What If You’re Hit by an Unlicensed Driver in California?

What If You’re Hit by an Unlicensed Driver in California?

According to a study by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, unlicensed drivers are three times more likely to cause a fatal crash than their licensed counterparts.

If you’re hit by an unlicensed driver, you need to know what happens next. Our San Bernardino car accident lawyers explain.

What Happens if You’re Hit by an Unlicensed Driver in California?

If you’re hit by an unlicensed driver in California:

1. Seek medical attention

Contact emergency responders if anyone is injured in the crash.

2. Reporting the crash and criminal charges

Report the accident to the police. The driver may be charged with operating without a license.

Several different charges may apply, like driving with no license or driving with a suspended license. Law enforcement will investigate the causes of the crash and, if appropriate, issue charges against the unlicensed driver.

3. Insurance may apply

Usually, an unlicensed driver isn’t insured, but it’s possible. If someone else owns the vehicle, their insurance may cover the accident. The insurance may follow the vehicle. Many policies exclude unlicensed drivers or exclude certain individuals. You’ll need to investigate the policy to determine if there is coverage that applies when you are hit by an unlicensed driver.

4. Look to file with your own uninsured or underinsured policy

If the unlicensed driver who hit you doesn’t have insurance, you can claim your insurance. Your uninsured or underinsured policy may apply in a situation where the driver who hit you doesn’t have insurance. In California, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is not required, but it must be specifically waived, so you may have this type of insurance.

5. The same standards of fault apply

Ultimately, the fault for the accident is what determines liability to pay compensation – not simply the fact that the driver is unlicensed.

To receive compensation, you must prove that the driver is at fault for the accident because of negligence. Traffic violations are negligence – actions like disobeying a stop sign, improper lane changes, proceeding without the right of way, and other common causes of collisions.

Getting compensated for a crash involves two important steps – proving your right to compensation and finding sources of compensation. Don’t overlook the importance of preserving evidence and building your case.

6. File a legal claim

The driver who hit you may be directly responsible for paying damages. Usually, when a driver hits someone, it’s their insurance that pays. However, if the person doesn’t have insurance because they are unlicensed, they may be personally liable. A lawyer can help you investigate whether a legal claim against them is a possibility.

7. Consider third parties with legal liability

Sometimes, there is a third party with legal liability for an accident. For example, the unlicensed driver may have been driving their company vehicle without their employers’ permission. A family member may have allowed the unlicensed driver to use the car knowing they didn’t have a license. These parties can be responsible for allowing the unlicensed person access to the vehicle.

Charges for an Unlicensed Driver Who Hits Someone in California

Driving without a valid license – CVC § 12500

It is unlawful to drive a motor vehicle on a public road without a valid driver’s license. An offense may be charged as a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, or an infraction, punishable by a $250 fine.

Driving on a suspended license – CVC § 14601.1

When someone’s license has been suspended, there is a different charge than driving without a valid license. Driving on a suspended license is a violation of CVC § 14601.1. The offense is driving a motor vehicle when the person’s license is suspended or revoked and the person has knowledge of the suspension. Knowledge is presumed if state officials mail notice of the suspension. A first offense is punishable by up to six months in jail and a $300-$1,000 fine.

Failing to display a license – CVC § 12951

A driver must have their license on their person when operating a vehicle. Failing to display the license when required by a law enforcement officer is a violation of CVC § 12951(b).

Allowing an unlicensed person to drive – CVC § 14604

A person who owns a car must take reasonable steps to make sure that anyone they loan it to has a valid license. They don’t have to run an official license check, but they must make a reasonable inquiry. An owner may be charged with this offense even though they are not the one driving the vehicle.

In addition to being charged for driving without a license, an unlicensed driver may be charged with any traffic offenses that they commit. These criminal charges and infractions are in addition to any liability to pay damages.

Get Legal Help

LA Century Law is a premier law firm representing accident victims in compensation claims. Call our offices or message us online now to talk about your case against an unlicensed driver.

Is It Illegal to Drive Barefoot in California?

Is It Illegal to Drive Barefoot in California?

What if you’re not wearing shoes when you drive? Is it illegal for you to do so in California?

The short answer is no. Contrary to the common belief by many Californians that it is an offense, there are no federal or state laws against driving without shoes or socks on your feet.

But let’s face it; driving barefoot is risky on many fronts. For instance, it’s easy for bare feet to become sweaty and slippery, leading to dangerous situations like missing the brake pedal while trying to avoid hitting other cars. Also, operating pedals barefoot increases the risk of cuts, scrapes, blisters, and abrasions.

Most importantly, we owe a duty of care to other motorists and road users, especially pedestrians. So, while it may be legal to drive barefoot, it is still advisable to wear proper footwear.

Contact LA Century Law to discuss a car accident case in California where another motorist may have violated that duty of care to you.

Dangerous Types of Footwear When Driving

While several types of footwear are generally considered safe to wear when driving, some may pose more significant risks than others. Here are three types of footwear that should never be worn while driving:

Flip-Flops

Flip-flops are one of the most popular footwear for casual use at home or on the beach. But they’re also among the worst footwear for driving. They don’t offer much protection and tend to slip off easily, making them unsafe to wear while driving.

