Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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.

Being injured as a passenger in a single-vehicle accident can be a scary time. You may have suffered extensive, permanent or perhaps even life-altering injuries. You probably have medical bills and have lost time at work. In fact, you may never be able to return to your old job again. However, the driver of your vehicle may have little personal wealth and only minimal insurance coverage. Does that mean that your situation is hopeless? Not necessarily. Depending on the facts surrounding your accident, there may be others who owed you a duty of care and failed to meet it, leading to the injuries you suffered. Proving that may allow you to expand the range of defendants who owe you compensation. To get that full recovery you deserve, give yourself a leg up by retaining a skilled San Mateo injury attorney.

An example of this type of scenario took place in Southern California, and was reported by the Long Beach Post. F.V. was a passenger of a vehicle that was approaching an intersection in Long Beach. The intersection included a ramp and, as the driver navigated the tight turn on the ramp, he hopped the curb and eventually slammed into large landscaping boulders located in the median near the intersection. The accident caused F.V. to suffer serious spinal injuries causing quadriplegia, as well as massive brain damage, according to the report.

Giving these facts a quick glance, you might think that the injured man’s only path for compensation would be suing the driver and the driver’s auto insurance company. F.V.’s attorneys saw something more. F.V. brought an action against the City of Long Beach. That claim asserted that one cause of the accident was the unsafe road conditions that the city created by placing large boulders on the median near the on-ramp.

The headlines, regrettably, are numerous and gut-wrenching and, just as bad, they just seem to keep coming. In mid-March, a 70-year-old woman from Newark died in Fremont. The compact sedan in which she was a passenger was hit by an allegedly drunk driver behind the wheel of a minivan. Also in mid-March, a driver allegedly drove drunk, blew through a red light in Sacramento County and slammed into a compact sedan, killing a 9-year-old boy and injuring his mother. In early March, a Sacramento man received a 125-year sentence for his role in an East Bay crash that left two brothers and their respective teenage sons all dead.

These accidents are horrifying and, in many cases, the criminal legal system punishes the wrongdoers. However, what about the loved ones left behind? What about the losses that they have incurred as a result of these terrible acts? While, without question, no amount of cash settlement or damages award can ever take the place of the love and companionship of a lost family member or someone else dear to your heart, that undeniable truth in no way diminishes another unavoidable fact: the misconduct of these drivers inflicts serious harm on their victims’ families, that much of that harm is financial in nature and the families should be entitled to seek compensation in court for those losses.

There are two ways that a surviving loved one can go about pursuing a civil claim for damages. If the drunk driver was convicted of driving while intoxicated, then that criminal case history helps your civil case. You can pursue your case as a negligence per se action. That means that the defendant violated a statute or regulation, that the violation caused the harm you’ve alleged and that the harm resulted from the defendant’s particular conduct in engaging in actions that the law was designed to prevent. As you can see, if the drunk driver who killed your loved one has been convicted of both driving while intoxicated and drunk-driving-related homicide, then that criminal case gives you most all the proof you need for liability in this type of case.

One of the most important decisions you’ll have to make as a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit is whether to settle your case in exchange for a specified settlement payment, or to pursue your case all the way to a verdict, leading to the less-certain outcome decided by a jury or judge. While a settlement may offer greater certainty and immediacy, it may still be unwise if the settlement offer simply is too low.

Another thing to consider when weighing the relative merits of settling or litigating is a statute called Code of Civil Procedure Section 998. This settlement is meant to motivate parties to settle their cases. However, if you choose not to settle and your outcome at trial is successful enough, that success may open the door to recovering even more. Making the “right” call on settling versus litigating is one of the most critical choices you’ll make and just one among many vital decisions where having the advice and counsel of a skilled San Mateo injury attorney can benefit you immeasurably.

Section 998 offers are sometimes described as settlement offers “with teeth.” For defendants, the law means that, if they make a valid 998 offer that the plaintiff refuses, and if the jury awards the plaintiff an amount less than the settlement offer (or if the jury returns a defense verdict), then the defense can obtain an award forcing the plaintiff to pay a potentially significant amount of costs and attorneys’ fees.

