Category Archives: Pedestrian Accidents

California Statistics and Laws on Drinking and Driving

Monday, July 26, 2021

Drinking and driving, or driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs, impairs a person’s ability to drive safely and threatens the well-being of other motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians that they encounter on the road. 

Over the last 40 years, public information campaigns such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have set out to eliminate drunk driving through education, prevention, and enforcement by advocating for stricter laws to be passed for drunk driving offences, and while this has helped decrease the amount of DUIs nationwide, it has not ended the problem. In 2019, according to MADD, 10,142 people were killed due to drunk driving which makes it #1 cause of death on America’s roads. The state of California accounted for 1,066 of the nation’s drunk driving fatalities, approximately 10%. 

California Drinking and Driving Statistics 

The most comprehensive statistics for alcohol-impaired driving is from Responsibility.org for the year of 2018. 

  • Total alcohol-impaired driving fatalities: 1,069
  • Under 21 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities: 113
  • 69.8% of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities had a BAC of 0.15+
  • 77.9% of drivers with BAC 0.15+ were repeat offenders
  • Total DUI arrests: 127,250 (Nationwide: 1,001,329)

California Drunk Driving Laws

In California, it is illegal to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher. The law does not distinguish between prescription, over-the-counter or illegal drugs. If the drug or medication impairs your ability to drive safely, you can still be charged with a DUI.

California has enforced tougher laws for first time and repeat offenders in an effort to reduce, and hopefully eliminate, drunk driving on our roads. Here is a summary of laws about driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) handbook. 

  • It is illegal to use or possess alcohol or cannabis products in a vehicle. Any open containers must be stored in the trunk or where passengers do not sit.
  • It is illegal for any person to operate a vehicle with the following BAC limits:
    • 0.08% or higher, if the person is 21 years +
    • 0.01% or higher, if the person is under 21 years old
    • 0.04% or higher, when a passenger for hire is in the vehicle at the time of the offense
  • It is illegal for drivers under 21 years of age to carry alcohol inside a vehicle unless accompanied by a parent or other person as specified by law and the container is full, sealed, and unopened. If caught, the car may be impounded for up to 30 days, driving privileges may be suspended for up to 1 year or delay the issuance of a first driver’s license for up to 1 year, or a fine of up to $1000 may be charged.

Similar laws also prohibit riding bikes and scooters or driving boats under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

We Represent DUI Accident Victims in Kern County and California

A victim of a drunk driving accident can suffer physically, emotionally, and financially. Medical bills can pile up, they may not be able to work or perform their job as before, and their mental state may be different due to the accident. The criminal court system can punish a drunk driver for the accident, but it does not compensate victims of the accident. 

This is when a victim of a drunk driving accident would seek expert legal representation to pursue claims in a civil court for recovery of monetary damages from medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages from missed work, property damage, and/or modifications to a home or car because of the injuries incurred. Our experienced personal injury attorneys at Rodriguez & Associates, are standing by to represent you or a loved one who has been injured as a result of a DUI accident. We will do everything possible to hold the wrongdoer accountable.

We represent DUI accident victims in Kern County and throughout California. Call us to request a free consultation at (661) 323-1400 or toll-free (800) 585-9262.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 7:29 pm

Kern County Lawyers for DUI Accident Victims

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Driving under the influence (DUI) is still the #1 cause of death on our roadways, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

People who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs are more likely to cause accidents that are often more serious with more severe injuries because their judgment and reaction time is impaired. While the criminal court system can punish a drunk driver for the accident, it does not compensate the victims of the accident.

Drunk Driving Civil Lawsuit

 If you have been a victim of a drunk driving accident, you have the right to pursue claims in civil court to recover monetary damages, in addition to pressing criminal charges. Even if the drunk driver is not convicted in criminal court, you may still seek compensation through a civil claim. While serious compensation will not make up for the physical and emotional costs that a drunk driving accident victim endures, it can make it easier for the person to start putting back together the pieces of their life. Financial compensation can be pursued for:

  • Medical bills and ongoing healthcare needs related to the accident
  • Pain and suffering from the accident
  • Lost wages as a result of missed work
  • Property damage to the car that was damaged or destroyed in the accident
  • Modifications to a home or car because of the injuries incurred from the accident
  • Punitive damages – intended to punish the negligent party and discourage similar negligent behavior by others

If the claim is for wrongful death, you may be able to collect damages for loss of future income, loss of consortium, and funeral expenses.

What if the Drunk Driver Has No Insurance?

