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According to the California Highway Patrol, the three people who died in car accidents over the four-day period starting on Thanksgiving night 2017 brought the states total roadway deaths to 20. The three people were two women and an infant, Sarah Rae Rohde, 27, of Copperopolis, her 19-month-old daughter, Arianna Harris, and Brenda McCann, 65, of Valley Springs, who died in a separate car accident. The mother and daughter pair were travelling west on Highway 4 on Thanksgiving. They were travelling just west of Holiday Mine Road at 55-60 mph when the wreck happened. Another child, a 4-year-old boy, was also in the car. The group struck a black bear that had wandered into the road. The mother and daughter were killed from the impact.

On the Monday before this accident, Brenda McCann was involved in a three-car pile-up in Valley Springs. Twenty-nine-year-old Mark Linnerman of Modesto was driving a 2005 Ford west on Highway 26, west of Vista del Lago Drive. Simultaneously, Wade McCann, driving a 1998 Jeep in front of Linnerman, stopped to make a left turn onto a frontage road running parallel to Highway 26. Linnerman failed to recognize this and the vehicles crashed. The force of the impact sent Mcann into the eastbound lane, where he was stuck by a 2014 Ford F150 pickup driven by Rudi Leon, 44-years-old, of Valley Springs. Brenda McCann was riding in the front passenger seat of the Jeep. She was transported to the Mark Twain Medical Center and pronounced deceased. Highway 26 was then blocked to further traffic for an hour and 20 minutes. No arrests were made. Drugs or alcohol are not believed to be factors in either of the collisions that occurred over the weekend. The Valley Springs accident is still under investigation, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Unfortunately for the public and CHP, deadly crashes are becoming far too commonplace in Calaveras County. According to CHP San Andreas Public Information Officer Tobias Butzler, in 2017, the number of fatalities has hit the roof. The death toll has doubled so far, this year. In 2016, there were a total of 10 mortal accidents. With less than a month left in 2017, the California Highway Patrol has responded to 19 fatal occurrences during which 20 people have been killed. The reasons are unknown, according to police but CHP lieutenants have agonized finding common themes to the fatalities. So far, no commonalities have been revealed.

Sports are an important part of academia and the growing up process. Playing sports and being involved in a team is invaluable to teaching life lessons and coping skills. Sports can also be a relief from stress for many kids or a way to excel. Sadly, as with any physical activity, there are risks of injury. This is even more true when it comes to sports like football, hockey, soccer, baseball and other contact sports. Football and soccer are said to be the two most dangerous contact sports. Sports injuries are costly, debilitating and can cause a lifetime of pain. They require significant medical expense, diminished quality of life, pain, suffering, and perhaps a loss of future earning potential. When faced with some of these losses, parents often wonder if they are able to sue to recover for them and others they may have incurred since the injury.

According to Safe Kids USA, more than 3.5 million children per year suffer severe sports-related injury. Traumatic brain injury is a commonly seen sports injury in children. It is most often cause by head blows from smashing into another player, a hard fall, or even hitting their head on equipment. Certain game moves can even cause player injury, such as “the header” in soccer. Football players not only receive a lot of head trauma but also have a significant risk for knee and ankle injury. Lacrosse is ranked as the third most dangerous sport for children. Wrestling and cheerleading are also on the list. While these sports are known to be more dangerous than others and consistently see severely injured players each year. They are still offered in school systems across the country.

These dangerous sports are offered and even required in some classes, but parents are required to sign a consent prohibiting them from suing the school or athletic organization if injury occurs. The consent form says they understand there is an inherent risk of injury in playing the game and realize their child may get seriously hurt. These consent forms work on the legal doctrine described as “assumption of the risk,” which states that when people participate in unsafe activities they shoulder the risk of injury knowingly.

When you are hurt in an accident, you just want to get better and put your life back together. Getting your claims approved by the insurance company is the last thing you want to worry about. Sadly, the insurance companies have only one concern and that is making money. If there is one little mistake, they may not pay your insurance claim, or it could be seriously delayed when you need it most. It is important to know what may cause a denial or delay of a medical insurance claim before you submit it. Doing so gives you the chance to submit the most complete claim possible and lessens your chance of issues.

