Tag Archive for: car accidents

dental injuries in San Diego

Common Dental Injuries That Result from Auto Accidents

Dental injuries and motor vehicle accidents are rarely thought of together. However, there is always a risk of sustaining serious damage to your teeth, gum tissue, tongue, or other parts of the mouth in a car crash. Many car accident victims also suffer trauma to the head and face, which may include oral damage as well.

Dental injuries may not only cause severe pain and suffering, but they may also result in disfigurement and serious aesthetic challenges. While the law is on your side, you should know how to move ahead with a claim. This post will shed light on common dental injuries that may be caused by California car accidents.

Fractured Teeth Can Impact Your Dental Health

Fractured or cracked teeth can quickly escalate into a tooth abscess. It is possible to suffer root damage from an innocuous hairline fracture too. Fluctuating pain levels, aversion to sugar or temperature, and swelling may be indicative of a broken tooth.

The fracture may only scar the outer portion of the tooth, depending on the severity. It may impact the nerves lying within the roots. Cracked teeth, when left untreated, can infect the sensitive inner pulp. There may be no other option left but to extract the tooth in this case.

Tooth Loss because of Luxation

Tooth luxation occurs when the tissues and ligaments holding the tooth in place get stretched or torn, causing the tooth to get displaced. It may result in the tooth loosening to the point where you can wiggle it or get pushed up into the gum line. Tooth luxation generally occurs when the driver’s head hits a hard object, such as the steering wheel.

Car accident victims should quickly seek dental treatment for any displaced teeth before the tooth detaches and becomes an avulsed tooth. Everyday wear and tear can cause this. You should know that you have the responsibility to take all steps towards mitigating the damages. Otherwise, you may unknowingly reduce the compensation received in a car accident settlement.

Risk of Oral Infection after an Auto Accident

An avulsed tooth is when a tooth gets detached from its socket or knocked out. This is a rare dental injury and is usually associated with head trauma. A capable dentist may be able to salvage the tooth. Moreover, time is of the essence. 120 million Americans, as per the American College of Prosthodontists, are estimated to be missing at least one tooth.

You can reduce the risk of an avulsed tooth by going to a dentist and having the tooth reimplanted. The hole left behind by an avulsed tooth can leave you vulnerable to infection.

Dental Injuries Need Urgent Care

Dental injuries are often overlooked by victims in the initial aftermath of an accident. In fact, many victims are overwhelmed by the severity of other injuries even after discovering the oral damage. This causes them to postpone the dental treatment during the recovery period.

Delaying care may leave your broken tooth exposed to pathogens and cause decay. The deterioration may spread to other healthy teeth and the gums. Delaying treatment is a bad idea since it can affect the credibility of your car accident claim. Failure to seek immediate treatment makes the injuries appear less severe to insurance companies. It may negatively impact the value of your claim.

You should immediately have your teeth checked for chips and breaks if you experienced whiplash or head trauma. Whiplash is a violent motion that can leave your teeth damaged and cause pain in the back and neck.

Compensatory Damages for Cosmetic Dental Issues

Teeth may become scuffed or chipped after coming in contact with inflexible or abrasive surfaces. Scratched and chipped teeth can affect your confidence. It can also compromise your comfort in a social setting and performance at work. These invisible costs may not have a tangible receipt. Moreover, they are legitimate losses warranting compensation.

You may be able to qualify these losses as special damages in a personal injury. This is especially true if you had to seek veneers or caps for disguising the damage done to the teeth. Pain and suffering is a hidden cost that may arise from seeking dental treatment.

For many people, a trip to the dentist is nothing less than visiting the house of horrors. It is stressful and traumatic. You may be able to claim damages for the distress you feel like part of the pain and suffering component. Speak with an accomplished car accident attorney to learn more.

Impact of Dental Injuries on Daily Life

Your teeth are necessary for smiling confidently, speaking articulately, and chewing food. Dental injury may disrupt several facets of your life. You should seek a solid and reliable car accident attorney and familiarize yourself with the steps required in a personal injury claim if you damaged your teeth. The compensation should include components beyond the potential medical implications and pain.

