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Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

Chances are, you’ve seen a TV or movie scene like this: A vehicle is lightly tapped from behind by another vehicle. An occupant of the lead vehicle emerges screaming, “Oh! My neck!” in a very exaggerated way… or maybe that occupant reappears the next day or next week wearing a conspicuously massive and bulky neck brace or a halo device. While this may all be sight gags and laughs on TV and the movies, the cold reality is that low-impact crashes can, and do, cause people to suffer serious injuries every day. If you’ve been injured in a low-impact crash, don’t let the lack of massive skid marks or extensive vehicle damage trick you into thinking you can’t recover the compensation you need. By reaching out to the right San Mateo car accident attorney, you can obtain the evidence you need to get a full recovery for the harm you’ve suffered.

When you’re injured in a low-speed accident, you can reasonably expect that the defense may argue to the jury that you are “faking it” or are exaggerating your injuries for a larger “payday.” The defense may argue that the accident occurred at such an extremely low speed that the injuries you’ve asserted couldn’t possibly be the result of that crash. The defense team knows that, just like many of the rest of us, at least some of the jurors have seen the movie/TV scenes with the gigantic neck braces and halos, and have heard the (usually false or distorted) “horror” stories of people collecting multi-million-dollar awards for trifling injuries.

The reality is, though, that the science disputes this idea that low-impact collisions can’t ever cause serious injuries. Research from a branch of the National Institutes of Health shows that there “does not seem to be an absolute speed or amount of damage a vehicle sustains for a person to experience injury.” The research’s crash tests revealed that “a change of vehicle velocity of 4 km/hr (2.5 mph) may produce occupant symptoms.”

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Sometimes, after reading a news headline about an accident injury victim who recovers a damages award in the tens of millions of dollars, you may wonder if awards like that are really legitimate or just an instance of an out-of-control jury. The reality is that, very often, these massive awards are entirely justifiable and appropriate! There are many ways that a vehicle accident can inflict a huge amount of damage on those hurt. One scenario where that is definitely a realistic possibility occurs when the injury victim is a young income earner whose injuries have left him permanently and totally disabled and requiring a lifetime of 24/7/365 care. If that happens to you or your loved one, it is essential to your family’s short-term and long-term well-being and financial security that your civil lawsuit gets you the full recovery you deserve. To aid in that goal, be sure you have an experienced San Mateo car accident attorney on your side.

J.M. was one of those people who suffered a catastrophic injury through no fault of his own. J.M., a farm worker in the Fresno area, was headed home from work one day when the van in which he was riding stopped at a railroad crossing. The driver of a Dodge pickup truck, C.B., slammed into the back of the stopped van going roughly 55 mph, according to a Fresno Bee report.

The massive injuries he suffered left J.M. paralyzed, according to the report. The only offer of settlement the injured man received was a sum of $25,000, which represented the policy limit of C.B.’s auto insurance coverage.

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There are so many areas where a knowledgeable San Mateo injury attorney can provide you with invaluable advice and assistance with your accident case. Your experienced attorney can give you essential guidance in assessing what your case is “worth,” and guide you in deciding how much to offer in settlement, as well as whether or not to accept a settlement offer from the defense.

A recent San Francisco accident case is a helpful illustration of how important these things can be. The plaintiff, C.A., was significantly injured an accident involving himself and X.L. Roughly two years later, C.A. sued X.L. for negligence.

In California, settlement of disputes like personal injury matters is encouraged by the courts. To further that goal, state law has Code of Civil Procedure Section 998. The section says that if you, as an injured plaintiff, make a qualifying settlement offer that the defense rejects and then, at the end of your trial, your damages award is more than 25% more than your settlement offer, then you may be entitled to recover certain additional costs and fees.

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California has more than 800,000 motorcycles registered in the state and has the largest volume of motorcycle traffic in the U.S. A lot of those motorcycles are here in the Bay Area. Motorcyclists are under several elevated risks on the road, as drivers may be more likely to overlook them, and accidents involving motorcycles may lead to more serious harm to motorcyclists and their passengers. Whether you’re driving a massive SUV or a basic motorcycle, other drivers still have a legal obligation to be attentive and avoid crashing into you. If you were hurt in a motorcycle accident, be sure you contact a knowledgeable San Mateo motorcycle accident attorney to get the advice you need about your legal rights and options.

