Car Accident Seatbelt Injuries

Car Accident Seatbelt Injuries

Seatbelts are arguably the most important safety feature in vehicles today, designed to restrain drivers and passengers and prevent their bodies from colliding with the vehicle’s interior. They undoubtedly help save lives and reduce the risk of injury in serious car accidents.

However, it’s important to note that seatbelts can also cause serious injuries. Seatbelt-related injuries typically occur due to too much force being applied during the accident or from wearing the belt incorrectly.

When this happens, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of seatbelt-related injuries and seek treatment. You can also look into claiming car accident compensation if your injuries have been caused by the negligence of someone else.

If you suffered seatbelt injuries, you could be entitled to compensation with help from a California car accident lawyer.

Types of Seatbelt Injuries

1. Seatbelt syndrome and the seatbelt sign

Seatbelt syndrome is a form of chest trauma that occurs due to the excessive force generated by the seatbelt during a car crash. The injury manifests as bruising and redness on the chest area and can cause pain when pressure is applied. It may also indicate an injury to the internal organs, such as the spine.

The seatbelt sign is the name given to the visible sign of seatbelt syndrome, which includes red marks and seatbelt bruises on the chest. It can indicate a more severe injury, such as a bowel injury.

2. Abdominal injury

Excessive force from a seatbelt can also cause abdominal injuries. Symptoms usually include severe pain in the abdomen and difficulty breathing. Severe abdominal injury can cause internal bleeding, ruptured bowel, and intestinal perforation.

If you experience severe abdominal pain after a car accident, you should seek medical attention immediately.

3. Chest and clavicle injuries

The chest is particularly vulnerable to injury in a car crash due to the large forces generated by seatbelts. Seatbelt injuries to the chest can range from minor bruises and abrasions to more severe rib fractures, sternum fractures, and internal injuries such as pneumothorax (collapsed lung), heart contusions, spleen ruptures, or hemothorax (blood accumulation in the pleural cavity).

Clavicle (collarbone) fractures are also common in seatbelt-related car accidents and can be extremely painful and uncomfortable. Depending on the severity, these fractures usually require medical attention and possibly surgery.

4. Injury to the bones and soft tissues of the neck and shoulders

The neck and shoulders are also vulnerable to injury in a car crash, especially if the seatbelt is not adjusted correctly. Damage to the neck or shoulder soft tissue can cause pain, stiffness, and even headaches. Fractures of the vertebrae can also occur, which can be incredibly serious and require immediate medical attention.

5. Seatbelt burns

A seatbelt burn is a skin injury caused by contact with the strap of a seat belt. The injury is usually red, and the skin becomes swollen and painful. Seatbelt burns are most common on the neck, face, chest, or upper arm.

The severity of a seatbelt burn depends on how long the person was wearing the belt before it was removed and how tight it was fastened. A severe burn may require medical attention to treat any damage to tissues or nerves in the area.

Treatment for Seatbelt Injuries

If you experience chest or sternum pain from a seatbelt-related accident, it is recommended that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. Chest X-rays can detect internal injuries, and the doctor may offer treatment for soft tissue damage, such as muscle strains or ligament tears.

Surgery may be required in more severe cases to repair broken bones or internal organ damage. Physical therapy can also help with pain relief and scar tissue formation.

Claiming Car Accident/Seatbelt Injury Compensation

Sustaining seatbelt injuries can cause physical pain, financial strain, emotional distress, and even loss of wages. If you have sustained an injury due to the negligence of another party, then you may be able to claim car accident compensation for all losses arising from the incident. This will help you to cover medical bills, lost wages, and other related costs.

Be sure to keep all documentation related to the accident and your injuries, as this will help support your claim.

It is also essential to speak to a qualified lawyer after an accident. They will:

  • Assess all evidence related to your case
  • Advise you on the best course of action
  • Negotiate a settlement or take legal action if necessary

A good lawyer will help you get the compensation you deserve for any seatbelt injuries sustained in a car accident.

Let Us Help You With Your Car Accident Claim

If you have suffered a seatbelt injury due to negligence or lack of maintenance, LA Century Law can help. Our experienced team of lawyers will assess your case and advise you on the best course of action. We understand how traumatic car accidents can be and are dedicated to helping you get the justice and compensation you deserve.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

Car Accident Seatbelt Injuries FAQs

What should I do if I experience chest or sternum pain after a car accident?

If you experience chest or sternum pain from a seatbelt-related accident, it is recommended that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. Chest X-rays can detect internal injuries, and the doctor may offer treatment for any injuries.

How much compensation can I receive for a seatbelt injury?

The amount of compensation varies from case to case and will depend on the severity of your injuries, the extent of damages suffered, and other factors. It is best to speak to a qualified lawyer who can assess all evidence related to your case and advise you on the best course of action.

Injury Compensation for Street Racing Accidents in California

Injury Compensation for Street Racing Accidents in California

Street racing has become a big issue in California. Fueled by films such as the Fast & Furious franchise, incentives for social media infamy, and increased access to sophisticated cars, the prevalence of drag racing has significantly spiked. Street racers take over freeways and run red lights, increasing the cases of catastrophic and fatal accidents.

According to the Los Angeles Daily News, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department confirmed that calls related to illegal street racing crashes increased from 860 in 2020 to 1,380 in 2021 – a 60% increase. As of 1 October 2022, drag-racing-related calls had already reached 838.