Our Capable and Resourceful Dental Injury Lawyers are Here to Help

The personal injury attorneys at Garmo & Garmo, LLP can help if you or a loved one suffered dental injuries as a result of a car accident caused by a negligent or careless driver. To request your free, no-obligation consultation, call us at 619-441-2500 or complete this online form.

 

accidents from not using turn signal

Accidents Caused by Not Using Turn Signals

When a driver fails to use the turn signals, it increases the risk of a car accident. Turn signals let the other road users know where the vehicle in front of them is going. Spontaneous lane change or a sudden turn without signaling does not give time to the other motorists to adjust their vehicles, which can result in an accident. California law allows victims of car accidents to file a personal injury claim if their injuries were the result of a negligent driver not using turn signals.

Turn Signals are Important

Turn signals matter because they let the other driver know in which direction the automobile ahead of them is going. The only way to indicate a lane switch or a potential turn is by using these indicators. These signals are helpful for pedestrians as well. They let pedestrians anticipate the movement of a particular car in a parking lot, at intersections, and in other places. This can prevent pedestrians from walking straight into a moving vehicle.

California Statutes Regarding Turn Signal

There are a number of situations in which the California Vehicle Code mandates using turn signals. California Vehicle Code 22107 mandates all drivers to give an appropriate signal in case another vehicle can be affected by their turn. It also prohibits drivers from turning from a direct course until it is made in a reasonably safe manner.

CVC 22108 states that a driver needs to signal their intention to turn left or right by having the turn signal on continuously for the last 100 feet of travel. CVC 22110 comes into effect if the car is not equipped with turn signals. In such a scenario, the signal needs to be made through a signal lamp or by giving a hand.

Failure to abide by these rules can result in negligence per se. The plaintiff will need to prove elements of damage and causation when this applies. Medical bills, lost income, costs of future treatment, pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity, and property damage are a few common forms of compensation.

Filing a Car Accident Claim in California

You may be entitled to compensation if you suffered serious injuries in a car accident that was caused because of a driver not using turn signals. Hiring an experienced car accident attorney can help you increase the likelihood of a successful claim. Your attorney will be able to walk you through the available legal options.

They will also ensure that you are within the statute of limitations. You may lose your right to file a claim if you miss the statute of limitations deadline. Most insurance companies tend to take accident claims seriously only when backed by an attorney. This is because they know that responsible attorneys will never allow their clients to settle for a lowball offer. Instead, the car accident lawyer will be prepared to go to trial.

Proving Liability in a Car Accident Claim for Not Using Turn Signals

You and your attorney will need to prove the negligence of the at-fault party before you can receive compensation for your losses and damages. The burden to prove the other driver’s negligence by not turning on the turn signal falls on the victim. You would also need to prove that the accident caused the damages and injuries suffered by you.

The following elements of personal injury need to be established for a successful case:

  • The driver owed a duty of care to the victim
  • The duty of care was breached
  • The plaintiff suffered physical, emotional, or financial injury
  • The plaintiff’s losses and damages were the result of the breach of duty of care

While you don’t need to prove these elements at the time of filing a claim with the insurance company, it is recommended that you build a strong claim to have a better negotiating position.

Necessary Evidence to Prove Your Claim

Every driver owes another driver a duty of care on the road. This means that the motorist has to employ best driving practices for keeping the others safe on the road. Any breach of this duty of care leaves the at-fault party liable for damages.

These are a few ways negligence can be proved in a personal injury lawsuit:

  • Video footage of the negligent action
  • Car accident reconstruction
  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Record of arrest or ticket connected to the accident
  • Medical records linking the accident to injuries suffered

It can be difficult to gather the necessary evidence on your own, especially if you are still recovering from your injuries. Having an attorney can help gather evidence. Many law firms have expert investigators on their panel that can collect enough relevant evidence on your behalf.

Speak to a Car Accident Attorney in California Today

Car accidents can leave a victim overwhelmed and confused. Mounting medical bills and loss of earning capabilities don’t help in easing the pressure. The legal team at Garmo & Garmo, LLP has a deep understanding of the personal injury law in California, and we can build a strong case for damages.

