Category Archives: California

I Was Hit While Jaywalking – Can I still Recover Compensation?

Friday, May 15, 2020

In Bakersfield, traffic lights and signs are in place for a reason. This critical infrastructure keeps drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians alike safe on the road — and jaywalking can put your life in danger. However, if you suffer an injury while jaywalking, you may still recover compensation for your injuries.

Comparative Negligence in Pedestrian Accident Cases

Pedestrian accident lawsuits rely on the theory of negligence to prove that the at-fault party is responsible for the victim’s damages. To successfully claim compensation for the damages you suffer in a pedestrian accident, you and your attorney will need to collect evidence to support the following four elements.

  • The driver owed you a duty to drive safely and follow traffic laws.
  • The driver breached this duty of care.
  • You suffered injuries as a direct result of this breach of care.
  • You can collect compensatory damages for your injuries.

These elements may seem straightforward, but if you also breached your duty of care as a pedestrian to follow traffic laws, you may share a portion of the liability. California follows a pure comparative negligence rule in these situations.

California courts allow you to collect damages for your injuries even if you share 99% of the fault in the situation. However, the court will reduce your final award by the portion of the liability you hold.

For example, if you are seeking $20,000 for your damages and the court assigns you 50% of the fault because you were jaywalking, you will receive $10,000 at the conclusion of your case.

Can You File a Pedestrian Accident Claim If You Were Jaywalking?

If you are in a collision with a motor vehicle while walking around Bakersfield, you have two main pathways to compensation. You can file an insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, or you can file a personal injury lawsuit in California civil court.

You can still bring these legal actions against the at-fault driver in your accident, even if you were jaywalking. However, the fact you were jaywalking will impact your case. The insurance adjuster or the at-fault party’s defense may use this evidence to either deny your claim or reduce your award.

To combat these claims, contact a Bakersfield pedestrian accident attorney who can defend you from these arguments and advocate for your compensation needs. Through a thorough investigation and a strong negligence claim, you can increase your chances at securing a settlement with an attorney on your side — even if you do share a portion of the fault.

Should You Hire an Attorney for Your Pedestrian Accident Claim?

If you were jaywalking at the time of your accident, proving your need for damages can be very complex. Attorneys and insurance companies may claim that you were at-fault for the accident, and either reduce or deny your settlement altogether. With medical expenses, lost wages, and many more losses on the line, this compensation is crucial to your recovery.

Contact a pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible following your collision. Your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation into your claim and help you identify optimal pathways to maximum compensation. In addition, your attorney can advise you on which legal options are best for your case.

Speak to your lawyer today to discuss your claim and strategize your next steps.

Posted by highrank at 9:47 pm

What Are the Psychological Effects of Being in a Car Accident?

Friday, May 8, 2020

The aftermath of a car accident can be physically painful — but many of us tend to overlook the psychological impacts these collisions can have. From the development of mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder to long-lasting impacts on our daily activities, the mental toll of a car accident can be overwhelming. However, you do have legal options available to recover from this psychological damage.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder After a Car Accident

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that involves overwhelming feelings of fear, uneasiness, or anxiety following a traumatic event. These emotions are common after a car crash, but if they linger or become stronger, they can impact your daily activities and make it difficult to enjoy activities you once loved.

Symptoms of PTSD after a collision often include the following:

  • Uncontrollable flashbacks or memories about the car accident
  • A constant feeling of uneasiness
  • Overwhelming feelings of rage or worry
  • Anxiety around driving or riding in a motor vehicle
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Nightmares
  • A feeling of disconnection in regard to events or people

Who Is at Risk for Developing PTSD?

According to a study from the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 39.2% of car accident survivors develop PTSD following a collision — a shockingly high number. In addition, psychological experts state motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of PTSD in the general American population.

You may be at a higher risk of developing PTSD after a car crash if you have a history of prior trauma or mental health conditions. In addition, if you experience high levels of emotion such as fear or helplessness during or immediately after a car accident, your PTSD development risk may also increase. A lack of social support after the accident may also aggravate this condition.

What Treatment Options Are Available for PTSD?

