Murrieta Personal Injury Law Blog

High-Speed Crashes Take Lives

No one could have imagined the tragedy of a Thursday afternoon in Los Angeles County. That is when a Mercedes careened through a red light and slammed into cross traffic, resulting in the ejection of multiple people and two vehicles consumed by flames.

Is California a No-Fault State?

California follows no-fault laws, meaning the driver that caused the accident is responsible for paying damages. Under tort law, you must prove another person was to blame, as well as the value of your losses.

Who is at Fault in a Rear End Accident?

The law requires you to use reasonable caution when driving a motor vehicle; in legal terms, this means that you have a duty of care toward other drivers on the road to drive safely. This includes knowledge of your state’s traffic laws, which is why you must pass a written test on traffic laws before you can even get a provisional driver’s license. It also means paying attention to the other cars on the road and to road conditions, which is why you can get a traffic ticket for distracted driving.

What Should I Do if I am a Witness to an Accident?

Most car accidents do not result in civil lawsuits or criminal charges, but statements from witnesses who were not in either of the vehicles involved in the collision can still be useful to insurance companies when apportioning fault for the accident and determining appropriate settlement amounts for the parties who filed claims in connection to the accident.

Reckless Driving Can Cause Multi-Vehicle Accidents That Injure Multiple People

Assigning percentages of fault after a car accident that involves only two cars is not always simple. Unless one driver did something egregiously dangerous, such as driving at double the speed limit or driving north in a southbound lane, there are usually things that both drivers could have done differently to prevent the accident.

Common Injuries of Pedestrians Who are Hit by Cars

The vast majority of pedestrian accidents occur between individuals who are on foot and motor vehicles. These collisions have the potential to cause catastrophic injuries, due to the fact that pedestrians are so exposed and vulnerable. A pedestrian can become hurt in several ways when they are struck by a car. However, some injuries are more common than others.

What Happens if the Person Who Hit Me Has Little or No Insurance?

If you get hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, your uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist policies may pay for your damages, if you have these types of insurance coverage, but you may still need a lawyer’s help to get the insurance companies to pay enough to cover all your accident-related expenses.

What Kind of Accidents Can Cause Spinal Cord Injuries?

Spinal cord injuries occur when the vertebrae, ligaments, or disks in the spinal cord or column become damaged. The spinal cord is a very important part of the body. It sends signals from the brain to the rest of the body. It is also one of the most fragile and so, it is susceptible to injury during many different types of accidents.

Do Truck Accidents Occur More at Night?

Truck accidents are scary anywhere and at any time; there is a reason for the chill of fear you feel when you drive near 18-wheelers on the highway. Trucks are huge, and they cannot stop as quickly as cars can. They spend much of their time on interstate highways, where the speed of traffic is higher. If you have suffered serious injuries in a truck accident, the key to collecting damages is to show that there is something that the truck driver or another party could have done to prevent the accident.

Common Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle accidents are among the most obvious examples of how fragile the human body is. You might be able to bench press an impressive amount of weight at the gym or juggle two jobs and all your family responsibilities, but you are little match for fast-moving steel machines and hard pavement. The chances of a motorcyclist getting injured in a motor vehicle collision are greater than for occupants of cars.

How Safe is the Tesla Autopilot?

If you have seen the old “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” Mickey Mouse cartoon or heard the robots’ chorus on the Alan Parson Project’s I Robot album, you are familiar with the concept that, if machines were given the ability and the opportunity to make decisions, they would act like rebellious teenagers.

Seatbelts are the Safest Safety Feature

Car enthusiasts keep track of the newest safety features that promise to make cars more error-proof. In fact, many recent models of cars contain features that alert you to cars in your blind spot, help you back out of driveways, and even brake automatically to prevent crashes.

What is the Riskiest Time of Year for Truck Accidents in Southern CA?

On October 3, the Internet celebrates Mean Girls Day, perhaps the most Internet-only holiday since Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19), but in Southern California, the day is best known as the anniversary of the verdict in the O.J. Simpson murder trial.

What are the Most Common Types of Injuries From Auto Accidents?

A popular, if cynical, piece of financial advice is “do not get injured,” or, perhaps more specifically, “don’t get hit by a car. Even an injury from which you make a full recovery within a few weeks can leave you with medical bills that would take decades to pay off, even without interest, late fees, and obnoxious phone calls from collection agencies.

Try to Get Photos After a Car Accident

These days, almost everyone who has a car also has a cell phone that can take pictures at much higher resolutions than the consumer cameras of our childhood were able to take; plenty of people who are too young to drive also have such cameras on their phones. Even better, the pictures are ready for immediate viewing, so you can retake them within seconds if they are not clear enough.

