Articles Posted in Car Accidents

To most parents, there is nothing more terrifying than letting a teenager get his or her license and start driving. Parents tend to imagine every possible worst-case scenario – the car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, a drunk driver hits the teen’s vehicle – and really, they have cause to worry.

A new report states that auto accidents are actually the number one killer of teenagers in the United States, beating out both homicide and suicide. The study, which was funded by the General Motors Foundation, says that both drivers and passengers are at risk.

The report was mostly based off a national survey that looked at 1,000 teenagers between the ages of 13 and 19. According to the report’s findings, 2,439 teenagers died in 2012 due to auto accidents on U.S. roads. Of those teenagers, about 56 percent of them were driving at the time, and 44 percent of them were passengers at the time. The study also found that more than half of those killed did not put on a seat belt.

Before you go and take away your child’s driver’s license, remember that this study is totaling the amount of teenagers dead in auto accidents overall. This includes accidents where adults were driving or accidents involving drunk drivers. The study did not research any correlation between texting and calling to the accidents either, but it should be noted that about 40 percent of teenagers in a poll said they had ridden with another teenager who was using the phone while driving.

In fact, adults too are guilty of using their phones while driving. Of those teens polled, half of them said that they had driven with an adult who was using his or her cell phone.

Interestingly, only about 10 percent of teenage passengers said they had driven with a teenager under the age of alcohol or drugs.

While you cannot protect your child from all auto accidents, you can do your best to ensure that they are not driving while texting or doing other unsafe practices while behind the wheel. Need some pointers on how to talk to your children about driving safety? Here’s how:

  • Make sure they know distracted driving is never okay: Firmly establish the rule for driving, which should include never using a cell phone for texting and only calling in emergencies. You should have some sort of punishment in line should your child break the rule. Be very clear and stand your ground.
  • Teach them about the consequences: Show your child just how expensive even speeding tickets can be and remind them that if pulled over, he or she will be paying for the ticket. Make sure they know how much violations for distracted driving can cost.
  • Set a good example: Your teen is watching, even when you think they are playing with their phones in the passenger seat. If you pull out your phone and start texting while driving, you are setting a bad example. How can you not expect your teen to do the same?

The best defense we have against auto accidents is teaching our children how to drive safely. Make sure your child is enrolled in an accredited driving course, and spend plenty of time practicing with them. When they drive with you, hand them your phone, and when you need directions, ask your teen to punch in the address. Show your teen that safe driving is the best driving.

Whenever you see the yellow diamond-shaped sign with two black figures crossing a road, you know you’ve entered a school zone. Typically the speed limit drops, and drivers need to be extra cautious to avoid hitting any parents and children when school is in session.

Whether or not school zones in Sacramento are safe depends almost exclusively on the drivers and the attention to the road. Most research concludes that each year roughly 100 children are killed on their way to or from school, and another 25,000 are injured in accidents around school zones.

Of course, children should be taught how to stop, look and listen when crossing the street, and many school districts employ crossing guards to get children safely across the street. However, neither of those factors excuse a negligent, distracted driver who is speeding through a school zone.

In a recent study that looked at the effectiveness of school zones, researchers looked at over 2,000 accidents involving motor vehicles and pedestrians and concluded that the most serious collisions happened in mid-block areas, places where no crosswalk or intersection was located. School zones also have higher rates of fatal collisions, but these rates dip as you get farther and farther away from the school zone.

So what can you do to make school zones safer? Follow these tips and school zones will be safer for everyone.

As a driver

If you’re going through a school zone on your way to work or dropping off your own children, there are a few things you should be aware of.

  • California law asks drivers to give the right-of-way to pedestrians when they’re crossing at a legal crosswalk.
  • Speeding through a school zone is highly dangerous and can get you in a lot of trouble.

As you’re approaching a school zone, do your best to remove all distractions from your view and be sure to be extra cautious. Not all children know where to cross the street, and there are some that might try to cut across at another point. If you’re not aware of them, you might hit them.

Take extra precaution and drive a little slower than the speed limit just to be on the safe side. If you were to hit a child while speeding, drive while texting or fail to let the pedestrian have the right-of-way, you might be sued for negligence and be held responsible for damages, which could include hospitals bills and even wrongful death.