If you believe you developed PTSD after a car accident, it is important to seek mental health treatment as soon as possible. Your doctor or psychiatrist will help you identify your condition and create a symptom management plan, which may include medication, therapy, and other forms of treatment.

Paying for this necessary treatment can be difficult, even with health insurance. However, a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim can help you pay for damages associated with your car accident, including the cost of mental health care.

Economic damages can cover the cost of medications, therapy appointments, and other psychiatric treatment. Non-economic damages can compensate you for the emotional pain and suffering you endure as a result of the PTSD, along with other psychological impacts such as anxiety, depression, and a loss of quality of life.

Do You Need an Attorney for Your Bakersfield Car Accident Claim?

If you are suffering emotional, physical, and financial damages following a car accident, you need a Bakersfield car accident attorney on your side who can advocate aggressively on your behalf. Hiring a car accident lawyer can benefit your case in a number of ways, including access to a wide network of resources, well-honed negotiation skills, and knowledge of personal injury law.

Contact your car accident attorney today to discuss your case and determine which pathway to compensation is right for you.

Posted by highrank at 9:35 pm

What to Do if Your Insurance Benefits Are Impacted by Coronavirus

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is quickly changing the way of life for people across the world, including here in the United States. Governments across the country are issuing shelter-in-place orders, asking non-essential businesses to close or work remotely, and quickly ramping up health precautions for performing essential activities.

For many Californians, these changes mean loss of employment and insurance benefits as companies lay off workers to keep up with COVID-19’s economic impact. If you lose your insurance benefits during this uncertain time, you still have options to seek the health care you need. Speak to a Bakersfield Insurance Bad Faith Lawyer today.

Health Insurance Options for Unemployed Californians

During this global pandemic, it is more important now than ever to have health insurance coverage. If your insurance was a benefit at your former job and you lost your position due to COVID-19, you have options for coverage available to you.

 

  • If your company employs 20 people or more, you may be eligible to extend your insurance coverage under a federal rule known as COBRA. You have 60 days from your last day of work to sign up for COBRA, but this option can be quite expensive since you will have to pay the full premium by yourself.

 

  • You can also sign up for health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Losing your insurance benefits due to a lay-off is a qualifying event under ACA, allowing you to search for a new plan through the federal website or Covered California.

 

  • You may also qualify for Medicaid, a joint state and federal program that provides coverage to low-income Americans. Only certain individuals can receive this low or no-cost insurance option, and you can review the eligibility requirements on the Medicaid Program website. California’s Medicaid program is Medi-Cal.

 

If you did not have insurance from your employer and you remain uninsured during COVID-19, you still have options available to you. You can still apply for benefits under ACA, and California’s Medi-Cal program may also be available to you.

Options for COVID-19 Treatment in California

It is more important now than ever that healthcare professionals identify, treat, and quarantine individuals who have COVID-19. However, financial barriers may preclude many people from seeking this necessary assistance. Although health coverage in the United States can be expensive, many insurance companies are offering low-cost testing and treatment for COVID-19.

 

  • Kaiser Permanente is waiving members’ out-of-pocket costs for inpatient and outpatient procedures related to COVID-19.
  • Blue Shield of California is waiving cost-sharing and approvals for COVID-19 for its commercial and Medi-Cal plans.
  • Anthem will waive the out-of-pocket costs for coronavirus testing, as well as prior authorization to receive a test.

You can find a complete list of health insurance companies and their response to COVID-19 on the America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) website.

Applying for Unemployment Benefits in California

If you are a California employee impacted by COVID-19 and you have lost your source of income, you are eligible for certain state and federal benefits. Under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, you may receive the following.

  • Unemployment benefits from the state of California for up to 39 weeks
  • An additional $600 in federal benefits on top of what you would normally receive from the state, for a maximum of four months

You will need to submit an unemployment claim to California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) to claim these benefits.

If you lost your insurance benefits due to COVID-19 and you need health care immediately, the above solutions can help. If you need additional assistance filing a claim with an insurance company or the company denies your benefits, contact an attorney with experience handling bad faith insurance claims and other insurance disputes. Your attorney will be able to negotiate with the company on your behalf and pursue further action if necessary.

