Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

igor-ovsyannykov-219657-copy-300x200If you live in Valley Center or elsewhere in Southern California, now is a great time to learn more about motorcycle safety. According to a recent article in the Patch, May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in California, and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) is taking steps to prevent serious and deadly motorcycle accidents throughout the state. Although the weather is warm enough year-round for motorcyclists to enjoy the streets and highways of Southern California, it is a fact that more bikers are on the road in the spring and summer months. As such, it is an important time to assess previous motorcycle safety problems and to institute better practices going forward.

High Rate of Motorcycle Accidents Last Year in California

As the article explains, we are not seeing a noticeable reduction in the rates of motorcycle accidents in California. In 2015, there were 494 motorcycle accident fatalities and more than 13,500 accident-related injuries. By 2016, the number of nonfatal accidents had increased to more than 14,000, while the fatality rate dropped, although not considerably, to 476.

bethany-legg-14229-copy-300x200For residents of Vista, California who regularly commute to work in San Diego County or have teen drivers on the road, it is extremely important to be aware of the dangers of distracted driving. As a fact sheet from the National Safety Council (NSC) explains, April is distracted driving awareness month. It is always a good idea to think about how distracted driving can impact our lives and to discuss safe driving and car accident prevention tips with your teen drivers. What else should you know about distracted driving and the risks of a crash in Southern California?

Using Technology to Prevent Distracted Driving in Vista

We often link technology with the increased risks of distracted driving. For instance, according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), texting or talking on a cell phone while driving can greatly increase the risk of a serious motor vehicle crash. However, sometimes technology can actually help when it comes to distracted driving prevention.

kalu-ci-146209-300x200For many San Diego residents, the relatively recent and seemingly ever-expanding Takata air bag recall was a source of anxiety and frustration. As you may remember, the Takata air bags installed in dozens of different automobile makes and models ran the risk of exploding as a result of a defective inflator, causing severe and life-threatening shrapnel injuries, and some victims even died as a result of their injuries. Over the last several weeks, Takata news stories have largely focused on culpability for the Takata executives who may have known about the serious product defect yet did not take steps to remedy the issue before consumers got hurt. However, according to a recent article in CNET.com, there is a new Takata air bag safety issue that has prompted another recall.

What do you need to know about the new recall, and what should you do if you drive one of the affected vehicles?

New Takata-Sourced Air Bag Product Defect

Lately, we have had several clients who were treated at Palomar Medical Center after being injured in car accidents (or other accidents), and were asked by hospital staff how the accident occurred, and whether the patient/client intended to hire a lawyer (remember, the accident just happened). The Palomar employee then informs the patient that it will not likely be billing the patient’s health insurance, but will wait and submit medical bills to the patient’s lawyer, and wait to get paid out of the case.

This situation causes a fair amount of confusion to the patient, and a high dose of concern. Some of these patients call to see if the hospital can do this, and worry that they will personally be on the hook for medical bills.

Can Palomar Hospital do this? The short answer is Yes. Under California’s Hospital Lien Act, a hospital that provides medical services to a person injured by an accident or some other wrongful act may place a lien on the damages recovered from the negligent party “to the extent of the amount of the reasonable and necessary charges of the hospital.” Civ. Code § 3045.1.  But what the hospital can recover is not absolute. For example, it cannot take more than half of any amount recovered by the injured party. Also, its lien is secondary to other liens. So, for example, if you hired a lawyer before the hospital perfected its lien, the hospital’s lien would be secondary to your attorney’s lien for fees. Since most personal injury fee arrangements are one-third of the recovery, Palomar could only make a claim for up to half of the rest, which is roughly 33%.

anja-137284-300x225What are some of the most common causes of fatal teen driving accidents in San Diego? According to a recent report from NBC San Diego, a survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety showed that speeding, a form of aggressive driving, and distracted driving top the list for common causes of deadly, yet preventable, crashes involving teens. It is important for teens who are getting behind the wheel in Southern California to recognize their own limited experience and to take extra precautions to avoid a dangerous or life-threatening car accident, but the impetus should also be on parents to ensure that their teenage drivers understand the serious risks associated with aggressive and distracted driving.

