Category Archives: Car Accidents

Types of Pregnancy Injuries Due to Car Accidents

Vehicle collisions can lead to severe injuries for all the occupants involved. However, a pregnant woman involved in a car crash has a greater risk of unique injuries. That’s because pregnant occupants have a different relationship between the steering wheel and seatbelts than non-pregnant occupants. This can lead to uncommon injuries not only for the pregnant woman but also to their growing fetus.
It is always advisable to seek immediate medical attention if you are pregnant and were involved in a car crash as a precautionary measure to ensure your fetus’s health.
Below is a list of injuries unique to expecting mothers.


Placental abruption is a common cause of fetal loss in an automobile crash. It happens when the placenta detaches from the uterine wall, disrupting oxygen supply and nutrients to the fetus. This type of injury can occur even when pregnant women are correctly using a seatbelt. However, the risk of placental abruption increases with women who are in the later stages of their pregnancy.


Uterine rupture and lacerations are rare during pregnancy. Injury to the uterus in car accidents almost exclusively happens during pregnancy. That’s because a woman’s uterus is much larger at that time. When a uterine rupture occurs, the likelihood of fetal death is nearly 100%. The mother may also face complications, such as internal bleeding.


Direct fetal injury (DFI) doesn’t occur often. During the first three months of pregnancy, the pelvis still protects the uterus. However, as the baby grows bigger, the uterus begins to protrude from the abdomen. During this stage of pregnancy, the fetus can suffer a direct injury in a car accident. Usually, the skull is the most common direct fetal injury. It can lead to severe injuries for the fetus, including miscarriage.


A fetus is protected by the uterus and the amniotic fluid, which acts as a shock absorber. If a pregnant woman hits the steering wheel or another part of the car, the impact can puncture the fluid. When the amniotic fluid is low, it can lead to miscarriage. Also, suppose the expecting mother loses oxygen as a result of the car accident. In that case, it can also lead to a miscarriage.


Premature birth happens when a woman delivers her baby before the fetus is considered “full term”— before 37 weeks. Premature babies can have a myriad of health issues. The stress of a car accident can cause a woman to deliver her child prematurely.

Pregnant women face many unique injuries to themselves and their fetuses when involved in a car accident. Aside from the safety concerns, expecting mothers will face more financial damages than other car crash victims. Not only will the mother need medical attention and monitoring, but so will the fetus.

The time after an automobile collision may be particularly stressful. If you were involved in a car accident while pregnant, you might have the right to financial compensation. However, it is vital to consult with a skilled car accident attorney at the Law Office of Daniel H. Rose to protect your rights.

How to Secure Surveillance Footage of your Car Accident in California

Car accidents are unexpected. Most happen quickly, and those involved think about their safety first.
However, after a car crash, people will try to reconstruct the events. There may be police or paramedics on the scene who will ask you to recount the events leading up to the accident. Often, there may be a better way to obtain the details of an accident. With highway cameras and local business surveillance, video footage may be an excellent way to get non-biased evidence of what actually occurred.
Obtaining video surveillance footage immediately after an accident can help demonstrate who was the negligent party. However, these digital records must be promptly obtained before they are erased. Coordinating with car accident attorneys at the Law Office of Daniel H. Rose is the best way to request and review any wrongdoing caught on camera.

Types of Camera Footage

In every personal injury case, the person who brings the claim is responsible for proving that another driver was negligent. Many types of evidence can contribute to this. However, video evidence is the most powerful. It can show how the car crash happened. Video can accurately recount the events that transpired, showing the at-fault party and the seriousness of the impact.

If you’ve been involved in a car crash, there are several sources you can check for video footage.

  • Red-Light Cameras

While red-light camera evidence can raise legal issues, it can also be valuable in an intersection collision. In California, it is common for local governments to use cameras at intersections to enforce traffic violations such as running a red light. California law allows photographic evidence obtained from red-light cameras to be held for six months from the date it was captured or until the final disposition of a citation, whichever is later. After that, it is destroyed. Therefore, if you were the victim of a car accident at an intersection, you may have a limited time to recover any footage.

