Category Archives: Car Accidents

How to be Compensated for Your Injuries as a Passenger in a Vehicle

If you have been injured while riding in someone else’s car, you are likely facing many of the same challenges as the driver, with the added difficulty of knowing how to navigate compensation for your injuries when the vehicle you were riding in was not yours.

Can you file a claim through the insurance of the driver? Can you initiate a claim through your own insurance? What if you were riding in an Uber or Lyft when you were injured? You may have a lot of questions following your accident and more confusion than answers.

In this article, we will explore these issues to help you move forward and collect the compensation you deserve.

Can you file a claim through the insurance of the driver?

Yes. As an individual who was injured in the vehicle of an insured driver, you can file a claim for damages through the driver’s motor vehicle insurance company. These damages may include your past medical bills, future medical bills, and lost wages from time off from work. If your injuries were significant, these damages may also include compensation for temporary or permanent disability, loss of earning capacity if you are no longer able to physically work at your job, and pain and suffering.

Can you initiate a claim through your own insurance?

If you are finding it difficult to file a claim through the motor vehicle insurance of the driver, you can also file a claim for compensation through your own insurance company. Typically, your insurance company will demand payment from the insurance company of one of the drivers involved in the accident on your behalf. They may also try to resist dealing with your claim altogether. If your insurance company does pay you for the claim, your compensation will likely be reduced by the amount of your deductible.

What if you were riding in an Uber or Lyft when you were injured?

Being injured as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft ridesharing vehicle presents its own set of unique questions and challenges. In these cases, there may be more than one party you can seek relief from including the driver of the Uber or Lyft vehicle, as well as the companies themselves.

Contact an Experienced Injury Attorney Today

If you have been injured as a passenger in someone else’s vehicle, the path to and challenges involved with recovering compensation for your damages may be different, but you are still entitled to be made whole by the individual who was negligent in causing the accident, whether that individual was the driver of the vehicle you were riding in or the driver of another vehicle.

Our team of highly skilled and experienced personal injury attorneys can help you navigate all of your options and pursue the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means that you will not owe any legal fees out of pocket, and we only get paid if you win your case in a settlement or court judgment.

For more information and to schedule a complimentary consultation of your case contact Dan Rose Law today.

Bay Area Accidents Due to Aggressive Drivers

Aggressive driving, also referred to as reckless driving, is more prevalent in the Bay Area than one may assume. According to The UC Berkeley Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS), the rate of fatal and severe crashes has reflected a notable increase. Overall, the U.S. has been experiencing an intense spike in traffic fatalities and serious injuries related to aggressive driving.

In a statement from The U.S. Division of Transportation (DOT), on May 16, 2022, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg expressed grave concerns and stressed the need for an urgent response to a “national crisis of fatalities and serious injuries on our road.”

Description and Examples of Aggressive Driving

Aggressive driving is often associated with rush-hour car wrecks; however, it may occur in residential neighborhoods just as frequently and result in harmful and sometimes lethal outcomes.

Aggressive manifestations may include, but are not limited to:

  •   Excessive speeding
  •   Failure to obey traffic signals (red light accidents)
  •   Failure to honor street signs
  •   Tailgating
  •   Weaving in and out of lanes
  •   Cutting off drivers (often without signaling)
  •   Driving illegally on shoulders or driving on sidewalks
  •   Passing or attempting to pass vehicles in no-passing zones
  •   Failure to signal turns or lane changes
  •   Aggressive left turns
  •   Erratic lane changing
  •   Ignoring drivers or the signaling of others
  •   Driving in bike lanes or intimidating cyclists
  •   Disregarding “right of way”
  •   Exerting personal frustration on motorists
  •   Intentionally creating a hazardous merging situation
  •   Swerving (often repeatedly)
  •   Intimidation through aggressive acts or gestures
  •   Purposefully misusing auto horn to annoy, startle, or distract motorists
  •   Deliberately endangering motorcyclists

Dangerous Left Turns in the Bay Area

Being the fourth most congested city makes driving in San Francisco all the more dangerous. An increase in motorists on the roads translates to higher volumes of aggressive drivers and thus reduced time to safely maneuver challenging left turns. The results are difficult driving conditions, dangers to pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers, and ultimately, an increased risk for collisions, injuries, and fatalities.

Note: Research published by The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) in conjunction with The Vision Zero initiative discovered that nearly 40% of all traffic fatalities in San Francisco involved a left-turning vehicle. Stressful situations such as left turns in high traffic congestion can aggravate aggressive drivers and increase the likelihood of reckless driving.

Consequences of Aggressive Driving

In many cases, reckless driving offenses are attached to more severe charges like driving under the influence (DUI), hit-and-runs, street racing (illegal drag racing), and even vehicular manslaughter.

As part of California Vehicle Code Section 12810(b,c), the California Department of Motor Vehicles can impose two points on a driving record for reckless driving convictions. A reckless driving conviction may result in other costs, such as your insurance company raising your premiums or canceling your coverage altogether.

A reckless driving offense is considered a misdemeanor in California. Section 23103 of the California Vehicle Code defines the offense as driving “a vehicle upon a highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.”

One can commit the act of reckless driving on a public road or in an off-street parking facility.

The consequences of such an offense under California Code Section 23103(c) are “persons convicted of the offense of reckless driving shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than five days nor more than 90 days or by a fine of not less than one $145 nor more than $1,000, or by both that fine and imprisonment.”