Sandals

Sandals are another type of shoes often worn during warm weather months. While they are usually less expensive than sneakers but offer less protection. That means they’re vulnerable to damage and slipping off easily.

Crocs

Crocs are a popular clog-like footwear brand that has been around since the 1980s. They’ve gained popularity over the years because they’re comfortable and durable. However, crocs are also pretty challenging to drive in because they don’t provide any support for your feet. This makes them prone to slipping off easily.

How the Lack of Proper Footwear Makes It Challenging to Operate Pedals

Driving with bare feet isn’t just about being careless or reckless. There are specific reasons why operating pedals barefoot is dangerous.

  • Susceptible to sweat: When driving barefoot, the feet will likely be sweating. And when sweat gets between the toes and pedals, it can be a hassle to control the vehicle. This makes it more challenging to control brakes or gas pedals, especially when driving fast.
  • Increase injury risk and distractions: Operating the pedals barefoot for a long time may lead to blisters, cuts, and scrapes. These injuries can cause pain and discomfort, which could distract you from safely driving the car.

Liabilities for Causing an Accident in California

If you or your loved one are involved in an accident caused by someone else who was not wearing proper footwear, you may be able to recover damages under California law. But to have a valid claim, you would need to prove that the person who wasn’t properly dressed was negligent. Negligence refers to failing to act reasonably under the circumstances.

So you must prove that:

  • The at-fault driver had a duty to operate their vehicle safely, i.e., wearing proper footwear
  • The driver breached this duty
  • The driver’s acts (or failure to act) led to the accident
  • The accident directly caused your injuries and monetary losses

We acknowledge that proving fault in a car accident case is pretty complicated, considering California is a comparative negligence state. However, having an experienced personal injury attorney by your side eliminates the hassle since you will be assured of relentless representation as you focus on recovery.

At LA Century Law, we understand how important it is to get compensation after suffering severe injuries due to another party’s negligence. We know what it takes to win a personal injury lawsuit and work hard to help our clients obtain justice. If you or someone close to you has suffered injuries due to the negligence of others, contact us today for a free consultation.

Here is a quick outline of what to expect when you hire our determined and dedicated Los Angeles personal injury attorneys:

  • Thorough investigations: We will thoroughly investigate the facts surrounding your accident to build a strong case against the responsible parties.
  • Conclusive evidence collection: Our team of investigators will gather all relevant information about the incident, including witness statements, police reports, medical records, insurance documents, etc.
  • Comprehensive legal analysis: After collecting all the necessary information, our lawyers will analyze the situation and determine if there are any grounds for filing a civil suit.
  • Expert witness testimony: We will identify and interview witnesses present during the event, such as eyewitnesses, emergency responders, and other drivers.
  • Negotiation of settlement offers: Once we have enough evidence to file a claim, we will negotiate with the other party’s insurer to reach a fair settlement offer.
  • Aggressive yet guided representation: If we fail to strike a fair deal with the at-fault party’s insurer, we will take the matter to court and fight for maximum damages.

Contact LA Century Law If You’ve Been Injured in a Crash

LA Century Law is a team of dedicated and determined personal injury lawyers committed to helping injured people throughout Southern California. Our goal is simple: to provide each client with the best possible outcome through aggressive advocacy and negotiation.

Our firm represents victims of auto accidents, motorcycle crashes, pedestrian accidents, slip and falls, dog bites, defective products, and many other personal injury cases. Contact us online or call us for a free initial consultation.

Barefoot Driving FAQs

Under what circumstances can driving barefoot get you in trouble?

As much as driving barefoot in California attracts no penalty, it graduates to an offense in case of an accident or road disturbance.

What if I’m hit by a motorist who’s driving barefoot?

If you’re involved in a collision with a driver who was not wearing shoes, you may be able to sue them for causing your injuries.

Are high heels dangerous for driving?

Yes! Driving in high heels can cause balance issues that lead to accidents.

Can You Sue for More Than an Auto Insurance Policy’s Limits?

Can You Sue for More Than an Auto Insurance Policy’s Limits?

California requires drivers to carry auto insurance, but the minimums are low. Only $15,000 per person for bodily injury, $30,000 per accident bodily injury and $5,000 for property damage are required.

Car accident damages can quickly exceed these amounts. You may be wondering what you can do.

Our San Bernardino car accident attorneys at LA Century Law discuss suing for more than someone’s auto insurance policy’s limits.

Can You Sue for More Than an Auto Insurance Policy’s Maximums?

You can sue for the full extent of your damages allowed by law even if it is more than auto insurance policy limits. The defendant may be liable through personal assets.

In addition, your own uninsured or underinsured policy or the defendant’s umbrella coverage may provide compensation. You may sue any additional parties who have liability.

When You Need to Sue for More Than Auto Insurance Policy Limits

  • Defendant’s assets: A defendant may be liable to pay through their income, savings and assets.
  • Umbrella coverage: Additional insurance that covers a variety of circumstances. It is optional, but many people have it.
  • Uninsured/underinsured policy: You may have selected this additional coverage that can provide compensation.
  • Other parties with liability: You may pursue compensation against anyone liable for the accident. There may be multiple parties at fault.