A recent Bay Area accident is a tragic example of how serious motorcycle accidents often are. According to KPIX, M.D. was a motorcyclist traveling on a six-lane road in South San Jose. As he headed north, the driver of a southbound Jeep attempted a left-hand turn onto a two-lane road. The Jeep crossed directly into the motorcycle’s path and the vehicles slammed into one another. The impact threw M.D. from his bike and he died at the scene, according to the report. Police quickly ruled out intoxication as a possible cause of the accident.

How does a driver who was neither drunk nor high turn right into the path of an oncoming vehicle? There are several possible explanations. Many drivers are guilty of driving while distracted, with their cell phone or other electronic device serving as the distraction. Other drivers may drive with a certain degree of diminished attention that, while allowing them to see cars or trucks, allows them to miss vehicles like motorcycles.

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When you’re injured in an auto accident, you may worry that this crash will cause you to miss a lot of time at work. You may worry that your injuries will impair your ability to care for your children or meet your financial obligations. Any accident caused by someone else is frustrating, but it may be especially irritating if the driver who hit you was texting while driving. While exceptionally frustrating, clear evidence that the driver who hit you was texting at the time of the crash may be a huge help to you when it comes time to go to court and seek much-needed compensation for the harm you’ve suffered. Be sure you have an experienced San Mateo car accident attorney on your side to help you discover all the facts and then use them to your maximum benefit in court.

In Los Angeles, despite efforts by the city government, “the number of people killed in car crashes stayed stubbornly high,” according to the Los Angeles Times. One of the key contributors to that is drivers texting while driving. Drivers traveling “30, 40, 50 mph … put their head down to pick up a text or handle a call, and they move 100 yards, and they drive over someone,” LAPD Chief Michel Moore said in the Times report.

Regrettably, distracted driving isn’t just a problem in Los Angeles. In mid-March, a 20-year-old woman who was “driving northbound… and using her cellular phone” in Redding collided with another driver. According to actionnewsnow.com, the 20-year-old woman did not notice that her traffic light was red, she ran the red light and crashed into another car. The driver of that second vehicle was injured and was transported to a local hospital, according to the report.

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Any injury-causing vehicle accident has the potential to present unique complications. Perhaps you were hurt in a complex multi-vehicle chain-reaction accident. Maybe you were hit by a hit-and-run driver. Or perhaps were hurt after a federal DEA agent slammed into you. Each of these scenarios has the potential to present complications, each in different ways. That’s why it pays to have an experienced San Mateo car accident attorney on your side from the start. Your skilled attorney has the knowledge to know how to address the unique complexities of your case and still guide you to a successful outcome.

The complexity of R.R.’s distracted-driving accident case was not a matter of how it happened, but who was behind the wheel. As R.R. was driving along Interstate 710 to work, he came to a stop. The driver behind him, who appeared to be distracted by something inside his vehicle, rear-ended R.R.’s vehicle.

At first, R.R.’s symptoms were minor. Imaging of his brain did not show anything irregular. As time passed, though, R.R. got worse. That’s not uncommon in a vehicle accident. A lot of times, it may take days or even weeks for symptoms of underlying accident-related problems to emerge. R.R. began experiencing dizziness, vision problems, headaches, vertigo and balance problems. R.R., it turns out, had a traumatic brain injury that had left him unable to drive and permanently disabled.

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Many people injured in auto accidents, dog attacks, trip-and-fall accidents and slip-and-fall accidents resolve their cases by settling instead of proceeding to a verdict. Settlement may offer you the opportunity to acquire much-needed financial compensation without the stress and time that must be invested in pursuing a case all the way to a verdict. Your settlement will almost certainly come with a settlement agreement, which will probably contain some limitations about what you and your opponent can and cannot say about your case. It is very important to have a skilled San Mateo injury attorney by your side and that you understand and follow those contractual requirements. And, if your opponent does not follow them, then you may be entitled to recover additional compensation for your opponent’s breach of the contract.

Here’s an example from Southern California. E.L. and M.J. were neighbors in Los Angeles County. The neighbors’ legal battle began after E.L.’s dog killed M.J.’s cat. Each neighbor hired an attorney and, ultimately, the two neighbors agreed to a settlement where the dog owner paid the cat owner $2,000. The settlement agreement also contained a clause that said that neither neighbor was allowed to disparage the other.