However, additional circumstances may lead to increased charges, including “wet” reckless driving (DUI and reckless driving) and even vehicular manslaughter.

Recommendations to consider if you come across an aggressive driver:

  •   Try to (safely) stay out of or leave the path of the aggressive driver.
  •   Avoid eye contact with the aggressive driver.
  •   Do not respond to or return gestures from an aggressive driver.
  •   Keep calm and avoid interactions with the aggressive driver.
  •   Ensure doors and windows are shut and locked
  •   Provide adequate room between yourself and the car ahead of you, whether at a red light or in stop-and-go traffic, or to pull out if needed.
  •   Call 911 over safety concerns for yourself and other drivers.

When an aggressive driver causes an injury or accident

In the event of an accident or injury caused by a reckless driver, you should contact an experienced San Francisco Bay area accident and injury attorney. You have the right to hold a driver responsible for injuries suffered due to an aggressive driver or related-wrongful death.

California Car Accident Laws

If you’ve just been involved in a car accident in California and experienced injuries and/or property damage, you want to be made whole again by the person responsible for your injuries. You may be wondering how much compensation you may be entitled to or how to navigate negotiations with the insurance company.

 In this article, we will explore some important elements you should know about California car accident law and how they might affect you.

 1.    California is an at-fault state.

If you are injured in an accident caused by someone else in California, you may be glad to learn that California is an at-fault state, which means that determining which party was negligent in causing the accident is relevant in the insurance claim process.

 Other states like New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and others are no-fault states, which can make it much more complicated in some instances for car accident victims to reach full compensation in a timely manner.

 As California is an at-fault state, the most important part in recovering compensation for your injuries, lost wages, and property damage is establishing the other party’s negligence.

 As the claimant or plaintiff, you have the burden of proving the other party’s negligence by a preponderance of the evidence or that it is more likely than not that they negligently caused your injuries. In some limited circumstances, if you are seeking punitive damages, this standard will be higher, and you will be required to show clear and convincing evidence of the other party’s negligence.

 Let’s take a closer look at the four elements of a negligence claim:

 The driver had a duty to operate their motor vehicle as a reasonably prudent person under the circumstances.

  • The driver failed to operate their motor vehicle as a reasonably prudent person under the circumstances.
  • This failure was the actual cause of the accident.
  • The failure resulted in damages to the claimant/plaintiff.

 The evidence available in your case must be substantial enough to prove that each of the above elements are more likely than not true.  If you are experiencing any difficulty in processing your claim through insurance or if there has been any question as to which party, if any, was at fault, you should consult with a California car accident attorney right away.

 2.    California follows a comparative negligence rule.

Under California law, you can recover damages from a party who was negligent in causing your injuries even if you were also negligent in the accident. However, the amount of compensation you receive will be reduced by your percentage of contribution to causing the accident. This is a legal standard called “pure comparative negligence”.

 It is therefore important to not only establish the negligence of the other party, but also present a strong defense against your own contribution to causing the accident, if you are alleged to have acted negligently.

 3.    You must report certain car accidents to the California DMV.

If anyone involved in the motor vehicle accident was injured or killed, or if the total property damages amount to over $1,000, you must report the accident to the California Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days after the accident.

 An Advocate on Your Side

A Bay Area car accident lawyer can assist you if you have been injured in a California car accident due to the other driver’s negligence. By filing your claim with the guidance and experience of a San Francisco Bay Area personal injury attorney, you can significantly strengthen the likelihood of a positive outcome for your claim and in receiving complete compensation for your injuries and related damages.

 

California San Francisco Bay Area Car Accident Statistics

Every year, negligent and reckless drivers cause thousands of injuries and fatalities. Analyzing bay area car accident statistics can help you identify and learn about the most common causes behind collisions in the San Francisco Bay Area and across California. By educating yourself, you may be able to help avoid these collisions in the future and know what to do should you find yourself in an car crash in California. Additionally, a California auto accident caused by another party may entitle you to financial compensation. Let’s explore the stats, reasons behind accidents in the Golden State, and what to do if you have been involved in an accident.

During the pandemic, traffic deaths increased in the Bay Area.

Car accidents are the foremost cause of personal injury claims in the San Francisco Bay Area and the rest of California. Accident injuries can be painful, costly, and life-changing, whether caused by a minor fender bender or a multi-car pile-up. For the very unfortunate, car accidents can result in death.

Dan Rose car accident attorney - Weekly Fatal or Severe Injury crashes in the CA Bay Area 2019-2021

This graph shows the weekly fatal or severe injury crashes in the 6 bay area counties in the years 2019, 2020, and 2021. Data is provided by UC Berkeley TIMS (transportation injury mapping system).

Despite fewer drivers on the roads, fatalities in most of the region’s largest counties stayed steady or increased slightly in 2020. Contra Costa County, on the eastern side of the Bay Area, has seen traffic deaths climb from 77 to 102 throughout 2020, despite a nearly one-third drop in overall crashes, according to data collected by The San Francisco Chronicle.

2020 was a unique year in traffic and vehicle statistics as the pande

mic and its lockdowns greatly influenced them. The morning and evening high traffic peaks flattened in comparison to prior years. A sharp decline in minor car crashes was observed across all nine San Francisco Bay Area regions.

