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National Distracted Driving Month

San Diego Car Accident Lawyers

distracted-driving-californiaApril was National Distracted Driving Month. Many individuals and groups took time that month to focus on the dangers that distracted drivers pose to themselves and others by educating drivers through social media campaigns, public service announcements, and targeted discussions. Beyond April, it is important that we continue to discuss the dangers of distracted driving because it is an issue that occurs throughout the year, by drivers everywhere.

Distracted drivers can cause car accidents that result in serious injuries and even death to other drivers, their passengers, pedestrians, and the distracted drivers themselves. As a motorist, it is important that you choose not to drive distracted and that you impress upon your children and other loved ones the importance of always focusing on the road while driving. Choosing not to drive distracted can reduce your chance of being involved in an accident, but it cannot eliminate it completely. You can still be involved in a collision as a result of another driver’s decision to drive distracted. If this happens, speak with an experienced San Diego car accident lawyer about seeking compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim.

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Should You Be Concerned About Driverless Cars?

San Diego Car Accident Attorneys

california-car-accident-lawyersThe future is here. In February 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) declared that Google’s self-driving cars can legally operate on United States roadways. Previously, there was some debate about whether the cars’ artificial intelligence systems could qualify as legal drivers. But being legal does not necessarily mean they are safe. Because they are so new, there are few published statistics about collisions involving driverless cars.

Today’s motorists have many questions about these new vehicles, like whether they are safe for passengers, whether they are more or less likely to collide with other vehicles on the roadway, who is responsible if a driverless car is involved in an accident with another vehicle, and which laws exist to regulate their use and protect others from potential issues involving them. New technology always brings new concerns and questions about the impact it will have on our lives. As we move further into the highways of the future, keep yourself informed about the laws that apply to driverless vehicles. If you are involved in a car accident with one, you might need to approach your personal injury claim differently than you would if your accident involved a car with a human driver.

Who is Responsible for a Driverless Car Accident?

You know who is responsible in a traditional car accident: the driver whose negligence caused the two or more vehicles to collide with each other. But can a computer be deemed to be negligent and even if it can, can it be held liable?

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Wrongful Death vs. Survival Actions

San Diego Wrongful Death Attorneys

When an individual dies as a result of another person’s negligence or reckless actions, his or her loved ones may recover compensation for their losses connected to the death. These losses can include the cost of the victim’s funeral, the cost of the victim’s medical care between the accident and his or her passing, and their own losses of the victim’s financial contributions to the household and the inheritance that they would have received if the victim had not died prematurely. Whether you can seek these types of damages through a wrongful death claim or a survival action depends on the circumstances of your loved one’s death. In fact, the type of claim you are permitted to file and thus, the types of compensation you are entitled to receive, is determined by certain key factors present in your case. Speak with an experienced California wrongful death attorney to determine which type of claim you may file and how to pursue it.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Under California law, a victim’s spouse, child or any other dependent, or a representative of the victim’s estate may file a wrongful death claim. Through this type of claim, a victim’s loved one may receive compensation for the following losses:

  • Funeral expenses;
  • Loss of the deceased individual’s income;
  • Loss of the victim’s companionship;
  • Loss of the non-financial contributions the deceased made to his or her household, such as housework; and
  • The loss of a sexual relationship with the deceased, in the case of a spouse.

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California Safe Rental Car Act Passes

San Diego Car Accident Lawyers

california-car-accidentThe Safe Rental Car Act of 2015, is inspired by and named for sisters Raechel and Jacqueline Houck who died in a 2004 accident in a defective rental car. The vehicle, a Chrysler PT Cruiser that the women rented from Enterprise Rent-a-Car, had a defect that could cause the vehicle’s driver to lose control of the steering wheel that Chrysler issued a recall to correct.

The court found that the company failed to make the necessary repair on the vehicle, renting it to the sisters without warning them about the defective parts in it. The Act requires vehicle rental companies to immediately ground any vehicles for which relevant recalls are issued. Such vehicles may only be rented or sold to customers once their defects are corrected. Vehicle malfunctions and defective parts can put drivers and their passengers at risk of being injured or killed in car accidents. When this happens, the victim or his or her loved ones may file a claim against the manufacturer of the vehicle. When a recall on a defective part is issued, it is the responsibility of the vehicle’s owner to have the defective part repaired or replaced in a timely manner. With a rental company, the responsibility is on the company to make repairs to defective vehicle parts and keep up on their vehicles’ general maintenance to avoid putting their customers in harm’s way.