How a lawyer can help

The attorneys at LA Century Law can evaluate insurance and ways for you to collect your compensation. We give you honest advice and practical solutions when your damages may exceed an auto insurance policy’s limit. Our attorneys can represent you in all aspects of maximizing compensation for your claim.

How Often Do Auto Accident Settlements Exceed the Policy Limits?

Although auto accident settlements may exceed policy limits, it is rare. A settlement may be more than limits where the defendant has personal assets to satisfy a judgment. A more common situation is where the insurance company failed to act in good faith and settle the claim within policy limits. In California, an insurance company that refuses to settle a claim in good faith may be liable for the full judgment at trial even if the amount exceeds policy limits.

How to find out someone’s insurance policy limits in California

To find out someone’s insurance policy limits in California, you may:

  • Ask them: But be careful — they may not know or provide correct information.
  • Ask the insurance company: In California, the insurer must ask the insured for permission to disclose the information.
  • File a lawsuit: They must tell you in discovery.

The insurance company may willingly tell you the policy limits. If the limits are small, they may freely admit that it’s all they’re liable to pay. However, if it’s a large policy, they may resist sharing the information.

You may have to file a lawsuit to know the policy limits. However, refusing to provide the information, even in pre-litigation, may subject the insurance company to liability for a judgment exceeding policy limits.

Insurance Policy Limit Disclosures After an Auto Accident in California

California Insurance Code § 791.13(a) requires the insured to provide written consent before disclosing policy limits in response to a pre-litigation request.

When you ask for policy limits, the insurance company should ask the insured for permission to disclose them. If they don’t, the insurance company may be acting in bad faith.

Bad faith liability may be significant. If found in bad faith, the insurance company may be liable for the entire judgment even if it exceeds policy limits.

Before a lawsuit is filed

As the litigant, you must make the appropriate request for the insurance company to disclose policy limits. By doing so, you’re taking steps toward a fair and timely resolution of your claim.

In addition, you’re creating the possibility of claiming compensation exceeding policy limitations if the insurance company is found in bad faith in failing to make discloses.

See Aguilar v. Gostischef, 220 Cal.App.4th 475 (Cal.Ct.App. 2013), a claim for car accident compensation. The defendant had a $100,000 policy limit. The victim had medical expenses totaling $507,718. The victim requested policy limits to aid in making a settlement offer. They asked twice, with no response. They filed a lawsuit. The defense then offered to settle for the policy limit. The court upheld an excess verdict of $2.3 million and an award of costs. The court said that an insurer who refuses a reasonable settlement offer within policy limits is liable for the resulting judgment without regard for limits.

(See also Biocourt v. Amex Assurance Co., 78 Cal.App.4th (2000), stating that refusal to disclose policy limits before litigation may result in bad faith liability; but compare Reid v. Mercury Insurance Co., 220 Cal.App.4th (Cal.Ct.App. 2013), where there was no bad faith where the victim failed to produce medical records for several months, followed by a three-month delay in disclosing policy limits.)

After a lawsuit is filed

After formally filing a lawsuit, your attorney submits Form Interrogatories DISC-001 for general civil litigation. Question 4.1(3) asks about limits for any insurance policies that may apply to the claim.

Get Legal Help for an Accident That Exceeds Policy Limits

LA Century Law is a premier law firm in California that has recovered millions for clients including victims of car accidents. If damages may exceed policy limits, there are things you can do. However, the steps you must take are technical and complex.

Work with the legal team with a 99% success rate. Let us pursue all avenues for your compensation when you need to sue for more than auto insurance policy limits. Contact us online or call our offices now.

What Happens if You Have a Sudden Medical Emergency and Get Into a Crash?

What Happens if You Have a Sudden Medical Emergency and Get Into a Crash?

In California, if you have a medical emergency and cause an auto accident, it can be used as a defense. This defense is called the “doctrine of sudden emergency” or the “doctrine of imminent peril”. However, this is a very specific defense. It does not cover mental illnesses but instead physical health emergencies that the driver had no reason to anticipate before the crash.

The California sudden medical emergency defense, however, does not apply to a driver whose conduct caused the medical emergency or has reason to expect the medical emergency. (CACI 452; See also Pittman v. Boiven (1967) 249 Cal.App.2d 207, 216.)

For example, if a driver had a stroke and then rear-ended another driver, the defense of sudden emergency may be applied so long as the driver had no reason to anticipate a stroke beforehand.

On the other hand, if a driver knew he had epilepsy, a condition that causes recurrent seizures which are sudden in range, severity, and frequency, and caused a crash, this driver may not be able to use California’s medical emergency defense.

The issue is insurance companies have abused the doctrine of medical emergency to avoid liability in a crash. This is why it is so important to call the car accident lawyers at LA Century Law if you have been involved in a crash and the insurance company is trying to argue their insured is not responsible under the “sudden emergency” defense.

Disputing Medical Emergency Defenses

At LA Century Law, we have had several cases where the insurance company has tried to argue that their insured had a medical emergency when they crashed into one of our clients.

We discovered this defense was improper and we were able to defeat each one of their defenses. It is important to keep a few things in mind.

1. Defendant has the burden

In the California case of CohenWatersBashi and Civil Code § 41 it outlined the defendant’s “burden of proof” or what they must prove in order to use the defense of medical emergency in a four-prong test, which is outlined below.

