Articles Posted in Car Accidents

After plaintiffs filed a personal injury complaint against a defendant for injuries sustained in a California car accident, the defendant demurred to the complaint on the ground that the statute of limitations had run.  The lower court sustained the demurrer and entered judgment in favor of the defendant. On appeal, the plaintiffs argued that their attorney had shown an excusable error that justifiecar accidentd relief against the statute of limitations bar. In the alternative, they requested a ruling that would toll the applicable limitations period.

An accident occurred on January 18, 2014, and the plaintiffs filed their complaint on February 16, 2016.  In opposition to the defendant’s demurrer that stated that the statute of limitations had run, the plaintiffs filed an opposition on the day before the hearing. They argued that settlement negotiations had occurred, and there had been a delay in receiving medical records. Additionally, the plaintiffs’ attorney stated he had personal problems and had relied on staff personnel.  While the plaintiffs argued these excuses qualified as “excusable neglect,” by law, the court sustained the demurrer for the plaintiffs’ failure to state facts sufficient to state a cause of action.

On appeal, the court stated that in the situation of a demurrer based on an affirmative defense, the court asks if the complaint makes clear the action is necessarily barred. Regarding the statute of limitations, there are policy considerations in favor of stopping tardy claims, while also disposing of claims on the merits.

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The California Court of Appeal recently held in favor of the defendant in an underlying Southern California car accident lawsuit brought after a rear-end motor vehicle collision. The plaintiff in this case appealed the lower court’s judgment in favor of the defendant, finding that her negligence had not substantially caused the plaintiff’s harm.  On appeal, the court held that the trial court had not abused its discretion in allowing the defendant’s expert to testify that the plaintiff had not suffered his alleged injuries in the accident.

rear-end collision

The defendant in this case rear-ended the plaintiff on the 405 freeway in Costa Mesa, pushing the plaintiff’s car into the vehicle in front of him.  The defendant’s airbags deployed upon impact, but the plaintiff’s airbags did not.  The insurance companies held that both vehicles were total losses.

At the scene of the crash, the plaintiff’s visible injury was a cut on his lip, and he did not accept treatment from the paramedics.  Prior to the accident, the plaintiff had not suffered back pain. The plaintiff experienced pain in his lower back and eventually underwent an MRI that revealed a herniated disc.  Eventually, the plaintiff underwent fusion surgery to correct a herniated disc.

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According to a recent study by UC Berkeley’s Safe Transportation and Research Education Center, obese drivers have been determined to be up to 78% more likely than normal weight drivers to suffer fatalities in a car crash. The research center is affiliated with the UC Berkeley School of Public Health and the Institute of Transportation Studies.  Despite the increase in safety technology for both commercial and personal vehicles, the findings show that there is a substantial difference in fatalities for heavier accident victims.  The study is significant because obesity is an ongoing issue in the nation, and the numbers of obese individuals are rising, meaning that fatal car accidents could increase despite potentially safer vehicles. Unlike overweight people, with a body mass index between 25 and 29.9, obese individuals are classified as having a body mass index above 30. open road

Throughout Southern California, car accident victims can suffer a range of injuries in a collision.  After researching over 41,000 collisions and narrowing research to vehicles of the same size, the data was also controlled for factors such as gender of drivers, failure to wear a seatbelt, alcohol use, and collision type.

Our Southern California car accident lawyers believe that the relationship between obesity and injury outcomes is important, but it is also important to recognize that regardless of the victim’s characteristics, there are legal remedies that provide relief to the victim and their family.  In the case of a fatal accident, the family or their legal representatives have the right to pursue a wrongful death claim against all at-fault parties.

After rear-ending another vehicle that had been stopped, an insured individual sought uninsured motorist benefits from his car insurer.  The insurer denied his claim, and the arbitrator denied damages to the appellant.  The appellant petitioned the trial court to vacate the arbitration award, and the California Court of Appeal affirmed the court’s denial of his petitiorear-end collisionn, finding it was not an appealable order.  Specifically, the appellate court turned to California law, which requires that physical contact support an uninsured motorist claim after a Southern California car accident involving allegations of a phantom vehicle.

The appellant in this case argued that he had been hit from behind and pushed into the vehicle in front of him.  He argued that the vehicle that struck him had left the scene immediately.  The insurer argued no evidence supported his position he had been pushed into the vehicle in front.

The insurance company inspected the appellant’s vehicle for repairs, which were estimated to total approximately $7,000.  The front of the vehicle sustained damage, and there was no damage listed to the rear bumper or trunk.  Photographs supported the estimate that the damage focused on the front end of the vehicle.

Following a California truck accident, the victim in a recent case before the California Court of Appeal pursued a personal injury claim against the truck driver and his trucking company.  The lower court awarded the plaintiff truck collision$3.3 million for damages, since he suffered serious physical injuries in the collision.  After the appellate court had reversed an earlier decision in the victim’s favor, the jury had found that it was reasonably certain the plaintiff would require four future shoulder surgeries.  The defendant argued that one surgery was reasonably certain, and the evidence did not support a finding that three other surgeries were required.

