In the Case of a Car Accident, What Makes Someone a Credible Witness?

Things can get tricky when there’s a dispute over who’s at fault in a car accident. Witness testimony supports your claims and makes a significant difference in a car accident suit. Insurance companies often attack a witness’ credibility to avoid paying damages. You must ensure that the witness is actually “credible” if you want to get good testimony for your car accident case.

When an accident leaves you injured, please don’t wait until it’s too late to file for compensation. Most states have a statute of limitations to file a personal injury lawsuit. California has a two-year statute of limitations for such cases, which means you have two years to file from the date of initial injury (the accident). Daniel H. Rose Law Office offers complimentary consultations to those seeking legal assistance for personal injury following a car accident.

Factors Affecting Witness Credibility in Car Accident Claims

It may often be easier for the defense to cast doubt on the credibility of a witness rather than establish it. In light of that, below is a list of some attributes that make for a credible witness.

  • Criminal History and Moral Compass: A vital attribute of a credible witness is someone of sound moral character and a clean criminal record
  • Impartiality: A credible witness should be someone who is ideally neither a relative nor a friend nor in a relationship of an intimate nature with the plaintiff such as a girlfriend or boyfriend. Witnesses should be unbiased, free from personal profits (based on case outcome), and neutral (in terms of bias) in their testimony. Witnesses who are friends or family members have personal relationships with an individual involved in the accident or may stand to gain by the outcome of the case are unlikely to support your claim effectively. Also, there should be no indication that the witness has a particular opinion about any parties involved in the accident.
  • Clear Headedness: The eyewitness should not have been in any way impaired by alcohol or drugs at the time of witnessing the accident.
  • Physically Fit: The most apparent physical capability a witness should possess is a clear vision, but eyesight is not the only ability. As well as unobstructed vision, witnesses must also have a good memory and good hearing. In the case of a witness wearing glasses, contacts, or hearing aids, the use of those items needs to be established at the time the witness observed the accident.
  • Mental Capability: If an eyewitness suffers from a mental health issue, memory loss, or cognitive impairment, or is easily confused or disoriented, they are unlikely to be a credible eyewitness. The human mind can fail under any circumstance, and those with a psychological or mental impairment may be less likely to observe or recall a scene accurately. They may be easily discredited in court.
  • Not Speculative: The witness should not add additional remarks of inference to the parties involved in the accident. Witnesses need to keep their accounts as authentic and accurate as possible. Witnesses should make statements based on factual and observable evidence.

Having a non-credible witness can damage your case more than benefit it. Your car accident attorney may recommend avoiding their testimony altogether in some situations.

Increase Your Chances of Successful Litigation and a Favorable Outcome

As the goal of most insurance companies is to protect their capital, they may work against your best interests, which is why it may not be favorable to fight alone for complete and just compensation.

Whether you have recently been in a car wreck, are struggling to establish fault, are unsure of how to select a credible witness, or just want to ensure you get fair compensation, consulting with an experienced car accident attorney may be your best option.

Moreover, if you have been injured in a collision, your case can be even more complex and exhausting, which is why you should work with an experienced legal team. Contact the Daniel H. Rose Law Offices for a complimentary consultation today and get started on the road to total compensation.

What Happens if Someone Dies in a Car Accident?

Unless you’ve lost a loved one in a car wreck, you can never fully grasp the shock, sorrow, and overwhelming feelings that accompany such a tragedy. After experiencing this traumatic, life-altering experience, you may wonder how to cope and what steps are next. At the law offices of Dan Rose, we provide compassionate and experienced legal assistance to individuals and families affected by fatal car accidents. Oftentimes, a death in the family due to a car accident can be emotionally debilitating and financially destructive.

In the event a loved one perishes in a wrongful car accident death caused by another person’s recklessness and negligence, an experienced attorney can help you seek compensation from the at-fault party to cover expenses like funeral costs, preserve the family’s financial stability, and give your family some peace of mind.

