Articles Posted in Car / Vehicle Accidents

Often called concussion, post concussion syndrome or mild traumatic brain injury, these injuries can happen to anyone involved in a motor vehicle collision, particularly if you are struck from the rear. If your head and neck flex and extend in a rear-end collision, your brain moves in your skull and hits the front and the back of the skull. This motion and contact can cause injury to the brain which is not perceptible on MRI, but exists and has an impact on your life nevertheless.

If you are involved in a motor vehicle collision and, afterwards, are dizzy, confused, have memory loss, have ringing in your ears, get lost on old routes to and from familiar places, are sensitive to light and noise and have other unusual for you responses to your environment, you might have a concussion or TBI. If the symptoms last beyond three months, you likely have a traumatic brain injury.

Most people recover completely but some, the silent minority, do not recover and while they look normal and people expect them to be themselves, they are contending with confusion, memory loss, ringing in their ears and other problems that affect their home and work lives. These people need neurologist who cares and understands, and possibly a neuropsychologist who can quantitate the damage to the patient’s brain. Don’t feel isolated and alone. Get the appropriate medical care and, if necessary, cognitive therapy and recognize that you have a very real injury.
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As California trial lawyers, we help our clients through very difficult times in their lives. One of the best ways to do that is to make sure that the public in general knows what to do before and after something happens that could alter their lives.

For example, many people do not realize that if they are injured in a motor vehicle accident there is a way to make sure those injuries are covered. This is through what is known as Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage. If you click on the link above, you will be taken to the California Department of Insurance website and you will find answers to basic questions about auto insurance, including uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.

When you are involved in an accident, the driver responsible for resulting injuries may only have the minimum amount of insurance coverage required under the law and this may not be enough to cover injuries and damages. You need to make sure you have enough uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage through your own vehicle policy to cover your needs. Getting the highest amount of uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage is fast, inexpensive, easy and worthwhile.

To secure this type of coverage, contact your automobile insurance carrier and get the maximum amount available. Make sure that you’re insured because others may not be. We know this is important as we have represented a number of individuals in motor vehicle accidents and have recovered damages for their injuries, including using uninsured or underinsured motorist policies.

Another cautionary note for our readers is knowing when your case begins. Did you know if you are injured in a motor vehicle accident or otherwise, your case starts when the other person’s or company’s insurance representative contacts you for a statement or for medical information? We recommend that you do not give a statement and do not “give away” your medical information or current medical status.

Instead, retain a lawyer and have that lawyer advise you immediately. It might seem like the insurance representative is trying to help you resolve your case quickly and easily. It might see manageable, but it can quickly get complicated and you may not realize that the carrier is getting information from you that could be used to actually hurt you, not help you.

Sometimes cases can be resolved without a lawyer. However, other times, before you know it, you will want help and you may have done more harm than good. How will you know if the offer you get is fair? How will you know when to settle? Avoid getting in too deep and then realizing you need a lawyer to help you. An experienced legal counsel will let you know if you need a lawyer and can offer the help you need.
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A new study was recently released out of the University of Buffalo take a closer look at vehicle safety. As San Francisco auto injury lawyers, we want our readers to know the latest information on staying safe on our roads and highways in California.

The researchers have found that accident outcomes often relate to the match of vehicles involved in the crash. This might seem obvious, but there are nuances to these findings. One is that although lighter vehicles generally fare worse on an impact with a heavier vehicle, The laws of physics dictate that in a crash between two vehicles all things are not equal. The driver of a passenger car for example is 7.6 times more likely to lose his or her life than an SUV driver in the same crash. But when a car with a high front end crash rating crashes with an SUV with a lower front test crash rating, the car driver’s likelihood of loss of life goes down to 4.5 times as likely than the SUV driver.

Another interesting conclusion to come out of this study is that in head-on crashes, the type of vehicle being driven is more important than the crash-test rating in survival prediction. This means that as car buyers, we should not assume that a good crash-test score provides a guarantee in a head-on crash, since much depends on the type of vehicle each driver is driving at the time of an accident and the match-up of vehicles is an important factor.

Car buyers also need to know that selecting an SUV for safety doesn’t necessarily ensure better outcomes. We have to keep in mind that SUV’s have a higher center of gravity and that makes them more likely to roll over in an accident. That alone can cause a fatality. In the past few years, electronic stability control (ESC) has been mandatory in SUV’s and it helps to avoid rollover. Wearing a seatbelt also is a major factor in surviving a rollover.

Those driving heavy vehicles do have an advantage over smaller, lighter vehicles in the event of a crash. But smaller vehicles are safer than they have ever been. And that means that everyone is safer these days. Safety equipment including air bags, antilock brakes and ESC have resulted in many vehicles doing better in both insurance industry and government tests.
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We all want to be safe on the roads and learn to drive defensively. But sometimes serious injury and loss of life can occur with only a single vehicle. Single vehicle crashes can actually be more dangerous than many other types of crashes. About 8,000 people are killed in sIngle vehicle roadway departure accidents every year. As San Francisco car accident lawyers, we know that single vehicle crashes can not only cause very serious injury, they can be fatal.

Earlier this week a tragic accident of this kind occurred in the Lake Shore area of San Francisco. The auto crash occurred on Monday night. The driver, a 25-year-old man, was at the wheel of his own vehicle when he lost control and hit a curb. He was driving on Lake Merced Boulevard, near Sunset. The impact caused the car to veer off the road, hit a poll and then roll over. The driver was pinned under the car and fire rescue attempted to extricate him from the vehicle and took him to San Francisco General Hospital, he did not survive his injuries. He also had not been wearing a seatbelt. Our hearts go out to his family and friends as they grieve this loss.