As a parent

While there’s no excuse for speeding through a school zone, parents are obligated to teach their children how to safely cross the street.

What to explain:

  • Why it’s so important to cross the street at crosswalks or intersections
  • How to stop, look and listen
  • The importance of looking both ways

It might be harder to make children comprehend how serious auto accidents can be, but regardless, parents should be talking to their children about road safety.

If your child has been hit, he or she is entitled to damages and pain and suffering just as any adult would be. In this case, the child will be appointed a representative, usually the parent, to act on his or her behalf when negotiating a settlement. Most of the time, damages awarded to a child go into a trust, intended for educational purposes, but some funds can also go to pay for medical bills.

You as a parent can also sue for any medical bills, lost wages or potentially pain and suffering, depending on the nature of the accident. Know your rights and next time, drive a little slower through a school zone.

How cool would it be to never have to drive your car again? Some people are lucky enough to experience this now. They have chauffeurs or private drivers to handle the task, but what about the regular, average Joes out there? What if you never had to worrying about making your morning commute because your car would simply drive you itself?

Self-driving vehicles are quickly becoming the new frontier of technology, capturing the minds of those in Silicon Valley, but the actual implementation of driverless cars might need to wait a generation or two. In a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 48 percent of Americans said that they would ride in driverless cars. More than half of urban and suburban citizens said they were at least interested in this technology, and a whopping 59 percent of college graduates in the U.S. said they would be willing to give it a try.

Before you know it, seeing a driverless car on the road could become part of your normal routine. You might even own one! Here is what you need to know about the driverless car phenomenon.

Who’s working on it?

There are several companies who are working intensely on this technology and say that driverless cars could hit the markets even within the next few years. Keep an eye on:

• Google: This technology powerhouse launched its first prototype of the driverless car in 2014 and says it may be used publically within another two or three years.
• Mobileye: This company has mainly focused on crash avoidance systems in the past, but now their focus is shifting to creating the driverless car itself. By 2018, Mobileye hopes to have its cars on the road.
• Dailmer (Mercedes-Benz): Dailmer has already showcased quite the achievement: the self-driving semi truck. The company further promises to have a self-driving car out by 2020.

With these thoughts in mind, the steering wheel could become entirely obsolete in just a few short years.

The good and the bad

Other than the obvious advantages, like being able to nap on your way to work, having a driverless could drastically cut down on the number of car accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the top three causes of death in relation to driving accidents are distracted driving, speeding a drunk driving (in that order exactly). Driverless cars could possible eliminate each one of these threats and making the roads safer for everyone.

At the moment, however, only five states (including California) allow driverless cars on the road. They are illegal everywhere else. Though the driverless semi truck has been created, it cannot legally drive across the country to make deliveries.

There is also the problem of hackers. As these cars will be able to connect to the Internet, they will be open to hackers as well. The hackers could be going after driver information as well as driving habits, as these will be recorded, and could potentially highjack a car as it is driving you somewhere.

When all is said and done, who will be held responsible for accidents? Will the manufacturers take responsibility for any malfunctions and crashes related to their hardware, or will it be up to the driver to remain alert? How will we decide?

More than likely, new laws will be coming into effect to govern how we handle these types of responsibilities and assign fault to one another. We can only guess what the future will bring.

When a car crash suddenly goes from bad to explosive, there is little you or any other bystander can do about it. One evening around 10 pm in 2002, a California man driving a black Ferrari at high speeds suddenly lost control of his vehicle and went veering off to the left where the car struck several trees on a grassy median and then went into the other lanes before finally stopping. After that horrific crash, the car caught on fire.

Luckily, the driver and his passenger were just able to make it out of the car before it was inflamed, and no one else was injured. The Ferrari did not hit any other vehicles.

While rare, cars catching on fire are highly dangerous and definitely something you want to avoid, but do you know what to do if something like this does happen to your car? Let us tell you what you should know if you ever find yourself in this situation. Of course, every situation will be unique, but if you generally know what to do and what not to do, you’ll be ready for the emergency.