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The Holiday Season and Drunk Driving

San Diego Car Accident Attorneys

san-diego-car-accidentThe holiday season is upon us again. Every year, Californians travel throughout the state and across the country to visit with their loved ones. These visits often involve gifts, special meals, and for many, alcohol. Statistically, drivers are at a higher risk of being injured or killed in collisions with drunk drivers during the winter holiday season than they are during other times of year. If you have been involved in a California accident caused by a drunk driver, consider filing a personal injury claim with help from an experienced San Diego car accident attorney to recover compensation for your losses, such as your medical bills, your missed wages, and other expenses that arise from your injury.

Stay Safe this Holiday Season

In 2014, 867 people died in alcohol-related collisions in California. This figure represents 28.9 percent of all traffic deaths recorded in the state that year. In addition to fatalities, drunk driving can lead to life-altering injuries for the driver and any others involved in a collision with him or her.

Keep yourself and those you love safe this holiday season by doing your part to keep drunk drivers off the road. Although you cannot control the choices of those beyond your immediate circle, you can certainly choose not to drink and drive yourself and keep your friends and relatives from driving drunk as well.

The best way to protect yourself and others from driving drunk is offering to be the designated sober driver. Choose not to drink at a party and instead, offer rides to those who do imbibe. You can ensure that you and them make it home safely this way.

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Preparations for Driving in Hazardous Weather Conditions

California Car Accident Lawyers

California-Car-AccidentsAs a driver in California, you might not think that the winter brings hazardous conditions that can lead to a car accident. While your friends and relatives in other parts of the country battle snow, ice, and heavy freezing rain, you enjoy moderate temperatures and year-round sunshine. But do not let the mild weather lull you into the mindset that you cannot be involved in an accident because of the weather. In November 2015, a severe dust storm caused a 20-car accident in the San Joaquin Valley. Earthquakes, flooding, wildfires and even landslides can also put you and your passengers in danger on California roadways.

Car accidents happen in California and throughout the United States every day. These accidents can be attributed to a variety of causes, such as drunk driving, distracted driving, failure to obey the speed limit and other posted traffic warnings, and pedestrian or driver error. Weather can also be a factor in a car accident, either on its own or alongside another contributing cause. No matter what caused your accident, you could be entitled to monetary compensation for your losses through a personal injury claim. Find out more about this possibility by working with an experienced personal injury attorney.

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The Importance of Seeking Medical Care After a Car Accident

San Diego Car Accident Attorneys

medical-care-car-accidentWhen you are involved in a car accident, your first priority should be to seek medical attention for your injury. Even if you do not feel like you have been injured or you know your injury is fairly minor, get yourself to a doctor within a reasonable period of time and have him or her examine you for any injuries. This is important for a few reasons, all of which can affect your physical and financial recovery should you decide to file a car accident claim or a personal injury lawsuit.

Only after you have received appropriate medical care should you think about seeking financial compensation for your losses through a personal injury claim. When you are at this stage, contact an experienced car accident attorney to discuss your case and determine the right legal strategy for your specific situation. Until then, keep the following in mind as you work through your diagnosis and treatment and move on your path towards recovery.

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How to Prevent Fatal Tip-Over Injuries

San Diego Wrongful Death Attorneys

child-tipover-accidentsAlthough parents do their best to make the home safe for their children, it is challenging to completely eliminate the risk of an accident or injury. For a small child, the weight of a dresser or a television can be deadly. However, according to a recent news report by The Philadelphia Inquirer, experts say tip-overs are almost entirely preventable, with more attentiveness, government regulation, and involvement and cooperation from manufacturers.

You can take steps to make your home safer. Follow all manufacturer’s safety instructions and when possible, keep all heavy and dangerous objects out of your child’s reach. Keep yourself updated about any recalls that are issued for the child and infant products that you own. If an item in your household is recalled, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to repair or replace it. Your parental vigilance can save your child’s life.

