Tag Archives: car accidents

California’s Dangerous Rural Roads

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

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

Rural Road Dangers

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

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

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

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

Contact an Experienced Attorney

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

How do Settlements with Commercial Vehicle Accidents Work?

Even when drivers are careful, accidents still occur. Experiencing an accident may not always be avoidable. Accidents that involve a semi-truck or tractor-trailer can leave victims with even more severe injuries and financial damages due to the size and weight of the commercial vehicle. As the victim, you may encounter costly medical bills, time away from work, and haggling with insurance companies. This leaves you wondering whether the commercial vehicle can be held responsible for the damages suffered.

Can I File a Lawsuit?

 Under California law, liability for car accidents, including commercial vehicles like trucks, is determined by the responsible party.  Anyone can file a personal injury lawsuit, but for it to be successful, there has to be evidence showing that the commercial vehicle was negligent in causing the accident.

There are two ways to determine fault: (1) common law negligence and (2) by a statute. The first, common law negligence, requires a showing that the driver failed to exercise reasonable care in operating their commercial vehicle. Police reports, witness statements, and other investigatory tools are used to prove the driver’s negligence.

The second way, proving fault through statute, is easier to prove. California lawmakers have already found certain conduct negligent, like speeding or running through a red light. It’s outlined in the California Vehicle Code. If a commercial vehicle was involved in such behavior, then it is likely that they were at fault.

However, since California is also a “comparative fault” jurisdiction, the damages any victim can recover will be evaluated based on the percentage the person contributed to the accident. That means that even if the driver caused the accident, they might still have a personal injury claim.

Settlements

Suppose you were involved in an accident with a commercial vehicle. In that case, you should contact an attorney before speaking to a trucking company’s insurance company or accepting a settlement offer. While most cases won’t make it to trial, it doesn’t alleviate the injured party’s burden to investigate their case. To get the maximum settlement offer, insurance companies need to see the strength of the victim’s case.

To determine the extent of damages, first, you need to assess the damages. In California, personal injury victims involved in accidents with commercial vehicles may recover medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, and others.

In accidents involving commercial vehicles where injuries are extensive, it is essential to document medical expenses. Gathering medical bills from hospitals, specialists, ambulance fees, and physical therapy or potential procedures will assist in determining the extent of injuries. Depending on the severity of the injuries, it may take time to gather all medical expenses and to monitor other injuries that arise.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

An injured party has two years to file a claim in civil court for a personal injury claim. Negotiating with a commercial vehicle’s insurance company doesn’t require that a lawsuit be filed with the court. However, it is crucial because if the insurance company delays negotiations, the victim may forgo its right to have a court review the case. Contact our attorneys at 415-946-8900 or at Dan Rose Law to schedule a free consultation about your specific case.

Who is Liable for an Accident in a Blind Spot?

What makes blind spots so dangerous while driving is that it requires the driver to break from their standard field of vision. Checking a blind spot usually requires that the driver break contact with the road ahead to look behind their shoulder. Technology continues to improve driver safety with inventions like blind spot indicators. Even still, accidents occur when a driver hits another car in a blind spot. In those situations, who is to blame? Is it the driver who merged into another driver’s blind spot? Or the driver who missed what was in their blind spot?

What is a Blind Spot?

A blind spot is an area surrounding the vehicle that the driver cannot see within their usual field of vision. A driver’s normal field of vision usually includes what’s in front of the vehicle, the car’s peripheral, and what can be seen by side and rearview mirrors.

A blind-spot hides objects, like other cars, cyclists, and pedestrians, from a driver. Despite how a vehicle was engineered, every vehicle has blind spots. There will be objects out of the driver’s direct sight.

The automobile industry has created technological advances to assist with blind spots. For example, many cars now have back-up cameras that assist with object that aren’t in a driver’s normal field of vision. Some cars also have blind spot monitors that alert a driver when they are switching lanes. Even with the creation of these gadgets, it is still important that the driver recognize their blind spots.

Who is Responsible in a Blind Spot Accident?