Posted by highrank at 5:52 pm

Should I File a Police Report After a Minor Car Accident?

Friday, January 10, 2020

Car accidents can range in severity from minor bumps to serious, multi-car collisions. If you are in an accident that does not result in severe vehicle damage or serious injuries, you may wonder if you need to file a police report or seek help for the accident at all. However, California laws require you to file police reports for certain accidents, and you may be suffering from underlying injuries or damages you may not be aware of yet. Working with a Bakersfield car accident lawyer from the start can be beneficial when figuring out your next steps.

California Car Accident Reporting Requirements

You may wonder if you have to report a minor accident to law enforcement or the Department of Motor Vehicles – but in some situations, the law will require you to. California Vehicle Code section 20008 requires that all drivers involved in a car accident – or someone who can represent the driver – must report certain collisions to either the police department where the accident happened or the California Highway Patrol.

If the crash involved any injuries or deaths, you will need to report the accident to law enforcement within 24 hours. If you call a law enforcement officer to the scene of the accident, he or she will prepare an accident report on your behalf and you will not need to file a separate report.

In addition, you will have to report the accident to the California DMV within 10 days if any of the following factors apply.

  • Someone in the crash suffered an injury, including minor injuries.
  • Someone died in the crash.
  • The crash resulted in damage to property worth more than $1,000.

Why Do You Need to File a Police Report?

Car accidents can have many consequences that might not seem apparent at first. You may not feel like you are suffering from any injuries but may have a case of whiplash or internal injuries that do not appear until later. You may not notice any damage to your vehicle, or feel as if the damage is minor enough to pay for without insurance, and incur unexpectedly high repair costs later on.

If you do not file a police report after a minor crash, you may lose your chance at collecting the compensation you need to recover from the accident. Police reports are a crucial piece of evidence in insurance claim investigations and personal injury lawsuits. Failure to file a police report can harm your credibility since it indicates that at the time of the accident, you did not believe it was necessary or serious enough to contact law enforcement.

In addition, insurance companies can use statements that you said or the at-fault driver alleges that you said at the crash against you in your claim. For example, you may state that you do not have any injuries or that the damage is negligible, and the insurance company may use this as evidence to argue for a lesser settlement or even no settlement at all. Contacting law enforcement allows you to issue a formal statement to back your side of the story, and the responding officer may write an opinion about what he or she believes happened during the accident that you can use as a crucial piece of evidence in your claim or lawsuit.

What to Do After a Car Accident

If you are in a car accident, no matter how minor it may seem, it is important to call 911 and have police officers respond to the crash. The officer will then file a report that you can use as evidence in your claim, and you can also collect the necessary information from the at-fault driver to file your claim. You should also seek medical attention for any injuries, and save all records from your hospital visits.

If you are suffering from the aftermath of a car accident, even a minor collision, it is important to take the necessary steps to seek legal assistance. In these situations, a car accident lawyer can assist you with filing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against the person at-fault for the collision. You may be eligible to seek compensation for medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and more.

 

Posted by highrank at 5:48 pm

Is There a Cap on Non-Economic Damages in California?

Monday, November 25, 2019

When you file a personal injury lawsuit, you can claim compensation for both economic and non-economic damages, as well as punitive damages in some circumstances. However, many states can limit the amount that you may claim by imposing caps on certain types of damages in certain lawsuits – even if you believe the circumstances of your case warrant a higher award. The state of California imposes caps on non-economic damages in certain circumstances.

Different Types of Damages in California Lawsuits

You have the right to claim two main types of damages in a California personal injury case: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to the tangible financial losses you suffered as a result of the accident, such as medical expenses, lost wages while you were in the hospital or recovering at home, property damages sustained in the accident, and disability accommodations to your home and vehicle.

On the other hand, non-economic damages refer to the losses you cannot provide a financial paper trail to prove. They refer to the emotional repercussions of your injuries, such as the development of mental health issues like depression and anxiety, or other intangible impacts, such as chronic pain, disability, and disfigurement, or a loss of quality of life.