  • Business Surveillance

Many businesses in California have a commercial-grade security system, referred to as CCTV. It monitors and safeguards the business premise to keep unauthorized individuals out. If the car accident happened outside a gas station, large chain store, or other business, it’s best to verify if that particular business had a surveillance system. The footage obtained can identify the other party involved by showing a license plate number. This visual component can be beneficial in hit-and-run accidents. Having this information can help you recover damages from the driver responsible.

  • Dashcams

Dash cams are increasing in popularity as they become more affordable. A dashcam records what happens outside of the car. Depending on the type of dash cam, some can even detect a driver’s speed and whether they were wearing a seat belt.

If you have a dashcam inside your vehicle, it could show how the crash happened. Under California law, the data a dashcam stores are the property of the driver. So, if a witness to the accident had a dashcam, they could share it with you.

  • Cellphone Video

Today, most people turn to record incidents they witness. If you were involved in a car accident, finding a witness who recorded the incident could be helpful to your personal injury case.

After a car accident, obtaining video footage of your accident could help your case. However, it requires an investigation to determine what types of video may be available. Our experienced attorneys can help, especially in circumstances where a business may not willing to turn over video without a court subpoena.

10 Leading Causes of Car Accidents in California

Each year, thousands of car accidents are recorded all over the United States. The number has decreased over the years, but tens of thousands of car crashes are registered in California yearly.  In 2017, the California Highway Patrol recorded 193,564 crashes and 3,582 fatalities.

While not every car accident can be avoided, you can certainly lessen your chances by knowing the most common reasons for car crashes. Many accidents in California result from reckless or negligent behavior, such as driving while impaired, speeding, and distracted driving.

Driving While Impaired

Driving while impaired with drugs and/or alcohol isn’t the leading cause of collisions, but it is the deadliest. Motorists under the influence of alcohol or drugs have slowed reaction times. This is true even with some prescription medications. If you are unsure whether you have reached the legal limit under California’s laws, it’s best to play it safe and allow someone else to drive.

Distracted Driving

The exact number of distracted driving accidents is unknown in California; however, it is a leading cause of car crashes. Distracted driving can range from texting or talking on the phone to more innocent conduct, like eating, reaching over for an object, talking to other passengers in the vehicle, and even smoking.


You may be tempted to accelerate speed when pressed for time, but speeding is the third leading cause of car accidents. Speeding increases the chance of collision because drivers have less reaction time to respond.  Speed-related crashes are also more likely to have catastrophic outcomes, given the large amount of energy that must be released during the crash.


Car accidents often happen when it rains. That’s because driving on wet roads can create slick and dangerous conditions. Rain also lessens visibility, making it more likely for a collision.

Driving at Night

Road visibility becomes more difficult once it’s dark outside. As a driver, you may not be able to see signs or a person crossing the road. It’s essential to be even more alert if you’re driving at night and use high beams if you’re on a desolate road with no streetlights.

Running Through Yellow or Red Lights

Blowing through a red light or speeding through a yellow one is extremely dangerous. Often, these types of accidents cause a side-impact collision at higher speeds, making them deadly.

Running Stop Signs

Each year, thousands of car crashes occur when a driver fails to stop at a stop sign.

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving, such as speeding, excessive lane changes, and other aggressive driving behavior, can cause serious accidents. It is also a traffic violation. You risk being held responsible in large part for causing an accident while violating traffic laws.


Following another car too closely is tailgating. When the motorist ahead of you in the lane of traffic stops abruptly, you risk slamming into their vehicle because you have restricted your reaction time to any sudden changes by reducing your proximity.

Unsafe Lane Changes

When drivers don’t properly check their mirrors, especially their blind spots, they may collide with another motorist.

When an accident occurs due to negligent behavior, legal recourse may be available to victims or their surviving family members. Our car accident attorneys at the Dan Rose Law firm can help.

