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San Jose car accident lawyerStatistics indicate that nearly two and a half million people are injured in car crashes each year, and many of those injures involve the victims back and spine. Capable of keeping an injured person out of work for extended periods of time or completely disabling a once able-bodied individual, these injuries can range significantly in their prognosis and potential compensation.

Soft Tissue Injuries 

Of all the back injuries, those to the soft tissue tend to be the most common. Experienced both in high-speed and low-impact crashes, injuries to the soft tissue in the back may include sprains, strains, or tears to the ligaments, muscles, or tendons. While these injuries typically heal over a relatively short time period, victims may need medical treatment or physical therapy. They may also miss time at work to heal from their injuries.

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San Jose car accident lawyerCalifornia roadways, it seems, are becoming more unsafe. While motor vehicle fatalities are up nationwide, the death rate in the Golden State rose faster than the national average. If a loved one has died in a car accident in California, you need an attorney with enough experience to handle such an important case. Accidents involving serious injury or death are often complex, requiring legal counsel who understands insurance companies and who is willing to take the case to trial.

Recent Data on Fatal Car Accidents

The troubling data concerning California’s rising roadway fatality rates comes from the National Safety Council (NSC). The NSC estimates that there were 3,680 motor vehicle deaths in California in 2016, representing an increase of about 13 percent from the previous year. Across the country, the number of roadway deaths also increased, but by not as much. Data shows that the United States saw a 6 percent increase in motor vehicle fatalities last year, meaning that California’s increase in fatal accidents was more than twice that of the country as a whole.

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San Jose car accident lawyerAccording to a published study, individuals who have trouble sleeping are more prone to car accidents than those who sleep normally. These drivers present a huge safety risk to other motorists and themselves.

A Look at the Numbers

The research was conducted by a team of European academics and the results were published in the Journal of Sleep Research. Their findings suggest that people who suffer from sleep disturbances are likely to be involved in accidents of all types, including car accidents. The study focused on those with sleep disturbances such as insomnia or sleep apnea. Of those surveyed:

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San Jose car accident lawyerWhen you are injured in a car accident caused by another party’s negligence, you will, most likely, have the right to collect compensation for your injuries. The amount of damages you may collect depends on a number of considerations. Some—such as medical expenses and lost wages—are relatively easy to calculate while others—such as pain and suffering—are much more complicated. If you hope to collect damages for your pain and suffering following an accident, it is important to understand what rights the law provides.

What the Law Says About Pain and Suffering

In a personal injury case, compensation for pain and suffering may also be called noneconomic damages or general damages. Under California law, the party who caused your accident may also be responsible for the physical and emotional discomfort you have suffered, as well as the negative impact—including inconvenience—of your injury on your life.

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San Jose car accident lawyerWhile cars and bicycles are supposed to share the road, every year thousands of bicyclists are injured by drivers who fail to follow all the safety rules. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident you need to understand what your rights are.

Who Is at Fault?

California law gives you the right to recover damages when you are injured because of someone else’s negligence. Deciding who is at fault for an accident, unfortunately, is not always straightforward.

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San Jose car accident lawyerAre you a millennial? If not, perhaps your son or daughter is. As you are probably aware, simply being part of a particular generation does not mean that you exactly the same as those of a similar age, but, over time, habits and trends begin to emerge—not all of them are positive or healthy. In fact, a recent survey found that those in one segment of the generation commonly known as millennials are among the most dangerous drivers on the road.

Who Are Millennials?

While there is no clear-cut dividing between one generation and the next, the media and sociologists often characterize people of a particular age group by using common, descriptive names. Those born during post-World War II baby boom—from about 1945 to 1965—are called Baby Boomers while those born in the two decades that followed are collectively known as Generation X. Individuals born between roughly 1982 and 2004 are generally referred to as millennials. These young men and women were the first to “come of age” in the new millennium; hence, the descriptive designation.

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San Jose car accident lawyerIf you have been in an auto accident, you may wonder if you need an attorney or if you can handle your case yourself. While not every accident requires professional legal assistance, an attorney can help make sure that you are fully compensated for your injuries

Case Valuation

One of the most important things a lawyer can do is value your case. He or she can help you develop an understanding of you how much you should be able to collect for your injuries. This is a complicated calculation as no two cases are the same. An attorney will look at previous, similar cases from the same area to value your case. In addition, an attorney will estimate the future medical treatment you will likely require.

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San Jose car accident lawyerOnce you purchase your auto insurance policy, you may hardly think about it again other than to pay the bill. If, however, you are involved in a car accident, it is important to understand how your insurance works and what the policy covers.

