Most Common Injuries in a Rollover Car Accident in California

Most Common Injuries in a Rollover Car Accident

Rollover accidents present significant dangers to the drivers and passengers involved. 35% of vehicle collision fatalities occur as a result of rollover accidents alone, which is a demonstration of just how much damage they can cause to drivers and passengers.

For California residents who are injured by a rollover collision, the health and financial costs can be severe, and it’s important to understand how to take the best next steps after the accident occurs. Contact our car accident attorneys in Tarzana at LA Century Law if you or a loved one suffered injuries in a rollover crash.

What Is a Rollover Accident?

A rollover accident is any collision that results in one or more vehicles turning onto its side or roof. These accidents most often involve more than one vehicle, though there are times when rollovers occur without the impact of other vehicles on the road.

Only about 2-3% of all vehicle collisions are typically classified as rollover accidents from year to year, yet they remain one of the most significant causes of death on the road for drivers and passengers. Almost half of rollover accidents are partially due to excessive speed on the road.

What Are Tripped and Untripped Rollover Accidents?

There are two basic categories of rollover accidents: tripped and untripped. It’s important to understand the difference.

Tripped rollover accidents

Tripped rollovers are those that occur as a result of an external force, such as another vehicle, debris on the road, or a guardrail. The vast majority of rollovers are tripped.

Untripped rollover accidents

Untripped rollovers, on the other hand, occur without the influence of external forces. This type of rollover might happen when a vehicle is taking a particularly aggressive turn on a highway, for example.

What Are Common Injuries from Rollover Accidents?

There are several types of injuries that rollover car accidents can cause, including the possibility of a fatality occurring. Here are some of the most common types of injuries from rollovers:

  • Fractures and breaks
  • Internal and external bruising or bleeding
  • Head and neck trauma, including severe whiplash
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Spinal cord trauma, including long-term paralysis
  • Glass damage and lacerations
  • Burns from vehicle explosions or airbag deployment

What happens to your body in a car accident can have significant consequences for months, years, or life. Rollover accidents are notorious for crushing limbs to passengers, throwing passengers from the vehicle, and causing catastrophic injuries.

What Are the Common Causes of Rollover Accidents?

Both tripped, and untripped rollover accidents can happen for a variety of reasons. The vast majority involve negligence on the part of a driver, though it is technically possible for a rollover to occur solely as a result of external factors.

There are several common causes of rollovers, including the following:

  • Speeding
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Other driver negligence (such as driving while fatigued)
  • Malfunction of vehicle parts
  • Poorly designed roads or signage

Out of all of these potential causes, speeding is responsible for the largest percentage of rollovers (about 40%), whether it was the rolled-over vehicle that was speeding or another vehicle involved in the collision.

How Is Fault Determined for Rollover Accidents in California?

The fault for any given rollover accident is essentially calculated and determined by negligence on the part of one or more parties. Fault can be shared between more than one party or may be solely attributed to one party, depending upon each case.

Determining fault is nuanced and can be difficult, especially when you’re already dealing with injuries and car damages in the wake of your accident. An experienced rollover accident attorney can help gather and organize the relevant evidence as well as provide other resources that can help bolster your case. Our attorneys can utilize an accident reconstruction expert to better understand the percentage of fault.

Furthermore, it’s important to note that because California uses the pure comparative fault system, even if an injured party was partially at fault, they can still pursue damages to some extent.

We Can Help You Recover From Rollover Accident Injuries

If you’ve been injured or impacted by a rollover accident, it’s imperative that you get the legal help you need to fight your case successfully. Contact us today at LA Century Law for a free case evaluation with our experienced team. We’re ready to partner with you in your pursuit of what you’re rightfully owed for your damages.

Rollover Accident Case FAQs

What if I share fault for my rollover accident?

Because the state of California establishes a pure comparative fault policy, injured drivers can pursue compensation for their damages even if they were 51% or more at fault for the accident, though the awarded amount will be adjusted accordingly.

What if something other than another driver caused my rollover accident?