If You’re Driving

Noticing a fire in your car while you’re driving it is terrifying, but you can minimize the damage done to yourself and others if you act quickly and try not to panic. Keeping a cool head in this hot situation could save your life as well as anyone else’s in the vehicle.

First, signal right as quickly as you can and pull off onto the shoulder or into the service lane. If you’re signal isn’t working, blare the horn, wave your hand out the window or do whatever else you can to get other drivers’ attentions and get them to move out of your way. They may pull over to help you or at least get out of your way as quickly as humanly possible.

Once you’re in the service lane, immediately switch off the engine and get yourself and everyone else out of your car. Don’t worry about grabbing your purse or even your cell phone, and don’t try to go for anything in the trunk or glove compartment.  You never know when the car may burst into flames or even explode so walk far away from the car and keep everyone at a safe distance. Do not try to go back for something left in the trunk or in another part of the car that might not yet be touched by flames.

As you won’t be able to switch on your emergency lights, try to discourage other motorists who stop to help from parking near your car. Usually the flames are enough of a deterrent, but in situations where the smoke isn’t as noticeable, you may want to try and notify people It may be difficult to have a perimeter set up, but if another car does pull over, ask them to back up and turn on their emergency lights.

Call the fire department and do your best to keep any onlookers or passing cars away from your vehicle. Do not attempt to put any flames out yourself, and if you only see smoke and no flames, do not try to get back in the car and restart the engine. The flames might come into contact with the gasoline in your tank, which will cause an explosion. Stand far away from the vehicle and wait for help to arrive.

As with any car accident, remember that personal property can be replaced. People and loved ones around you cannot.

Personal injury lawsuits can really do a number on your finances. When you are hit by another driver, usually you will rely on their insurance to pay for the damages to your car as well as any medical fees. If the driver is uninsured, you will probably go after the driver with a personal injury lawsuit, but no matter what, it will cost you plenty of time and energy.

Some states are better than others when it comes to personal injury and safety. WalletHub.com rated all 50 states plus the District of Columbia in order from the riskiest states that will hit your wallet the hardest (#1) to the most lenient states that may save you money but not protection (#51). To judge the level of safety, the site looked at the level of auto insurance required for drivers.

Auto accidents are one of the leading causes for many personal injury lawsuits, and not all states require drivers to have enough insurance to cover damages. That means if another car in the state with the least strict laws hits you, there’s a good chance you will end up paying for your own damages, unless you chose to go after that driver in a personal injury lawsuit.

So what is the riskiest state to drive in? That would be Florida. Florida laws are very relaxed when it comes to making sure its drivers are insured. Of all the drivers in the state, an estimated 23.8 percent do not have enough insurance to be considered legal. In second and third place is Oklahoma and New Mexico respectively.

So where does California rank? Unfortunately, California is tied for fourth place with Mississippi. Motorists need $15,000 to cover bodily injuries or death of one person, $30,000 for bodily injury or death of multiple persons and $5,000 for property damage. The state’s rate of uninsured drivers is at 14.7 percent.

Comparatively, Maine, the safest state, has all but 4.7 percent of its drivers insured, a full 10 percent below California’s rate. The state’s legal amount of insurance needed sits at $50,000 for bodily injuries per person, $100,000 for bodily injuries for multiple people and $25,000 for property damage. Additionally, all motorists need Medical Payments Coverage and Uninsured Motorist Coverage for Bodily Injuries.

But how does insurance relate to a personal injury case? Why should it matter how much a person has for insurance so long as he or she is insured. Let’s say you are driving to work one morning and another driver t-bones your car, totaling your recently purchased vehicle and breaking your left arm and leg. Do you really think $15,000 will really be enough to cover all of your medical expenses? What if a passenger in your car was also badly injured? Would $30,000 cover that?

More than likely, the answer is no. The best course of action is to prepare yourself before you have to consider filing one. Some drivers carry Uninsured Motorist coverage, which will pay for all medical expenses plus lost wages if an uninsured driver hits you as in the scenario described above. This type of insurance is not mandatory in California, but it is in Maine, which is part of the reason why Maine ranked so high on WalletHub.com’s list.

It is unclear now whether or not California will ever make Uninsured Motorist coverage mandatory, but it would sure help in personal injury lawsuits. In the mean time, driver carefully and consider adding this coverage to your policy.

