Picture of attorney Travis G. Black
We Get You Results, Not Excuses Over 25 Years of Legal Experience Former Police Officer & Former Insurance Claims Manager
« Why Hire Attorney Travis Black

When you are involved in a motor vehicle collision and you are injured there are certain questions that every injured party wants answered. Some of this information and the corresponding insurance terms can be confusing, and rightfully so since often times this information has never been explained to you. In order to pursue a claim against the party that caused the collision there are certain things that a personal injury lawyer must determine. One of the initial factors that must be determined is liability.  Once liability is determined, then a Negligence claim can be made for Damages.

What is Liability?

Liability simply means who is “liable” or at fault for the accident. Once liability is determined; the person found liable will be responsible for any harms and losses that they have caused you or your family.

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Premises Liability

Slip and fall injuries are often covered under what is known as premises liability cases. These injuries often occur at a place of business, but the incidents can also occur just about anywhere from a government building, to a residential address. Premises liability cases, refer to the legal responsibility that the owner and/or occupant of a certain premise has towards the people or customers who attend or visit that property. However, liability in these matters is not guaranteed, in fact, often times liability can be quite difficult to prove. Responsibility does not automatically become imposed. Instead, it must be proven that the slip and fall incident was caused by an owner who created, or allowed a defective or dangerous condition to exist.

Premises liability laws vary from one state to another. However, most basic circumstances are the same regardless of where in the country the slip and fall accident occurs. It is often interesting to focus on the statutes that exist in California as the laws in California usually become nationally prevailing laws. In many cases, an injured party may have fallen at their local or national grocery store due to a spill and/or substance found on the ground, as the photo above shows. However, that spill in and of itself is not enough to assume liability against the store owner or its employees. The store is allowed time to be alerted to a spill, and they are allowed an opportunity to address that spill before they can be found liable for a fall resulting from that spill.

In most major stores you will find a “sweep schedule” or an “inspection schedule”, they do this in order to monitor their floors and they will tell you that they do this in order to protect their customers. But, the truth is they also do this to protect themselves from potential lawsuits and potential liability in the event a spill leads to an injury. However, in most states they are allowed reasonable time to address the issue. But, often times the issue is overlooked, or not handled in that reasonable window of time, which may lead to a fall. In these instances you need to gather as much as evidence as possible and contact an attorney for further assistance. Stores have video surveillance that needs to be stored and protected, as this will show when the area was last inspected that area prior to a fall. Additionally, this footage may also show the actual incident itself, which can become incredibly important should the case go to trial.

Call a motorcycle attorney that rides! A true motorcycle enthusiast all his life, Travis Black has ridden a motorcycle most of his life. He started off with a 1970 Honda 350 and has owned over a dozen motorcycles since this first one. One of his passions is touring the U.S. on a motorcycle.

He has ridden for years with the Blue Knights, an international organization of active and retired police officers that share the passion of riding motorcycles. He has ridden through most of the U.S. with the Blue Knights. His lifelong passion for riding naturally led him to help fellow bikers who were being taken advantage of in personal injury cases by greedy insurance companies.

Over the years I have found that once other motorcycle riders learned that I was a retired police officer and an attorney that specialized in motorcycle accident cases they would often ask me the same questions about the different aspects of motorcycle insurance, accident claims, dealing with injuries and getting their motorcycle repaired. That is why I have supported motorcycle riders for over 25 years.

Brain InjuryIf you or a family member or friend has sustained a traumatic brain injury as a result of an automobile accident or a slip and fall, trying to understand your legal options can be a very difficult task. Simply understanding the challenges they may face while trying to live with this new condition is in itself incredibly difficult.

Over half of all reported traumatic brain injuries are the result of an automobile accident. In 2006, a study was done at the Atlanta National Center for Injury Prevention and Control regarding the correlation between auto accident and traumatic brain injuries. This study showed that out of the roughly 1.4 million people involved in auto accidents annually, 280,000 people in the U.S. suffer from a motor vehicle induced traumatic brain injury each and every year. In fact 20% of all brain injuries result from motor vehicle accidents!

So what causes a brain injury? We know that the human brain does not fit tightly inside our skulls. When a person’s head hits a solid object like the steering wheel, headrest or window, or is violently thrown forward and backwards, trauma to the brain can occur. The sheer force of the crash can cause the brain to collide against the interior of the skull, which can cause the brain to bleed causing added pressure on the brain.

Obviously the best way to avoid being arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is to not Drink and Drive. However, if you are driving during the Holiday season and want to know where the DUI checkpoints are there are many online resources like the one previously linked.