The driver of the crash who is trying to use the medica emergency defense must prove:

  1. The driver is telling the truth about the sudden emergency,
  2. The medical emergency was physical and not mental,
  3. That the medical emergency was sudden and without previous notice which led to the defendant driver causing the crash, and
  4. The defendant driver did not know about the physical medical condition prior to the crash.

The burden of proof is which party must prove their case. To use the defense of medical emergency, the defense will need to prove all four of the elements referenced above.

2. Focus on the defendant’s medical history

It is important to focus on the defendant’s previous medical history to gather information on whether the sudden emergency defense applies. A tool used to gather information is written discovery.

Written discovery refers to written questions or demands for documents from the other side when a lawsuit is filed. Through the discovery process, we can request the defendant driver’s medical records to see if he ever had experienced or had complaints of the issue he is now alleging is the medical emergency in the current case.

3. Deposition of family and friends

A deposition is a formal testimony under the penalty of perjury. It is important to conduct the depositions of family and friends of the person who caused the crash to determine if the medical emergency was in fact unknown or whether it was an issue the person has had in the past.

Contact Our California Car Accident Attorneys

If you have been involved in an accident, call our injury and accident attorneys at LA Century Law for a free consultation, or contact us online to request your case review.

How Long After a Car Accident Can You Sue in California?

How Long After a Car Accident Can You Sue in California?

In any state, your legal right to sue has a “shelf life”. You do not have an unlimited amount of time to file a car accident lawsuit. The deadline is known as the statute of limitations.

It is a firm and unforgiving rule that will mean that you surrender your legal right to compensation if you do not act in time. It is essential to contact an attorney after your car accident in California, so you can be in a position to act when necessary. Contact LA Century Law to discuss your case with an auto accident attorney in San Bernardino.

The Statute of Limitations in California Car Accident Cases

California law puts a limit on the amount of time that you have to file a personal injury lawsuit. Your legal right to compensation begins at the time you are injured. It ends when the statute of limitations expires. Assuming you have filed your claim or lawsuit before the conclusion of the statute of limitations ends, you have put your marker down and have preserved your right to compensation.

In California, the personal injury statutes of limitations are as follows:

  • You have two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit.
  • If you did not know that you were hurt right away, you have one year from the time that you discovered the injury. This is called the discovery rule, and it is especially helpful in product liability cases.
  • In a wrongful death case, you have two years from the date of death to file a lawsuit.

Why the Statute of Limitations Exists in California

The statute of limitations exists for policy and fairness reasons. The law attempts to balance the interests of plaintiffs and defendants. While you have your legal rights to compensation if someone else was to blame for the accident, fairness also dictates that the responsible party is not going to be living under the threat of a lawsuit for an unfair amount of time. Theoretically, if the driver was sued years later, they would not have the evidence and witnesses that they needed to present the most effective case.

The statute of limitations is a crucial deadline. There is not even a day of leeway. Missing the time window by a day or a year has the same effect. You will lose the right to file a lawsuit. The court would dismiss your case without even giving you the ability to be heard on the merits.

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations

There are some exceptions to the statute of limitations, but they are very strictly construed. You are the one who has the burden of proof to show that an exception exists, and you should certainly not count on it.

Some exceptions to the statute of limitations are:

  • The plaintiff was less than 18 years old at the time of the accident.
  • The defendant left the state during the period.
  • The defendant actively avoided being served with papers.

You do not want to be in a position where you need to persuade the court that an exception to the statute of limitations applies.

Why You Should Not Wait to File a Lawsuit

Waiting to file a claim is counterproductive in many ways. It is possible for you to lose evidence, or for the proof to lose its state. Witnesses would not be able to testify credibly well into the future, when their recollections may have faded. Your proof may be gone.

It could take a considerable amount of time for the legal process to unfold. The insurance company likes to introduce delays, and courts do not operate on a quick timetable. You do not want to wait too long to file a claim or lawsuit. Your financial distress could worsen, and you may put yourself in a more compromising position. Insurance companies prey on claimants who they believe to be desperate.

Reach Out to an Attorney Right Away

You should at least contact a lawyer very shortly after the accident. Working with your attorney, you would figure out the best time to either approach the insurance company or file a lawsuit against the other driver. Delay makes your case harder because you would lose valuable evidence needed to prove your claim. Just because you have two years does not mean that you should wait that long to get started. Many attorneys will not take your case if you wait too long to contact them after the accident.

Contact a San Bernardino Personal Injury Attorney Today

You cannot afford to delay calling a lawyer after an accident. Your financial compensation is at stake, both whether you qualify for it in the first place and how much you may get. The attorneys at LA Century Law are standing by and ready to help you by fighting hard on your behalf. First, you need to schedule a free consultation, where you will learn about the legal process and how it may unfold. To speak with a lawyer, you can send us a message online or call us today. You owe us nothing unless we win.

Does Insurance Follow the Car or Driver in California?

Does Insurance Follow the Car or Driver in California?