In certain cases, you may also be able to claim punitive damages in your lawsuit. Unlike economic and non-economic damages, the purpose of punitive damages is to punish the at-fault party, not to compensate you for your losses. Courts will assign punitive damages on top of economic and non-economic damages in situations where the at-fault party acted in an especially negligent, reckless, or dangerous manner.

How Do California Courts Calculate Non-Economic Damages?

In the state of California, different courts calculate non-economic damages in different ways. There is no set standard under which the state will determine your non-economic damages. The jury will determine the final amount based on the circumstances of the case and what would be a reasonable amount based on your injuries.

To successfully prove your case for non-economic damages, your attorney will need to establish that you suffered the injuries as a result of the at-fault party’s negligence or recklessness. After presenting your case to the courtroom, the jury will determine whether or not you can claim compensation, and will determine how much you should receive.

California Non-Economic Damage Caps

California does not impose limits on the amounts on economic damages you can claim in a personal injury lawsuit. In most personal injury cases, California does not impose a limit on non-economic damages either – unless the case falls under certain circumstances.

 

  • If the lawsuit involves an instance of medical malpractice, the court caps amount of non-economic damages you can claim at $250,000.

 

  • If you do not carry car insurance and suffered injuries in a car accident that was not your fault, you do not have the right to claim non-economic damages. The exception to this rule is if the at-fault driver was under the influence at the time, during which you can claim non-economic damages.

 

  • If you suffered an injury while you were driving under the influence, even if the other driver was at-fault for the accident, you cannot claim non-economic damages if the courts convicted you of the DUI.

 

  • If you suffered an injury while committing or fleeing a felony crime, you cannot claim non-economic damages if you receive a felony conviction, even if you were not at-fault for the injury.

 

Calculating non-economic damages can be challenging, as well as collecting evidence for the economic damages you could claim and determining whether or not your case qualifies for punitive damages. However, hiring an attorney to assist you with your lawsuit can help you discover optimal pathways towards maximum possible compensation. If you have not done so already, contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options and to begin the filing process. 

Posted by highrank at 8:12 pm

By the Numbers: Motor Vehicle Crashes in the State of California

Friday, November 15, 2019

As the most populous state in the nation, California attracts tourists and new residents alike who are eager to explore the many attractions the Golden State has to offer. While that’s great for the state’s economy, it takes a toll on the roads, which are densely populated and contribute to a high number of motor vehicle accidents each year.

While looking through recent statistics on California motor vehicle accidents can make it seem like crashes are unavoidable, these numbers can actually be quite useful, as they better inform drivers of when, where, and why these accidents happen. Equipped with basic safety knowledge as well as these statistics, both California residents and drivers can feel better prepared when they get behind the wheel.

Some key facts and statistics on California motor vehicle crashes include:

In 2017, California had the second-highest number of fatal crashes in the United States: 3,304. Only Texas ranked higher. Part of the reason for this is California’s population, which is considerably denser than, say Nebraska, which recorded only 210 fatal crashes in 2017.

Night-times and weekends are the most dangerous times for motor vehicle crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

According to the most recent numbers from the California Office of Traffic Safety, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities — where a driver had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher — increased from 911 in 2015 to 1,059 in 2016. Also in 2016, 1.5 percent of all drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes tested positive for legal and/or illegal drugs.

Bakersfield, California, in particular, has seen a rise in drunk-driving-related accident in recent years.

The California OTC also found that motorcycle fatalities increased 11 percent from 494 in 2015 to 548 in 2016. Deaths of motorcyclists not wearing a helmet increased 9 percent, from 23 in 2015 to 25 in 2016. California is one of 19 states that requires motorcyclists by law to wear a helmet.
According to the California DMV, 80 percent of collisions and 65 percent of near-collisions are the result of distracted driving. The main reasons for driving distracted, which involves taking your eyes or mind off the road, include eating, applying cosmetics, watching events outside the vehicle, reaching for an object inside the vehicle, and, of course, using electronic devices such as mobile phones. California outlawed the use of handheld electronic devices while driving in 2017, but crashes related to them nonetheless persist.

