| Read Time: 2 minutes | Auto Accidents

Intersection and Left Turn Car Accidents Injury Claims in California

If you have been involved in a left turn or intersection automobile accident, reach out to the attorneys at Silva Injury Law who can assess your case and help you obtain any compensation you deserve.   PREVALENCE OF LEFT-HAND TURN ACCIDENTS   A significant number of motorist accidents occur when a driver is making a left-hand turn across oncoming traffic. This is especially common at intersections. These types of turns require that a driver not only be fully aware of the vehicles driving in the opposite direction, but also pedestrians and bicyclists who are crossing the street. On busy roadways with significant activity, if a driver misjudges the turn, is not paying attention, or is distracted, the turn can result in a number of damages to other vehicles, drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists.   The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that accidents due to left-hand turns account for the largest number of crashes, making up approximately 22%. Within these accidents, the vast majority are regarded as due to driver error.   The errors made by drivers typically include “inadequate surveillance” and “decision errors.”  This essentially means that the driver turning left did not ensure that it was safe to turn. This often means they did not adequately check for pedestrians, bicycles or other vehicles. Decision errors occur when a driver misjudges another driver or person’s actions, makes a turn without having a full view, or performs a maneuver that is illegal.   When an automobile makes a left turn and collides with another car, motorcycle, bicycle or pedestrian, there is a substantial likelihood of injury that can be both serious and fatal. These injuries can lead to claims for significant damages and possibly wrongful death claims.   LIABILITY IN LEFT-HAND TURN ACCIDENTS   Under California law, a driver who is turning left must yield the right of way to the oncoming vehicles and must make sure they have the adequate space to make a complete turn without interrupting the oncoming traffic. This is why that in the majority of cases involving a left-hand turn accident, the driver who attempted to make the left turn is found to be liable for the accident. This is not always the case, however, and there are a number of exceptions, such as:   The car going straight through the intersection ran a red light. The car going through the intersection was speeding. The other driver was operating their vehicle either illegally or distracted. Unforeseen circumstances, such as an animal or obstacle wanders to the roadway.   REACH OUT TO AN ATTORNEY IF YOU HAVE BEEN INJURED IN A CAR ACCIDENT   Insurance companies and their claim adjusters may seek to limit or deny claims related to left-turn injuries. Having an experienced attorney on your case can ensure you receive the appropriate financial compensation for your injuries and damages. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a left-hand turn accident, you should reach out to an attorney at Silva Injury Law today.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Auto Accidents

Weather-Related Car Accident Injury in California

An average of 5,000 people are killed and another 418,000 people injured in weather-related crashes according to the Federal Highway Administration. Heavy rain, ice, snow, fog and other poor weather conditions contribute to car crashes. Despite driving safely, bad weather causes a significant increase in the likelihood of being in a car accident. Poor weather conditions not only cause more difficult driving conditions, they also make it more difficult to prove negligence in an accident. It is therefore extremely helpful to have proper legal representation if you were injured in a weather-related collision, as an attorney can help you seek compensation for the damages you sustained.   The attorneys at Silva Injury Law know how to handle cases that involve questions of liability. If you have been involved in a weather-related car accident, contact our team today to learn about your possible legal options.   THE DANGERS OF DRIVING IN INCLEMENT WEATHER   The Department of Transportation identifies a number of hazardous conditions which contribute to weather-related crashes. These hazards include rain, snow, sleet, fog, and ice. These various conditions impact driving ability as roads become wet and slick, visibility is decreased, and it becomes more difficult to control a vehicle.   Wet roads following a rainstorm are a specifically dangerous threat to safe driving, being the largest contributor at 73 percent of all weather-related crashes. Rain often causes vehicles to lose traction, which can result in a vehicle completely losing contact with the asphalt. Another 46 percent of weather-related accidents occur during rainfall. Fog and other winter hazards are also large contributors of weather-related car accidents.   Visibility is a significant factor in the majority of weather-related accidents. When there is blinding rain, snow, or dense fog, the visibility can decrease to a point that it may not even be safe to drive. Additionally, the existence of hazardous conditions may require speed reductions on freeways, a disruption in timing of traffic signals and potential road closures and rerouted traffic patterns.   DETERMINING FAULT IN A WEATHER-RELATED CAR ACCIDENT   Drivers always have a legal duty to drive in a responsible manner, regardless of the weather conditions. This means following the speed limit, obeying rules of the road, and taking all steps to prevent possible collisions. When poor weather conditions are involved, drivers are responsible for adjusting their speed and driving with more caution.   When it comes to car accidents, liability is based on negligence. Inclement weather alone is not generally a proximate cause of a car accident but is regarded as an additional factor to be considered when determining fault, and in determining whether the driver was negligent.   Even when weather-related factors contribute to a crash, a driver may still be at fault for not using extra care to avoid the collusion.     TIPS FOR DRIVING SAFELY IN IMPAIRED WEATHER CONDITIONS   When driving in impaired conditions, it is important that you practice driving defensively in order to prevent collisions. Before you begin driving it is crucial to determine that brakes, brake lights, tires and windshield wipers are in optimal condition. Remember that speed limits are based on optimal driving conditions, so when conditions are poor, reduce speed. As always, it is important to stay focused on the road, increase the distance between the nearest vehicle, and adapt to the changing conditions. Remember that poor weather does not absolve a driver of possible responsibility in a car accident, and they can still be liable for any damages incurred.     If you have been injured in a weather-related car accident, speak to an attorney at Silva Injury Law to determine if you have the right to compensation for your damages.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Auto Accidents