The state is experiencing a return of traffic, tickets, accidents, and congestion after a two-year hiatus caused by shutdowns, and unpredictable Covid-19 spikes, which are (for now) in the “rear-view mirror.” The return to pre-pandemic traffic volume is reflected in numerous sources of statistical data from 2020 and 2021.

For example, an interesting bay area car accident statistic, over 55,800 distracted driving tickets were issued by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) in 2021.

Over 13,000 accidents were caused by driver inattention in the same year (2021), based on preliminary data collected by the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (CHP maintains SWITRS). The data is made available by the University of California, Berkley, and UC Berkley’s Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS). Fifty-six distracted drivers were killed in crashes in California, and nearly another 6,300 were injured.

Distracted Driving is a Killer

These recent statistics have identified distracted driving as a significant contributor to car accidents and fatalities in the Bay Area. With smartphones, people are now better connected than ever before, but they are also more prone to distracted driving. California’s Office of Traffic Safety defines distracted driving as taking your eyes or mind off the road or taking your hands off the steering wheel — especially when texting or using your phone.

The United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report on distracted driving discovered it takes only five seconds to read a text message while driving. Unfortunately, most individuals are guilty of glancing down at their cellphones at least once in their driving years, if not much more often. What can happen in five seconds with your eyes on a screen and not the roadway?

An annual report by the Road Ecology Center at the University of California Davis found the Bay Area Freeway, Interstate 280, between San Bruno and Cupertino, as California’s deadliest highway in 2021 for wildlife-vehicle collisions. The report discloses a list of hotspots along the route for increased risk of animal collision with vehicles. This list is topped by multiple locations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

Dan Rose car accident attorney - San Francisco 2019 crash results graph

Mule deer, mountain lions, bears, and newts are the most frequent roadkill victims. Imagine hitting a mountain lion at speeds of 65 miles per hour, the damage to your vehicle, the injuries to you and your loved ones, and the death of an animal whose habitat has been shrinking due to growing highways, businesses, and residential areas. It takes less than five seconds for a deer to leap into traffic and get hit and most likely killed by your vehicle. Such an accident can be catastrophic for all involved and could result in a multi-car accident on a major freeway.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety piloted a study in 2018 that found individuals interacting either visually or manually with cell phones while driving more than doubled the likelihood of a crash than individuals who abstained. Approximately 10 people die each day in The US from distracted driving.

Risky Behavior at Higher Speeds

In 2020, California recorded 3,723 motor vehicle deaths, increasing from 2019. Experts are suggesting that 2021 witnessed an even more significant increase in car accident-related fatalities in California, including the Bay Area, as Covid-19 related restrictions and shutdowns have been lifted and terminated.

The spike in fatalities comes as cities around the Bay Area struggle to meet Vision Zero’s goals of ending traffic deaths.

Since the beginning of the decade, fatal crashes in most of the Bay Area have steadily increased. During the pandemic, the trend remained essentially unchanged despite declining traffic.

The National Highway Safety Administration’s recent findings suggest that as average traffic speeds increased nationwide throughout 2020, drivers engaged in more dangerous behaviors, such as not wearing seatbelts and driving under the influence.

In 2019, 50% of drivers killed in motor vehicle collisions tested positive for legal or illegal drugs, an 8% increase over the previous year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Several studies have indicated an alarming rise in personal injuries sustained in collisions and linked them to the increase in alcohol and drug use stemming from the pandemic.

According to the latest California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) crash rankings for San Francisco County in the categories of “Had Been Drinking Driver < 21” and “Had Been Drinking Driver 21 – 34,” the county holds the highest or rather the worst, ranking possible. The two categories focus on crashes in which there were fatalities or injuries involving a driver under the age of 21 and drivers between the ages of 21 and 34.

According to the NHTSA, despite Americans driving less in 2020 due to the flu pandemic, 38,680 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes, the most since 2007.

From 2019 to 2020, California had the most significant increase in the quantity of alcohol-impaired driving collisions. Thirty percent of fatal accidents nationwide were caused by alcohol-impaired driving.

In the event of any type of motor vehicle collision, the importance of wearing a seatbelt cannot be overstated. The seatbelt is one of the most essential safety measures in any vehicle as it keeps occupants in place and minimizes injuries in the event of an accident.

NHSTA data shows an increase in the ejection rate during car accidents from 2019 to 2020, and preliminary data suggested an expected rise for 2021.

Note: The highest ejection rate occurs among males 18-49. The ejection rate is inextricably linked to seatbelt use.

Ride Share Accidents

Many Americans now use ridesharing services regularly. Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft provide mobile apps where drivers can offer ridesharing services using their own vehicles. Users in need of transportation order a driver at the touch of their smartphone’s screen. It is assumed that these apps make it easier for customers to get rides on demand rather than relying on traditional taxis and buses. However, convenience and technology growth may have cost some their lives.

  • A study conducted by the University of Chicago Booth Business School using comparative data from the NHTSA with figures from Uber and Lyft revealed the number of car accidents, fatal accidents, and fatalities involving vehicle occupants and pedestrians has risen by 3% as a result of ridesharing.
  • The study was conducted between 2011 and 2016. Experts estimate the original figure has increased as the popularity of rideshare apps has only continued to grow and extend from metropolitan cities to residential and rural areas.
  • According to an estimate by the Department of Transportation, the cost of fatalities due to ride-hailing is about $10 billion. Non-fatal accidents are not included in this figure.

