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Articles Posted in Automobile Accidents

Automobile Accidents. Legal causes in California including rules of the road. Personal injury law issues related to auto and car accident claims.

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Los-Angeles-Car-Accident-Lawyers-AttorneysIn 2015, the City of Los Angeles adopted Vision Zero following its implementation in multiple European cities. The city’s Vision Zero plan aimed to decrease traffic fatalities each year with the goal of eliminating all of them by 2025. Mayor Eric Garcetti announced an executive directive through which he committed the city to Vision Zero with the intention of reducing traffic death to zero by 2025 through a combination of infrastructure improvements and new policies. While the initiative initially showed promise with the city’s modifications of 18 traffic corridors to include protected left-turn signals and extended curbs, the traffic fatality statistics demonstrate that the impact of Vision Zero has not been as intended. Instead, traffic fatalities have increased since 2015 to reach a 20-year high of 289 people in Los Angeles in 2021. Similarly, other U.S. cities that have adopted Vision Zero programs have also seen increases in traffic fatalities, including New York City, Portland, Oregon, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

By contrast, European cities with similar programs have demonstrated a steady decline in traffic fatalities. For example, Helsinki, Finland, a city with a population the size of Las Vegas, Nevada, only had three traffic fatalities. By contrast, Las Vegas had 304 traffic fatalities that year despite having a Vision Zero program.

There are several reasons why Vision Zero has not worked as intended in the U.S. while it has been effective in Europe.

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drowsy-driving-accident-claims-attorneysEmployers are generally not liable for the negligent actions of their employees when the employees are traveling to or from work while off the clock. However, if an employer creates a risk of injury during the employee’s commute, and the employee then causes an accident as a result of that created risk, the employer might be liable. In Feltham v. Universal Protection Service, LP, Cal. Ct. App. Case No. A161190, the California Court of Appeal considered whether the trial court’s ruling that the special risk exception had not been met was correct.

Factual and Procedural Background

Clanisha Villegas worked for Universal Protection Service, LP (DBA Allied Universal Corporation) from Feb. 2015 to May 2016 before leaving to have a baby. Universal provided security guard services to multiple medical facilities through the University of California, San Francisco. Villegas reapplied for a security guard position in 2017 and asked to work the overnight shift. During her interview, she informed the company that she had an eight-month-old baby and did not have daytime childcare. The interviewer did not ask Villegas about her daytime activities or when she was able to sleep.

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tesla-accident-attorneys-CaliforniaAutonomous driving technology has been touted by manufacturers as a potential solution to the problems of serious motor vehicle collisions. As several manufacturers continue to test systems on the nation’s roadways, the likelihood of autonomous vehicles becoming available in the market has increased. However, this type of technology cannot prevent all accidents, and drivers who misuse semi-autonomous technology in their vehicles can cause serious accidents in which people can be injured or killed. A pending criminal case in California demonstrates the potential liability of motorists who are driving semi-autonomous vehicles and cause serious injury or fatality collisions. It also raises potential issues involving product liability.

Fatal California Tesla Autopilot Collision Results in Criminal Charges

In 2019, Kevin George Aziz Riad, a 27-year-old man, was driving his Tesla on Autopilot mode. Tesla Autopilot is a driver-assist technology that is considered to be level 2 automation technology on the Society for Automotive Engineers (SAE) six levels of autonomous technology. While Tesla Autopilot is not fully autonomous, it includes features that include automatic lane changes, traffic-aware cruise control, lane centering, self-parking, semi-autonomous navigation, and the ability for a driver to summon the vehicle from a parking spot or garage. However, when a driver has Tesla Autopilot engaged, he or she must constantly supervise the vehicle and be prepared to take over at any time. Tesla recommends drivers keep at least one hand on the wheel while they are using Tesla Autopilot.

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California-Freeway-Accident-AttorneysWith more than 39.5 million people calling California their home combined with tourists and other visitors, California’s freeways, interstates, and highways are perennially congested with traffic. California’s transportation infrastructure ranges from wide city avenues, numerous interstates and freeways, winding beach roads, and major highways, allowing plenty of routes for people to choose to travel to their destinations.

Motor vehicle accidents can happen anywhere. However, there are some interstates and other roads that are more dangerous than others. Multiple factors increase the risks of accidents on certain roads, including traffic congestion, speed limits, narrow lanes, poor visibility, difficulty navigating, and others. In 2020, 3,723 people were killed in traffic collisions in California, which was a sharp increase over the 3,540 traffic deaths that occurred in the state in 2019.

The population density of California makes it unsurprising that the state is known for traffic problems. Unfortunately, many motor vehicle collisions in the state result in serious injuries or fatalities each year. A recent study also found that California is home to three of the most dangerous freeways in the nation. Understanding which roads are the most dangerous might help people to exercise added caution when they drive on them and potentially avoid being involved in collisions. Here are some of the most dangerous freeways and roads in California.

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Los-Angeles-Traffic-Accidents-AttorneysSpeeding places everyone on the road at risk here in Los Angeles. According to data from the National Safety Council, speeding was responsible for 26% of all traffic fatalities that happened in 2019. The NSC also reported that speeding as a contributing factor for fatal accidents decreased with age, and the highest number of speeding-related fatal accidents occurred with young male drivers between the ages of 16 and 24. A recent case that happened in Los Angeles demonstrates the dangers of speeding and the impact this negligent driving behavior can have on others.