The driver who owns the car involved in an accident may not be the one who was behind the wheel at the time of the crash. An accident victim wants to know that there will be an insurance policy that will help pay for their injuries. The car is usually what is insured in California, but not everyone may be covered. An experienced car accident attorney at LA Century Law can help you figure out which insurance applies to your claim and help you maximize your potential financial compensation.

Car owners may lend out their vehicles to others from time to time. In a worst-case scenario, the driver borrowing the car may be at fault in an accident. The question then is which insurance covers the accident. The driver may have their coverage, while the owner also has a policy for their car.

The Insurance Policy Follows the Car and Not the Driver

Under California law, in most instances, the insurance policy attaches to the car itself. If someone was driving your car, it would be your insurance policy that paid for the damages. However, that does not mean that you should assume that the driver is covered. Some car insurance policies have language that excludes automatic coverage of certain drivers. You always need to review the exact language of the policy to understand who is covered.

For example, the insurance company may require the car’s owner to obtain coverage for drivers who regularly use the car. They may cover damages when the car is lent out sporadically and not regularly.

They may refuse to cover damages when someone is a frequent driver.

Permissive vs. Non-Permissive Use of Your Car

Your car may have been used by someone else under different circumstances. The two ways that your car comes to be used are as follows:

  • Permissive use is when you lend your car to someone else, permitting them to use it. In this case, your insurance coverage would need to pay for the damages.
  • Non-permissive use is when someone else takes your car without your permission. An insurance company will only cover a car accident caused by someone who had the owner’s consent to drive the car. They will not pay for damages in a stolen car accident.

Coverages That Follow the Car to Pay for Damages

When you have been injured in an accident with a borrowed car, the same coverages would apply that pay for damages in any crash. You could receive damages based on the following coverages:

  • Property damage to your car
  • Bodily injury that covers physical harms
  • Payment for your other economic and non-economic damages

Of course, the car owner’s insurance company only must cover the claim when the driver of their car is at fault. Normal car accident rules of liability are not suspended just because the car’s owner was not behind the wheel. The driver borrowing the car may be the one who can claim damages when the other driver is at fault. An attorney would gather the evidence that could be used to prove liability in the case.

What Happens When the Insurance Company Refuses to Cover Your Claim

The insurance company may refuse to cover the damage that another driver caused in a borrowed car. It does not mean that you would be forced to go without compensation. Insurance companies do not get the final say when they deny a claim.

You should hire an attorney to deal with that insurance company. You may be forced to file a lawsuit that the insurance company would be forced to defend. Your attorney would cut through the red tape and make sure that you are heard. Your attorney could also work to file a claim against the driver’s insurance if the owner’s provider refuses to pay. Between the two, someone would need to pay for your car accident injuries.

Either way, you should not be dealing with any insurance company on your own, regardless of the situation. They will make your life harder and cost you money. Always have an attorney fighting on your behalf in any car accident case.

Even if you cannot force the car owner’s insurance policy to cover your damages, you may still be able to file a claim under your uninsured motorist coverage provided by your insurance company. Figuring out who pays can be difficult. We can do it for you.

Contact a San Bernardino Car Accident Lawyer Today

The attorneys at LA Century Law can help you sort out and untangle complex legal issues relating to your car accident. We would work to maximize your financial compensation if you can show that someone else was to blame for your accident. You can speak to a lawyer during a free initial consultation. Your first step is to send us a message through our website or call us today. You do not need to pay us anything to get us working for you. We are only owed anything when you win.

doctor examining x rays

How Much Are Car Accident Settlements for a Broken Bone?

When accidents happen, drivers and passengers often experience serious injuries, such as broken bones. Bone fractures can cause many different types of complications that may take considerable time to heal. Our San Bernardino auto accident attorneys at LA Century Law can assist with pursuing a broken bone car accident settlement so our clients receive fair compensation for their injuries.

Most Common Broken Bones During a Car Accident

No two car accidents occur in the same way or cause the same damage, but broken bones are among the most common injuries sustained in a collision. During a crash, some bones tend to fracture more often due to the position of people in the vehicle, the velocity of the collision, and the thickness and health of the bone. Examples include:

  • Clavicle
  • Ankle and femur
  • Ribs
  • Pelvis
  • Spine/vertebrae

While other bones in the body may also break during a car accident, there are a variety of circumstances that affect how hard the impact is to both drivers and passengers’ skeletal systems.

Accident Causes and Broken Bone Correlations

When our attorneys examine cases for broken bone compensation, they may note that the type of fracture the client received often depends on the circumstances of the accident. Reviewing the different types of fractures allows our attorneys to create a detailed timeline that supports evidence offered by the victims and eyewitnesses during a trial.

Wrist and ulna bone fractures

In the seconds before an accident, drivers and passengers may instinctively tense their bodies to brace for the impact. Drivers, in particular, may suffer wrist and ulna fractures because of the position of their hands and arms during the moment of impact. High-impact crashes may result in multiple fractures of these forearm bones.

Femur fractures

Many broken bone car accident settlements involve femur fractures. The femur, or thigh bone, often suffers one or more fractures if the vehicle’s exterior structure fails during an accident or if an individual’s leg becomes pinned. Femur fractures can take considerable time to heal due to the thickness of the bone.