If you or your loved one has been injured or killed in a street racing accident, you have the right to file a lawsuit and recover your damages. You can partner with the accident attorneys at LA Century Law for legal help. We are experienced in complex car crash injury cases and will leverage our legal knowledge to help you obtain fair compensation for a street racing collision.

Injuries Related to Street Racing Accidents

Because racers drive at illegal speeds, they can’t stop in time to prevent accidents, causing catastrophic crashes with other vehicles.

Some of the common injuries that victims suffer in street racing accidents include:

  • Traumatic head injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Broken bones
  • Nerve damage
  • Head and neck injuries
  • Internal bleeding and organ damage
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Death

Criminal Liability in Street Racing Crashes

Laws against street racing in California impose serious legal consequences on racers because they act with no regard for the safety of other law-abiding drivers on the roadways. Innocent motorists find themselves caught up in the middle of street races.

Sometimes a street racing accident can involve multiple injuries and fatalities. If a California Highway Patrol (CHP) charges the street racer with manslaughter, the defendant has criminal liability in the incident.

The criminal prosecution of a racer who engaged in reckless conduct only works to offer the families of the injured and fatality victims a sense of justice. A court ruling will impose a sentence that may include a jail term, fines, probation, or other forms of punishment.

Determining Liability in Street Racing Accidents

Claimants filing a street racing accident lawsuit are required to establish that the race was a substantial factor that contributed to the injury. Resulting accidents demonstrate the racers’ breach of duty of care because the law requires any driver to operate their vehicle appropriately and safely to ensure the well-being of other road users.

Following a drag racing crash, an investigation will determine which street racer(s) was grossly negligent or reckless in causing the accident. In some racing accidents, more than one driver will be liable for the victim’s injuries and/or death.

Can I Receive Injury Compensation for a Street Racing Accident?

While the state of California will file criminal charges against a reckless street racer, you can still obtain the full settlement for your losses by filing a civil lawsuit according to California’s statute of limitations.

That allows you to receive a compensatory amount for losses due to property damages and bodily injuries, including:

  • Past, current, and future medical expenses
  • Past and future income losses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Vehicle repairs/replacement
  • Transportation costs to and from the doctor’s office

If your loved one died in a street racing car crash, you can pursue compensation by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. That entitles you to recover both economic and non-economic damages.

Economic (special) damages

Economic damages refer to the quantifiable losses suffered due to a loved one’s death and can be calculated in monetary terms. They include:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of household support
  • Loss of gifts or benefits
  • Loss of financial support

Non-economic (general) damages

Unlike economic damages, general damages are the intangible you suffer due to the wrongful death of a loved one. They aren’t as easy to quantify as special damages since they relate to the psychological and social impact that the victim’s death caused you. They include:

  • Loss of love and companionship
  • Loss of moral support
  • Loss of marital relationship with a spouse
  • Loss of training and guidance
  • Emotional distress of witnessing the incident that took your loved one’s life

Punitive Damages

A civil court awards punitive damages to punish specific egregious conduct and discourage such gross recklessness in the future. These damages can exceed all the other forms of compensation included in a civil lawsuit.

Street racing is one of those accidents that warrant punitive action because the racers knew their actions could cause catastrophic or fatal accidents. Other actions that may compel the court to award punitive damages include:

  • Driving under the influence of drugs
  • Engaging in a series of unsafe driving practices, such as speeding, tailgating, running red lights, passing on the shoulder of the road, etc.

How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help?

If you’re injured, or your loved one has died in a street racing accident, it’s critical to partner with an experienced street racing attorney. Lawsuits involving such incidents are complex and usually involve different parties and areas of law. A professional car accident injury lawyer can:

  1. Review your case
  2. Conduct an in-depth investigation to determine the racers’ civil liability
  3. Represent you during court proceedings, if necessary

Partner with LA Century Law and Get Personalized Legal Help for Your Street Racing Accident Lawsuit

LA Century Law is a trusted accident law firm dedicated to helping injured victims in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Tarzana, and the surrounding areas. We have a team of award-winning accident lawyers who’ve successfully litigated numerous accident and wrongful death lawsuits. We will use every resource at our disposal to pursue maximum compensation for your losses. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our car accident lawyers.

FAQs About Street Racing Accidents

Who pays for my medical bills after a car accident?

The at-fault driver’s insurance company is responsible for paying for your medical bills following an accident, although it can only pay after the settlement of your case. Meanwhile, you can pay the medical bills using your private medical insurance, government insurance programs (Medicare or Medicaid), employee benefits, or through a doctor’s lien. Therefore, it’s critical to safely store the medical bills and reports to make it easy for your lawyer to establish your economic damages.

Where do illegal street races take place in California?

There are spontaneous street races, usually between two drivers speeding against each other at a stoplight or stretch of highway, and organized street races, where sections of the road are taken over and usually involve dozens, if not hundreds, of individuals.

Compensating Accidents With Wrong-Way Drivers in California

Compensating Accidents With Wrong-Way Drivers in California

While all drivers in California are required to drive on the right side of the road, not all of them heed this regulation—some drivers somehow end up driving on the wrong side of the highway or interstate, against the regular traffic flow.

Wrong-way drivers can cause devastating head-on collision injuries and even fatalities. A recent study found that wrong-way accidents account for approximately 48 deaths in California annually.

If you lost a loved one or you or a loved one sustained injuries in a wrong-way crash, the experienced car accident injury attorneys at LA Century Law can help you pursue justice. Our skilled lawyers will help you navigate the complex legal process and fight for the maximum compensation possible. Contact our car accident lawyers today.