If you live in or are planning to visit California, these statistics can seem intimidating. Properly educating yourself is a huge step towards becoming comfortable on the state’s overcrowded and often chaotic roads. The California DMV’s “California Driver Handbook” is a wealth of information when it comes to understanding the laws and getting familiar with best practices for driving in the state. We encourage our community to read through those pages and become familiar with not only the laws and regulations on the road, but also what you can do once inside your vehicle to ensure a safer trip for you and your loved ones.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 7:13 pm

What Is the Paul Lee School Bus Safety Law?

Monday, July 23, 2018

Thousands of students across the state of California rely on school buses for transportation to and from school. Bus drivers must follow safety measures while operating these vehicles to ensure that students arrive at school and home without any injuries or accidents. However, driving is not the only time that students face potential harm while on the school bus.

Following the unfortunate death of one student in 2015, California passed Senate Bill 1072, also known as the Paul Lee School Bus Safety Law, to increase school bus safety.

Origin of the Law

On September 11, 2015, Hoon Jun “Paul” Lee died in a school bus. It was not the result of a bus accident, but instead from overheating. After completing his rounds for the morning, the bus driver had parked the bus in the lot and left. Lee was in the bus in 90-degree weather with the windows shut. Authorities discovered him over seven hours later, dead.

Lee, a nonverbal autistic, did not receive any help with getting off the bus. The driver, Armando Abel Ramirez, failed to notice Lee was still on board, despite the boy sitting upright and being tall enough to be visible over the top of the seat. Ramirez did not conduct a proper check of the bus before departing. Lee was 19 years old.

In response to the incident, California signed the Paul Lee School Bus Safety Law in early 2016.

What Does the Law Do?

The Paul Lee School Bus Safety Law is a measure to prevent future incidents of students left on school buses. It requires all old and new school buses in the state to have a child safety-alarm equipped. Other vehicles responsible for transport of students, especially those with special needs, will also require safety alarms. The alarm must meet California Highway Patrol regulations.

The alarm works whenever the driver shuts the bus down. The alarm will emit a noise until the driver presses the stop switch – which is at the back of the bus. As such, the driver will have to walk through the whole bus to turn the alarm off, checking for any children in the process.

Other vehicles that transport students do not require alarms if they meet certain conditions, such as not only transporting pupils, the presence of a responsible adult chaperone, and drivers filling out forms after each student-based trip that confirms that no children are still on the vehicle.

The bill also adds a provision that all school bus drivers must receive additional child-safety check training when renewing their bus driver safety certificates. Like their certificates, this additional training must happen every year.

Through the combination of alarm systems and further safety training, California hopes to better equip school bus drivers with the skills necessary to keep students safe, even after the bus has pulled off the road.

When Does the Law Go into Effect?

The original version of the Paul Lee School Bus Safety law was set to go into effect during the 2018-2019 school year. By that time, all school buses were to have CHA-approved children safety alarms. However, the statewide need for new alarm systems posed challenges for schools due to the limited number of producers and installers for such systems. The late approval of the exact alarm requirements also caused delays for schools implementing the new protocol.

Due to the complications, California made steps to pass Senate Bill 1269, which would increase the deadline for installation of child safety alarms until the 2019-2020 school year. The current version of the bill requires vehicles responsible for special needs students to have proper alarm systems by the 2018-2019 school year, while other vehicles have six additional months to meet the policy requirements.

Posted by highrank at 8:11 pm

Do Pedestrians Have the Right of Way in California?

Monday, May 21, 2018

Many Californians, particularly in urban areas, choose to walk or ride their bikes in lieu of driving to their destination. Commuting by foot or bike can save money, provide convenience, and save time on the hassle of heavy traffic. However, some pedestrian conduct raises important questions about liability following an accident. Do pedestrians always have the right-of-way in California? Who will be liable for injuries a pedestrian sustains in an accident? Here’s everything you need to know but if you have additional questions, reach out to a skilled Bakersfield pedestrian accident lawyer.

When a Pedestrian Has the Right-Of-Way

You may have heard that the pedestrian always has the right-of-way. This statement, however, is exactly that: a saying, not a matter of law. In reality, the law is more complex than that.

