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CA injury lawyerThis winter has been a wet and rainy one for those living in the Bay area. Multiple storm fronts over the past few months have brought heavy downpours and damaging winds, making roads dangerous and wreaking havoc for drivers. While these types of conditions may seem relatively mild compared to the snow accumulations experienced in more eastern parts of Northern California, they increase motor vehicle accident risks, something all drivers need to be aware of.

Additional Heavy Rains Slam San Jose and Bay Area

While wet winter weather is nothing unusual for San Jose, the recent round of storms have been particularly potent. In early February, a harsh winter storm front brought inches of rain, high waves, and gusting winds to the local area, spurring mandatory evacuations for places recently impacted by the wildfires. All residents were warned to be alert for downed trees and power lines, as well as dangerous road conditions which could present serious hazards for drivers.

After riding out these heavy storms, the Bay Area has continued to get battered by additional adverse weather fronts. Forecasters described this as a ‘potent atmospheric river’ over Valentine’s Day weekend that was likely to lead to additional flooding, power outages, and downed trees. With soil already saturated due to previous drenching rains, this new storm could bring landslides, potentially wiping out some roads.

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CA injury lawyerCar accidents can happen to even the most experienced drivers and can result in serious personal injuries. It is not enough to simply rely on luck or your driving skill; you need to take actions to prevent collisions from impacting you and others on the road. The following are six tips to follow, designed to keep you and your loved ones safe behind the wheel:

1. Keep your car running properly.

A properly maintained car is less likely to suddenly malfunction. Consider doing simple tasks, such as checking tire pressure and oil levels on your own while taking your car into a mechanic for regular maintenance. Spending the money now to make sure your car is safe will save you in the long run.

2. Take your time getting where you are going.

Being in a rush makes you more inclined to speed, which is a leading cause of car accidents in San Jose. According to statistics from the California Office of Traffic Safety, close to 3,000 people are killed or seriously injured in speed-related crashes in Santa Clara County each year. Pay attention to how fast you are going and reduce your speed on treacherous roads, in construction zones, and during adverse weather.

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CA accident lawyerNumerous factors can contribute to car accidents and there may be multiple drivers involved. The actions of one motorist can end up causing a chain reaction, eventually involving numerous other cars and potentially serious injuries. In these situations, it requires a thorough investigation to determine all those who may be responsible so that you can get the compensation you are entitled to in a claim.

San Jose Multi-Vehicle Crash Proves Fatal

On October 28, 2018, CBS SF Bay Area reported on a multi-vehicle accident which occurred in San Jose. It happened on Interstate Highway 280 at roughly 4:00 a.m., a time when traffic is not typically heavy. Involving a total of four different vehicles, it killed one of the drivers while leaving several others with potentially serious injuries.

Preliminary investigations by the California Highway Patrol show the multi-vehicle crash occurred in the following sequence:

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CA injury lawyerFor pedestrians, being struck by a motor vehicle can result in serious and potentially life-threatening personal injuries. In many cases, it is the reckless actions of drivers who are to blame in these collisions. For victims, getting compensation in a claim can help offset the medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages they suffer. In the event injuries prove fatal, holding the at-fault driver accountable can help give grieving family members a sense of justice.

When these types of tragic events involve hit and run accidents, this can end up proving challenging. Witnesses to the accident are often invaluable in providing information that can lead to apprehending these suspects. In the case of a recent fatal hit and run accident in San Jose, witnesses went one step further, preventing a potential hit and run driver from fleeing the scene.

Fatal Hit and Run Pedestrian Accident in San Jose

Over the recent Thanksgiving weekend, a fatal pedestrian accident happened on the Capitol Expressway in San Jose. The collision occurred on Saturday, November 24, 2018, when an identified female was hit by a 2018 Ford truck traveling in the eastbound lanes. Investigators report that after striking the victim, the 39-year-old San Jose driver attempted to leave the scene.