California is famous for many things but one thing may be more accurately termed as infamous; celebrity car accidents. There is a high concentration of celebrities in this state, so it stands to reason there would be more celebrity auto accidents here but the fact is still dismaying. Often times it is the excesses of success that lead to the accident. Plentiful, drugs, alcohol and little responsibility can be a dangerous combination.  Other times it is road construction, negligent drivers or just dumb luck. Regardless of how it happens, our California roads have taken many famous lives.

Paul Walker

Paul Walker is the most recent celebrity to die on California roadways. He was a passenger traveling with friend, Roger Rodas, who was a Pro-Am racer and also Walkers financial advisor. They had left a charity event in Rodas’s Porsche. While no drugs or alcohol played a part in this terrible accident that left Paul Walker dead and burning in a car on a Hercules Street in Santa Clarita, California, careless, childish drag racing may have. Police have made no connection between the accident and drag racing, although the section of the road the accident occurred on is popular for drifting cars, they did, however, say that speed was definitely a factor. The area was a 45 mph zone. Reports show the car going in speeds excess of 100 mph.

James Dean

James Dean died in one of the most horrific celebrity car crashes of all time. In another Porsche accident, Dean took off in the Porsche Spyder he’d named Little Bastard, in route to a race in Salinas. In an odd turn of fate, he and his passenger, Rolph Weutherich, were pulled over for speeding only a short time before being hit head-on by a truck as it turned left onto the Interstate. While Weutherich received many serious injuries, James Dean was nearly decapitated and died from his injuries.

Darrell Russell and Michael Bastianelli

NFL players Darrell Russell and Michael Bastianelli were killed in a California car accident together. In December of 2005 they were travelling in a Pontiac Grand Prix as Bastianelli drove. The car veered out of control and hit a tree, fire hydrant and bus. Russell was a defensive lineman for the Oakland Raiders and the Washington Redskins.

Montgomery Clift

After leaving a dinner party at the home of Elizabeth Taylor, his costar in Raintree Country, Montgomery Clift smashed his car into a telephone pole in Beverly Hills. A friend of the two, Kevin McCarthy witnessed the accident swiftly ran back to report it to Taylor and her husband. She rushed to his side and tended his injuries, removing a tooth from his tongue as he began to choke on it, before paramedics arrived. He was seriously injured with many cuts, lacerations and broken bones in his face. He was in the middle of film production at the time of the accident, which had to be halted for two months as he recovered and had reconstructive surgery. Audiences of the movie could see the noticeable differences in his face in the scenes before and after the accident. He never fully recovered emotionally and became addicted on pain pills and alcohol.

It isn’t new news that car accidents caused by DUI are usually cataclysmic and the effects can last an entire lifetime, and yet people repeated drive drunk year after year. Often it is intentionally, sometimes it is accidentally but it is always devastating. The physical and emotional struggle that follows is felt not only by the survivor but the family as well. Add to that the financial struggle and the medical and legal problems associated with a DUI and the misery is compounded with no end in sight. DUI drivers who cause death or injury face serious legal penalties and enormous civil liabilities.  DUI drivers found negligent and culpable are required to pay for all damages they cause, medical, physical and financial.

Out of every five fatal car accidents in California, one is DUI related. Over 20,000 people are injured in California DUI accidents each year and more than 1000 are killed, according to the CHP or California Highway Patrol. Alcohol is not the only way to have a DUI accident. DUI or Driving Under the Influence can mean the influence of anything impairing, including prescription pills, marijuana and other drugs. Studies have shown that approximately 10% of the American public has driven under the influence of some kind of chemical within any given year. It is unclear exactly how many accident this causes per year but experts say it has a definite effect on the total yearly fatalities.

Consequences for driving under the influence vary according to how often it has happened as well as how affected the driver is. The latter is deducted by blood alcohol level. California has a very low blood/alcohol level. If a drivers BAC level (Blood/Alcohol level) is .o8% or higher, they are considered under the influence. Drivers who consistently drive drunk and cause accidents can expect harsher penalties. First time offenders can count on a night in jail, hefty fines and a loss of driving privileges. If a death occurs, the driver will go to prison regardless if it’s his or her first offense. A felony DUI is one that causes death or serious injury. Harsh penalties and catastrophic effects aside, DUIs still occur with alarming regularity across California.