What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

You may not be immediately contemplating finances after the death of a loved one, as in many circumstances, funeral and burial insurance are already in place to cover related expenses.

Although if a loved one is killed due to someone else’s negligence, the family really shouldn’t have to bear any of the costs like medical bills and funeral expenses.

You may wonder, “Can I receive compensation?” in the event a loved one has passed away due to a fatal collision.

In California, wrongful death is defined as a death resulting from the negligence of another individual or entity. Cases of wrongful death are civil in nature, and therefore, they are adjudicated (or processed) separately from any criminal charges. In these cases of vehicular manslaughter (due to drunk driving, for example), the criminal case is pursued independently from the wrongful death civil suit. Under just circumstances, guilty parties can be held criminally and civilly liable for the same incident.

Be aware that criminal charges do not have to be brought against the negligent party in a wrongful death case for the family to be eligible to pursue a wrongful death case. There are many possible circumstances for wrongful death claims, but auto accidents are the most common source of civil litigation of this sort.

Who Can Seek and Claim Compensation for a Loved One’s Death in a Car Accident?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute, California was at the top of the list for the greatest number of fatal crashes for 2019. In the vast majority of cases, the surviving spouse, domestic partner, or child is the only heir. Even if the deceased did not have a spouse, domestic partner, or children, their parents or siblings might be eligible to file a claim as well as inherit property (if there is no spouse or domestic partner to claim it). Stepchildren may also be eligible to file a wrongful death claim, children of putative spouses, putative spouses, and parents.

What Kind of Damages Can You Recover?

If you file a wrongful death lawsuit, surviving family members (and individuals discussed above) may be entitled to certain financial damages.

Potential damages resulting from the wrongful death of a loved one may be:

  • Maintaining the family’s finances and the loss of help completing household chores and services the deceased may have
  • Each claimant’s expected loss of financial support
  • The individual’s death causes an absence of affection and emotional support, resulting in emotional duress, pain, and suffering for the claimant(s).
  • Individual expenses due to a loved one’s death, such as funeral costs

Note: death claims differ from claims by a deceased person’s estate; however, both types of claims may exist simultaneously according to the circumstances.

Is there a Statute of Limitations?

When a loved one dies suddenly, the grieving process takes precedence. When you’re mourning the loss of a loved one, it is understandably jarring and difficult to consider taking legal action; however, the statute of limitations does exist. California has a statute of limitations to sue (or be sued), which is two years from the date of injury or death. A wrongful death claim’s success may often be dependent on obtaining skilled and professional representation. You are entitled to total and just compensation, but it can take years to pursue a claim. Bearing in mind how complex these cases can be, it is critical to consult with a skilled and trusted attorney after the wrongful death of a loved one. Take advantage of a complimentary consultation today with an experienced attorney at The Dan Rose Law Offices.

Construction Zone Car Accidents Happen More Often Than You May Think

Encountering a construction zone during your highway travels is a common occurrence for most drivers in the US.

However, navigating past the seas of orange cones, reflective tape, heavy equipment, sudden lane changes, and around the unexpected construction site can not only delay your ETA (estimated time of arrival), cause traffic, ignite road rage in some drivers, but also be life-threatening and potentially lethal.

Roads that endure heavy traffic require a lot of maintenance including widening, repairs, and repaving. As a result, US roads are often clogged with road work, creating confusion and frustration.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that from 1982 to 2019, 28,636 people (nearly 800 per year) lost their lives in construction zone collisions.

Fatal accidents involving road construction

Between 2015-2019, The US lost an average of 782 lives due to accidents in maintenance and construction zones.

Most fatalities in construction zones involve drivers or passengers in non-construction vehicles.

What Causes Accidents that Occur in Construction Zones?

For drivers who do not notice the change or do not adapt accordingly, a reduction in lanes may result in collisions. Lane narrowings can also cause vehicles to scrape against one another (sideswipes) when drivers ignore external factors.