Should I Take the Insurance Company's Offer After an Accident

It is usually a great day when someone sends you a letter in the mail, offering to pay you money, instead of a bill asking you to pay them. When that letter is a settlement offer from an insurance company about an accident in which you were injured, do not get so carried away with the idea of someone giving you money that you sign without even thinking carefully about whether the amount the insurance company is offering is enough.

Common Myths About PI Lawyers

Whether you were hurt by medical malpractice, in a slip and fall, or by any other negligent act, you can file a claim for damages. Many people choose to file a claim on their own, thinking their case is straightforward enough to do so.

What Constitutes a Wrongful Death?

Accidents can happen in just a moment, and sometimes they are fatal. When that is the case, surviving loved ones are left grieving the loss. In addition to their grief, family members are also left with expensive funeral and burial costs, a loss of services, and more.

The Future of Drones and PI Cases

Car accident cases are extremely complex, with several steps involved. One of the first things a personal injury lawyer will do when working on a case is conduct a thorough investigation to determine which party was at fault for the crash.

Is Your Company Prepared to Deal with Allegations of Discrimination?

As a business owner, you spend the majority of your time running your business. You do not have the time for lengthy litigation that involves a discrimination claim, and you cannot afford the distraction it will become to your employees as you try to maintain daily operations.

Taking Pictures After Your Accident May be Helpful to Your Case

Motor vehicle accidents are sudden, unexpected events. While drivers often experience varying degrees of shock in the immediate aftermath, it is important to be aware that the things you do or say during this time can have a major impact on your rights when filing a claim.

Taking photos can provide important evidence in car accident claims

Motor vehicle accidents are sudden, unexpected events. While drivers often experience varying degrees of shock in the immediate aftermath, it is important to be aware that the things you do or say during this time can have a major impact on your rights when filing a claim.

Advice for reducing auto accident risk after sunset

Many California drivers are unlikely to remember the unit in driver's education class that focused on safe driving at night. The topic may have been left out altogether or passed over briefly. Failure to understand the limitations imposed on driver eyesight and cognition by darkness may be responsible for the auto accident rate being much higher after hours. The following driving tips from insurance provider State Farm can help drivers reduce their risk of car accident.

Injured California women die underrepresented in crash-tests.

Seat belts fit men and women differently. Men and women are not just different heights and weights. Men tend to gain weight in the abdominal area and women gain weight around their waists and thighs. The most frequent complaint about automotive seat belts is that they irritate drivers' necks. The seatbelt belongs over the driver's hips and under the driver's stomach. The driver sits safely at least 10 inches away from the steering wheel. Women tend to be more vulnerable than men during head-on collisions because they suffer injuries from airbags and the steering wheel.

Car accidents injure or kill 50 to 73% more California women than men annually. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), decades of research and human factors engineering goes into the creation and calibration of each male or female crash dummy. Female crash dummies are five feet tall, and they weigh 110 pounds. Becky Mueller, IIHS senior research engineer, reports that it will take at least 10 years of real accident and injury data to create more accurate crash-dummies. IIHS is waiting patiently for real accident victims' data to be collected.

California the third-worst state for senior-involved car crashes

Seniors can be unsafe behind the wheel, so it's not surprising that they contribute to many auto accidents. A study from The Senior List has ranked the 10 worst states when it comes to crashes involving seniors as well as the 10 safest states. Unfortunately, California is the third-worst state, surpassed only by Florida and Texas. After California comes Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

As for the safest states, the top five are New Hampshire, South Dakota, Delaware, Hawaii and North Dakota. While population has a lot to do with the rankings, there are some outliers. For example, Tennessee is not among the most populous states, but it had the eighth highest number of accidents involving seniors.

Most car accidents are preventable

California residents spend a great deal of time on the state's freeways and local roads. Although driving is second nature for many adults, it's also the single most dangerous activity they engage in. There are thousands of fatal automobile accidents every year in the U.S. To stay safe, it's important that drivers understand the most common causes of car accidents.

Although universally used, the term "car accident" can be somewhat misleading. Accident implies an event that may have occurred due to unfortunate and unavoidable circumstances. While some vehicle crashes are in fact the result of occurrences that could not have been prevented by the drivers involved, insurance analysts report the majority of incidents involving injury and/or property damage on the nation's roadways are caused by the negligent driving.

