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Car Safety Inspections in California

Posted in California,car accidents on August 14, 2017

Every state has unique laws concerning vehicle safety inspections, and California has a few special considerations not seen in other states. All California drivers, especially those moving to or driving in the state for the first time, need to understand their obligations as drivers when it comes to vehicle safety inspections. California drivers also need to understand smog inspections and make sure they have them done as required. If you were involved in an auto accident in California, the Bakersfield car accident lawyers at Rodriguez & Associates can meet with you to discuss the possibility of the other driver being at fault for operating a vehicle in a state of disrepair.

Typical annual car safety inspections include checking for a vehicle’s carbon emissions, leaks, fluid levels, and mechanical integrity. These inspections help keep dangerous cars off the road and ensure drivers are not posing a danger to themselves, other drivers, or the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for establishing and enforcing emissions regulations in the United States. Drivers must ensure their cars meet EPA standards and all other requirements set forth by state law. California’s smog inspection requirements are the result of the state’s near-legendary pollution levels, and only certain vehicles require these inspections.

California Smog Inspections

Most California vehicles from model year 1976 or newer will require biennial smog inspections for each registration renewal. Vehicles that are six model years or less old are exempt from smog inspections, but owners must pay an annual smog abatement fee for the first six registration years. Additionally, diesel-powered vehicles from model year 1998 or newer with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 14,000 pounds or less are exempt from smog inspections as well. Drivers who transfer vehicle registrations in California will not need smog inspections as long as the vehicle is four or less years old, but this rule does not apply to diesel vehicles.

Other vehicles exempt from the smog certification requirements include:

  • Electric vehicles.
  • Natural gas-powered vehicles with GVWR less than 14,000 lbs.
  • Gasoline-powered vehicles from the model year 1975 or older.
  • Diesel-powered vehicles from model year 1997 or older with a GVWR less than 14,000 lbs.

If a California vehicle owner wishes to sell a vehicle to another driver, the seller must provide a valid smog inspection certification at the time of transfer or sale. A smog inspection certificate is good for 90 days from the inspection date, and some drivers will need to provide biennial smog inspection reports. It’s important to understand the registration and smog inspection requirements at the county and zip code level as well. A smog inspection is only valid if it takes place at a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) -approved service center.

Ensure Your Compliance

Many vehicle owners sell their cars and buy new ones from other private sellers every day in California. While there is nothing wrong with legitimate good business, both buyers and sellers need to be aware of a vehicle’s model year, inspection requirements, and smog inspection record before agreeing to a sale. Anyone who is unsure about the registration requirements should contact their local DMV office for more information. The California DMV can also be an excellent resource for questions concerning legal title transfers, private vehicle sales, smog inspection certifications, and more.

Is Lane Splitting Legal in California?

Posted in California,Motorcycle Accidents,Personal Injury on August 7, 2017

Lane splitting, also called “lane sharing” or “white-lining,” describes a motorcyclist cutting between lanes of slower-moving traffic, or pulling in front of stopped traffic at a red light. While this may sound dangerous, it can actually help improve the flow of traffic and allow motorcyclists to escape congested areas where they are more likely to get into motorcycle accidents.

California allows competent, experienced motorcyclists to lane split as long as they follow a few guidelines:

