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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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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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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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