Tag Archives: car accident

What to Do When an At-Fault Driver Dies in the Crash

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), California saw a 10% increase in traffic deaths last year, with approximately 4,300 fatalities. Sadly, the spike in traffic-related deaths was not new, as it was the second consecutive year of increased motor vehicle crash fatalities. The nation also experienced a 16-year high in traffic deaths in 2021. Today, the world has more car accidents and related fatalities than ever.

Outlined below, are crucial steps to heed after an accident, followed by how to navigate an accident involving a fatally injured at-fault party.

  • When you are in a safe location adjacent to the accident, you should always call the police as it ensures proper procedures and cooperation of all parties involved and official and adequate documentation through a police report. In addition, the accident or injured parties may require emergency medical technician (EMT) services.
  • Check yourself for any immediately apparent wounds and the well-being of passengers in your vehicle.
  • If you can, taking photos of the vehicles involved will be helpful later in the process, and identifying and speaking with potential witnesses. Taking notes of your recollection of the events leading up to and causing the accident is also beneficial.
  • Always follow up with a medical provider, even if you feel fine, and get checked out at the emergency room, an urgent care clinic, or your primary care doctor for injuries that may not be immediately visible to you.

These steps should always be followed but are easier under typical circumstances. However, in some accidents, injuries sustained, and fatal events can prevent some of the above steps from taking place.

What happens if you get into a wreck, are injured, and incur damages, but the at-fault driver passes away in the accident?

Can you still seek compensation if the at-fault driver died in the accident?

Yes. In short, if the at-fault driver dies in a car accident, their insurance company is still obligated to pay damages to the other driver. Due to California’s at-fault status, the responsible party’s insurance company is accountable for paying damages. In the event the driver who caused the crash passed away as a result of the accident, their insurance policy would still be the source of compensation for any injuries or property damage you may have sustained but bear in mind the insurance policy likely has a limit.

What happens if the compensation offered doesn’t cover medical expenses, future expenditures related to the injury, and other associated costs and damages? The negligent driver’s estate might be able to provide compensation if the at-fault individual had inadequate or no insurance. Although seeking compensation in this way can be more complex and may require filing a lawsuit, you still have the right to pursue it. Under such circumstances, it is wise to seek the knowledgeable legal guidance of a San Francisco Bay Area attorney.

Concern for the Loved Ones of the Deceased

In addition to such instances being more challenging, they can also be emotionally burdensome. You may feel concerned for the at-fault driver’s family, what they are going through, and what the claim or suit process and receiving rightful compensation may mean for them. Yes, the individual likely has a family who is now mourning the loss of their loved one. However, medical debt and related expenses can add up quickly after an accident, so it is best not to postpone filing a claim and reaching out to a lawyer. Keep in mind that your primary point of contact, in most cases, will be with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. An experienced California Bay Area attorney can guide you through this process, provide support at each juncture, and ensure that you receive the total compensation to which you are entitled. We invited you to contact our offices to schedule a free consultation with our skilled Bay Area car accident attorney.

Types of Traumas After a Car Accident

According to data from UC Berkeley’s Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS) and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), California experienced a significant increase in traffic-related injuries in 2021. An injury related to a motor vehicle accident may leave you wondering what trauma effects can arise.

A car accident victim may suffer temporary or permanent injuries, depending on the extent of the accident and its impact. These are in addition to legal and economic ramifications, along with navigating insurance claims.

Victims must be conscious of the extensive trauma, mental pain, and adverse effects that car accidents often produce.

Trauma following an accident; what and why?

Trauma is a physical and psychological reaction to an accident’s stress and unrest. It is not uncommon for victims to feel powerless, helpless, in pain, shocked, and even left with fear and doubts about their self-worth. The fear of getting behind the wheel can result from an injury from a collision. Others may become anxious about traveling in vehicles in general. Despite these common reactions, they can make daily life and activities more challenging.

Six Car accidents trauma-related conditions

Trauma effects after a car accident are difficult to predict, although they are more likely to develop among car accident victims. Among the predominant conditions linked to car accident injuries and trauma are:

  • Acute stress disorder (ASD)
  • Stress response syndrome
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Psychological distress
  • Emotional trauma

Acute Stress Disorder: Develops in the days and weeks following an event characterized by an intense and painful reaction to trauma. Some individuals may feel detached or numb in an emotional sense, while others may exhibit unpredictable behavior.

Stress Response Syndrome: When an individual has difficulty coping with or adapting to a particular source of stress, such as a significant change in life, accident, loss, or event. The syndrome is often referred to as “adjustment disorder,” as patients often face hurdles attempting to adjust to life after a traumatic event.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: PTSD is a psychiatric disorder triggered by scary, startling, or life-threatening events. As reported by the American Psychological Association, car accidents are a leading cause of PTSD in Americans. PTSD is denoted by persistent flashbacks or reliving memories of the event that precipitated the trauma and disorder.

Traumatic Brain Injury: 1.5 million traumatic brain injuries (TBI) occur in the U.S. annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and occur when a strong external force damages the brain. These injuries range from mild to severe. However, they account for the majority of disabilities and deaths in adults. Signs of a TBI can manifest immediately or develop over time.

Psychological Distress: Moods can fluctuate wildly and cause painful physical and mental symptoms. Psychological distress can signal the beginning of major depressive episodes, panic disorders, and anxiety. In addition, the trauma can result in impairment of cognitive functions. An extremely stressful or traumatic experience can cause psychological distress.

Emotional Distress: While emotional distress can take many forms, its generally characterized by mental anguish, feelings of hopelessness, self-isolation, and depression. Emotional distress is usually a response to a particular crisis or event.

Many forms of trauma, unfortunately, go unnoticed, undiagnosed, and untreated. Getting appropriate care is imperative. The following are symptoms of trauma to be aware of:

  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Flashbacks or night terrors
  • Avoidance
  • Development of new fears
  • Self-isolating behavior
  • Emotional detachment or “numbness.”
  • Mood swings (frequent ups and downs)
  • Insomnia or new and poor sleep patterns
  • Problems focusing or learning
  • Depression or low moods
  • Loss of interest
  • Loss of motivation
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling foggy
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite or change in diet
  • Reduced libido
  • Aggressive or unpredictable behavior
  • Feelings of hopelessness

Can compensation after an accident include trauma?

Compensation may be available depending on the specifics of your claim. Consult an attorney specializing in this field to ensure you receive fair compensation. Compensation can assist with medical bills, prescription expenses, treatment costs, therapy, and more challenging to measure losses like pain and suffering. The trauma of a car accident can be grave and debilitating, but an attorney who is supportive and experienced can make all the difference.

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.

Car Accident Injury While Visiting California

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Most Dangerous Times to Drive in San Francisco

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

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

What can make driving turn deadly?

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

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

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

How Many Accidents Occur in the Bay Area?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to prove a driver was driving while high?

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

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

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

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

Your rights and options after a crash with a high driver

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are Insurance Rates Affected in All Types of Car Accidents?

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

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

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

Chargeable Accident Defined.

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

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

Not All Accidents Are Chargeable

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

Some examples of non-chargeable accidents include:

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

Proof of Fault

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

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

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

Can My Insurance Company Find Out About the Car Accident?

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

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

Auto Insurance Surcharges

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

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

Chargeable Incidents

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

Contact an Experienced Attorney

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

 

Teach Your Teens What to Do When a Car Crash Happens

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

  1. Stay Calm

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

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

  1. Call Home

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

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

  1. Call the Police

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

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

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

  1. Do Not Admit Fault

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

5. Exchange Driver Information

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

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

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.