Population, Pedestrians, and Cyclists

California’s rising car accident injuries and deaths may also result from the state’s large population. With approximately 39.51 million people, California is the most populous state in the US. California is often at the top of US lists regarding statistics on auto accident injuries and fatalities, with the Bay Area, unfortunately, as no exception.

Even if you aren’t the primary driver in your household or prefer to walk, pedestrian fatalities, particularly for those age 65 and older, have increased since 2019 in California.

Another sobering statistic — for those who enjoy cycling — according to the NHTSA, California hit a 25 year high in 2018 for traffic accident-related fatalities of cyclists. A slight decrease was observed in cyclist fatalities for 2019. However, experts believe the numbers may be higher once the data is made widely available for 2020 through 2022, as many individuals picked up cycling as a hobby during the pandemic.

Note: Helmet use is as important for cyclists as seatbelts are to motor vehicle drivers. A helmet can make a huge impact when involved in a car accident for a cyclist to avoid a traumatic brain injury and other life-altering damages.

Many cyclist enthusiasts attribute recent fatal accidents and injuries to road rage. In April of last year, The Bay Area lost a cycling legend and local hero, Joe Shami, who was hit and killed by an SUV just as Shami was about to close in on 100,000 miles ridden on his bike. Bike lanes exist for everyone’s safety, but all drivers do not observe them, even though it’s the law.

The Bay Area and all of California have much to offer its visitors and residents from beaches, ski resorts, the wine country of Napa Valley, historic districts, and gorgeous coastal drives. For drivers considering making a permanent move to California, they should note the state’s high accident rates and traffic congestion. However, the safety of California’s roads depends on the safety initiatives taken by the state’s drivers; make safety your priority.

Which City in California has the most accidents?

Among California’s cities, Los Angeles is the deadliest for driving, according to the NHTSA. The ranking is partly attributed to the city’s population size, increased risky behavior on the roads in recent years, and accidents occurring on Interstate 15. After a five-year analysis of federal crash data, the freeway known as I-15 was anointed by Dateline MSNBC as the deadliest road in all of the United States. Eight million drivers travel the interstate freeway each year, contributing to excessive traffic accident rates. In the past 10 years, 8% of fatal accidents have occurred on I-15, which spans Nevada and cites its deadliest roadway segment as the 180 miles running through San Bernardino County of California.

Dan Rose car accident attorney - CA Bay Area vehicle accident fatalities San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland 2017-2021

 

San Jose is still the city with the most car accidents in the Bay Area region and it continues to rise. Among the leading factors contributing to the Bay Area’s safety ranking are traffic congestion, distracted driving, driving under the influence of drugs, drinking and driving, road rage or any form of aggressive driving, speeding (on the rise in the entire state), coastal road curvatures, and highway construction zones.

Another noteworthy mention is Simi Valley, a city just outside of Los Angeles. Simi Valley has ranked highest in at-fault-related car accidents for 2021.

What to do if you have been in a California car crash?

Even if an accident is minor, it’s always best to call the police. The other driver may be hostile, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or simply unwilling to share insurance information. The police will not only begin a report but get all information from all parties involved.

Next, if you are not severely injured and can do so safely, take photos of the damage to the vehicles involved.

It’s also wise to always get checked out by a medical professional for any signs of injury after you have been in an accident. Even if you have no apparent damage, you may have sustained an injury and not yet know it. Adrenaline and other hormones released after an accident can mask pain. Some injuries, like whiplash, can take hours and even days to manifest.

Finally, if you or a loved one have been injured in a collision or a loved one died due to another at-fault driver, please speak with an experienced California car accident attorney.

Average Settlement for Car Accident Back and Neck Injuries

Severe and life-threatening back and neck injuries can occur from a nasty car wreck. However, such symptoms and signs are not always immediately visible or felt by the victims. It can take days, sometimes weeks, for damage to fully manifest. Injuries also vary significantly from slight to severe, making them unique to the individual and their body’s trauma from the accident’s impact. Even a “minor” injury can profoundly impact one’s body and, as a result, their life.

The complex nature of our backs and necks, which house the spinal cord, means an injury to one of these areas can also detrimentally affect other body parts, making your day-to-day living dramatically different than pre-accident. For example, your mobility could be affected by a neck and back injury, which can have an enormous impact.

Medical attention is, of course, the first thing needed after being in such a crash; however, overlooking or forgoing professional legal guidance can cost you. Proper medical treatment and legal support are essential when filing your insurance claim and considering a settlement.

Injury Severity Influences Settlement Value

Settlement amounts for neck and back injuries range extensively and depend on several factors, the first being the severity of your injury. The average settlement for a car crash that involves a minor soft tissue injury to the back or neck (like whiplash) could range between $2,500 and $10,000. A cervical spine injury, one of the more severe and life-altering injuries, can result in a settlement around and upward of one million dollars. Spinal cord injuries to the cervical region are the most severe and can affect both sides of the body. When damage occurs higher up in the spine, the consequences are more serious.

Geography can also impact your settlement value. California has some of the highest median and average settlement amounts in the nation for neck and back injuries. The average in California was $1.7 million, and the median was just over $1.5 million. For perspective, California neighbor, Oregon, has a median settlement value for such injuries at under $250,000 and an average at just over $260,000. In determining the value of a settlement, you and your attorney should consider all possible contributing factors (even those less obvious).

