5 Important Things You Need to Know About Pedestrian Accidents

From hit-and-run accidents to side-swiping and curb-jumping accidents, pedestrians are among some of the most vulnerable when it comes to the injuries they sustain when involved in an accident. If you’ve suffered injuries due to a pedestrian accident, you must get the medical attention you need as soon as possible. 

From there, it’s important you understand these five things about pedestrian accidents. Then reach out to a passionate, experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your options.

1. You have the right to compensation after a pedestrian accident.

California law provides you with the right to seek compensation against individuals who cause you harm due to their negligent behavior. This right applies in all injury cases, including pedestrian accidents. 

The types of financial compensation you can seek will depend on the specific facts of your case. Speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer about whether the following types of damages apply in your case:

  • Medical bills (physical and psychological)
  • Short or long-term care bills
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Rehabilitation costs

2. California law takes your actions into account when apportioning blame. 

You must use reasonable care when walking. Failure to use reasonable care means you were negligent and have some blame in your accident. 

For instance, were you walking at night without a flashlight or reflective clothing? Did you cross at a crosswalk when the “don’t walk” signal was up? These are just a couple of examples of negligent behavior that can affect how much you may be able to recover in a personal injury lawsuit against the driver.

3. The term “pedestrian accident” applies to more than people who were out walking.

If a driver hit you while you were walking, jogging, running, riding a skateboard, rollerblading, using a wheelchair or other assistive device, or even sitting, then you are considered a pedestrian and California’s pedestrian accident laws apply.

4. The term also applies to accidents that do not involve vehicles.

When you hear the term “pedestrian accident,” you most likely think of accidents involving walkers and drivers of motor vehicles. That’s only one aspect, however. Pedestrian accidents also involve claims where pedestrians suffered injuries due to broken sidewalks, negligently maintained parking lots and related issues. 

In such cases, the at-fault party isn’t an individual but is instead a property owner, business, city or other municipality, or another third party.

5. There is a time limit for filing a pedestrian accident lawsuit.

In general, you have two years from the date of your pedestrian accident to file your lawsuit. That said, it is incredibly important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident so you can preserve evidence and begin building your case. 

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer if You’ve Been Hurt in a Pedestrian Accident

Do not face a pedestrian accident lawsuit without the advice and assistance of a dedicated personal injury attorney. In California, call on the Law Office of Daniel H. Rose for compassionate advocacy and knowledgeable guidance. Request your complimentary consultation today by contacting our firm at 415-946-8900.

Options Injury Victims Have After Being Hit by a Drunk Driver

Drunk driving-related accidents occur at alarming rates, with estimates that approximately two in ten Americans will be involved in such accidents in their lifetimes. 

But perhaps you already know this? Perhaps you or someone you love has already been hit by a drunk driver or was a passenger in an alcohol-related crash? If so, then it’s important to understand what options you or your loved one has post-accident.

You Can Pursue an Insurance Claim

Before you decide whether to file a lawsuit against the drunk driver, you can first start talking about a settlement with the driver’s insurance company. California law requires drivers to carry auto insurance. Contacting the insurer to seek full compensation and informing them that you may be pursuing legal action as well may be just what you need to start getting your medical bills and car repair bills paid. 

In the alternative, if you have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage on your own auto insurance policy, you can file a claim through your own insurance company so you can pay your bills. This route may be easier than working with the drunk driver’s insurer.

You Can Sue the Drunk Driver After the Accident

If you were hurt in a drunk driving-related accident, you have the right to seek financial compensation from the drunk driver in a personal injury lawsuit. Speak to a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer about the types of compensation that may be available to you, such as:

  • Medical bills (physical and psychological)
  • Short or long-term care bills
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Repair bills for your vehicle
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Punitive damages to punish the driver and deter future drunk driving

To get compensation for any or all of the above, you must be able to prove that the driver was negligent and that, due to that negligence, you sustained injuries. Negligence under California law simply means failure to use reasonable care when driving. 