There are many causalities behind accidents in construction zones, including distracted drivers, speeding, not paying attention to signage, tailgating, or aggressive drivers.

Aside from other drivers and driving circumstances, many other elements in roadway construction sites can lead to collisions. Aside from other drivers and compelling driving circumstances, many other aspects in roadway construction sites can lead to crashes.

Construction zones may be missing cones or barriers, have inaccurate signs, misleading or missing signs, road signs blocked by shrubs, and other obstacles. Additionally, an absence of a speed warning sign, insufficient lighting, neglectfully placed or misplaced construction machinery and equipment can lead to major car collisions in a roadway construction zone.

Construction Zone Driving: How to Be Safe

  • Stay alert and minimize what distractions you can
  • Always make dedicating your full attention to the roadway a priority. Avoid superficial distractions such as changing the radio station, using a mobile phone, eating snacks, and anything else that may divert your attention from the road.
  • When merging into lanes, do it safely and correctly, avoiding sudden unplanned movements. Switching lanes well before you reach a lane closure (or even an intended exit during regular driving) can save your life and the lives of others. When traveling through construction zones, traffic patterns can change from week to week and sometimes even daily.
  • Be patient, don’t let your emotions get the best of you (stress or anger). It helps to keep in mind that construction sites will result in future improvements to your commute once completed.
  • Be on the lookout for flaggers hired to give instructions and indicate which lanes to use or how to go around a moving piece of machinery in a construction or work zone.
  • Educate yourself on commonly used signage and construction zone safety.

If you’ve been in a construction zone accident

Follow the usual steps following an accident like calling the police, putting on your hazard lights, and moving yourself and your vehicle to safety in the vicinity of the accident whenever possible; this is particularly important in construction site accidents on busy, congested roadways.
Additionally, always seek medical attention after a collision, regardless of how you feel in the moment. Some injuries from accidents can take days to surface, so it’s essential to start the process as soon as possible and get thoroughly checked out by a medical provider.

Construction Zone Car Accident Attorneys

Aside from taking these fundamental but critical measures, reaching out to a lawyer for help can be crucial in recovering damages and getting full and just compensation following a car accident.

It may be wise to hire an experienced attorney specialized in representing car accident victims injured by hazardous road conditions. An accident in a work zone may entitle you to compensation if you suffer an injury. Construction companies, government entities responsible for the project, and other drivers may all be liable for damages caused by negligence.

After an accident, it’s best not to procrastinate, whether it’s filing a police report, contacting your insurance company, or getting in touch with a knowledgeable attorney. The law office of Daniel H. Rose offers a free consultation where you seek guidance in determining what actions may be best to take next and which legal options are available to you.

Car Accident Injury While Visiting California

People across the country and all over the world come to see California’s beautiful and scenic sights. Whether traveling to ski in Northern California’s Sierra snow (perhaps in Mammoth Mountain), take a trip through beautiful Southern California down the Pacific Coast Highway, or come for business, millions of people visit the Golden State each year.

Yes, most visitors get to enjoy their trips to California. Unfortunately, an unexpected and injury-inducing car accident can quickly deflate a happy romantic honeymoon in Santa Barbara, put a damper on a full plate of business meetings in L.A. or San Francisco, or ruin a family reunion in Big Bear.

What to do if you’ve been in an accident during your California vacation?

An out-of-state accident can feel overwhelming as you are out of your element in many ways; however, the basic actions you should take still apply. You should always call the police and report the accident. Make sure to call 911 if anyone involved in the crash is seriously injured.

Next, take photos of the other car as well as any damage to your vehicle (or rental car). If you’re able to collect the contact information of all parties involved in the accident; however, if you are not able to, this is the officer’s job on the scene, including obtaining everyone’s insurance information for the police report. Next, (if able) look for any eyewitnesses and get their contact information and take down notes of any details they recollect.