Reports indicate that speed was a factor in this accident. This is often the case with road departure motor vehicle accidents. This is stunning, because drivers generally have control over how fast they are traveling unless they have a medical emergency or their vehicle is defective in some way.

Sadly, in most cases, these crashes are completely avoidable and experts say there are several key factors that contribute to single vehicle crashes. One of these is speed. It is also important not to drive when fatigued. Finally, as always, do not drink and drive.
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The Toyota Motor Corp. and U.S. subsidiaries have agreed to settle investigations by 29 attorneys general and will pay 29 million dollars to participating states. The settlement closes the claims with these states that the company misled consumers about the safety of its vehicles.

Toyota has been paying out significant reparations for many safety and communications issues associated with various defects. For example, the company already paid a large sum totaling $48.8 million to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for its failure to let regulators know about defects that became the subject of recalls.

The company has also recently agreed to pay about $1.4 billion to end national class action claims that its vehicles suddenly and unintentionally accelerated, which devalued the owner’s vehicles. The company had been sued by hundreds of owners since about 2009, when the car maker began receiving complaints about the sudden acceleration issue. Some individual cases involving injury and death due to the defect may still be litigated. The company is said to be trying to settle some of the larger of these cases before they get to juries.

The state investigations resulted from the claims of sudden acceleration. The company had insisted that its vehicles were safe, despite recurring issues with the acceleration systems in several models. Toyota has agreed to correct communications issues between Japan and the United States with regard to safety problems. It must also advise buyers about defects in previously-owned vehicles and repairs made on those cars.
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The Commerical Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), along with others are sponsoring a major effort this week to stop unsafe drivers. The focus is on teens because that demographic has a high fatality rate and persists in the dangerous practice of texting while driving. Distracted driving is a serious problem in San Francisco and throughout California. As San Francisco car accident lawyers, we know that this activity can cause serious or fatal injury in a motor vehicle crash.

It won’t surprise readers that not only distracted driving, but speeding as well as aggressive driving are the driving behaviors that most often cause fatal crashes in all age groups. The effort this week is intended to stop these dangerous behaviors in drivers by increasing enforcement and education.

The program involves support by law enforcement across North America. Law enforcement is also paired up with other organizations including highway safety, youth groups and driver education organizations.

Since driving has become a more and more difficult challenge on our roads, sponsors hope that by increasing enforcement, safety and education all drivers will benefit. One area of focus in this extensive program is to ensure that all drivers, and particularly teens, are aware of the driving dangers around large vehicles such as trucks and buses. “Teens & Trucks: Curbing Distracted Driving” builds on prior programs to avoid teen driver crashes, educating young drivers on tactics used to educate commercial drivers, about eliminating distractions on the road.
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The recent death of an elderly pedestrian in San Francisco is causing sorrow for all involved, but it is also causing a big conversation in the Bay Area about pedestrian safety and bicycle riding in our congested city. Last month, a San Bruno man was walking across the intersection at Castro and Market and was struck by a bicycle. He was hospitalized and passed away from his injuries.

The bicyclist, whose lawyer says he is devastated by the accident, has said online that he was not able to stop as the light changed and the crosswalk began to fill with pedestrians … instead he plowed through the intersection and hit the elderly man. There are now accounts that video surveillance from the area might contradict his version of the accident.

According to a recent piece in the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco officials have determined to “hold errant cyclists accountable and to redouble efforts to get everyone – pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers – to travel more safely.” The new plan is reported to include allowing bicyclists who violate traffic safety laws to pay lower traffic fines if they agree to take safety classes instead.

We have posted in the past about the dangers of single car crashes and road departures that can be fatal. Sadly, one passenger was killed and two other were injured in a family tragedy in San Jose, California earlier this week.

The family was returning from a trip to Mexico when their SUV left an off-ramp and turned over. The accident occurred in the early-morning hours and was said to be caused by the driver traveling at a high rate of speed when approaching the off-ramp. The vehicle struck a curb and rolled over.

One of the most dangerous aspects of any motor vehicle accident is the possibility of ejection from the vehicle. The deceased passenger had been sitting in the rear of the vehicle and was ejected. He passed away at the accident scene. Another injured passenger was also ejected from the vehicle. She was taken to the hospital. along with another passenger.

Last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that BMW of North America, LLC will be fined a civil penalty of $3 million for what the agency said were problems with timely reporting of safety defects.

Under the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, auto makers are required to report recalls and safety issues within a short period of time. Calling this time factor “critical,” the NHTSA Administrator David Strickland stated that the agency “expects all manufacturers to address automotive safety issues quickly and in a forthright manner.”

It might surprise consumers that the federal law puts auto manufacturers on a very short leash when it comes to reporting safety defects and related issues. They have five days to let the agency know about such defects and to expeditiously begin a recall.

Earlier this week, a San Francisco Muni bus driver was charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter under California Penal Code section 192(c)(2) for an accident that occurred last August. A criminal charge in a case like this is somewhat unusual. The charge of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter carries a jail term of up to one year.

What happened last August in a Castro district intersection is tragic. The bus, which was not carrying passengers at the time, was traveling to a new assignment when it made a left turn and struck a female pedestrian who was nearly to the curb. According to a report in SFGate, the driver was relatively new to Muni and was, in the District Attorneys’ view, negligent in not seeing the young woman in the street. The deceased pedestrian was new to the city, she had moved here from Atlanta and was working for a local business.

Neither alcohol nor drugs were involved in the tragic accident. Sadly, it is believed that the pedestrian was distracted and did not see or hear the bus. In addition, the bus was not on a normal route, as the bus driver had determined his own route across town to get to his new assignment.