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California Accident Injury Trial Lawyers

What You Need to Know about the Ford Truck Recall

Passenger Injured in a Car AccidentFord Motor recently announced a recall of roughly 1.3 million 2015-17 Ford F-150 and 2017 Ford Super Duty trucks in North America. The recall is due to frozen door latches and bent or kinked actuation cables. The problem can result in doors not opening or closing. Affected customers should be notified next month. The company intends to put water shields over the door latches and inspect and repair door latch cables.

Since 2016, Ford has recalled more than 5 million vehicles for door latch-related issues since 2016. So far, no accidents or injuries have been reported as a result of the defective door latches and actuation cables. However, if you have an affected vehicle, you may be in danger of your door failing to open or failing to close.

Vehicle Defects in the United States

The vast majority of car accidents in the United States are caused by human error. However, vehicle defects are also a leading cause of car accidents. Though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regularly alerts drivers of vehicle defects that can lead to injury or death, it is difficult to reach everyone.

Car accidents are a leading cause of America’s most debilitating injuries. More people under the age of 34 die due to car accidents compared to any other cause. Additionally, car accidents cost the country about $230 billion per year in medical and insurance costs as well as lost worker productivity.

If you have suffered injury as a result of a defective vehicle part, you are entitled to damages for your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and more. Our San Luis Obispo personal injury attorneys are highly experienced in representing victims of injury caused by defective vehicle parts.

Are Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents on the Rise in SLO?

Pedestrian Hit by CarDue to an increase in pedestrian and bicycle accidents, San Luis Obispo police have stepped up patrols. As more people use non-motorized transportation, the risk of being injured or killed by cars has increased. In the last three years, SLO police have investigated more than 235 cases of vehicle versus pedestrian or bicyclist accidents.

This special enforcement operation includes increased patrols to find speeding drivers, drivers making illegal turns, failure to come to a complete stop at stop signs and failure to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.

Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents in the United States

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 5,376 people died in pedestrian/motor vehicle accidents in 2015. That averages to 15 deaths every day, the highest rate of pedestrian fatalities since 1996. In the decade leading up to 2015, total traffic fatalities fell nearly 18 percent. However, pedestrian fatalities rose 12 percent.

In 2015, there were approximately 70,000 pedestrians injured in car accidents. That was a 15 percent increase in injuries compared to a decade earlier. However, the actual number is much higher, according to hospital records (the NHTSA only recorded accidents that were reported by police).

Bicyclists and pedestrians are at a high risk of injury in accidents involving cars. Catastrophic injuries such as broken bones, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and more can result in expensive medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and permanent disability resulting in reduced capacity for work. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a pedestrian or bicycle accident in San Luis Obispo, our personal injury attorneys can fight for the recovery that you deserve.

The Left Turn: One Common Cause of Motorcycle Accidents

One of the most common types of motorcycle accident is the left turn accident. This type of accident occurs when a vehicle is attempting to make a left turn, crosses the opposite lane and into the path of the motorcyclist, who then slams into the car.

This type of accident occurred recently in Santa Maria, when a motorcyclist slammed into the side of a SUV as it turned left into a shopping center. The motorcyclist sustained serious injuries after flying and landing several yards away from the site of the accident.

You would think that a motorcyclist would be noticeable to the person driving the car, but there are any number of reasons these accidents occur. Distraction, misjudging the motorcycle’s speed and flat out not seeing the motorcycle are some common ones.

Almost 40 percent of motorcycle accidents occur this way.

In California, we use a pure comparative negligence rule to determine fault in left turn accidents. This means that a defendant is only liable for his or her percentage of fault. Generally speaking, the driver that makes the left turn will be either completely at fault or mostly at fault, because drivers are supposed to make sure the path is clear before making a left turn.

However, not all left-turn accidents are purely the fault of the person turning left. If a motorcyclist runs a red light, for example, or is speeding through an intersection, under pure comparative negligence that motorcyclist may be partly liable for the accident.

How to Prevent Injury and Left-Turn Motorcycle Accidents

When coming up to a place where someone may make a left turn:

  1. Follow the speed limit
  2. Scan ahead to see if there are any places a car might turn into
  3. Observe any cars that look like they are going to turn. Do they see you? Pay attention to the front tires.
  4. Predict whether the car will go for it
  5. Prepare to brake or swerve if they do turn
  6. Use your horn if necessary

If you do end up suffering injuries, even if you don’t directly impact the other vehicle, you should seek immediate medical attention as well as document the accident site as thoroughly as possible.

California Police Conduct Sting Operations to Prevent Underage Drinking

car accidentSanta Maria police have recently begun using minors in sting operations to prevent underage drinking. The operations work as follows: a plainclothes officer would enter a liquor store, followed shortly by a teenager. The teenager would walk up to the counter and attempt to purchase alcohol with cash. If the sale went through, the police would move in.

Fortunately, every store the sting operation involved asked for ID, which the minor did not have. He left empty-handed.

Underage DUI Statistics

Did you know that 17 percent of fatal alcohol-related accidents involve licensed drivers under 21? This is despite the fact that only 10 percent of licensed drivers are under 21. Additionally, underage drinkers tend to binge drink, leading to higher BAC and a higher rate of underage drunk driving accidents. In California, anyone under 21 who has a BAC higher than 0.01 percent can be charged with DUI.

Underage drinkers are more likely to behave recklessly on the road and are also less likely to wear seat belts. These factors can contribute to an increased likelihood of being involved in a deadly car accident.

If you have suffered injury in an accident caused by a drunk driver, our law firm can help. Our attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of your accident and identify all responsible parties in order to help you receive the compensation you deserve.

Did You Know Thanksgiving is One of the Most Dangerous Holidays?

Passenger Injured in a Car AccidentThanksgiving is just around the corner, and you probably already have plans to meet up with family and friends for food, football and fun. Thanksgiving is one of the most traveled holidays of the year. And for an overwhelming majority of people, travel by car will be the transportation method of choice.

This holiday has a dark side, however. Thanksgiving is one of the most dangerous holidays to be on the road. Unfamiliar roads, late night driving and especially intoxication contribute to a high number of car accidents. Statistically speaking, Thanksgiving regularly rates among the top holidays for drunk driving fatalities. The day prior to Thanksgiving (sometimes known as Black Wednesday, Blackout Wednesday, Drinksgiving and Thanksgiving Eve) is one of the busiest nights of the year for bars.

Here is a list of tips to help keep you safe and make sure your Thanksgiving goes off without a hitch.

  • Make sure your vehicle is in working order. Prior to the holiday, fill your gas tank, air up your tires and make sure your wiper fluid is full.
  • When driving, make sure to wear a seat belt. Many victims of fatal car accidents during Thanksgiving are not wearing seat belts.
  • Drivers should be well-rested and alert.
  • When driving in work zones, use caution. Slow down and obey all signs.
  • Avoid distractions, especially cell phones.
  • Obey the speed limit.
  • Clean your headlights, taillights, signal lights and windows.

If you are involved in an accident with a drunk driver:

  • Seek medical attention, even if you do not believe you have been seriously injured. Some injuries, like traumatic brain injury, may not manifest symptoms right away.
  • Document the scene of the crash. Take pictures of all vehicle damage, all injuries and get contact information from all witnesses.
  • Discuss the accident in a free consultation with a personal injury attorney.
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