In order to be arrested and charged with a DUI, a driver must have one of two things happen. He or she must be driving erratically and visibly break the rules of the road, or be stopped at a sobriety checkpoint and fail. Proving a driver was driving under the influence is not always as easy as it may initially seem. A DUI investigation must occur. DUI court usually takes several proceeding over the course of months or years. A lot can change during that time. DUI accidents are stressful and can change the lives of everyone involved, drivers and victims. Victims are entitled to sue the driver for damages they received in a DUI accident. As with any legal proceeding, it is lengthy and confusing. Drivers face years of imprisonment, loss of driver’s license and thousands of dollars in fines.

Car manufactures and technology developers continue to create safety features to guard against DUI accidents. In the meantime, our best precaution is education.

California Highway 138

California Highway 138

It is no surprise that California is home to some of the most dangerous roads in the country. Partly due to road construction, partly our area geography, our roads are infamous for devastating and taking lives. The areas of Orange County and neighbors such as San Bernardino, San Diego, and Los Angeles are the most dangerous. While knowing this fact is uncomfortable for drivers, being aware of the danger is a big step in avoiding it.

Highway 138

Highway 138 gained its notoriety when the television show Dateline investigated its deadly reputation for its story on America’s most deadly roadways. The section east of Palmdale and west of Interstate 15 was determined to be the worst area of road in the country. The problem is said to be the wide variety of dangers faced on the road as it typifies the issues California drivers face on the states profusion of two lane highways. In its early days, Highway 138 served as a rural, farm to market travel way. The traffic was slim to none, except on market days. Its original travelers were in considerably smaller cars, going at much slower speeds. Today, the vehicles are much greater in number, size and speed, overloading the original intent of the highway. To add insult to injury, modern day travelers have designated the highway the short and scenic route to Las Vegas, hence it is often inundated with drunk drivers.

I-15

I-15 in San Bernardino, California is also considered one of the most dangerous roadways in the country. It consistently rates as one of the most deadly areas of California to drive. This area is a section of I5 and has a reputation among gamblers and drinkers on the way to Las Vegas as well. There are many DUI and distracted driving cases on this Interstate section. Geography is a big player on this Interstate as well. It is hilly and can be treacherous for drivers. It is often jammed for miles as crashes and accidents are cleared up. Federal accident data has showed most deaths were of unbelted passengers and drivers.

Judge Harry Pregerson Interchange at I-105 and I-110

Arial views of this section of Interstate resemble a tangram. Navigating it seems nothing short of a miracle. Access roads and ramps are intricately woven together in a complicated array. Complex road construction is to blame for most of the accidents on this Interstate. It is said to be the most complicated set of exchanges in the country. It allows for entry and exit in all directions between the I-105 and the I-110. This Interstate interchange opened in 1993 and is 4 levels with a restricted access lane which can be used by high-occupancy vehicles only.

Negligent drivers, road weather conditions and road structure are often to blame for accidents. California roadways are rife with these issues. Anyone suffering a car accident on a California roadway would be best served by seeking consultation with a qualified auto accident attorney.

If you or a loved one have been injured in an auto accident on a dangerous road, you will need a lawyer with experience. Call Moseley Collins at (916) 444-4444 for a free consultation.

Moseley Collins is a personal injury attorney serving those badly hurt throughout California. There is absolutely NO FEE to discuss your case and there is absolutely no fee unless we win and get you the money you are entitled to. We are on your side and know what to do to get you compensation and justice.

Moseley Collins
980 9th St, 16th Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 444-4444
http://www.moseleycollins.com/

A cyclist, Mr. James Glendon Combis, 59-years-old, died in a crash with an automobile in Sacramento in October. Mr. Combis was riding along Stockton Blvd near Quinta Court approximately 6:30 a.m.. For reasons unknown, he veered suddenly into traffic and was struck by a SUV.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the driver of the Chevrolet Tahoe attempted to stop and avoid hitting Combis but was unable to. Mr. Combis was jetted into traffic and received major, life-threatening injuries. He was rushed to Kaiser South Sacramento Hospital, succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead.

