Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

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

800px-Motorcycle_AccidentGenerally speaking, the rate of deadly motorcycle accidents has been declining in the United States over the last decade. However, the rate of fatal motorcycle accidents actually has been rising in California, according to a recent article in Health Canal. While the cumulative rate of motorcycle accidents declined by about 7% in 2013, the rate of motorcycle deaths actually rose by 13% in California. Concerned about the spike in crashes and deaths, Southern California Public Radio (SCPR) looked at motorcycle accident rates between 2003-2012 and determined that fatal crashes increased by 23% across the state.

Why do the numbers make it seem as though motorcycling is more dangerous in California? Are motorcyclists at greater risk of suffering a serious or fatal injury in an accident in our state?

Highest Increases in Motorcycle Accident Fatalities in Southern California

Car_Emergency_Brake_symbol_2484096111_oDo automatic emergency braking systems actually prevent car accidents? In other words, if you purchase a new vehicle with an automatic emergency braking system, can you simply stop worrying about paying attention to the car that is in front of you on the freeway or in your neighborhood? According to a recent news release from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, not all self-braking cars are made in the same way, and they do not all work at the same levels as one another. In other words, not all automatic braking systems have the same rates of success, and thereby the same accident-prevention abilities. The news release indicates how “new test results from AAA reveal that automatic braking systems—the safety technology that will soon be standard equipment on 99 percent of vehicles—vary widely in design and performance.”

What else should drivers in San Diego know about the recent AAA test and the future of automatic braking systems?

What Drivers Think Versus What Automatic Braking Systems Actually Do

01 02 03 04