Next, notify your insurance company, but try not to worry about this too much. They will have the information from the police report, but a heads up can’t hurt, especially if you’re out of state or using a rental car and have additional insurance.

Should you get checked out by a medical professional or contact a law firm?

You should always go to the hospital or an urgent care following an accident to be checked out by a medical professional, even if you feel fine momentarily after the accident. Adrenaline can mask something like whiplash or a back injury and other hormones released from the stress and impact of the unexpected collision. It’s best not to wait and see in these cases and are on the side of caution.

Lastly, but particularly if you have suffered any injury (specifically a more serious one), it’s critical to contact an experienced and reputable  car accident attorney licensed in California. They can effectively manage your case (especially if you are not physically able), collect and highlight any evidence, interview potential witnesses, and review details with the insurance companies. As you aren’t local in this situation, it’s essential to have someone protecting your rights on your behalf who is.

Whether you are staying for an extended visit in California, unfortunately, stuck in the hospital, or have to travel back home, an attorney can also alleviate some of the stress associated with dealing with an out-of-state accident.

Note: California has a statute of limitations on accidents, and that clock starts ticking from the day the accident occurred — so do not hesitate to act.

Most Dangerous Times to Drive in San Francisco

San Francisco has some of the most saturated traffic in the nation. According to the 2021 Urban Mobility Report, The San Francisco Bay Area has the fourth overall worst traffic and fourth-highest excess fuel consumption due to congestion in the nation (and both numbers rose from 2019 to 2020).

If you’re one of the many drivers in the area, then you may be wondering what you can do to avoid these statistics. Interestingly, there are days and times where accidents and traffic congestion are more likely to occur.

What can make driving turn deadly?

Typically, the risk of collision is greater when driving during the heaviest hours of congestion when commuters flood the freeway to get home from work. Usually, to make matters worse, these drivers are in a rush! Add potential drunk drivers or drivers under the influence of illegal drugs into the commotion of a heavily trafficked freeway, the risk for a severe accident is even higher. These drivers are out on the freeways in droves during Friday evening’s rush hour.

The best way to protect yourself and your passengers from a terrible wreck (even a potentially fatal one) is by being aware of the risks, surroundings, and data to make smarter driving time decisions.

For example, San Francisco-Oakland, California, is fifth in the nation as of 2020 for excess truck travel time and congestion. It’s horrible to be on a packed freeway, let alone with massive 18- wheelers surrounding your sedan or minivan.

How Many Accidents Occur in the Bay Area?

Although in 2020 reports, the Bay Area saw a dip in the number of crashes, this was most likely due to fewer Californians commuting to work as many workers went remote. Additionally, Covid-19 related lockdowns were prevalent in much of the state for long stints, which also impacted traffic, so 2021 numbers may reflect much higher. According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), traffic deaths were up by 7% across the country despite, on average, 13% less congestion in 2020. Nevertheless, the Bay Area’s statistics are still staggering compared to other portions of the U.S.

Vision Zero is a city policy implemented back in 2014 in San Francisco to eliminate traffic deaths on the city’s roads by 2024. Unfortunately, the number of traffic fatalities grew from the prior year. In 2020, 30 deaths in San Francisco city limits were traffic fatalities. Of course, this does not include the entire Bay Area. Oakland’s traffic deaths spiked in 2020 by nearly 60%, and more than 20,000 people were injured in San Francisco traffic-related accidents in 2020.

What is the deadliest time of day on the road in San Francisco?

According to the City of San Francisco’s definition, the morning peak period of road congestion is 7-9 a.m., and evening peak is 4:30-6:30 p.m. During these times of day, be sure your eyes are on the road and you are not distracted by your phone or loved one in the car with you. Pay attention to traffic and speed laws, pedestrian traffic, red lights, stop signs, and yielding  —which all happen to be the city’s top five things to focus on while driving but are the leading five causes of collisions.