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CA injury lawyerThe reckless driving behaviors of motorists, such as distracted driving, speeding, and driving under the influence, are a leading cause of car accidents and injuries in San Jose and throughout the country. However, there are often other, contributing factors involved, which can put drivers at risk. In San Jose, crumbling roads are not only an eyesore and hard on your vehicle, but they can also increase your risks of a crash.

San Jose Named Among 10 Worst Cities for Road Conditions

While city managers seek funding for making infrastructure improvements, residents are left to drive on roads that are often potholed, covered in gravel, and in general need for repair. Unfortunately, the situation is direr than you may think. According to a November 2018 CheatSheet report, San Jose has been named among the 10 worst cities in the nation in terms of having bad roads.

The report lists San Jose as third in the country, falling behind Los Angeles and San Francisco, in terms of having the largest percentage of crumbling roads and highways in America. Traffic and road surveys indicate that roughly six out of every 10 roadways in the area are in dire need of maintenance and repair. This has the following impacts on drivers:

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CA injury lawyerThere are numerous dangerous behaviors which most drivers try to avoid. Speeding, disregarding traffic signs and signals, and driving distracted or under the influence are all actions which are known to increase car accident risks. However, many people are unaware of the dangers involved with driving while excessively tired and fatigued. A national campaign aims at raising awareness of the problem and the potential risks.

National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week

Many of us maintain busy schedules, with work, school, family, or social obligations which keep us from getting a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately, few are aware of how this can impact driving ability. As part of a yearly campaign, the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) aims at shedding light on this serious problem. Held annually the first full week in November, Drowsy Driving Awareness Week coordinates efforts between law enforcement and public safety officials, to make highways and roads safer across the U.S.

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CA injury lawyerCar accidents occur in a variety of situations, and they can be attributed to any number of causes. In many cases, it is the reckless driving of other motorists which are to blame, and the specific type of behavior can dictate the type of crash and the extent of the injuries you suffer. The following provides insight into the kinds of car accidents that occur, the behaviors responsible for them, and the injuries you could suffer.

Common Types of Car Accident Collisions

According to the Insurance Information Institutes, more than six million car accidents occur each year in the United States. These result in serious injuries for nearly two million drivers and their passengers, while proving fatal for over 32,000 others. Among the most common types of crashes reported include:

  • Front-end collisions: These can occur when a driver hits a telephone pole or tree, as well as when they swerve from their own lane, causing them to collide with others on the road.
  • Side-impact collisions: Otherwise knowns as ‘T-bone’ accidents, these occur when one driver directly crashes into the side of the other. They often occur in intersections and when making turns.
  • Rear-end collisions: These tend to occur in high traffic conditions when one driver hits into the rear end of the vehicle in front of them.

Car Accident Injuries Based on the Type of Crash

Risky driving behaviors put all motorists at risk and make certain types of car accidents more likely. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the following outlines the most common causes. It also lists the types of collisions they are often responsible for and common injuries that can occur as a result:

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California school bus accident lawyern terms of mass transit accidents, school buses are perceived to be among the safest forms of transportation. However, for parents who put their children on a bus each day, this provides little relief; neither does it make up for the fact that many of these vehicles offer little practical protection in the event an accident does occur.  

For years, efforts have been underway to make school buses safer by equipping them with seat belts. Lap and shoulder harnesses are a lifesaver in car accidents, preventing passengers from striking hard surfaces and being thrown from the vehicle. While there are states that have already implemented plans to upgrade their existing school bus fleets, California previously had no official type of plan in place. However, after a lengthy legislative battle, Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a bill making shoulder and lap belts mandatory in school buses throughout the state by the year 2035. 

New Assembly Bill Improving School Bus Safety

Governor Brown signed California Assembly Bill 1798 on August 27, 2018. It officially requires all school districts in the state to either retrofit buses with lap belts and shoulder harnesses or to invest in new buses which are already equipped with these seat belts. Money should not be an excuse for noncompliance, as districts have nearly two decades to obtain the funding needed to make the change. 