We will leave no stone unturned in establishing evidence and pursuing the highest possible compensation you are entitled to from the liable parties and their insurers. To schedule your free consultation, call us at 619-441-2500 or fill out this online contact form.

self driving cars accidents

Who Is Liable for a Self-Driving Vehicle Accident?

Several technology companies, in collaboration with motor vehicle manufacturers, are at various phases of development and testing of self-driving vehicles. The core idea is that since human error causes most auto accidents, self-driving cars could potentially save lives.

Removing human error from the roadways is certainly an understandable endeavor. However, when self-driving vehicles are involved in crashes, the issue of legal liability for the accident remains to be determined.

Issues Automation Seeks to Avoid

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), human error is the reason for a large percentage of all vehicle accidents. Nearly 40,000 people lose their lives in vehicle accidents in the US each year. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that 94 percent of auto collisions in the US occur due to human error.

There are massive economic costs to vehicle accidents, from property damages to lost productivity in the workplace. For many of these issues, self-driving cars are seen as a potential solution. However, devastating accidents involving autonomous vehicles have raised concerns regarding liability.

Who is Liable When an Autonomous Vehicle Injures People?

In a car accident under normal circumstances, California law holds the at-fault party liable for all damages and losses that they caused. When an automobile is technically driving itself, the liable parties still must be identified. Generally speaking, liability occurs due to one or more of the following issues:

Human Error

The first place an injury victim should assess is still human error. Even the most advanced technology cannot protect the public from reckless human operators if the human motorist has ultimate control of the automobile. Could the backup motorist have done something to prevent the accident? If a motorist does not remain alert while behind the wheel or misuses the technology, then that driver may be at fault for the collision. In certain accidents, another vehicle’s operator may make a mistake.

Automobile Malfunction

At times, technology simply fails. Anyone who has driven a regular vehicle knows that brakes can malfunction, engines can fail, and parts can be faulty. If a driverless automobile is being operated correctly and as designed but somehow malfunctions, then the automaker may be the liable party for any injuries that the defective vehicle caused.

Lax Government Regulations

A government regulatory body that allows self-driving vehicles to be tested on public roads may potentially be accountable for allowing experimental vehicle testing on public roadways if the testing exposes the public to an unreasonable risk of harm.

Faulty Design or Manufacturing

Sometimes the vehicle’s design is defective. For example, there have been conventional vehicles that were manufactured with centers of gravity that were too high, leading to rollover accidents. Does a self-driven vehicle have a design fault in the auto-pilot technology that the manufacturer should have recognized? Self-driving cars will raise new questions on the matter of liability.

How is Insurance Managed in Self-Driven Vehicle Accidents?

It is crucial to understand that a product’s manufacturer is still liable for what harm that product causes. Presently, there are no automobiles in use on California highways that function entirely without human assistance. A human operator still has some degree of control and responsibility for navigating an autonomous vehicle. The vehicle’s operator and manufacturer are primarily responsible for what the vehicle does, at least for the time being.

Over time, consumers should expect greater levels of autonomy, which may eventually lead to completely autonomous cars that do not require human intervention. But that is several years in the future. When society reaches that point, then the responsibility for a crash would probably shift more to the manufacturers and designers of the autonomous vehicle. Until then, the responsibility will likely be shared.

Compensation for Self-Driving Vehicle Crashes

There are various ways to collect compensation for an autonomous vehicle crash. You may be entitled to the following damages:

Medical Expenses

As an injury victim, you can seek compensation for medical expenses, including emergency room visits, doctor consultations, medical care, drugs, surgeries, and rehabilitation costs as a part of your claim.

Property Damage

Compensation for property damage includes reimbursement of repair or replacement expenses for any personal property destroyed or damaged by a self-driven vehicle.

Pain and suffering

Catastrophic injuries commonly occur in accidents that involve pedestrians. Such injuries can warrant compensation for the physical and psychological harm caused by the crash and the failure of the defendant to recognize and address the hazards.

Lost Earnings

If your injuries require you to take time off work, you can claim lost income or even future lost income (in case your injuries cause permanent impairment or disability).