  • The motorcyclist should not exceed 10 miles per hour faster than the surrounding vehicles. For example, in a 25 mph speed limit zone, motorcyclists should not exceed 35 mph to lane split. Higher speeds mean less time for motorcyclists to react to changes on the road or slow down in time to avoid colliding with other vehicles.
  • Motorcyclists should only engage in lane-splitting in low-speed areas. Ideally, no one should lane split at any speed above 35 mph. At even 20 mph it can take several seconds for a rider to notice and react to a change in traffic, and the rider can travel up to 60 feet in that short time.
  • Try to only engage in lane-splitting in the two leftmost lanes. Drivers are more accustomed to seeing lane splitting on the left side of the road, and drivers may not react appropriately to lane-splitting on the right side of the road.
  • Avoid lane splitting on sharp curves and freeway ramps.
  • Only one motorcyclist should attempt to lane split at a time, and motorcyclists should never attempt to lane split across multiple adjacent lanes at the same time. For example, if two motorcyclists attempt to lane split between three cars across three lanes, motorcycles suddenly appearing on either side of the driver in the middle lane may startle him or her, or the driver may drift to one side or the other to make room for the motorcyclist the driver spots first.
  • Refrain from lane splitting on sharp turns, long curves, or roads that have differently-sized lanes.
  • Avoid lane-splitting at night when visibility is poor. A motorcycle suddenly speeding between lanes can be difficult to see, and other drivers may react poorly. Nighttime is a good opportunity for motorcyclists traveling together to engage in “lane-sharing,” or driving side-by-side in the same lane. This actually makes the motorcycles more visible to other drivers as their taillights resemble a larger, more visible car from a distance. Motorcyclists who lane-share still need to be very aware of the distance between them.
  • Avoid lane-splitting during severe weather. Inclement weather makes driving more difficult for all drivers, but motorcyclists often suffer the most. Motorcycles are more prone to sliding and other water-related hazards than larger, heavier cars. Lane-splitting in the rain makes an already hazardous situation more dangerous.
  • Be very careful of the time you choose to split lanes. Stay alert for sudden changes on the road, and complete each split as quickly as possible. Taking too long could mean lingering in another driver’s blind spot for too long.

Lane splitting is legal in California and can sometimes help other drivers by alleviating traffic congestion. However, it’s important for California motorcyclists to understand the risks of lane splitting and only do so when conditions are safest. If you or somebody you love was injured in a motorcycle accident, reach out to a knowledgeable personal injury attorney in Bakersfield.

California Auto Insurance Requirements

Posted in California,car accidents on July 17, 2017

All American drivers require auto insurance to legally drive, and every state has unique insurance requirements for drivers. California drivers need to make sure their policies offer at least the minimum required coverage, but having minimal coverage can be risky, especially in the event of a serious accident.

California follows a fault rule for car accident claims. Unlike no-fault states that require drivers to file insurance claims against their own policies after accidents, in fault states, a driver in a fault-based state has more flexible options. California drivers who suffer injuries or other damages from at-fault drivers may file an insurance claim against their own policies if desired, file a claim against the at-fault driver’s policy, or sue the at-fault driver in a personal injury lawsuit.

Minimum Coverage in California

California law requires that all drivers secure auto insurance policies that include:

  • At least $15,000 in coverage for death or injury.
  • At least $30,000 for injuries to multiple people or multiple fatalities.
  • At least $5,000 in property damage coverage.

Remember, these are the bare minimum requirements. It’s usually best to purchase additional coverage. In the event you are at-fault for an accident, your insurance claim will only cover the limit of your policy coverage. If your damages are more expensive, it will be up to you to pay the difference.

California drivers who do not wish to purchase insurance coverage may still legally drive, but only after making a cash deposit of at least $35,000 to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), obtaining a self-insurance certificate from the DMV, or purchasing a $35,000 surety bond from a licensed issuer.

Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Although not required by law, purchasing underinsured motorist or uninsured motorist coverage can be very beneficial in California. California has more drivers without insurance than most other states, and if you find yourself in an accident with an at-fault driver who has no insurance, you will need to look to your own policy for coverage. Most insurers will allow you to purchase underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage

Risks of Driving Without Insurance

The primary reason for purchasing auto insurance is to avoid incurring legal penalties for breaking the law. Any driver found behind the wheel without insurance faces fines, demerit points on his or her driver’s license, and possibly harsher penalties. Additionally, driving without insurance coverage means that if your car or personal property requires repairs or replacement after an accident, or if you suffer serious injuries, you will need to pay for those expenses yourself.

Additionally, insurance coverage can also help those who cannot return to work for some time after an accident. In most situations, a driver can file a claim against an at-fault driver for coverage and then file a claim against his or her own policy if the at-fault driver’s coverage is insufficient. A lawsuit against the at-fault driver can also help injured drivers recoup their losses after accidents. If you are unsure about your insurance requirements, or have recently been in an accident and are worried about insurance claim issues, reach out to a reliable Bakersfield car accident attorney for help.

Do I Need to Report a Car Accident in California?

