Tag Archives: car accidents

Understanding Comparative Negligence & Fault in California Bay Area Accidents

California is an exceptionally beautiful place to live; however, it also has some of the most traffic-congested areas in our country, notably the Bay Area with major cities like San Francisco and Oakland. In densely populated regions, accidents are much more prone to happen, and nationwide, there was a surge of traffic-related fatalities in 2021. In the aftermath of an accident, there are several vital steps to take, like filing a police report, visiting urgent care to treat or check for injuries, documenting damage to vehicles, filing insurance claims, and figuring out who is to blame for the collision. When involved in a crash, determining fault is always a priority, but many are unaware that it’s not always clear-cut; responsibility may be assigned to multiple parties, and a partially at-fault party may still seek and receive compensation for damages.

What is Comparative Negligence?

Comparative fault laws or the doctrine of comparative negligence pertains to how much fault is assigned to each party involved in a collision. In California, relative negligence laws allow individuals to still recover damages from a crash, even if they partially contributed to its cause. In such cases, compensation is calculated in relation to the percentage or amount of fault. For example, in the event you are deemed to be 40 percent at fault for an accident, you would be liable for 40 percent of damages, but you will still qualify for compensation. While all states have some variation of this law, in those with modified comparative negligence rules, an individual cannot recover compensation if their fault in the accident is typically greater than 50 percent. Fortunately, California is a pure comparative fault law state, meaning an individual can still seek compensation despite being 99 percent at fault.

Comparative Negligence Defense

In car accident lawsuits or claims, comparative negligence can be utilized as a defense. A person accused of fault may argue that the victim was partially responsible for their injuries. The court or the jury determines each party’s percentage of liability in a comparative negligence case. Your compensation will be adjusted or reduced depending on how much you contributed to the accident.

Accidents may be triggered by various forms of negligence, which can impact the amount of damages you owe. A knowledgeable California car accident and personal injury law attorney can assist you in identifying the fault and pinpointing critical elements of the accident that can help your case. Some examples of negligence include but are not limited to:

  • Running a traffic light or failing to yield
  • Driving recklessly
  • Failure to signal
  • Tailgating
  • Speeding
  • Disregarding seatbelt laws
  • Ignoring pedestrian crosswalks, signs, and traffic lights

Pure comparative negligence can positively or negatively affect your case if you are partially at fault for an incident. Motor vehicle accidents, the claims process, and determining fault percentages are complex, making the process of recovering compensation both overwhelming and challenging. It can be additionally stressful when another party tries to claim they are the sole victim in a crash, and you are entirely to blame for the collision. If you or a loved one have been in a car accident, it is wise to contact an experienced Bay Area car accident lawyer right away. Schedule a free consultation today and have your questions and concerns addressed by our skilled and proficient attorney.

Whiplash Injuries

Medically consulted injuries associated with car crashes have risen to roughly 4.8 million per year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) unveiled that the US just experienced an all-time high in traffic fatalities in 2021. Additionally, The Bay Area is home to the 4th most congested city in America and is no exception to the uptick in accidents and injuries. Common injuries related to collisions are back injuries, spinal injuries, traumatic brain injuries, burns, and whiplash.

45% of people who have chronic neck pain attribute that pain to a past motor vehicle accident, according to the analysis conducted by the Spine Research Institute of San Diego.

What Is a Whiplash Injury?

Generally speaking, whiplash is a term used to describe an injury to the neck, specifically, a sprain. A rear-end collision is a familiar source of whiplash as it induces the neck’s abrupt forward and backward motion. A sudden, violent jolt can force your neck’s soft tissues beyond their normal range of motion, resulting in a sprain. According to the Spine Research Institute of San Diego, there are 3.1 million new whiplash injuries each year.

Most Common Causes of Whiplash

John Hopkins Institute finds the most common cause of whiplash injuries is auto collisions, specifically rear-end impacts. Sports injuries can also cause whiplash, particularly in contact sports, and incidents of physical abuse and assault.

The force does not have to be great for car accidents to render a whiplash injury. These injuries often result from accidents in which vehicles were moving as slowly as five to ten miles per hour.