Most car insurance companies offer uninsured motorist (UM) coverage so if you are involved in an accident with someone who is uninsured, you can make a claim with your insurance company to be compensated for your medical care, pain and suffering, and lost wages. However, once you file a claim, your insurance company will view you as a liability, instead of as a customer, and they will do everything in their power to minimize or avoid paying out your claim (learn more about dealing with insurance companies and Uninsured Motorist coverage here).

Another option may be to sue the drunk driver but if the judgment is returned in your favor the defendant may declare bankruptcy which means they’re not responsible for paying the judgment or they may have no money to pay the judgment. Suing the driver can be a long process that may not amount to any compensation.

A third option may be suing a third party such as a restaurant that continued to serve a customer who was already drunk or a bar that served a minor.

Third-Party Liability in a DUI Accident

 While the person who was driving under the influence may be the primary cause of the accident, there could be liability for third parties who contributed to the circumstances of the driver. Third parties that may be held responsible can include:

  • Bar or Restaurant Staff & Owners: it is their responsibility to stop serving patrons that appear to be intoxicated.
  • Hosts: people who host parties or gatherings where alcohol is served can be held liable if they continued to provide alcohol to a guest that was clearly inebriated.

Determining third party liability can be complex and involving an experienced lawyer in representing DUI accident victims is highly recommended.

We Represent DUI Accident Victims in Kern County and California

At Rodriguez & Associates, our experienced personal injury attorneys are ready to represent you or a loved one who has been injured as a result of a DUI accident. We have the resources to fully investigate the accident, contributing factors, and can determine if there is third party liability. Our Kern County lawyers are caring and empathetic with our clients and will do everything possible to hold the wrongdoer accountable.

We represent DUI accident victims in Kern County and throughout California. Call us to request a free consultation at (661) 323-1400 or toll-free (800) 585-9262.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 8:51 pm

Hit-and-Run Accident Attorneys in Bakersfield

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

A “hit-and-run” accident is when someone leaves the scene of an accident that s/he was involved in. These accidents typically involve two (or more) vehicles or a pedestrian or cyclist and a vehicle. If the responsible party for the accident flees the scene, and is not caught, the injured party can still recover compensation for injuries, damages, pain and suffering, lost wages or death of a loved one caused by the accident.

It is important to note that if you are a victim of a hit-and-run accident, you should remain on the scene until law enforcement arrives and you can give a full statement. Take notes and pictures of the scene and write down everything you can recall about the accident and any description of the other vehicle. Do not try to chase the perpetrator down. There is a chance that other people may have witnessed the accident and can provide information to law enforcement to catch the perpetrator. If the perpetrator is caught and identified, civil charges can be pursued. Having representation by a hit-and-run attorney will help you get the compensation that you need to move forward with your life.

If the perpetrator is not found, you may be able to submit a claim under your uninsured motorist coverage.

About Uninsured Motorist Coverage

About 85% of California auto insurance policies include uninsured motorist coverage. This means that if you are in an accident that is not your fault – whether it is a hit-and-run or a driver who is not insured or does not carry enough insurance coverage – your auto insurance company will cover your losses, damage, and medical bills dependent upon the amount of coverage you have.

However, there are cases when people are surprised to find that they do not have full coverage and the minimum coverage is not sufficient. If this is the case, having a personal injury attorney on your side will help you get fair and just compensation from your insurance company by using one or more of the following tactics.

  • Assembling evidence to prove that you were a victim of a hit-and-run accident including evidence of injuries – how severe they are and if they are going to affect your life permanently.
  • Holding the insurance company accountable by making sure they are being transparent in their communications and not using difficult or deceptive tactics to confuse the victim and give less than what the person is entitled to.
  • Calculating damages accurately for your claim including quantifying your damages and asking for enough money to make sure you will be covered for medical fees, medical devices, future treatments, and, if applicable, pain and suffering and lost income.
  • Negotiating with the insurance company for a fair settlement. Attorneys are familiar with the tricks that insurance companies use during these negotiations that can trap an unsuspecting victim to settle for less.
  • If the insurance company and attorney cannot come to a settlement, the attorney can take the case to trial on your behalf to fight for you.

At Rodriguez & Associates, our Bakersfield hit-and-run accident attorneys are committed to making the responsible party pay so you can focus on getting back on your feet.

If you or a loved one was involved in a hit-and-run accident, contact us at (661) 323-1400 or toll-free (800) 585-9262 to schedule a no-charge consultation.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 7:41 pm

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

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