Posted in California,car accidents on July 10, 2017

Many drivers who experience car accidents wonder if they need to involve the police. In the state of California, reporting a car accident is almost always required. If the accident caused any injury, no matter how slight, a death, or damage estimated to be more than $750 in repairs, the drivers involved need to report it to the police.

Steps After an Accident in California

Immediately following a car accident in California your first priorities should be to make sure your vehicle is completely stopped and then assess your injuries. If it is too painful to move, remain where you are and wait for the paramedics to arrive. Call 911 if you are able unless one of the other drivers involved tells you he or she has already contacted the police. Moving when injured can make an injury worse or cause secondary injuries, so wait for emergency medical responders to arrive and render aid instead of risking further injury by moving yourself.

If you feel well enough to move, assess the conditions of the other drivers involved and start taking photos of the accident scene as soon as you are sure the authorities are on their way. Try to take photos of the damage to all the vehicles involved, skid marks on the road, and the traffic signs and signals in the immediate vicinity. These photos will help investigators establish the cause of the crash and the liability of the drivers involved.

Talking to the Police

Once the police arrive they will take statements from everyone involved in the crash and any eyewitnesses in the area. Even if you know the accident was your fault, it is very important to choose your words carefully when speaking with the police. Seemingly harmless figures of speech like “I’m sorry,” or “I couldn’t see,” could lead to a higher degree of liability than you are rightfully due, and could complicate your ability to collect compensation through a personal injury claim against another driver. Investigators, police, and insurance claim adjusters will construe such expressions as admissions of fault.

When you speak with the police at the crash scene, answer all of their questions as completely and concisely as possible. If you don’t know the answer to a question, do not guess. Instead, inform the officer you are unsure of the answer and don’t want to provide a false response. Once the police finish their investigation, they will start cleaning up the accident site and let you know when you are free to go.

Failing to Report a California Car Accident

If you do not report an accident in California to the police when required to do so, you risk facing fines, license suspension, or even hit-and-run charges. Many drivers who get into small fender-benders with other drivers may agree to settle things outside of insurance claims and police involvement to save money and hassle, but this is only acceptable for accidents that cause very light damage (costing less than $750 to repair) and no injuries. If you are unsure whether or not you need to report an accident, it is always better to report it.

Bicycle Laws in California

Posted in Bicycle Accidents,California,Personal Injury on July 3, 2017

Many Californians enjoy bicycling as a leisure activity, as exercise, or as an alternative method of transportation. Bicycling helps the environment by cutting down on fossil fuel consumption and pollution, and riding a bike is significantly less expensive than driving a car. However, despite these advantages, there are some risks associated with bicycling, and bicyclists in California need to know the state’s laws for bicycling to avoid liability for accidents and damages. If you have any further questions regarding bicycle accident liability in California, speak with a knowledgeable Bakersfield bike accident attorney.

California Bike Laws

Bicyclists must follow the traffic laws just like all other motor vehicle drivers. While some bicyclists understand this and ride safely in accordance with the local laws, others may assume they are not beholden to traffic laws since they are not driving motor vehicles. This is not the case, and a bicyclist who causes an accident due to ignoring the traffic laws could face severe legal penalties for doing so. Additionally, a bicyclist who suffers injuries due to his or her failure to abide by California’s traffic laws could lose his or her chance to secure compensation through a personal injury claim.

California follows a comparative negligence law, meaning an injured plaintiff can still sue for damages and secure compensation, even if he or she was partially at fault for those damages. A judge will assess the facts of the case and assign the plaintiff a “fault percentage.” One hypothetical example could involve a bicyclist who fails to signal a turn and collides with a car. The bicyclist sustains severe injuries, but traffic camera recordings show the bicyclist did not signal properly and made an unsafe turn. The judge still recognizes the car’s driver as having a higher duty of care due to the nature of the vehicle and assigns the bicyclist a 25% fault percentage. If the damages in the case are $100,000 and the bicyclist wins, he or she would lose 25% of the case award, receiving $75,000 instead.

Taking the Lane and Riding with Traffic

California state law allows bicyclists to “take the lane,” or move into position in front of another vehicle in the next lane after signaling the lane change. Bicyclists should ride as far to the right in the lane as possible unless making a left turn, avoiding a hazard, or taking a lane. Other drivers should yield to bicyclists taking a lane as they would for other drivers. If a bike lane is available, bicyclists should remain in the lane as long as it is safe to do so.