This became a hot topic when IKEA issued a safety warning for its popular Malm dressers. The children’s dressers, which are available in both three, four, and six-drawer models, have been responsible for two children’s deaths in the United States. In both cases, the dressers tipped over and crushed the victims. IKEA and the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) have also received 14 reports of tip-over accidents involving Malm dressers. In four of these reports, the child was injured. Since 1989, IKEA has received three other reports of children’s deaths caused by accidents involving their products.

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Bicycle Accidents on the Rise

San Diego Personal Injury Lawyers

bicycle-accidents-risingA recent study from The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that more Americans, primarily middle-aged and older men, are riding bicycles than in previous decades. In the face of the United States’ obesity and energy crises, this is a great thing. But with more Americans riding bicycles, more Americans are falling victim to collisions and other types of bicycle accidents, suffering injuries as a result. These injuries range from fairly minor, such as sprains and small cuts, to major and even life-threatening. From 1998 to 2013, the frequency of bicycle injuries per 100,000 adults increased by 28 percent from 96 to 123. Hospitalizations following bicycle injuries increased by 120 percent, from 5.1 per 100,000 adults to 11.2.

In many cases, an accident is not entirely the bicyclist’s fault. The bicyclist might hold some of the responsibility for an accident or be completely innocent, injured by another party’s negligence. In any case where a bicyclist is injured partially or wholly because of another party’s negligence or reckless behavior, that bicyclist may possibly seek monetary compensation for injuries through a personal injury claim. This type of claim is typically an insurance claim filed with the negligent party’s insurance provider, seeking coverage for economic losses associated with the victim’s injury. These losses can include his or her hospital bills, doctors’ visits and medication costs, lost wages due to time spent out of work, and any necessary disability aids he or she might need temporarily or permanently, such as a mobility scooter.

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How Can You Legally Use your Smart Phone When Driving in California?

San Diego Car Accident Lawyers

smartphone-driving-californiaOne of the greatest hazards on our roadways today is distracted drivers. The number of drivers who are text messaging, talking, and using the internet on their phones while driving has increased tremendously over the past decade, prompting the creation of new anti-texting laws and public awareness campaigns.

Despite these laws and public campaigns, thousands of drivers continue to use their smart phones while driving. In 2012, 421,000 people were injured in car accidents and 3,328 people were killed in collisions involving distracted drivers. Smart phone use while driving not only takes a driver’s hands off his or her steering wheel, it also takes his or her eyes off the road and his or her mind off the task of operating the car, thereby increasing the risk of a car accident.

Part of what makes distracted driving so prevalent is the lack of knowledge among drivers about what is and is not legal to do behind the wheel. Do not be one of these drivers. Read on to find out which smart phone uses are illegal for the state of California drivers so you know which to avoid.

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Fatal Truck Accidents are on the Rise

San Diego Truck Accident Attorneys

san-diego-truck-accidents-riseAfter reaching a record low in 2009, the number of fatal crashes involving large commercial trucks has risen in recent years. In 2013, the number of people who died in trucking accidents was 14 percent higher than it was in 2009.

This has been partially attributed to the lower overall number of truck drivers on the road. According to the American Trucking Associations, the trucking industry has approximately 30,000 fewer drivers than it needs to operate smoothly. Many companies did not fully recover from the 2008 recession and are finding that as older truck drivers retire, there are not enough new drivers to fill the positions they leave open. With fewer drivers available, companies are assigning the remaining drivers more hours, pushing them beyond a safe number of hours and increasing their risk of being involved in collisions.

If you are involved in an accident involving a commercial truck and suffer injuries as a result, you might have grounds to seek a personal injury claim. When you file a personal injury claim, you typically seek monetary compensation for the costs associated with your injuries, such as your medical bills and lost wages due to time spent out of work. Do not ignore your right to file a claim – if you have been injured in any type of accident, do not allow yourself to suffer the financial and physical consequences. Contact an experienced San Diego personal injury attorney to file a claim and seek the compensation you deserve.

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FDA Clears Traumatic Brain Injury App Which Could Aid Healthcare Professionals

San Diego Personal Injury Lawyers

traumatic-brain-injury-appThe United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared the Defense Automated Neurobehavioral Assessment (DANA) for launch earlier this year. The DANA is a mobile phone application designed for doctors and other medical care providers to use to identify traumatic brain injuries in patients. This app can identify a brain injury in as little as five minutes.

Quick detection of a traumatic brain injury can mean the difference between making a full recovery and suffering from a significant disability or death from the accident.

How DANA Works

DANA is available on multiple platforms. It makes the detection of brain injuries easy and user friendly by working like a video game, having patients engage in exercises that measure reaction time, speed, and accuracy of movement and decision-making.

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What To Do After a Dog Bite Accident in San Diego

san-diego-animal-attack-attorneyThe decisions you make after being injured in a San Diego dog attack can affect your ability to recover fair compensation for your injuries. Below is a general guideline from our San Diego dog bite lawyers on what to do after an animal attack.

1. Get to a Safe Place and Check for Injuries

After being attacked by a dog it is important to get to a safe place out of harm’s way and evaluate your injuries. Often dog bites cause significant injury and require immediate medical attention. Make sure to call 911 if it is a life threatening injury. After you are safe and have received medical treatment, here are a few steps to consider to protect your legal rights.

2. Obtain Important Information About the Dog and Owner

It is important to identify the type of dog, owner of the dog and where the dog lives. It is also important to document where the dog attacked you. All of this information is relevant to establish who is legally responsible for the dog that attacked you.

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San Diego Truck Accident vs. San Diego Car Accident: 3 Distinctions

san-diego-truck-accident-attorneyAccording to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were nearly 700 large truck fatalities and another 25,000 injuries resulting from large truck accidents in 2012.  Accidents involving large trucks can often be traumatic causing personal injuries, vehicle damage and other accident-related costs that can last far beyond the time of the initial collision. Although every accident is different, accidents involving commercial trucks are significantly different from car accidents. The differences between truck accidents and car accidents can differ in terms of financial liability, the injuries sustained in the truck accident as well as the driver’s experience and responsibility.

1. Financial Liability

In a standard car accident situation, the drivers are required to exchange their personal information and insurance information so that a claim can be processed.  In trucking accidents, the truck driver can be held liable, but the trucking company can also be held liable for a truck accident.  Trucking carriers often maintain traffic reports, log books and equipment checks which should all be analyzed for important information.  If a trucking carrier company does not follow federal regulations should be held responsible when a truck accident causes serious injury or wrongful death.

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Are There Dangerous Products Lurking in Your Home?

dangerous-products-californiaIn an investigation of recalled products last November, ABC News found that a typical product recall only recovers five to 20 percent of affected products. With hundreds of products recalled every year, it is very likely that you have a dangerous or defective product somewhere in your home.

Having dangerous products in your home does not make you an irresponsible consumer or careless in any way. It can be extremely difficult to stay constantly updated about current recalls and to return or repair every single piece you come across. However, there are ways you can protect yourself and your family from defective and dangerous products, whether they have been officially recalled or not.

Manufacturers of consumer goods have what is known as product liability. This means that they are responsible for the damages caused by their products. If you are injured because of a dangerous or defective product, you may be able to file a product liability claim against its manufacturer and receive monetary compensation for your injury.

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The Effects of Brain Injuries on Children

san-diego-brain-injury-attorneyThe effects of a brain injury can be far more devastating in a child than in an adult patient. This is because a child’s brain is still developing until age 25. An injury sustained by a still-developing brain can stall or even completely stunt the brain’s growth.

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that every year, approximately 62,000 American children ages 0-19 suffer from brain injuries that require hospitalization. These injuries are caused by car accidents, sports injuries, falls, physical abuse and other hazards for children. Additionally, 435,000 emergency room visits for traumatic brain injuries for children ages 0-14 are recorded each year, with 37,000 of these patients requiring hospital stays and 2,685 dying from their injuries. Traumatic brain injuries are the leading cause of death for children in the United States, with ages 0-4 and 15-19 the most at risk.

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California Dog Bites – What You Need to Know to Keep Yourself, Your Family, and Your Dog Safe

san-diego-dog-bitesDogs play many roles in our society. They sniff out drugs and bombs, guide the blind, and protect our properties. Most dogs, though, have only one job: to be a loyal, loving companion. It can be easy to forget that dogs still share many physical characteristics with wolves, the apex predators from which they have descended, and have the capacity to seriously injure or even kill a human being.