When you think about an auto accident injury lawsuit, you may imagine an injured person suing the person who rear-ended them or who improperly turned in front of them. In reality, though, auto accident injuries can occur in a wide spectrum of situations. If you are injured in a more unusual way, you may, very understandably, feel unsure about how you should proceed legally. Whether your circumstance was highly unique or very ordinary, it pays to have legal representation from a skilled California injury attorney in your pursuit of compensation.

As the Santa Maria Times reported, A.L.S. was a man injured in one of those more unusual ways. Certainly, no one wants to find himself detained in the back of a police car, but that’s where A.L.S. found himself in 2016. He was in the back of Officer E.I.O.’s cruiser, being transported to a police substation when a terrible accident happened. A teen, who allegedly was intoxicated, slammed a 2001 pickup truck into the police car in a head-on crash. Allegedly, the officer tried to avoid the oncoming pickup by swerving, but wasn’t successful. The officer, upon regaining consciousness after the impact, helped move A.L.S. to safety as the cruiser emitted smoke, according to the report.

In an accident such as this, you may assume that the injured passenger in the police car can seek recovery against the teen driver for negligence. You might also assume that the injured passenger has only that lawsuit against the teen driver as his sole source for recovery.

In any type of personal injury case, you need proof that (1) the defendant’s negligence harmed you and (2) the harm caused you to suffer compensable damages. The latter of these two is called causation. When it comes to the element of causation, some cases may require more proof than others. If you come into court with a medical history that includes pre-existing conditions, especially a history of injury to the same part of your body that was hurt in your auto accident, your opponent will inevitably argue that the harm you are currently dealing with is not the result of your accident, but rather the result of your pre-existing condition. To make sure you don’t get snared by this “pre-existing condition” trap, you need clear proof that your overall well-being, while not perfect, clearly was far better before the accident and became markedly worse immediately after the accident and as a result of the accident. To make sure you have the evidence you need to accomplish these ends, be sure you have a skilled California injury attorney representing you.

D.C.’s case (Orange County Superior Court Case No. 30-2016-00874301) was one that included this type of issue related to causation. D.C., a senior chief petty officer in the U.S. Navy, was visiting family in southern California when his rear-end accident occurred. According to the petty officer, he was driving near Anaheim when traffic slowed ahead of him. He slowed too, but the vehicle behind him hit his rental car on the left rear side. The rear driver allegedly was going about 20-30 mph when the vehicles collided.

Before the accident, the petty officer allegedly had already experienced some problems with his back. Many years before, the petty officer had suffered a traumatic injury to his back and that had left him with ongoing back pain, which existed at manageable levels. According to the petty officer, his ongoing degree of limitation from the injury was so small that the military had cleared him for full duty and he had served in a forward position in Afghanistan just one year before the accident. That assignment included wearing a heavy helmet and toting gear that weighed 50+ pounds, according to the petty officer.

Knowing exactly how extensive your injury accident damages are and, as a result, how much your injury case is “worth,” are important pieces of knowledge in any personal injury litigation, especially in California. California has a statute, Section 998 of the Code of Civil Procedure, that is designed to promote the settlement of civil cases. It says that if the defense makes a settlement offer that meets all the statutory requirements listed in Section 998 (a qualifying “998 offer”), then there are some very important consequences you can face, depending on how you handle that offer and how your case resolves.

If your opponent makes a valid 998 offer that you decline, and the jury (or judge in a bench trial) awards you a sum of damages that is less than the settlement offer (or returns a defense verdict), then not only are you not eligible to recover the costs that you incurred after the date of the settlement offer, the defense can recover their costs that were racked up after the date of the offer. This difference can be quite a significant sum, and is just one more example of how your injury case can benefit from the knowledge and skill provided by an experienced California personal injury attorney.