Required Treatments, Therapy, Prognosis, and Conduct

At any rate, settlements may be up to $30,000 when physical therapy and injections are necessary to treat an injury. In the event of a broken bone or another problematic injury, a settlement can exceed $100,000. The value of your claim or the amount of your settlement may be higher if your physician indicates that you will continue to be in pain, have continued worsening and limited mobility, or have another impairment. Suppose the victim suffers a disability from a car accident. In that case, they may be entitled to compensation for future damage, which would need to be calculated and factored in before signing a settlement.

How you conduct yourself following an accident can also impact your settlement value. For example, suppose you are apologetic to the party you know caused your injury. In this case, a misconstrued apology could leave a nearby potential witness and even the police on scene questioning who the at-fault party is or sympathizing with them. Confusion, fear, disorientation, need to comfort, kindness, and other reasons can lead to saying sorry when something isn’t your fault leading to comparative negligence being used in court to put partial blame on you despite being the victim. Defendants in California can claim comparative negligence to reduce their fault in civil cases.

A simple, ill-placed “I’m sorry” statement can negatively impact your claim and prospective settlement. Even if you meant sorry, the event occurred in a general sense, you could end up being deemed 1%-100% at fault, which is frustrating and costly, particularly as a victim.

Many aspects impact a settlement offer: documentation, police reports, prognosis, completing advised medical treatment, organization of medical records, filing your claim promptly, even conduct as described above, and other additional components.

In the event you have suffered a neck or back injury in a car accident (mild or severe), you should contact an experienced California personal injury attorney to ensure you get the settlement you deserve. A proficient Bay Area lawyer can work with you every step of the way and ensure you are not offered an inadequate amount for your injuries. Signing a settlement without the counsel of a skilled attorney can leave you with overwhelming medical bills and costly future expenses that your settlement amount won’t be able to cover.

How Long After a Car Crash Can You Claim Injury?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NHTSA, the nation is experiencing an increase in traffic fatalities.

The roads of California are dangerous, and the San Francisco Bay Area is not immune from the recent uptick in car accident-related injuries and fatalities. If you are driving, you are at risk of traffic accidents. Thus, it is paramount to know what to do in advance or make an effort to educate yourself following a collision; you can avoid costly mistakes, whether the accident is a minor “fender bender” or a major injury accident.

Let’s discuss what to do first and how long you have to file an injury claim after an accident.

The Importance of Reporting the Accident

After the initial impact of a collision, a victim’s mind and body begin flooding with emotions, adrenaline, and questions. Typically, the initial question we ask ourselves after a crash is, what should I do first? Unfortunately, the answer is not always clear, and it’s challenging to prioritize which steps should take precedence over others following an accident. However, in most cases, you should first get yourself (and any fellow passengers) to nearby safety where you can check yourself and any passengers for immediate injuries, examine your vehicle, but most importantly, call the local police to the scene and begin the process of filing a police report.

Note: In California, a police report must be filed within 24 hours if anyone sustained an injury due to the accident.

Documentation is Crucial Throughout any Claim.

Aside from the police report and photographing damage to the vehicles involved, you should begin documenting any injuries. Documenting injuries could mean calling 911 if injuries sustained are immediately apparent, painful, or life-threatening. EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians) dispatched to the scene will begin assessing your condition, documenting injuries, noting symptoms, and tracking vitals. Otherwise, it is always best to be seen as soon as possible at an urgent care, hospital, or by your primary care physician, regardless of how you may feel initially. Tell the physician or other attending healthcare provider you were in a car accident. Be advised that many injuries commonly sustained in a car accident are not always visible or felt instantaneously. Whiplash, for example, can take several days to show signs and symptoms.

When to Notify Your Insurance Company

Many insurance companies have their own policies regarding notification and filing timelines following an accident. If you have been in a car wreck, you should report the accident to your insurance company as soon as you get home. If your injury has left you incapacitated, your attorney can assist you with this step and those to follow. Be aware that procrastination or delay could result in losing your right to coverage.

Note: Whether in the police report or when notifying your insurance company, when you can do so, be sure to disclose any injuries you’ve sustained and that you believe you were not at fault.

The California Clock is Ticking to File a Claim

Just as insurance companies have time limits in place for filing a claim, each state does, too, known as a statute of limitations.

A statute of limitations is a law that specifies the maximum period parties have to commence legal action (i.e., file a lawsuit). This law is designed to encourage accident victims to file a claim as swiftly as possible.

In California, claims are subject to strict deadlines to ensure a fair process for all parties involved. California’s Statute of Limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date of injury. If the injury was not discovered immediately, it is then one year after the date of discovery.

Note: If the accident involved a minor who sustained an injury, the victim has time to claim until they reach the age of majority (18 years of age).

A Bay Area car accident lawyer can assist you if you have been injured in a California car accident due to the other driver’s negligence. By filing your claim with the guidance and experience of a San Francisco Bay Area personal injury attorney, you can significantly strengthen the likelihood of a positive outcome for your claim and in receiving complete compensation for your injuries and related damages.

Recovering from Rear-End Car Accident Injuries

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 31.4% of traffic injuries in the U.S. (594,000 Americans) resulted from rear-end collisions. This statistic makes them among the most common types of car accidents. They are also dangerous and resulted in about 2,400 deaths.