What Are Common Causes of Wrong-Way Accidents?

Wrong-way accidents are caused by a number of factors, including driver mistakes and drunk driving. Here is a closer look at the common cause of wrong-way accidents in California:

Driving under the influence of drugs

Many wrong-way crashes in California involve drivers intoxicated with alcohol or drugs. These substances usually significantly impact a driver’s ability to operate their vehicle, leading to them driving the wrong way.

Driving while distracted

It’s common for drivers to fail to pay attention to the road because they are browsing, texting, or talking on their phones. When drivers lose focus on the road, they may drive the wrong way or merge into traffic, causing an accident.

Poor visibility

Missing road signs, poorly marked road signs, and inadequate lighting can all cause a driver to enter the wrong lane. When this happens, the drivers can easily cause a head-on collision accident, especially during the night.

Driving on an unfamiliar road

Drivers unfamiliar with a road may not know how to navigate the direction in traffic alleys or traffic circles on the road. These drivers can cause wrong-way collisions when attempting maneuvers such as an illegal U-turn.

Other causes of wrong-way accidents include reckless driving, driving while emotionally distressed, memory loss, and partial blindness.

Regardless of what caused the accident, you remember that you have the right to hold the at-fault party for the injury and damages they caused you by driving the wrong way. A California car accident injury attorney can help you pursue legal action following a wrong-way accident.

Common Injuries in Wrong-Way Accidents

Most wrong-way driving crashes are head-on collisions which tend to result in fatalities.

Other non-fatal injuries sustained by the victims are usually devastating and may require rehabilitative treatment and surgery. The common injuries in wrong-way accidents include head injuries, broken bones, whiplash, back and chest injuries, brain injuries, and even paralysis.

What To Do When You Encounter a Wrong-Way Driver

However tempting it may be to try helping a motorist understand they’re on the wrong side of the road, your first priority should be to get out of the way.

Ensure that no vehicle is close to you, and then navigate to the right shoulder of the road while reducing your speed. If possible, find a safe place to park your car. Then, dial 911 to report the wrong-way driver.

Depending on what your situation is, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Don’t execute unsafe driving maneuvers such as slamming the brakes or veering in another lane in an attempt to avoid or escape the wrong-way driver.
  • If possible, honk your horn and flash your headlights to get the driver’s attention. However, you can only take that measure if it’s safe.

What Cases or Damages Are Possible Against Wrong-Way Drivers

If you or your loved one sustained injuries and property damage in a wrong-way driving accident, you could file a personal injury claim against the at fault-party. On the other hand, if you lost a loved one in the accident, you could file a wrongful death lawsuit.

To increase the chances of your lawsuit becoming successful, you need a skilled attorney on your side. A car accident attorney will help you gather evidence to strengthen your case and will fight for you so that you can get the maximum compensation you deserve.

Some of the damages you may be entitled to include:

  • Payment for medical bills and rehabilitation expenses
  • Payment for funeral expenses, if the accident resulted in a death
  • Compensation for lost wages
  • Compensation for damage to your car
  • Payment for pain and suffering and emotional anguish

Request a Free Consultation for Your Wrong-Way Accident Case in California

If you were a victim of a wrong-way driving accident caused by someone else’s negligence, don’t wait. Call a car accident attorney today to discuss your case and determine your legal options. At LA Century Law, we will fight for you and help you get the compensation you deserve.

Wrong-Way Driving Accidents FAQs

How long do you have to file a claim following a wrong-way driving accident in California?

The statute of limitation for filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit connected to a wrong-way driving accident in California is two years. The two-year limit begins the day the accident happened.

What is the average payout in personal injury and wrongful death claims following a wrong-way accident in California?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all payout for these lawsuits. The compensation you may be entitled to will depend on your circumstances and the facts of your case.

Car Accident Checklist: What to Do After a Crash

Car Accident Checklist: What to Do After a Crash

Following a car accident, you may find yourself in a challenging position with many things on your mind, like getting your vehicle fixed, receiving medical treatment for your injuries, and protecting your right to compensation.

While there is nothing you can do to alter the outcome of the wreck, it helps to know what you can and should do after a car accident.

Hopefully, this car accident checklist will help you understand your rights and options if you have been injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence.

Car Accident Checklist

1. Contact the necessary authorities

Always call the police immediately after an accident. You should also remain at the scene until officers arrive to investigate the accident.

When the police arrive on the scene, they will take down as much information about what happened as possible before speaking with any witnesses who might be present. They may also ask for a copy of your driver’s license, insurance card, car registration papers, and proof of insurance if applicable.

If possible, keep track of items such as damaged parts and personal belongings left in the car after an accident.

2. Gather evidence and document the damage

You should collect your own accident evidence and document the damage sustained at the scene of a car accident. Your firsthand knowledge can help you later in your case if you need to file a police report or if you’re involved in a lawsuit.

Gather the names and contact information of the involved drivers and witnesses who may have seen the accident. If possible, take photos of the scene and any associated injuries.

Also, take pictures of the damage to your vehicle if it is still in working condition.

3. Seek medical treatment

Your injuries need to be treated and prevent their complications from getting worse. You may have a broken bone, or you may have suffered internal injuries.

The longer you delay seeking treatment, the worse your injuries may become.

4. Contact a car accident attorney

Make sure you contact an accident attorney as soon as it’s safe. If you are uncertain whether or not you need legal representation, it is always best to err on the side of caution and contact an attorney when you are able to.