Skull fractures

Sometimes, a settlement for a broken bone in a car accident includes a skull fracture, which can cause life-threatening injuries. The skull houses the brain, and when a skull fracture occurs from striking the head on the interior of the car, such as the steering wheel, it can harm the brain as well. Open skull fractures, where a piece of the skull shatters, may require emergency surgery to protect the brain.

The Cost of Broken Bones in a Crash

When broken bones require setting, or in the case of compound fractures where the bone pierces the skin and the wound requires stitches, the cost of care can range into the thousands of dollars. While simple fractures may heal within a month or so, depending on the severity and location of the injury, some breaks can take months of treatment and specialized care.

Upon arrival at a medical facility, car accident victims with broken bones must undergo a variety of treatment services such as X-rays, MRI scans, wound cleansing and closing, and cast settings. They may also receive pain medication and require future physical therapy if they experience multiple breaks or if the injury affects their mobility. Our attorneys examine each case closely and assign value to the injuries and medical costs incurred by the accident so our clients receive fair compensation.

How Our Attorneys Build a Case for Broken Bone Compensation

When individuals suffer a broken bone during a car accident and believe the driver of the other car caused the incident, our attorneys use a variety of information to build a compensation case.

California is an at-fault state, which means that the people (or, in some cases, a company or other entity) at fault must pay for any losses incurred on the part of the injured party.

Car wrecks are often the result of negligent driving behaviors, including:

  • Texting or talking on a cell phone while driving
  • Eating or drinking
  • Drunk or buzzed driving
  • Speeding or horseplay that results in an accident

Our attorneys use police reports, accident scene photos, insurance records, and witness accounts to connect these actions to how the wreck occurred. For example, if the police report photos include a driver’s cell phone that features an unfinished text at the time of the accident, this supports the supposition that the at-fault driver was using the phone in an unsafe or negligent manner.

The Benefits of Legal Representation for Car Accident Victims

When people experience broken bones due to a car accident that was the fault of another, they may not know where to turn when medical bills arrive. In many cases, broken bones prevent those injured from returning to work for weeks or even months.

At LA Century Law, our experienced attorneys provide a variety of benefits for those injured, including fielding settlement offers from the defendant’s insurance company, tracking down witnesses, and collecting medical reports. Our services allow victims like you to focus on your needs and the rest to recover from a broken bone.

We Handle Broken Bone Car Accident Settlements

Our attorneys at LA Century Law understand the pain and suffering broken bones cause in the aftermath of a car accident. Contact our injury lawyers in San Bernardino today for a free consultation and further information.

woman looking out car window

California Road Rage Law and Aggressive Driving Accidents

California is one of the worst states in the nation for road rage. In 2022, reports identified California as one of the three worst states for road rage, with only Florida and Texas seeing more road rage-related traffic incidents.

When drivers exhibit aggression or reckless behavior behind the wheel, the results are often deadly. At LA Century Law, we are well-versed in California road rage laws and the legal implications surrounding aggressive driving. We also have extensive experience helping people who have suffered injuries or lost loved ones in road rage incidents take legal action in the aftermath. Contact a car accident lawyer in San Bernardino to start your case against an aggressive driver.

What Is Road Rage?

“Road rage” occurs when a motorist exhibits angry or aggressive behavior toward another driver, and it is a growing problem on California’s and the nation’s roadways. Road rage takes on many different forms. However, it often manifests as screaming, making rude gestures, driving aggressively, or making threats of violence. Tailgating, laying on the car horn, bumping another vehicle from behind, or intentionally running a vehicle off of the road may also constitute instances of aggressive driving or road rage.

Other possible acts of road rage might include:

  • Preventing a vehicle from changing lanes
  • Getting out of the car to confront another motorist
  • Driving on a sidewalk or in a median to get around a driver

Road rage and driver aggression are frequent contributors to crashes, with SafeMotorist noting that 66% of today’s traffic deaths involve aggressive driving. Of those incidents, about 37% involved a firearm, and the majority also involved male motorists who were under the age of 19.

Is Aggressive Driving a Criminal Offense?

After an incident with a reckless driver, many people ask – is aggressive driving a criminal offense? California does not consider aggressive driving, by itself, to be a criminal offense.

However, aggressive drivers may face criminal, as well as civil, charges if the injured party is able to prove that his or her injuries resulted from the other motorist’s aggressive or reckless behavior.

The same holds true when it comes to road rage. While California road rage laws do not exist, there are still certain circumstances under which road rage crashes may lead to criminal charges. Some of these charges might include assault, battery, or reckless driving charges, among other possible offenses. If a road rage incident leads to charges of assault or battery, the aggressive driver may face serious penalties, some of which might include hefty fines and potential time in jail or prison.

What Are California Road Rage Laws and Statutes?

While an aggressive or reckless driver will not face an actual “road rage” charge, he or she may face a charge of reckless driving after committing an act that is in violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23103. This statute defines reckless driving under California law and asserts that it involves a “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property” on the roadway.

The penalties associated with driving aggressively may vary based on the severity of the offense. Whether a motorist has similar infractions on his or her record may also come into play.

However, motorists guilty of reckless driving may face serious criminal repercussions under California road rage laws. Typically, reckless driving is a misdemeanor offense that may lead to fines, probation requirements, and even potential jail time.