The appellate court in this opinion restated the facts, which indicate that at the time of the collision, the defendant driver had been crossing the southbound lanes of traffic on Pacific Coast Highway, heading north.  The plaintiff had been driving a minivan southbound when he crashed into the flatbed trailer at about 45 miles per hour.  After being extricated from the vehicle, he suffered an open fracture in his left shoulder.

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All drivers owe others on the road a duty of care to exercise reasonable caution.  When driving, it is negligent to use any substance that impairs your ability to drive.  Alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs affect the ability of drivers to safely operate their vehicles and may cause harm to others on the road. When a driver’s negligence causes an accident and resulting harm, injured victims may hold the driver accountable in a legal claim.

impaired driving crash

California motor vehicle collision claims involving marijuana use by drivers are rising.  Since marijuana has been legalized, it is likely the state will see an increase in car accidents caused by drivers impaired by smoking or ingesting marijuana.  According to a recent insurance study, crash statistics in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado indicate that after legalizing recreational marijuana, there was an increase in the number of car accident claims in those states. After suffering injuries in an accident with a driver impaired by marijuana, victims may recover damages by filing personal injury civil claims against the at-fault drivers.

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Recently, the California Court of Appeal addressed whether the lower court had properly excluded evidence that the defendant in a pedestrian collision lawsuit had fled the scene of the accident, without rendering aid to the plaintiff. The plaintiff alleged that excluding this evidence prejudiced her, since she suffered mental distress due to the defendant’s conduct. The defendant countered that she had already been deemed negligent, and the issue before the jury was damages.  The evidence, according to the defendant and affirmed by the appellate court, was not relevant to the nature and extent of the plaintiff’s damages.

pedestrian collision

Together with her husband, the plaintiff brought a complaint against the defendant for negligence and loss of consortium after the defendant struck the plaintiff while she was crossing a street on North Figueroa Avenue in Los Angeles.  The defendant admitted negligence but disputed the extent of the alleged damages and injuries.  The trial court entered judgment in favor of the plaintiffs on negligence and awarded the plaintiffs a net judgment of $876.85.  The plaintiffs appealed from the judgment.

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After suffering injuries in a car accident, the plaintiff in a recent case before the Superior Court of Orange County argued that her insurance company breached their implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.  While the court had found that the insurance company was entitled to summary judgment, based on the legal doctrine of “genuine dispute,” the plaintiff appealed. The California Court of Appeal for the Fourth District held that there were triable issues regarding whether the insurance company’s decision that the plaintiff did not need steroid injections was made without conducting a good faith investigation and without a reasonabstethoscopele basis for a genuine dispute.

The case followed a vehicle collision in which another driver ran a red light and struck the plaintiff’s car. The other driver had caused the accident, and the plaintiff reported the accident to her insurance company the next day.  She also immediately reported chest pain in a police report at the scene of the accident. She was transported by ambulance to the hospital, where she complained of pain in her face and arm.

The plaintiff then sought medical treatment from a chiropractor, first stating she had back pain. Later, she saw an osteopath, who recommended she receive a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test for her spine.  The MRI was noted to indicate significant disc protrusion, requiring more therapy, medications, and injections.

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Pedestrian accidents and fatalities are unfortunately a common occurrence on California roads. Aggressive or careless drivers who speed near intersections or otherwise violate a statute put others at risk of severe harm.  Victims hurt in a pedestrian accident can file a civil lawsuit to pursue damages from the at-fault driver. By proving the other driver failed to meet their duty of care and did not drive reasonably under the circumstances, a victim may present a strong claim for compensation.
pedestrian sign

According to the California Vehicle Code, pedestrians are entitled to safe travel and access to roads.  Drivers are required to yield the right of way to pedestrians who are crossing the roadway within a marked crosswalk.  Motorists are also required to yield when pulling out of a parking lot or a driveway.  However, the law also states that pedestrians must use due care for their safety, and they cannot unnecessarily stop or delay traffic while in the crosswalk. In a legal claim for damages, a pedestrian deemed to have contributed to their injuries may find their recovery reduced by their percentage of fault.

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In a recent case before the California Court of Appeal, the court addressed a plaintiff’s allegations of error concerning the trial court’s exclusion of evidence in her single-vehicle personal injury lawsuit.  The court analyzed whether the plaintiff had met the elements of showing that a dangerous condition of public property existed on the road.  They also made clear that the standard on review was whether there was a reasonable probability the jury would have reached a result more favorable to the plaintiff, had there been no error.

overpass

The plaintiff brought a lawsuit against the State of California for severe and permanent injuries she suffered in an accident on State Route 127 in July 2012.  She contended that a puddle on the road caused her vehicle to veer and roll over.  On behalf of the state, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) prevailed in a jury trial, when the jury found no dangerous condition existed.

In her appeal, the plaintiff contended that it had been a prejudicial error to exclude testimony from her biomechanical expert and a witness to the accident. Regarding the biomechanical expert, whom the plaintiff had designated to testify regarding how her injuries occurred during the car accident, Caltrans had contended that the expert was not qualified to offer opinions on the topic of accident reconstruction and traffic engineering.  The expert was going to testify regarding the number of rollovers that took place in the accident.

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