Early consultation with a personal injury attorney can help you get the compensation you need and make sure you can pursue your claim. Early consultation also creates more time for your attorneys to prepare for your case, so they can protect your rights before any insurance company tries to settle the matter out of court.

5. Contact your insurance provider

Following a car crash, ensure your insurance provider is aware of the accident. Your insurance provider will want to know about any injuries sustained in the crash and details about any property damage that may have occurred — but say as little as possible and don’t make any recorded statements without your attorney’s guidance.

If you have collision coverage, it will likely be covered under your auto insurance policy. If you are unsure whether you have collision coverage, ask your agent for details about the types of claims the insurer covers.

You’ll also most likely be asked for basic information about who was at fault for causing the accident and what happened. This will help the insurer determine whether or not they will cover any of your medical expenses (if you are injured) or damage to your vehicle.

6. Keep track of all medical details

While at home and proceeding with all medical procedures, ensure you keep track of all medical details associated with the accident. Keep a record of all medications taken and doctor’s visits. Be sure to document lifestyle and health changes resulting from the accident.

The more you know, the more likely you’ll be able to get compensation for your injuries. It may seem like a lot of paperwork, but it could help you prove yourself and collect financial compensation for damages caused by another driver’s negligence or recklessness.

After a Car Accident, Contact an Attorney at LA Century Law

After every car accident, it’s essential to understand and document what happened so that you can later seek liability compensation when needed. That’s where our checklist comes in handy.

If you have questions or concerns regarding personal injury or car accident claims, don’t hesitate to contact us for help. Our lawyers at LA Century Law have gained vast experience in car accident cases with a proven track record of success.

FAQs About Car Accident Cases

What compensation can I get after a car accident?

Every accident is unique. The compensation you can get depends on the situation of the accident. Some factors include the severity of injuries sustained and who was at fault.

Can my insurance provider pay my accident attorney?

This may depend on the policies provided by your insurance provider, but in many cases, your insurer won’t pay your accident attorney’s fees.

Car vs. Bicycle Accidents: Who Is Responsible?

Car vs. Bicycle Accidents: Who Is Responsible?

California is a great place to be for cycling enthusiasts. But, unfortunately, many car accidents with bicycles still take place.

If you or a loved one has been in a car vs. bicycle accident in California, you could be entitled to receive monetary compensation for your injuries or losses. You must consider several factors to determine who is responsible and to what degree. An attorney at LA Century Law can help with fault determination in a vehicle and bicycle crash.

This article discusses all you need to know to determine responsibility in car and bike accidents.

California Bicycle Laws

According to Vehicle Code, Article 4, cyclists in California must adhere to the following bicycle laws.

  • They have as much right of the road as a motor vehicle has.
  • They must follow all laws and responsibilities required of all drivers, such as stopping at red lights and stop signs.
  • They must ride in the same direction as traffic.
  • If moving at the same speed as vehicles, they can ride in the middle of the traffic lane. If moving slower, they must ride as close to the right edge or curb as possible or on the bike lane if there is one, but if it is a one-way street, they may ride to the far left instead.
  • They may leave the bike lane or side of the road if it is too narrow to share safely with passing cars, to make a left turn, and to avoid road hazards such as debris.
  • They must yield to pedestrians and allow them to use crosswalks.
  • If under 18, they must wear a helmet.
  • They must uncover one ear if using earbuds or headphones.
  • When riding at night, the bike or clothes need to have a white light visible from at least 300 feet, a red reflector visible from 500 feet, and a white or yellow reflector on each pedal, shoe, or ankle visible from 200 feet away.
  • Cyclists cannot cycle while intoxicated.

Unfortunately, even abiding by these laws does not completely protect riders from hitting or being hit by a car.

Examples of car and bicycle accidents include hitting an opening door of a vehicle, being sideswiped by a moving car, and being struck by a vehicle turning right.

Duty of Care

Who may be the negligent party in a car vs. bicycle accident? Individuals are considered negligent when they have a duty of care and they breach it by action or inaction leading up to the accident.

Duty of care for California drivers

California drivers have a legal duty to drive and operate their cars reasonably safely to avoid harming other road users or damaging their property. They must stay aware of their surroundings and be on the lookout for cyclists, pedestrians, and other vehicles.

Examples of the breach of drivers’ duty of care include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Failing to obey traffic laws
  • Not looking before turning right or opening their doors while parked
  • Falling asleep while driving

If they do not act reasonably safely, leading to a car accident with a bicycle, it can be considered negligent on their part.

Duty of care for California bicyclists

Bicyclists must observe reasonable care and skill towards other road users that their actions or inaction could affect. They must follow all the California bicycle laws, as we discussed.

Examples of the breach of cyclists’ duty of care include:

  • Not signaling on turns
  • Not using designated bike lanes or not staying on the far right of a two-way road when they are not moving at the same speed as traffic
  • Cycling while intoxicated
  • Not following general traffic laws
  • Overtaking improperly

Even if a cyclist may contribute to an accident, they still have the right to pursue compensation, according to California’s doctrine of comparative negligence.

California’s Pure Comparative Negligence Law

Depending on how much they contributed to the accident, more than one party can be considered at-fault. Each party is assigned a percentage of fault, and their compensation is reduced by the percentage.

If a cyclist was partially at-fault, they can still receive part of the financial compensation. For example, suppose the cyclist is awarded $100,000 in damages. If the driver is 100% at fault, the cyclist receives the $100,000. But if the cyclist is found to be 25% to blame, they receive 75% of the award, resulting in a $75,000 settlement.

