Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP

San Francisco Legal Blog

Distracted drivers make school bus stops unsafe

Many parents in California prefer to pick their kids up from school. However, conflicting work schedules and long hours can make this impossible. Thankfully, parents can rely on the trusted school bus to safely take children home. Unfortunately, recent studies show that bus rides may not be so safe after all, especially when it comes to exiting the bus.

When a school bus stops and the lights are flashing, it is illegal in all 50 states to drive by it. According to NBC News, in spite of this, 15 million drivers did exactly that in the 2017/2018 school year. While many of these cases are still being investigated, experts point to the obvious problem: distracted driving.

Traffic accidents a leading cause of death worldwide

Like many other U.S. states, California has had its fair share of traffic-related accidents. Even worse, people have suffered catastrophic consequences, such as severe injury and death. At Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP, we have witnessed the aftereffects firsthand. However, it appears that America is not the only country grappling with this problem.

In 2018, CNN reported that traffic-related accidents stood eighth in line when it came to the top causes for deaths around the world. To put this into better perspective, traffic-related accidents beat out even tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS as a global leading cause of death.

What is a soft shoulder and can it be dangerous?

Sometimes a California motorist for some reason needs to pull onto a shoulder. However, at times you might see a sign that says “soft shoulder.” These are not common road signs, so it is likely you might be confused by it. If you find yourself in need of pulling over, you should know that a soft shoulder may not be a good place to take your vehicle and can even be dangerous.

Drivers expect shoulders to be as strong as an ordinary road, to be constructed of the same asphalt or concrete that makes up the road they are driving on. But as reference.com explains, sometimes a road shoulder may actually be made of weaker material than the road it is close to. Some shoulders are composed of gravel, compressed dirt, or a combination of various materials. The result is a surface that is not generally safe for driving. So if you see a soft shoulder sign, you should consider the shoulder to be unstable.

Trial to begin for teen accused of distracted driving

As the world has become more technology focused and the use of technology has become commonplace, the temptation for people in California to use their phones while they are driving has become a very real problem. While many acknowledge the concern that texting and driving create, as well as the danger it imposes on everyone around the texting driver, many also admit to being part of the problem at some point. 

For one Georgia teenager, this temptation has now resulted in her facing nine different charges after she hit and killed three people in an accident where she was allegedly texting and driving. While the teen maintained her innocence and claimed that she never saw anyone in the street, investigators pointed to evidence that the teenager was distracted and possibly texting while she was driving. The fatal collision killed two women and a newborn baby as they were crossing the street on their way to a free concert. 

Adding e-scooters to bike lanes may result in more injuries

Starting January of this year, California law no longer requires electronic scooter (e-scooter) riders over the age of 18 to wear helmets. Helmets are still required for riders who are 17 and younger.

Since e-scooter popularity is relatively new, there have not been many studies done pertaining to their safety or rider knowledge on how to effectively ride them. However, one study completed by UCLA researchers showed that over a single period of time, e-scooter riders were taken to emergency rooms far more often (249) than bicyclists (195) or pedestrians (181).

How much is your pain and suffering worth?

Should you suffer injuries in a California car crash, you may wish to sue the person whose negligence caused the accident. If you do, you should know that you can recover two types of damages: economic and noneconomic. Your economic damages are those on which you can place a precise dollar amount, such as your medical bills. Your noneconomic damages, on the other hand, are those on which you cannot place a precise dollar amount, such as your pain and suffering.

As FindLaw explains, pain and suffering damages include not only the physical pain and suffering you felt after your accident, but also the following nonphysical things:

  • Your mental suffering
  • Your emotional distress
  • Your loss of the society and companionship with your family members
  • Your loss of consortium with your spouse

The importance of replacing a child restraint after an accident

When families in California are involved in an automobile accident, their foremost concern is often the wellbeing and survival of their loved ones who were passengers in the vehicle. Once initial assessments are completed and it is determined that all involved persons will survive and are able to receive medical treatment for their injuries, it is just the beginning of dealing with the aftermath of the collision. 

One of the considerations that parents should take if their children are involved in an accident is replacing their car seats. Child restraints, while created to minimize fatal impact and protect children's small bodies from being dangerously injured, can also be compromised upon impact with another vehicle or object. As such, a car seat that appears to be in mint condition could have underlying problems that may make it less effective in another collision. 

Is there a time limitation to file a personal injury claim?

If you were in a motor vehicle accident in California and you notice that certain symptoms are not going away, you may choose to file a personal injury claim against the other driver. It is important to keep in mind there are statutes of limitation, which means you only have a certain amount of time to file the claim. That is why it is imperative to take note of any symptoms, minor or serious, after an accident so the at-fault party can cover the expenses in a timely manner.

According to California Courts, you must file a lawsuit within a specified amount of time or else the claim is invalid. Statutes of limitations vary depending on the type of dispute and they typically range from six months to infinity. For a personal injury claim, the law states the plaintiff must file the lawsuit two years after the initial injury. If the plaintiff discovers the injury later on, the time limit for a claim is one year after the discovery.

Accident with an uninsured motorist

If you are in a car accident in California and it is the other person's fault, his or her insurance should cover your expenses. However, what happens if the other driver does not have insurance or does not have enough to cover all your bills? Uninsured insurance is the best option for getting your bills paid.

What are the chances of you getting into an accident with an uninsured motorist? According to the Insurance Information Institute, around 13% of drivers do not have any auto insurance , even though most states have minimum insurance requirements and there are stiff penalties for getting caught without insurance. This means that you would need to sue the other driver personally to get your expenses covered.


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