Auto Insurance Basics

California is a “fault” state which means that, unless you have certain types of coverage, your insurance will not pay for your own injuries or property damage. You will need to file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company, presuming he or she was at fault for the accident.

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San Jose car accident lawyerWhen you have been hurt in a car accident or any other type of incident caused by the actions or negligence of another, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your injuries. Such compensation is usually intended to cover your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and other measurable losses, but may also include non-economic damages such as pain and suffering or considerations for scarring or disfigurement. Collecting any kind of compensation can be challenging, however, and it is important to understand the steps that may be involved.

Filing a Claim

In most cases, your first step after an accident is to file a claim with the insurance company of the party responsible for the accident. The claims process typically includes the exchange of pertinent information between the parties, as well as any reports filed with the police or other law enforcement agencies. While the case is in the claims stage, you will likely need to offer some proof to the insurance company to show that their insured was at fault. Depending on the circumstances, the insurance company may offer you a settlement to offset your losses. If you accept the settlement, you waive your right to future legal action, so you should never accept a proposal without speaking with your attorney.

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San Jose car accident lawyerOver the last several years, ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft have become part of the global culture. There have been controversies in many areas, as one might expect, but most consumers—especially those in younger demographic groups appreciate having additional alternatives to traditional car services and taxi cabs. What happens, however, when an Uber ride ends in an accident and you are injured? Is the driver liable for your injuries or does the company bear some responsibility as well? This is the question that will need to be answered by the courts once again as a 24-year-old woman has sued San Francisco-based Uber over an accident which left her paralyzed from the chest down.

Ridesharing Confusion

The concept of “ridesharing” can be rather misleading. Ridesharing has long been a staple on college campuses where students looking for a convenient and inexpensive way home for the weekend could connect with a driver headed in the same direction. The term, however, as it has been adopted by car-for-hire companies like Uber is somewhat of a misnomer. Uber drivers are not really picking up additional rides en route to a similar destination; they are dispatched similar to a taxi or limousine service. As such, riders expect their drivers to be courteous, safe, and professional.

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San Jose Car Accident LawyerAs modern technology continues to progress, we rely on it more and more in our daily lives. We use GPS on road trips instead of asking for directions. We count on airbags in our cars to help reduce the risk of injury in an auto accident. And soon, we will be able to pay minimal attention during our daily commute as self-driving vehicles do most of the work.

The road toward technological advances, however, is often littered with obstacles. In some cases, it is people who are reluctant to embrace change. In others, it is the innovation itself that does not quite meet expectations. Such has been the case with electric vehicles, especially those equipped with anti-collision systems, and now, a renowned electric car manufacturer is facing a federal lawsuit over alleged defects in a popular model.

California Crash Injures Two

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San Jose car accident lawyerCalifornia recently expanded its distracted driving laws to include activities such as taking selfies and surfing the internet. The new law goes into effect January 1, 2017, and aims to reduce the number of car accidents caused by distracted driving.

Old Law vs. New Law

The existing law in California prohibits drivers from using cell phones to write, send, or read texts or emails unless the wireless device can be operated by voice, hands-free. By comparison, the new law prohibits a wider range of behavior. The new law says that a driver is also prohibited from “holding and operating” a wireless device.

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Bay Area wrongful death lawyerEarlier this month, a fire tore through a party in a converted warehouse in Oakland, killing 36 people. The warehouse was known throughout the Bay Area arts community as the “Ghost Ship,” offering residential, studio, and performance spaces to local artists and musicians. As investigations into the fire continue, a number of major concerns have come to light about the building’s safety and lack of required permits. Such issues may be important considerations in determining potential liability for the deaths of victims.

Alleged Illegal Construction and Unlicensed Use

It is often difficult for low-income individuals to find suitable, affordable housing in the Bay Area, leading many to cut corners in an effort to save money. This seems to have been the case of the Ghost Ship, a former warehouse on 131st Street in Oakland. The couple who operated the building reportedly converted it into a sort of collective for struggling artists and musicians but did so without securing permits or code inspections required by the city. The last permit on record approved the building for use as a warehouse only, not as a performance space or residence.

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San Jose car accident lawyerAs you are probably aware, the day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday. According to some sources, the day originally got its somber sounding name from the trouble created by masses of shoppers on the day that is seen as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Over time, retailers have reclaimed the name, as, in many ledger books, black ink is associated with profit while red ink is used to denote losses.

In recent years, however, the day before Thanksgiving has started to earn a similarly dark name, but for an altogether different reason. Blackout Wednesday, as it has come to be known, is thought to be the busiest drinking night of the entire year, leading to thousands of drunk driving car accidents as revelers try to get home.