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San Jose car accident attorney, teen car accidents, driving safety tips, reckless driving, distracted drivingFor parents, the day their teenager gets his or her driver’s license is the day they can retire from being a chauffeur—no more carpooling kids to school or waiting outside movie theaters when your child is late for the pre-arranged pick up time. Unfortunately, it can also mean the end of a good night’s sleep, as you wait for your teen to return home safely in your vehicle.

Teens are the most at risk group for car accidents, which can end up resulting in serious and potentially life threatening injuries. The following offers information to make you aware of the dangers, along with tips on communicating to your teen the importance of driver safety.

Teen Car Accidents and Injuries

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emergency vehicle accidents,  San Jose car accident attorney, car accident injuries, distracted driving,  emergency respondersMost drivers have had the experience of being on the road and suddenly hearing sirens or seeing red flashing lights. We pull over in time to see a fire truck, police cars, or other emergency vehicles go racing by. Emergency responders provide a valuable service and are generally the first on the scene when threatening and tragic events happen. However, getting caught in front or alongside of these vehicles on the road can put drivers in a potentially dangerous situation, making car accidents and injuries more likely to occur.

Emergency Vehicle Accidents

A December 2017 car accident that occurred in the Millbrae area, 30 minutes to the north of San Jose, highlights the potential dangers drivers face when dealing with emergency responders. ABC 7 News reports three suspects were arrested after a high speed car chase ended in a crash at the Green Hills Country Club. What started as a carjacking incident ended in pursuit on I-380, with vehicle speeds over 100 miles per hour. Fortunately no other motorists were involved in the collision. 

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San Jose car accident attorney, car accident injuries, drunk driving, teen drivers, San Jose policeDriving under the influence of alcohol or any intoxicating substance significantly increases your risk for car accidents and injuries. This is particularly true for teen drivers, who are more likely to be involved in serious and potentially fatal collisions than any other age group.

To help raise awareness of the very real dangers, San Jose Police have been aggressively working on outreach efforts that focus on the consequences of drunk driving and the actual impacts that can happen when a collision occurs.

Teens and Drunk Driving

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fatal car accidents, motor vehicle wrecks, San Jose car accident attorney, dangerous driving, motor vehicle traffic deathsCar accidents are unfortunately common in San Jose and throughout California, and even otherwise minor collisions can leave drivers suffering serious injuries. While more severe, fatal motor vehicle wrecks are less likely to occur, traffic safety experts claim this number has increased steadily over the past several years. The following outlines factors often involved in these tragic events, despite safety advances designed specifically to prevent them. 

Car Accidents Resulting in Driver or Passenger Fatalities

According to reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), after seeing an overall reduction in rates over the last decade, fatal car accidents have been increasing steadily since 2015. More than 35,000 people are killed in these accidents each year, which represents a spike of close to 10 percent.

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San Jose car accident attorney, car accident risks, DUI, driving impairments,  drunk driving accidentsWhen out for an evening with friends or at other social events where alcohol is served, one may develop different strategies to prevent being pulled over and cited for driving under the influence (DUI). Unfortunately, studies show that even modest amounts of alcohol can result in serious driving impairments, making potentially life-threatening car accidents and injuries more likely to occur.

The Effects of ‘a Few Drinks’

If you are pulled over when driving in San Jose and appear visibly intoxicated or register a .08 blood alcohol content (BAC), then you will be charged with a DUI under the California Vehicle Code. Penalties include heavy fines, mandatory community service and counseling, potential jail time, and the loss of your driving privileges. To avoid this, many limit alcohol consumption to just a few drinks. Still, even modest amounts could put you and other drivers in danger.

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California accident lawyer, California injury attorneyCar accidents commonly leave drivers and passengers with bumps and bruises. More severe crashes may result in broken bones or lacerations that require surgery.

However, in all car accidents, there is potential for a less visible wound: brain injury. Brain injuries, which include concussions, skull fractures and traumatic brain injuries (TBI), are serious and do not always fully resolve, even with the best medical care.