A recent case from San Bernardino County (Superior Court Case Number CIVDS1505973) was an example of this process in action. The event that led to litigation was an intersection collision in the city of Upland. A city employee ran a red light and crashed into M.N. The employee was on the job at the time that the accident took place. The injured woman sued both the city and the man who hit her. The key dispute in this trial focused less upon whether or not the employee had caused the accident, and more around the extent of the injured woman’s damages.

Each personal injury case comes with its own unique set of circumstances. Sometimes, the events that unfold may make a case more complicated than it might have otherwise been. One of the keys to success is making sure that, whatever happens, you are prepared and equipped to continue forward through the legal system and get the compensation you need. To do that, it helps to make sure that you have a knowledgeable California car accident attorney handling your case.

Take, for example, the injury case of a Bay Area woman named Rebecca. Her case began with an accident during the winter holidays of 2013. Rebecca was a passenger in a vehicle that was hit by a vehicle driven by 91-year-old Raymond. Raymond’s auto insurance policy had a limit of $15,000 for any single injury and $30,000 for any one incident.

Shortly after the accident, Raymond died from unrelated causes. When the person who is at fault for the accident that injured you dies shortly after the crash, that can potentially create complications for you. The law only allows you to sue living people or entities currently in existence in order to obtain compensation for the harm you suffered. If another driver caused a crash that injured you, and that driver is living, you would sue that driver. If the driver has died, pursuing compensation generally involves naming the deceased’s probate estate as the defendant. This may become complex if there is no legal heir who steps up and becomes the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate.

In cases involving catastrophic injuries, there are several things that you, as the plaintiff, need for your case to get the full and fair recovery you deserve. It is important to make sure that you have all of the evidence you need to give the jury a full picture of what happened, both in terms of the accident itself and in terms of what the harm you suffered will mean to you both now and in the future. If you have suffered an accident that has left you paralyzed or otherwise a victim of massive, permanent harm, you may require a large award of damages to meet the very significant needs you’ll have going forward. To make sure you get what you deserve from your case following your catastrophic injury, make sure you have an experienced California car accident attorney on your case.

One man who suffered a catastrophic injury, and whose recent case ended in a multi-million dollar judgment for the plaintiff, was Anthony, whose case was reported in the Antelope Valley Times. With less than a week to go before Christmas 2015, Anthony, his fiancée, and his mother traveled to the Antelope Valley Mall to do some last-minute holiday shopping. Leaving the mall in the late afternoon, they approached an intersection near Lancaster. According to the lawsuit filed by Anthony’s attorneys, a Honda Civic driven by Samantha moved through the intersection and collided with the Lincoln LS in which Anthony was a passenger. According to the Times report, Anthony’s court papers asserted that Samantha admitted to police that she was texting on her cell phone when the crash occurred.

The harm Anthony, a young man in his 20s, suffered was extreme. He incurred a broken neck that left him a quadriplegic. Before the accident, Anthony was a man who had, despite his developmental disabilities, become completely self-sufficient. He had both a steady job and a fiancée.

Modern technology brings with it many new advances, including new developments regarding the vehicles we rely upon every day. One of the newest such technologies is self-driving vehicles. While autonomous vehicles have the potential to be a safety boon, they also have the possibility of causing injuries if they do not operate as they should. If that happens, and someone is hurt in the process, that injured person may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. If you are hurt in an auto accident, whether involving a human-operated or autonomous vehicle, you should act promptly to contact an experienced California car accident attorney about your case.

ABC 7 News reported on an accident from the Bay Area that was an example of an autonomous vehicle crash with tragic results. Walter was a 38-year-old man who worked as an engineer. Last year, he took a new job at Apple and bought a new Tesla. The report indicated that, according to relatives, Walter noticed a recurring problem with the self-driving feature of the vehicle. Every time he passed the same concrete barrier on Highway 101 near Mountain View on autopilot mode, the vehicle veered toward it. According to the report, Walter noticed this problem on at least seven occasions. He even took the Tesla to the dealership.

On a Friday in late March, Walter was traveling to work from his home in Foster City. While traveling southbound on 101, he again passed the concrete barrier. This time, the vehicle slammed into the barrier, killing the engineer.