Southern California Personal Injury Attorneys are Here to Help

If you have sustained a severe injury or lost a loved one due to another’s recklessness, you deserve qualified and aggressive legal representation right from the outset of your case. The law sets a time limit on how long you can wait to sue those responsible, so don’t delay seeking help. The seasoned legal team at Garmo & Garmo in La Mesa, CA stands ready to help with even the most difficult cases. Contact us today at (619) 441-2500 for a free case review.

ptsd after car accident

Can Auto Accidents Cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

Automobile accidents are the primary reason for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the general population. Annually there are approximately six million vehicle crashes in the country, leading to over 2.5 million injuries. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports that 39.2 percent of MVA survivors develop PTSD.

PTSD Predictors

According to a research study, the perception that your life was in peril was the strongest predictor for PTSD six months after the trauma. In another study, it was found that avoidance behaviors, the suppression of thoughts about the vehicle crash, rumination about the trauma, and dissociation were most strongly linked to PTSD symptoms two to six months following a wreck.

A strong feeling that your life was under threat during a vehicle accident can cause avoidance behaviors (such as not getting into a vehicle or traveling on the highway), which can increase the chances of PTSD. This type of avoidance strengthens the belief that driving is hazardous, which is a thought pattern that can increase your fear response.

Things to Look Out For

After a vehicle crash, it is understandable to feel various emotions, such as confusion, fear, shock, guilt, grief, and helplessness. But with PTSD, these feelings do not lessen over time and actually worsen.

The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) highlights that you may have PTSD if you have experienced or seen serious trauma, such as a car wreck, and develop some of the below-mentioned symptoms:

  • Changes in emotional responses
  • Avoidance behaviors
  • Negative changes in mood and thinking
  • Intrusive memories

Any or all of the above symptoms may also develop as a part of your body’s natural response to a traumatic event. These symptoms should gradually subside over time in people who do not develop PTSD.

If you believe that your symptoms are getting more serious and/or more frequent if you are avoiding more situations or your symptoms are starting to impact your life, then you may be at risk for developing PTSD.

Filing a PTSD Claim after a Vehicle Accident is Possible

If you are a car accident victim suffering from PTSD due to a devastating crash, it is possible to file a case against the reckless parties for your damages. However, you will require a seasoned personal injury attorney for a favorable outcome in such cases for various reasons, including:

As PTSD is a mental and emotional disorder, it can be challenging to convey its effect and severity. In comparison, a physical injury has clearly visible effects on a victim, along with medical bills that help quantify the seriousness of the injury.

You must certainly prove that you were clinically diagnosed with PTSD. Further, even if PTSD is determined, you must show that your automobile accident directly contributed to or led to the development of the mental condition.

Calculating the value of your claim can also be complex as there may not be any medical bills or other disabilities that can quantify the debilitating impact of PTSD.

Lawsuits based on pain and suffering are often punitive measures, which are reserved for vehicle crashes where the liable parties exhibited gross recklessness and a general lack of remorse for their deeds. While a PTSD claim can succeed, it may require more effort than a standard lawsuit.

What can I do to Pursue a Successful PTSD Personal Injury Claim?

To successfully pursue a case based on PTSD after a car crash, the following is highly recommended:

Hire a Personal Injury Attorney

Work with a personal injury attorney who is experienced in developing cutting-edge case strategies with complex damages in mind. They must possess the skills and knowledge to develop a compelling argument based on your PTSD.

Engage Expert Witnesses

Expert witnesses can corroborate your PTSD diagnosis and that your automobile crash directly led to your PTSD development. Experts may include medical professionals, academics, licensed therapists, or other experienced specialists who may have a first-hand understanding of PTSD and how it develops. Engaging more witnesses is always beneficial for your case.

Consulting a Professional to Determine the Value of a Case

Hiring an expert who may be able to correctly quantify the damages related to your PTSD can be meaningful to your case. It can be complicated to determine how much your case is worth. Thus, consulting a specialist with experience in calculating the value of a case involving a mental condition can be very meaningful to your recovery.

Vehicle crashes can be traumatic, and no one has the right to discount the effect one may have on our emotional, physical, and mental well-being. If you developed any health issues or disorders, you deserve compensatory damages regardless of how much it “looks” like it affects your life.