California Vehicle Code Section 13210 also addresses road rage. This provision gives the California Department of Motor Vehicles the right to suspend or revoke the driving privileges of motorists whom the state sees as a threat to public safety due to ongoing incidents of road rage or repeated traffic violations.

Can You Make a Claim Against a Driver for Aggressive Driving?

When someone suffers an injury in a wreck involving an aggressive driver, the injured party has the option of pursuing a civil claim against the responsible party. Authorities, too, may decide to take action against the aggressive driver by pursuing criminal charges that align with California road rage laws.

Motorists or passengers who suffer injuries in aggressive driving incidents also have the option of pursuing a personal injury claim against the driver whose actions caused the crash. This typically involves gathering comprehensive documentation about the incident and the injuries that resulted from it. Compiling medical records, witness statements, photos of the crash scene, and other relevant forms of evidence helps strengthen a personal injury case arising from allegations of aggressive driving.

It is important to note that statutes of limitations exist when it comes to pursuing a claim against an aggressive or reckless driver in California. In most cases, injured parties have two years from the date their injuries occurred to file a formal claim against the responsible driver. Failing to meet this deadline leaves crash victims without legal recourse.

Ready To Move Forward With a Car Accident Claim for Road Rage?

Ultimately, the strength of a case involving aggressive driving, reckless driving, or road rage depends on the injured party’s ability to prove that aggression factored into the incident – and that the other driver violated California road rage laws. Motorists who suffer injuries or lose loved ones in accidents involving driver aggression should contact our team at LA Century Law to have our attorneys assess the strength of their case and determine if it has merit. Call today.

Can a Car Accident Settlement Include Chiropractor Visits?

Can a Car Accident Settlement Include Chiropractor Visits?

If you have ever been in a car accident, you understand that injuries can often take hours to days to show up. This is why our attorneys at LA Century Law suggest that you might want to visit a chiropractor to learn the extent of your injuries, as well as to know how long and what types of treatments you need.

We can then work with you to make chiropractic care part of your car accident settlement. Learn from our San Bernardino car accident attorneys what you should know about the process of seeking chiropractic care after a crash.

What Sorts of Car Accident Injuries Benefit From Chiropractic Care?

Did you know that a chiropractor can often help you more than a physician or surgeon when it comes to hidden injuries to your neck and back after a car accident? With this kind of trauma, you could tear muscles and ligaments that may not show up on X-rays. Chiropractic care after a car accident can align your spine using spinal manipulation, intended to release inflammation, increase mobility, reduce scar tissue, and decrease pain.

Common injuries that chiropractors treat include whiplash, strains and sprains, back and spinal cord injuries, herniated discs, inflammation, and pain in the chest, neck, joints, extremities, and shoulders. These injuries often limit mobility in damaged tissues and bones because your body feels stiff and sore. Through drug-free, natural treatments, such as spinal adjustments, your chiropractor stimulates your natural healing process and releases pain-reducing hormones.

What Can You Expect When a Lawyer Sends You to a Chiropractor?

Traditional medicine may miss or may not effectively treat some injuries and their symptoms. During your initial consultation, your chiropractor will ask about your symptoms and injuries from the accident as well as your medical history. The goal is to find the source of pain and diagnose the problem.

These medical professionals will ask you to take a few tests, including a physical examination of your back, neck, joints, and anywhere you feel pain or have swelling or inflammation. Your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing rate are important, and the chiropractor will test your range of motion, reflexes, and flexibility.

After locating the source of your injuries and their associated symptoms, the chiropractor will sit down with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that may include acupuncture, dry needling, physical therapy, massage, spinal decompression, and spinal adjustments. You will likely receive exercises that you need to complete at home as well.

Is Chiropractic Care Covered by Insurance or a Lawsuit Award?

Only a slight majority of Americans view chiropractic care positively. You may feel concerned about your car accident chiropractor settlements, especially since insurance companies do not place chiropractic care on the same level as care you receive from a medical doctor.

If you go to a chiropractor after a car accident, the insurance company or your settlement should cover your care.

However, prepare to fight for your payment. First, ask your doctor for a referral to a chiropractor. Then, see the chiropractor as soon as possible after the accident and start your treatments immediately.

Make sure your tests, charts, reports, updates, and referrals are well documented by both your doctor and chiropractor. Keep a journal about your injury, pain levels, and treatments, as well as your physical limitations. Follow your care plan exactly, and do not miss treatments.

How and Why Do Insurance Companies Try To Dismiss This Care?

Insurance adjusters tend to challenge chiropractor bills more than doctor bills, such as by stating that you do not need two to three treatments per week or suspecting that your chiropractor will not ever find you healed enough to stop your treatments. If you received chiropractic care before the accident, insurance adjusters may state that your injury existed prior to the accident.

An insurance company’s job is to limit financial outlays or liabilities. Because chiropractor care is not as widely accepted as other medical treatments, they are more likely to fight against paying for it, suggesting that it is a way to bill the insurance company for needless procedures. If they undervalue this treatment and your claim, it can impact your car accident chiropractor settlements.

How Many Visits Might You Have To Make to a Chiropractor?

