Articles Posted in Car Accident

shutterstock_1426611488-300x169It’s no surprise to rational Californians that speeding, and especially street racing, are dangerous practices that threaten the lives of innocent Californians every day. The act of racing itself takes drivers’ attention away from the road and multiplies the danger to both participants and bystanders as a result. The legislature and municipalities across the state have enacted statutes that criminalize exhibitional street racing at a level above and beyond the traffic violations that are committed during a race. Although these laws have been designed to discourage street racing on California roads, they will never be completely successful. A local news report discusses a recent crash that was caused by street racing and left two people dead.

According to the facts discussed in the news report, a group of drivers were in south LA late last month cruising the streets and occasionally racing. During a short race, one of the drivers struck another on the side and sent the second vehicle off the road and into a pole. When authorities arrived on the scene, both occupants of the crashed vehicle were pronounced dead. The driver of the other vehicle did not stop at the scene of the crash and the article does not mention if they have been identified or apprehended.

Determining fault and liability for a crash can be difficult when the negligence of multiple parties contributes to the accident. If two or more drivers agree to participate in a street race, then they are partially assuming the risk of injury or death if the racing results in a crash. Under the law, however, it is not that simple, and negligent parties still may be able to recover damages from other negligent parties. California is what is known as a “comparative negligence” state. This means that an injured plaintiff can recover damages from a negligent defendant, no matter how much the plaintiff’s own conduct contributed to the injury. Under California’s system, a plaintiff is only entitled to recover a proportion of the total damages that reflects the defendant’s share of the blame for the crash. For example, a plaintiff who was 75% responsible for an accident with $100,000 in total damages, while the defendant was 25% responsible, could recover $25,000 from the defendant.

shutterstock_1378529927-300x200Those who suffer injuries or lose a loved one to a drunk or otherwise impaired driver have the right to sue for compensation. A victim or their family can pursue a civil personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party even if the perpetrator has not been arrested, charged, or convicted of a DUI. Under California law, the victim need only prove that the driver was negligent.

In California, a driver is negligent when they fail to use reasonable care to prevent harm to others. Further, the driver may be negligent per se when they violate a statute designed to avoid the harm that occurred. In California, this means violating a statute such as:

  • Vehicle Code 23152(a), driving while under the influence,

shutterstock_1851011776-300x200Earlier this month, a fatal motorcycle accident claimed the life of one man after an SUV crashed into him. According to a recent news report, police are currently investigating whether the collision was the result of a road rage incident that turned into a high-speed chase.

Evidently, police received a call around 9 a.m., indicating that an SUV was chasing a motorcycle in the area of Shields Avenue and Fresno Street. During the call, the caller made it seem as though it was an incident of road rage. Before police arrived on the scene, they received another call from the same are reporting a collision between a motorcycle and an SUV. Further investigation revealed that the vehicles involved in the accident were the same two described in the initial call.

Police arrested both the driver and the passenger of the SUV, who are cooperating with the investigation. However, investigators have yet to determine if the fatal motorcycle accident was motivated by road rage.

shutterstock_1133386718-300x200At times, the aftermath of an accident can be just as bad as the accident itself, as the moments after a car crash are often crucial for the wellbeing of a vehicle’s passengers. When a person is injured in part because of a driver’s negligence, even after the accident itself, that person can bring a lawsuit against the driver to recover damages for their injuries.

Recently, four men were injured in an accident on Old Redwood Highway caused by drunk driving. According to a local news report, the four men and the driver were all intoxicated when they were driving one evening around 10:00pm. The driver, unable to focus on the road, ran a stop sign, crashed into a wall on the side of the road, and caused the vehicle to roll over as a result.

A witness to the accident dialed 911 immediately, and emergency responders arrived at the scene within minutes. A police officer used a fire extinguisher to put out a small engine fire that was still burning, then he turned to assist the vehicle’s occupants. At that moment, the driver pulled himself out of the car and ran away.

shutterstock_1174395058-300x188Recently, a car culture publication reported on a recent Tesla Model S crash involving a California passenger bus. While authorities have not indicated the cause of the accident, the crash follows a series of similar accidents, which are under a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) probe. Authorities stated that the Tesla seems to have crashed into the back of the bus that may have been stationary in a traffic lane. The fire department described the incident as a “multi-casualty,” which means numerous injuries among the parties. Accident scene photos illustrate the severity of the accident, as Tesla’s entire front end appears to have slid underneath the back of the bus.

The police and fire department have not indicated whether the vehicle’s Autopilot function was in use at the time of the incident. However, if the car’s Autopilot was not in use, the vehicle’s EV’s automatic emergency braking system should have responded to the solid object in its direct path. Witnesses reported that the bus did not appear to have much damage, and there were no skid marks around the incident.

The NHTSA is currently investigating the automaker following a series of crashes involving Teslas. Many accidents stem from crashes between Teslas and emergency responder vehicles, such as police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances. In many of these accidents, the driver’s Autopilot function was in use. The accident raises concerns regarding the efficacy of the car’s purported safety systems. While the NHTSA did not indicate whether they will investigate this crash, authorities urge drivers not to rely on Autopilot functions and adjust their driving to weather and traffic conditions.

shutterstock_1532327069-300x200Some accidents may not appear deadly at first, for instance, if a car is clipped by another vehicle speeding. Unfortunately, in many cases, these accidents can be worse than initially expected. When a person dies in a California car crash—whether at the scene or later after suffering extensive injuries—a wrongful death lawsuit can be brought on their behalf. While it cannot bring the deceased family member back, a wrongful death lawsuit can help the family of the victim to financially recover while they are emotionally grieving.

