Love it or hate it, lane-splitting is legal in California. But just because it’s allowed doesn’t mean it’s safe. The maneuver can still result in serious accidents even when performed safely with good judgment. Worse, failing to use good judgment could leave you liable for a motorcyclist’s or driver’s injuries and property damage.
A motorcycle accident lawyer in San Luis Obispo can help if you were accused of causing a wreck while riding legally or if you were injured by a lane-splitting motorcyclist. Our attorneys have extensive experience in this area with a long track record of success in cases similar to yours.
If you want to learn more about how we might be able to help you, schedule a free consultation by calling (805) 541-0300 or by contacting us online.
What is lane splitting?
As defined by California Vehicle Code Section 21658.1, lane splitting is driving a motorcycle with two wheels touching the ground between moving or stopped vehicles that are in the same lane.
Splitting lanes reduces the amount of space both the motorcyclist and the motorist have in their lane for reacting to maneuvers made by other drivers.
Some drivers might be surprised by the maneuver, and others might not see the motorcycle in their blindspot – either scenario can have a tragic ending if either person moves into the other’s path.
Why is lane splitting legal in California?
Lane splitting was made legal despite being dangerous due to one primary reason: traffic. California highways are notorious for frustrating traffic jams that can last for hours. Legalizing lane splitting was one way to try and relieve this problem, so long as it was done safely.
Restrictions on lane splitting
Just because lane splitting is legal doesn’t mean riders can make the move however they like, wherever they like. You still can’t ride on a highway shoulder since that’s not considered to be within two lanes of traffic. Riders also can’t lane split when conditions are dangerous, such as during bad weather, insufficient lighting, and when a road is in disrepair.
Lane splitting guidelines
If you’re going to lane split – or you’re sharing the road with a motorcycle – there are guidelines to follow to help everyone get to their destination safely.
Motorcyclists should only lane split when they’re traveling no more than 10-15 mph faster than the vehicles that surround them. The faster the motorcycle is going, the higher the risk of an accident occurring. Riders can perform the move on all roads, including undivided and divided streets as well as highways.
If you’re a driver in California, you should always be prepared for the possibility of a rider trying to split lanes. Of course, you should always pay attention to your surroundings, but be especially wary of riders when you’re in slowed or stopped traffic.
Stay in the center of your lane, listen for approaching motorcycles, and double-check your mirrors and blind spots before making a departure from your lane.
Lane splitting safety tips
If you’re a rider and splitting lanes, follow all safety rules. Here are a few additional tips to follow.
Always consider the environment before lane splitting. This not only includes the condition of the road, but also the size of the vehicles around you. Remember, you can’t split lanes if the weather is bad, there’s not enough lighting, or the road is in disrepair. You should also avoid splitting lanes between large vehicles like semi-trucks because they’ll have a lower chance of seeing you, as will cars in front of them.
The faster you go, the more of a chance you’ll be severely hurt if you’re in an accident. If you have to lane split, never do it when riding more than 10 mph faster than surrounding traffic.
If that traffic is moving at 30 mph or higher, lane splitting should be avoided because cars are more likely to make last-minute maneuvers, possibly without signaling, which could prove dangerous for you.
Splitting lanes is usually safer when you do it between the lanes on the left.
Don’t linger between vehicles, and always make yourself as visible as possible by wearing reflective or brightly colored gear and clothing.
Speak with Ernst Law Group if you’re in an accident
Even though lane-splitting is legal in California, that doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be able to avoid liability in an accident. The driver’s insurance company is more than likely going to claim you caused the wreck due to carelessness.
Unless you have a skilled Ernst Law Group motorcycle accident attorney by your side, it’s going to be hard for you to prove you were being careful. Give us a call at (805) 541-0300 or use our online contact form for a free review of your case.
If you’re one of the many who’ve been injured in a car accident in the Golden State, you could have a claim for your damages based on the unique facts and circumstances surrounding your accident and the resulting injuries.
A California car accident lawyer from Ernst Law Group can make the difference between recovering only a portion of the costs and damages linked to your car accident and receiving complete compensation that fully covers you into the future.
Call (805) 541-0300 or contact us online if you’ve been injured in a car accident to learn how we can help you.
Continue reading to learn more about the startling collision statistics in California, why some drivers are more at risk than others, and about the particular times of day that might increase your risk of being involved in an accident.
California car accident statistics
According to the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), a system which collects and processes data from collisions, in 2019,
(H3) Certain groups and ages have a higher risk of traffic fatality
CHP’s 2019 SWITRS report also showed that in 2019, male drivers were at-fault in fatal accidents 361% more often than females, and that they were at fault 164% more than females in injury accidents.
The reports also indicate that there’s a drastic difference between the at-fault driver’s age in fatal and injury crashes between males and females. Here’s a look at the ten ages or age groups that were found to be at-fault most often.