There are some cases in which bad signage, mechanics, weather, or another factor can contribute to a rollover. In these cases, it is best to consult with an experienced attorney like one from our team at LA Century Law to determine what entities may be at fault and how to best proceed.

How to Dispute Car Accident Fault

How to Dispute Car Accident Fault

If you’re accused of causing a crash, remember that the other driver’s perspective isn’t always the final judgment. There are actionable steps you can take to dispute the opposing driver’s account.

What’s more, is California is a comparative fault state. This means that even if you are at fault, you can recover for your injuries.

If you find yourself in a car accident situation with conflicting accounts, it’s important to enlist the expertise of our Tarzana car accident attorneys at LA Century Law, who can dispute fault, liaise with the insurance company and fight for your right to fair compensation. Get in touch with us right away to begin protecting your case against accusations of fault.

Disputing Liability in a Car Accident With Conflicting Stories

Gather evidence

Clear evidence can significantly strengthen your case when faced with a car accident with conflicting stories. Document the scene by taking detailed photos of critical clues, such as the positions of all vehicles involved, property damage, skid marks, and road conditions.

Utilize accident reconstruction

Accident reconstruction can be a powerful tool in disputing car accident liability. The concept relies on scientific principles, physics, and engineering to recreate the sequence of events leading up to an accident. It provides an unbiased accident analysis by considering various variables; for instance, vehicle speeds, trajectories, weather, or poor infrastructure.

This objective analysis helps determine the accident’s actual contributing factors. Accident reconstruction creates visual representations of the accident using computer simulations, diagrams, and models. These demonstrations help judges, juries, insurance adjusters, or opposing parties better understand complex accident scenarios. Clear and compelling visuals can enhance the credibility of the disputed claims and arguments.

Lawyers hire accident reconstruction experts to analyze the physical evidence, witness statements, and other relevant data relating to the accident. Their expertise can be used to corroborate your version of events and challenge the opposing driver’s claims.

Collect witness testimony

Individuals who were there at the accident scene, like other drivers or pedestrians, can provide accounts that support what really happened in the moments before the crash. Police officers who responded to the scene may also have statements as to what they witnessed when they arrived.

Because witnesses are pivotal in car accident trials, write down the names and contact information of those present. Memory can be difficult to preserve, and submitted recorded statements, as early as they can be reliably collected, can be key to lowering the percentage of fault for your accident.

California’s Contributory Negligence Law

Contributory negligence laws come into play when both parties ultimately share some degree of fault.

California follows a pure comparative fault system, which means that even if you are partially at fault, you can still recover damages. The court examines the evidence presented and considers factors like actions, negligence, and other relevant circumstances to assign this share.

Once the percentages of fault are determined, the damages awarded to the plaintiff are adjusted accordingly. California’s approach implies that any compensation awarded to the plaintiff is decreased by their percentage of blame. For example, if you’re deemed to be 30% at fault, and the total compensation is $100,000, you’ll be awarded $70,000.

Even if one motorist is 90% at fault, they can still receive 10% of the total damages when compensation is calculated to reflect their accountability. This approach recognizes that accidents often involve multiple factors, and in some cases, one party cannot bear all the blame. By considering the respective degrees of fault, the court can determine a fair and equitable distribution of damages.

Consult an Experienced Car Accident Attorney at LA Century Law Today

Disputing liability in a car accident requires a strategic approach and extensive legal knowledge. It is difficult to dispute fault for a car accident alone to the insurance company. Hiring a skilled car accident lawyer early on in the process increases your chances of a favorable outcome. With a 99% success rate in handling injury cases, LA Century Law can:

  • Assess the validity of your case and provide tailored advice
  • Gather relevant proof to support your version of events
  • Negotiate with the insurance company for a fair settlement
  • Represent you in court if a resolution cannot be reached through mediation

The path to a successful dispute lies in presenting solid evidence that protects your rights to the fullest amount of compensation. Contact us at LA Century Law for a free initial consultation and case assessment.