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury Arbitration

When a person is injured in a car accident caused by the negligence of another driver, the injured party may make a claim against the negligent driver’s insurance for their damages. What often occurs, however, is that the negligent driver’s insurance policy limit is insufficient to cover the damages, or the negligent driver has no insurance at all. In this instance, the injured party may be able to make a claim to their own insurer to cover all or the remaining damages. The feasibility of this depends on individual policies and will not be triggered unless the negligent driver’s insurance policy limits have been collected.   THE ROLE OF ARBITRATION   Regardless of whether the claim is due to an uninsured or underinsured motorist, when the insured injured party and their insurance company are unable to agree on the amount of the claim, California Vehicle Code §11580.2(f) requires that it must be set for arbitration.  This is considered to be a condition precedent to the payment of policy benefits, therefore unless there are unusual circumstances, arbitration must occur before the insured-injured party brings suit against the insurer.   Arbitration is required before an injured party can file suit against their own insurance whether it be due to the insurance company’s unwillingness to pay or bad faith offers and negotiations. California law requires that insurance companies act in good faith to come to an agreement with the insured party before the parties go to arbitration. However, if an insurance company fails to act in good faith, following arbitration the injured-insured party can file suit. POTENTIAL BAD FAITH CLAIMS   The outcome of arbitration often makes it clear whether or not there is a potential bad faith case against the insurance company. When the outcome of arbitration is an award significantly greater than the offers from the insurance company before arbitration, this is very strong evidence that the insurance company made the offer in bad faith. On the other side, however, when the arbitration award is either the same or similar to the amount initially offered by the insurer during pre-arbitration, it makes it significantly more difficult to have a viable bad faith case against the insurance company.   When the bad faith actions of the insurance company require the parties to go to arbitration, and the injured-insured party subsequently sues the insurance company, the insured can seek damages costs associated with their expenses related to the arbitration. This includes any attorney’s fees or costs. The costs of an attorney to represent the insured in arbitration are often one of the main elements of economic damages sought in bad faith actions.   SEEK LEGAL REPRESENTATION Ultimately, when an insured party is injured by either an underinsured or uninsured motorist, they can seek a claim from their insurance. If they are unable to agree on the amount of loss with the insurance company, it is most likely they will have to go to arbitration in order to pursue compensation. Given the stakes of arbitration, the insured party should always seek legal representation. An attorney will be best able to handle the claim and represent the insured-injured party in arbitration, as well as any subsequent bad faith actions against the insurer.   Contact the attorneys at Silva Injury Law if you were injured in an automobile accident and have not been fairly compensated for your damages.  