Request a Free Consultation for Your Car vs. Bicycle Accident Case in California

You must consider several factors and conduct a thorough investigation to know who is responsible for a car accident with a bicycle. Seeking legal representation can help you determine liability before pursuing damages.

LA Century Law’s accident attorneys can help you determine responsibility after a car vs. bicycle accident. We have represented injured people in all types of road accidents and have a proven track record of success. We serve residents of Los Angeles and southern California.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation if you or a loved one has been involved in a bike accident with a car.

FAQs About Car vs. Bicycle Accidents

1. How much space should passing cars give cyclists?

The driver must maintain at least three feet while passing a cyclist.

2. Should I keep an injury journal after a bicycle accident?

Some cyclists are fortunate enough after a collision with a vehicle to get up and walk away. But they shouldn’t say they are OK — injuries can materialize with time. Keep an updated diary of any symptoms you’re feeling after a bike crash with a vehicle.

How to Read a California Car Accident Report

How to Read a California Car Accident Report

California Vehicle Code Section 20008 requires individuals involved in an accident causing injuries or loss of life to report the incident within 24 hours.

So if you or your loved one are involved in a California car crash, it is in your best interests to obtain a written report to the Department of the California Highway Patrol or the police department of the city where the accident occurred. You can call 911, and the officer that responds to your emergency call will be able to file a report of the accident.

But it is important to receive an accident report from law enforcement and know how to interpret it or how it may impact your case. Many people do not even know they have the right to request a copy of their accident report.

If you are injured in a California car accident, you should ask for a copy of the report immediately after receiving it. This way, you will know what information has been included in the report and whether any red flags indicate that the other driver’s insurance company might obscure evidence of negligence.

Contact LA Century to review your car accident case and preserve its integrity.

What is a California Accident Report?

A California car accident report (known as the CHP 555) is a document prepared by law enforcement officers following an investigation into an automobile collision. It includes basic information about the accident, such as the time, date, location, weather conditions, traffic flow, speed limits, and road conditions. It also contains details about the vehicles involved, including make, model, year, color, license plate number, and registration number.

Other critical data captured in the California accident report may include the following:

  • Witness details and testimonies
  • Approximate damage from the crash
  • Details of the collision, i.e., was it a vehicle rollover, rear-end collision, etc.?
  • Any other info collected by the officer at the scene

The importance of this report to your personal injury claim can be considerable. Though not admissible most of the time as proof of liability in court, the CHP 555 is usually a reliable source of evidence that may be used against the other party’s insurance carrier.

For example, if the other driver fails to provide their insurance card when asked, the CHP 555 will contain the insurance provider’s name. If the other driver refuses to answer questions during the investigation, the CHP 555 may reveal the identity of witnesses and other parties at the scene.

Who Can Request a Copy of a California Car Accident Report?

If you are involved in a California auto accident, you have the legal right to obtain a copy of your accident report. But first, you must submit a written request (CHP 190 form) to the police or the DMV to release the information. In addition, any other party involved in the crash or interested in the details of the accident may also request a copy of the CHP 550.

You should note, however, that requesting the CHP traffic collision report costs money. For instance, you will pay $10 for 25 pages of reports and $40 for 75–100 pages.

A typical report from the CHP is four pages long.

The Basics of Reading a California Collision Report

We’ll now focus on how to read a California police accident report. Use these tips to verify the circumstances of your accident are correct.

Ensure the date is accurate

First things first, make sure that the date on the report matches the date of the accident. This comes in handy when determining essential deadlines like the statute of limitations. You’ll want to confirm that the police made no mistake in their recording, considering that even a slight error in the day, month, or year of the accident may impact the case.

Confirm that the location is correct

Next, check whether the location indicated on the report is correct. If you notice any mismatch, you’ll want to address the matter with your lawyer or the police department that made the report for immediate action.

Did the police department take any photos?

There is a section in the report form designated for the names of the officer(s) that took any photographs. So if the officer responding to your emergency call took pictures, you want to check that the section is filled out. You may also request copies of the photos taken. If the section is blank or marked none, you still want to confirm with the police department if any pictures were taken.

Party identifications – P1

The first page of the report also has a section identifying the names, addresses, and other vital information of those involved in the accident. Keeping track of these people is essential because they may become relevant later in the process. Some courts even require that you identify each person before trial so that the opposing side can subpoena them.

Vehicle information and owner’s information

Here you get to learn about the vehicle involved in the accident. Make sure that this information is accurate. For example, did the police write down the license plate number correctly? Also, you want to ensure that the vehicle’s owner was adequately identified.

If the vehicle’s owner differs from the driver who caused the accident, it should be well-documented in this section. In that case, your lawyer should investigate any additional insurance coverages that either party may have to avoid missing out on potential recovery sources.

Primary collision factor

This section of the crash report details which party was the primary collision factor and what vehicle code they likely violated. For example, if the officer filing the report finds another driver at-fault, they will indicate that they are the primary collision factor. They will then list the specific traffic violation committed.

Other associated factors

In this section, the police will detail any other factor believed to have contributed to the accident. These include weather conditions, road conditions, speed limits, etc. The more information you can gather here, the better off you’ll be. You and your lawyer should pay close attention to this section, as it may come in handy during the trial if the other party disputes liability.

Witness and passenger information

If anyone witnessed the accident, their name, contact info, and description of the incident should be included here. This includes witnesses who saw the crash happen and passengers in the car.