Common Auto Accident Injuries

Being involved in a car accident always has the potential to cause injuries. The most obvious are dents and scrapes to the vehicle. Damages caused to a person’s body are not always so obvious. Sometimes, people may feel like they have walked away completely unharmed but days later experience side effects, such as discomfort in the abdomen or neck pain. Others might immediately feel side effects, like headaches or back pain. If a person experiences symptoms after an accident, it’s essential to get proper medical attention because these symptoms are indicative of injuries. Below are some common injuries after a car crash.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Automobile collisions happen quickly and involve a great deal of impact as two or more vehicles collide. The car can quickly change directions or come to a forceful stop, which can cause a person to move in ways their body wasn’t designed to. A common occurrence is a sudden jerk or a blow to the head. That impact can cause the brain to move and injure brain cells or break blood vessels. This is known as a traumatic brain injury, or TBI for short. A TBI can have potentially life-altering effects. Some people experience loss of memory, severe headaches, and even irritability and mood changes.

Whiplash and Neck Injuries

Even with traveling at speeds as low as 15 mph, the sheer force in a car accident can cause the body to move in ways it shouldn’t. When a person experiences discomfort or pain in the neck or back, it can be a sign of whiplash. Whiplash is essentially a strain on muscles and ligaments. These strains can be very painful and can lead to severe disk injury or cervical dislocation in certain circumstances.

Back Injury

Like whiplash, the intensity of a car crash can impact the spine and cause back pain. Back pain can be severe and even limit a person’s mobility. The impact can cause herniations or ruptures to spinal discs. This is usually a sign of a back injury. While not always permanent, a back injury can require medical attention as well as physical therapy and will take time to heal.


Even minor accidents can cause bruising. The force can cause seat belts to tighten, and that impact can cause bruising. Bruises are rarely an indication of serious injuries. However, if bruising hasn’t healed within two weeks, you should seek medical attention.

Limb Loss and Amputation

A force from a collision can cause your body to hit other parts of the car, even if you were wearing a seat belt. The impact can place stress onto a person’s body that it can’t withstand. For example, if the car was traveling at a high velocity, the impact from the seatbelt can cause fractures to the ribs. Or, depending on how the car moved during the collision, a person’s arm or leg could be pinned by a door or another vehicle part. This can lead to broken bones and even limb loss or amputations.

Spinal Cord Injury or Paralysis

Blunt force or damage to the spine can result in a spinal cord injury. The impact of a car crash can fracture or dislocate the vertebrae in the spine or cause tears in the spinal cord tissue. These injuries are serious can result in partial or total paralysis.

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney

Contact our car accident attorneys at 415-946-8900 or at Dan Rose Law to schedule a free consultation.

Potential Side Effects After a Car Accident

Car accidents happen unexpectedly and are usually outside of our control. They can leave most people feeling helpless. While some car crashes are minor, others can be severe and even deadly. Yet, no matter how minor a car crash can be, it is common for adrenaline to flood the body that can mask some of the physical discomforts a person may feel immediately afterward. Knowing what to expect after a car accident not only helps you get proper medical attention but also protects your rights in a lawsuit.

Common Physical Symptoms After a Car Accident

Every accident brings different side effects. The type and severity of a person’s physical symptoms will depend on many factors, including where a person sat in the car, whether airbags were deployed and if a seat belt was worn.  Also, some physical symptoms may be delayed and appear hours or even days after a car crash.

Below are some typical physical symptoms to watch out for after a car accident, as they can indicate a severe injury.


Headaches following a car crash are a common injury. Some headaches can be relatively minor and resolve themselves within a few days. Other times, a headache can be an indication of a more severe head injury. A car’s unexpected change in direction or a halt in speed can cause whiplash, causing a person’s head to jerk suddenly and unnaturally. Depending on the speed and impact, the brain can move and result in a concussion, traumatic brain injury, or other injuries.

If you are experiencing a headache, even if it appears days after the accident, you should pay particular attention and seek medical attention.

Neck, Shoulder, or Back Pain

Neck, shoulder, or back pain is another common complaint after a car accident.

For example, a person can experience pain, numbness, or a tingling sensation in their back. They may also have limited mobility and feel pressure on the nerves surrounding their spinal cord. It’s essential to seek medical attention so that a proper diagnosis can be made to alleviate the pain.

Neck pain is another regular occurrence. Following a car crash, a person may feel soreness or stiffness in their neck. They can also experience a limited range of motion and pain and swelling. There are many reasons a person experiences neck pain after an accident. A doctor can accurately diagnose the cause.

