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Alhambra CA Personal Injury Law Blog

Tractor-trailer's unsafe driving can have devastating results

An early March morning and it's still dark outside. People are up starting their day, getting ready for work, maybe getting a jump start on their commute to beat the traffic. The highways are just starting to fill in. A tractor-trailer makes an unsafe driving maneuver that sets in motion a horrific chain of events, resulting in a multi-vehicle pile-up on the highway.

This was the scene that occurred on Interstate 270 in Maryland just after 5 am on Monday. A multi-vehicle crash shut down the highway for hours. The crash was initiated by an unidentified tractor-trailer attempting to make an unsafe lane change. Witnesses relayed the chain of events, starting when a tractor-trailer moved into the far-right lane of the highway and cut off another vehicle. That vehicle had to slam on its breaks to avoid the tractor-trailer, which set in motion the events that ended with 18 vehicles crashing, including three other tractor-trailers.

Cell phones cause increased accidents and deaths

It's no secret that cellphones, particularly smart phones, have introduced a new danger to the already hazardous activity of driving on our roadways. Many states have implemented distracted driving laws aimed at targeting cellphone use behind the wheel. But, the gravity of this situation is quite staggering, and it is not only distracted driving, but also distracted walking, biking and many other activities that are causing dangerous conditions.

The Los Angeles Times published a recent article looking at the truly astonishing way that distracted activities are causing danger to human life. This danger is evidenced by an increase of over 80 percent in pedestrian deaths in the city of Los Angeles from 2015-2017. These findings are consistent with trends throughout the country. The distraction of drivers and pedestrians alike is thought to be a significant cause of this death toll increase. Over 40% of Americans report having witnessed distracted walking incidents.

Pursuing a wrongful death claim after a car accident

Driving is an activity that is routine and part of day-to-day life for most people. As a result, we sometimes forget what a dangerous activity driving can be. In fact, it is more dangerous to get behind the wheel of a car than it is to get on an airplane. Thousands of people are killed in car accidents in the U.S. every year.

While losing a loved one in a car or motorcycle accident is tragic and devastating, when someone else's actions contributed to this loss, you may have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death in a car accident can be based on a number of factors, including negligence or recklessness of another driver, criminal activity of another driver, or a manufacturing defect with the automobile or motorcycle manufacturer.

Big rig crashes through freeway median, causes fatal accident

A horrific scene recently played out on the 10 Freeway near Rialto that began when a large truck crashed through the median and crossed into oncoming traffic. The truck had been traveling westbound on the freeway when it veered out if its lane, collided with and broke through the median and drove across all of the eastbound lanes of oncoming traffic.

Multiple vehicles were involved in the resulting crash, including a dump truck and several cars. Several cars caught fire in the collision, making the already dangerous scene even more catastrophic. In total, five people lost their lives in this tragedy, though the driver of the large truck suffered only minor injuries. Law enforcement officials are speaking with them to determine why this accident happened.

Understanding California wrongful death laws

While most Californians are aware of their right to seek compensation after a fatal accident has claimed the life of a loved one, many are not certain of the basics of what constitutes the foundation of a wrongful death case. Knowing these important facts is key to moving forward with a case. If there is a death because of misconduct or negligence on the part of another person - including murder - the family of the victim has the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

For there to be a wrongful death lawsuit, the person must have died; it must have been caused by negligence or the intention to harm the decedent; there must be family members left behind; and there must be a personal representative of the decedent's estate. A medical error, a motor vehicle accident, a criminal act, an occupational incident, and death while taking part in a supervised activity are all situations in which there can be a wrongful death case.

Car accidents on the rise due to distracted driving

Although automobile manufacturers continue to add and improve safety features on their vehicles, recent numbers show that automobile accidents and fatalities are actually on the rise. The cause of this increase has largely been attributed to the lethal combination of automobiles and smartphones. Despite many new laws and public safety campaigns drivers are still continuing to use their phones in any number of distracting ways.

A Consumer Report survey in 2017 found that 41 percent of drivers admittedly used their smartphones for texting while driving; and 8 percent even reported using their phone to watch videos while driving. Traffic fatalities increased more then five percent from 2015 to 2016, and more then eight percent since 2014. Likewise, the percentage of these accidents attributed to distracted driving has also increased substantially over the past few years.

Truck accidents by the numbers

Commercial trucking is a highly regulated industry. The federal government regulates trucking and commercial vehicles nationwide through the US Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. These agencies are responsible for developing and enforcing regulations designed to promote safety on the roadways. As part of this process, these agencies also collect data and information pertaining to trucking inspections, violations, crashes and other important information.

So what do the numbers tell us about the dangerous industry of commercial trucking and the accidents on our nations roadways? A report issued by FMCSA in 2017 reveals that in 2015 trucks and buses were involved in 480,000 crashes, and of those, 97,000 crashes resulted in personal injuries and 3,838 were fatal crashes. Since 2011 the number of accidents involving trucks and buses has been on the rise, as have the number of truck-involved crashes resulting in injuries. In 2015 alone California saw 313 fatalities from truck and bus accidents. Although this is on the low-end of the national average, it is nonetheless a troubling statistic.

Settling your car accident claim

Car accidents are a common occurrence; from fender benders to serious and potentially fatal accidents, there are some important steps that should be taken whenever you are involved in an accident. For instance, in California, all accidents involving damage greater then $750, injury or death, must be reported. Failure to report such an accident could result in criminal charges for hit and run.

California also requires that all drivers carry a minimum insurance policy, policies limited to comprehensive or collision coverage do not meet these minimum requirements. Failure of a party to carry the requisite coverage may be helpful in any legal claims related to your accident. California follows a comparative negligence standard, which means the amount of money you can recover will be based on your percentage of fault in the accident.

How we can help hold responsible parties accountable

Previous posts on this blog have discussed how important it can be for a Los Angeles resident who is the victim of a truck or other commercial vehicle accident to explore getting compensation from anyone who may be responsible for the accident. This is especially true when the accident is catastrophic, leaving a Californian maimed, permanently disabled or even dead.

Figuring out exactly whom an injured victim of a truck accident, or, in the case of a fatality, the grieving family, can sue is not always an easy task. In some cases, for instance, it may be hard to determine exactly what relationship the truck driver has to the transportation company involved.

Legal rights and remedies in brain injury cases

As California residents may know, brain injuries can be particularly devastating and debilitating. These types of injuries are far too common, with around 1.7 million traumatic brain injuries reported every year in this country. Any kind of trauma to the head or neck, even minor impact trauma, can cause a brain injury. These injuries are commonly caused by car accidents and motorcycle accidents.

You do not have to traveling at a high rate of speed or come into contact with a hard object in order to suffer a brain injury in an accident. There are several types of brain injuries. The most severe of these injuries can lead to paralysis, loss of consciousness and death. If you have been in a car accident, it is important to recognize some of the signs of a potential brain injury, including: confusion; loss of memory; tiredness; nausea; dizziness; severe headaches and weakness or numbness on one side of the body. If you experience any of these symptoms after your accident it is important to get immediate medical attention.

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  • American Association for Justice, Formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA)
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  • Pasadena Bar Association, Founded 1917
  • Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum