Category Archives: Car Accidents

Tips for Visiting Bakersfield Speedway

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Bakersfield Speedway is renowned for its intimacy; spectators feel close to the action, which makes it a memorable experience, but also presents some added danger. Despite the precautions of a catch fence as well as the space between the fence and the first row of seats, an injury is still a possibility for the fans in attendance. For any large event, there are a number of safety precautions racing fans can take to ensure they have an enjoyable experience.

The Charlotte Observer reported that approximately 2,000 people are injured every year at a racetrack, and between 1990-2010, 46 people died. It’s unclear how many of those injuries stemmed from an accident on the track, but NASCAR is consistently seeking ways to improve fan safety, particularly when it relates to the catch fence.

Improvements to all racetracks in this regard have been paramount in the last 15 years, particularly due to a string of accidents in which fans were injured by race car debris. Enormous strides have been made in determining the proper angle of the walls, the height of the catch fence and the material it’s made out of which it’s made to prevent spectator injuries.

Bakersfield Speedway Safety Tips

Another thing that makes Bakersfield Speedway unique is that it’s a clay track only one-third of a mile around. The clay increases the odds of debris and dirt flying into the stands, which is just one of many things for which spectators should be prepared. Veteran attendees may know this, but some safety tips for racing fans at Bakersfield Speedway include:

  • Ear plugs and safety glasses are recommended to protect against loud noise and dirt.
  • Sit further back, especially with small children. It’s better to be safe than sorry and although being right up on the track may be exciting, the extremely loud noises and potential for flying debris may not be worth it.
  • Stay alert – while it’s tempting to let loose at a race, it’s important to pay attention to what is going on around you. Watch for car wrecks or flying debris and cover your head in the case of a crash.
  • An employee or security staff will always be nearby, report any emergencies to them as soon as possible.
  • When parking your car, do not leave any valuables in plain sight and be sure to lock all doors.
  • Only buy tickets from reliable vendors.
  • You may bring a blanket, seat cushion and extra clothing if needed.

If you have been drinking, don’t drive. Find another way to get home. There are plenty of options for sober transportation in Bakersfield:

  • Taxi
  • Rideshare options
  • Public transportation

Large crowds at racing events can also present their own challenges. If attending the race with children, be aware of their location at all times and don’t let them wander away from the group. Just in case it does happen, it’s a good idea to decide on a rendezvous point beforehand. While a concession stand or bathroom may just be a few feet away, the large crowds make it easy for a child to become disoriented or lost. Use the buddy system and make sure they are never left alone while visiting Bakersfield Speedway.

If an injury does occur at a racetrack like Bakersfield Speedway due to outside circumstances like poor security, insufficient fencing, or dangerous conditions, contact the personal injury attorneys of Rodriguez & Associates. Our skilled lawyers have experience handling a range of injury and accident cases across Kern County.

Posted by highrank at 3:27 pm

New California Driving Law for 2017

Friday, February 10, 2017

With each new year comes a flurry of new legislation designed to keep motorists safe and preventable injuries at bay. California driving laws are becoming more stringent, and citizens must be vigilant. If you don’t want to pay any of your hard-earned cash on tickets this year, here’s what you need to know.

Phone Use While Driving

California has long had a texting ban and is one of only a few states that ban cell phone use outright while driving. Legislators have now passed a rule to address one of the loopholes in the law – and you might not like it.

Previously, citizens could fight a ticket in court by saying they were using their mobile device to navigate with GPS. Now, officials say you can’t be holding your phone in your hand for any reason. This includes using apps and even switching music on your playlist via Bluetooth. Assemblyman Bill Quirk, who drafted the law, said it serves one purpose: getting the phone out of your hand and your eyes on the road.

A study by the California Office of Traffic Safety found that in 2016, 1 in 8 drivers paid as much attention to their smartphone as they did to the road. They also estimate that distracted driving plays a role in approximately 80% of crashes. This prompted Quirk as well as other legislative and enforcement officials to take action.

Loopholes in the previous law technically allowed motorists to scan Facebook, Snapchat, and other popular apps while driving as well as using GPS to navigate.

If you can’t get through your commute without listening to Spotify or using your navigation system to avoid traffic, never fear: the new law stipulates that motorists can mount their phones to listen to music or use GPS. The mount must be located in one of three places: the dashboard, the lower right corner of the windshield, or the lower left corner. Drivers may use only one finger to tap or swipe the screen. Lawmakers hope the new law will minimize distracted driving accidents throughout the state and help keep people safe.

Motorcycle Lane Splitting

California lawmakers have finally come to a consensus about the practice of lane splitting (riding a motorcycle down the white stripe between lanes of slow-moving traffic). The practice has been in limbo for years – it wasn’t technically illegal, but it also wasn’t defined as legal. The new measure stipulates certain measures for lane splitting to make it safer. California Highway Patrol is working with local motorcycle organizations to determine what is and what isn’t proper practice for riding in between cars.

For example, if traffic is at a standstill, having a lane-splitting motorcycle travelling at 60 miles per hour is dangerous for both the cyclist and other motorists. Lawmakers expect the law to evolve as they continue talks with motorcycle experts throughout the state.

Preventing Bus Tragedies

Lastly, California lawmakers have passed new regulations regarding inspections of tour and charter buses. The measures come in response to a rash of fatal bus crashes that have plagued the state in recent years. School bus operators will also have to carry out additional procedures to ensure children are never left behind on vacant vehicles.

Improving Child Safety

2017 also brings a revision to child safety seat laws. Effective immediately, children will be required to remain rear-facing in their car seats until their second birthday. Exceptions to the law include children who are over 40 lbs. or over 40 inches tall.

Virtually every driver on the road will be affected by the new regulations in some way. Mount your phones and flip your car seats, and pay attention to evolving motorcycle regulations to avoid tickets from the CHP this year.

Posted by highrank at 11:23 pm

What Can I Do if My Car Insurance Claim is Denied?

Monday, January 30, 2017

It is not uncommon for automobile insurance companies to deny accident claims. A claimant may receive a denial if the company believes the driver could have avoided the accident, if nobody suffered an injury at the time of the accident, or if medical records do not indicate an injury or pain. Claim denials can be frustrating and stressful, especially if you are dealing with hefty medical bills and missed days at work. Here are a few options you may have after a car insurance claim denial.

Understand the Reason for Denial

The first step in fighting against a claim denial is to understand exactly why your insurance company denied the claim in the first place. Typically, you will receive a letter from your auto insurance company telling you it has denied your claim and giving a specific explanation. Common reasons for claim denials include:

  • You caused the accident or could have avoided the accident
  • You did not seek medical treatment immediately after your accident
  • Your policy does not include coverage for your type of claim
  • You currently have a lapse in coverage for failure to renew or pay your bill
  • You purchased a new vehicle without telling your insurance company
  • The damages in your claim exceed your policy limit

If the insurance company’s explanation does not make sense to you, call your insurance agent and ask the company to clarify. For example, if your letter states that you have a lapse in coverage but you know for a fact you paid your last bill, the denial may be due to a simple clerical error. It is always wise to talk to your insurer over the phone after receiving a claims letter if you need to clear anything up or just to verify that you received a valid claim. It is not uncommon for a company to process a claim incorrectly.

Dispute the Claim

One option you may have after a claim denial is to dispute the insurance company’s response. If you decide to dispute your claim denial on the grounds of misinformation in your original claim, send corrections or proper documentation to your insurer. For example, if you have medical documentation that proves you did in fact seek treatment right after a crash, you may send this directly to your insurer. The insurance company may be willing to negotiate if you send in corrections.

You may also contact the California State Insurance Commissioner for assistance. The commissioner is in charge of ensuring insurance company regulation. Be aware, however, that state commissioners receive thousands of complaints every year. Your complaint may never lead to a resolution of your denied insurance claim. If the commissioner does respond and send a letter to your insurance company, your company might write back with the same denial. If there are significant expenses in medical bills, serious pain and suffering, or major property damage at stake, it is wise to hire an attorney to deal with your insurance company.

Bad Faith Insurance Company Cases

It is possible that you are dealing with a bad faith insurance company, if you received a claim denial you believe is unfounded or unfair. Your company may be failing to fulfill its end of your policy contract or purposely interpreting vague and ambiguous terms in the contract in a way that bars you from coverage. Unfortunately, bad faith insurance companies get away with unfairly minimizing or denying compensation to claimants every day.

Involving a professional attorney in these situations can lead to a bad faith lawsuit and the potential to receive compensation for your damages. If speaking with your insurance company and/or state commissioner doesn’t resolve your claim, contact a denial of insurance attorney for help.

Posted by highrank at 6:16 pm

Who Pays if I’m Injured by an Uninsured Motorist?

Saturday, October 1, 2016

In California, driving without insurance is against the law. Unfortunately, that does not stop uninsured drivers from getting on the roadways. After an accident with an uninsured motorist, many injured individuals wonder about their ability to secure compensation. You can’t squeeze water from a stone, can you?

Don’t panic if you suffer an injury in an accident with an uninsured motorist. You may still have an opportunity for recourse, depending on the circumstances of the case.

Avenues for Insurance Payment in Uninsured Motorist Incidents

After an accident with an uninsured motorist, explore your own insurance policies – you may receive some compensation. Some of the most common coverage types that will cover injured individuals after an uninsured motorist collision include:

Uninsured motorist coverage. Designed to protect drivers and passengers in incidents involving drivers without insurance, uninsured motorist coverage is a type of add-on coverage that will take the place of someone else’s liability insurance. The added policy terms may cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other economic expenses associated with the accident. California does not require that drivers carry uninsured motorist coverage, so not all drivers can access its benefits.

Collision insurance. Collision coverage is designed to cover the cost of property damage associated with accidents. Depending on your policy, the insurance provider may or may not require a deductible payment in uninsured motorist accidents.

Health insurance. Your health insurance may also cover the medical costs associated with your injuries. After paying the policy terms, including your deductibles and copays, the insurer may pay for the full cost of your treatments. In some cases, your health insurer may look into the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage and your own auto insurance for compensation.

Medical payments policy coverage. Another form of added insurance, medical payments coverage is designed to boost your ability to pay for medical expenses. It may also cover pedestrian accident injuries and other incidents.

Talk to an insurance representative to explore the terms of your policy and determine if you can file a claim against a policy you hold. If you have trouble working with your insurance provider, consider involving an experienced auto accident attorney. In addition to pursuing lawsuits against at-fault drivers, attorneys also play an important role helping clients negotiate with insurance companies and secure fair compensation under the terms of a policy.

Filing a Lawsuit in an Uninsured Motorist Case

In addition to your own insurance policies, an accident attorney may investigate and explore liability issues within the case. Unfortunately, most people who do not carry auto insurance cannot afford to pay damages in a civil claim. However, the other driver is not the only person who may bear responsibility for your injuries.

Other drivers involved in the accident and third-parties also may contribute to your injuries. If you have a strong case, your attorney will recommend pursuing a third-party claim against an auto manufacturer or another driver instead of using your own insurance coverage.

Can an Uninsured Motorist Use My Insurance to Cover His or Her Injuries?

In some accidents, you may cause or contribute to an accident with an uninsured motorist. Upon realizing that the other motorist has no coverage, you may wonder if the individual has the same rights to compensation as you would. In California, uninsured drivers can file claims against at-fault drivers, but they may not receive non-economic damages (e.g. disability, pain and suffering) during the case. The only exception to this rule is if the at-fault driver was under the influence at the time.

After an accident with an uninsured motorist, a qualified California accident attorney will help you navigate the process so you can claim fair compensation and get back to your life. Determining fault, identifying opportunities for compensation, and holding responsible parties liable for their fair share will affect the outcome of your case. Secure the services of an accident attorney with the experience and expertise to obtain justice and minimize the effects of an uninsured motorist’s poor decisions.

Posted by highrank at 5:48 pm

Is It Safe to Use Hands-Free Devices While Driving?

Friday, September 30, 2016

Driving requires your undivided attention. This means more than just keeping your eyes on the road: you must also keep your hands and your attention focused on driving. Cell phones are a regular part of everyday life for most adults, but life has become so fast-paced that some people have become accustomed to multitasking, even when they shouldn’t be dividing their attention. Hands-free cellular phone attachments allow a person to talk on a cell phone without using his or her hands, but are they really safe to use while driving?

Understanding Roadway Distraction

Distracted driving is very dangerous, though many argue that hands-free devices allow users to have a conversation while remaining in control of their vehicle. However, hands-free devices still take your mind off the road, and this can be just as dangerous as taking your hands off the steering wheel. When most people think of “distracted driving,” wandering eyes is typically the first thing that comes to mind. However, distraction comes in three forms:

  • Visual distractions are anything that causes your eyes to wander away from the road ahead. Rubber-necking to look at an accident, checking your phone, or turning around to see a passenger in the back are all types of visual distractions.
  • Manual distractions are anything other than driving that requires the use of your hands. Although most people are accustomed to driving with one hand on the steering wheel (and manual transmission drivers need their right hand to operate the gearshift), it’s always safest to keep both hands on the wheel at all times.
  • Cognitive distractions take your mind off the task of driving. Cognitive distractions may include daydreaming, emotional turbulence, worrying about the day ahead, or other things that may take your mind off driving.

It may surprise you to learn that wandering thoughts is the leading cause of distracted driving fatalities, responsible for 62% of fatal collisions. General cell phone use is the second most common cause at 12%. While hands-free cell phone accessories may seem like the perfect way to use a cell phone safely behind the wheel, statistics indicate there really is no safe way to use cell phones while driving.

Why Hands-Free Isn’t Enough

Hands-free devices are fantastic if you have an important phone call while your hands are occupied. However, these devices still require you to either tap your cell phone or a button on the earpiece to answer and end calls. Even though this might only be a second or two, it still requires you to take your hand off the wheel.

When you use a hands-free device, it’s still a major distraction even though it allows you to keep your hands on the wheel. A stressful family call or a major work-related conversation can draw your attention away from the road, creating a dangerous hazard for the other motorists around you.

Know the Law

Many states have banned the use of cell phones in any way while driving due to the increased number of related fatal collisions. The old adage rings true for hands-free devices: it’s better to be safe than sorry. Distracted driving can cause serious property damage, fatal injuries, or permanent disabilities in victims of crashes.

If you’ve been injured in a traffic collision where the other driver was using a cell phone, whether with a hands-free attachment or not, the law is on your side. Don’t pay for the damage caused by a negligent, distracted driver. Reach out to an experienced car crash attorney to discuss your options. If a distracted driver killed a loved one, you may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim.

 

Posted by highrank at 5:14 pm