Is It Illegal to Drive With Headphones in California?

Is It Illegal to Drive With Headphones in California?

With the long commutes and slow traffic, it can be tempting to drive with headphones on in California. Whether drivers are looking to tune everything out or entertain themselves with an audiobook or music, wearing headphones while driving puts others at risk of serious injury or death.

For the safety of other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians, the state of California has implemented laws that prohibit the wearing of headphones while operating a motor vehicle.

Drivers who wear headphones may not only violate California law but also be liable for injuries and damage in the event of an accident. If you’re injured by a distracted driver in California, contact our auto accident attorneys at LA Century Law.

What are the Dangers of Wearing Headphones While Driving?

Wearing any sort of device, whether it be earbuds or on-ear headphones, is an immense distraction for any driver. It puts drivers in a vulnerable position, being unable to hear surrounding traffic and potential accident cues, emergency vehicles, and car horns.

Not to mention, getting caught up in a favorite song or concentrating on a podcast can critically impact an individual’s cognitive focus. Having headphones on makes drivers more prone to tuning everything else out.

In the unfortunate event that you or a loved one was injured in a car accident that involved another driver wearing headphones in California, it’s important to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney.

What is California’s Law for Wearing Headphones While Driving?

California law states that the use of devices, whether covering or inserted into both ears, is prohibited while operating a motor vehicle. This includes bicyclists and all motor vehicles — not just cars.

The following scenarios have exceptions and do not include the wearing of headphones for entertainment purposes:

  • Individuals operating authorized emergency vehicles
  • Individuals who need to wear safety equipment, such as protective gear for ears, while operating during waste collection
  • Individuals who are involved in highway construction and operating special equipment
  • Individuals who are wearing specially designed protective ear coverings to reduce injurious levels of noise
  • Individuals who need to wear other ear coverings, such as devices that aid in hearing

Dealing with the aftermath of car accidents can have a mental and physical toll on the victim. An attorney can help ease the burden of dealing with insurance companies and legal paperwork, as well as ensure all parties are properly investigated.

Are There Penalties for Being Caught Wearing Headphones While Driving in California?

What happens if someone were to get caught while driving with headphones on in California? This is a violation of California Vehicle Code 27400, and the penalties are as follows:

  • A person who is caught violating California Vehicle Code 27400 may receive a fine of$197.
  • Violators will receive one point on their DMV driving record.
  • The DMV may impose a suspension of the person’s driver’s license if they receive a certain number of points within a given period of time.

If the person was doing other illegal activities while driving with headphones, the citation and punishment could be more severe. Additionally, if the driver collides with a pedestrian or another driver, it could warrant a personal injury lawsuit.

In California, if the victim is able to show that the driver who collided with them was wearing headphones, the law will recognize the driver as negligent, and no further proof is needed to determine whether or not they were distracted.

Each state is different when it comes to the complexities of laws surrounding the use of technology in cars. With that said it can be hard to keep up or understand specifically what is considered illegal, considering technology and devices are ever-changing.

What to Do If Injured in a Crash by a Driver Wearing Headphones

Calling 911 is the first thing someone should do if they are injured in a crash. Seeking medical assistance could be life-saving. From there, the victim should do the following to increase their chance of receiving full compensation and protecting their rights.

File a report with law enforcement

Law enforcement will do a preliminary investigation which will allow them to document all necessary items.

Continue to document everything

If there is damage to the victim’s body or car, take photos. Continue documenting any injuries, whether they are visible or not. Also, be sure to obtain the person who was responsible for the accident’s personal information, like name, address, and insurance information. If there are any nearby witnesses, obtaining their information could also help authorities and insurance companies determine who is at fault.

Seek guidance from an experienced attorney

Hiring a professional who specializes in car accidents and personal injury claims will help you navigate through the complex legal process of filing a claim.

Driving with headphones on in California is illegal, and if someone causes an accident or injury while wearing them, they should be held accountable. It’s not uncommon for liable parties to suddenly stop cooperating, making the process even more difficult.

Consult with LA Century Law Regarding California’s Headphone Law

LA Century Law is experienced in car accidents and personal injury claims where distraction and negligence are factors. We are dedicated to civil litigation and can assist individuals who fall victim to someone operating a vehicle while wearing headphones.

Those involved may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and other expenses. Contact us today for a free consultation, where our team of professionals will walk you through the claims process.

FAQs About Headphone Use Behind the Wheel

Is it illegal to wear headphones while driving in California?

Yes; it is illegal to operate any motorized vehicle, including bicycles. With that said, having one earpod or earphone in just one ear is acceptable by law, although can be difficult to prove.

