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Many lawyers and other business owners ask me how we stay so busy, handling Los Angeles and Orange County auto accident and California injury lawyer cases. We have been blessed, but not by magic. Read my story and you can be busy also.

After 15 years of practice, it was frustrating when I receive a call from someone involved in an accident that hired the wrong attorney and had their case poorly handled. I use to say “why didn’t you come to me first.” Inevitably the answer was “I didn’t know about you or your resources until now.”

Do you have the same experience? Do you offer great service, great products but people simply do not know about you? It was easy to say “there is nothing I can do,” but several years ago, I decided to reach out to more people, let them know about our resources and services. I would make a huge mistake.

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Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are dominating the way we use the Internet and communicate with our family and friends. Specifically, Facebook has grown so rapidly that it recently overtook Google in daily users. However, with this new trend towards detailing so much of our private lives, we need to be aware of who potentially might view our information and be especially vigilant if you’re involved in a personal injury lawsuit.

A recent California case involved a man that had been in a car collision with United States Postal Truck. Eric Sedie of Corte Madera testified that “every possible aspect of his life has been and will be affected until the day he dies”. Court documents showed that he had difficulty bike riding and participating in strenuous activities.

Judge Elizabeth Laporte allowed his social media site profiles to be included in the evidence and as a result, there were many inconsistent statements presented. With the addition of surveillance videos and other testimony, Sedie’s personal injury case dropped from $2.5 million to just under $300,000.

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We are a culture of compromise. We give in to some things and take in others, trying to remain agreeable and fair. As an example, my daughter wanted to wear shorts today to school, (50 degrees outside). My instincts told me that this was going to be trouble from the beginning. If I ask her to change, I am dictating what she can wear and controlling her decisions. If I say nothing, I will catch the wrath of her mother, and if I try to negotiate, I will expend a huge amount of time.

Although this is a simple example, we all have to negotiate, accept, give and take. The more important that a point of contention is to us, the harder we must apply ourselves. Unfortunately, there are some people that do not easily give, and always take. Have you ever been manipulated and you did not realize it was happening? Here are several tactics that people use to manipulate you into agreeing with their proposal. What does this have to do with law? Stay tuned.

Trigger one: The hard noser

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Two people have died due to sudden and unexpected acceleration of their 2005 Toyota Camary. The National Transportation and Safety Board still maintains that there is no problem with the car. Let me tell you the facts as reported by the police departments that investigated the accidents. You can probably see that a defect exist, why can’t the NTSB?

Anne Ezal was going to lunch at the Pelican Point Restaurant in Pismo Beach,California. The restaurant parking lot was downhill of the restaurant. After travelling down the hill and coming to a stop in a parking spot at the bottom of the parking lot hill, the Camary suddenly accelerated, jumped a curb, went through a fence, negotiated a dirt extension of the lot and then tumbled over the bluff, a feature of the restaurant views. There was no reason to accelerate after pulling into the parking spot and coming to a stop. The vehicle fell 70 feet killing the driver. There was no explanation why the car suddenly accelerated, and why it kept accelerating though the entire distance traveled before careening over the cliff. The passenger witness said that the driver was doing everything she could to stop the car while approaching the cliff.

In Oklahoma later in 2007, Jean Bookout and her friend Barbara Schwarz were exiting a Highway ramp in Oklahoma. She was also driving a 2005 Camry. The car suddenly accelerated, and to try to stop the car, the driver put on the emergency brake, leaving 100 feet of skid with one tire alone. The vehicle would not stop and the car ran into an embankment with huge force, causing the wrongful death of the passenger and severely injuring the driver.

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The family of Gregory Wolters has recently settled out of court for his wrongful death; falling between gaps of the Santa Margarita Parkway Bridge in Orange County. He is the second death by accidentally falling through gaps in the bridge, and the City apparently posted no warnings about the bridge gap or dangers. Legal experts are asking whether a settlement is worth the loss of life, but equally important, is the process flawed when a City refuses at the claim stage to admit they knew of previous deaths and the danger this bridge design posed?

In late 2006, Wolters was working for Econolite and was performing routine inspection on the bridge when he fell through a gap in the center of bridge. His widow then brought suits against Orange County, Rancho Santa Margarita and the California Department of Transportation.