Consult a Southern California Auto Accident Lawyer about Filing a PTSD Claim

If you or someone you love has experienced a devastating car crash that has had a profound, traumatic negative effect, filing a PTSD lawsuit may be possible with the help of a personal injury lawyer.

PTSD that stems from a car accident can be life-changing and debilitating. It typically leads to emotional, mental, and physical consequences, besides the stresses of medical expenses and treatment. To speak to a skilled car accident injury attorney at the law offices of Garmo & Garmo, call today at (619) 441-2500.

auto repair shop liable for auto accident

Can Auto Repair Shops Be Liable for a Car Accident?

If you are involved in an automobile crash due to poor vehicle maintenance or repairs, the auto repair shop or mechanic may be liable. This means that the repair shop’s insurer may be responsible for providing compensatory damages for your medical expenses, car damage, pain and suffering, lost income, and more. These kinds of lawsuits can be complicated, so it is helpful to understand the mechanics’ responsibilities, examples of careless repair work, and how to prove the garage was at fault for your crash.

The Garage’s Responsibility

If an individual takes their car to a professional for repairs or scheduled maintenance work, the auto repair shop and the mechanic must undertake work on their vehicle with a reasonable standard of care, which include the following:

  • Undertaking repairs in a cautious, skilled, and professional manner
  • Demonstrating the standard knowledge and skills expected of mechanics in the area of auto repair
  • Inspecting and test driving your car to ensure it is safe for use
  • Refraining from undertaking unnecessary repairs

Careless Repair Work

While most licensed garages are responsible and trustworthy, the auto repair industry is also riddled with unscrupulous people who attempt to profit by performing sub-standard repair work. Sometimes even a normally reliable repair shop or mechanic can be negligent. In such cases, they may be held responsible if their carelessness causes you to get into a wreck.

Say you take your vehicle for an oil change and the mechanic forgets to reattach the hose, causing you to lose power and become involved in a crash. Potentially, the garage or mechanic may be liable to pay you for damages.

Examples of negligent repair work may also include the following:

  • Failing to properly repair auto parts that are worn or damaged
  • Failing to fully inspect the car, thereby not noticing significant, demonstrable issues that necessitate repairs
  • Installing an incorrect part when replacing a damaged or defective part
  • Undertaking the wrong auto repair or maintenance procedure
  • Causing damage to the engine or another vehicle part when performing work that has been agreed upon
  • Modifying the vehicle in a manner that would make it illegal to drive on a public road
  • Inability to remove objects, such as debris, that got into the automobile before or during the repair work

Notably, if the mechanic recommends you get something repaired, but you decide not to, the mechanic can no longer be held responsible if that issue causes or contributes to an accident.

Establishing the Mechanic or Garage was Liable

Similar to cases of product liability, negligent vehicle repair crash cases may be quite challenging to prove. The repair business may try to show that you caused the crash due to reckless driving. They can also try to prove that you did not appropriately maintain the vehicle post-repair.

To support your claim that the mechanic or garage was responsible, you will need to provide solid evidence. If you are involved in an accident, take pictures of the vehicle, the specific element that you believe caused or contributed to the crash, the road conditions, and your injuries. Call law enforcement. The police officer will assess the site and create a report, which will be used as proof. Speak to witnesses and get their names and contact details.

Automotive Repair Act

Sadly, a mechanic may still repair a vehicle poorly even when a person takes precautions. Under California law, the Automotive Repair Act governs such situations, necessitating auto repair businesses to meet specific criteria. According to the law, mechanics must:

  • Keep records of all service completed and parts supplied in an invoice
  • Document if used parts were supplied
  • Offer clients written price quotes for parts and labor
  • Acquire customer authorization before commencing any repair work
  • Abstain from charging for extra work or parts that were not included in the initial quotation without customer consent
  • Return replaced parts to the client when the work is completed (if requested)
  • Maintain their records for a minimum of three years

Failure to comply with the above standards may cause a repair dealer to be held responsible for the omission. Moreover, if the car is involved in an accident due to substandard repairs, the mechanic can be held liable for vehicle damage, medical expenses, and lost income.

