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California Accident Injury Trial Lawyers

Planning for a Safe New Year’s 2018

What is your New Year’s Resolution? You still have plenty of time to think about it, as well as what your plans are for ringing in the New Year. But as you consider these things, you should also be aware – New Year’s is one of the most dangerous days of the year. During the New Year’s season, it is estimated around 95 million Americans will be on the road to visit family and friends. Almost half of all car accidents on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are caused by drinking and driving.

That said, here are some tips to help you keep yourself – and your friends and family – safe during one of the biggest celebrations of the year.

  1. It goes without saying: don’t drink and drive. Plan ahead before you head out for the evening. If you have a friend who does not drink and is willing to be the designated driver, that’s great! If not, there are dozens of different options to get around without driving drunk. Call an Uber – you don’t want to spend the beginning of the year in jail, or worse.
  2. Don’t binge drink. Pace yourself. Not only will this allow you to keep your wits about you throughout the evening, it will help prevent a terrible hangover. One standard drink per hour is usually a good pace.
  3. Alternate alcoholic drinks with water.
  4. Eat before you drink and snack while you drink.
  5. Don’t fall for myths about how to sober up faster. Coffee and greasy food might sound like good ideas after drinking, but nothing can actually sober you up except time.

If you are injured by a drunk driver on New Year’s in San Luis Obispo, our law firm can help.


What is the SWOOP and SQUAT?

You won’t see swoop and squat on “Dancing with the Stars” or “America’s Got Talent!” swoop and squat

It is a form of automotive fraud. A swoop and squat happens when two cars block you in on your sides, then a third car swerves in front of you and brakes, causing you to rear-end it. The other two cars then drive off, leaving you at the scene of the accident with a busted car and looking liable for the accident. Often, the squat car is full of accomplices to the fraud who will insist they are injured, even in low speed accidents. They will then submit fraudulent insurance claims to your insurance company.

Another variant involves just one car, swerving in front of you and slowing down to cause an accident.

car accident scam


The swoop and squat is highly prevalent in California and costs insurance companies millions of dollars every year. The prevalence of swoop and squat was discovered after an investigation following the death of Jose Perez in 1992.

Perez was a passenger in a squat car attempting to cash in on a commercial truck’s insurance policy. When the car he was riding in attempted the swoop and squat, the semi-truck smashed into the back of the squat car and then jackknifed. Perez was killed and another passenger was seriously injured.


How Do I Avoid Becoming the Victim of the Swoop and Squat Scam?

  • Realize that it can happen to anyone – including you.
  • Always be aware of the traffic around your car.
  • Avoid any vehicles that are behaving suspiciously.
  • If a suspicious vehicle gets into your lane, slow down and/or change lanes.
  • Always leave plenty of distance between your car and the cars in front of you. A good rule of thumb is to leave one car length ahead of your car for every ten miles per hour you are moving.
  • If you do get into an accident, document all aspects of the scene. Get every witness’s contact information and photograph all cars and drivers involved.
  • When driving in urban and metropolitan areas, be on high alert for this kind of scam.
  • If you drive a valuable car or a commercial vehicle, realize you are the most attractive target for this kind of scam.
  • Invest in a dashcam.
  • Report suspected fraud to the National Insurance Crime Bureau at (800) 835-6422.

James Koenen Killed In Lompoc Pedestrian Crash On Highway 246 Sweeney Road

Lompoc, California (March 30, 2017) – A male died Wednesday morning after he was struck by a vehicle in Lompoc, according to an article by the Santa Maria Times.

The man was identified as 68-year-old James Koenen from Northern California but was currently living Lompoc area.

The deadly accident took place at about 5 a.m. near the intersection of Highway 246 and Sweeney Road.

According to the article, A 2005 Kia Spectra, driven by Gilberto Martinez, was westbound at about 55 mph Koenen suddenly crossed the intersection in front of him.

Reportedly, Martinez tried to avoid hitting Koenen by braking and swerving but was not successful. Koenen was pronounced dead at the scene.

Highway 246 was shut down in both directions for about an hour as officers investigated the incident.

The cause of the deadly crash remains under investigation.

Our sincere sympathies go to the family and friends of James Koenen. We wish them courage during these trying moments of losing their loved one.

If you have lost a loved one due to someone’s wrongful conduct or negligence in Lompoc, CA, you may have a right to a wrongful death claim against the negligent party. James McKiernan Lawyers encourages anyone who may find him or herself in such a difficult situation to contact an experienced Santa Maria personal injury attorney at 1-800-200-HURT (4878) for a free case evaluation. We only get paid if you get paid. Our offices are conveniently located throughout California.

At James McKiernan Lawyers, We work tirelessly to deliver accurate news about the California accidents that impact our readers and clients most. Although our goal is to keep people as informed as possible, we’d like to note the information we aggregate is obtained from a wide variety of nonaffiliated secondary sources. These include but are not limited to: Law enforcement agencies, press release, News articles, and websites.

As we publish and share accident information, we make all possible efforts to ensure its correctness, but for the aforementioned reasons, we cannot guarantee that our content is completely accurate. Although we generally respond to inquiries and requests to change, update or amend the content and articles that we publish, we cannot promise that we’ll be able to do so within a given time frame.

The articles and blogs that we share or post here and on social media are designed to serve solely as general information. They should not be taken to constitute legal, medical or any other form of express or implied advice. Similarly, they may not be applicable to your personal circumstances, situation or case. Any information referring to specific laws, statutes or legal actions reflects legal principles, but the laws that apply to you may differ based on your situation, jurisdiction or other factors.


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