FAQs on How to Dispute Car Accident Fault

Can I dispute a car accident fault if the police report favors the other motorist?

A police report is not the sole determining factor in assigning fault. Our car accident attorneys can review the report, assemble additional evidence, and build a robust case that supports your side of the story.

What if an insurance company denies my claim based on the defendant’s account?

You can challenge the insurance company’s decision and negotiate better terms. Leave this in the hands of an experienced auto accident attorney.

Who's at Fault for a Self-Driving Car Accident in California?

Who’s at Fault for a Self-Driving Car Accident in California?

With the technology’s new nature, self-driving cars create a lot of confusion regarding what happens if you get into an accident with one. In California, there are increasingly more cars on the road that offer hands-free driving. With it comes an increased risk of failing to intervene in time to avoid an accident.

At LA Century Law, our Tarzana auto accident lawyers can help you know who’s at fault for a self-driving car accident and the compensation you may be entitled to from the at-fault party. Contact us to begin investigating the circumstances surrounding your crash with a self-driving car.

Misconceptions With Self-Driving Cars

A truly autonomous or self-driving car is not commercially available as of July 2023. New cars offer a whole range of assisted driving features, but even with these features, cars cannot autonomously drive as of yet.

In California, no car is actually able to be driven without someone behind the wheel to guide the vehicle and intervene if necessary.

There are certain jurisdictions, like San Francisco, that have allowed autonomous cars to operate without a driver inside, but this is not without its problems. Our focus is on vehicles that transport individuals with a driver behind the wheel who is supposed to be responsible for maneuvering the car when needed.

Cars with self-driving features

Auto manufacturers, such as Ford, Cadillac, and Tesla, include a number of assisted driving features onboard their newer vehicle models. Some of the advanced driver assistance features available include:

  • Lane-change assistance
  • Lane-centering assistance
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Blind-spot and collision warnings

The combination of these and other features come together to give drivers a near-fully assisted driving experience. There are many tasks that the vehicle is able to perform with no driver input, though legally, a driver must always be present and aware in the driver’s seat.

Self-driving vehicle claims by manufacturers

Recently, with confusion among the public about the degrees of autonomy that vehicles can demonstrate, California passed a law that bans manufacturers from claiming their vehicles are “self-driving” for the time being.

Self-Driving Vehicles in California

There is no law against a self-driving vehicle in California, but all vehicles on the road are required by state law (CVC 38750) to have a driver behind the wheel at all times, and they must follow all traffic laws. This includes not driving distracted.

Fault in a Self-Driving Car Accident

When a self-driving car accident occurs, fault for the accident will still be determined the same way it is now, with the driver of the autonomous car being responsible for taking action when the self-driving features fail to prevent an accident from happening. The law will still require the self-driving vehicle to have a human driver to take over control.

Manufacturer and software developer fault

If the accident is an isolated case, then it is unlikely that a vehicle defect or a software bug could be to blame. Attempting to place fault on a manufacturer or a software developer for a single accident would be a difficult task; a true defect or bug would be more likely if many cases of the defect or bug could be proven under the umbrella of a class action suit.

Lawyers for Self-Driving Car Accidents

When a self-driving car accident occurs, it is important to seek legal guidance from an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer who understands the steps you need to take to pursue a compensation claim for your injuries and damages. There is no need to try to navigate the complexities of a personal injury claim on your own while still trying to heal from your injuries.

At LA Century Law, our skilled personal injury lawyers offer clients a range of benefits and assistance. Our legal professionals have a deep knowledge of the state’s current self-driving laws and how they can be interpreted based on the specifics of your accident. We investigate whether the fault for your accident lies with the other driver or potentially the vehicle’s manufacturer.

When against the insurance company, we’re familiar with their tactics and will advocate for you in court if necessary.

The car accident lawyers at LA Century Law are available for a free consultation to discuss the specific factors that affect your accident claim. Let us represent you in your self-driving car accident case.

FAQs About Autonomous Vehicles

How soon could fully autonomous vehicles be a reality?

