and run on your motorcycle, you should contact an auto and motor vehicle accident attorney as soon as possible. Doing so will help you make the most educated and well-advised decision on how you should proceed to seek compensation. Silva Injury Law, Inc. can help you do just that. When you speak with an attorney on our team, we will work closely with you to develop the best possible legal strategy from the start. If your damages exceed the responsible party’s policy limits, you can sue right off the bat. If the authorities can’t find the responsible party, we’ll help you identify alternative sources of recovery. Similarly, we can handle all the negotiations with insurance companies and other parties so that you don’t have to. That way, you can focus on what is most important: recovering from your injuries and moving forward with your life. Don’t wait; take action now by calling SIlva Injury Law, Inc. for your free consultation.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Wrongful Death

Wrongful Death Damages in California

Losing a loved one in a preventable accident is a tragedy that no family should ever face. However, each year, there are more than 15,000 accidental deaths in California. While there is no amount of money that can adequately make up for the loss of a family member, by bringing a wrongful death claim, you can recover compensation that will ease some of the financial burdens. What Are the Damages of Wrongful Death in California? A wrongful death lawsuit is a type of personal injury claim brought by an accident victim’s surviving loved ones. Typically, spouses, domestic partners, children, or grandchildren can bring a wrongful death claim. However, certain other close relatives can also bring a claim if they show they were financially dependent on the accident victim. A family can pursue a wrongful death claim after an accident caused by another’s negligence, including: Construction accidents; Slip and fall accidents; Accidents caused by defective or dangerous products; Motor vehicle collisions; Dog bites; and Medical malpractice. When it comes to wrongful death damages in California, there are two types: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those that compensate loved ones for their “actual” losses. This includes the money they could have expected to receive if their loved one hadn’t died as well as the money they spent due to their loved one’s passing. For example, the following are common types of economic damages in a California wrongful death lawsuit: The financial support the accident victim would have contributed to their family; The loss of gifts or other benefits the victim would have contributed to their family; Funeral expenses; and The value of household services the accident victim would have provided if they had lived. Economic damages have an objective element to them, meaning they can be reasonably ascertained by presenting evidence, such as the accident victim’s income, receipts, bills, etc. Non-economic damages, however, are much more subjective. They seek to compensate family members for the less tangible emotional and psychological harms they suffered due to their loss. For example, some of the common non-economic wrongful death damages in California include: The loss of the accident victim’s “love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, and moral support”; A spouse’s loss of consortium; and The loss of the accident victim’s guidance. Every accident victim is unique, as is the impact that the loss has on their family. Non-economic damages allow a judge or jury to take these differences into account when determining the appropriate amount of damages. Contact an Experienced California Wrongful Death Attorney to Schedule a Free Consultation If you lost a loved one in a tragic accident, the thought of bringing a lawsuit may feel overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. At Silva Injury Law, our dedicated team of personal injury and wrongful death lawyers have developed an effective approach to these cases. We focus our efforts on making the process as easy on you and your family as possible while pursuing the compensation that you need to begin the process of moving on with your life. We have a firm understanding of the wrongful death damages in California and do everything possible to identify the full extent of your loss. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with a compassionate wrongful death lawyer, call 209-316-3502 today. You can also reach us through our online contact form.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Wrongful Death