Bicycles must also ride with the flow of traffic. This means that whatever side of the road a bicyclist is riding, he or she should be traveling in the same direction as the traffic in the closest lane. This helps prevent accidents, particularly from drivers turning onto the street who probably don’t expect to see an oncoming bicycle.

Local ordinances may alter the bike laws in some areas, so bicyclists should be sure they understand their local bicycling laws to avoid accidents and traffic citations. Anyone injured while riding a bicycle, or anyone who sustains injuries or suffers losses due to a negligent bicyclist should reach out to a reliable Bakersfield personal injury lawyer to discuss their options for legal recourse.

10 Dangerous Driving Habits You Should Avoid At All Costs

Posted in car accidents on June 16, 2017

All legal drivers on the road must pass a written and road exam before receiving a license and heading out on the open road. This training unfortunately does not stop drivers from engaging in reckless and illegal driving activities. Obligations, emotions, and general carelessness often take the place of common-sense driving safety.

It’s important to keep these factors in mind, as most drivers can check off at least one of these driving behaviors.

Here are our top 10 dangerous driving habits:

  1. Brake checking. Brake checking occurs when a driver in front of a tailgater hits (not taps) the brakes to startle the rear vehicle into backing off. Tailgating is a frustrating and dangerous driving behavior, but responding with brake checking is just as bad. Instead of responding to road rage with road rage, move over at your earliest convenience to let the tailgater pass or maintain safe speeds and allow the tailgater to pass.
  2. Tailgating. Drivers should always follow the three second rule to maintain a safe distance from the leading vehicle. Tailgating to make a vehicle move faster or over may inspire an instance of brake checking and/or contribute to a rear-ending accident. Give yourself time to react to sudden traffic stops and unexpected obstacles.
  3. Speeding. Speeding is dangerous on its own, but it often accompanies every other dangerous driving habit on this list. When drivers combine speed with carelessness, the risk of an accident increases. In practice, a 5-10 mph increased speed will only shave a maximum of a couple of minutes off average daily drives. Such small savings cannot justify the accident risk nor vehicle wear and tear.
  4. Swerving. A driver that moves suddenly to avoid a hazard may encounter a new one or overcompensate on the way back into a lane. While safely avoiding visible obstacles makes sense, the fast reaction can result in a number of adverse outcomes. Instead, defensive driving professionals urge drivers to stop or slow down instead of swerving.
  5. Texting/driving distracted. Campaigns across the country warn drivers of the dangers of texting and other distracted driving behaviors. Still, drivers consciously or unconsciously grab for a mobile device as soon as it buzzes or beeps. Any distraction that takes a driver’s eyes off the road for even five seconds dramatically increases the likelihood of an incident.
  6. Avoiding turn signals. Turn signals are not a courtesy. Under California laws, drivers must signal their intentions within 100 feet of a turn if the turn affects other vehicles. Failing to signal can lead to accidents with other vehicles and bicyclists on the roadways.
  7. Running a red light. When traffic lights turn yellow, many drivers take the signal as an opportunity to speed up and miss the stop. Unfortunately, this can lead to running a red light and a collision. Drivers can make an effort to stop at every yellow/red light and watch out for other runners to build safe driving habits.
  8. Impairment. Impairment of any kind slows reaction times, distorts visibility, and increases the likelihood of other reckless driving behaviors. Drivers should never get behind the wheel after drinking, doing drugs, or staying awake for long periods. Call a friend, use a rideshare service, or stay put.
  9. Lane hopping. Unlike swerving – a reactionary response – lane hopping involves purposeful and quick movement among lanes. Some drivers cut one lane at a time and others cut more. This practice does not give drivers enough time to anticipate other drivers’ movements and can cause serious accidents. Signal and move at an appropriate speed into and out of lanes to contribute to a safe driving environment.
  10. Driving too fast for road conditions. Rain, debris, hail, and other conditions can decrease visibility and change the way vehicle tires interact with the road. Drivers who do not adjust speeds based on weather conditions can lose control and slide, flip, or spin into other cars or obstacles.