In the most obvious cases, the pedestrian does have the right-of-way. This applies, for example, when a pedestrian is crossing at a crosswalk at a red light. One of the most common kinds of pedestrian injury – for which a driver is at fault – is when a driver turns right or left into a pedestrian who has the right-of-way. Here, liability for the accident is clear: a motorist will be responsible for the injuries that the pedestrian incurs since he or she was crossing at a crosswalk with a stop sign or traffic signal.

What about less obvious circumstances? What happens when a pedestrian sustains an injury while crossing at an unmarked crosswalk? Or while walking in the middle of the street? This is where the law becomes less clear.

California Laws Regarding Pedestrians

The California Vehicle Code sets basic rules for pedestrians and drivers who navigate around them. The law states a few things:

  • The driver must yield to any pedestrian within a marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.
  • The driver must also use reasonable care and diligence to prevent pedestrian accidents and safeguard anyone who walks or rides their bike around them.

These laws have a few implications following a pedestrian accident. Here are some examples:

  • A motorist may be liable for a pedestrian accident that occurs on the roadway, even if it’s not a crosswalk. For example, a motorist will likely be liable for striking and injuring a biker who is riding on the shoulder, since he or she has an obligation to prevent an accident. If the driver was speeding or distracted, he or she will likely be responsible for the cyclist’s injuries, even if not on a crosswalk.
  • A motorist must yield to pedestrians at crosswalks that are not at intersections. Ultimately, if a pedestrian uses a marked or unmarked crosswalk, he or she has the right-of-way.

Pedestrian Responsibilities

On the other hand, pedestrians do not always have the right-of-way. According to the California Vehicle Code, pedestrians cannot leave a place of safety, such as a sidewalk, to run into the path of a moving vehicle such that it constitutes an “immediate hazard.” But what does this mean, exactly?

  • Pedestrians may be liable for their own injuries if they jaywalk. Running out into the street without a crosswalk is against the law, and a driver may not be civilly responsible for any damages he or she causes.
  • Pedestrians must use extra caution at late night crossings. They must remain as visible as possible and keep to crosswalks. A pedestrian should never assume right-of-way at night and allow plenty of time to cross.

Both pedestrians and motorists have certain rights and responsibilities on the roadways. Motorists have a high duty of care to pedestrians and must take steps to reasonably assure their safety. At the same time, pedestrians must also follow all traffic laws, avoid jaywalking, and stick to crossing at crosswalks.

Posted by highrank at 9:19 pm

California Parental Responsibility Laws

Monday, May 14, 2018

We would all like to think that our children always behave like perfect angels. On the other hand, we know that our kids act out on occasion. Did you know that you could be civilly liable for any damage your minor child causes? Learn about parental responsibility laws and how the state of California handles damage caused by minors.

Like many other states, California has a number of parental responsibility laws on the books that make parents liable for any damages that result from their minor’s actions. We can break these laws down into two separate categories:

Willful Misconduct

First, parents may be responsible for any “willful misconduct” of a minor leading to property damage or injury. Under California Civil Code 1714.1, any act of misconduct by a minor that leads to injury, death, or property damage will be the financial and civil responsibility of the parent or legal guardian. A custodial parent or guardian may be jointly liable with the minor for $25,000 per wrongful act. This is the latest estimate, though the dollar amount may change to reflect inflation, cost of living, and other elements.

The $25,000 per wrongful act can apply to medical bills and other economic damages, but do not apply to intangible losses such as pain and suffering. The $25,000 dollar rule also applies to property damage such as graffiti or defacement of public property.

Keep in mind that these rules only apply to a minor’s “willful misconduct.” In other words, a parent might be civilly liable if his or her child starts a fight and breaks another child’s arm. On the other hand, parents will likely not be liable if their student-athlete breaks another’s arm while completing a legal tackle on the football field.

