Myth: Personal injury lawyers are not as qualified as other types of lawyers.

Unfortunately, personal injury lawyers do sometimes get a bad rap. Some people think that people become personal injury lawyers because they can’t cut it in another area of law, or because they went to a bad law school and cannot get a job at a big law firm, or because they are only in it for the money.

While there are certain “bad apples” that hurt the reputation of all personal injury lawyers and the industry, many of these claims are just false and need to be debunked.

This is the second installment of a multi part series about the myths that many people think about the field of personal injury, including personal injury lawyers, personal injury cases and personal injury clients.

Myth two: Personal injury clients fake their injuries so they can get money and this causes insurance rates to go up for everyone.

This is a big myth that unfortunately is believed by many people. This is a myth that has been perpetuated by big corporations and the insurance industry, and then spread by a media industry that sensationalizes stories for more viewers. Why do they perpetuate this myth? Because they don’t want to be held accountable for their negligence. Big corporations and insurance companies care about making money and increasing their stock price. They do not want to be sued when their negligence causes serious injuries or deaths to others.

Myth: All personal injury firms are mills.

All personal injury firms are definitely not mills. However, some certainly are. The key thing, if you are someone who is looking for the right law firm to help you, is to find out what type of firm you are talking to.

Do you want a boutique style firm, where you can speak to the attorney, call or text him or her when you have a question, discuss strategy on your case? Or would you prefer to always talk to the attorney’s support staff and always hear that the attorney is out of the office for one reason or another? Do you prefer an attorney who is good at marketing, or one who is good at speaking to a judge in a court room? Do you want an attorney who knows how to resolve cases and get top dollar for his/her clients, or do you prefer an attorney who wants to get your case settled as fast as possible so he/she can move on to the next case and get as many cases done as possible, regardless of result?

Light emissions/Neon Underglow Lighting

In California, neon underglow lights are quite slightly, becoming a rage and are legal to use, but , of course, there are some restrictions. Before installing and using such neon underglow lighting, be sure to check to confirm what is permitted.  The following will set forth some of the basic guidelines in California relating to neon car and vehicle lights.

California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) regulates neon underglow lighting.  The DMV permits LED lights which emit a diffused non-glaring light which is less than 0.05 candela per square inch (1 candela is essentially equal to the light emitted from one candle).   You are advised to check your neon lights’ luminosity when buying them to be certain they are within the standards set and required by the California DMV.

California Law Against Hanging Things from Rear View Mirror

Hanging an air freshener, fuzzy dice or other objects  from your rearview mirror could be a violation of the law in your state. Specifically, in California the law prohibits placing an object that “obstructs or reduces the driver’s clear view through the windshield or side windows.”  Therefore, be certain anything you hang from your car’s rearview mirror does NOT obstruct or reduce your clear view.

California Law on Engine Modifications

California car enthusiasts love to modify their cars, from exhaust systems to window tinting to neon underglow lighting.  Before you make any modifications to your car be sure to check whether California prohibits your desired modification.  The following will briefly review several of the more popular vehicle modifications:

Illegal: Loud Exhaust Systems

If you want people to hear your car before they see it, make sure it’s not illegal to have a loud exhaust.   Many car enthusiasts want to modify their car’s exhaust system, but there are laws governing the noise limit your vehicle can produce. California changed its exhaust law in 2019 so that having a loud muffler is no longer just a fix-it ticket but rather a ticketed fine. In short, vehicles must have a muffler that prevents “excessive noise from the exhaust system.”

The owners of the Santa Barbara dive boat that burned during the Labor Day weekend by the Chanel Islands, killing 34 people on board, including 33 passengers and one crew member, are attempting to not only limit their liability but actually are attempting to use an old Maritime law so they do not have to pay any compensation at all to the families of those killed or any money to anyone else who may have been injured.

Since this horrific incident occurred on a boat at sea it is governed by United States maritime law, which is different than the law most of us are used to.   Under U.S. maritime law, the owners of a ship may be responsible or liable for personal injuries and deaths, as well as other losses and damages.  But also under maritime law this legal responsibility or liability may be limited to the value of the ship and its freight at the end of the voyage if the owner of the ship can show the acts of negligence or unseaworthiness that caused the injury or loss were not known and should not have been known by the owners of the ship.

And, of course, the owners of the Conception, or perhaps their insurers, are trying to take advantage of this antiquated, unconscionable and unfair law to limit their liability because the value post voyage is probably nothing or zero dollars (except for some possible salvage value of the destroyed boat which may be exceeded by the salvage costs).

According to Santa Barbara new outlet The Noozhawk, a local man suffered serious burns when his Jeep Cherokee caught on fire. Bystanders who witnessed the fire rushed to help the man. One witness reported that “he saw the guy was screaming, yelling for help, crying. His whole body was on fire.” Bystanders helped him get out of the car and get his shirt off and called emergency personnel.

When firefighters arrived at the scene, the car was completely engulfed in flames and the fire had spread to a building next to where the car was parked. A team went to work extinguishing the fire, while other firefighters assisted in aiding the burned man. Police reported that the burn victim had moderate to severe burn injuries on his upper torso, arms, hands and face. He was taken to the hospital, and then transferred to a burn center in Southern California for treatment of these injuries. Investigators are now looking into what caused the fire in the first place—as of now, it appears the blaze started in the back of the vehicle.

The Severity of Burn Injuries

Drunk driving is a continual problem on California roads. In order to combat this deadly danger, a new state bill has been proposed which would lower the legal blood-alcohol level for drivers in California to .05%. ABC 7 News reports that California law makers are considering the bill, AB 1713, to reduce the amount of alcohol you can legally have in your system when you drive by .03%, as California’s current limit is .08%.

This idea to lower the legal blood alcohol level to .05% came after the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released a report recommending lowering the drunken-driving threshold from .08% to .05%. This recommendation was made in hopes that it will reduce the number of alcohol-impaired deaths that occur each year in America. “Driving under the influence is blamed for some 10,000 deaths a year…Each day, 29 people in the U.S. die in alcohol-related crashes. Forty-percent of those killed are not the drunken driver.”

Many supporters of this bill believe it is necessary because “current blood alcohol content (BAC) is too high and leaves more drivers impaired, which results in more deadly crashes.” Studies show that for a driver with a blood alcohol level of .05%-.079% “the risk of being in a fatal crash is at least seven times higher than for drivers with no alcohol in their system.”

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