Contact LA Century Law Today

If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, you need experienced legal help. At LA Century Law, we understand how difficult it is to deal with personal injury claims alone. From making sense of the car accident report to finding the right medical treatment, our lawyers can help you navigate the process. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. 

California Accident Report FAQs

When does the California accident report become useful?

Although the report is usually inadmissible in a civil case, your attorney can use it to gather the names of witnesses and victims. Your attorney can also subpoena them for depositions or court appearances.

Why aren’t police reports admissible in a California car accident case?

Police reports aren’t usually admissible because the courts consider them hearsay. However, your attorney can still use the report to gather witness and victim information.

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 at (866) 441-2447 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.

What to Do After Witnessing a Car Accident

What to Do After Witnessing a Car Accident

If you witness a car accident, you may not be sure about the next step, especially when the accident appears severe and traumatic. Your actions as a car accident witness can vary by the situation.

There are some steps you can take to prepare and know how to help the accident victims until the police and other emergency responders arrive at the accident scene.

At LA Century Law, we work with people who witnessed your car crash to protect the integrity of your case.

Things to Do After Witnessing a Car Accident

We’ve prepared some guidelines on what to do after witnessing a car accident.

Do you have to stop after seeing a car accident?

One of the primary questions many accident witnesses ask is, “do you have to stop if you witness a car accident”? In California, you are not legally required to stop. The decision is up to you. However, many witnesses stop to help. Here is what to do when you decide to stop.

Secure your safety

Your safety comes first. If you are driving and decide to stop for an accident, pull over your car and put on your hazard lights. If you are a pedestrian, stay on the sidewalks for a few minutes until the vehicles have room to navigate. Be sure the area is safe and visible to other drivers before you move closer and render your aid to the victims.

Check on the victims

Depending on the accident’s severity, you can decide to check on the victims and offer aid where you can. While the scene can be emotionally draining, you should be careful when offering help to avoid causing more injury to the victims. For instance, moving a victim could worsen the injury despite your good intentions to help.

Call 911 immediately

If you notice severe injuries or damage, it is important to call 911 as soon as possible. You could still contact the authorities even if you are not sure of the extent of the injuries or damage incurred. You can call or task someone who stopped to help you call. Give the authorities clear details about the location and nature of the accident.

Offer other forms of assistance

As you wait for the emergency responders to arrive, you can help the victim with certain things they may not be able to do alone due to the injuries incurred. Probably, the victim wants you to call their relatives to inform them about the accident. Offer the assistance you can.

Cooperate with the authorities

Once the police arrive at the scene, provide every detail about what you saw. The police will likely record a statement and release you. However, you may be contacted later by lawyers, insurance companies, or doctors as a witness.

What Not to Do After Witnessing a Car Accident

Knowing what you shouldn’t do can help you make informed decisions after witnessing a car accident. Remember, no law in California requires an accident witness to stop at the accident scene. If you decide to stop, it is because you want to help the victims. Being the first person to arrive at the scene can be very helpful to the victims.

Don’t rush to the accident area

While you may want to help the accident victims, avoid rushing to the scene because this might cause you injuries. There could be broken glass, sharp metal, and other debris, so you should examine the area before you move closer to help the victims.

Don’t be afraid to help

If you notice that the victim is in dire need, do not fear the liability. You shouldn’t be afraid of civil charges if you offer help in good faith. Your aid might be beneficial to the victim even as you wait for the emergency responders to arrive.

Don’t coerce people to accept fault

Don’t force anyone to accept the accident liability if you are unsure who is at fault. Focus on giving facts based on what you witnessed. Also, don’t feel pressured to provide information to every question. Avoid guessing answers if you are not sure.

Don’t offer medical help if you’re unqualified

If you notice the victim is severely injured, avoid moving them because you might cause more injuries. Wait for the emergency personnel to arrive and take charge of the medical aid. Most response teams arrive after a few minutes. In many cases, first aid can wait.

Car Accident Witness Depositions and Testimony

A deposition is the process where a witness can be interviewed by the defendant or the plaintiff’s lawyer following a car accident. If you are the witness, you might be “deposed” by either party.

This process occurs in a conference room, primarily in the lawyer’s office rather than the courtroom. The attorney will question you about what happened during the accident as the court reporter records the conversation.

Deposition happens under oath. For this reason, it is imperative to give truthful information and avoid giving details that can compromise the case. The information gathered will be used if the case goes to trial, and you might be called a trial witness.

LA Century Law Helps Car Accident Victims

Knowing what to do after witnessing a car accident can save a life. Witness statements can also help the accident victim when filing a claim. This can increase the chances of compensation for someone’s injuries and damages incurred. Attorneys on behalf of an injured car accident victim may also use witness testimony or information in cases.

If you or a loved one got involved in a car accident due to negligence from another driver, speak to an experienced car accident attorney to represent you. At LA Century Law, we have experienced car accident attorneys who can advise you, fight for you and protect your rights after a car accident. Contact us for a free case evaluation.

FAQs About Car Accident Witnesses

Can a passenger be a witness in a car accident?

A vehicle passenger can be a witness. They should give truthful information without sounding biased. The witness must have seen what happened before, during, and after the accident.

What kind of questions will the witness answer during the deposition?

As a witness, you will answer multiple questions based on the circumstances of the case. The questions revolve around what you saw before, during, and after the accident.

Who can qualify as a car accident witness?