While some garages post disclaimers on “not being held responsible for accidents caused by repairs,” such claims cannot prevent you from being able to hold them liable if you sustain injuries and damages due to their shoddy repair work.

Consult Our Experienced Southern California Car Accident Attorneys

If you were involved in a car crash due to mechanical failure, you might be entitled to sue for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, among other damages. The attorneys at the law offices of Garmo & Garmo in La Mesa, CA have represented countless clients over the years and can help you collect the compensatory damages you deserve.

Schedule a free case review today and understand what legal options may be available for seeking compensation in your situation. We do not charge any upfront fees, and you only need to pay if we recover compensation on your behalf. Call us today at (619) 441-2500.

head-on collision attorneys

What is the Worst Type of Car Accident?

Nearly 40,000 people lose their lives to car accidents every year, besides countless others who sustain severe injuries in these collisions. Vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death in the US and have significant destructive potential when it comes to harming people and property.

Some types of car accidents are well-known for the severity of injuries they can cause. Victims of these types of crashes will often sustain serious injuries and be saddled with substantial medical bills, lost income from time spent recovering, and protracted pain and suffering.

People who are injured in catastrophic car crashes can seek compensatory damages for their losses and injuries by filing a car accident lawsuit against a party at-fault for the collision. You can seek compensation for your injuries and damages on your own or by working with a car crash attorney.

In fact, many parties could be responsible for the injuries caused by a devastating auto accident. The other driver is most commonly at-fault in a car crash. However, their parties can be reckless as well. For instance, vehicle manufacturers, part manufacturers, and many others may be held accountable if they were negligent, and that carelessness caused the accident that lead to your injuries.

Pileup Vehicle Accidents

Most accidents on the road usually involve only two vehicles. Despite this, a collision between two cars can still be devastating. As the number of automobiles involved in a car crash rises, the possibility of someone sustaining serious injuries increases as well.

If multiple cars are involved in a crash on a busy roadway, then there is a likelihood that more vehicles will unintentionally collide with the automobiles involved in the initial accident. This can lead to a chain reaction of cars colliding into each other, also known as a pileup.

In case a pileup occurs, those involved in the initial crash are typically unable to do much to protect themselves from the damaging effects of other cars adding to the pileup and are at risk for additional damage. Moreover, vehicle pileups can increase the chances of explosions and fires. Flying debris is not uncommon either in serious car accidents.

Head-On Collisions

A head-on collision occurs when an automobile runs square into another vehicle’s front that is moving in the opposite direction. These kinds of collisions are unlikely to happen at low speeds. In this situation, both vehicles will be traveling along a roadway with lanes moving in the opposite direction. Subsequently, one vehicle slides into the other lane, leading to a collision.

Newton’s third law of motion says that if both the vehicles traveling at average speeds of 40 mph collide head-on into each other, the actual impact would be comparable to if the vehicles were traveling at 80 mph. There is a high probability of fatality in head-on collisions as the driver bears the full brunt of the crash. In case they aren’t wearing a seatbelt, it is likely that they will hit the windshield. Even if the driver is wearing a seatbelt, the sheer force alone will lead to severe injury.

Head-on collisions can occur due to a number of reasons: harsh weather, intoxicated driving, inexperience with driving, fatigued driving, distracted driving, and altered traffic patterns due to constructions zones, to name afew.

Rollover Car Crashes

In many car accidents, one or more vehicles may roll over. This can occur due to the impact’s angle, the car turning too quickly, or the motorist losing control of the vehicle.

Rollovers generally occur when a driver attempts to avoid a collision, and their evasive maneuvers cause the vehicle to tip and rollover. Such accidents are more likely to occur with larger vehicles, such as SUVs and trucks. Rollover accidents are especially hazardous as they make it much more challenging to abandon the vehicle, and the rolling itself can lead to serious injury if the occupants of the care are not wearing seatbelts.

T-Bone Car Accidents

When one vehicle hits the side of another vehicle in a perpendicular fashion, a T-bone accident occurs. This type of accident does not derive its name from the type of steak as much as it does from the “T” shape that the accident usually takes when one vehicle collides into the side of another. These accidents generally occur when motorists run red lights at intersections or fail to yield.