Drivers may want to avoid some California roads

According to the America's Safe Drivers Report 2019, Los Angeles is one of the most dangerous places for a person to drive. The report, which was issued by Allstate, found that the 405 Freeway was among the most dangerous roads in the city. Los Angeles landed at No. 6 overall on the list.

However, LA wasn't the only California city to be included in the top 15 most dangerous for drivers. Oakland, San Francisco and Glendale all made the cut as well. Highway 880 was considered the most dangerous in Oakland, and it was also considered the most dangerous in Hayward, which was number 15 on the list. Highway 101 was the most dangerous in San Francisco. Other cities to make the most dangerous list included Baltimore, Providence and Philadelphia. Baltimore was named the most dangerous city to drive in overall.

A few common problems lead to truck crashes

Accidents involving large trucks are likely to be more severe than other traffic crashes. While the average passenger vehicle in California weighs around 4,000 pounds, a semi truck could weigh as much as 20 times more. The most common reasons behind truck crashes are driver error, equipment failure and poor truck maintenance.

Truck drivers are required to have special licenses, and they have a heightened responsibility to use care and drive safely. However, some drivers make mistakes. For example, many drive while tired, distracted or intoxicated. Despite all these potential issues, statistics indicate that most semi truck accidents are the result of an error by a passenger vehicle driver.

NHTSA estimates 1% decline in roadway fatalities in 2018

After seeing a record jump in 2015 and 2016, the number of roadway fatalities in California and the rest of the U.S. has been gradually declining. If the estimates of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are accurate, 2018 will be the second year in a row to see a decrease, however slight it might seem.

The years 2015 and 2016 were the worst in terms of traffic fatalities since at least the 1960s, prompting many to suggest that a new era in driving had begun. There are grounds for such concerns: More drivers are, for example, letting smartphones and in-vehicle technology distract them from the road. But 2017 saw a 2% decline in traffic fatalities with 37,133 dying in motor vehicle crashes. In 2018, that number went down about 1% to 36,750.

Trucking industry may benefit from stricter drug testing

The Alliance for Driver Safety & Security has compiled data on the pre-employment drug tests of commercial truck drivers in California and the rest of the U.S., finding that many truckers who are habitual drug users are being accepted. This data is based on a survey of 3.5 million CMV drivers. In all, 301,000 truck drivers on the road today would fail if subjected to a hair analysis.

Another problem is that employers cannot submit hair test failures to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, a database said to go into effect in 2020. Employers, then, will have no way of knowing that a potential employee has failed previous tests. The reason is that the DoT only recognizes urine analyses. The Department of Health and Human Services has yet to produce guidelines for hair analyses.

Commercial fleet and driver safety highlights

The behavior of commercial vehicle drivers in California and other states can have a big impact on how safe the roads are for other motorists and truck drivers. This is why a fleet management systems provider has reviewed driving behaviors of more than 6,000 of its fleet customers. It focused on small and midsize businesses with 2 to 200 trucks.

The management systems provider considered several different factors related to commercial trucks, including average speeding events per day and mile as well as fatalities per vehicle miles traveled. Based on these criteria, the safest area for fleet drivers is within the East Coast, even with the infamous I-95 corridor and other common "problem" areas. Virginia, Washington and New Hampshire are among the states that ranked as the safest places for commercial fleet operators. The most dangerous states were in the South and Midwest with Oklahoma and Texas topping the list.

Multiple factors complicate truck accident injury claims

A crash with a big rig on a California highway can produce serious injuries among passenger vehicle occupants. The sheer size and weight of commercial trucks increase the force of impact. Although truck accident victims might apply the same personal injury laws to collect damages as car accident victims, the cases possess greater complexity.

Identifying the responsible party in a truck accident might become difficult when drivers operate trucks owned by separate companies. The cargo could possibly belong to a third party, which adds another layer of complication. When ownership and responsibility lack clarity, the assignment of liability could become contentious.

Tesla's Navigate on Autopilot feature may be flawed

California motorists may be interested in a new safety report pertaining to Tesla's automated driving features. According to testers with Consumer Reports, Tesla's updated Navigate on Autopilot feature has serious issues. A test on Model 3 showed that the semi-autonomous Autopilot feature made several mistakes. For example, the system made illegal passes and cut off approaching automobiles.

The study indicates that human drivers perform better at changing lanes than the Navigate on Autopilot feature. Plus, the Autopilot feature was responsible for other possible risks. For instance, it often failed to leave enough room between cars. The feature is not fully capable of self-direction because drivers must get involved in order to prevent possible collisions. The Autopilot feature has already failed to prevent three fatal car collisions.