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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-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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Los-Angeles-Freeway-Accident-Attorneys-LawyersIn some California personal injury accidents, multiple parties may share fault. When several parties are at fault for an accident, each party’s percentage of the fault must be determined. All parties that are found to share fault will then be responsible for paying the percentages allocated to them. An individual defendant will not have to pay more than the percentage of fault that he or she has. In Plascencia v. Deese, Cal. Ct. App. 2d Crim. No. B299142, the appeals court considered a case in which the court excluded evidence of the comparative fault of several defendants who had settled before trial so that the jury could not consider their comparative fault when it apportioned an award of damages in the plaintiffs’ favor.[1]

Factual and procedural background

Jocelyn Plascencia was a 20-year-old woman who was driving on SR-126 on April 19, 2014. A woman named Anita Newcomb was leaving a fruit stand that was located on the highway’s south side. She made an illegal U-turn to enter SR-126 in Plascencia’s path. Plascencia was driving a Toyota Camry. She swerved to avoid colliding with Newcomb’s vehicle, lost control of her car, and crashed into the rear of a tractor-trailer truck that had been parked on the south side of the highway close to the fruit stand by a man named Charles Deese.

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Los-Angeles-Car-Accident-AttorneysAfter an injury accident in California, a victim may be entitled to recover damages from every party that contributed to the accident’s cause. In some cases, several parties may share liability. If a plaintiff cannot prove one of the elements of a cause of action, the trial court can grant a defendant’s summary judgment motion and dismiss the case. In Luebke v. Automobile Club of Southern California, Cal. Ct. App. Case No. B302782, the appeals court considered a case in which the trial court granted a summary judgment motion based on the plaintiff’s admission in an interrogatory.[1]

Factual and procedural background

On June 4, 2015, Brett Luebke was driving his car on northbound Interstate 405 when his vehicle’s engine died. He coasted onto the shoulder and called the Automobile Club of Southern California to ask for roadside assistance. Luebke remained sitting inside of his vehicle for two hours as he waited for a tow truck to arrive. While he was still there, an unlicensed driver named Tong Yin lost control of his car and ran off the road, striking Luebke’s vehicle in its rear.

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lyft-accident-attorneys-injury-lawyersMany Californians rely on the gig economy to supplement their incomes, and some people earn all of their income through driving for ride-share companies. To drive for Lyft, drivers must meet a number of different requirements. Many potential Lyft drivers are disqualified because they cannot meet the minimum standards. While it is good that Lyft has basic requirements that its drivers must meet, some Lyft drivers are still unsafe. Each year, a number of Lyft drivers are involved in motor vehicle accidents. If you suffer injuries in an accident caused by a negligent Lyft driver, you may be entitled to recover damages for your losses. An experienced Lyft accident attorney at the Steven M. Sweat Personal Injury Lawyers might help you to recover compensation for your losses. Here is some information about the requirements for drivers who want to drive for Lyft.

License and age requirements

To drive for Lyft, you must be at least the minimum age for the area in which you live. The minimum age to drive for Lyft varies from state to state. Some cities also have different minimum age requirements. In general, Lyft drivers in California must be a minimum of 25 years old. Several cities and counties have a lower minimum age of 21 for Lyft drivers, however. You can search your city to see the minimum age requirement on Lyft’s website.

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Los-Angeles-Traffic-Accidents-AttorneysIn response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Los Angeles implemented the Slow Streets program in May 2020.[1] This program allowed more people to get fresh air and enjoy their neighborhoods while large portions of the city were shut down in response to the spread of the virus. While people were under stay-at-home orders, the Slow Streets program allowed them to have more room to exercise outdoors. The program proved to be popular with residents of many neighborhoods throughout the city, prompting the City Council to consider implementing it as a permanent option instead of a temporary measure. In addition to drawing more people outdoors to enjoy their neighborhoods, the Slow Streets program may also help to reduce the number of traffic injuries and fatalities caused by vehicles speeding through neighborhoods.

What is the Slow Streets program?

With many people ordered to stay at home during the pandemic, Los Angeles implemented a temporary measure to allow people to exercise outdoors in their neighborhoods called the Slow Streets program. This program allowed neighborhoods with sponsoring organizations to apply to have their areas designated for slow streets. Neighborhoods that have been approved for the program are blocked off with signs that prohibit cutting through and only allow local traffic. The signs also call for drivers to slow down and safely share the roads. After the program was implemented, a few hundred neighborhoods submitted applications. The program allows people who live in affected neighborhoods to enjoy cycling, jogging, and walking in a safer environment free from speeding cars.[2]

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wrongful-death-traffic-accident-claims-Los-AngelesMany people in Los Angeles are killed or seriously injured in automobile accidents every year. To try to lower the high rates of traffic fatalities, the city implemented the Vision Zero policy in 2016. This policy’s goal is to reduce traffic fatalities in the city to zero by 2025. However, the number of accidents and traffic deaths have continued to increase despite the policy. When people are killed in accidents in Los Angeles, their family members have a right to file lawsuits to recover monetary damages when the accidents are caused by other people or entities. While these types of accidents may be caused by many things, the following are the top five causes of fatal collisions in Los Angeles as revealed by Vision Zero’s Safety Study for Los Angeles in 2017.