Accidents happen in the blink of an eye and can change a life forever. Safer driving starts with your next driving decision. Focus, follow the rules of the road, and know when to hand over the keys to reduce the likelihood of accidents and injuries.

How Long Does It Take To Settle A Car Accident Claim?

Posted in car accidents on June 14, 2017

Car accident claimants often wonder how long a case will take from start to finish. Depending on the situation, an accident claim can take anywhere from a few months to a few years. While many victims want to move past the accident as quickly as possible, spending extra time on a case can make a world of difference in the outcome and an individual’s recovery.

Factors that Determine the Length of a Car Accident Claim

Black and white cases with clear liability and a well-understood injury may settle in a matter of months without any delays. Other cases are not as clear. They require patience and perseverance to investigate, develop, and complete. Consider some of the factors that can lengthen the timing of an accident claim:

  • The injuries involved. Many questions surrounding the injuries can keep a claim in limbo for weeks or months at a time. In the early stages of a claim, a physician may not know the recovery period for an injury or the extent of treatments needed to bring an accident victim to maximum recovery levels. A car accident attorney needs this crucial information to accurately outline damages for the injury.

Some injuries such as whiplash, chronic generalized pain, and soft-tissue injuries can raise questions with insurance companies involved in the claim. Since many fraudulent claims involve generalized injuries, insurance adjustors carefully scrutinize claims involving these injuries.

  • Insurance company cooperation. Insurance companies will often take their time to respond to conduct investigations and communicate with claimants. However, they must adhere to certain time limits. In California, for instance, the insurance company must either deny the claim or offer a settlement within 40 days of receiving a proof of claim.

After the insurance company makes an offer or denies a claim, the injured individual must decide on a path forward. A claimant may appeal a denial, accept a claim offer, or reject it and either negotiate settlement terms or file a civil claim for compensation. Each communication with an insurance company may bring the claim closer to or further from resolution.

  • Legal proceedings. If an insurance company does not offer a fair settlement, a plaintiff may initiate the civil claims process. Car accident lawsuits and other personal injury cases involve a discovery period and additional out-of-court negotiations. If the two parties still cannot reach a satisfactory offer, the case will likely go to trial. Each stage of the legal process takes additional time to complete.

In general, cases involving serious injuries, questionable liability, or a potentially high settlement value will take longer to successfully resolve than straightforward claims. While the timeframe of a claim may seem lengthy consider the following benefits of following through with your attorney’s advice not to settle:

  • Additional time can improve a settlement offer. Many seriously injured car accident victims may need ongoing care and support for months or years after an accident. Taking the time to develop and fight for a fair settlement can greatly improve a claimant’s financial stability after an accident.
  • Offset legal fees. Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they receive a percentage of the settlement. A larger settlement benefits both claimants and attorneys involved in the case.
  • Create awareness. Some claimants pursue cases to raise awareness of particularly negligent driving behaviors and hold careless drivers accountable. A lengthy lawsuit can force insurance companies to follow good faith practices and prevent other drivers from making reckless driving mistakes.

A car accident claim timeframe can vary widely from case to case. Talk to your attorney to gauge the timing and the potential outcomes of a claim before deciding to accept a hasty settlement offer. Short, undervalued cases may not allow you to move past the incident as quickly or completely as you think. The closure and compensation that come from a well-negotiated claim may better support the financial, physical, and mental recovery process.

Can I Sue The Police For Killing My Dog?

Posted in Police Brutality,Uncategorized on June 10, 2017

Police officers receive training for many different scenarios, including those involving dogs. Unfortunately, mistakes can and do happen. The heat of the moment, a perceived threat, or miscommunication can all lead to the untimely death of a beloved canine. In these cases, a dog owner can take a few different types of actions to hold the officer/agency accountable and start the recovery process.

Possible Claims Against the Police

A pet owner can look at both federal and state laws to determine the right jurisdiction for a legal claim. Unless an officer commits an act of cruelty that results in the death of the dog, California remedies fall under property-related claims. Under Californian and most other state laws, an owner can sue for the value of the dog, any medical bills for the dog prior to death, and emotional distress. Animal cruelty deaths fall under a different category and may warrant a larger settlement.

