Skip to main content
Lowell Hale Steiger
Avvo
Pro

Lowell Steiger’s Answers

209 total


  • I was bit by a dog. I went to emergency room. Can I sue

    I was walking in a nearby shopping center and a dog that was not tied up ran up to me and started attacking my leg for no reason. The owner gave me her information and said she would pay for any medical bills. I went to the emergency room that ...

    Lowell’s Answer

    Yes, you can certainly make a claim against the dog owner. You have two potential causes of action. The first is for strict liability per California Civil Code Section 3342(a): (a) The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness.

    The second is for negligence on the part of the dog owner.

    Hopefully the dog owner has homeowner's insurance to cover this incident. Depending on the severity of your injuries, your medical bills and loss of earnings (if any) you can first attempt to get the dog owner's insurance information and make a claim with that carrier. If you have no luck getting this information, then you should contact an attorney in order to determine whether a lawsuit in small claims court or a court of general jurisdiction is appropriate.

    Good luck with everything and I hope you heal from your wounds soon. Dog bites can be devastation both physically and emotionally.

    See question 
  • Can I sue Walmart if a latter fell on me because it was not tied down while I was delivering some products?

    A latter was station where it was not supposed to and it was hit and fell on my head.

    Lowell’s Answer

    There are two ways to go here:

    (1) if you are not an employee of Walmart, then you have both a workers compensation case and a case against WalMart for negligence. In this case you will need a lawyer who is experienced in this type of hybrid situation because your workers compensation carrier will have a right to reimbursement from your recovery against WalMart.
    (2) If you are an employee of Walmart then you have a workers compensation case.

    Good luck with everything.

    See question 
  • Should I be charged with a hit and run for an accident I didn't know I was in until two CHP officers came to my door.

    Two CHP officers came to door one morning and ask me for the keys to my truck proof of insurance and to step outside. They asked if I had any problems on the freeway that morning. I told them there was a person that cut me off during a lane c...

    Lowell’s Answer

    You asked an honest question and deserve a nonjudgmental honest answer that is not laced an attorney's opinion as to whether or not your story is believable. It will be a question of fact for a jury to determine whether or not you had knowledge of the collision. You definitely need to consult with a criminal defense attorney. Here's the standard for conviction in a nutshell:

    In order to be convicted of felony hit-and-run, driver must have at least constructive knowledge that he was involved in accident. People v. Bautista (App. 1 Dist. 1990) 265 Cal.Rptr. 661, 217 Cal.App.3d 1.

    In order to convict a driver of a vehicle of felony hit-and-run driving it is essential that driver knows that an accident has occurred, that he was involved in the accident and that driver knowingly leaves scene of accident either with knowledge that accident resulted in injury or with knowledge that accident was of such nature that one would reasonably anticipate that accident resulted in injury to another. People v. Hamilton (App. 5 Dist. 1978) 145 Cal.Rptr. 429, 80 Cal.App.3d 124.

    See question 
  • Should my insurance company handle my entire claim when the other driver is at fault?

    My car was hit while parked and vacant; thankfully the other driver left a note. My insurance company is telling me that they will process the claim but won't pursue getting a replacement rental vehicle during the repair. If I want that, I need ...

    Lowell’s Answer

    If your auto insurance policy does not include rental car coverage then it is up to you to negotiate with the at-fault driver's insurance company to cover your rental expense. I hope the following information helps!

    Insurance companies oftentimes do their best to not treat you fairly or equitably. One example of this is when the at-fault driver's insurance carrier provides you with a rental car with a "take it or leave it" attitude.

    In California, you are entitled to be provided with a vehicle of equal value to the vehicle that was damaged as a result of another driver's negligence. For example, let's say that you get rear-ended in your new Toyota Prius. The other person's insurance company says "yep, our driver was at fault" and then allows you $20 a day for rental car. Well, an equivalent Prius may rent for $50 a day.

    You are entitled to rent a $50-a-day car and have the other party's insurance company pay for it (subject to, among other things, his or her property damage policy limits). Period.

    Now, let's change that scenario a bit: For whatever reason, you don't want to rent a car during the time that your car is in the shop. You're entitled to make that choice. Let's take it one step further: Your car is in the shop for six weeks (42 days). You will be entitled to $2,100 in real dollars to compensate you for the time that your car is in the shop. In other words, you do not have to actually rent the car in order to be compensated for your loss of use.

    OR what if you rent a car for $25 a day? You'll be entitled to the difference in cash (well, in check). So, you rent a car for 42 days at $25 a day for $1,050 but you were entitled to a car renting for $50 a day. The insurance company should pay you the difference of $1,050 in the form of real dollars.

    Here's the law (CACI 3903M): To recover damages for loss of use, [name of plaintiff] must prove the reasonable cost to rent a similar [item of personal property] for the amount of time reasonably necessary to repair or replace the [item of personal property].