What to do if you’ve been injured in a California vehicle collision?

First, call the police and file a report. It’s not always easy gathering insurance and contact information after an accident, especially if you’re injured or it’s a multi-car crash. To make matters more complex, we live in a world where rideshare drivers often are speeding to pick up a fare and are involved in accidents. Everyone’s anxiety also seems to be higher in a pandemic world, and with a battered economy, some drivers may be cruising around without insurance, registration, or a valid license.

In some of the worst instances, you may be dealing with an intoxicated driver, making matters more dangerous and complicated. The police will gather everyone’s information carefully and efficiently.

Next, always get checked out at the hospital even if you feel fine, as the signs of whiplash, for example, don’t always show up instantly. Plus, the anxiety of an accident can mask symptoms and pain of injuries you may not be aware you’ve obtained.

Lastly, but just as essential as the above, it’s wise to contact an experienced and trusted California Bay Area car accident attorney. A knowledgeable attorney will ensure you know all of your rights and collect any damages you may be entitled to receive.

When You’re Injured in an Accident Caused by a High Driver

According to The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), the higher on drugs one is, the more significant risks they take while driving. A 2018 report revealed, 42% of all drivers killed in collisions (who had been tested) tested positive for legal or illegal drugs, and the percentage has increased in each following year of data.

OTS, California law enforcement, federal agencies, and the cannabis and pharmaceutical industry representatives are all concerned and wish to bring greater awareness to the public, particularly drivers who take prescribed drugs and those using illegal ones. Bringing awareness and potentially more reform could prevent even more significant loss of life due to these severe issues in the future.

California’s Proposition 64 doesn’t negate your right to safety

First, despite California’s Proposition 64 (The Adult Use of Marijuana Act (of 2016), which made it legal for people 21 and older to use and grow marijuana for personal use, drivers still have rights and laws of the road in place to protect them in the event of a collision with a high driver.

Although using marijuana is permitted in private residences or at a business licensed for the on-site consumption of marijuana, using marijuana while driving a motor vehicle remains illegal, anywhere that prohibits smoking tobacco, and in all public spaces.

California’s drunk and drugged driving law applies to over-the-counter medications that make a motorist sleepy and now legal drugs like marijuana. The use of marijuana, therefore, is not permitted in a car, drivers cannot drive with THC in their system, and it may not be out in the open in a vehicle.

How to prove a driver was driving while high?

Testing a driver for THC isn’t simple or very straightforward (at the moment). A recent state report from The California Highway Patrol’s Impaired Driving Task Force recommends several changes to test and track California drivers impaired by marijuana and other drugs more efficiently. For now, officers have to mainly rely on monitoring a driver’s actions for symptoms of marijuana use. An officer can observe a driver’s pupils for reactions and dilation. Marijuana affects a part of the brain that controls movement, stability, and coordination, and can diminish perception and memory. Officers can check for tremors in eyelids and the body. If marijuana use is suspected, only a blood test can verify the presence of THC and its levels, but this is time-sensitive, as the level of THC reduces by a whopping 75% within only one hour.

But what if a high or stoned driver has already injured you?

A driver arrested for DUI will have their driver’s license suspended and sometimes revoked. The court ruling may not only fine the driver but require jail time.

If a driver caused a crash while high, the driver’s car insurance would pay for medical bills, lost wages, car repairs/replacement, and other expenses caused during the collision. If the driver at fault doesn’t have insurance, your insurance’s underinsured and uninsured coverage will kick in.

Your rights and options after a crash with a high driver

First, call the police immediately. It is vital to make sure the police come to the crash scene as your insurance company will need an accident report and the driver’s insurance and contact information. In the event the other driver is found to be high or stoned, your insurance company will go after that driver’s insurance to get you compensation for expenses related to the crash.

If possible, make sure to take pictures of the high driver’s car and VIN, as well as any damage to your vehicle.