Teen Adjudicated for Fatal Accident

A driver who was 17 at the time the crash occurred recently was sentenced to spend between seven and nine months in a juvenile facility after he caused a fatal accident while speeding. On Feb. 17, 2021, the teenager was driving his father’s Lamborghini with his girlfriend at the time. He started racing and was traveling at more than 100 miles per hour when he crashed into a vehicle that was being driven by a 32-year-old woman near the intersection of Overland Avenue and Olympic Boulevard. The collision caused the woman’s car to nearly be split in half, and she was pronounced dead at the scene.

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Fatal-Car-Accident-Lawyers-Los-AngelesWhile gun-related deaths are a serious problem in California and the rest of the U.S., traffic accidents cause just as many deaths as guns each year. When you get behind the wheel of your vehicle, it is among the most dangerous things you might do on any given day. Car accidents kill tens of thousands of people in the U.S. each year and cause millions of others to suffer serious injuries.

Even though people have clocked fewer miles during the pandemic, traffic fatalities have increased in the last 18 months. According to the National Safety Council, an estimated 42,060 people were killed during 2020, which was a 24% increase from traffic fatalities in 2019. By comparison, USA Today reports that 41,000 Americans were killed in gun-related incidents in 2020, meaning that more people were killed in traffic accidents than in gun incidents.

Even though fewer people were on the roads in 2020 because of the pandemic, traffic deaths still surged. This surge in traffic fatalities has continued during 2021 even though more people are back on the roads. Policy changes should be implemented to reduce traffic deaths.

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auto-insurance-accident-claims-attorneys-CaliforniaAs a nationally recognized personal injury attorney and car accident lawyer in practice for over 25 years, I’ve successfully resolved literally thousands of auto accident claims.  In that time period, I’ve found that for all the billions of dollars the auto insurance industry spends every year trying to convince people that they can “save money” by switching to this carrier or the other, they misrepresent the real truth behind auto insurance.  I wanted to explore some of these myths in this blog post.

Myth #1: “Only pay for what you need!” “Save HUNDREDS of dollars every year”

This one, I think is a great example of fundamental misrepresentations in auto insurance ads.  Lately the slogan and concept has been used most by Liberty Mutual.  We see the usual antics of a guy with a pet Emu running around telling people that their insurance company is better because they show you how to “only pay for what you need”.  What does this mean?  It implies that there are a lot of insurance coverages that you can do without and shouldn’t pay for.  Nothing could be further from the truth if you actually have to file a claim for property damage or bodily injury.  In addition, almost every insurance company touts their ability to save you “HUNDREDS” of dollars a year.  This is a more subtle misrepresentation. The actual truth is that for only a few hundred dollars more each year, you could have much better coverage.  For example, waiving uninsured motorist coverage, might only save a person $50-75 a year but, could end up costing them tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in uncovered medical expenses if they are hit by an uninsured driver!

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Los-Angeles-Pedestrian-Bike-AccidentsIn May 2020, Los Angeles implemented the Slow Streets program during the pandemic.[1] This program was designed to prevent traffic from entering certain residential areas to encourage people to spend more time outdoors safely. It also implemented provisions to substantially reduce the speed of traffic near residential areas. Communities were allowed to apply to the program to have designated areas blocked off from traffic during certain hours of the day other than for people who live in them. The program has proven to be quite popular, leading to legislation that could make it permanent in both Los Angeles and other cities in the state.

Goals of the Slow Streets program

At the time the Slow Streets Los Angeles program was implemented, California and the rest of the nation were going through the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic forced multiple closures and caused more people to work remotely. With more people working from home and large numbers of closures, the Slow Streets program was designed to encourage people to get out and enjoy fresh air and exercise by prompting drivers to drive more slowly while limiting through traffic in designated residential areas. Residents have been able to safely walk and ride bicycles in neighborhoods that participate in this program.

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Los-Angeles-Distracted-Driving-Accidents-Attorneys-LawyersDistracted driving is a very common cause of motor vehicle accidents in Los Angeles, California and across the U.S. People who allow themselves to be distracted by phones, text messages, emails, passengers, eating, electronics, and other things are dangerous to others sharing the roads with them. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving was a cause of 9% of fatal accidents, 15% of injury accidents, and 15% of all crashes, resulting in 3,142 deaths and 424,000 injuries. When people drive while distracted in Los Angeles, other motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists can suffer serious harm.

If you were injured in an accident caused by a driver you believe was distracted, getting help from an experienced car accident attorney at Steven M. Sweat Personal Injury Lawyers is a good idea. Our experienced legal team of highly experienced distracted driving attorneys and legal staff understand how to investigate these types of claims to prove the liability of the distracted drivers. We work with experts and investigators to help to determine all of the factors that contributed to our clients’ accidents and might be able to recover compensation for your losses.

Why should you choose us?

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Los-Angeles-Freeway-Accident-AttorneysWhen the lockdown orders were first issued in California in March 2020, there was a sharp decline in the number of traffic accidents because of the decrease in traffic. Following Mayor Garcetti’s shutdown orders in March, traffic accidents declined by 41% during that month from the number of accidents in 2019 with 2,917 reported.[1] However, once the stay-at-home order was lifted, traffic fatalities increased sharply.

Between March and July of 2020, the roads were nearly empty, resulting in fewer accidents. However, 2,983 accidents happened in August, which was almost 800 more than occurred in July. During the first nine months of 2020, the Los Angeles Police Department reported that accidents fell by 42% as compared to 2019. While that might seem like good news, the fact that fewer cars were traveling on the roads adds nuance to the numbers. Now that the state has eased some of its coronavirus restrictions, more accidents are likelier to occur.

Higher fatality rate seen with less traffic during the pandemic

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