Details of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Report

As the report explains, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recently conducted a large-scale study that aimed to determine the common causes of fatal accidents among teenage drivers. What did the survey determine? Over the last five years, “speeding was one of the top mistakes made by teen drivers in fatal crashes across the country.” The report indicated that teenagers have been drivers in around 14,000 deadly collisions during the time period, and of those crashes, about “4,200 involved speeding.” To put that number another way, around 30% of all fatal teen car accidents involved speeding. Yet it is often the other driver or drivers in the crash who suffer the consequences of the teen’s choices.

bm0y9zmka1m-sean-brown-300x109What should Carlsbad drivers know about drowsy driving? It is extremely dangerous, and it may result in impaired driving car accidents that are similar to those involving alcohol. According to a recent study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, reported in a CBS News article, the risks of drowsy driving are actually quite comparable to those of drunk driving. Specifically, missing anywhere from two to three hours of sleep per night (or more) can quadruple a driver’s risk of being involved in a crash. What is the ideal amount of sleep for an adult? Adult drivers should sleep for at least seven hours per night. With that figure in mind, losing two to three hours of sleep on any given night means that driving after sleeping for only four or five hours can drastically increase the risk of an accident.

Whether you are driving locally in Carlsbad or are on the I-5 heading to work, it is extremely important to avoid drowsy driving. What else can California drivers learn from the recent AAA study?

Drowsy or Fatigued Driving Can Be More Dangerous Than Other Risky Behaviors

School_Crossing_Marji_11218998325-300x200In and around San Diego, there are a number of initiatives underway to help prevent accidents and child injuries in 2017. According to a fact sheet from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 12,000 children between the ages of 0 to 19 sustain fatal injuries each year in accidents. In addition to child fatalities, more than 9.2 million kids in the same age group sustain nonfatal injuries each year that result in treatment in emergency departments. Many of these incidents are preventable if we take safety precautions.

What steps are being taken around San Diego to help lower the number of child accidents and injuries? One recent report from The CW 6 San Diego indicates that new crosswalks have been installed around Point Loma schools, while another report from The CW 6 San Diego notes that a new car seat law in California aims to provide better protections to children under the age of two. What else do you need to know about recent safety steps and car accident precautions in the area?

Point Loma Crosswalk Aims to Prevent Child Pedestrian Accidents and Injuries

OsideAccident-300x171An enlisted Navy man was killed on Saturday while parked on the shoulder of State Route 76 in Oceanside. According to reports, 43-year-old Victor Velez pulled off to the right shoulder on the eastbound side of the road near Foussat Rd. and got out of his car. For reasons currently unknown, an eastbound box truck traveling in the right lane struck the man, killing him.

An investigation into the accident is continuing, and police currently do not believe that alcohol was a factor in the crash. Anyone with any information about the accident is encouraged to contact officer David Paul of the Oceanside Police Department at (760) 435-4431.

Last year, Walton Law Firm represented a man in a similar type of accident. That incident occurred on State Route 78, and involved a tow truck driver who was struck when a large truck veered into the shoulder, striking two people, one of whom died. After an investigation by the law firm, it was established that the negligent driver had the sun in his eyes and may have been reaching for his phone at the time of the accident.

For Carlsbad, California residents who are thinking about buying a new automobile in the coming months and are focused on auto accident prevention, it is important to pay attention to safety ratings. According to a recent article in USA Today, only 38 cars earned “top safety pick” ratings by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), indicating that safety features aimed at preventing car accidents and serious injuries may not be having the full effect that automakers had hoped.

Headlamps are Primary Focus of IIHS’s Safety Picks This Year

As the article explains, we are living in a time in which car manufacturers have “had to add high-tech features to get top ratings” in the IIHS annual “top safety picks” survey, yet a more low-tech item may be what is holding a number of vehicles back from earning that coveted “top pick” rating: headlights and headlight safety.

Quarterly_Child_Passenger_Safety_Seat_Check_held_at_MCX_parking_lot_140519-M-IY869-018Beginning on January 1, 2017, residents of San Diego County will have to abide by a new law concerning child injury prevention and auto accident safety. According to a recent article in the Benito Link, as of the first of the year—just a few months away now—California residents will have to pay close attention to a new law that requires children who are under the age of 2 to ride in a rear-facing car seat. There are only a couple of exceptions to the recently passed law. If the child weighs 40 pounds or more, or if the child is 40 inches tall or greater, then the child is not subject to the terms of the new law, even if she or he is under the age of 2.

What else should you know about this law? And will it help to prevent child injuries in serious car accidents?

Comparing California’s Car Seat Laws and Child Seat Safety

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