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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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San Jose car accident lawyerDrunk driving accidents can be extremely serious. Those who drive while intoxicated can cause severe injuries to themselves, their passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians. In California, drunk drivers can be held legally responsible for paying financial damages to their victims in order to compensate them for their injuries.

California’s Legal Limit

Driving while intoxicated is a criminal offense in California. The state’s DUI statute provides that those who drive with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher can be charged with driving under the influence. For drivers of commercial vehicles, the legal limit for blood alcohol content is 0.04 percent, and for drivers under the age of 21, the legal limit is 0.05 percent. Additionally, driving while impaired by any drug can lead to a DUI charge.

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San Jose construction site accident lawyerThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced that is delaying enforcement of parts of a new rule aimed increasing workplace and construction site safety. The provisions specifically address post-reporting retaliation and were set to take effect on August 10, 2016, but have been pushed back to November 1, 2016, so affected companies and contractors have more time to become educated about the new requirements. At least one lawsuit has also been filed by industry and trade groups seeking to have the provisions removed from the rule altogether.

Electronic Recording and Reporting

Earlier this year, OSHA issued a set of regulations—known as a final rule—looking to improve workplace injury and illness tracking, including injuries that occur on construction sites. The rule requires employers in particular industries to electronically record and report data about on-the-job accidents and illnesses so OSHA can use the information to identify trends and develop safety protocols. The rule also updates requirements regarding the way employers inform their workers about reporting workplace injuries. The recording and reporting portion of the rule is set to be phased in over the next two years.

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San Jose construction site accident lawyerAn active construction site is an extremely dangerous environment. A single project can require dozens of subcontractors, hundreds of workers, and countless tons of vehicles and machinery. Each year, thousands of workers are injured while working on or visiting a construction site. In addition, nearly 20 percent of all on-the-job fatalities occur in the construction industry. With so many moving people and parts, it is virtually inevitable that accidents will sometimes occur, as two workers in Sacramento recently discovered.

Airport Accident

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal-OSHA) is investigating an incident that happened earlier this month which sent two individuals to a local hospital. The two were workers employed a construction company responsible for building new hangars at Mather Airport in Sacramento. When the accident first occurred, reports indicated that a building had collapsed, but when first-responders arrived, they discovered that an iron beam had fallen, injuring the two workers.

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San Jose construction accident lawyerA 61-year old worker was killed last month in a tragic construction accident at San Francisco’s Moscone Center involving an aerial lift and a concrete beam. The incident is hardly the first time that the company who employed the man has come under fire for workplace safety concerns. According to reports, the employer has paid thousands of dollars in fines for more than 20 safety violations over the last ten years.

Various news outlets are reporting that the worker was in the basket of an aerial lift—often referred to as a cherry-picker—when he was crushed against a concrete beam. He was working on a ramp area that leads underground on the site of the Moscone Center’s $350 million expansion project. The man worked for Ahern, a truck and equipment rental company that has been the focus of several investigations by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) in the last few years.

A History of Problems

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San Jose car accident lawyerWhile a number of situations can lead to injuries, motorcycle and car accidents are by far some of the most common causes for personal injury claims. A simple mechanical error, careless driving due to distraction, or operating a vehicle under the influence can mean tragic consequences for everyone involved in the collision.

Fortunately, reducing the number of auto-related injuries is possible when simple, proactive measures are taken behind the wheel. Avoid all of the following driving habits to prevent costly traffic violations, dangerous accidents, and needless injury:

  • Speeding - Driving too fast is an easy way to earn a ticket, but it is also one of the leading causes of car crashes. It often only takes one vehicle to cause an accident, so every driver on the road makes a difference. Under California law, speeding is considered a moving violation, which can mean fines of $435 or more and a requirement to appear in court;
  • Running red lights - It is easy to coast through a yellow light, but it is even easier to cut it dangerously close and accidentally run through a red light. Just like speeding, running a red light is considered a moving violation and will not only earn you a ticket, it also puts you at risk for causing a serious pedestrian or auto accident;
  • Driving with a known mechanical problem - A minor mechanical problem like a broken tail light can seem like a petty issue, but even simple mechanical problems can cause your vehicle to operate less efficiently on the road. In addition to being less safe, should police pull you over due to such a problem, you could be issued a citation; and
  • Inattention - This is possibly one of the most talked about dangers on the roadways today in addition to driving under the influence. Texting, playing with the radio or other devices, putting on makeup, eating, or tending to children while driving are all activities that endanger everyone on the road.

You can combat also combat potential roadway dangers by staying abreast of all changing weather and road conditions and planning ahead before you drive so you are focused on the road alone.

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injury accident lawyer San Jose, San Jose car accident lawyerBy now, we all know the dangers of texting while driving and that texting leads to thousands of car accidents every year, many of them causing serious injuries or deaths. For some reason—and probably for a number of reasons—Americans seem to have trouble putting their phones down and focusing on the road in front of them. It may be easy to convince yourself that sending a quick text message is no more dangerous than adjusting the radio or thinking about a work project. A new study, however, suggests a driver’s brain is inclined to protect a distracted driver in many cases, but not when the distraction is created by texting.

Small-Scale Research

The study was conducted by a research team from the University of Houston and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, and was partially funded by a program established in the wake of a class-action settlement involving Toyota. The researchers looked at the effects of various types of distractions on 59 volunteers as they navigated a stretch of highway on a high-tech driving simulator.

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fatal car accident, negligence per se, San Jose car accident lawyerLast week, a Los Gatos woman was killed in a car accident on Interstate 280 when her vehicle hit a bridge rail and flipped. According to reports, the 47-year-old driver—the car’s sole occupant—was pronounced dead at the scene and no other injuries were reported.

The California Highway Patrol received several reports from witnesses who said they saw the woman’s black Hyundai travelling north on I-280 and driving very fast. They also reported that she was passing other vehicles by going into the center median. As she approached the overpass at Elena Road in Los Altos Hills, her car hit the concrete and steel bridge rail, flipped over, and landed on its roof in the highway divide, killing the driver and igniting a grass fire.

Negligence Per Se in California Car Accidents

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pedal confusion, San Jose car accident lawyerIn late February, a driver crashed his vehicle into the front of a Walnut Creek restaurant. Investigators believe that the elderly driver accidentally hit the gas instead of the brake while trying to park in front of the building. Fortunately, no one sustained serious injuries, although authorities remain concerned, as the incident was the third car accident of this type to occur in the Contra Costa County town in recent months. If you have been injured in such an incident, a San Jose car accident lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Pedal Error Accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), pedal error accidents usually have one of three causes:

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construction accident, San Jose construction accident lawyerAn investigation into the death of a construction worker who fell from the 53rd floor of the Wilshire Grand Center tower in downtown Los Angeles last month has been completed. According to reports, the Los Angeles County coroner’s office has ruled the death of a 36-year-old electrician contractor a suicide. The construction site fatality was the first significant incident since work began on the tower project three years ago, but the general contractor of the project is no stranger to accidents and controversy. The same company recently came under fire for a construction site explosion in San Jose that was never reported to state regulatory officials.

Fall-Prevention Measures Were in Place

Turner Construction Company—one of the most recognizable names in the North American construction industry—is the general contractor overseeing the Wilshire Grand Center project. The company has maintained since the death occurred that the incident was not work-related and that anti-fall measures were installed at the site. An on-site investigation by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, commonly known as Cal/OSHA, “confirmed that no fall-protection violations were observed.”

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Janoff Law,
A Professional Corporation
1570 The Alameda, Suite 221, San Jose, CA 95126 408-286-2300
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