If you feel discomfort in any of these areas of your body, there can be several underlying reasons. Some causes for neck, shoulder, and back pain include stress or tension to the muscle, injury to the joints, tendons, muscles, and potentially nerve or tissue damage.

Pain in the Abdomen

If you had a seatbelt on during the crash, it likely put pressure on your belly. Pain in the abdomen can include purple bruising around the lower stomach area. The pain can even lead to dizzy spells or fainting. It may be a sign of internal bleeding and other serious injuries.

Numbness and Tingling Sensations

After a car crash, some people may feel a tingling sensation, like pins and needles in their extremities. Numbness and even pain are often present. These physical effects may be caused by damage or injury to the nerves around the spine.

Changes in Behavior

Not all injuries following a car crash are physical. Sometimes, a person may feel a little “off.” They may notice behavioral changes, mood swings, anxiety, and depression. These may be signs of brain injury and shouldn’t be ignored or explained away.

If you have been involved in a car accident, it’s essential to monitor your symptoms. At times, symptoms may not appear until days, weeks, or even months later. While you may believe that medical attention isn’t needed, it’s best to be evaluated by a medical professional. Contact our attorneys at 415-946-8900 or at Dan Rose Law to schedule a free consultation.

Bay Area Senior Citizens Facing Insurance Manipulation After Car Accidents

Getting into a car wreck is a stressful, scary, and overwhelming event for anyone, especially if you are not at fault. However, regardless of fault, senior citizens have an additional source of stress following an accident. Insurance companies are becoming more and more notorious for using senior citizens’ age and any pre-existing conditions they may have against them to avoid paying compensation for injuries, claims, and other damages.

How are these practices ethical and continuing to happen?

The short answer is that they are not ethical, but they continue to occur. How do insurance companies manage to get away with agism and using senior citizens’ pre-existing conditions against themselves? Insurance companies are very well-versed in these scenarios as well as legal loopholes. They also know precisely how to approach these claims and disguise their discriminatory practices.

Insurers will aim to use higher rates of seniors with pre-existing conditions to claim a car accident is not the cause of sustained injuries. This means insurance companies will try to claim the injuries were already present or rooted in a pre-existing condition.

However, an experienced personal injury attorney will utilize the law to justly expose these tricks and equivocations and help senior citizens get the compensation they deserve. Suppose you or a loved one (over 62 years of age, aka a “qualifying resident”) are involved in a motor vehicle accident. In that case, there are several essential circumstances to be aware of.

Pre-existing Conditions

One of the most common tactics insurers will use to manipulate a situation in their favor is by painting pre-existing conditions as the cause of a plaintiff’s injuries instead of the actual cause — the collision. Insurance companies have access to medical records and history that they may sift through and, as a result, often find a way to distort a person’s medical past to fit their own narrative.

These tactics are menacing, but it’s essential to be aware that exacerbation of any pre-existing conditions from an accident is, in fact, grounds for compensation. California holds insurance companies accountable if an individual’s injuries worsen due to an accident in which their client is deemed at fault.

Despite a company trying to convince you otherwise or even threaten you into believing they are in no way liable; this is simply false.

In the end, insurance companies and/or the person who injured you must make you whole again for the damages caused by their negligence.

Chronic Pain Is Not Uncommon

The body decreases the speed and efficacy at which it heals itself as it ages. A senior citizen may take up to eight months to recover from a broken bone, while someone younger with the same break could heal in two months. Unfortunately, the injury caused or impacted by a severe collision can be worse than a nasty fall at home for anyone at any age.

Common injuries resulting from car crashes are injuries like whiplash, back injuries, neck injury, herniated disks, and broken bones. Many senior citizens report high pain levels after an accident, along with ongoing pain that can be relentless.

Insurance companies should be held financially accountable for the level of pain generated by a collision, regardless of the claimant’s age.

What to know about California and the “Eggshell Plaintiff”

California has recently passed a law to protect its seniors and all vulnerable citizens from being rejected in a personal injury claim on the grounds of fragility. The “Eggshell Plaintiff” is a theory of law requiring that defendants essentially take the plaintiff as they found them.