Anyone who saw what happened during the accident can be a witness. The witness should be sure they saw what happened and be ready to give truthful information.

What is Arbitration for a Car Accident?

What is Arbitration for a Car Accident?

There are many ways to resolve a personal injury claim. You can do it through a lawsuit that goes to trial, an out-of-court settlement, or an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process like mediation or arbitration. The California legal system allows for ADR.

Instead of going through traditional litigation, you and the other parties can agree to resolve the car accident claim through ADR, saving money and time. ADR also gives you control over the process itself and the final results.

LA Century Law is committed to pursuing a favorable result for your car accident case. Consult with our attorneys serving Century City and the surrounding areas to understand your legal options.

Understanding Arbitration for Car Accidents In California

Arbitration is an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process used to resolve disputes outside the court system. It is similar to mediation, but instead of a mediator, an arbitrator (an agreed-upon person) decides how the dispute will be resolved. Each party presents its case to the arbitrator, who then decides based on the evidence and arguments presented.

There are two types of arbitration available in California: binding and non-binding.

  • Binding arbitration means both parties agree to be bound by the arbitrator’s decision. This is the most common type of arbitration used in car accident cases.
  • Non-binding arbitration means that either party can choose to reject the arbitrator’s decision and go to court instead.

Arbitration differs from mediation because a mediator does not decide how the case will be resolved. Instead, the mediator helps the two sides communicate and come to their own agreement. But they have no power to rule for either side. On the other hand, an arbitrator hears both sides of the story and makes a binding or non-binding decision about how the case will be resolved.

While arbitration can be a faster and cheaper way to resolve a dispute, it is important to remember that you might be giving up your right to have your case decided by a judge or jury. As such, you should always consult with an attorney before agreeing to arbitrate your car accident case.

When Car Accident Arbitration is Appropriate

One of the main reasons a claim goes to arbitration is when the insurer provides a lowball offer and refuses to negotiate. Some insurance firms include clauses in their policy contract that require arbitration when a dispute can’t be resolved. In this case, the arbitrator can resolve the dispute without the formality, expense, and time of a trial.

Arbitration is also suitable for complex cases where both parties want a decision-maker with experience or training in car accident cases. The arbitration may be mandated in cases where the amount in question will be, at most, $50,000 per plaintiff. But this requirement can be waived if both parties provide valid reasons why they believe a jury should try the case.

Arbitration, especially binding arbitration, may not be appropriate if parties want to maintain control over resolving their dispute. In binding arbitration, neither you nor the other party can appeal the arbitrator’s decision, even if the law or evidence does not support it.

How the Arbitration Process Works for Car Accidents

Arbitration is a dispute resolution process that takes place outside the court system. In arbitration, both parties to the dispute either agree or are mandated to have their case heard by an impartial third party, known as an arbitrator. An arbitration hearing for a car accident notice is then issued within 120 days of the arbitrator being appointed.

Like court proceedings, the parties present their case to the arbitrator as they would in court. They will make an opening statement, call witnesses, present evidence, analyze the other side’s witnesses, and make closing remarks.

The entire car accident arbitration process takes a few hours to complete. The arbitrator will consider evidence from both sides and then make a decision. In California, this decision can be binding or non-binding, depending on what both parties agree.

In most cases, an arbitrator’s award is final and entered as the judgment unless one party files a Request for Trial (trial de novo) within 60 days after the car accident arbitration award is filed with the court. But if the party filing a request for trial doesn’t get a ruling more favorable than the arbitrator’s award, they may be charged the extra fees and costs associated with the trial.

Arbitration Tips

While arbitration can be a helpful way to resolve disputes, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of a successful outcome.

  • First, it’s important to prepare in advance. Gather any evidence that will support your case, such as witness statements or photographs.
  • You should also make sure you understand how to fight with insurance companies, as they may try to argue that you are at fault. California law follows pure comparative negligence, which the defense may use to reduce the amount they have to pay.
  • If you’re considering arbitration, it’s a good idea to consult with an experienced car accident lawyer. A lawyer will be familiar with the process and can help you understand your rights and options. They can also help you negotiate with the other side and prepare your case.

Request a Consultation for Your Car Accident Claim

If you’ve been in a car accident, the arbitration process may be something you have to go through to get the compensation you deserve. But it’s important to understand your rights and options before you agree to anything. Our attorneys at LA Century Law can help. We’ve represented injured people in car accident cases like you and have a proven track record of success.

Give us a call today to schedule a free consultation. We’ll review your case and help you understand your options.

Car Accident Arbitration FAQs

From a plaintiff’s perspective, what are the benefits and downsides of arbitration?

The main benefit of arbitration is that it can be cheaper and faster than going to court. It’s also typically less formal, which can be helpful if you’re uncomfortable with the court system. The downside is that arbitration can be binding, which means you may not be able to appeal the decision.

How do I prepare for an arbitration?

Although arbitration for car accidents is less formal, preparing in advance is still important. Gather any evidence that will support your cases, such as witness statements or photographs. Your evidence and testimony should comply with California Rule of Court 3.820, barring ex parte communication with the arbitrator.

Can discovery continue once the case has been assigned to arbitration?

Yes. The parties can still conduct discovery under the California Rules of Court, which includes taking depositions and requesting documents. However, this should be done at least 15 days before the arbitration date.

Compensating Car Accidents Without a Seatbelt in California

Compensating Car Accidents Without a Seatbelt in California

Seatbelts are arguably the most important safety features in a vehicle. Unfortunately, some people intentionally or unintentionally fail to wear them while riding or driving a vehicle.