The holidays are upon us and that means more drinking and driving, and more driving under the influence checkpoints. When there are DUI check points, there may also be Fourth Amendment issues. The fourth amendment reads:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

DUI Rear-View MirrorIf you have been arrested for Driving under the Influence there are two cases. One is the Administrative Per Se Hearing (DMV) and the other is the criminal proceedings. Here we will be discussing the criminal proceedings.

If you are arrested for DUI, generally you will be taken to the county jail, booked, and sometimes spend the night in jail. Upon release they will give you a piece of paper for your first court date. That piece of paper you are given is very important as it will have all the information for the first court date, including what courthouse, the time to appear, and the department to appear in. You MUST go to that court hearing, or hire an attorney before to attend for you.

The first hearing is what we call the Arraignment hearing. In many counties you go to the first hearing, you find the courtroom and there will be a list of cases on the wall. If your name is on the list, you sit there and wait until the bailiff tells you what to do, or until they call your case, depending on the county. If your name is not on the list, this does not mean that you can leave and you will never be charged. If you know you are in the right spot, but cannot find your name on the list, wait there for your attorney, if your attorney is not there, or you don’t have one, talk to the bailiff or the court clerk to find out why your name is not on the list.

Auto AccidentIn the United States there are over six million car accidents each year. For the most part, these accidents primarily involve property damage claims. Unfortunately, roughly one in every three auto accidents do involve a personal injury, sustained by either the driver or the passengers involved. According to the California Highway Patrol  there were 223,128 people injured as a result of an auto accident in the state of California in 2013.

Now most people are under the assumption that auto insurance carriers will help you if you are involved in an auto accident, however that is only true in some cases. The truth is there are many factors involved here, such as which insurance companies are involved, and the corresponding coverage that may or may not apply. The most important thing you can do after an auto accident, is protect yourself and there are several ways you can do that.

If you are involved in an automobile accident, there are some very important things you can do to protect yourself and your interests. First and foremost, after the accident, you want to make sure that you pull over safely to the side of the roadway. If your vehicle is able to be moved from danger, you should do so, this is important for the safety of everyone involved including those additional drivers approaching the accident scene. Once you and your vehicle is safely secured you can now begin the initial steps in this process. Of course you want to exchange your insurance information with all parties involved and you will most certainly want to notify the police department of the accident, however there are additional steps you can take to protect yourself.

Getting arrested for Driving under the Influence can be a scary time. After you are arrested the Police Officer generally confiscates your license and provides you with an order of suspension. This can be a very big concern for someone in this position. How will I get to work? How will I take my kids to school? How will I get my daily activities done? How will this affect my license and my insurance?  A DUI lawyer can help you navigate this process. First, you must understand that when you are arrested for DUI in California, the arrest initiates two separate cases. You will have a criminal proceeding, and a DMV proceeding, also known as an Administrative Per Se hearing. These are two totally separate issues. The DMV hearing deals only with your driving privileges and is what will be discussed below.

If you are arrested for DUI, you need to contact DMV within 10 days to request a hearing be set. These 10 days include weekends and holidays, so you must do this right away.  If you have an attorney they will do this for you. A hearing will be set, and you/or your attorney will request “Discovery” and a “Stay” on your license until the outcome of the hearing. The stay allows you to continue to drive pending the hearing.

The hearing is in front of a DMV hearing officer, who is hired by the Department of Motor Vehicles thus, the DMV hearing officer act as the prosecutor and the judge, which is highly detrimental to any person arrested for DUI. Most of these hearing officers have little to no legal training.

We are often asked why it is important to have an estate plan – What happens if you don’t have one? The answer is simple and it can be brutal. Without a well thought out plan of our own, the government will decide how your estate will be distributed. We hear stories of people that have very specific wishes of where they want their estate to go, including to loved ones and people who they want to benefit from your life’s work; but without a plan, your wishes may be ignored.

If you become sick or incapacitated, someone may petition the Court and ask to be appointed to make decisions that you may not want. You have the absolute right in how your life should be if you become ill or unable to care for yourself, as well as the right to appoint someone of your choosing to make the decisions that you would want to be made. Unfortunately, if you don’t have a plan, the government will make those decisions for you.

It takes time and a lot of questions to learn what is the best for your unique situation. Once our office learns your story, we prepare a unique, customized plan that fits your needs and requirements. These plans may include a revocable living trust and financial powers of attorney. We will prepare health care directives which include HIPPA authorizations so medical providers can give you the care that you need and desire.