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Los Angeles Personal Injury Law Blawg

When is a Car Accident Attorney Absolutely Necessary For Your Claim?

After an accident, you might be suffering from injuries but wonder what options you have. The question that many people tend to ask is: "When do I need to have an attorney on my side to help me get results?" Some people might assume that it is safe to get started on their case immediately without realizing that insurance companies often have teams of lawyers and adjusters on their side that can and will attempt to build a case against you so that they don't have to pay out to their highest ability.

Negligent entrustment applied to accidents caused by teen drivers

Los Angeles residents are often left facing inordinate expenses following car accidents. They may be the result of medical expenses, repair costs, or a combination of both. Oftentimes, auto insurance coverage is not sufficient to cover the full amount of those expenses. Thus, people in such situations may be left with little choice but to seek compensation from the drivers responsible for their accidents. Yet what if those drivers are teens? 

Statistics suggests that to be a strong likelihood. In fact, information shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that drivers between the ages of 16-19 have a higher accident risk rate than any other demographic. The trouble is that teens often lack the financial resources to offer any sort of compensation to cover an accident victim's expenses. This then prompts the question of whether one can hold a teen's parents liable for accidents he or she causes. 

What is the attractive nuisance doctrine?

As your kids go out to play this summer in and around Los Angeles, your one hope for them is that they are able to avoid danger. Yet often their curiosity gets the best of them, even to the point of leading them into potential harmful situations whose risks they do not fully comprehend. It is therefore up to adults to try and protect inquisitive children from dangerous features that may attract them (e.g., swimming pools, fountains, construction sites, abandoned buildings). Yet what happens when the owners of the properties these features are located on fail in their duty to protect kids from them? 

That is where the attractive nuisance doctrine comes into play. The Cornell Law School defines this principle as a method allowing you to hold a property owner for any injuries your child suffers due to attractive features on said property owner's land. This legal doctrine first originated decades ago when it was learned that children were particularly attracted to railroad turntables as play places (in fact, it was originally referred to as "the Turntable Doctrine"). While children enjoyed playing on turntables, injuries often resulted due them not understanding the risks that turntables (and the rail cars sitting on them) posed. The doctrine later expanded to include the contemporary nuisances detailed above. 

Delayed symptoms of injury after a car accident

If you were in a car accident and left the scene without any injuries, you may think that there is no risk for you to develop any injuries in the future. However, it can often happen that car accident victims develop symptoms of an injury after the accident.

It is important to understand what these symptoms are so that you can be on the lookout for them in your particular case. In addition, if you develop symptoms, you may need to seek the assistance of a personal injury attorney for getting compensation. 

Hours-of-service regulations for truck drivers

One need only take one look at the massive semi-trucks so often seen driving in and around Los Angeles to determine that such vehicles might be difficult to handle. Truckers are typically quite skilled at controlling their vehicles, yet a number of factors can have an influence over one’s driving capabilities. Fatigue is certainly among them. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowsiness and fatigue were cited as the primary cause of over 72,000 car accidents in the U.S. in 2013. The CDC lists truck drivers as being among the groups most likely to experience fatigue while behind the wheel.

One can only imagine how great a threat a drowsy trucker might be to other motorists. Therefore, to combat the potential of such a threat, the federal government has imposed strict hours-of-service regulations on truck drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shows that these rules include:

  •         No driving for more than 11 hours after having spent 10 consecutive hours off duty
  •         No driving beyond the 14 consecutive hour after having spent 19 consecutive hours off duty
  •         No driving more than eight consecutive hours without taking a 30 minute break
  •         No driving more than 60/70 total hours across a 7/8 day work week

Can your cell phone prevent an accident?

You have probably heard a lot about how cell phones lead to distracted driving, which in turn leads to accidents on California roadways. However, have you heard that cell phones may also be able to help stop distracted driving and prevent accidents? You probably have not, but the Huffington Post explains that some cell phones are equipped with a feature that can help keep you safer when you are behind the wheel.

Cell phone manufacturers do not want you to text and drive or otherwise be distracted by your phone. While you can be told by them and through law enforcement campaigns that you should not be on your phone while driving, that does not always stop you or others, which is obvious when you look at distracted driving accident statistics.

What is zero tolerance?

If you are younger than 21 and think that single beer you had an hour ago means you do not need to worry about driving, think again. All states in the U.S. have adopted zero-tolerance laws, aimed at deterring drivers younger than 21 from drinking and driving, FindLaw explains. What that means to you is that you do not have to be impaired to be charged with DUI. Adult drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 can be charged with driving under the influence. For those younger than 21, you can be charged with the same offense with a BAC of as little as 0.00 to 0.02 percent.

If you are between 18 and 21, you might wonder why your age group is included in the zero-tolerance law. The reason is that younger drivers have nearly a third of all deaths among 15- to 20-year-olds are due to vehicle accidents, of which 35 percent involve alcohol.

Common causes of car accidents in the U.S.

Law enforcement officers face the same risks as other drivers, as a recent crash in the Bay Area illustrates. According to ABC’s 7 News, a California Highway Patrol Officer was injured when a car crashed into his vehicle, which was pulled over on Interstate 80. The driver and passengers on the right side of the car were all taken to the hospital with serious injuries. The CHP officer received moderate injuries and was also taken to the hospital. While the driver may have suffered a medical issue or a problem with the vehicle that led to the crash, it is more likely that the cause of the crash was any number and type of driver errors.

Huffington Post lists the top causes of vehicle accidents in the U.S., many of which are preventable. The most common reason for crashes is distracted driving, which includes talking on a mobile phone, texting, eating, reading and grooming. If your attention is taken away from the road even for a second or two, that is more than long enough to have an accident.

How safe is Los Angeles for cyclists?

California is a cyclist's haven, with its year-round temperate climate and abundant sunshine. Cyclists in Los Angeles enjoy wonderful weather, but the conditions for safe cycling are less than optimal.

Bikers face numerous hazards and risks that can lead to serious and even fatal injuries. In fact, Los Angeles ranks among the top 10 most dangerous cities in the nation for cyclists. Here are some major points to consider in terms of cycling safety in LA and the risks that cyclists face.

How Can I Safely Share the Road With Trucks?

If you frequently travel on Los Angeles’s many highways, you’re no doubt familiar with the sight of trucks and other large vehicles. Operating these vehicles is quite different when compared to driving a passenger vehicle, and it’s important to know how to share the road to ensure a safe experience for everyone. The Federal Motor Carrier Association offers the following tips to help you and your passengers to stay safe.

1. Don’t Tailgate

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