Duplicate Claims

There are a few different reasons a claim will register as a duplicate. The biggest reason is when a doctor’s office does not get a timely reply for their services rendered and will resubmit the claim. The insurance company will automatically deny the claim at this point. These duplicate claim situations essentially reset the clock on the time it will take to get an approval. It also happened when two different doctors or health care providers make a claim for the same or similar services. Further information may be required before an approval will be issued.

Driving your older Toyota around Bakersfield is going to cost you a bit more for car insurance theft coverage than the other guy with a newer Toyota in Sacramento. The reason is simple. Bakersfield, California has a higher car theft rate than Sacramento, as do the Toyotas. This unfortunate combination of facts greatly affects auto insurance premium rates.

According to a National Insurance Crime Bureau report released earlier last year, there were more than 7,000 car thefts in the Bakersfield metropolitan area in 2016, making it the highest rated area in the state for car thefts. Bakersfield tiered third in the country after Albuquerque, New Mexico, which took the number one spot, and Pueblo, Colorado, which came in next. The annual Hot Spots report studies automobile theft statistics from the National Crime Information Center for all of the nation’s most densely populated areas. The ranking takes factors such as population into account, which explains why an area such as Billings, Mont., which had 877 thefts, places much higher than Los Angeles, with 60,670 thefts.

There were other California metropolitan zones in the top 10 including Fresno, Modesto, Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Merced, and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward. Initial statistics show that 2016 car thefts across the nation went up 6.6% from 2015’s 707,758 thefts, but the number has considerably declined from 1991, the year there were 1.7 million thefts, a standing record. The reports say the best way to prevent car theft is plain common sense. The insurance bureau reported from 2013 to 2015, over 140,000 vehicles were stolen with the keys left inside.

The bay region’s highways are increasingly more crowded with motorists, and the dangers increase along with them. The more motorist crammed on the roads, the bigger the risk of an accident. More and more, cyclists and pedestrians are traveling the roads along with motorists and facing the same risks. Newly released data from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission showed the number of fatal automobile, motorcycle, bicycle and pedestrian crashes in the Bay Area jumped 43% from 2010 to 2016.

Researchers usually point to two major factors as a cause for this uptick. More drivers and longer commutes. The sharp rise in population and the increasingly long and mind-numbing commutes account for only a portion of the increase. There was a total of 455 fatal crashes in the area in 2016. Compare this statistic with 318 in 2010. Five out of the six years showed increases in the death toll. This followed four previous years of decline. But 2016 was not the highest point. In 2003, there were 509 fatal crashes. The highest number in the 16-year span studied. Experts have some other theories for the rise including distracted driving and a slow-down in advancements in safety features like seatbelts, anti-lock brakes, and shatter-proof windshields.

Ultimately, the real problem is simply human error. Data analysts have pointed out three major factors that continually top the charts of accident causes: unsafe turns, DUI, and speeding. Unsafe driver behavior is the cause of most vehicle accidents on the bay area roads. It isn’t only the Bay Area, either. There has been a steady uptick in deadly car wrecks all across the United States since the Great Recession, which officially ended in 2009. Between 2010 and 2016, deadly accidents rose 33% in California.

General Motors is continuously increasing the size of its fleet of autonomous cars just as more and more accidents are being reported. In September 2017 alone, six accidents were reported of GM autonomous cars being involved in an accident. All six were between autonomous cars and those driven by real people. A spokesperson for GM, Rebecca Mark, claimed all incidents this year were caused by a human driver. Their comment is that as real drivers and autonomous cars become more acquainted with each other on the road, there will be less accidents.

The question on many minds is, who pays for the damages if one of these self-driving cars happens to be at fault? With so many self-driving cars on the road, especially in San Francisco, many people are wondering who is at fault in the aftermath of a wreck and where does the insurance payout come from. It is an especially perplexing question since these types of cars are said to be manufactured to avoid that issue all together. While GM says it will take all responsibility for any accident their cars are responsible for, they also say it is too early to tell what any liability issues will entail and they are learning as they go.

Legally speaking, as soon as a car begins to drive in autonomous mode, the driver or rider is passing off all responsibility. Liability shifts to the auto manufacturer. The new Super Cruise model of the Cadillac CT6 allowed drivers to enjoy a level two of automation. In level two, drivers are still in control of the car but the car assists. The driver is still liable for all accidents he or she incurs.


