I accidentally brushed against a child in an LA school zone; now parents threaten to sue.
I was driving near a school in Los Angeles, right at the time when children were being dismissed. The traffic was slow, and I was cautious. Suddenly, a child darted out between parked cars. I slammed on my brakes and managed to slow down significantly, but still lightly touched the child. Thankfully, he didn't appear injured and stood up immediately. However, the child's parents, who witnessed the event, are very upset and have mentioned the possibility of taking legal action against me. What should I do next? Which type of lawyer should I look for? Can someone provide insight into the legal ramifications of this situation? How much can I expect the legal fees to be?
Understanding the Incident
Your situation is concerning, especially since it involved a child in a school zone. California has specific laws regarding school zones to ensure the safety of children. The fact that the child was not injured is a positive aspect, but it's essential to be proactive and seek proper legal counsel, especially if the parents decide to pursue a lawsuit.
Relevant Laws & Resources
- California Vehicle Code - Section 22358.4 (school zone speed limits)
- California Civil Code - Section 1714 (liability for damages)
- State of California's official website - www.ca.gov
Potential Course of Action
- Document Everything: Ensure you've documented every detail of the incident, including the time, date, and any witnesses.
- Contact Your Insurance: Inform your auto insurance provider about the incident to understand the coverage and protection available to you.
- Consult a Lawyer: Look into hiring a personal injury lawyer who specializes in auto accident cases in Los Angeles. They can guide you on the best steps forward. You can find the right lawyer using specialized platforms or by asking for recommendations.
Legal Fee Breakdown
|Service Description||Average Cost in LA|
|Initial consultation with a lawyer||$150 - $350|
|Full representation in court||$2,000 - $5,500|
|Out-of-court settlement negotiation||$1,000 - $3,000|
|Document preparation and filing||$300 - $800|
Note: Some lawyers in LA offer contingency fee structures, meaning they only get paid if you win the case.
Further Clarification Needed
In order to provide more specific advice, could you provide more details on the exact location and any possible surveillance or witnesses? This could be vital for your defense.
Do consider reaching out directly to a legal professional. They can provide guidance tailored to your unique situation. Remember, online advice is no substitute for an in-depth conversation with an attorney.
Questions for You:
- Did you exchange contact information with the child's parents and any witnesses?
- Was there any property damage to your car or the surroundings?
- Did the police or any other authorities get involved at the scene?
Q1: What if the parents decide not to sue?
If the parents decide not to pursue legal action, it's still a good idea to consult a lawyer to understand your rights and responsibilities. Keep all documentation and communication with the parents just in case.
Q2: Will my insurance rates go up because of this incident?
It's possible. An incident, especially one involving a child, might cause an increase in your insurance premium. Contact your insurance provider for specifics.
Q3: Can I counter-sue the parents for any reason?
It depends on the situation. If you believe the parents or child acted negligently (e.g., the child was unsupervised), you might have grounds. Consult a lawyer for clarity.
Q4: What if the child develops injuries later on?
Injuries, especially internal ones, can manifest days or even weeks after an incident. If this happens, the parents might pursue legal action. Make sure to consult your lawyer promptly.
Q5: Should I contact the school?
It might be helpful to inform the school, mainly if they have surveillance cameras that captured the incident. They might also provide information on any previous similar occurrences, which can help your case.
DisclaimerThis content is for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. It's always recommended to consult with a local attorney about your specific situation.
When should you seek a personal injury lawyer? Car accident attorney will be needed in the event of traffic accidents that lead to serious injuries or long-term medical treatment of those involved. Choosing an experienced attorney will help increase the chances that you get the compensation that you deserve. By hiring a personal injury lawyer to represent you immediately after a car accident, you will have a professional working for you – one who is very knowledgeable about the specific field of law and procedural rules that may significantly affect your case.
An indicator of the skills of a particular injury lawyer is the fact how many lawsuits he/she has won as well as careful pre-court preparation and possibly also the process of negotiation with the counterparty. In the case of car accidents where there are problems related to limits for car insurance, lawyers may threaten to file a suit. However, in most cases, an out-of-court settlement can be reached between the parties. Why should you hire a car accident attorney? Underestimating such a decision may result in considerable financial loss, especially in the event that you or the other party (the participant of the accident) have inadequate insurance coverage and the insurance company thus does not pay the claim.