    See question 
  • I scratched another car at parking lot, did not leave a note

    Hi, It was sometime (may be a week ago), I was getting late to work. I found a parking garage where I paid some money and parked my car. I had to parked my sedan in compact parking spot upslope. In the process, I scratched a car besides me. It w...

    Lowell’s Answer

    You asked an honest question and you deserve an honest answer without being judged by those answering you. Just to be safe I would suggest that you consult a local criminal defense or traffic ticket attorney before taking action. Here's what you need to know:

    California Vehicle Code Section 20002 is the operative statute for your situation. It reads as follows:

    § 20002. Duty where property damaged

    (a) The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to any property, including vehicles, shall immediately stop the vehicle at the nearest location that will not impede traffic or otherwise jeopardize the safety of other motorists. Moving the vehicle in accordance with this subdivision does not affect the question of fault. The driver shall also immediately do either of the following:

    (1) Locate and notify the owner or person in charge of that property of the name and address of the driver and owner of the vehicle involved and, upon locating the driver of any other vehicle involved or the owner or person in charge of any damaged property, upon being requested, present his or her driver's license, and vehicle registration, to the other driver, property owner, or person in charge of that property. The information presented shall include the current residence address of the driver and of the registered owner. If the registered owner of an involved vehicle is present at the scene, he or she shall also, upon request, present his or her driver's license information, if available, or other valid identification to the other involved parties.

    (2) Leave in a conspicuous place on the vehicle or other property damaged a written notice giving the name and address of the driver and of the owner of the vehicle involved and a statement of the circumstances thereof and shall without unnecessary delay notify the police department of the city wherein the collision occurred or, if the collision occurred in unincorporated territory, the local headquarters of the Department of the California Highway Patrol.

    (b) Any person who parks a vehicle which, prior to the vehicle again being driven, becomes a runaway vehicle and is involved in an accident resulting in damage to any property, attended or unattended, shall comply with the requirements of this section relating to notification and reporting and shall, upon conviction thereof, be liable to the penalties of this section for failure to comply with the requirements.

    (c) Any person failing to comply with all the requirements of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.

    See question 
  • Suspended license for not having car insurance, but it wasn't my fault. What do i do?

    -was in a car accident in april, later to figure out that i wasn't insured -called my insurance to later find out that they had cancelled my policy -Insurance is claiming that they sent out multiple notices for cancellation through mail, email ...

    Lowell’s Answer

    This is from the California DMV website. I hope this helps you!

    If your driver license is suspended because you had a motor vehicle accident and you were not insured, you may be eligible to obtain a noncommercial restricted driver license during the mandatory one-year suspension period. If you have a commercial class A, B, or C license, Federal Regulations state you are not eligible for any of the following restrictions. However, if you downgrade to a noncommercial Class C or M driver license, you may obtain any or all of the restrictions noted below if you:

    pay a $250 financial responsibility penalty fee and
    pay the reissue fee and
    file proof of financial responsibility (SR 22) with DMV

    The restrictions are:

    Driving to and from work, and during work, and/or
    Driving yourself or other family members to obtain medical care for any serious medical problem, and/or
    Driving your minor dependent to and from school if no public or school bus transportation is available.

    See question 
  • Is changing my caller ID/phone number illegal?

    I was involved in a car accident and the other driver involved is lying to the insurance company about what happened making look like im at fault. I have been calling him several times but hes ignoring my calls and he is also ignoring my text mess...

    Lowell’s Answer

    It would be best to let your insurance company handle this for you. If you were injured, then you need to consult a personal injury attorney. If the other driver files a claim against you then your insurance company is contractually obligated to defend you. Their adjusters and attorneys have very keen BS detectors so they'll get to the bottom of things for you.
    Meanwhile, if you start disguising your number or do other things to trick the other driver into speaking with you, that may all come out in the open if a lawsuit is filed and it won't look good for you. I'm not giving an opinion as to the legality of doing these things but I am giving you a practical take on how it may harm your credibility and/or make it look like you had ulterior motives in this case.
    Good luck. I know that it's very frustrating when you believe that the other side is lying.

    See question 
  • How much time do i have to respond to a denied auto insurance claim?

    on may 20 i opened a claim about a car accident i had earlier that day. on Tuesday June 7 the insurance company called me and said that they were not approving or denying my claim until further investigation. and on Saturday June 11 i received a l...

    Lowell’s Answer

    Statute of Limitations for Property Damage in California:

    California Code of Civil Procedure Section 338 states:
    Within three years:
    (c) (1) An action for taking, detaining, or injuring goods or
    chattels, including actions for the specific recovery of personal
    property.