Many dog owners choose to file claims against police officers in federal court as a Fourth Amendment violation (illegal property seizure). Depending on the facts of the case, the plaintiff may make an argument for illegal seizure and/or acts of excessive force. In a federal claim, a plaintiff may receive damages for costs associated with the death of the dog, owner mistreatment (if applicable), and personal emotional distress.

While these claims seem straightforward, law enforcement agencies enjoy many protections from both civil and criminal claims associated with dog shootings. Officers enjoy civil action immunity if they acted within the scope of the job and made a good faith attempt to honor an owner’s rights. Officers may also escape liability in claims if they can demonstrate adherence to agency procedures during the incident.

A law enforcement agency may attempt to settle a claim outside of court instead of fighting the accusation. Dog owners must carefully evaluate the settlement offer before accepting or rejecting it. An agency may only offer compensation for the “going rate” of the dog based on its breed, background, and age. This type of settlement may not cover the pain and suffering an owner experiences after experiencing the death of a canine companion.

What to Do After a Police-Driven Canine Killing

Dog owners can take steps immediately after a canine killing incident to protect their rights to compensation:

  1. Call emergency services. Report the incident and request support and an investigation. If you wait to report the incident, investigators may miss important pieces of evidence. As with any injurious incident, a swift investigation can prevent evidence loss or tampering.
  2. Record witness information. Look for any witnesses to the event and write down their contact information. In urban and neighborhood environments, search for any security cameras that might contain footage of the incident. A visual recording can serve as powerful evidence of police misconduct.
  3. Record officer information. If you are present at the time of the killing, ask for the officer’s name and badge number. Officers must file a report every time they discharge their weapons. Investigators can often locate an offending officer, even if the owner did not witness the incident.
  4. Talk to an attorney. Canine killing cases run the gamut from small claims settlements to civil claims worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Until a police misconduct attorney reviews the evidence, avoid taking a settlement or talking about the case.

Law enforcement agencies do not keep data on the number of dogs shot, but one specialist from the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services facility estimates officers kill 25-30 companion dogs every day. As social media draws awareness to the ongoing problem and more loving pet owners pursue legal action against the police, standard legal procedures may change. Instead of using lethal force, officers could substitute a non-lethal alternative and avoid unnecessary harm to animals and their owners.

Until law enforcement practices change, pet owners must understand their rights after a dog’s death. They can pursue a civil claim to agency perspectives and receive compensation for their losses.

Safety Tips for Driving Near Big Rigs

Posted in car accidents on May 18, 2017

Large commercial trucks contribute to thousands of fatal car accidents every year in the U.S.. We need big rigs to fuel America’s economy, but these large, heavy vehicles pose serious threats to other roadway users. While it is not always possible to prevent a big rig accident, defensive driving can help drivers avoid these dangerous situations. Follow these safety tips next time you’re driving near an 18-wheeler to improve your chances of avoiding a collision.

Give Extra Room to Large Trucks

The Large Truck Crash Causation Study found that 5% of large truck accidents occurred when the truck driver followed the lead vehicle too closely. Large trucks can’t stop as quickly as smaller, lighter vehicles. Thus, rear-end collisions are a greater possibility when driving in front of big rigs. Leave more room in front of and behind your vehicle to prevent these accidents.

Follow the five-second rule instead of the three-second rule: Leave at least one second for every 10 feet of vehicle length (account for 50 feet at speeds over 40 miles per hour) between you and the vehicle in front of you. Prepare to swerve to the left or right of the vehicle in front of you, should you notice a big rig failing to stop in time to prevent a rear-end collision. Defensive driving practices such as avoiding driving in front of a big rig can help prevent these crashes. Never cut a big rig off, as the driver likely cannot stop in time to avoid an accident.

Do Not Drive in Blind Spots

Big rig drivers have larger blind spots than typical motor vehicles. There are several areas where the driver cannot see cars around the truck at all. There is an especially bad blind spot on the right side of an 18-wheeler. It is wise not to pass a commercial truck on its right side or drive in this area if you can avoid it. You may notice a sign on the back of a semi stating something along the lines of, “If you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you.” This is a good rule to abide by – if you cannot see the truck’s sideview mirrors, assume you are in the driver’s blind spot. Never assume a truck driver can see your vehicle. Believe the opposite, and pass as quickly as possible to avoid driving in a blind spot for an extended period of time.