Why This Wednesday?

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San Jose personal injury attorneyRiding a motorcycle can be an exhilarating experience, but it can also lead to dangerous situations depending on how the rider and car drivers share the road. Experienced riders may feel more comfortable making maneuvers, such as lane splitting through traffic, that other riders may not, but even experienced riders can get injured if they make a move alongside a careless driver or without exercising due caution.

What Is Lane Splitting?

Lane splitting is not considered illegal in California although it is not expressly permitted under any law in the state. A motorcycle rider lane splits when he rides his motorcycles in between traffic lanes. California is the only state that does not outlaw lane splitting. Lane splitting can be dangerous for the rider and for the cars because a driver may not necessarily be expecting a motorcycle to be lane splitting, and may make a move into the other lane and collide into the rider. In addition, a rider could hit a car and fall into oncoming traffic, getting seriously injured or killed in the process. However, one of the biggest advantages of lane splitting to riders is that they avoid the risk of sitting in traffic and getting rear ended by other cars driven by distracted drivers waiting out a traffic jam.

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San Jose car accident lawyerCycling in the city can be dangerous, and bicycle accidents are common. California has traffic laws to protect city cyclists, but they still have to deal with a heavy flow of traffic and pedestrians. Many cities have bike lanes, but they are not always respected by vehicles or pedestrians. Cities pose special dangers to cyclists, but there are safety measures that cyclists can take to protect themselves.

Car Doors

Possibly the biggest difference between cities and suburban or rural areas for cyclists is the sheer quantity of vehicles on the streets. Car doors are among the most common hazards in city cycling. Drivers and passengers open car doors unexpectedly without checking for bicycles, and collisions are often the result.

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San Jose car accident lawyerTeenagers are notorious for bad driving and for the number of auto accidents they cause. Unfortunately, they are usually not in a financial position to compensate the other drivers and pedestrians they harm in such accidents.

In California, there are two statutes addressing a parent or guardian’s liability for harms caused by a minor child’s driving. One assigns liability to parents who sign a child’s driver’s license application, and the other makes parents who give a minor permission to drive liable for damages the child causes.

Signs Driver’s License Application

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San Jose car accident lawyerAlthough bicycles are a great mode of transportation, they can also be dangerous due to the risks of sharing the road with larger and faster vehicles. Despite the use of bicycle lanes and other safety measures, cyclists are still likely to get into accidents with cars and pedestrians, although fatalities are more common with car accidents. When riding, cyclists are generally expected to follow the rules of the road as car drivers do, however, cyclists are not required to carry vehicle insurance. This can be a problem when a cyclist causes an accident with a car.

Liability Insurance

Car drivers are required to carry minimum insurance limits or otherwise show financial responsibility when operating cars in California. Cyclists are not required to carry any kind of insurance, however, there are some cyclists who opt to carry what is known as bicycle insurance, that offers coverage similar to that offered by car insurance. Depending on the individual insurance policy, this insurance can pay out a claim if the cyclist is responsible for causing an accident with a driver.

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San Jose car accident lawyerAnyone who owns and operates a car or a motorcycle on California roads is required to carry insurance to cover property damage and personal injury in the event of an accident. The liability insurance a car or motorcycle owner secures must cover minimum property damage as well as personal injury. The minimum limits on the insurance are the same for motorcycles and for vehicles. The minimum insurance coverage required is as follows:

  • $15,000 for injury or death to one person;
  • $30,000 for injury or death to more than one person; and
  • $5,000 for damage to property.

Anyone purchasing insurance may purchase additional coverage beyond these minimum amounts, and that is often the smart thing to do because these minimums would not be likely to cover the medical bills or property damages in a major car accident that results in catastrophic injuries.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

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San Jose personal injury lawyerRecovering compensation after a car accident is not always easy. In some cases, the other driver’s insurance company works fast and resolves the issues of fault and damages relatively quickly and all parties are able to move on without any significant delays. In other cases, the insurance companies drag their feet and can keep a case pending for months and maybe years before it is settled. If a driver is injured in an accident with a negligent driver who is a government employee operating a government car, there may be additional delays due to the law governing how claims against the government may be handled.

Government-Related Accident Claims

It is not easy to sue the government in California, as in many other states, because government entities and some employees are immune from liability for acts that they take in their official capacities. Before deciding to sue the government or a government employee, you have to ensure that the conduct you are alleging is exempt from the broad immunity from liability enjoyed by the government, its employees, and, in some cases, its contractors.

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Janoff Law,
A Professional Corporation
111 West Saint John Street, Suite 1040, San Jose, CA 95113 408-286-2300
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