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Auto Accidents

Common Back and Neck Injuries After a Car Accident

There are approximately six million car accidents each year in the United States, with three million people injured. Many of these injuries are to the vulnerable structures of the back and neck that can be badly damaged by rapid movements and forceful impacts. If you’ve injured your back or neck in a car accident, it’s important to contact an experienced California car accident attorney that can help you collect the greatest amount of compensation possible for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, suffering and emotional distress.   Symptoms Of Neck and Back Injuries Can Be Subtle At First Heavy impacts from truck accidents can cause catastrophic spinal cord injuries with devastating consequences. If you’re unable to move any part of your body or you experience intense pain, immediate medical attention is a must. On the other hand, milder back and neck injuries may not reveal their severity immediately. It’s not unusual for victims to refuse the ambulance at the scene, only to wake up the next morning with severe stiffness and/or pain in their back and neck. These are some of the symptoms to look out for in the hours and days after a car accident:   Sharp pain that radiates down the arm or leg; Numbness in the arms, hands, legs or feet; Bruising; Swelling; Redness; Inflammation; Headaches; Dizziness and Burning sensations.   If you have any of the symptoms above, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. It’s also important to speak to an experienced California back and neck injury accident attorney about your legal rights to compensation.   The Importance Of Proper Diagnosis and Treatment X-rays can only diagnose broken and dislocated bones, so when the hospital tells you you don’t have fractures, it’s important to remember that your pain could be caused by a soft tissue injury. Serious soft tissue injuries of the sensitive spinal vertebrae can cause long term pain and disability. That’s why it’s important to have a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan to determine whether or not you’ve sustained herniated or bulging discs if your pain does not subside after a period of physical therapy. An MRI scan can also diagnose soft tissue back and neck injuries such as torn ligaments, inflammation, sprains and tendonitis. Once you have a diagnosis, a treatment plan can be created. If physical therapy, acupuncture, pain management with epidurals and other conservative treatments are not successful, your doctor may want you to consider surgery.   California Back and Neck Injury Accident Attorney Victims that sustain serious back and neck injuries are entitled to compensation from the parties that caused them harm. In order to collect the maximum amount of damages, it’s important to work with a California back and neck injury attorney that has a great deal of experience with this type of case.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Auto Accidents

Rear End Car Accident Attorney

According to the Washington Post, there are close to two million rear end collisions each year in the United States, causing over two hundred thousand injuries and deaths. Victims and their families often have huge monetary losses for medical expenses and lost earnings, in addition to pain, suffering and mental anguish that entitle them to compensation. That’s why it’s important to speak to a California rear end accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident to discuss making a claim.   What Types of Injuries Are Common For Rear End Car Accidents? Whiplash is the most common type of injury from rear end car accidents. It’s a neck injury caused by a sudden back and forth motion from the force of an impact, and can vary greatly in severity. Mild cases of whiplash can cause the ligaments and tendons of the neck to stretch or tear, a painful condition can require weeks, months or even years of rehabilitation and disability. Symptoms include pain, stiffness, headaches, dizziness, blurred vision and fatique. Heavy impacts caused by drunk or distracted drivers traveling at a high rate of speed can cause the neck to jerk violently back and forth resulting in traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries with loss of function and/or paralysis. In addition to neck injuries, victims often suffer broken bones, dislocations, head injuries, disfiguring scars and burns. It’s important to speak to a California rear end accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident to determine your legal rights.   What Causes Rear End Accidents? Virtually all rear end accidents are caused by an inattentive driver that hits the car in front of them. It’s common for cars to be hit in the rear while waiting at a red light or in stop and go traffic on the highway. Distracted driving contributes to many rear end crashes, where one or more of the following is a factor:   Eat or drinking; Taking care of children; Smoking; Texting; Speaking on the phone; Talking to passengers; Using a navigation system or a map; Applying make-up and Combing hair.   Some rear end accidents are caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol, drugs or prescription medications. Other causes include faulty brakes, obscured vision due to road design or overgrown foliage, wet or icy roads and road rage.   California Rear End Accident Attorney Victims of rear end accidents are entitled to compensation for out of pocket medical expenses, lost earnings, lost future earning capacity, pain, suffering and mental anguish. In order to collect the highest amount of money damages, it’s important to work with a California rear end accident attorney with experience handling this type of case.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Auto Accidents

Cell Phone Car Accident Injury Attorney

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA,) distracted driving is a factor in close to ten percent of fatal accidents in the United States. Many of those crashes are caused by drivers using cell phones to speak, text or play online games. Victims often suffer from severe or catastrophic injuries and face large medical costs and earnings losses. That’s why it’s important to call an experienced California cell phone car accident injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident to begin the process of collecting the compensation you’re entitled to.   Distracted Driving Is A Leading Cause of Fatal Accidents According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA,) close to ten percent of fatal crashes in the United States each year are caused by distracted drivers. There are many different types of distractions that can lead to accidents such as:   Electronic Devices; Pets; Children; Using a GPS; Eating and Drinking; Grooming; Adjusting climate control; Talking to Passengers and Rubbernecking   The number one cause of fatal accidents due to distracted driving is using a cell phone. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that cell phone use while driving causes over a million and a half accidents each year and that one in four crashes is caused by texting while driving.   Using a Cell Phone While Driving Is More Dangerous Than You Think It’s obvious that taking your eyes off the road to text or play a video game while driving might cause an accident, but cell phone use can be extremely dangerous even when handsfree. The United States Department of Transportation reports that talking on cellphones can impede driver’s reaction time equivalent to the impairment from a blood alcohol reading that would determine intoxication. That’s also why accidents caused by using cell phones are more likely to cause severe, catastrophic or fatal injuries.   California Laws For Using Cell Phones While Driving The state of California has been extremely proactive about protecting people from the hazards of using cell phones while driving. The laws are strict and subject to heavy fines that increase with subsequent infractions. Repeat offenders that cause injuries can find themselves without a driver’s license or even in jail. These are the most important laws:   California bans composing, sending or reading text messages while driving, even if stopped at a light or still in traffic. California bans using handheld phones while driving, but does allow the use of speakerphones for drivers over age eighteen. Drivers under the age of eighteen may not use a cell phone while driving, even a handsfree speakerphone, unless it is an emergency call.   It’s not always easy to prove that a person was using a cellphone while driving. That’s why it’s important for people that are injured by these negligent drivers to hire a California cell phone car accident injury attorney that knows exactly how to handle these cases.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Auto Accidents

California Dangerous Road Accident Attorneys

More than half the fatal accidents on highways are caused by vehicles that crashed due to leaving their traveling lane, causing head-on collisions, rollovers, falls off cliffs and collisions with fences, walls and trees. These accidents may seem at first to be caused completely by driver inattention, cell phones or involvement of alcohol or drugs, but an experienced California dangerous road accident attorney knows how to go the extra mile and investigate how dangerous roads may have contributed to the accident.   Why Do The Best Attorneys Investigate Dangerous Roads For Catastrophic Injury and Fatal Accident Cases? California only requires motor vehicle owners to have liability insurance with a minimum of $15,000 per person, and $30,000 per incident as compensation for victims of accidents. That’s all that can be collected from the driver and owner of the vehicle even if the injuries are catastrophic or cause a fatality. Municipalities have deep pockets that can allow victims and their families to collect the very large amounts of compensation they deserve for medical expenses, lost earnings, lost future earning capacity, pain, suffering and mental anguish. That’s why it’s important to consider how dangerous road conditions may have contributed.   How Dangerous Roads Cause Accidents Dangerous roads can cause or contribute to accidents due to their poor design, improper construction, faulty maintenance and failure to update due to changing conditions. These are some examples of defective road design:   Curves that are too sharp; Pavement that lacks proper skid resistance; Steep slopes; Obstructed visibility; Exit or entrance ramps that are not long enough for safe merges; Missing or defective guardrails; Ravines and cliff that cause steep drop offs; Negligent placement of traffic signals; Poorly marked lanes and Poor drainage that causes slippery conditions.   Defective design claims assume that the construction was done properly based on the blueprints, but the design itself was negligent. It’s also possible to make claims based on construction that did not properly execute the design, used cheap improper materials or was not carried out competently. In other cases, the roads were properly designed and constructed, but were not properly maintained. For example:   Potholes; Deteriorated guard rails; Broken traffic signals; Overgrown foliage; Faded lane lines and Missing or broken signage.   Failure to adapt to changing road conditions is becoming a more popular claim, especially in urban areas. Some examples failing to add traffic signals when an intersection has become much busier or ignoring mounting evidence that large amounts of accidents occur at a particular location.   California Dangerous Road Accident Attorneys If you or a loved one is seriously injured in an accident, it’s important to contact a California dangerous road accident attorney that knows how to collect the largest amount of compensation possible under the circumstances.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Auto Accidents

CNN Reveals Insurance Company Injury Claim Tactics

State Farm Insurance claims to be “like a good neighbor” and Allstate wants you to believe that you’re “in good hands” when you buy their insurance. The reality is that insurance companies like to collect premiums, but they don’t want to pay out claims. A CNN special investigation reveals the tactics that State Farm, Allstate and other insurance companies use to intimidate consumers and increase profits. That’s why it’s important to work with an experienced California car accident lawyer that can’t be fooled by their tricks.   Insurance Companies Are More Interested In Profit Than Policyholders State Farm and Allstate are the two largest automobile insurers and they’re both working with the McKensie & Company, a consulting firm that’s teaching them how to pay out less to claimants and increase profit. They pretend that they’re paying out less to claimants to keep prices down for their policyholders, but CNN reveals how they’re paying out less money, while not reducing the cost of policies by a single penny for their policyholders. All of the money they’re saving from ripping off consumers is going directly into increasing profits for their stockholders and raising salaries for their top executives.   The Three D’s – Delay, Denial and Defense State Farm and Allstate are training representatives to disparage claimants with less serious injuries by implying they are committing fraud and offering them pennies on the dollar as compensation. First, they delay by taking their time reviewing these claims, making claimants wait while their medical bills pile up and their lost earnings accumulate. Next, they deny the claim, saying that there’s minimal property damage, so it’s not possible to really be hurt, offering as little as $50 as “nuisance value” to claimants. Finally, they “defend” the claims, forcing claimants to litigate claims that they should have settled for a fair amount of compensation. That’s why it’s important to hire an experienced California car accident lawyer to collect the highest amount of compensation for your car accident injuries.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Auto Accidents

California Car Accident Injury – What’s my Case Potentially Worth?