T-bone accidents often cause serious injuries to the drivers. The sides of a vehicle are usually more vulnerable compared to the back and front, which have at least some type of buffer. If a car smashes into a motorist’s side at high speed, it will almost certainly end up seriously injuring the driver, or worse.

Legal Help from a Seasoned California Car Crash Lawyer

If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident, you might be able to receive compensation for your injuries. The experienced attorneys at the law offices of Garmo & Garmo have the necessary skills and knowledge to negotiate with insurers on your behalf. If the need arises, we also offer our clients strong legal representation in the courtroom as well. Call today at (619) 441-2500 to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys.

causes of car accidents

What are the Most Common Causes of Motor Vehicle Accidents?

In California, there are more than 100,000 vehicle collisions each year, resulting in more than 3,000 fatalities and tens of thousands of serious injuries. This makes auto crashes one of the leading causes of death in the Golden State.

It is estimated that more than 90% of car and truck accidents are caused by some type of negligence or human error. The rest are due to uncontrollable factors such as inclement weather, earthquakes, animals jumping in front of your car, etc. As you might expect, night times and weekends are the most dangerous times for auto accidents, and children and the elderly are the most vulnerable to serious injuries.

There are many reasons motor vehicle accidents occur, some of the most common include:

Distracted Driving

It is estimated that approximately 80% of all auto accidents involve some form of driver distraction. This could mean visual distractions such as becoming fixated on a sign or billboard for too long, manual distractions such as reaching for an object that fell to the floor, audio distractions such as turning the radio too loud to hear what is happening on the road, or cognitive distractions such as screaming at a child in the back seat or just daydreaming. The advent of smartphones has created a distracted driving epidemic. Texting and other electronic activities have the potential to distract drivers in multiple ways, which takes their focus completely off of the road and heightens the risk of causing an accident.

Speeding

Speed kills, and speeding has always been one of the leading causes of fatal accidents. When someone is exceeding the speed limit or driving faster than the conditions warrant, they have far less time and space to react to adverse road conditions that may arise. Collisions at high speeds also bring maximum force to vehicles and the occupants inside, which greatly increases the chances widespread property damage and serious and catastrophic injuries.

Reckless Driving

Driving aggressively or recklessly is another major contributor to car and truck accidents. Speeding excessively is one common example of reckless driving. Others include running stop lights and stop signs, following too closely/tailgating, illegal or dangerous turns, illegal or dangerous passing maneuvers, wrong way driving, weaving in and out of lanes or straddling the center line, and street racing. A reckless driver is usually in a state of mind where they have willful and wanton disregard for the rules of the road and the safety of others, and those who drive this way put themselves and everyone they share the roads with at great risk.

Driving while Intoxicated

Drunk Driving has always been one of the leading causes of vehicle accidents. Despite decades of high-profile public awareness campaigns that warn us about the dangers of this behavior, far too many individuals still make the horrible and often fateful decision to get behind the wheel after having too much to drink. Those who drive drunk have impaired motor skills and slower reaction times. They also tend to exercise very poor judgment and sometimes even drive recklessly because of their chemically altered state of mind.

Drowsy Driving

Nearly 100,000 vehicle crashes in the U.S. are caused by a drowsy or fatigued driver. Drowsy driving is most common among those who get six hours or less of sleep each night, and some of the groups that are at greatest risk include commercial vehicle drivers, those who work long shifts that go into the evening and overnight hours, individuals with untreated sleep disorders, and those who frequently travel between time zones. Drowsy driving is often a contributing factor in commercial trucking accidents.

Third-Party Causes

Some auto accidents are caused by parties that are not directly involved. For example, a defective vehicle or vehicle part could malfunction at the wrong time and contribute to a crash. Examples include tire blowouts, brake line failures, and computer dashboard malfunctions. When this occurs, the manufacturer, supplier, or distributor of the vehicle or vehicle part could be held responsible. Other third parties that may contribute to an accident include trucking companies that employ a driver, a party responsible for maintaining a commercial vehicle, or a government entity that is responsible for maintaining safe roadways.