Recently, a man was killed and a Sacramento man suffered major injuries after a collision on Interstate 5. According to a local news report, the victim was driving southbound in the right lane when the Sacramento man approached his vehicle from behind. The Sacramento man then allowed the right front of his vehicle to hit the left rear of the other car. This caused the victim to go onto the west shoulder, where his car overturned. While police are still investigating the accident, it appears speed contributed to the crash, but alcohol and drugs did not.

Every state differs in what is required to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. While some states require the estate executor to bring the wrongful death lawsuits, other states—like California—allow family members to bring the suit on the deceased loved one’s behalf. According to California Code of Civil Procedure 377.60, the following people are allowed to bring a wrongful death lawsuit: surviving spouses and domestic partners, children, and anyone who would be entitled to the deceased’s property under California laws.

shutterstock_20978254-300x205Following a major car accident, the parties usually stop to exchange information. When a California accident takes place on a busy freeway, it is especially important that the drivers move to a safe location to avoid further accidents or issues. When this does not happen and the vehicles and drivers are simply on the shoulder or obstructing the road, there could be devastating consequences.

According to a recent local news report, two drivers were killed in an early morning accident on the highway. Two drivers had gotten out of their vehicles after an initial accident had taken place between them and were on the freeway arguing when a third vehicle swerved around the stopped vehicles and hit them both. Both drivers were pronounced dead at the scene and a female passenger who also got out to argue was struck by debris from the accident and hospitalized with minor injuries. The driver of the third vehicle stayed at the scene and cooperated with the investigation. Drugs and alcohol do not appear to be involved in the accident at this time, but the collision remains under investigation.

In California, drivers are not allowed to stop, park, or leave standing any vehicles on a freeway unless there is an emergency or where stopping or standing is specifically permitted. Vehicles are only permitted to stop, park, or leave vehicles standing if it is necessary to avoid injury or damage to other individuals of property if they are engaged in construction, and if a vehicle is disabled and requiring roadside assistance.

shutterstock_594283319-300x200Recently, a California hit and run accident claimed the life of Mat George, a well-known podcast host. According to a news report, George was fatally hit as he was crossing an intersection on foot in Southern California. A statement from police indicated that George was walking across the street at an “unmarked crosswalk” when a white BMW hit him.

The driver of the BMW did not stop at the scene, as the law requires, and instead drove off. As of the time of the article’s publication, authorities were still looking for the hit and run driver and were offering a significant reward leading to an arrest.

South California Hit and Run Accidents

Hit and run accidents are some of the most tragic traffic accidents in that they often end in very serious or even fatal injuries due to a driver’s decision to leave the scene. In many car accidents, the accident victim suffers severe injuries but may be able to recover if they receive prompt medical treatment. At the same time, often, the only other witness to a hit and run accident is the at-fault driver. Thus, if the driver leaves the scene without calling the police, the victim may languish on the side of the road unless they are fortunate enough to be noticed by a passerby.

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shutterstock_1786946369-300x200While California wrong-way accidents are not the most frequently occurring type of collision, they often result in the most severe injuries. Further, reports from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and AAA reveal that wrong-way driving accidents are climbing throughout the United States. Wrong-way accidents involve vehicles traveling in the wrong direction on a roadway. These accidents are often fatal because they typically involve a head-on collision. The severity of an accident largely depends on the crash dynamics, such as the speed of the vehicles, location of the accident, and contributing factors.

For example, recent news reports described a tragic California wrong-way accident. Two people suffered fatal injuries in a head-on collision involving a driver on the wrong side of the freeway. Several witnesses reported the wrong-way driver shortly before the 5:00 a.m. accident. The callers told 911 that the driver was driving at around 90 miles per hour in the wrong direction. Highway Patrol responded to the reports and discovered a head-on collision. Another vehicle suffered damage a short distance from the initial crash. The victims were 30 and 21 years old.

In reviewing the rate and circumstances surrounding these accidents, researchers concluded that these incidents typically involve eight similar factors. The leading causes of wrong-way car accidents are DUI, driver distraction, drugged driving, poor visibility, missing traffic signs, driver fatigue, construction zone confusion, and product defect. However, the researchers concluded that three factors stand out as most likely to result in a wrong-way accident. The researchers found that the likelihood of a wrong-way accident increased when a driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol and was older and driving without a passenger.

shutterstock_290605838-300x200When car accidents occur on fast-moving roadways, it is important for everyone involved to stay attentive to the ongoing danger after the initial accident. Exiting a disabled vehicle and walking onto an active roadway is almost always more dangerous than staying in the vehicle and waiting for help to arrive. A recent fatal auto-pedestrian crash in California appears to have occurred after a driver exited his vehicle after a crash and was struck by another car on the highway.

According to a local news article reporting on the fatality, the crashes occurred on Highway 101, near Prunedale. A male driver was involved in a minor accident, after which he exited his car to assess the accident and call 911 when he was struck and killed by another vehicle traveling on the road. A California Highway Patrol spokesperson quoted in the article advises drivers involved in accidents to stay in their vehicle, moving the vehicle out of active traffic if possible. The driver of a disabled vehicle should also activate their hazard lights and call 911 as soon as it is safe to do so.

Determining liability for a multi-part accident such as the recently occurring one noted in the article may not be a simple process. The person responsible for the initial accident that disabled the first vehicle may not be responsible for the death of the driver, as there was an intervening cause to him getting hit as a pedestrian on the highway. A driver who strikes a pedestrian on the highway may or may not be liable for any injuries caused by a crash. Liability for injuries or deaths caused by a series of accidents generally hinges on whether a person was acting negligently and whether that negligence caused the injury.

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