But dog bites do happen, and in recent years, they have become more prevalent in California and across the nation. In the United States, 4.5 million dog bites occur every year. Of those bites, 855,000 require medical attention. Fifty percent of the victims of these dog bites are children. Any dog is capable of causing damage with a bite regardless of its breed.

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2014 Recalls Aimed at Infant Products

infant-product-recallsEvery year, hundreds and even thousands of consumer products are recalled due to safety concerns. These products fall under a wide variety of categories, from automotive parts and products to kitchen goods, household accessories, pet toys and products, and children’s products.

It can be alarming to find out that a product you have given to your child has been recalled because it poses a potential safety hazard to its users–you always put your child’s health and safety first and would never dream of giving him or her anything that could be unsafe. Before you allow this fear to drive you to get rid of everything your child owns, read the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission’s list of all consumer products recalled this year. You can find information about all of this year’s recalls along with records going back to 1999 on this website.

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Tips for Staying Safe on California Roads During the Holiday Season

san-diego-holiday-drivingAlthough it might seem like the holiday season begins earlier and earlier every year, it is officially recognized as the span from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve. This is the stretch of the year when California’s highways become full to capacity with parents, children, cousins, grandparents, and friends traveling through the state to be together for the holidays. These people are often tired, potentially unfamiliar with their surroundings, and could be intoxicated.

Car accidents on California highways surge during these months because of these factors. By understanding and preparing yourself for these risks, you can significantly reduce your chance or being involved in a car accident this holiday season.

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Protecting Yourself from Recalls When Used Car Shopping in California

san-diego-used-car-recallsIn 2014, General Motors issued more than forty product recalls for various parts used in its vehicles. One notable example is the February 7th recall of more than 800,000 small cars because of concerns about their defective ignition switches, which could shut off the car’s engine while it’s in motion and cause life-threatening accidents. Close to 25 million vehicles in the United States have been affected by General Motors’ recalls this year, part of the more than 37 million total cars affected by recalls in the United States.

With statistics like these, shopping for a car can be scary. You would never intentionally put yourself or your family in danger by buying a vehicle that’s been found to be unsafe, but how can you know for sure that the car, truck, or van you’re considering buying hasn’t had one or more of its parts recalled due to safety concerns? Parts and products are recalled every year. If you are considering buying a used vehicle, you are going to have to put some research into your car search.

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Who Takes the Liability in a California Ride-Sharing Car Accident?

california-ride-sharing-car-accidentRide-sharing companies such as Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar are revolutionizing the way we travel. From the convenience of a smartphone, a customer can easily request a ride, receive real-time updates about a driver’s location, and pay with pre-loaded credit card information. The popularity of these companies continues to grow as more people become authorized and as drivers and customers spread the word about how genuinely simple it is to catch a ride.

As is true with all trends, not all of the gossip about ride-sharing has been positive. A recent crash in San Francisco brought safety concerns to the forefront of discussion. On August 2, 2014, an authorized Uber driver lost control of his vehicle when he suffered a seizure. While there were passengers in the car, they were unharmed. The crash did, however, injure a pedestrian. Critics are now questioning the safety of these ride-sharing companies and what their ultimately liability is in the event of a car accident.

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New California Law Seeks to Protect Youth Football Players from Brain Injuries

youth-football-concussionsOut of the nearly 102,000 high school football players who will take the field in California, 3,000 are expected to suffer a concussion this year, based on prevalence rates by the nonprofit organization USA Football. With these shocking statistics in mind, California lawmakers are taking a tough stance against youth football head injuries. In July, California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 2127 into law, which seeks to reduce brain injuries and concussions among California’s middle and high school football players.

California AB 2127

The new California law, which takes effect January 1, 2015, is set to help limit full-contact football practices and also ensure athletes who have suffered a brain injury do not return to the game too soon. The new law applies to all public, private and charter schools in the state of California. As the law currently stands, full-contact practices can be held daily during the football season. AB 2127 will prohibit middle and high school football teams from holding full-contact practices over 90 minutes on a single day, ban teams from holding more than two full-contact practices per week during the season and also prohibit contact practices during the off-season.

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