Some brain injuries will be apparent as there will be obvious trauma to the head. In these circumstances, the victim and medical professionals will be aware further damage to the brain’s function may be to come.

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California injury lawyer, California accident attorneyBeing in a car accident where you are not at fault likely means that you have a claim against the at-fault driver (or his or her insurer) for your injuries and property damage. How do you know if you need an attorney to help you pursue this claim?

Typically, the type of your injuries is a good starting point in making this decision. A lawyer can greatly assist accident victims who:

  • Have high medical bills;
  • Require surgery;
  • Have had to take off time from work; or
  • Will not make a full recovery.

In these cases, the accident victim may be owed a significant amount of money in damages, including pain and suffering. Accident victims often undervalue the amount their claim is worth, and an attorney’s knowledge and experience can be useful in these calculations.

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California car accident lawyer, California injury attorneyBeing in a car accident can be a jarring. It is also something that most people do not have a lot of experience handling. People are often uninformed about how best to conduct themselves after an accident and what it takes to prevail in a lawsuit. Some drivers may rush to assign fault - either to someone else or to themselves. Others may try to resolve all issues of damage at the scene.

As attorneys, we can say that none of these are good ideas. Typically, the best thing to do after an accident is to address your injuries with a doctor, comply with law enforcement, and avoid giving your opinion or saying extraneous statements.

These are some common things that get said after an accident that could make your case more difficult even though you were not at fault:

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California accident lawyer, California car crash attorneyNearly 15 percent of California drivers operate a vehicle without car insurance. This is above the national average of 12.6 percent. Many more California drivers are underinsured, meaning that their policy limits will not cover the property damage and bodily injuries resulting from a serious accident. Accident victims wonder what will happen to them if they get into a car accident where there is no insurance policy.

In these situations, the insurance coverage of the driver who was not at fault will typically come into play. If the uninsured driver has substantial assets that could cover the injuries, it may be possible to sue the at-fault driver. Wage garnishment may also be an option. However, typically those who drive without insurance do not have such assets.

Types of Coverage

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California wrongful death attorney, California pedestrian accident lawyerThe most recent data on pedestrian fatalities shows a steep increase compared to previous years. The number of pedestrian deaths for the first half of 2016 totaled 2,660, and experts estimate that the number of pedestrian fatalities in all of 2016 will be 5,997, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Accidents between cars and pedestrians are especially dangerous for the pedestrian. If you or a loved one has been injured in such an accident, you should contact a personal injury attorney who can fully pursue your rights under California law.

Pedestrian Deaths In Previous Years

In 2015, there were 5,376 pedestrian fatalities, and in 2014 there were 4,910. Thus, the number of pedestrians fatalities in 2016 is estimated to be 11 percent higher than the 2015 figure and 22 percent higher than the 2014 figure.

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California car crash lawyer, California accident attorneyRoadway conditions and construction zones can cause serious accidents. If you believe that your car accident can be attributed to a dangerous roadway condition, you should contact an attorney as these claims are complicated to pursue.

Recently, there was a seven-car pileup in a construction area in California that led to a fire and bodily injury. While the cause of the accident is still being determined, construction zones are common places for accidents.

Sometimes the accidents are caused by driver error as drivers are more prone accidents in unfamiliar areas or where there are unexpected changes. Other times, the construction areas lack appropriate signage or are improperly designed. In these instances, the government or a government contractor may be responsible for your auto accident.

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California accident lawyer, California injury attorneyA recent study ranked California’s 65 largest cities to determine what city had the most dangerous drivers, and in at number one was San Francisco.

San Jose was ranked by the study as one of the safer major cities in the state. It ranks 49th out of 65. Other nearby cities on the ranking include Berkley at fourth, Salinas at sixth, Oakland at 24th and Hayward at 45th. Simi Valley ranked last on the list.

One reason that San Francisco was ranked as the city with the most dangerous drivers is that it has a high number of car accident fatalities. In 2009, it ranked number one in the state in traffic deaths per vehicle miles driven. In 2016, 29 car accident fatalities were reported.

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