Category Archives: Personal Injury

Car Accident Scene Photography Tips

Monday, September 4, 2017

Taking photographs of the scene of a car accident is an excellent way to preserve crucial evidence for your claim. It is hard to argue against hard evidence that a photograph presents. Thanks to camera phones, almost everyone has the ability to take photos of motor vehicle accidents directly after they happen. Follow these tips for taking photographs that will best serve your case, should you need them for a subsequent insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.

Take Photos, Not Video

Call the police and report the crash. While you wait for cops to arrive, start taking pictures. It won’t hurt to also record a video of the scene, but photographs are better for capturing fine details. Investigators can zoom in on photographs in high definition, and get a clear view of small details such as the tread on vehicle tires or brake marks on the roadway. Take as many photographs as you can, and save them to your digital camera or cell phone.

Turn on the Time Stamp Function

Find your camera’s time stamp function and turn it on before taking any photos of the scene or of injuries. This will serve as proof of the date and time you took the photos, which is important for creating a timeline of events. It can also prove you took photos the day of the accident, in case the defense wants to argue you may have returned to the scene at a later date to snap photos when elements of the environment had changed.

Photograph Wide and Close Shots

Take pictures of everything you think might be important to a future crash investigation. This includes all vehicles and properties involved, any injuries, the roadway, street signs, marks or defects in the road, the weather, and anything else that may have contributed to the crash. Take wide-angle shots of the entire scene to capture an image of the setting. Get close-ups of property damage and injuries. The more photos you take before police arrive and begin dismantling the scene to clear the road, the better.

Take Photos of Participants

Get photographs of all other drivers and passengers involved, as well as any bystanders and witnesses. Photograph the police officers, paramedics, and ambulance. Get a shot of anyone going onto a gurney. Documenting who was on the scene of the accident can help you connect faces with witness statements later. This can prevent confusion with identities of witnesses and parties involved.

Photograph Injuries as They Evolve

Snap detailed photographs of your injuries the day they occurred but continue taking photographs as you heal. Take photographs in the days after the accident, capturing latent injuries such as bruising and swelling that didn’t appear right away. Keep careful track of your recovery process to serve as evidence of damages later. Store photos of your injuries alongside your medical records and hospital bills, in a case file.

Return to the Scene

Return to the scene of the crash if necessary, to take photographs with a better camera. You may see things you didn’t in the chaotic aftermath of the crash, such as debris by the side of the road or damaged objects. Collect photos of any remaining evidence and put them with the original photographs you took. Preservation of photographic evidence is just as important as taking the photos. Backup all your photos onto a computer or print out paper versions. Take your photos to a Bakersfield car accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Posted by highrank at 10:14 pm

What Is an Acquired Brain Injury?

Monday, August 21, 2017

An acquired brain injury (ABI) is any damage or trauma the brain sustains after birth, for non-congenital reasons. ABIs include traumatic and non-traumatic brain injuries. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when the brain sustains sudden physical damage, as in a blow to the head or a puncture wound like a gunshot. A non-traumatic brain injury, on the other hand, can happen from infection, illness, brain tumors, or loss of oxygen or blood to the brain. ABIs are common in many accidents, including car accidents, slip and falls, and accidental drowning.

Causes and Effects of ABIs

Acquired brain injuries can occur as a result of catastrophic accidents or illnesses. Traumatic brain injuries are a leading cause of death and permanent disability in the U.S., accounting for about 30% of all injury deaths. People who survive traumatic ABIs often live with the effects for days, weeks, or the rest of their lives. No two brain injuries are the same. Each victim will suffer different symptoms and short- or long-term effects. Effects may include:

  • Cognitive difficulties
  • Persistent headaches
  • Fatigue and/or insomnia
  • Tremors or seizures
  • Physical disabilities
  • Trouble with speech
  • Sensory disorders
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Behavioral changes
  • Permanent disability
  • Coma and/or brain death

Falls were the leading cause of acquired brain injuries in 2013, the most recent year data available. Falls caused more than half (54%) of TBI-related hospitalizations and deaths among children up to 14 years of age. The second-leading cause of ABIs was objects striking the head, followed by motor vehicle crashes. Data shows that risk of sustaining a TBI is highest in people 75 years and older.

Who Is Liable for an Acquired Brain Injury?

Sometimes, there is a party at fault for causing someone else’s acquired brain injury. Many types of personal injury claim have involved ABIs, including those relating to medical practice, premises liability, product liability, and negligence. Talk to a Bakersfield brain injury attorney to find out if you have grounds to file a lawsuit after sustaining an ABI at home, at work, or on the road. Potentially liable parties could include:

  • An individual. If a driver, an independently contracted doctor, a property owner, criminal, or a coworker caused your injury, you could bring a claim against him or her as an individual. Often, however, individuals may not have the means to pay an award. A lawyer will look for other parties, including insurance companies, who may also be liable.
  • A company. If an on-duty employee caused your injury, you could have a claim against his or her employer. You may also have a product liability claim against a manufacturing company if a defective product caused your ABI. All businesses have insurance that may step in to pay your award should you have a successful case.
  • The city. The Bakersfiled government could be liable for your ABI if you sustained the injury because of a government employee, while riding in a city-owned vehicle, or because of a defect on a city-owned property. It is possible to sue the government in California, but strict rules apply. Speak to an attorney for help.

Every ABI case is unique. There is often more than one defendant liable for causing someone’s acquired brain injury, traumatic or non-traumatic. While you may not be able to sue if a brain tumor or illness caused your injury, you may have a case if your injuries happened in a preventable accident. Speak to an accomplished Bakersfield personal injury lawyer to learn more about your particular claim.

Posted by highrank at 9:55 pm

Is Lane Splitting Legal in California?

Monday, 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.

Posted by highrank at 3:21 pm

Bicycle Laws in California

Monday, 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.

Posted by highrank at 8:04 pm