Automobile manufacturers like Tesla, Cadillac, and Ford are in a heated race. They have hope to have publicly available, fully-autonomous vehicles on the market by the end of 2023.

Who is at fault if a self-driving vehicle hits a pedestrian?

If a pedestrian were hit, the driver of the vehicle would be at-fault for not intervening to stop the collision. The pedestrian could potentially share fault if they were crossing illegally — known as jaywalking.

How Often Are Hit and Run Drivers Caught?

How Often Are Hit and Run Drivers Caught?

A hit and run accident occurs when a driver flees the scene of an accident. When the driver flees the scene, you cannot exchange insurance information or contact information, which can make it more difficult for you to pursue compensation for the damages to your vehicle or your injuries.

As many as 50% of auto accidents in the Los Angeles area are hit and runs—a much higher rate than the rest of the nation, which is around 11%. Unfortunately, Los Angeles police officers only catch an average of 8-12% of hit and run drivers. Contact a Tarzana hit and run accident lawyer today for a consultation from our seasoned attorneys.

Why are Hit and Run Accidents So Complicated?

Hit and run accidents complicate the investigation process for a number of reasons.

The need to establish proof

After a hit and run, Los Angeles police can only make an arrest if they can prove that the driver was behind the wheel at the time of the accident. Without proof, they cannot simply bring someone in; a sign of vehicle damage alone is usually inconclusive. Specific evidence must be relied on like:

  • Injuries on the driver
  • A description of the driver
  • A confession from the driver

Often, even if the police have some evidence of who might have been driving the vehicle, they cannot clearly establish liability.

Lack of evidence

Many hit and run accidents simply do not leave evidence behind. The accident occurs in the blink of an eye. People around the scene of the accident may focus on the injured party and providing aid rather than on the fleeing vehicle. Many witnesses may also not realize that the driver intends to flee the scene until it occurs.

Security camera footage can sometimes help identify the vehicle involved in a hit and run, but not always. In most cases, the footage proves grainy and difficult to put together. It may not even capture the make and model of a vehicle, much less its license plate–and, of course, even identifying the vehicle does not serve to identify the driver at the time.

High number of hit and run accidents

The vast number of hit and run accidents in Los Angeles makes it difficult for police to effectively investigate all of them. As a result, officers may end up devoting their resources to cases with more information and evidence, which means that other cases may slip through the cracks.

Aiding in Your Hit and Run Investigation: What Can You Do?

If you suffer injuries in a  hit and run, you can do several things to aid in the investigation.

Record your statement as soon as possible

Work with the police to record a statement about the hit and run accident as soon as possible, while you can still remember the details of the accident. Do not wait until considerable time has passed since your accident since you may no longer remember the details that led to it.

Provide all the information you can

Do not hold back information after your hit and run. Provide the police with as much evidence and information as possible so that they can conduct a full investigation.

Cooperate with the investigation

Allow the police access to any records involving your vehicle or accident, including your medical records. Let them take a look at the damage to the vehicle, if needed.

The Los Angeles police note that members of the community, including hit and run accident victims, should not attempt to confront the driver who caused the accident themselves. Instead, after an accident, focus on collecting as much information as you can so that you can provide the police with essential evidence that can help them investigate.

Contact a Lawyer for Help With Your Uninsured Motorist Claim

When you suffer injuries in an accident with a driver who does not have auto insurance, you can use your uninsured motorist insurance to cover those damages. The same applies to a hit and run. If you do not have insurance information or contact information for the driver that caused your accident, your uninsured motorist coverage will cover those damages.

Contact us at LA Century Law today to discuss your hit and run accident.

FAQs about Hit and Run Accidents

How can I get compensation for a hit and run accident in Los Angeles?

Your uninsured motorist coverage may cover the damages from a hit and run in Los Angeles. Contact a lawyer to learn more about your specific right to compensation.

What information should I note after a hit and run?