Pass with Care

On top of dangerous blind spots, passenger vehicle drivers also face a much longer distance to pass big rigs. If you must pass an 18-wheeler on a two-lane highway, only do so when you can see far ahead in the opposite lane. Do not pass if it will require going over the speed limit, or if you will have to come to a sudden stop once you get in front of the big rig. There is no guarantee that the large truck can stop fast enough if you cut it off before a stop sign or red light. Give a truck more space than you would to other vehicles once you pass – wait until you can see the front of the truck in your rearview mirror before returning to the lane.

Watch Out for Wide Turns

The structure of a big rig makes it impossible to make sharp turns. Instead, trucks require wide berths, especially when making a right turn. Trucks may need to swing left to turn right successfully. Do not squeeze your vehicle directly next to or behind a big rig making a turn. It can be difficult to tell where the driver will need to maneuver to make the turn possible. Give the truck enough room, and wait to see where the truck driver intends to make the turn before making your move. These simple truck safety tips can make all the difference next time you’re near a big rig.

Birth Injury Support Groups in California

Posted in Uncategorized on May 16, 2017

Birth injuries can be life changing for both child and parent. The trauma of a birth injury and the recovery journey can be difficult to endure alone. Luckily, parents don’t have to figure out life with a birth injured child without help. Birth injury support groups exist for the families of minor patients. These groups can help the parents of children who suffer from birth injuries such as Erb’s Palsy, brachial plexus injuries, brain injuries, autism, cerebral palsy, and other disorders. They can also help mothers who are coping with anxiety from a traumatic birth or post-partum depression. Here is an introduction to some birth injury support groups that are available in California.

BirthTalk.org

This UK-based online support group includes a variety of traumatic birth experiences, with heartfelt stories families share. This group regularly posts helpful information and resources for coping with a traumatic birth and injuries, such as books, articles, and blog posts. Find information about how to prepare for birth, how to heal after a traumatic birth, and how to birth again after a harrowing first birth.

United Brachial Plexus Network, Inc.

This national organization has a wealth of information and support options for parents with children who have suffered brachial plexus injuries. These are injuries to the brachial plexus, or the network of nerves in the arm and shoulder. Brachial plexus injuries commonly occur when the baby becomes stuck in the birth canal, lodged behind the mother’s pelvic bone. Improper use of birthing tools and techniques can cause this type of injury, especially when the physician reacts poorly to an emergency situation.

The United Brachial Plexus Network (UBPN) offers resources for parents as well as for people living with brachial plexus injuries. It offers scholarships for individuals with this type of injury, as well as an annual camp for children, adults, and parents. Find everything you need from a brachial plexus injury support group with the UBPN, from learning tips on how to prevent this kind of injury, support for families, education about this disability, and a worldwide network of people dealing with this injury.

Brain Injury Association of California

This support group is helpful for all parents of children with brain injuries, and not just brain injuries relating to traumatic birth. The Brain Injury Association of California is a nonprofit organization that provides information and support for families and individuals affected by brain injures. This group publishes recent news relating to brain injuries, as well as information about local events and fundraisers. It helps people get involved with the cause, such as attending educational events or participating in forums. It is also a great source of support for those living with brain injuries. The group provides personal stories, FAQs, recent research, and staff available for conversation.

United Cerebral Palsy

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) has an extensive network around the country. It provides services and support based within individual communities, serving the unique needs of people with cerebral palsy (CP). Parents and individuals can find information, resources, and support for life with cerebral palsy. UCP aims to help those with CP live life to the fullest, providing a way to stay connected and join the conversation. The UCP also accepts donations for helping those living with CP.

Attention Deficit Disorder Association

Attention deficit disorder (ADD) and other behavioral disorders, can stem from a traumatic birth injury, especially those involving the brain. Lack of oxygen to the brain (brain hypoxia) during birth can lead to permanent brain damage and behavioral changes in children. The Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA) gives you excellent resources you can trust and a network of individuals going through the same experiences with whom you can connect. As an individual with ADD or a parent of a child with ADD, this organization can help you learn how to live with this disorder and join a community of others who can support you and your family.