Wrongful Death Law California

When you lose a loved one unexpectedly due to an accident or negligent action, it can take a significant toll on your emotional and financial wellbeing. Wrongful death law in California recognizes this and allows survivors to pursue compensation from the responsible party in the form of a wrongful death claim. Here is everything you need to know about California wrongful death law and how our injury lawyers can help. What Is Wrongful Death? A wrongful death is any fatal injury sustained by an individual due to the negligent actions of another person. Typically, wrongful deaths occur under the care of a doctor. However, a wrongful death claim may apply to a variety of cases, including car accidents, dog bites, and more. Surviving family members of the deceased usually incur financial losses due to the death, and these expenses can be recovered through a wrongful death claim. Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in California? Under CCP § 377.60, all possible heirs may file a wrongful death claim, including the spouse, domestic partner, or children of the deceased. However, California law only allows one wrongful death claim to be brought against the responsible person. This means that all heirs must join the same lawsuit. The court bars any heir that doesn’t join the lawsuit from receiving any portion of the judgment. To avoid unfairness, the heirs filing the wrongful death suit must also include any known heirs in their claim. If the original claimant omits any of the known heirs of the deceased, they may be held responsible.  Statute of Limitations Under California Wrongful Death Law The statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim in California has three deadlines depending on the circumstances of the case. For most cases, including car accidents or premises liability, the lawsuit must be filed within two years of injury or death.  For medical malpractice cases, the statute of limitations differs. According to CCP § 340.5, any action against a health care provider for their negligence must be filed within three years from the date of the injury or one year after the patient discovers the injury, whichever comes first.  If a government entity or employee causes the wrongful death, you must first file a claim with the government agency before pursuing a lawsuit. Under the California Tort Claims Act, the claimant must file a claim within six months of the incident. Afterward, the government has 45 days to conduct its investigation and attempt to settle the claim. If the government rejects your claim or does not take any action, you may file a lawsuit.  The amount of time you have to file depends on whether you received a “right to sue” letter from the government entity. If you receive a letter, you have six months from the postmark or delivery of the letter to bring a lawsuit. However, if the government doesn’t respond to your initial claim within 45 days, you have two years from the date of the injury to sue. Contact Our Wrongful Death Attorneys in California Today Losing a loved one is hard, but you don’t have to go through it alone. At Silva Injury Law, Inc. we advocate for families who have lost a loved one due to another person’s negligence. Using our knowledge of California wrongful death law, we manage all the aspects of the case and fight for your family’s needs. We are here for you every step of the way. To schedule a consultation, call one of our offices or contact us online.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Wrongful Death

Survival Action in California

When someone survives their injuries due to another person’s negligence, chances are they may file an injury case against the one responsible. However, some victims may die before they can seek compensation, leaving families emotionally and financially devastated. By filing a survival action in California, the head of the victim’s estate can pursue the compensation owed to the victim before their death on their behalf. What Are Survival Action Claims in California? In California, a survival action is any personal injury claim that the deceased filed or could have filed before their death. In many cases, the survival action will relate to the accident that caused the person’s death, but not necessarily. For example, someone may suffer injuries in a non-fatal car accident and then die of an unrelated heart attack a year later before they have a chance to seek compensation for the car accident. A survival action would allow their estate to collect damages they would have been able to seek from the car accident if they had lived. Under CCP 377.30, the representative of the deceased’s estate may file a survival action. In many cases, this representative is a successor-in-interest named in the deceased’s will or trust. While this is sometimes a family member of the deceased, it may also be a close friend, lawyer, or financial manager. However, survival actions may only be filed if the deceased didn’t immediately die from their injuries. Recoverable Damages in California Survival Action Under California Law, a survival action allows the estate to seek limited compensation for the deceased’s injuries. CCP 377.34 states that the representative may pursue economic and punitive damages sustained by the deceased before their death. Non-economic losses, such as disfigurement, loss of quality of life, or pain and suffering, are not included.  Despite these limitations, there are several economic damages that a representative may pursue in a survival action, including but not limited to: Medical bills for the treatment of the deceased before their death; Damage to the deceased’s property related to their injuries; and  Lost wages of the deceased between the date of injury and death. Depending on the nature of the incident, the court may decide to award punitive damages as well. However, this is only in cases where the defendant showed a willful, reckless disregard for the safety or rights of others.  Survival Action California Statute of Limitations The statute of limitations for a survival action in California is slightly different from a wrongful death case. Under CCP 366.1, as long as the statute of limitations had not yet expired by the time of the person’s death, a survival action may be brought either within six months after the victim’s death or two years from the date of the injury, whichever comes last. Consider the following example of the statute of limitations: On January 1, 2021, John gets into a car accident with a drunk driver and suffers a traumatic brain injury. Although he survived the initial incident, John’s injury leads to a series of strokes, which eventually send him to the hospital one year later. In January 2022, one year after receiving his injuries, John dies from a stroke at the hospital. Based on this fact, his estate has until January 1, 2023, to file a survival action. In this case, since the victim died only one year after their injury, the estate has two years from the date of injury to file the claim. If the victim died on December 1, 2022 instead—23 months after the injury—the estate would have until June 1, 2023 to file, six months after the death. Lost a Loved One Due to Another’s Actions? We Can Help If you’ve lost a loved one due to a wrongful death or other personal injury, you don’t need to fight it alone. At Silva Injury Law, Inc., our experienced wrongful death attorneys treat you like family. While money cannot replace the comfort and presence of a loved one, we passionately pursue the compensation your family needs. To schedule a consultation, call us or contact us online today. We proudly serve clients throughout California from our offices in Monterey, Modesto, Merced, and Turlock.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Wrongful Death

The Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in California

Every state has its own wrongful death statute, and every state sets its own wrongful death statute of limitations. The wrongful death statute of limitations in California includes several exceptions that sometimes apply. Don’t assume that an exception will apply without talking to your lawyer first, however. The California Wrongful Death Statute When someone suffers an injury because of another person’s wrongful behavior, the injured person can file a personal injury lawsuit. But what happens if the injured person dies? After all, a dead person cannot file a lawsuit. The California wrongful death statute provides a monetary remedy for surviving relatives and certain financial dependents of the deceased in these situations. The law even provides for intangible damages, such as compensation for loss of companionship. etc.   What the California Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations Does The California wrongful death statute of limitations is like a countdown that begins running on the date that the victim dies. The general rule (which is riddled with exceptions) is that the countdown is set at two years. In other words, you must file a wrongful death claim in the appropriate court within two years of the death of the victim. If you don’t, and if no exception applies, the court will permanently dismiss your lawsuit. Effect on Settlement Negotiations The defendant (or the insurance company) would just love for you to remain asleep at wheel until the statute of limitations deadline has passed. Once that happens, you cannot file a suit to enforce your claim. Once the threat of a lawsuit is gone, the defendant has no motivation or reason to settle your claim. You can expect the defendant to withdraw from settlement negotiations as soon as the statute of limitations deadline passes with no lawsuit filed. Exceptions Let’s take a look at some exceptions to the California two-year statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim. Medical Malpractice Claims Suppose your loved one died because the doctor negligently prescribed the wrong medication. In that case, the wrongful death statute of limitations would be three years after the victim’s death, or one year after the plaintiff reasonably should have discovered the negligent prescription, whichever comes first. The Discovery Rule The wrongful death statute of limitations countdown normally starts ticking on the day the victim dies. If the potential plaintiffs (relatives and financial dependents) do not learn of the cause of the victim’s death immediately, however, the countdown doesn’t begin until they actually learn the cause of death. Once the cause is ascertained, the clock begins to tick. Government Entity Defendant When a government entity such as a school district is the defendant, the statute of limitations is only six months after the victim’s death. The Plaintiff Is a Minor Who Lost a Parent When the plaintiff is a minor suing for the loss of a parent, the minor has until their 20th birthday to file a California wrongful death claim. Act Quickly—Don’t Let Your Claim Grow Stale Silva Injury Law, Inc. consists of wrongful death lawyer Michael Joe Silva along with partners Cassidy Jensen and Tanner Combs. Together we have successfully represented many wrongful death claimants. Our record of winning at trial has a way of convincing defendants to settle out of court with our clients. If you are the close relative or a financial dependent of a loved one who died as a result of someone else’s misconduct, contact Silva Injury Law today. Telephone us at (209) 600-0874 or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation.

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