1. Speeding

Driving at high speeds was the leading cause of traffic deaths in Los Angeles in 2017. When drivers drive at high speeds, their visual fields narrow. This makes it more difficult for drivers to see others in their peripheral vision. Driving at high speeds also makes it more difficult to stop in time to avoid an accident. When a car’s speed is doubled, its braking distance increases by four times. The combination of a reduced visual field and a longer distance for braking makes speeding the most common cause of fatal accidents.

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Los-Angeles-Car-Accident-LawyerIf you are injured in a motor vehicle accident in California that results from the negligence of another driver, you may be entitled to recover damages for your losses. However, your ability to recover damages may be limited if you were driving an uninsured vehicle when you were injured. This is because of a California law that limits the ability of uninsured motorists to recover damages for their non-economic losses. While this law prevents people who do not have insurance from recovering all of the damages to which they would otherwise be entitled to receive, there are multiple exceptions. Getting help from an experienced accident attorney in Los Angeles may help you to recover fair compensation for your losses.

What is Proposition 213?

Proposition 213 is a law that was passed in 1996 in California. The insurance industry spent millions of dollars lobbying for this law to be passed. Insurance companies have been able to enjoy billions of dollars of added profits by avoiding paying non-economic damages to injured drivers who were driving uninsured vehicles at the time of their collisions. Proposition 213 is codified at Cal. Civ. Code § 3333.4, which reads as follows:

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ride-share-uber-lyft-los-angelesUber and Lyft have become so ubiquitous that people might have trouble remembering the time before either app was available in Los Angeles. However, Uber was founded in 2009, and Lyft was founded in 2012. Even though these and other ride-share apps are relatively new phenomena in LA, people have come to rely on these types of services to get to where they want to go at a cheaper price than hailing a taxi.

While there are other ride-sharing apps available, Lyft and Uber dominate the market. The popularity of these apps has led some major car manufacturers and rental companies to partner with Uber or Lyft. While there are exceptions, many people are choosing to use ride-share apps instead of hailing taxis, riding on public transportation, or using their vehicles during their daily commutes in LA. This has resulted in people comparing prices between Uber and Lyft as they try to determine which app offers better prices.

The cost of using ride-share apps widely varies from location to location. However, these apps are much cheaper than taxi services regardless of where you might be located. In addition to comparing prices, you should also understand your rights if you are injured in an accident caused by a Lyft or Uber driver.

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lyft-accident-attorneys-injury-lawyersIn California, people who are injured by workers who are acting within the scope and course of their employment at the time of their accidents may recover damages from the employers under a legal principle called respondeat superior. Under this principle, employers are liable for the negligent actions of their employees. However, an employer is not liable for the actions of its employees when they are not working. In Marez v. Lyft, Inc., Cal.Ct.App. Case No. A156761, the California Court of Appeal reviewed the dismissal of two complaints against Lyft in which the plaintiffs alleged that a Lyft driver’s accident happened while he was working and that Lyft should be liable for their injuries and losses.

Case background

In 2015, Jonathan Guarano started working as a driver for Lyft. While he initially drove his personal vehicle, he started driving a vehicle that he rented from Hertz under a program through Lyft called the express driver program. To rent a vehicle from Hertz to drive for Lyft under this program, a driver must choose a pre-approved vehicle and drive at least 20 hours per week. In exchange for driving a Hertz rental vehicle under this program, Lyft drivers receive several incentives. When he made enough money to cover the cost of the rental vehicle, Lyft paid for the rental by deducting it from his paychecks. When he did not make enough money, he paid for the cost out of his pocket. Guarano used the rental car for both personal and work use.

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Despite decades of educational campaigns and enforcement efforts, drunk driving continues to be a problem in California and across the U.S. When people go out for drinks, they sometimes wrongly believe that they are okay to drive instead of calling cabs or ride-shares to get home safely. People who choose to get behind the wheel when they are intoxicated place themselves and others at risk. Unfortunately, this does not deter some people from driving drunk. When people are seriously injured or killed in drunk driving accidents in Los Angeles, the victims and their family members may be entitled to recover damages by filing personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits.

Drunk driving accident and arrest statistics

A review of statistical data by Smart Advocate from 2009 to 2018 compared drunk driving arrests in large cities across the U.S. In Los Angeles, there was an average of 1,804 drunk driving arrests per 100,000 people each year during the 10 years. Los Angeles has experienced a steady decline in the number of drunk driving arrests since 2009. In 2018, the total number of DUI arrests in the city was 4,755. By contrast, the total number of DUI arrests in 2009 was 9,020. While this is a substantial improvement, Los Angeles still ranked number 16 among the cities with the greatest number of DUI arrests in the U.S.

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