Sometime after the two neighbors signed the agreement, E.L. posted a “hostile message” about M.J. on the website Nextdoor.com. M.J. then responded by suing E.L. (again.) This time, he sued for defamation, as well as breach of contract.

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Sometimes, you are completely devoid of any fault in your auto accident. You are sitting at a traffic signal, properly stopped, when someone slams into you from behind. The reality is, though, that many accidents are not that black-and-white. We’ve all made mistakes and misjudgments behind the wheel and sometimes some of those errors played a role in our auto accidents. Fortunately, you do not have to be 100% blameless in order to recover much-needed compensation for the injuries you suffered in your auto accident. If you’re hurt in a crash, be sure to reach out to an experienced San Mateo car accident attorney to learn more about the legal options available for you.

Sometimes, errors are simple misjudgments, like braking too late on a wet road. Other times, there fall more on the side of lapses of good judgment. An apparent momentary lapse in judgment turned tragic in San Mateo earlier in January. According to KPIX, the starting point of the fatal accident was a non-injury crash along Highway 101 where a Dodge Charger struck a Toyota Yaris. (The driver of the Dodge was later arrested for suspicion of DUI.) With both cars still in the travel lanes, a woman riding in the Yaris, I.T., got out of that car to confront the Dodge’s driver, and an argument ensued. While I.T. argued with the Charger’s driver, an oncoming Toyota Camry hit and killed her. The driver of the Camry, like the driver of the Charger, was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving.

While it might seem easy to criticize the deceased woman for stepping onto a travel lane of a highway in order to maintain an argument with a driver in a fender-bender, we should all be slow to pass judgment. Nearly all of us have been in extremely highly stressful situations on the road – including accidents. And most all of us have had moments where anger, frustration or stress led us to do things we regretted later.

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Recently, Governor Newsom signed into law a bill that is designed to limit Californians’ exposure to certain marketing calls, KUSI News reported. As many telemarketers know, even if the service or product that you offer over the phone is perfectly legal (and even quite beneficial,) many people assume that all telemarketers are scammers. Professionals in several other fields face similar negative stereotypes. “Politicians are all liars seeking only become famous and/or line their bank accounts… used car salespeople are con artists seeking to get wealthy by foisting lemons onto unsuspecting consumers… auto injury attorneys are just a bunch of ambulance chasers…, etc. etc,” are some common stereotypes.

The truth is that most injury attorneys are actually highly ethical professionals, passionately dedicated to helping injured people and their families fight for what’s fair and get back on their feet. Regrettably, though, some attorneys actually are less than completely ethical. So, how do you differentiate your conscientious and professional San Mateo injury attorney from an unethical ambulance chaser?

One of the ways you potentially can differentiate the two groups is by the manner in which you become connected. The phrase “ambulance chasing” has a very specific common meaning in the legal community. It refers to unscrupulous attorneys, or third parties acting on their behalf, who reach out to injured people (or their families) without having been first contacted by that person or family. They may make contact at the scene of an auto accident, at a funeral or at the injured person’s hospital room.

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Sometimes, being injured by a driver who experienced a medical emergency can be an extremely harmful thing to your injury case. Sudden and unforeseeable medical traumas that impair a driver’s ability to operate his vehicle safely are often chalked up alongside “acts of God” as things where no one is negligent, and no one is liable.

Other times, though, this medical evidence may be something that actually strengthens your case or gives you more opportunities for seeking the compensation you need. To make sure you are getting all the relevant information for your case, and putting it your maximum advantage, be sure you have an experienced San Mateo wrongful death attorney on your side. When a driver experiences a medical emergency or trauma that was unexpected and that the impaired driver couldn’t have anticipated, that is one thing, and it may hurt your case. When, however, the driver has a history of experiencing impairment-causing symptoms due to an existing (and known) medical disorder, then that is a very different circumstance entirely.

The case arising from a fatal East Bay crash that claimed the lives of 51-year-old E.P. and her 72-year-old mother was an example of the latter. The women were killed in Contra Costa County when another driver broadsided the women’s SUV at an intersection. The other driver, J.H., ran a red light and was going 62 mph in a 45-mph zone at the time of the crash. J.H. wasn’t drunk, wasn’t street racing and wasn’t texting. What he was, according to his lawyers in his criminal case, was experiencing a seizure that caused him to lose control and speed through the red light.

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