But First, Call a Personal Injury Attorney

Before you make any lawsuit decisions and before you speak with anyone’s insurance company, be sure to pick up the phone to call a personal injury attorney who can help you understand your full course of options. 

At the Law Office of Daniel H. Rose, we’ll work with you to determine what next step will work best in your situation. We’ll be aggressive in seeking to hold the drunk driver responsible for what they’ve done to you. And, at all times, we’ll be your strong advocate in and out of court. Contact us today at 415-946-8900 to schedule your complimentary consultation.

How Wrongful Death Claims Against Drunk Drivers Work in California

A little over 10 percent of all fatal drunk driving accidents in the US occur right here in California, according to the most recent numbers coming from the National Highway & Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA). That’s over 1,000 people killed each year in our state, all due to drunk drivers.

If you’ve lost someone you love in a drunk driving accident in California, you need to know your options for moving forward. You need the help of a skilled personal injury lawyer to understand how a wrongful death claim would work in your situation.

First, Determine if You Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim

A civil claim for wrongful death involves an aggrieved party pursuing a lawsuit against the drunk driver in civil court. Before you can file your case, you must first be able to prove that you fall within one of the named categories of parties who are able to bring such claims in California civil courts. 

According to California’s wrongful death statute (California Code of Civil Procedure Section 337.60, et seq.), the following parties may pursue such a claim:

  • The deceased’s surviving spouse
  • The deceased’s surviving domestic partner
  • The deceased’s surviving children
  • Issue of the deceased’s children
  • Absent one of the above, then anyone “who would be entitled to the property of the decedent [deceased] by intestate succession” 

In addition, these individuals may also bring a wrongful death suit:

  • Anyone who was financially dependent on the deceased
  • The deceased’s putative spouse
  • Children of the deceased’s putative spouse
  • The deceased’s parents
  • Stepchildren
  • A minor who lived with the decedent for at least the previous 180 days and was dependent on the decedent for at least one-half of all financial support

If some of this terminology is confusing, rest assured that a skilled personal injury attorney can speak with you to help you determine whether you can bring a wrongful death claim in California civil court.

Next, Determine the Damages You Can Seek 

Assuming you can bring a claim, you will be able to seek damages (financial recovery) for many costs associated with your loss, including:

  • Funeral and related final expenses
  • Medical expenses incurred after the drunk driving accident
  • Lost income, including the deceased’s lost potential income
  • Loss of anticipated financial support
  • Loss of household services
  • Loss of love, companionship, support, affection, comfort and care

Additionally, punitive damages—also known as exemplary damages—arise in wrongful death cases to punish the drunk driver for their behavior. Courts also allow them due to the message they send to the community at large: this behavior is not tolerated and, as such, deserves additional consequences.

Punitive damages are never guaranteed in wrongful death claims against drunk drivers. That is why it’s important to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you layout your case clearly and help you prove all necessary elements of your claim.

Let a Skilled Lawyer Help You With Your Wrongful Death Claim

If you’ve lost a loved one due to a fatal drunk-driving crash within the past two years, speak with an injury attorney about pursuing a wrongful death claim. Your attorney will help you determine what you’ll need to prove, the evidence you’ll need to do so, and how to best prepare you for the coming days and months of discovery and, potentially, trial. 

If you’re in California, consider reaching out to the Law Office of Daniel H. Rose. We’ll sit with you in a complimentary consultation and help you determine if you have a claim to pursue. If you do, we’ll walk alongside you to get you the justice you deserve after losing your loved one. To schedule a consultation, contact us today at 415-946-8900.

California Motorcycle Laws You Need to Know

When operating a motorcycle, safety is paramount. Motorcycles can be risky for riders and result in severe injury or death even when taking all the appropriate precautions, so staying safe means you need to know the California laws that apply to motorcyclists. In addition to abiding by the same laws governing motorists in regular vehicles on the road, California has some laws that apply only to motorcyclists. We are going to explore these laws in detail, so you know how to keep yourself and others safe on California’s roads and not run afoul of the law.