Next, it is wise to reach out to an attorney right away following a crash with a high or stoned driver as again testing is tricky, and you will want as much expertise on your side as possible to make sure you get total compensation.

An experienced and knowledgeable car accident attorney can ensure that you receive complete compensation for pain, suffering, lost wages (if you are out of work for any length of time), medical bills, prescriptions, therapy, and all other applicable damages.

Additionally, if the insurance settlement offer isn’t enough to cover your expenses, a personal injury attorney can aid you in filing a lawsuit.

Do not feel you don’t have ground to stand on with a stoned driver — you do but keep in mind that aspects of these cases can be time-sensitive and it is in your best interests to consult with an attorney.

California’s Dangerous Rural Roads

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that while the pandemic caused Americans to drive less in 2020, statistics show increased crash fatalities. The NHTSA also found that accidents in California occur at higher percentages than in other states.

Many of California’s car accidents happen on rural roadways and there are many reasons why these roads are dangerous. Below are some of the hazards of rural road conditions. If you take these roads, it’s essential to know this information because it will help you seek damages if you are injured.

Rural Road Dangers

City streets pose inherent dangers. The sheer amount of distractions – cyclists, pedestrians, and cars switching lanes – can contribute to car accidents. Rural roads, although not as populated, pose their own dangers.

  • Decreased Law Enforcement Presence – Some drivers may feel encouraged to speed or drive more recklessly than usual if they know the police won’t stop them.
  • Decreased Visibility – A driver’s visibility is reduced because there aren’t many streetlights. Natural conditions such as fog or dirt can also lower visibility which increases the risk for collisions.
  • Poor Road Maintenance – Rural roads present different challenges for vehicles. There may be more potholes and cracks that a driver must avoid. Road signs may also be missing, increasing the chances that a driver might stop short, reverse when they aren’t supposed to, or make quick turns.
  • Spotty Cell Phone Service – Cell phone coverage is not as strong in rural areas. That means that contacting help in the event of an emergency could be trying.
  • Longer Emergency Response Time – If you successfully contact emergency services, there may be a longer wait time for help to arrive. These rural roads can be far from populated centers, which increases the length of time emergency vehicles need to drive. Plus, low visibility and other factors may also increase travel times.

With all these aspects of rural road dangers, negligent drivers put themselves and others at risk. Some common causes of rural accidents include:

  • Speeding – More people tend to speed on rural roads due to the lack of law enforcement and posted speed limit signs. This can be dangerous as drivers may not be prepared for sharp turns that require them to slow down.
  • Reckless driving – Reckless driving is hazardous on narrow rural roads, many of which lack shoulders or guardrails and have unpredictable curves.
  • Driving While Intoxicated – Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs slows response times.
  • Debris – Rural roads have more cracks and potholes than city streets. There can be tree limbs, trash, and other objects on the road that haven’t been cleared.
  • Bad weather – Rain, wind, fog, and ice all contribute to hazardous driving conditions. Recent wildfires have also created heavy smoke that can impact driving conditions.

Contact an Experienced Attorney

An experienced auto accident attorney like Dan Rose Law can help if you’ve been involved in a rural car accident. You can contact our attorneys at 415-946-8900 or at Dan Rose Law to schedule a free consultation.

Are Insurance Rates Affected in All Types of Car Accidents?

After safety, the first thought that comes after a car accident is, “Will my insurance go up?” Sometimes, this thought may even alter the way a driver handles the situation. They may opt to not get the police involved for fear that their insurance might go up.

Accidents don’t always require two moving cars to collide. Statistics from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration show a third of collisions are caused from behind. These typically happen when a car runs into another already car stopped at a red light. Drivers also collide with stationary objects, like stop signs and parked cars.

The good news? Not all accidents will make insurance premiums rise. Insurance companies only raise premiums for what they deem “chargeable” accidents.

Chargeable Accident Defined.