Suppose a senior citizen gets injured in an accident that may not have harmed a younger individual. In that case, the defendant cannot use that fact to escape liability. Plaintiffs are not permitted to theorize what could or may have happened if the defendant weren’t as fragile or as old.

New Statistic: A recent study by The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that drivers in their 70s (according to current data) are less likely to be involved in a fatal crash than drivers in their mid-30s to mid-50s.

Drivers in their 70s are found to be driving much more carefully and getting into less severe accidents overall. Insurance companies have always reported and defended their bias by simply stating that they are going by the data and the numbers.

Hopefully, this intriguing new report and its eye-opening findings will build your confidence if you are a senior and have recently been in a wreck.

What to do if you’ve been in a collision in the Bay Area?

Trying to negotiate a personal injury case without the help of an attorney can bring about significantly lower compensation and success rates. While there are already established laws to protect seniors from car insurance company manipulation (as mentioned above), it is still advisable to contact a knowledgeable and experienced Bay Area Car Accident Attorney. Make sure you receive the compensation you’re entitled to (for all injuries you’ve incurred due to a collision) and any other related damages.

Know the compensation you should receive if you’ve sustained a ruptured disc during a car accident

After a minor rear-end collision — a fender bender or more significant car crashes —  back injuries can occur, including ruptured or herniated disks.

Unfortunately, a herniated or ruptured disk can mean debilitating pain, irritated nerves resulting in random sharp spasms, overreacting reflexes, leg numbness, and radiating pins and needles. These are severe injuries requiring extensive medical attention and care to treat and successfully recover from. You may need physical therapy or even surgery from a spinal specialist.

Regardless of what symptoms you may be experiencing, another damaging result of such an injury is exponential medical costs. Costs including your initial urgent care visit following the car accident, pain prescription costs, specialist appointments, therapy, MRIs, x-rays, and CT scans can all add up to a staggering sum.

What sort of damages can you recover if you suffered a ruptured disc from a vehicle collision?

You may be entitled to compensation for one or more of the following costs and damages:

  • Prior medical bills
  • Future medical costs
  • Lost income or wages while you’re recovering
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of consortium due to injuries
  • Therapy for PTSD from the collision
  • Insomnia or other sleep disturbances
  • Physical pain or discomfort, temporary or permanent

How much compensation can you expect?

It is difficult to predict the total value of compensation a victim (or plaintiff) will receive as everyone’s injuries are different. Many factors may determine the full payment, such as the following: what type of herniated disk you have, the location of the disk, the severity of injury and trauma to your spinal column, whether you have a herniated disk or a bulging disk, and if you require surgery. However, you could receive anywhere from $30,000 to $150,000, or even more in some instances.

Is there a time limit to file a lawsuit for an auto accident?

Yes, there is a statute of limitations in an auto accident-related personal injury lawsuit. Under California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1, you have two years from the date the injury arose. That might be the date of the crash or the date you became aware of your injuries that were caused by the crash.

For more specific guidance as to the value of your claim and the strength of your case, contact our experienced team of car accident lawyers today to set up a consultation. Contact The Law Office of Daniel H. Rose at 415-946-8900 or online.

How to know who is at fault in a multi-car

Under California law, the party responsible for causing a car collision (person at fault) will be accountable for compensating for losses and damages. In many car accidents, liability is only between two drivers. The fault will go to the driver that broke a roadway law and caused the collision. However, in a multi-car crash, fault and liability can be more challenging to determine.

Let’s explore differences in assessing fault indifferent scenarios …

Three Car Collisions

In a three-car collision, the fault will go to the driver who initially broke the law and caused a chain collision involving other cars. Even if the second car had to violate a rule for the driver’s safety and the safety of others, the fault would fall back on the initial driver and vehicle that triggered the accident.

What about a multi-car collision or “pileup?”

A multi-car pileup is trying and traumatic for all parties involved and it is also challenging determining fault and liability.

A multi-car pileup is a crash including and affecting numerous vehicles, drivers, and passengers (who may have sustained injuries due to the crash’s impact).

These unfortunate large-scale collisions are complex to litigate. Multiple drivers may yield fault for a multi-car accident, or one driver may be deemed responsible for everyone else’s damages. Understanding what happened can be difficult. Each driver may have a different account of the events, and all may deny fault.