Orange County Superior Court judge Sheila Fell last week dismissed the case after settlement. Both sides were represented by attorneys arguing who was negligent, but in the end, the lawyers resolved the matter without going to trial.

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Last week, Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie settled a hotly contested claim for $140,000. A wonderfully active woman in her 80’s was driving in Huntington beach through an intersection, when struck by a patrol car. The officer testified that he was operating under lights and siren to a previous accident and therefore was justified in traveling through the intersection on a red light.

There was also a contention that our client did not have a hearing aid in at the time of the accident, and therefore was negligent and the cause of the accident.

The police report was unfavorable for our client. In our opinion, the investigating officer was biased.

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The Metrolink Chatsworth disaster here in California was one of the worst train disasters California has experienced. Over 135 persons sustained serious personal injury and 25 people tragically lost their lives. Since that sad day, we have learned more about the terrible set of circumstances that led up to the catastrophic event. Distractions such as texting, driver fatigue due to overworking, and possible mechanical malfunction are all presumed. However did you know the victims and their families have limited time to file their claims?

With all that these families are going through, the last things is to worry about claim forms and filing deadlines. However the cut-off date is quickly approaching for this accident. You must file in early March 2009 claims against Metrolink, track owners, and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation authority (LACMTA). The statute of limitations is artificially short for governmental agencies, ‘to allow the agencies to investigate”. Here it would seem more appropriate to waive the claim filing date cut off, but good luck getting a judge to agree with you.

Unfortunately nearly half of the victims have not filed claims yet and their rights may be forever barred if they don’t act soon. Getting a California personal injury attorney that you trust and that can handle these bureaucratic procedures for you is the most prudent thing you can do. You need an expert on your side to handle the details, know the deadlines, and handle the insurance and governmental agencies.

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I recently wrote to the American Bar Association legislative counsel and got no response. I thought I might as well post here and start a grass roots movement on such an unfair subject. Here is what I wrote last week, (and got no response by the way)

“My name is James Ballidis. I am a practicing member of the California State Bar Member (119461) and specialize in personal injury auto and truck accident lawsuits enforcing injured victim rights.

Over my 23 year career, we have always had to deal with liens and claims arising from ERISA policies, but thanks to the judiciary, ERISA has been interpreted to allow for just and equitable apportionment of damage proceeds between the victim, the treating doctors not paid by ERISA health insurance, and ERISA providers seeking reimbursement.

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Schools are back in session across Orange County and children everywhere are playing on sport teams both after school and on weekends. More than 30 million children and teens participate in some type of organized sport here in the U.S. About 3.5 million of those children will experience some type of personal injury. In fact over 1/3 of all injuries that children experiences are sports related. But all sports are not created equal and neither are the injuries. There is potential for injury in all sports and as a parent, you can be aware of the types of injuries that are common in that sport and monitor the coach, the team interactions and of course, your child. Save yourself a trip to the attorney by implementing these safety plans to avoid personal injury

Although death from a sport injury is rare, the most serious type of sport related injury is the brain injury. 21% of all kids who participate in recreational activities will experience some type of head trauma. This type of accident is very serious because it has long-lasting effects throughout your time. As children grow older, so does their aggressive behaviors and goals for scholarship $$$.

A recent study just released from the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research (NCCSI) concluded that the most dangerous sport for girls is cheerleading. Yes cheerleading! Since cheerleading is not regulated, it is not considered a “real sport”. Today’s cheerleaders are tossed high into the air, twirl and experience risky gymnastic-style stunts but that was not always the case.

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September is Baby Safety Month and it comes as we read and hear about defective baby items almost every day in the news. In fact there are on average 5 baby products recalled every month. That’s a lot of worrying for any new family, but thankfully we have the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, CPSC, to watch out for us. Damages from unsafe consumer products cost the U.S. more than $700 billion per year. But over the last 30 years there has been a 30% drop in death and injury, thanks to smarter consumers.

If you’re a new parent, here are two new warnings out this week that you should be concerned with.

The first one is the recall of infant formula imported from China. This recall specifically is targeted to the Chinese American communities within California, but it could also end up in any store. The Orange County community of Irvine has one of the fastest growing Chinese populations in California and so has many shops containing Chinese -made products. The Federal Drug administration, FDA, is worried that some formula may have brought in illegally and potentially be in ethnic markets. It is illegal to import Chinese manufactured baby formula, but it does end up here. The name of the product is Sanlu.