    A letter of denial from an insurance company is not proof, it is simply their opinion and/or rationale for denying your claim. You have three years from the date of the accident to either settle the claim or file a lawsuit for damages against the at-fault driver. The amount of damage to your vehicle will determine whether you need to file in small claims court or a court with general jurisdiction.
    Small Claims Court has a limit of $10,000
    State Court with Limited Jurisdiction has a maximum of $25,000
    State Court with Unlimited Jurisdiction if your vehicle damage is $25,000 or greater

    You are also entitled to loss of use (rental) for the time that your car will be in the shop. Furthermore, if you own your car you may be entitled to diminution (loss) in value.

    There is a lot more than meets the eye with property damage claims.

    Good luck with everything.

    See question 
  • How can I proceed with getting compensation for an auto accident.

    I was rear ended in January of 2015, I was at a complete stop the other driver spilled his coffee and hit me. His insurance company admitted he was fully at fault. I saw a chiropractor for a couple of months for pain I was having. The treatment ...

    Lowell’s Answer

    Minor property damage does not necessarily correlate with minor injuries.

    I'm concerned with the ringing in your ears. You should have that checked out for a diagnosis, course of treatment and a determination as to whether or not the ringing is as a result of your accident. Although $500 in property damage is considered very minor it is not the only factor in determining the seriousness of your injuries. Depending on the severity of the tinnitus (ringing in the ears) it can be very disruptive to your daily life as well as your sleep life (I'm not a doctor --this is an observation based upon handling many cases wherein my client developed tinnitus as a result of an accident).

    Do NOT settle with the other party's insurance company without (1) being sure that all of your health/injury issues are fully addressed and (2) consulting an attorney.

    Good luck with everything.

    See question 
  • How can I be made "whole" after an auto accident?

    My 1999 parked car was hit in a parking structure. I only have liability insurance, but the driver who caused the accident has coverage. I just put $2,000 into the car (motor, brakes and tires), and I need my car and do not want to give it up. I w...

    Lowell’s Answer

    If you car is a total loss, the insurance company will offer you fair market value for your vehicle. They will typically allow you to keep the car but will deduct the salvage value from the offer. You can then get your car repaired (on your own) and register the car as a salvage vehicle with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Here is the info taken from the DMV website (hope this helps!)

    Revived Junk Vehicles (California Vehicle Code §11519)

    Vehicles which have been dismantled (as evidenced by a junk receipt or bill of sale from a dismantler) and when rebuilt, resemble the make of the vehicle originally dismantled are called "revived junk."

    Revived junk vehicles are registered by the original make name and the original year model.
    A "revived junk" creates a new record and expiration date.
    When a REG 462 is submitted by a dismantler for the junk application, the vehicle cannot be revived.

    Revived Junk Registration Requirements

    A completed Application for Title or Registration (REG 343).
    The cost information must include the labor cost, even if the labor was provided or done by the applicant. The VLF class is based on the cost shown.
    The "junk" receipt or a bill of sale from the dismantler.
    A dismantler's bill of sale must include the dismantler's 5 digit license number and the dismantler's acquisition number.
    A vehicle verification.
    Previously junked vehicles (California or nonresident) must be inspected by an authorized DMV employee or referred to the California Highway Patrol (CHP) for inspection.
    CHP conducts inspections by appointment only and may require additional information/documentation. See the Notice of Required Salvage Inspection/Salvage Inspection Appointments (REG 490B) form for additional information.
    In most cases, CHP will issue a CHP 97C when an inspection is completed for a revived salvage vehicle.
    For trailers, a DMV verification is sufficient.
    Bill(s) of sale, as necessary, to establish a complete chain of ownership.
    Odometer mileage disclosure on a Vehicle/Vessel Transfer and Reassignment form (REG 262), if applicable.
    See Chapter 5, Odometer Mileage Reporting, for odometer disclosure requirements.
    Report of Sale-Used Vehicle (REG 51), if sold by a California dealer.
    Official brake and light adjustment certificates except on trailers 3,000 lbs. or less gross vehicle weight.
    NOTE: If an official brake and light station that inspects specific vehicles, such as motorcycles and large commercial vehicles, is not located within a reasonable distance, submit a Statement of Facts (REG 256) from a repair shop attesting that the brakes and lights have been adjusted and are in proper working order.
    Weight certificate for a commercial vehicle weighing less than 10,001 pounds.
    If the vehicle weighs 10,001 pounds or more, or if the vehicle is a trailer in the PTI program, the estimated unladen weight is required and must be shown on a Statement of Facts (REG 256).
    Declaration of Gross Vehicle Weight/Combined Gross Vehicle Weight (REG 4008) completed and signed by the owner for a commercial vehicle weighing 6,001 pounds or more unladen.
    A CVRA decal fee must also be submitted if the vehicle is operated over 10,001 pounds GVW/CGVW.
    A smog certification, if appropriate.
    Fees due, including the Salvaged/Dismantled Vehicles Inspection Fee (See Appendix 1F).
    Fees must be paid within 20 days from the date of first operation to avoid penalty.
    Use tax is not due if the vehicle was purchased from a licensed dismantler.

    See question