In California, only chargeable accidents can lead to higher insurance premiums. A chargeable accident is when a driver is more than 50% at fault. The accident also had to cause:

  • Property damage. This can include damage to another vehicle, fence, or garage.
  • Bodily injury or death

Not All Accidents Are Chargeable

Since chargeable accidents are where the driver is more than 50% at fault, non-chargeable accidents mean the insured person was not to blame. In a non-chargeable accident, your insurance rates will not go up.

Some examples of non-chargeable accidents include:

  • A legally parked car that suffered damage
  • Stopped at a red light and rear-ended while not moving

Proof of Fault

An auto insurance company may require proof that the accident was not your fault, and therefore, not chargeable.

The following documents will be helpful to prove that the accident is not chargeable. It’s always a best practice to thoroughly read through any report or writing you intend to submit as proof. You should make sure that any information submitted correctly describes the accident.

  • Police reports. At times, the information may include the party at fault.
  • If there is a statement from the other driver admitting guilt, this should be submitted.
  • Written proof of the other driver’s insurance company accepting responsibility
  • Receipts or documents showing that you were reimbursed for damages

Can My Insurance Company Find Out About the Car Accident?

An auto insurance company will look at the motor vehicle record (MVR) when a driver applies for a new policy and t renewal times. A motor vehicle record will include accidents reported to the state.

In California, an accident must be reported to the DMV if a person is killed, harmed, or property damage is more than $1,000. The accident must also be reported within 10 days of when it occurred.

Auto Insurance Surcharges

A surcharge is defined as an increase in your insurance coverage after a chargeable accident. An auto insurer cannot start a surcharge mid-policy. They must wait until renewal.

Besides chargeable accidents, other variables can impose an insurance surcharge. These include moving violations and chargeable incidents.

Chargeable Incidents

A chargeable incident is a moving violation. Examples include speeding, leaving the scene of an accident, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Chargeable accidents and incidents can both cause insurance rates to increase for 3-to-5 years. The period will depend on whether there are subsequent chargeable accidents or incidents.

Contact an Experienced Attorney

If you have been the victim of a car accident and you’ve been surcharged, you will need a San Francisco auto accident lawyer to defend you. Call us at 415-946-8900 or at Dan Rose Law to schedule a free consultation.

 

Teach Your Teens What to Do When a Car Crash Happens

After years of protecting your children from danger, you now face one of the most dangerous activities: driving. Car crashes are the second leading cause of death for those between 5 and 29 years of age. In 2019, there were 36,096 motor vehicle fatalities. While the number of car crashes decreased in 2020, drivers under 20 are three times more likely to have a car accident. Statistics show that within their first year of driving, 1 in 4 teens will have an accident. Below are ways you can prepare your child if a car crash happens.

  1. Stay Calm

Speaking to your children about the range of emotions after a car crash is helpful.  Teen drivers, like adults, can feel shocked and guilty. They might think about whether their parents will be upset and whether the other driver is hurt. This may bring fear, nervousness, and even anger.

As parents, you can coach your teen children into awareness that these are normal feelings. Exercises like taking deep breaths in and out, or counting to 10 can help calm them down to face the situation. The calmer they remain, the better able they will be to handle the aftermath of a car accident.

  1. Call Home

Your teen should call home immediately. If your teen driver is crying and upset, as the parent, you can provide emotional support. The parent can also remind the teen child of what they should do if nerves and anxiousness make them forget.

Calling home also allows the parent time to get to the accident scene and act as a buffer. That way, the teen driver can get a better sense of how to handle the situation. This is important mainly because the adult parent will help with insurance claims after the accident.

  1. Call the Police

You should instruct your teen driver to call the police. They should check with everyone inside their car to see if anyone has sustained any injuries. This information can be given to the police to request emergency assistance. Usually, the dispatcher will ask the following questions:

  • The dispatcher will ask for the name and phone number of the person calling. This is necessary in case the authorities need to get in touch.
  • The dispatcher will need to know the severity of the accident. They will ask questions such as whether there is a fire, traffic hazard, and a need for medical assistance.
  • The dispatcher will need to know the precise location of the accident. Mile markers can help, in addition to the direction of travel (northbound, southbound, etc.), the name of the city or the road.