Several other factors play a part in determining fault and liability…

Can dash-cam footage be valuable and is it legal?

The short answer is “mostly,” although because dash cams are also equipped with audio recordings, the driver must post a visible notice (a sticker or sign that doesn’t pose a hazard to other drivers) informing passengers that they are being recorded. If the passenger protests to their audio being utilized, then the dash-cam audio must be turned off, but the remaining video footage is still permissible when determining fault (even in court). Footage can be beneficial in determining liability. This also applies to rear and front bumper cameras (should the vehicle be equipped with them).

*It is important to note: The dash-cam footage may also be used against you should something be discovered, placing you at fault for a portion or all of the accident.

Are there any potential witnesses present?  

Another essential tool in assessing cause and fault in a multi-car crash is witnesses.

Witnesses (who weren’t involved in the collision) are critical in any car accident, but especially in a multi-car pileup. Witnesses are unbiased observers and likely will base their statements and descriptions on precisely what they observed. Drivers involved in the accident generally are vested in denying blame.

Suppose several witnesses at the scene of the accident corroborate each other. In this instance, the chain of events and initial wrongdoing is established and confirmed when it may have otherwise been difficult to verify and work through.

It is imperative to get the information (when possible) of bystanders involved that may later become witnesses helping to recount and determine liability. Collect contact information of potential witnesses and take notes, so long as you are able.

Witnesses can offer decisive information to the accident report, to the insurance companies assigned with the task of determining what percentage of liability each driver holds, and your attorney.

Call the police right away.

Lastly, but most importantly, call the police right away. The police will write the crash report and pay close attention to the facts involved. Additionally, police take photos, review video surveillance footage (like traffic cameras where available), and gather detailed information.

What should you do if you are injured in a multi-car accident?

Regardless of the severity of your injuries, it is wise to seek medical attention following an accident. Adrenaline may mask some of your symptoms and it is prudent to document any conditions right away in case you need to file a claim later on.

You may be entitled to financial recovery for injuries or property damages. You’ll want someone to advocate for your best interests and the best possible outcome for your case and our team of experienced car accident attorneys at The Law Office of Daniel H. Rose are here to help you do just that. If you have been involved in a multi-car accident, call us today at 415-496-8900.

How to sue for a “whiplash” injury and how to arrive at a fair settlement

“Whiplash” is a common term and often gets associated with and popularized by TV shows like Law and Order and Seinfeld; however, the proper medical name for this type of injury is a “cervical muscle strain” or similarly a “neck strain.”

Whichever term you prefer, the reality is that whiplash injury is of no joking matter but instead highly disruptive and usually severely painful. A whiplash injury can also force you to be out of commission when it comes to working, school, and other social, business, and physical activities—your best chance at receiving the fair compensation that you may be entitled to (depending on who’s been deemed liable), is by filing a personal injury lawsuit.

How much is my claim worth?

Whether you are seeking compensation for a whiplash injury through an insurance claim or via lawsuit, the amount you are entitled to on a few different factors like:

  • the nature of the whiplash
  • the duration of the injury
  • severity of pain
  • length of pain
  • total medical bills
  • need for future medical care
  • time off from work
  • degree of temporary or permanent disability

Pro Tip: If you have just been in any motor vehicle accident, seek medical attention immediately (even if you feel fine at that moment). Due to various components like Adrenaline, emotions, and anxiety, symptoms resulting from injuries sustained in a car collision can be temporarily masked. However, days after impact, you may find yourself in excruciating pain. Always better to err on the side of caution!

To increase your chances of receiving compensation in a personal injury lawsuit as a result of any collision, it’s best to have documented your medical injuries and symptoms every step of the way via urgent care visits, doctor’s appointments and notes, and CT scans or X-rays. At the very least, a precautionary trip to the ER Dept post vehicle accident can protect you later should any symptoms arise pointing towards a personal injury.

Here are a few action steps to keep in mind if you believe you have experienced whiplash in an automobile accident:

  1. Don’t ignore your pain. 

Most whiplash-type injuries go away within one to two weeks, in the more severe of cases, a patient is symptom-free within (on average) three to four months but some cases may take a year or longer.