It depends on the circumstances of the accident. For example, let’s say a driver is preparing to change lanes. The driver looks in their mirrors, turns their head to look at the car’s sides, and determines it’s clear to switch lanes. However, the driver failed to see a vehicle already in the lane because of their blind spot. In such instances, the driver who merged into the other lane will be liable.

Under California law, the responsibility for any accident is determined by the person “at-fault.” However, that doesn’t mean that there is only one party to blame. In any one accident, there may be multiple parties to blame.

Ways to determine blame include showing that the driver failed to exercise reasonable care in operating their vehicle. Police reports, witness statements, and other investigatory tools are used to prove the driver’s negligence, such as if one of the drivers violated any driving laws, like running a red light or speeding. Suppose a driver is already in a lane and sees another car trying to merge. He speeds up to prevent the vehicle from merging, and the two cars collide. Then it is likely that the vehicle driving in the blind spot could be liable.

Therefore, in any blind spot accident, many factors will come into play to determine who is to blame for the accident.

 Contact a Skilled Attorney

The circumstances surrounding an accident caused by a blind spot can be complicated and require expert advice to rectify so that accurate responsibility can be assigned. An experienced attorney at Dan Rose Law Firm can help assess your situation and develop a successful legal strategy.

Determining Fault for Car Accidents with Disabled Drivers

All states allow people with disabilities to obtain a driver’s license. Many drivers, including teens and those with certain disabilities, are issued licenses with certain driving restrictions. If a disabled driver is involved in a car accident, they will be treated just like any driver involved in an accident. That’s because every driver, whether disabled or not, must prove that they would drive safely and responsibly.

Disabled Driver

A disabled driver is a person who is unable to operate a motor vehicle without special accommodation. The term disabled driver refers to a person who has lost at least one limb and requires a special adjustment to operate a car.

Disabled drivers are required to inform the DMV of their disability. A restricted license will be issued, depending on the disability. The vehicle will also be modified to accommodate the disabled driver. A disabled driver will have their disability status notation on their driver’s license.

California Car Accident Basics

In California, responsibility for car accidents is determined by who is “at-fault.” That means that before an auto insurer pays out any money, they must first find who caused the accident.

There are two ways to determine fault: (1) common law negligence and (2) by a statute. The first, common law negligence, requires proof that the driver failed to exercise reasonable care in operating their vehicle. Police reports, witness statements, and other investigatory tools are used to prove the driver’s negligence.

The second way, proving fault through statute, is easier to prove. California lawmakers have already found certain conduct negligent, like speeding. It’s outlined in the California Vehicle Code. If the driver involved in the car accident violates the California Vehicle Code by running through a red light, then the driver will be presumed to be negligent.

Determining Fault for Disabled Drivers

Aside from the two ways to determine fault listed above, a disabled driver will have additional factors to determine negligence. Usually, negligence will hinge on whether the disabled driver complied with their license restrictions.

Disabled and restricted drivers must abide by the restrictions placed on their driving privileges. If they fail to comply with those restrictions, it will be considered a traffic law violation. Any violation of a traffic law amounts to negligence because those laws exist for safety reasons.
For example, if a disabled driver is required to modify their vehicle for safe operation, and the driver failed to use that equipment, that can be a traffic citation. Anyone injured in the accident will be able to use the citation as evidence that the disabled driver was negligent because they failed to comply with required safety requirements.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

The issue of negligence in an auto accident doesn’t end when one party shows that the other was negligent. Even if one party was negligent in California, damages could be reduced if the other party also acted negligently. Contact our attorneys at 415-946-8900 or at Dan Rose Law to schedule a free consultation about your specific case.

Tips for Driving Safely After Quarantine

Car accidents can happen at any time to any person on the roadways. Our nation has now faced an unprecedented modern crisis due to the global pandemic of COVID-19. As a result, many states and counties have made the decision to have their residents shelter-in-place and quarantine. After quarantine measures are lifted, you may want to reconsider how and when you drive, as your health and safety may depend on it.