The county of Marin is being accused of violating state law for instances in which it did not inform the public of settlements in personal injury lawsuits. The accusations come from a Mill Valley lawyer, Carter Zinn, who claims the country stretches the limits of the Brown Act in its practices in personal injury settlements. The Brown Act precedes over meetings of the California legislator on local levels. It maintains the laws for public access to information.

After a recent meeting, it was reported County Counsel Brian Washington admitted the county reveals personal injury settlements only rarely but still claimed the county follows the Brown Act. He maintained that when another party approves to the final settlement agreement it is not general practice for the county to then announce it.

Carter Zinn is representing a man from Mill Valley, Allan Rosenthal, who had sued the county for his 2014 bicycle accident where he was hit by a car and suffered serious head injury on the Panoramic Highway on Mount Tamalpais. The area where he was hit is known as Four Corners. Three roads meet there, Panoramic Highway, Sequoia Valley Road and Muir Woods Road, and it is known for being a dangerous spot.

Even the smallest car accident can send your life into a tailspin. More serious accidents can affect you for a lifetime. Medical expenses due to injuries related to the accident, damage repair, loss of work… all of these things can alter your life for years if not an entire lifetime. Add to that, the stress and confusion of dealing with other drivers, insurance companies and police. Such a compendium of issues at one time is a tremendous mental strain on an individual. When all this occurs, victims often find themselves financially strapped with many unexpected bills threatening to destroy their lives. Seeking adequate compensation for injury and loss, the thought of suing for the car accident comes into existence. Several factors determine the likelihood of a successful lawsuit after a car accident.

Most often, people choose to sue after a car accident when going through the insurance process does not provide enough money to cover all the losses received as a result of the car accident.  It is especially pertinent if the other driver has no insurance and you may be forced to fit the entire bill. Unfortunately, it is a common occurrence today. Insurance companies are in the business of saving themselves money and strive to pay accident victims as little as possible. There are times, however, when an insurance company will want to avoid the hassle of trial and make a settlement offer that is satisfactory. Many car insurance claims end in a settlement, sometimes however, the victim doesn’t realize until later that the settlement was inadequate.

Settlements

Insurance company statistics show more fraud occurs in down economies. As the economy gets shakier, people start to look for more and varied ways to turn some quick cash. Insurance fraud often looks like an easy payday when times get tough but the truth is, it can not only cost you some hefty fines but some jail time as well. Fraudsters believe that if their fake claims are small, they will slide by under the radar but that just isn’t true. When times get tough, insurance companies know fake claims will be on the rise. That is why they have special teams of agents with experience in law enforcement to conduct thorough investigations and sniff out false claims.

Insurance fraud is any deliberate action from a consumer, agent, company or adjuster made to obtain an unlawful financial gain. This deliberate action can happen at any juncture of the insurance process including selling, buying, using or underwriting. Insurance fraud will either be from an individual committing fraud against the consumer or against the insurance company. It is estimated that over a hundred billion dollars in false claims are made each year causing higher prices for consumers and an inability of the companies to properly compete with other companies as well as their future feasibility.

Stopping insurance fraud and even recognizing it, is harder and harder as fraudsters come up with more elaborate and efficient ways of ripping off the companies. Insurance scams occur in every realm of insurance. Workers comp fraud is rampant as well as medical and health insurance fraud. Auto insurance fraud is the most costly and prevalent. While difficult to prevent, auto insurers Special Investigative Teams have identified the most often used scams and are constantly on the look-out for them.

When people think of insurance scams, they usually assume it is the consumer doing the scamming. That is not always the case, however. There are a plethora of dishonest insurance agents and fake insurance companies that thrive by bilking consumers of their hard-earned cash. Scams run the gamut from misappropriation of funds to collecting premiums on fake policies without any intention or ability to pay out on claims. They will offer policies at incredibly low prices to lure unsuspecting consumers into thinking they are getting the deal of a lifetime when all along they are just getting ripped-off. Knowing their tricks and what to do when you suspect you are a victim are the best ways to prevent getting swindled.

Stolen Premiums and Lapping

Agents can steal premiums by taking them from one customer and appropriating them to a fake customers account. They are then able to steal the money from the nonexistent customer account and place it in their own pocket. They use the money to feed addictions like gambling and drugs or to better their own lifestyle with luxury goods and services. They can also steal the money you give them for premiums before it is ever credited to your account.

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