Parental Liability and Minor Driving Rules

The other main parental responsibility law pertains to a minor’s use of a motor vehicle. According to the California Vehicle Code, a parent may be civilly liable for any damages his or her child incurs while driving a motor vehicle. California law requires that a parent or legal guardian sign a driver’s license application for anyone under the age of 18, so parents can be – and likely will be – liable for any damages from a car accident in which their minor is at fault.

The California Vehicle Code also states that a parent can be potentially liable for any foreseeable damages when they give a minor implied or express consent to drive a vehicle. These statutes vary from California’s willful misconduct laws in a couple of different ways:

  • The minor’s intent does not apply. With the “willful conduct” parental responsibility law, the parents will only be liable if a minor’s intentional conduct leads to injury of property damage. In a car accident, however, a parent will be liable for any injuries a minor causes, even if it was “just an accident.”
  • Damage caps do not apply. With the “willful conduct” statute, a parent may only be liable for economic damages up to $25,000 per wrongful act. In a car accident, a parent may be responsible for any damages stemming from the accident – including not only economic damages, but intangible losses, as well.

Parents in California have a responsibility to keep their children reasonably safe, but also to protect property and people from their child’s behavior. If a minor child causes property damage, injury, or death – whether through a car accident or their own willful actions – parents can be civilly liable for the damages that result. To reduce your risk of liability, talk to your child about safe driving practices and tackle any potentially problematic behaviors as they arise.

Posted by highrank at 9:07 pm

California Truck Lane Restrictions

Monday, October 23, 2017

It is an unfortunate reality that smaller, lighter passenger vehicles must drive alongside large, heavy commercial trucks to fuel America’s economy. Big rigs can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, while the average passenger vehicle weighs just 3,500 pounds. The immense size difference between the two can lead to major damage to the smaller car and its passengers in a collision. The State of California strives to reduce the number of truck accidents on its highways by enacting truck lane restrictions. Learning the law can help you stay as far away as possible from large trucks when on California’s highways.

Truck-Only Lanes in California

Very few truck-only lanes exist throughout the country. In most states, large trucks and passenger vehicles must intermingle, but trucks must simply stay out of the left lane on certain highways. California, however, has two truck-only lanes in existence and more potentially on the way. As of now, the two lanes that only trucks may operate in are as follows:

  • Northbound and southbound 1-5 in LA County at the State Route 14 split. The truck lane begins as two roads, northbound at LA County postmile C043.925 and southbound at postmile C043.899. Both roads meet at postmile C044.924. These trucks lanes separate slower-moving large trucks from the general traffic that moves faster. The roads run 2.426 miles northbound and 2.452 southbound. This truck-only road has been in existence for about 30 years.
  • Southbound I-5 in Kern County at the State Route 99 junction. On Route 99 near the Grapevine, postmile L000.629, a truck-only lane begins. The lane continues for 0.346 miles until I-5 at postmile R-15.492. The point of the lane is to allow large trucks to merge farther downstream of where other vehicles merge between I-5 and State Route 99. This truck-only lane could potentially prevent collisions between trucks and smaller vehicles in an already difficult merge area.

All large trucks must travel in truck-only lanes when they arise. There are black and white highway signs indicating where truck-only lanes begin and end. These are enforceable signs that all truck drivers must obey. Failure to use truck-only lanes when available can result in fines. Passenger vehicles may technically drive in truck-only lanes, but green highways signs encourage them not to do so. Since the signs are green, they are not enforceable.

Large Trucks in the Left Lane

California sees a particularly large number of commercial trucks on its roadways. For this reason, the state has enacted somewhat strict rules when it comes to large trucks on the highway. California is one of few states with a law that prohibits “motor trucks, truck tractors with three axles or more, and truck tractors pulling vehicles” from driving in the left-hand lane while on the highway. These slower-moving vehicles must remain in the right-hand lane or the second-right-hand lane if on a highway with four lanes of traffic moving in the same direction.

If a large truck disobeys lane restrictions, the driver could receive fines of up to $250 for a third offense within one year. Any slower-moving vehicle, regardless of size, must use the furthest right-hand lane while driving in California, except when passing or making a left turn. The California Highway Patrol enforces truck lane restrictions and will stop large trucks should they disobey the law.

Posted by highrank at 5:29 pm