In California, every car passenger and their driver is required to wear a seatbelt or restraint whenever a vehicle is in motion. Failure to do so is considered a legal offense and can attract penalties.

That said, if you get involved in an accident while not wearing a seatbelt but the other party is at fault, you are still eligible for compensation.

However, you’re unlikely to receive the same compensation you would have had you been wearing a seatbelt, and your case may also be complicated. An experienced personal injury lawyer at LA Century Law can help you navigate these cases and pursue the compensation you deserve.

California Seatbelt Laws

California Vehicle Code 27315 addresses seatbelt laws in California. It mandates that anyone 16 years and above should wear a seatbelt in a moving vehicle, whether they are the driver or passenger. It also requires that parents ensure that children aged 15 and below are secured with a safety constraint while in a moving vehicle.

The only people who are exempt from wearing seatbelts are those with medical disabilities that hinder seatbelt use or working in an occupation requiring frequent stops, such as newspaper delivery, USPS, and garbage collection. Also, if you occupy a vehicle that doesn’t have a seatbelt, such as some public transportation vehicles, you’re not required to wear a seatbelt.

Violation of the California seatbelt law can attract a fine ranging from $162 for adults and $465 for children younger than 16.

However, there’s a worse fate than penalties. Failing to wear a seatbelt could put you at risk of sustaining severe injuries or, even worse, losing your life in case of an accident.

In fact, a report by National Highway Safety found that in 2017, there were approximately 37,133 motor vehicle accidents in California. Out of these, 47% weren’t wearing seatbelts. Additionally, 618 people died because they failed to wear their seatbelts.

How Lack of Seatbelts Affects Accident Liability

The person who caused the accident is usually considered the negligent or at-fault party. However, if the accident involves a driver who has broken a safety regulation, the driver may be held negligent per se. This means that the law may not prevent the injury as is required.

In the state of California, ‘the seatbelt defense’ may work against your ability to hold the at-fault party responsible. If it’s determined that you were not wearing your seatbelt at the time of the accident, then the seatbelt defense will favor the negligent person.

The reason for this is that the jury may hold you partially at fault. But this is not to say that you can’t sue the at-fault party. Even so, obtaining compensation for your injuries will be more challenging.

In short, when you file a claim in California, you are eligible to obtain compensation for your injuries even if you were not wearing a seatbelt. However, the injuries you sustained because you weren’t wearing a seatbelt won’t be considered.

How a Seatbelt Violation Affects Your Personal Injury Claim

If you are involved in an accident and weren’t wearing a seatbelt at the time, a law enforcement officer may give you a ticket for non-compliance with the seatbelt law. However, this doesn’t bar you from suing the person that caused the accident.

California is a comparative state, but its laws don’t prevent you from seeking compensation for your injuries, even if you didn’t buckle up at the time of the accident. The court addresses such claims by looking at the injuries that could have been avoided had the victim worn a seatbelt and excludes those injuries from the compensation.

In most cases, the insurer of the negligent party will attempt to argue that all the injuries you suffered resulted from you not wearing your seatbelt. If they are successful in their defense, they can significantly reduce the compensation you’ll receive for your injuries.

Suppose your case goes to trial, the court will instruct the jury to factor in how your failure to wear a seatbelt may have aggravated your injuries. In case the at-fault driver tries to use the seatbelt defense, they’ll need to establish that:

  • Wearing a seatbelt would have prevented the injuries
  • The injuries are more severe because you weren’t wearing a seatbelt.

In such a scenario, an experienced attorney can help you build a strong case by gathering the necessary evidence and using testimonies from medical and biomechanical experts to establish that your injuries are unrelated or minimally related to you not wearing a seatbelt.

Defending Your Right to Receiving Compensation

While it’s imperative to buckle up before you start driving, this doesn’t mean that you should bear all the accident-related expenses due to a simple oversight on your part.

If not wearing a seatbelt is deemed partially responsible for your accident injuries, your compensation will be reduced by your assigned percentage of fault. For instance, if it’s established that you’re 30% at fault and would have otherwise been eligible for $150,000, you will receive 105,000, which is 70% of the original settlement.

After being involved in a California accident, you have two years to file your personal injury claim from the day of the accident. To increase your chances of receiving the maximum compensation possible for your claim, it’s advisable to hire an experienced attorney to help you throughout the process.

Our team at LA Century Law is ready to help you prove that despite your failure to wear a seatbelt, most, if not all, of your injuries were caused by the at-fault party’s negligence. We know what to look for and how to analyze evidence at the scene of the accident to help strengthen your case.

Contact us today and schedule a free consultation.

FAQs About Car Accidents Without Seatbelts

What injuries can you incur if you get involved in an accident while not wearing a seatbelt?

Seatbelts help you reduce the severity of injuries in case of an accident. The injuries sustained in an accident where you weren’t wearing a seatbelt can range from minor to life-altering. They include whiplash, neck injuries, internal organ damage, spinal injury damage, and more.

What is comparative negligence law in California?

Since California uses the comparative negligence rule, some of your injuries may be blamed on you if you weren’t wearing a seatbelt in a car or a helmet on a motorcycle.

Our Locations

Century City Office

1880 Century Park East, Suite 1101 Los Angeles, CA 90067

San Bernardino Office

473 E. Carnegie Drive, Suite 200, San Bernardino, CA 92408

Valley Office

18321 Ventura Blvd., Suite 800 Tarzana, CA 91356

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