What is the punishment for violating California Vehicle Code 27400?

A standard $197 ticket will be given if someone is pulled over while wearing headphones. More severe punishments and fines may be given to those who caused an accident, or injury, or were involved in other illegal activities. Points on the responsible party’s DMV license may also occur.

California's Cell Phone While Driving Laws

California’s Cell Phone While Driving Laws

Distracted driving has posed a danger to the public since the earliest days of the automobile. But, the invention of the cell phone turned distraction behind the wheel into a full-blown crisis. Today, using phones and other devices constitutes the most common cause of motorists losing attention and causing an accident.

The California legislature has passed several laws restricting phone-related distracted driving. But unfortunately, distraction-related accidents continue to happen frequently in California, with tragic results.

Here’s an overview of California’s laws against cell phone use while driving and how an experienced accident injury lawyer at LA Century Law can handle the process of pursuing compensation when a distracted driver harms you or a loved one.

Current California Restrictions on Cell Phone Use While Driving

California laws restricting cell phone use behind the wheel have evolved with changes in mobile technology. The state’s first law barred talking on a cell phone while driving unless the driver used the phone in hands-free mode.

The advent of smartphones, however, quickly made that restriction insufficient. For example, it did not prohibit drivers from holding a phone to send a text or use it as a GPS.

Accordingly, the legislature amended and expanded the Vehicle Code to bar nearly all driver use of cell phones and other wireless devices in anything but hands-free or one-touch mode. In recognition of the heightened dangers of teen texting and driving, the legislature also outlawed all device use by drivers under 18.

Today, California law permits drivers (other than emergency services professionals) to use cell phones and other devices behind the wheel only if:

  • They’re 18 or older
  • The vehicle is not a school bus or transit vehicle
  • The device can be and is operated hands-free (a device can be activated and deactivated by voice or one-finger touch)
  • The device is mounted on the windshield, center console, or dash or is part of the vehicle’s manufacturer-installed electronics system.

It is not a violation of these rules for drivers to make emergency phone calls, such as dialing 911.

Drivers who break California’s rules on cell phone use commit a traffic infraction punishable by a base fine of twenty dollars ($20) for a first offense and fifty dollars ($50) for each subsequent offense. As discussed below, they may also face civil liability if their distraction causes a crash resulting in injuries or property damage.

Civil Liability for Driver Cell Phone Use

Drivers who allow cell phones and other devices to distract them risk causing potentially deadly accidents. Reading a text or scrolling to find a phone number takes a driver’s eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off the job of driving under control.

In just a few seconds of distraction, a vehicle can all too-easily veer from its travel lane, and its driver can ignore road signs, traffic signals, or approaching hazards. Thousands of crashes happen annually in California due to cell phone and other device-related distractions behind the wheel. Many inflict severe injuries or cause a tragic loss of life.

Victims of distracted driving accidents generally have the right under California law to demand compensation from the at-fault driver and others answerable for the driver’s actions. Through an insurance claim or lawsuit for damages, a skilled lawyer can often secure payment for a crash victim’s:

  • Medical and other crash-related expenses;
  • Lost income and job benefits
  • Pain and suffering
  • Diminished quality of life

Sometimes, a lawyer can also secure a court award of punitive damages that punish the distracted driver’s extreme recklessness. The amount of damages recoverable generally depends on the severity of the victim’s injuries, the strength of the evidence supporting the victim’s claim, the skill of the victim’s attorney, and the financial resources the distracted driver and others have available to pay for the victim’s losses.

Contact a Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer at LA Century Law Today

If you or someone you love suffered losses in a California motor vehicle crash caused by a driver distracted on a cell phone, you may have the right to claim significant compensation. The experienced auto accident injury lawyers at LA Century Law fight on behalf of victims like you to hold distracted drivers accountable. Contact us today at our offices in Tarzana, Century City, or San Bernardino for a free consultation, where you can learn about what we can do for you.

FAQs About California Cell Phone Driving Laws and Crashes

How do I know if a driver distracted by a cell phone caused a crash that harmed me or my loved one?

Unless the driver admitted to being distracted at the scene, it might not be immediately apparent that cell phone use was to blame. The most reliable way to find out is to contact a skilled lawyer who can take legal action on your behalf by seeking relevant evidence from the driver or a cell phone provider.

Can I seek compensation even if the at-fault driver in my crash wasn’t cited for cell phone use?

Yes, you often can. The decision police make about citing an at-fault driver at the scene for cell phone use is entirely separate from your rights as a crash victim and the evidence a lawyer may uncover to support your claim for damages.

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 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 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 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.

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

San Bernardino Office

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

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