Lingering symptoms of a neck injury should never go unchecked, ignored, or dismissed as “just whiplash.” The neck is fragile, sensitive, filled with nerve endings, and is part of the spinal cord. If symptoms persist, you should be as persistent with their physician until seeing a change moreover an improvement with ultimately positive results.

Being persistent is essential foremost for your wellbeing and secondly to your claim or case.

  1. Keep track of all expenses.

As important as keeping track of medical records is keeping track of all medical bills and related expenses. Expenses related to the accident and whiplash such as medical equipment, receipts, transportation costs to and from medical appointments, and smaller items like bandages, neck braces, pain relief items, and larger expenses such as physical therapy costs should all be saved and tracked.

The medical paperwork, expenses, and bills helps to reflect and exhibit the duration of your pain. It is also prudent to keep track of all the hours of work or school missed due to the accident and whiplash injury.  

  1. Seek legal counsel sooner rather than later.

Before speaking with an insurance adjustor, it is wise to speak with a personal injury attorney. Insurance companies are in the business of minimizing the funds they pay out in claims, and it is important to be very prepared to deal with them or have an attorney speak with them on your behalf.

The best way to determine whether your claim is viable is by consulting a knowledgeable and experienced car accident attorney, either after the initial accident or as soon as you are symptomatic or diagnosed. Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis which means that they do not get paid unless you get paid.

If you believe you may have suffered a whiplash injury in a recent automobile accident, contact us today for a review of your case.

Can Wearing a Seatbelt Affect your Car Accident Injury Claim?

California, like most states, created motor vehicle laws designed to increase passenger safety and reduce death and injuries on roadways. Seatbelts save lives, and numerous studies over time have been conducted to prove that statement. Most states have mandatory seatbelt laws, and California is no exception. Anyone over 8 years of age must wear a seatbelt in a moving vehicle on a California roadway. Anyone younger than 8 must also be adequately restrained in a car seat, booster, or rear-facing seat.

When California’s seatbelt laws are violated, it can lead to fines. But, if you’ve been involved in a car accident and suffered injuries due to another driver, you may be wondering if you can still sue even if you weren’t wearing a seat belt.

California’s Seat Belt Laws

California Vehicle Code Section 27315 covers seat belt requirements. It is also known as the Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

The most critical seat belt requirements found under Vehicle Code 27315 are:

  • All passengers 16 years of age or older must be properly restrained by a safety belt.
  • The seat belt requirement applies to the driver as well as a passenger.
  • According to the law, children under 8 must be properly restrained in their respective car seat, booster, or rear-facing car seat.

California also defines what it means to be “properly restrained.” It means that the lower lap portion of the belt crosses over the occupant’s hips. The upper part of the belt rests across the person’s chest. Also, the seat belts must be in working order. Failure to comply with seat belt law is a violation and can increase penalties with each offense.

Can I Sue if I Wasn’t Wearing a Seat Belt?

The answer is yes. California allows an injured party to file a lawsuit, even if they violate the seat belt law.

California is a “comparative fault” state. In an “at-fault” state, an injured person has to show that the harm resulted from another person’s negligence.  Under comparative fault laws, a person’s claim won’t be thrown out if they contributed to their injury. However, if the injured party was also partially responsible for their damages, compensation can be reduced accordingly.

A defendant is within their rights to raise a “seat belt defense” if the person suing wasn’t wearing it. That information is relevant and will be considered when discussing the amount of damages the defendant would have to pay.

When determining whether and to what degree the plaintiff was negligent in causing their own injury, a judge or jury will consider:

  • The condition of the seatbelt and whether it was working
  • Why the plaintiff didn’t have to wear a seatbelt. Common defenses for not wearing a seat belt include an emergency that prevents a person from wearing one or a medical condition.
  • Whether the injuries suffered would be less severe if they’d worn a seat belt

If you’ve been harmed in a car accident and weren’t wearing a seat belt, you should still seek legal advice. An experienced car accident attorney at Dan Rose Law can advise you whether you have grounds for a suit and to what extent the failure of wearing a seatbelt affects your case.