If you’ve suffered serious injuries from a car accident, you’re entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost earnings, pain, suffering and mental anguish if the accident was caused by somebody else’s negligence. You’ve heard about multi-million dollars accident case settlements and friends that have collected thousands, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now you’re hurt and you’re wondering how much money you might collect for your California car accident injury.   Factors That Determine How Much a Case Is Worth Ethical attorneys are not going to promise specific results for any case, but it’s possible to get a pretty good idea of what a case is worth by looking at these factors:   Your age and health; The type of injury; The amount of medical treatment; The length of medical treatment; How painful the injury is; Length of disability and Degree of fault.   It’s usually not possible to determine many of these factors until some time has passed since an accident. Injuries that may seem very severe right after a car crash, may heal quickly with minimal treatment and seemingly minor injuries can take a turn for the worse. To get the highest amount of compensation possible, it’s important to hire a California car accident injury attorney that knows how to maximize the value of your case.   How To Maximize The Value Of A California Car Accident Injury Case The first order of business is to conduct a thorough investigation to determine all responsible parties. The best California car accident injury attorneys don’t just make a claim against the owner and driver of the vehicle for victims of severe or catastrophic injuries. That’s because most cars in California only carry the state’s minimum liability policy limits of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per incident. This is insufficient for compensating victims of severe injuries. That’s why it’s important to investigate if a manufacturer’s defect such as faulty brakes may have contributed to the accident. In some cases municipalities can be liable for overgrown foliage that obscures vision or potholes that were a factor in causing or worsening the accident. It’s important to make sure that the victim sees doctors that can testify well about the injuries, explaining how they caused significant pain and suffering. A vocational expert can be retained to prove the amount of money that will be lost in a victim’s lifetime due to an accident.   Car Accident Injury Timeline For minor to moderate injuries, it’s usually possible to determine how much the case is worth by six months to a year after the accident. By this time, treatment is usually complete and an assessment of the lifetime impact of the accident on a person’s life is clear. For moderate to severe injuries, it can take over a year until it’s clear how much permanent restriction and disability will result. Severe to catastrophic injuries can take even longer, and require a great deal of preparation for trial in order to get the highest settlement offers. It’s important to consult with an experienced California car accident injury attorney to discuss the best way to proceed with your case.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Auto Accidents

Be Careful When Speaking To An Insurance Claims Adjuster After An Injury

Successful people like to be proactive, taking care of things right away instead of putting them off. This attitude can pay off big in many areas, but if you’re injured in a car accident in California, it will most likely do you more harm than good. It’s important not to get sucked in by a cheerful claims adjuster that tells you they will settle your claim quickly without a lawyer because they usually offer you pennies on the dollar. Even worse, anything you tell them can be used against you later in court. The best way to maximize the amount of compensation you receive is to speak to a California car accident attorney as soon as possible after your crash.   What To Do After A Car Accident The first priority is always to seek medical attention for yourself and others involved in the accident. Call 911 to request the police and an ambulance. If you’re injured, it’s best for your health and your legal claim to be taken to the nearest emergency room to be checked out. If you’re physically able, take pictures and videos of the scene that establish how the accident happened, damages to vehicles and injuries sustained. Tell the police your version of what happened and try to find witnesses that saw the crash. Exchange information with the other driver, including their name, address, phone number, email and insurance company. It’s a good idea to speak to a California car accident attorney before you report the accident to your own insurance company or speak to the insurance company for the other vehicle. When you hire an attorney, the insurance company must speak only to your attorney and can no longer call you directly. How Speaking To The Insurance Company Can Ruin Your Case Insurance companies know that some injuries heal quickly and others can be long lasting, and that it’s not possible to know this until many months after an accident. That’s why they call victims right after an accident, on a recorded line, asking them how they’re feeling. Something as simple as responding “I’m fine,” could be devastating to your case if it went to a jury. Back injuries, knee injuries and other problems can feel much worse a week after the accident than they do the day after. That’s why insurance companies try to get people to settle their case for a tiny amount of money very quickly. An experienced California car accident attorney knows how to help you develop the evidence to get you the highest amount of compensation possible for the injuries you sustained.

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