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Alhambra CA Personal Injury Law Blog

What is third party liability when it comes to work accidents?

Like other states in the country, California has a workers' compensation system. What this means for family members trying to recover from the loss of their loved one after a fatal workplace accident in Los Angeles County is that they can hope for some help via workers' compensation.

Specifically, after a fatal accident, an employer's workers' compensation insurance should pick up all or at least part of the tab for final medical bills, funeral expenses and lost wages. While this will offer some assistance to a family that has lost a breadwinner, workers' compensation many times does not cover all expenses and does not pay for the emotional trauma of losing a loved one at all.

After an accident, we advocate for motorcyclists

As a previous post on this blog discussed, there is a common misperception in Los Angeles County and throughout California that when a motorcyclist is involved in an accident, his or her injuries are somehow his or her own responsibility. Some people are quick to assume that a motorcyclist had to have been speeding or weaving through traffic right before an accident, and many people also equate not wearing a helmet with being responsible for a motorcycle accident.

It is unfortunate that this misconception sometimes spills over in to the courtroom, making it harder for a motorcyclist to get the compensation he or she deserves after an accident. After all, motorcyclists involved in accidents are often severely injured simply because they don't have the same protections from collisions as do drivers of other vehicles. Broken bones and even spinal cord or brain injuries are, sadly, too common among motorcycle accident victims.

Between the stats: motorcyclists not always at fault for crashes

Even with lots of public education efforts, many people in the greater Los Angeles area still operate under the misconception that in a motorcycle accident, even if it is a multi-vehicle accident, the fault somehow lies with the motorcyclist.

While it is true that some motorcycle operators are not as responsible as they should be on the road, recent statistics suggest that many motorcycle accidents are not the fault of the motorcyclist, or, at a minimum, not the result of certain risky behavior.

Fatal car crash in L.A. area claims 1 life

A fatal accident along a Los Angeles area freeway claimed the life of one victim and left other people injured. The accident, which ultimately developed in to a four-car pileup that closed the freeway for hours, involved two law enforcement officers transporting inmates, although both prisoners were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

According to authorities, a vehicle that had something wrong with a tire had stopped in the HOV lane, which is typically used by carpoolers. Because it was in the middle of the night, the people in the stalled car tried to use a flashlight to warn other motorists that they were stalled in a traffic lane.

The duty to mitigate and motorcycle accidents

Most motorcyclists in the Los Angeles area recognize that wearing a helmet while riding is a good idea. But, even if they may disagree with the notion that they should have to wear a helmet or face penalties.

However, it is important for injured motorcyclists who happen to wear a helmet at the time of their motorcycle accident. But, realize that merely not wearing a helmet does not mean that they cannot recover compensation from a negligent driver following a motorcycle accident.

Injured by a fatigued truck driver? We can help.

Previous posts on this California blog have discussed the dangers of fatigued driving and that some government agencies have put rules in place to prevent driver fatigue by requiring drivers to pull over and take a rest at certain times. The problem with the rules though, is that even if they get enforced, the offending driver will not be ordered by a government agency to pay compensation to his or her injured victims.

In other words, even if the truck driver fell asleep at the wheel and caused a severe or fatal crash, the worst thing that is going to happen to him or her is that he or she loses the privilege of driving for commercial purposes. A victim of such a fatigued and careless truck driver therefore may feel as if he or she has nowhere to turn after being hurt in an accident.

A motorcyclist that gets rear-ended may have legal options

Following a motorcycle too closely can cause a fatal motorcycle accident. When such accidents happen, the biker or the grieving family may be able to get compensation for the loss.

To summarize the reason that it is important to give motorcycles some extra distance is that, the way motorcycles work, they are much more likely to slow or stop suddenly and do so with relatively little warning. The reason motorcyclists may have to slow, swerve or take other evasive action is that, given their size, they may have to respond to something very simple on the road, even rough pavement or a rock in the road.

Suspected drunk driver leads police on chase, injures 5 in crash

Car accidents are a problem throughout the country, including California. This was shown in a recent incident, whereby police are continuing to investigate a chase and crash, which authorities are blaming on drunk driving. The car crash, which happened after county law enforcement officials pursued a driver, involved two vehicles and caused damage to a residential property near the road.

Apparently, the driver fleeing from the police, a minivan, struck a car during the course of the chase, leaving five people trapped. All five victims were taken to nearby hospitals, and police described the condition of two victims as "critical." It was not clear why police were trying to stop the minivan in the first place.

Minimum insurance requirements for truckers

All California drivers are supposed to carry at least a small amount of insurance, called automobile liability insurance, which will help them pay compensation in the event they cause an accident through their own carelessness. Moreover, because truck accidents are more likely to result in serious injuries, truckers who drive in the Los Angeles area are, generally speaking, required under either state or federal law to carry additional liability insurance.

Under California's laws, depending on what type of property the trucker is hauling, the trucker will have to have at least $300,000 and up to $5 million in automobile liability coverage. These numbers are based on a combined single limit, which means the amount of insurance represents the most an insurance company will pay for a single accident involving the trucker. Without showing proof of this insurance coverage, the trucker will not be able to get the official permission it needs to operate legally as a trucker in California.

How does underinsured motorist coverage work?

This blog has spoken previously about how a negligent driver who causes a car accident will likely have to pay compensation to other people whom he or she injured. One problem that Alhambra and other residents of the greater Los Angeles area may have, though, is that the negligent driver may not be able to pay just because he or she does not have the money or assets to do so.

Moreover, these same drivers may also not have automobile insurance, even though the law requires them to do so. Many other drivers may well have insurance, but it is just enough to keep them legal to drive, and not nearly enough to pay the costs of a serious accident.

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