Becoming Licensed to Operate a Motorcycle in California

Before taking a motorcycle out on California roads, you are required to obtain a license. The specific requirements differ depending on your age, but the first step usually is to get a learner’s permit from the California DMV. For permits, you must pass a vision test, a knowledge test, and a test on skills. A motorcycle handbook produced by the state contains information you must know for the knowledge and the skills test. Learner’s permits expire one year after they are issued, and do not allow a motorcyclist to carry passengers, drive at night, or drive on any highways. Once you have this permit, the further requirements vary by age.

  • No one under 16 may apply for or hold a learner’s permit. If you are under 18 but over 16, you must have a valid learner’s permit for no less than six months before applying for a license. You must also complete a driver’s education and training course to help you learn the basics of motorcycle safety. The California Motorcyclist Safety Program is regularly offered by the highway patrol.
  • If you are at least 18, you must pass the three tests required to obtain a learner’s permit, complete the Application for a Driver’s License/Identification Card, pay the applicable fee, and have your photo and fingerprints taken. You must also complete the California Motorcyclist Safety Program.
  • Applicants 21 years of age or older may opt out of completing the California Motorcyclist Safety Program and instead take their driving test at any California DMV.

Additionally, an applicant who does not possess a California driver’s license must give the following information: full legal name, birth date or legal presence document and social security number.

Carrying Passengers on a Motorcycle

Except when holding a learner’s permit, California does not place restrictions on the passengers a licensed motorcyclist may carry. Persons of any age may ride behind a licensed motorcycle operator. However, the passenger must be provided with footrests, which must be used when the motorcycle is being operated. Passenger seats must also be fastened securely behind the driver’s seat.

Required and Prohibited Motorcycle Features in California

Helmet Laws

Helmets must be worn at all times in California. California Vehicle Code 27803 stipulated that helmets must be in compliance with requirements issued by the Department of Transportation.

Safety Equipment Requirements

Unless the motorcycle was manufactured before 1973, all motorcycles must be equipped with front and rear functioning turn signals. California Vehicle Code 27801 also requires motorcycles have mirrors on both the left and right sides.

Exhaust Systems

For all exhaust systems and motorcycles made in 2013 or later, the exhaust system must comply with state codes. It is illegal to alter an emission-related part of the vehicle.

Handlebar Height

Motorcycles in California are required to have handlebars with grips that are no taller than 6 inches above the motorcyclist’s shoulders when seated on their bike. This means handlebars known as “ape hangers” are prohibited in California.

Mandatory Minimum Insurance Coverage Requirements

In California, anyone operating a motor vehicle or motorcycle must always carry liability insurance coverage. The minimum amount of coverage a motorcyclist must have is:

  • $30,000 in bodily injury coverage for multiple victims
  • $15,000 of individual bodily injury coverage
  • $5,000 in property damage coverage

Failure to comply with these requirements can subject you to a ticket and fine, and if you do not have at least the minimum insurance coverage requirements and are involved in any accident, your motorcycle license may be suspended for up to a year.

Motorcycle Lane Sharing in California

Lane sharing occurs when two motorcyclists are in a single lane of traffic riding side by side or a motorcycle is next to a passenger vehicle in the same traffic lane. Though there is no specific restriction on this practice in California, it is believed unsafe by driving experts, as well as the California DMV.

Motorcyclists who engage in the practice of sharing lanes have a greater chance of rear-ending a motor vehicle than those who ride inside a lane of traffic. Lane splitting motorcyclists are also more vulnerable to being involved in a traffic accident during weekdays because of the high traffic volume around peak rush hour times. Finally, motorcyclists run the risk of being in broadside accidents because motor vehicle operators often try to switch lanes without checking their mirrors and blind spots, illegally try to enter or exit a carpool lane from standstill traffic or fail to notice an approaching motorcycle. In fact, these dangers are real — many experts blame the rising number of motorcycle accident fatalities on lane spitting, and in early 2016, California’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System produced a report showing a 23 percent increase of fatal motorcycle accidents since 2010.