Whiplash: Signs and Symptoms

Before discussing signs of whiplash, it is vital to note that whiplash does not always appear instantly. After an accident, your body releases hormones like adrenaline to shield you from shock and trauma. As well as activating a fight-or-flight response, hormones temporarily mask or reduce pain. Unfortunately, this often results in individuals abstaining from emergency medical treatment (EMT) on scene and skipping an urgent care visit following an accident. A physician should always check you for any signs of injury that may not be immediately apparent in the aftermath of an accident.

Whiplash will almost always result in stiffness and soreness in the neck, which can also radiate to the shoulders. Usually, you’ll notice that your neck is less mobile than it would be if it weren’t injured.

You may also experience any of the following:

  • Blurred vision
  • Muscle spasms
  • Limited range of motion
  • Tingling or numbness traveling down to the arms and hands
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Feeling unsteady, disoriented, or dizzy
  • Problems with memory can accompany a whiplash injury
  • Depression and irritability

Tips for Avoiding Rear-end Collisions

Sadly, sometimes accidents are unavoidable due to other drivers’ aggressiveness, speeding, distracted driving, and general negligence. However, defensive and safe motorist techniques can help reduce the odds of a crash. Make sure you pay attention to the road ahead and your surroundings; be aware of the distance between you and other vehicles as you approach an intersection, a red light, and other road slowdowns. In addition to staying mindful and alert, you can avoid rear-end wrecks and other collisions by using your signals and mirrors, avoiding getting boxed in, and keeping a safe distance from reckless drivers you may encounter.

An Injury Caused by Someone Else’s Negligence

Consult with a knowledgeable Bay Area personal injury attorney when you suffer whiplash or any other injury due to another driver’s negligence. At-fault parties should always be held accountable. The cost of medical bills, therapy, prescriptions, and lost wages can quickly add up. Consulting an experienced car accident and personal injury attorney can help you navigate the claims process and ensure proper compensation.

Bay Area Accidents Due to Aggressive Drivers

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

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

Description and Examples of Aggressive Driving

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

Aggressive manifestations may include, but are not limited to:

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

Dangerous Left Turns in the Bay Area

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

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

Consequences of Aggressive Driving

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recommendations to consider if you come across an aggressive driver:

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

When an aggressive driver causes an injury or accident

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

How Long After a Car Crash Can You Claim Injury?

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

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

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

The Importance of Reporting the Accident

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

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

Documentation is Crucial Throughout any Claim.

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

When to Notify Your Insurance Company

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

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

The California Clock is Ticking to File a Claim

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

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

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

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

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

Recovering from Rear-End Car Accident Injuries

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

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

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

What is a Rear-End Collision

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

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

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

INJURIES

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

  • WHIPLASH

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

  • MUSCLE STRAIN

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

  • BROKEN BONES

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

  • AIRBAGS

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

  • OTHER SERIOUS INJURIES

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

Bay Area Car Accident Lawyer

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

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

 

What’s Considered Grounds for a Car Accident Claim

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

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

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

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

 1.     You Weren’t Entirely to Blame

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

2.     Sustained Injuries

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

3.     Economic Damages  

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

4.     The Filing Deadline Hasn’t Passed

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

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

 Bay Area Car Accident Lawyer

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

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

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

Types of Collisions

Common types of auto accidents include:

Rear-end collisions

Head-on collisions

Side-impacted collisions (Sideswiped)

Highway construction accidents

Interstate collisions

Single-vehicle crash

T-bone collision

The Rear-end Collision

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

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

Head-on Collisions

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

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

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

Side-Impacted Collisions (Sideswiped)

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

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

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

Highway Construction Accidents

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

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

Interstate Collisions

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

Single-vehicle Crash

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

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

T-bone Collision

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

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

After a car accident, consult with an experienced attorney

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

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

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

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

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

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

Factors Affecting Witness Credibility in Car Accident Claims

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

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

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

Increase Your Chances of Successful Litigation and a Favorable Outcome

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

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

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

What Happens if Someone Dies in a Car Accident?

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

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

What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Kind of Damages Can You Recover?

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

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

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

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

Is there a Statute of Limitations?

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

Construction Zone Car Accidents Happen More Often Than You May Think

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

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

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

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

Fatal accidents involving road construction

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

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

What Causes Accidents that Occur in Construction Zones?

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

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

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

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

Construction Zone Driving: How to Be Safe

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

If you’ve been in a construction zone accident

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

Construction Zone Car Accident Attorneys

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

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

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