If you have ever received an injury, you understand that it takes time to heal. Major injuries, such as those you often get during car accidents, also require consistent care, especially if you want to see a quicker recovery. However, your treatment period depends entirely on your injuries. More severe injuries will take much longer to heal than minor injuries. Your pain levels and soft tissue damage will guide your treatment plan.

In most cases, chiropractor professionals suggest that you attend at least one follow-up visit to ensure that you did not receive any long-term injuries during the accident. If you just have a little soreness, you may only need to visit the chiropractor a few times over the next three or four weeks.

More serious injuries may need extensive treatment for much longer periods. The goal is to get your body functioning at an optimal level, so some chiropractors also suggest regular wellness checkups even after you heal.

Contact Our Car Accident Attorneys Today

Your primary concern after a car accident should be healing your body. Then, as you recover from your injuries, our personal injury attorneys at LA Century Law in San Bernardino can help you fight for a car accident settlement that includes your chiropractor treatment expenses. Contact us today for your consultation.

What Are California's Headlight Laws?

What Are California’s Headlight Laws?

What if you were in an accident where the driver didn’t use their headlights or was using illegal headlights?

Most drivers understand that vehicle headlights serve not only to increase their own range of vision during low visibility but also to make themselves visible to other motorists. By respectfully adhering to California headlight laws, everyone on the road can significantly reduce the odds of experiencing a car accident at night or during inclement weather while also navigating California’s notoriously congested traffic.

LA Century Law has experience in a wide range of personal injury and auto accident cases. Consult with our attorneys to learn more about proper headlight use and how you can proceed after experiencing an accident with someone who violated the state’s headlight laws.

California Headlight Laws Overview

California law requires all vehicles, except motorcycles, to have at least two headlights, with one placed on either side of the vehicle’s front end. A number of other laws apply to headlights and their use as well.

When should you turn on your headlights in California?

Drivers must turn on their headlights in the dark or during inclement weather. California headlight laws define this as any weather condition that “prevents a driver of a motor vehicle from clearly discerning a person or another motor vehicle from a distance of 1,000 feet or a condition requiring the windshield wipers to be in use due to rain, mist, snow, fog, or other precipitation or atmospheric moisture.”

Is it legal to use fog lights in California?

Fog lights or fog lamps are lights mounted lower than typical headlights on many vehicles for the purpose of illuminating the ground below layers of fog. It is entirely legal to have fog lights and for drivers to use them as they see fit, though fog lights cannot replace headlights in situations that require them.

Can you use aftermarket headlights in California?

Aftermarket headlights and LED headlights are legal in California so long as they comply with color and brightness standards and come with amber-colored turn signals.

Can you use other-colored headlights in California?

Headlights in the state of California must exhibit white light. Other headlights, such as those that exhibit blue light, can be overly bright, intense, or distracting for other drivers.

What are California’s laws about headlight positions?

Some aftermarket vehicle modifications might include altering the positioning of headlights. California headlight laws state that headlights must be at least 22 inches off the ground and no higher than 54 inches. Headlights positioned outside of this range may not adequately illuminate the road or might blind other drivers.

Dangers of Improper Headlight Use

Improper headlight use can entail failing to turn on headlights during low-visibility conditions, driving with dimmed or broken lamps, or using headlights in such a way that might blind another driver. The dangers of such improper use can include the following:

  • Limiting one’s own visibility
  • Fatigue caused by straining one’s own vision
  • Increased likelihood of a collision

The worst-case scenario following a violation of California headlight law is for one party to sustain a severe injury. If this occurs, the next step may be to file a personal injury claim to secure the compensation necessary for covering medical bills and lost income.

Using High-Intensity Headlights in California

While some aftermarket headlight modifications are legal in the state of California, it is important to know when high-intensity headlights are unacceptable. HID headlights must measure within the limit of 2,513 lumens to be street legal according to California’s headlight brightness law.

Similarly, there are limits to when drivers may use their high beams on California roads. Though high beams are useful for seeing across greater distances during low visibility conditions, it is more than just common courtesy to turn them off in the presence of other vehicles. In fact, California headlight laws state that drivers must turn off their high beams when approaching an oncoming vehicle within 500 feet or when following a vehicle within 300 feet.

How Headlights Impact a Personal Injury Case

When a car accident occurs, improper headlight use may serve to establish liability in the incident if one party is guilty of not using their headlights when required or using overly bright lights. All motorists on the road owe each other a duty of care, and a driver who demonstrates negligence in that duty by exhibiting improper headlight usage is fully or partially at fault for an accident that occurs as a result.

Motorists can also be liable for accidents resulting from improper headlight use, even if they are not actively driving. Leaving one’s headlights on while in a parked position can contribute to the likelihood of an accident if the lights point at the road in such a way that they may blind an active driver.

In addition to any other penalties and damages that an at-fault driver must pay when liable for an accident, violating California headlight laws also implies a fine of at least $238 and a point against one’s driving record.

Contact Our Attorneys to Help You

The use — or misuse — of headlights can play a critical role in a motor vehicle accident. If you sustain damage or injuries in a crash that occurred during low-visibility conditions, the team at LA Century Law can help you navigate complex California headlight laws and investigate the circumstances of the accident. Contact our personal injury lawyers in California to schedule a consultation today.

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