Rear-end collisions occur when a vehicle’s hood crashes into another vehicle’s trunk. These collisions follow a pattern because the collision causes the car and occupants to jolt forward and backward. Injuries tend to affect the neck, back, and head.

Below is some information about the injuries you can expect in a rear-end collision and how to recover compensation from the accident.

What is a Rear-End Collision

Drivers must safely operate their vehicles on the road. Rear-end collisions result from distracted driving, speeding, and tailgating. Some common examples include:

  • A driver speeds into another car that has slowed down and has a turn signal.
  • A driver accelerates into the car in front, thinking that the other driver would immediately go once the light turns green.
  • A driver hits the car in front, not noticing that the vehicle was stopped at either a red light or stop sign.

In situations like these, the driver coming from behind is usually at fault. Yet, that won’t always be the case. Suppose the front driver suddenly slams on the breaks for no reason, or the driver in front reverses their car. In that case, the leading driver might be held responsible for the car crash.

INJURIES

Occupants involved in a rear-end collision experience a back and forth motion. The jolt can strain muscles, discs, and bones. If you are involved in a rear-end collision, it’s best to seek immediate medical attention. Common injuries include:

  • WHIPLASH

Whiplash is a quick motion of the head that strains the neck muscles. Symptoms include neck pain, stiffness, headaches, shoulder pain, and arm numbness.

  • MUSCLE STRAIN

Also known as a “pulled muscle,” the strain usually happens in the lower back. The collision can also cause strained neck muscles.

  • BROKEN BONES

Depending on the speed of the vehicles, inertia can cause the body and its limbs to jolt. They can strike the steering wheel, dashboard, side doors, or center console. The impact can cause bones to break or fracture.

  • AIRBAGS

When a rear-end collision occurs, it may cause the airbags to deploy. The impact can cause bruising to the face, chest, and ribs.

  • OTHER SERIOUS INJURIES

Spinal cord injuries cause nerve pain, muscle spasms, and loss of muscle control. These types of injures can also cause paralysis. Other serious injuries, like brain injuries, can result from concussions. At times, the car’s velocity causes the brain to slam inside the skull. Such an injury can impact you for the rest of your life.

Bay Area Car Accident Lawyer

Rear-end accidents have the potential to be devastating. Especially when you suffer a neck, back, or other serious injuries. California provides ways for a victim to receive compensation for injuries sustained. You may be entitled to receive money for medical bills and replace lost wages.

For more information, call our law firm (415) 891-01072 or send us an email by visiting our page.

 

What’s Considered Grounds for a Car Accident Claim

After a car accident, the most asked question is, “Do I have a claim?”

You may have been physically injured in a car crash and want to know if you can hold the other person responsible. If there is no case, you may be thinking, why waste your time?

Knowing whether a car accident victim has a claim is one of the most complex questions to answer. The surest way to confirm whether you have a case is by consulting a Bay Area car accident lawyer. Our knowledgeable lawyers can review your specific case since every single car accident is different. The cause is different. The damages are different. The insurance coverage will also be different.

There are a few signs that will indicate when calling an attorney might be worthwhile. Below are a few examples of what a lawyer will look for in a car accident case to determine whether a claim exists.

 1.     You Weren’t Entirely to Blame

Liability is an essential part of a claim. It refers to the person legally at fault or responsible for an accident. In California, a valid claim is one where you can prove that the other party is at fault for the crash. It doesn’t mean that you still can’t pursue a claim if you were partially at fault. Under the Bay Area’s pure comparative fault law, a plaintiff’s negligence in causing the accident will offset liability. While you won’t recover 100% of your damages if you were at fault, you may still be able to recover something.

2.     Sustained Injuries

Pursuing a claim is dependent on damages. If you were involved in a car accident but did not sustain any injuries, then you may not have a claim. Minor bruising and scrapes might not generate much compensation. On the other hand, bills and personal suffering will likely be higher when extensive medical care is needed. That means that damages will also increase. The more severe the injuries, the more you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and potential pain and suffering.

3.     Economic Damages  

Every successful car accident claim involves actual losses. Put another way, you must have incurred actual damages — that you must be able to prove — as a result of the collision. Evidence that may contribute to your claim for economic damages includes medical records, hospital bills, pay stubs, tax returns, and receipts for reasonably necessary replacement services.

4.     The Filing Deadline Hasn’t Passed

Every state gives victims a certain amount of time to file their claims. In California, that time is the “statute of limitations.” It is two years from the date of injury. If you miss that two-year window, you will not be able to seek compensation.

There are some exemptions to this two-year deadline. It’s always best to consult with an attorney shortly after your car accident so that you preserve your claim and build a strong case.

 Bay Area Car Accident Lawyer

Are you still uncertain if you have a claim or not? The law offices of Daniel H. Rose have written about many car accident topics. You can read more about what you should do after a car accident on our blog. We would be happy to speak with you about your specific case. Simply schedule a consultation with our experienced Bay Area accident attorneys today.

A Guide to Child Car Accident Injury in California

The following are a few essential factors to consider if your child has been injured in a car accident or when filing a personal injury claim for your child’s injury caused by someone else’s negligence in a crash.