After a hit and run accident, make note of as much information about the liable driver and vehicle as possible. You should include the following:

  • Vehicle make and model
  • License plate number
  • A description of the driver
  • Anything else you remember about the event

The more information you can provide, the better the odds that the police will find the driver that fled the scene.

What If Poor Road Conditions Cause an Accident in California?

What If Poor Road Conditions Cause an Accident in California?

Not all accidents are caused by human error. Poor road conditions result in dangerous accidents that may harm individuals in a single vehicle or affect multiple drivers on the road.

If poor road conditions caused your accident, you might be led to believe the accident was “nobody’s fault.” This simply isn’t true. An experienced car accident injury attorney at LA Century Law can help you determine whether poor road conditions were a factor in your accident and whether the city, county, or state government may be liable for related injuries and damage to your vehicle.

Poor Road Conditions that Cause Accidents in California

According to data from the Department of Transportation, California’s roads are ranked the worst for roughness, with 44% of roads in poor condition. Some of the most common road conditions that cause accidents include:

Debris

Items on the roadways can be difficult to spot when traveling at high speeds on roads congested with traffic. Common road debris includes tires, parts of vehicles, trash, household items, construction debris, or even pieces of road infrastructure. In these situations, liability depends on the entity responsible for losing the debris and how long it’s been a hazard to road travel.

Deteriorated roads

Potholes, uneven pavement, damaged guardrails, deteriorated medians, etc., can all be responsible for serious vehicle accidents. All too often, the government agencies responsible for maintenance have fielded multiple reports regarding a single road issue.

Missing infrastructure

Government agencies are responsible for replacing damaged or missing infrastructure that keep the roads safe. Every piece is positioned for a reason, from signage to guardrails, to maintain safety. Missing signs or faulty traffic lights can be responsible for collisions. Damaged or missing guardrails cause injuries and fatalities. Inadequate street lighting can lead to accidents in the evening or at night.

Poor maintenance

Government agencies are responsible for maintaining the roads within their borders. Failure to keep up with maintenance requirements can make roads unsafe. For example, overgrowth that hasn’t been cut back restricts visibility and can damage passing vehicles. Faded street markings or obstructed signs prevent drivers from seeing the rules of the road. When agencies don’t fix these problems, they’re liable for the accidents they cause.

How to Determine Liability in Accidents Caused by Bad Road Conditions

In order to get compensation for your injuries in an accident caused by poor road conditions, you must first determine who is at fault. For instance, building materials that slid off of a truck in front of you is the responsibility of that driver. On the other hand, a pothole that caused your tire to blow out is likely to be the responsibility of the local or state government.

To establish liability, you also have to prove that the party in question was negligent. In other words, they knew about the issue and didn’t take the proper steps to help drivers avoid injury. Additionally, if you suspect a government agency is responsible, you have to file a special claim, called an administrative claim, before you can file in court. In California, this claim must be filed within six months of your injury.

The procedure of establishing and proving negligence or liability for bad road conditions can be complicated and time-consuming. As a result, it can be challenging to achieve on your own. Time is of the essence when attempting to prove such a complex case. That’s why we recommend speaking with an experienced injury lawyer as soon as possible.

Contact the Attorneys at LA Century Law

If you were injured in a car accident due to poor road conditions in California, you have the right to claim compensation from the responsible party. The experienced car accident attorneys at LA Century Law are familiar with the process of filing administrative claims and other essential documents involved in cases surrounding unsafe roads. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to determine who is at fault for an accident caused by poor road conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do first if I’m involved in an accident caused by bad road conditions?

Safety is the most important objective after any car accident. Assess the injuries of those in your vehicle and immediately call 911 for medical assistance. If you’re uninjured, you can assess injuries sustained by any other individuals involved in the accident. If you’re uninjured and it’s safe to do so, you should take pictures of the scene to provide as evidence in your case.

Why do I need an attorney to prove my case?

There are very specific regulations about how to prove liability in an accident caused by poor road conditions. Experienced accident injury attorneys are familiar with the procedure and can handle your case accurately.

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.

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