Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

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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Sometimes, in your auto accident injury case, the question isn’t if you have a case for holding the defendant liable, because the defense has already admitted liability. The question isn’t even whether or not you’ve incurred a substantial amount of damages, because the defense has admitted that, too. The question, then, for some injured people, is “exactly how extensive are my damages and how much compensation should I reasonably expect for them?” Being able to assess these things accurately matters a great deal if you’re in an injury lawsuit in California.

In California, there’s a law that says that, if you reject a statutory settlement offer and the jury awards you less 75% of what was offered, then you lose the ability to recover certain costs and fees and may be on the hook for paying some of the defense’s costs and fees. In other words, it is very, very important, when you receive a statutory settlement offer from the defense, that you have the ability to differentiate a fair offer from a low one. This is a key area where the right San Mateo car accident attorney can help. Your knowledgeable attorney can use his/her wealth of experiences in past cases to help you spot a fair offer… or an unfair one.

T.B. was a woman facing those kinds of questions in her case (Orange County Superior Court Case No. 30-2016-00861733-CU-PA-CJC.) She was a passenger in vehicle that was involved in a major accident. T.B.’s driver reportedly improperly turned left against a red arrow. The accident totaled both vehicles.

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Did you know that, based on one study, auto accident injury plaintiffs have some of the highest rates of success with juries, winning roughly 2/3 of the time? Of course, simply obtaining a “judgment for plaintiff” may not be enough if the jury awards you only a tiny amount of damages. Sometimes, you’re injured in an auto accident but (thankfully) escape without any catastrophic injuries. You may have had no broken bones and no torn ligaments, and may have needed only a few months of medical treatment. You might, therefore, have assumed that, even if you won, your case was not “worth” all that much in terms of compensation.

Occasionally, a jury verdict comes along that serves as a good reminder about the peril of assuming. Recently, there was a San Diego woman who, despite injuries like those listed above, recovered a six-figure award of damages. The lesson of this outcome? Don’t assume. Instead, be sure you talk to an experienced San Mateo injury attorney and get a seasoned pro’s analysis of what your case is really worth.

In that recent Southern California case (San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2017-00001440-CU-PA-CTL), 27-year-old P.N. was stopped at an intersection in La Jolla waiting for her light to turn green. As she remained stopped, another driver who was turning left at the same intersection lost control and crashed into P.N.’s vehicle.

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According to NHTSA statistics, distracted driving remains a major problem on U.S. roads, resulting in 3,166 deaths in 2017 alone. Distracted driving may lead to driving behaviors that can be particularly injurious, such as slamming into a stopped vehicle at full speed, veering into an oncoming lane of travel or barreling through a clearly red traffic light.

When you’re seriously hurt as a result of a distracted driver, you need to know where to turn find out how to go about getting back on your feet and getting fully compensated for the losses you’ve suffered (and will suffer.) Start by reaching out to an experienced San Mateo car accident attorney.

Anyone can file a personal injury lawsuit and potentially work out a settlement. One of the keys to a genuine success in a personal injury accident is not just “getting paid,” but knowing what your case is really worth and being sure that the payment you get is a fair one. That’s especially true in California, where there is an “offer of settlement” statute (Section 998). Make the mistake of rejecting a fair 998 settlement offer and you may find yourself paying some of the fees and costs of the defense. Make the mistake of accepting a lowball 998 offer and you may find yourself receiving too little money for your needs.

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Sometimes, vehicle accidents are the result of the negligence of one driver and one driver alone. Many other times, though, fault in a two (or more) vehicle accident is more complex. One driver may have improperly failed to yield, but the other driver may have been speeding. A front driver may have improperly stopped short, but a rear driver may have been driving while distracted.

So, what do you do if you’re injured in an accident where you were at fault and so was another driver? Does the fact that you were negligent and made mistakes necessarily mean that you cannot recover anything for the harm you suffered? In California, that is definitely not the case! Even if your errors were far-and-away the primary cause for an accident, you can still potentially recover if you can prove that the other driver also was guilty of at least some degree of negligence and that his/her negligence contributed to the crash. If you’ve been hurt in an accident, don’t give up – even if you made some mistakes on the road. Reach out to an experienced San Mateo car accident attorney to find out more about your legal options.

A recent crash in Sacramento County is a clear example of how multiple drivers can potentially be at fault in the same accident. According to a Galt Herald report, the two-vehicle accident tragically left one man dead and several injured. Witnesses indicated that the deceased man, F.G., approached and intersection and began turning left, failing to stop at the intersection’s stop sign. A pickup truck on the intersecting road crashed into F.G.’s sedan.

Many forms of futuristic technology are becoming reality today. KCRA in Sacramento reported that new California regulations could allow companies to deploy self-driving delivery vehicles by the end of 2019. Another source reported on a pizza company, once famous (or infamous) for its fleet of youthful drivers racing down streets to delivery customers’ pizzas in “30 minutes or less,” that hopes to have robots and self-driving vehicles handling those home deliveries in some locations before the end of this year.

Modern technology is, of course, a wonderful thing… when it works. Unfortunately, Californians have already seen the consequences when self-driving vehicle technology fails. A 38-year-old Bay Area engineer died when his autonomous Tesla vehicle misinterpreted the lines on Highway 101 and steered the vehicle into a concrete barrier, killing the man. A pedestrian in neighboring Arizona died after an autonomous Uber vehicle failed to stop as she walked her bicycle across a road.

So, would you know what to do if you were injured in an accident caused by a self-driving vehicle? You might know generally that the law gives you an opportunity to sue, but it would also be entirely reasonable to think that you wouldn’t know exactly how to do that, including what to assert and who to sue. Your experienced California injury lawyer is there to help.

We’ve all heard the amiable jingles or slogans, sometimes recited by popular actors, singers and athletes, telling us about how an insurer will be “on your side” or that you will be “in good hands.” The reality is, though, that insurers often work hard to avoid paying claims, even to their own customers. When that happens to you as a result of an auto accident, you may have various options and, depending on the exact facts of your situation, it may open the door to recovery of substantial compensation. To be ready when that happens to you be sure you have someone on your side… and that that someone is an experienced San Mateo auto accident attorney.

M.M. was one of those unfortunate people whose experience with his insurer was less than cheerful. M.M. was seriously injured in a high-speed head-on collision. The other driver was at-fault, having crossed a double-yellow line to pass slower vehicles.

M.M. survived, but suffered a severe injury that shattered his left heel bone. The injury caused a permanent deformity and was extremely painful. His doctors concluded that he’d face a lifetime of chronic pain and problems related to that heel.

Your California auto accident may have inflicted massive harm upon you. You may have racked up huge medical bills, may have lost a lot of wages due to missed time at work and you probably experienced a great deal of pain and suffering. Getting true justice, then, means finding ways to ensure that you can actually recover the total amount of damages that the court awards you, and aren’t just stuck with a largely (or perhaps even completely) uncollectible judgment. This is just one of many essential considerations when it comes to getting an appropriate result in your injury case. To make sure you are positioned to get all of what you deserve, be sure you have a skilled San Mateo injury attorney fighting for you.

Getting that best possible result may, in many situations, require detailed legal knowledge. Again, a skilled legal advocate can help immensely. Here’s a real-life example from Placer County. A.M. was seriously hurt in an intersection accident where A.H. reportedly ran a red light.

In a case like that, you may, in addition to the at-fault driver, be able to pursue compensation from an auto insurer and, if the at-fault driver was engaged in activity furthering the interests of his employer when the crash happened, you may also be able to name the employer and obtain a judgment against that entity as well.