Even if there are no injuries, there may be times when it is advisable to still call the police. If there is a lot of damage to the vehicle, a police report can be beneficial for insurance purposes. The report will detail what the officer saw, statements from the drivers, and witness reports.

  1. Do Not Admit Fault

Cooperating with police during the aftermath of a car accident is essential. However, your teen driver should not admit fault. Liability is determined through investigations such as speaking with witnesses, photographs, and sometimes damage to the cars. Admitting liability or fault can complicate insurance claims and potential personal injury suits.

5. Exchange Driver Information

Requesting to exchange information with the other driver is important. You should advise your teen to take a picture with their phone of the other driver’s insurance card and driver’s license. If the other driver refuses, then your teen driver can at least write down the car’s make and model and the license plate.

It is a scary situation if your teen driver has been involved in a car accident. Consulting with a Bay Area car accident lawyer at the Dan Rose Law Firm can help you assess damages to make the right decisions for you and your family.

Consequences in San Francisco of Cell Phone Use While Driving

As smartphones get more innovative and connectivity to emails, text messages, and video messages increases, our screen time increases. Unfortunately, many drivers still lack the restraint needed to put their phones down and just drive. Using a cell phone while driving has contributed to a rise in car accidents in the San Francisco area.

To keep drivers safer, California has many laws restricting the use of cell phones.

CALIFORNIA’S LAWS ABOUT CELL PHONES AND DRIVING

California has two different laws about cell phones and driving. One covers the use of speaking on a cell phone without a hands-free device. The other, referred to as distracted driving, covers the use of text messages while driving.

California law prohibits all motorists from using a cellphone while driving unless it is a hands-free device. California Vehicle Code 23123 states that:

“A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking and is used in that manner while driving.”

There are four exceptions. These include drivers calling to report an emergency, cell phone use on private property, bus drivers, or emergency service personal operating an authorized emergency vehicle.

In San Francisco, if a driver is caught talking on a handheld device, they are breaking the law. Drivers must use an earpiece, speakerphone, Bluetooth device, or other hands-free device to speak on their mobile phone.

California’s distracted driving laws prohibit texting while driving. California Vehicle Code 23123.5 states that:

“A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while holding and operating a handheld wireless telephone or an electronic wireless communications device unless the wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device is specifically designed and configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation, and it is used in that manner while driving.”

Electronic wireless communications devices are defined as a broadband personal communication device, a handheld device or laptop computer, and a pager.

Text message while driving is illegal. It is also illegal to use other cellphone features, including web browsing and GPS, while driving.

CONSEQUENCES OF USING YOUR CELL PHONE

California’s cellphone and distracted driving laws are “primary” offenses. That means that a law enforcement officer can stop your vehicle if you talk or text on your smartphone.

If you are stopped for using a cellphone while driving, you can be fined up to a $20 base fine for your first violation. The second offense is a $50 base fine. However, the amount you may pay will be higher based on assessments.

You also risk points on your license for talking on a cellphone. For violations that occurred on or after July 1, 2021, the DMV will assess one point for repeat offenders. However, the current violation had to be within 36 months of a prior conviction.

Violating California’s district driving laws is an infraction. If convicted, a motorist faces a $20 base fine for the first offense and a $50 base fine for the second. If the distracted driving violation happened within 36 months of a previous one, it would also result in one point.

A police officer cannot stop an underage driver for talking or texting. But, if the minor is pulled over for a legitimate reason, such as speeding, they could be given a citation for violating the hands-free law or for distracted driving. If you have any questions about San Fransico’s cellphone or distracted driving laws, contact our car accident attorneys at the Law Office of Daniel H. Rose