Despite the risks, lane sharing does have benefits for riders. The U.S. Department of Transportation views lane splitting as a technique that provides motorcyclists an escape route and a way not to be stuck between motor vehicles when in traffic. Lane splitting can also prevent unnecessary inhalation of exhaust by motorcyclists and may allow emergency response vehicles and law enforcement easier maneuvering on California’s roadways. When sharing a lane, motorcyclists must always remember to maintain proper distance from other motor vehicles and be alert to their surroundings.

Lane Splitting Laws and Guidelines for Motorcyclists in California

Unlike lane sharing, lane splitting is specifically permitted in California as of January 1, 2017. Lane splitting is a motorcycling maneuver described in California Vehicle Code 21658 as:

Driving a motorcycle between rows of stopped or moving vehicles in the same lane including on both divided and undivided streets, roads, and highways.

No other state allows this, but it is often a way for motorcyclists to avoid becoming trapped by other motor vehicles or being rear-ended by providing them an escape route. It can also be practiced in order to avoid exhaust inhalation.

Lane Splitting Guidelines

Because lane splitting carries with it many inherent dangers, the California Highway Patrol has created a pamphlet giving guidelines and safety precaution suggestions to motorcyclists as to when lane splitting should be practiced based on surrounding traffic conditions. Some of the suggestions for safe lane splitting include:

  • A motorcyclist should not drive in excess of 10 miles an hour faster than the speed of surrounding traffic. High speed differentials increase danger to a rider, so operating a motorcycle at slower speeds gives margin for better reaction time to hazards and lane changing motor vehicles.
  • Motorcyclists should avoid lane splitting at recognizable merge points or near any freeway entrance or exit ramps. Sudden lane changes more commonly occur at or near these points, so the danger of lane splitting increases.
  • Lane splitting is performed most safely between lanes 1 and 2 of traffic—the furthest left on the road. Motor vehicle operators are more used to motorcyclists splitting between these outside lanes (the “fast lanes”), so they expect to see motorcyclists practicing this technique in faster traffic lanes.
  • Motorcyclists should avoid splitting lanes when travelling in excess of 30 miles per hour. Even at peak alertness and in ideal conditions, a motorcyclist should not engage in the practice of lane splitting when driving faster than 30 miles per hour, so they are able to react to a hazard or another vehicle switching lanes.
  • Lane splitting should only be practiced on familiar roads. If you do not know the road, you will be unfamiliar with existing hazards such as pavement seams, standing water, poor road conditions, and loose gravel, you should avoid lane splitting.
  • Motorcyclists should be fully aware of the distances between vehicles before lane splitting.
  • Be visible for drivers. Use daylights and wear bright colors if possible. Avoid lane splitting during or right after a rain, at night, or near sunrise or sunset.
  • Be aware of your environment. Motorcyclists should be aware and watch out for approaching vehicles in the distance. They should also have an awareness of lane width, size of motor vehicles around them, road conditions, weather conditions, time of day and lighting. If you have a doubt about whether you can safely split lanes, don’t do it.

The Four R’s of Lane Splitting

The California Motorcyclist Safety Program has created the Four R’s of Lane Splitting as a guideline, reminding every rider that they are responsible for their own decision making and safety, so they must be constantly conscious of reducing the risk of accidents:

  • Be Reasonable
  • Be Responsible
  • Be Respectful
  • Be Aware of Roadway and Traffic Conditions.

When You Should Avoid Lane Splitting

The California Motorcyclist Safety Program has also recommended certain times and situations when a motorcyclist should err on the side of caution and not practice lane splitting:

  • If your motorcycle cannot comfortably fit between vehicles
  • When at or approaching a toll booth
  • In unpredictable or rapidly moving traffic
  • When road conditions exist that present dangers such as construction, metal grates, uneven pavement, or in construction zones
  • In or around curves
  • If you are not fully alert and aware of your surroundings
  • If you are unable to clearly see an exit from a space you are going to enter
  • In between trucks, RVs, buses, and other large vehicles
  • In any situation where you do not feel comfortable splitting the lanes

Even though the California Highway Patrol has produced these suggestions, a motorcyclist will not be given a ticket for failing to abide by them. Motor vehicle operators, however, may be stopped and ticketed if they are traveling beside a motorcycle and move into the motorcycle’s path in an effort to impede them from sharing their lane of traffic. This is considered a lane change violation by the California Highway Patrol.

California Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

Even when using proper care, riding alertly, and obeying all safety rules and traffic laws in California, motorcyclists may still be involved in accidents and suffer severe injuries. The guidelines and laws are meant to keep you safe, but they are not a guarantee of incident- and injury-free riding. If you are injured or have lost a loved one in a California motorcycle accident, you should consult an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to learn whether you may be entitled to financial compensation for harms you have suffered as a result of your accident.

A skilled attorney will investigate your situation thoroughly to determine who is at fault for the accident, who is legally responsible for the harms you and your motorcycle suffered, and your best options going forward to recover damages for your injuries.

At the Law Office of Daniel H. Rose, we offer complimentary consultations to help you determine the strength of your claim and best steps moving forward. We will devote our knowledge and years of experience to fighting for justice in your case and helping you recover the compensation you are entitled to. To schedule a consultation, contact us today at (415) 946-8900.

Cyclist Michael Hatch Mourned as Latest Bicycle v Shuttle Bus Collision Victim

It is clear from my representation of bicyclists who are victims of collisions with commuter related shuttle buses that shuttle bus drivers are grossly inadequately trained with respect to bicyclists on the road. This latest fatality in Santa Clara involving a 49-year-old cyclist in a bike lane with a green light is an example of driver gross negligence and simply should not have happened.

We are Presenting Sponsor of Bike East Bay’s Biketopia 2018 Member Party and Fundraiser

As we do every year, we are proud to once again be the Presenting Sponsor of Bike East Bay’s Biketopia 2018, taking place on Thursday, November 8, 2018 6:30 – 10:00 p.m. The event, which is always a lot of fun, is at a new location right next to the Ashby BART Station at Ed Roberts Campus, 3075 Adeline Street, Berkeley. Hope to see you there.

Left-turning vehicles major source of death and injury to motorcyclists as in recent fatal San Jose motorcyclist death at McKee Road

Left-turning vehicles are a major cause of motorcycle accidents, as was the case on a fatal July 14, 2018 daytime collision between a motorcyclist and a Honda CRV at McKee Road and Challenger Avenue in East San Jose.  In my experience as a motorcycle accident lawyer, automobiles way too often negligently fail to notice or yield to oncoming motorcyclists.

A Primary Cause of Injury and Death to Pedestrians and Bicyclists Traveling on Sidewalks is Vehicles Exiting Parking Lots and Driveways

One of the primary ways in which pedestrians and bicyclists traveling on sidewalks are injured or killed is by motor vehicles exiting parking lots or driveways. A recent example is the Bay Area case of an 84-year-old woman killed by a vehicle exiting a parking lot on W. El Camino Real in Sunnyvale. Based upon my experience as a pedestrian and bicycle accident lawyer, it appears that the most common way this occurs is when the pedestrian or bicyclist is traveling on the sidewalk in the opposite direction that the cars on the adjacent road are traveling.

Because the driver of the vehicle exiting the parking lot is most concerned with entering the traffic traveling in the direction the driver wishes to go, the driver quite often neglects to look for potential sidewalk traffic coming from the opposite direction. Sometimes contributing to the failure of the driver to notice pedestrians and bicyclists is the presence of things which obstruct the driver’s vision such as hedges, walls or commercial signs. Pedestrians and bicyclists injured in such collisions often report that they mistakenly believed that the driver acknowledged or noticed them before driving into them or across their path. While drivers under these circumstances are almost always held to be negligent, it would appear to be safe practice for pedestrians and bicyclists to be aware of this potential driver behavior when approaching driveways and exits.