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

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.

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After a car accident many people hope to resolve the claims that arise from the accident on their own, but those that attempt to resolve these claims on their own are often left wondering if they need a lawyer to assist them. Whether or not you need a lawyer depends on the extent of your injuries and how it is affecting your life. If your car has minimal damage and the person that hit you is adequately insured, you may not need a lawyer to assist you. If your injuries are minimal and will not require treatment and time off of work, you may not need a lawyer to help you. But, if your injuries are significant, or you have high medical bills or a lot of damage to your car and are not being treated fairly by the car insurance company, you may need to seek legal advice from a qualified personal injury attorney that can assist you in getting the results you deserve.

If you are injured in a car accident, and you call and make a claim with the insurance company of the person that hit you, they will likely take a statement from you, and begin to evaluate your claim and possibly offer you a settlement. We suggest that you don’t give a statement to anyone other than the police officer at the scene of the accident, but many people don’t know any better and do provide a statement to the insurance carrier. If you are reading this and already gave a statement, don’t worry it is something we can deal with, as it happens all the time. If you have had some conversations with an adjuster and the insurance company offers you some form of a settlement, it is usually not enough to cover all your losses. This settlement is usually much less than what you would get, if you had adequate representation. If you have damage to your car and you are injured here are some of the damages you may be entitled to:

1. A settlement for the damage to your vehicle.

Auto-Insurance-Tips-300x166What type of coverage are you going to wish you had if you get in an Auto Accident? So many people just call an agent and try to find the cheapest deal, then they find themselves involved in an accident and now they pay. If you are on a budget you will have to pick and choose what kind of coverage you can get, but sometimes adding very simple things that will protect you don’t cost much at all. Here are some Auto Insurance “MUST HAVE” coverages:

1. Liability Insurance – In the state of California the required minimum limit is $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. Thus, a lot of people think if they buy a $15,000/$30,000 they have full coverage. In that specific case, you are correct in that you have met the state minimum required limits, by law, but that is not nearly enough coverage to protect you in the event of an accident. These policy limits were put into place a long time ago, and today’s medical bills, if you hurt someone else, will usually exceeds these limits. If you hit someone and you are found liable for the accident your liability limits would be responsible for any and all related medical care and treatment including their pain and suffering. For example, an average ambulance bill is $2,500 if they don’t bill health insurance. A life flight can be $30,000 or more, if a person is really hurt!! An ambulance and an ER visit alone will likely exceed the minimum limits of $15,000! Thus, if you get in a collision and you hurt someone your $15,000 very likely will not be enough. If you do not have a large enough policy to pay a claim, and you own assets that injured party can go after your assets. Nobody wants this to happen! So it is very important that you get more than the minimum limits! Talk to your agent about what they suggest. If they don’t help you, get another agent!

2. Under Insured and Uninsured Motorist – This coverage is an absolute must, especially here in the state of California!! It is amazing how many people still don’t have this on their Auto insurance policy, and worse yet most people do not know what this coverage is or how it would apply to them. Let’s just say if you buy liability coverage to protect someone else if you hurt them, you should also purchase at least the same amount to protect yourself if you get hurt by an uninsured motorist, or someone without enough coverage. You must add this to your policy immediately, and it should be at least as much as you get for liability. For example, if you are injured by someone else and they only have the state minimum limits of $15,000.00, but your bills totaled $25,000.00 you would still be responsible for the remaining balanced owed on this bills. However, if you had Under Insured Motorist Coverage of $50,000.00 they would step in to cover the remaining balances owed above the $15,000.00 paid by the liability settlement all the way up to the policy limits of $50,000.00. As stated above, in the state of California the minimum limits required by law are just not enough to cover someone’s injuries and Uninsured / Under Insured Motorists coverage can protect you from those that only have the state minimum limits.

Once you have created your trust, you are tasked with funding it. Funding your trust is the process of transferring your assets into it. By funding your trust, you avoid court-supervised conservatorship proceedings if you should become incapacitated or die. Any assets forgotten or left out of the trust will be “caught’ in the will. Meaning any assets left out of your trust will have to go through probate.

What Assets Can I Fund My Trust With?

Common assets people fund their trust with include, deeds to their real estate, bank accounts, stocks, bond accounts or certificates. A Folsom estate planning attorney can assist you with the process of funding your trust. At Travis G. Black & Associates, our attorney can review each asset with you and provide you with information regarding the process of transferring it to your living trust.

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.

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.

Most Americans know the importance of forming a legal document to distribute their assets upon their death, but one of the questions we at Travis G Black & Associates get asked often is whether or not a living trust is the right option for them. Below our Folsom estate planning attorney has listed some information to consider when deciding what is best for you.

Consider Your Age

Creating a living trust can be the best option for those over the 55 or 60 years old. As a living trust will not provide anything for you during your life, for most healthy middle-income individuals, creating a living trust is not necessary. For most individuals under 45, a will can suffice in the event you unexpectedly died.

When you decide to set up a living trust you must choose a trustee. A trustee is the person or persons who manage the trust. A trustee may manage the trust as if the property was their own but the title of the property remains in the name of the grantor. There are several strategies for choosing who you would like to appoint as trustee. Choosing the right trustee to act on your behalf is very important as the trustee of your living trust can have a considerable amount of authority and responsibility and will not be under court supervision. You may be the trustee of your living trust, or you may choose a spouse, adult child, domestic partner, family friend, business associate or professional fiduciary to be your trustee.

Successor Trustees

One way you can choose to manage your trust is to manage the trust yourself while you are living and name a successor trustee to take over the management should you become incapacitate or die. This would allow for all financial and asset-related decisions to remain in your control while you are alive.

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.