Car accidents can be especially frightening for parents if their child is a passenger in a vehicle involved in any collision, let alone a bad one. Children are more vulnerable to getting injured in a crash due to their growing bodies and fragility, especially if they are younger. Children can be more susceptible to suffering catastrophic injuries and devastating fatalities in the event of a crash.

How Children Get Injured in Accidents

Injuries that may be present in children who have suffered the trauma of a car accident include organ injuries, chest injuries, back injuries, and head injuries. The parent of a young child should be particularly concerned about concussions and other possible head injuries, even from a low-speed accident. Having a severe head injury can affect one’s memory and learning capabilities for months, years, and even a lifetime in more severe cases. In the absence of a timely diagnosis and professional treatment, even minor head traumas can harm your child’s academic and professional prospects.

How many child-related accidents happen and why?

According to the CDC, nearly 100,000 children (12 years of age and younger) suffered serious injuries in car wrecks in 2019. This data does not include another significant source of accidents children often fall victim to — car accidents in which they are not passengers but rather pedestrians on foot or riding a tricycle or bicycle.

A child’s size and inexperience make them especially susceptible to being struck by a car when walking, biking, or playing near a roadway, even on a front lawn or bordering sidewalk.

As a result of a child’s inability to recognize the dangers of moving vehicles, a child could become trapped behind a backing-up SUV, resulting in serious injuries even at slow speeds. This is just one example of the perils they face.

As parents, most of us are engrained to teach our children to look both ways before crossing the street, stop at all walkways, and wait to cross at the appropriate time. However, a child is often more distracted, especially when at play. Children may not spot all traffic-related dangers or remain continuously alert and aware of hazards (like speedy or negligent drivers).

It is the responsibility of all drivers to remain focused when driving, obey traffic and speed laws, and be prepared to stop for children.

California’s Vehicle Occupant Protection Laws and Seatbelt Importance

For children riding in vehicles, the law in California is clear. Unless the child weighs 40 pounds or is 40 inches tall, all children under the age of two should ride in rear-facing car seats. Booster or car seats must be used for children under eight. Eight-year-old children or children who are at least 4’9″ may use a booster seat but must wear a seatbelt at the very least.

According to the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), on average, nearly half of people who die in car accidents were not wearing their seatbelts during the tragic event. Make sure your child travels appropriately in a vehicle.

What Happens After Your Child Suffers an Injury in a Car Accident?

In the aftermath of an accident, the child’s health is of utmost importance. Following the collision, any individual able to safely check on the child’s welfare should do so (as calmy as possible) to determine the child’s state and if they need emergency medical services. It is crucial to call and dispatch police to the scene right away regardless of whether you feel there is a lack of any initial injuries or damage. Filing a police report is mandatory in the event of any car accident (minor or serious). The police and their report are critical. Officers will begin logging evidence, documenting accounts from all parties involved, noting damage to vehicles, recording any eye-witness statements, and all the information will greatly aid your attorney in establishing the at-fault party later on.

Your child must also be evaluated for any injuries (apparent or not) by a medical professional following an accident. Superficial injuries like scrapes and cuts sustained from a car crash may be visible. Deeper wounds may also occur from broken glass (smashed windshield or passenger windows) or everyday items in the car that can turn into projectiles propelled by the force of the accident. Anyone able should immediately assess the child for injuries. Moreover, serious injuries might not be visible at all, like symptoms of whiplash may not manifest for hours or even days. This is why seeking immediate medical attention and follow-ups with primary care doctors or specialists is essential.

If your child exhibits any unusual or out of character behavior (fainting, wincing on touch, unusual crying or outbursts, night terrors, excessive sleepiness, confusion, a lack of energy, limping) these can be signs of injury, contact the doctor right away, as these symptoms may signal more serious problems that require medical attention. Get your child the medical attention they need.

You may also utilize your attorney (if you have one) to advocate on your behalf and guide you to appropriate medical care providers experienced in identifying and treating pediatric injuries sustained in a car accident.

Note: Out of an abundance of caution, most insurance companies will automatically replace a child’s car seat after a car accident as the seat may be damaged.

Statute of Limitations and the Importance of Hiring an Attorney

California generally has a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. In cases involving a minor, the law changes. The statute of limitations for child victims of car accidents is delayed till their 18th birthday, meaning the deadline to file a lawsuit or settle a claim is age 20. However, there is no tolling of the statute of limitations in cases involving a government entity or employee. In these cases, the statute of limitations is the same for a child as for an adult, two years.

If your child has been injured in an accident, it’s best to contact an experienced car accident and personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Doing so will help ensure you receive fair and complete compensation. Your attorney will fight aggressively to get you deserved compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, other related expenses, damage to your vehicle, and more.

Tip: Keep an organized record of all bills and expenses starting from day one of the accident.

Different Types of Car Accidents, Causes, and What to Do

Car accidents happen every day in every state across the US. Unfortunately, California ranks highest for the most number of auto accidents and accident-related fatalities out of the entire country from the most recent data released by The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in collaboration with the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI).

Types of Collisions

Common types of auto accidents include:

Rear-end collisions

Head-on collisions

Side-impacted collisions (Sideswiped)

Highway construction accidents

Interstate collisions

Single-vehicle crash

T-bone collision

The Rear-end Collision

When one vehicle collides with another vehicle in front of it, it is called a rear-end collision. The most common causes of rear-end collisions are distracted driving, tailgating, and panic stops. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 29% of all collisions are rear-ended collisions, accounting for most car accidents. NHTSA analyses also found that 87% of rear-end collisions occurred due to distracted drivers engaging in activities like texting, eating while driving, interacting with other passengers, rummaging through belongings, and more.

