As a general rule in California, an individual or an entity does not have a duty to come to the aid of of a person who is sick or injured. However in California, there is a “special relationship” doctrine which may require a business to come to your aid if you are sick or injured on their premises. Companies such as trucks, buses, taxicabs, and hotels all owe us a duty to take reasonable action to protect us from the risk of physical harm and to give first aid after they become aware we are sick or injured, until we can be cared for by others. If you have become sick or injured in a store, the store has a common law duty of “reasonable care”. What is “reasonable care”? That is the million dollar question. Recently the California Supreme Court in Verdugo v. Target (2014) 59 Cal.4th 312 stated that target was not required to provide and equip its stores with an AED (Automatic external defibrillator) in case a patron had a heart attack. The court reasoned that the burden placed upon target to provide this life saving device was to great in relationship to the potential risk of a person having a heart attack in a target store. Business owners are going to try and use this case to limit their duty of “reasonable care” that they owe you. If you have been injured in a business and you believe you were not provided “reasonable care” contact us and we will investigate to see if the business complied with the duty they owe you.
So you have been in an car accident now what? Well the first thing you should do is make sure you and your passengers are alright. Call the police and an ambulance if necessary. Stay Calm car accidents are a high stress situation. If possible and safe, move the vehicle to the side of the road to avoid the potential of a secondary accident. Please do not walk around on the highway as this is a sure way to take a “fender bender” and make it into something much more significant. Once you and your passengers are safe and out of the way of traffic, exchange your insurance information with the other driver as required by law. It is O.K. to check on the welfare of the other driver but please don’t make statements to other driver as they can easily be misconstrued and cause potential problems latter. Do not become aggressive and yell at the other driver.
If you believe the accident is not your fault make sure that when the police arrive you state your position calmly to the police officer. For example it is better to say “I was stopped at the red light when that vehicle over there hit me from behind (pointing to the other vehicle).” Statements such as “that jack*** hit me”. The more details you can provide to the officer on the scene supporting your position the easier it will be to asses fault later.
If you believe the accident maybe your fault DO NOT make statements such “I am sorry” “I didn’t see you” as these could easily be construed as admissions. It is best to not say anything. Any details of the traffic accident that you may provide to the police will be used against you.
Stay tuned for our ongoing blog regarding traffic accidents.