Injured in an Auto Accident in Southern California? Contact an Experienced San Diego Personal Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one suffered injury from a car or truck accident in San Diego, El Cajon, or anywhere in Southern California, call Garmo and Garmo, LLP today at 619-441-2500 or message us online to schedule a free consultation and case assessment. We will meet with you to thoroughly evaluate your case and inform you of your legal rights and options.

avoid school bus accidents in el cajon

How to Avoid Accidents with School Buses

Summer is winding down and Fall is upon us. With the kids in the San Diego area going back to school, this is a good time to focus on bus safety. Though rarer than other types of auto accidents, accidents with school buses can be some of the most severe. The shear size of the vehicle and the fact that they are usually transporting numerous children inside can be a recipe for disaster.

Though accidents cannot be completely prevented, it is important for us to do our part to ensure that our kids are kept safe on their way to and from school. Here are four actions we can take to avoid accidents with school buses:

  1. Drive Slowly when you Are Behind a Bus

Driving behind a school bus can be frustrating, especially if you are late for work or for an important appointment. Though we are sometimes in a hurry, it is important to remember that school buses must maintain a safe speed when they are bringing children to and from school. Whenever you are behind a bus, be patient and accept the fact that you will need to drive slowly for a while.

  1. Give the Bus Plenty of Room

Buses are large vehicles that frequently stop to pick up kids and let them off. Buses also must come to a complete stop at all railroad crossings. When you are driving behind a bus, avoid tailgating and be sure to give the vehicle plenty of space. A good rule of thumb is stay at least 10 feet behind the bus at all times.

  1. Be Ready to Stop when Driving Near a Bus

Remember that when the red lights are flashing and the school bus arm is extended, traffic going both ways must stop if it is an undivided road. If the road has a median divider, traffic going in the same direction (as the school bus) must stop. Drivers must remain stopped until the lights are no longer flashing and/or the school bus arm is no longer displayed. Failure to stop can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and points on your driving record. Whenever you are behind a bus or see one coming in the other direction, be prepared to stop when the red lights start flashing.

  1. Be Aware of Children in School Zones

According to the National Safety Council, approximately 20% of those killed in accidents with school buses are pedestrians and bicyclists. Most of these are children who are waiting for the bus or riding their bikes to school. Children are unpredictable, and you never know when they will dart out into the street while waiting for the bus or dash across the street to try to catch the bus on time. Drive slowly through school zones and be aware of kids walking and riding their bikes to school, as well as those waiting for the bus.

New California School Bus Safety Laws Take Effect Soon

In 2015, California passed the Paul Lee School Bus Safety Law, named after a 19-year-old non-verbal autistic student who died tragically after being left for hours in an overheated school bus with the windows shut. The driver failed to notice the student when the others were getting off the bus, even though he was tall enough to be seen over the top of the seat.

In response to this incident, the new law requires all old and new school buses to install child safety alarms that meet the standards set by the California Highway Patrol. Other vehicles that transport children will also be required to have safety alarms that meet CHP standards. The law also mandates that school bus drivers to receive child-check safety training on an annual basis when they renew their bus driver safety certificates.

The Paul Lee School Bus Safety Law was scheduled to go into effect for the 2018-2019 school year. However, the deadline was moved to the 2019-2020 school year to give school districts across the state more time to install CHP-approved child safety alarms. Hopefully, the implementation of this new law will enhance school bus safety and prevent more tragedies like what happened to Paul Lee.

What Happens if I Get into a School Bus Accident?

There are times when you follow all the rules and still end up in an accident with a school bus. This could be the result of negligence or carelessness on the part of the bus driver, vehicle handling problems or other equipment defects, poor road conditions, or other factors. If you or someone close to you was injured in a school bus accident that was not your fault, you may have a right to compensation. To understand your rights and options, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

At Garmo and Garmo, we have in-depth knowledge of the complexities involved with bus accident cases, and we are committed to providing the skilled and personalized representation our clients need and deserve. For a free consultation and case assessment, contact our El Cajon office today at 619-441-2500.