Overworked Emergency Rooms

If you are in a serious accident, there is a significant chance you may have to receive emergency treatment for your injuries. Oftentimes, medical conditions need to receive an evaluation by a medical professional or additional medical complications or even death may occur. As a result, ambulances typically arrive on the scene of a car accident and are ready to take any victim who needs emergency medical evaluation to an emergency room. However, many states are feeling the serious burden of patients suffering from COVID-19. Emergency rooms as well as hospital beds are reaching capacity in many different areas around the country. If you suffer injuries as a result of a car accident, you will be placed in an environment that likely has had COVID-19 patients, causing you additional health risks. Also, there may simply not be enough room for you in a hospital depending on its current capacity and staffing levels.

Drive Safer After Quarantine

Make sure that no matter how you drove prior to quarantine or shelter-in-place ordinances, that you take extra care on the roadways. Some tips for driving safer after quarantine include the following:

  • Drive slower and obey all traffic signals and signs
  • Check your mirrors
  • Stay out of the way of anyone that appears to weave through traffic or exhibit road rage
  • Never drink and drive
  • Put away your cell phone and avoid texting or talking while driving.

The last thing you want is a car accident, and given the current climate in the United States, the last place you want to be is in an emergency room.

Additionally, even if you do not need emergency medical treatment, if you suffer injuries or losses as a result of a car accident, the process to file a personal injury case in a courtroom may be slower as courts are overwhelmed and often shut down or have reduced hours. As our entire society learns to live in this “new normal,” your best course of action is to stay as safe as possible, and only drive when necessary.

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney

If you were involved in a car accident recently, many procedures have changed with respect to filing a personal injury lawsuit in court. We are prepared to handle your case and ensure your legal rights are protected. Our office can visit with you by phone or video conferencing. Even though there is a global pandemic, you have the right to still receive compensation if you suffered injuries as a result of someone else’s negligence. Contact the experienced attorneys at The Law Office of Daniel H. Rose at 415-946-8900 or online today.

Look Out for The Signs of Road Rage

Every person has a bad day, is frustrated at some point with traffic, or is late for an appointment. However, none of these reasons gives anyone the right to drive aggressively, also known as road rage.

When a driver operates a vehicle with road rage, they become a danger to themselves and everyone else on the roadways. Watch out for the following signs of road rage to avoid potential accidents that may cause serious injury and harm.

Signs of Road Rage – Violations of the Law

Some of the signs of road rage are easy to spot, as they directly violate the law, roadway signs, or roadway signals. Some of these types of road rage that result in the direct violation of the law and could result in the driver getting a ticket from law enforcement include the following:

  • Speeding
  • Improper changing of lanes
  • Passing vehicles improperly on the roadways
  • Tailgating
  • Failing to yield
  • Failing to obey traffic signals and signs (stop signs, stoplights, etc.)

Additional Signs of Road Rage

Some additional signs of aggressive driving and road rage are apparent on the roadways, but may not actually include any violations of the law. Take careful note to observe any drivers on the roadways acting in the following ways, as it could be a strong indication that they are driving aggressively and could cause an accident due to their road rage.

  • Honking the horn excessively
  • Making wild, offensive or aggressive hand gestures
  • Yelling out of the window (threats, vulgarities, or angry words)
  • Abruptly accelerating or braking
  • Cutting off cars in traffic intentionally, or blocking cars while in traffic intentionally
  • Driving in such a way that their behavior causes another car to hit a pedestrian
  • Driving in such a way that another car runs off the road
  • Stopping the car and exiting in order to have a verbal or physical confrontation
  • Chasing another car at a high speed or with dangerous maneuvers

Filing a Claim

In order to file a claim against another driver for road rage, there must be an actual accident. Even if a driver is acting aggressively on the roadway, or driving in such a way to cause danger to those around him or her, the only way to actually file a claim is if there were physical or emotional injuries, or financial losses to a victim. However, if you see that someone is driving in an aggressive manner, or clearly has road rage, the best thing to do is contact law enforcement and attempt to give them the license plate number, the make and model of the car and the direction they are headed, if it is safe to do so.

Contact an Experienced Attorney

If you were involved in an accident due to another driver’s road rage, you have the right to receive compensation for your injuries and losses that were a direct result of their negligence. Contact the experienced attorneys at The Law Office of Daniel H. Rose at (415) 946-8900 or online today.