Mr. Combis was not wearing a helmet. The bicycle had no rear light and it is not known if it had a front light. Details like these seem unimportant in the face of such a tragedy but, in fact, may have saved his life.

It isn’t illegal to ride a bike without lights but facts prove lights and reflectors help drivers to see and be more aware of the cyclists around them. Most experts recommend cyclists automatically assume drivers cannot see them and should always take extra precautions.

Drivers approaching an intersection or those traveling in the same direction as a biker do have trouble seeing them. Bicyclists should take care crossing in front of autos and be hyper-attentive to all traffic around them during their ride. Bikers should always make sure they are plainly visible with lights, and reflectors. It is also highly recommended to wear reflective clothing, a helmet and knee pads when riding for further protection.

The driver of the SUV that struck and killed Mr. Combis, Ma Lendy Ortiguesa, is not facing any criminal charges. California Highway Patrol reported he turned directly into the line of traffic. This isn’t always the case, however. This is where it can get tricky. Just because criminal charges do not apply does not mean a civil case is not present. Liability can often lie with the driver of the automobile.

Civil suits address different issues than criminal cases and liability in a civil case depends on different standards. In a case like that of Mr. Combis, civil liability may come into play. For instance, a driver can be going the speed limit in a posted area but if it is raining or some other drastic weather situation occurs the speed should have been lowered.

In a situation like the above, there may be some civil liability. However, no laws were broken and so no criminal charges apply. All too often, car drivers who hit a bicyclist can be held liable in civil court for damages.

If found liable drivers can be forced to pay medical bills, lost wages, as well as pain and suffering for the bike rider. Should the cyclists die the surviving family members may be entitled to payments as well. Moseley Collins has a wealth of experience and legal knowledge in the field of personal injury law. Let him out his education, experience and know-how to work for you.

Yes, California is known as the state that rarely rains or snows, but there will come a time during the winter months when we’ll have to travel out of state bounds. Driving in heaps of snow can be challenging, especially if you are not used to doing so. If you’re not extra careful and skillful you can easily have an accident. If the need arises for you to cross state bounds here are some tips you should keep in mind to ensure your safety on the road.

Prepare Your Car
First off, you should make your vehicle is ready to handle the snowy roads. Taking simple maintenance/mechanical precautions can prevent an accident. If you are not experienced in working on cars than its best you seek the professional help of a skilled and trustworthy mechanic.

1. Make sure your vehicle has adequate antifreeze. Anti-freeze is what keeps the engine at appropriate temperature levels in various weather conditions.

2. Ensure that your wiper blades are fully functional; you may even want to consider installing a new pair just to be on the safe side.

3. Check your tires and make sure they are I good condition. Handling icy and snowy roads with tires with little to no tread is extremely dangerous. You’ll also want to check your tires air pressure.

4. Keep an emergency kit in your car at all times. Your emergency kit should include things like; first aid items, blankets, jumper cables and flares.

Driving Safety
1. Avoid driving fast in fact, it’s suggested that you drive under the speed limit. It’s harder to handle a vehicle going fast on slippery roads and it becomes difficult to stop when braking.

2. When it visibility becomes difficult, slow down and take your time.

3. Increase the following distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you.

4. If your front wheels start to skid, shift in neutral and you’ll feel the wheels eventually return to normal traction.

5. Beware of black ice that tends to form on bridges, underpasses, intersections and shaded areas.

6. If plow trucks are on the road, be patient and avoid passing them because they have limited visibility.

7. If your front wheels start to skid, immediately remove your foot from the gas and shift to neutral. Do not try to steer immediately. When the wheels start to skid sideway, traction will slowly return and then you can begin to steer in the direction you want to go. Shift the transmission back into drive and accelerate slowly.

8. If you happen to get stuck in snow, do not spin your wheels because this will cause you to sink deeper in the snow. Instead, move your wheels from side to side, to move some of the snow out of the win and gently step on the accelerator to ease the vehicle out. You may have to drive both backwards and forwards a few times to get the car moving. If you have a shovel available you can also remove some of the snow from the undersides of the vehicle.