Our clients are usually rear-ended after yielding to oncoming traffic to turn. This is one of the most common scenarios we come across as personal injury and car accident attorneys in the San Francisco Bay Area. A good way to prevent these types of accidents is to use your mirrors frequently and safely, turn on your blinkers well before you plan to turn, try your best not to slam on your brakes, and generally practice safety-first driving.

Head-on Collisions

Head-on collisions, also known as frontal collisions, occur when two vehicles collide. In these kinds of accidents, two cars traveling in opposite directions collide with one another. Any vehicle can be involved in such an accident (car, motorcycle, truck, RV, etc.) Head-on collisions may also be considered and occur when a vehicle strikes a stationary object like a tree, pole, or cement barrier like a median.

Frontal collisions are one of the most dangerous types of crashes. Many times, these wrecks result in death or injury.

Typically, distracted driving, excessive speed, or drunk driving are the causalities of these types of collisions. Compared to another type of crash, such as a rear-end collision, the severity of injuries associated with a front-end collision is usually greater. A head-on collision produces the most force since both vehicles are moving before impact. Auto accidents of any type can be hazardous, but these types are especially dangerous because they can cause life-threatening injuries. Although frontal collisions are rarer than most other types of accidents, they result in fatality more often.

Side-Impacted Collisions (Sideswiped)

When two cars traveling in the same direction collide, it is referred to as a sideswipe accident. A sideswipe collision may occur when a driver changes lanes, drifts into the next lane, or merges onto a road. Changing lanes or merging can be done safely by a driver who exercises reasonable care. However, exhausted, impaired, distracted, or otherwise negligent drivers may cause sideswipe crashes.

Injuries sustained from a side-impacted collision may be substantial. The sides of vehicles are less protected than the front and rear. As a result, sideswipe collisions have a higher risk of injuring drivers and passengers. An individual may suffer the following injuries due to a side-impacted crash: neck and back injuries, nerve damage, and even brain and spinal cord injuries in more severe or high-speed sideswipes.

Always practice safe lane changing, be aware of your blind spots, and use your mirrors when driving. Unfortunately, these accidents are sometimes unexpected and unavoidable due to another person’s negligence.

Highway Construction Accidents

There is a responsibility for construction zones and companies not to cause accidents. Road construction areas require extra caution from drivers. The repairs of a roadway, the construction of a new road, and the expansion of an existing highway all result in construction zones. Construction zones often have variations in speed limits or traffic signals. A proper signage system should be in place, which drivers should recognize and follow.

Construction workers and equipment may cause drivers to become inattentive. A distracted driver may cause a severe accident, particularly since the layout of a construction zone can change rapidly with narrowing or merging lanes, moving equipment, congested traffic, and many other elements.

Interstate Collisions

If a driver is negligent or reckless, vehicles traveling at highway speeds can create dangerous conditions for any occupant. When another vehicle is a semi-truck or 18-wheeler, accident victims are defenseless against the force of the other vehicle. Highway accidents occur often and can lead to multiple injuries, pile-ups, and many fatalities. It’s essential to always keep your eyes on the road but be particularly alert and avoid distractions when driving on the highway, use your turn signals and mirrors, and obey the speed limit and other laws.

Single-vehicle Crash

During a single-vehicle collision, only one vehicle is involved. These collisions usually have similar causes as head-on collisions, but no other cars were in the path of the vehicle moving. The driver is found at fault as they are usually negligent, under the influence of drugs, or intoxicated by alcohol.

However, unfortunate circumstances occur when a driver who obeys all traffic laws gets injured in a single-car accident. An example of a single-vehicle accident that is not the driver’s fault is a road covered in black ice by sudden freezing, or other acts of nature like flash flooding or falling debris. Although a driver cannot sue for damages, their collision insurance may cover some or all the damage to your vehicle.

T-bone Collision

The most common cause of T-bone accidents, also known as broadside collisions, is failure to yield to the driver with the right-of-way. On many occasions, one of the drivers involved will accidentally make a dangerous left turn at an intersection, thinking the other car will stop at a yellow traffic signal. In some other cases, a rushing, negligent, or even impaired driver may make an illegal turn at a red light while the other vehicle collides into the car turning.

On many occasions, one of the drivers involved will accidentally make a dangerous left turn at an intersection, thinking the other car will stop at a yellow traffic signal or, in more cases, a rushing, negligent, or impaired driver may make an illegal turn at a red light. At the same time, another vehicle collides with the car that’s speeding and turning. Texting, tending to passengers, exhaustion due to lack of sleep, even something as simple as changing the station on the radio can cause a tragic accident.

After a car accident, consult with an experienced attorney

There are many types of accidents under many different scenarios that can worsen impact but these are the most common. The Law Office of Daniel H. Rose can investigate and determine the party liable for damages and your injuries.

Once all insurance policies have been examined for compensation and evidence has been accumulated to support your claim, our office can begin to negotiate aggressively on your behalf for a complete and deserved settlement.

If the insurance company refuses to offer fair compensation, we will be ready to move your case to court. You will have an experienced car accident attorney advocating on your behalf throughout the entire process. Contact our offices for a free and no-obligation consultation.