Time of day with the highest risk of traffic fatalities
The 2019 SWITRS report indicated that for injury accidents, nearly twice as many collisions happened in the PM hours compared to the AM hours. Predictably, the most accidents-per-hour occurred during prime commuting times, with the most happening on Fridays:
9,939 accidents between 8:00am and 8:59am followed very closely by 7:00am-7:59am with 9,664 collisions
15,156 occurring between 5:00pm and 5:59pm
30,086 injury accidents on Fridays compared to 26,228 on Mondays.
Fatal crashes follow a different pattern with 70% of them occurring in the AM hours, and:
159 between 5:00am and 5:59am
216 between 9:00pm and 9:59pm
570 fatal accidents on Saturdays, followed by Fridays with 543, and 535 on Sundays.
Factors behind the increase in fatal crashes at night and early morning
Driver attentiveness and responsibility are what support a safe driving environment at any time of day. However, during commuting times drivers might be more likely to be distracted thinking about work or might even be handling work calls, texts, and emails while they drive–distracted driving can lead to more accidents. Accidents on the weekends, especially in the late hours, are more likely to be alcohol-related, which was the highest-frequency cause of fatal accidents in 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016.
Pedestrian violations were another high cause of fatal accidents, so special attention should be paid to areas with pedestrian traffic.
In 2019, traveling at unsafe speeds was the most frequent cause of injury accidents (59,399), followed by automobile right-of-way violations with 30,006 accidents.
Reach out to a California car accident lawyer from Ernst Law Group
The best way to ensure your safety on the road is to be vigilant and abide by all traffic and safety laws. If you followed the rules of the road but were injured by someone else’s failure to heed that advice, connect with a California car accident lawyer from Ernst Law Group to get started on your claim today.
Contact us online or call us today at (805) 541-0300 to schedule your free consultation.
California is a spectacular state filled with stunning scenery and is the most populated state in the U.S. Whether it’s the beautiful views distracting drivers or simply that there are more drivers on the road than in any other state, there are no shortage of dangerous car accidents throughout the state, some with devastating results.
Here’s a look at five of the most dangerous roads in our state, as well as hotspots in cities that carry increased risks for motorists.
Deadliest Road: I-15 – Cajun Junction to Hesperia
In a study of more than 10,000 car accidents that occurred between 2017-2019, researchers found that the 4.5-mile section of I-15 between Exits 138 and 129 was the deadliest stretch of highway in the entire state with 19 deaths from 19 accidents in only two years.
#2: I-80 – Emeryville to Albany
This 5-mile stretch of road between Exits 14A and 8A accounted for 15 fatal accidents that resulted in 17 deaths.
#3: I-80: El Cerrito to Pinole
Another 5-mile section of Interstate 80 (Exits 15-21) was just as deadly, accounting for 13 fatal wrecks and 18 deaths.
#4: I-5: Del Paso Rd. to Railyards Blvd.
This 4.9-mile stretch of The Five also had 13 fatal collisions between 2017-2019, resulting in 16 people losing their lives.
#5: I-215: Grand Terrace through San Bernardino
Interstate 215 can also be dangerous. The 4.7-mile section running through San Bernardino was the site of 13 fatal accidents that led to 13 deaths.
Deadliest Roads by City
Every city has certain roads that seem more dangerous than others, but in some cities those suspicions ring true.
Los Angeles roads are notorious for congestion, but plenty of them also pose an increased risk of accidents.
This highway starts at the far northern city limits of LA. One of the main reasons it’s so dangerous is that it’s almost always under construction. Although the construction is badly needed, the road is so heavily traveled night and day that it’s difficult to do or complete the projects, so the road is congested with workers and littered with potholes that can easily lead to accidents.
It’s not just the stretch of I-5 mentioned above that’s dangerous. It’s a long stretch of highway with large stretches in between towns that motorists speed through to get to their destination. Research shows that there’s one fatal crash for every mile of highway.
I-405 runs along the south and west borders of Los Angeles and is widely considered to be the most congested highway in the entire country. To make matters worse, it also runs near three major airports. Those from out of town are less familiar with the exits and might make dangerous last-minute maneuvers, resulting in several accidents in addition to those caused by distracted drivers.
Not only is San Diego one of the most beautiful cities in the state (or the entire country, for that matter), it also has some of the most dangerous roads. Each of these roads recorded 10 fatal accidents between 2017 and 2019.
Interstate 15–Ranked 12
The five-mile section of I-15 that runs between Scripps Poway Parkway and Miramar Way is one of the deadliest in all of San Diego County.
Interstate 5–Ranked 17
I-5 makes the list again (it’s not the last time) with the stretch between Marina Parkway to San Ysidro Boulevard.
Interstate 5–Ranked 18
Another section of I-5 in San Diego makes the list, this time between Hawthorne Street (San Diego Airport) and Harbor Drive/Civic Center Drive.
There were 80 traffic fatalities in San Jose in 2019 alone. Here are some of the most dangerous roads in the city.
Interstate 280 runs from San Jose to San Francisco. It offers incredible views and incredible danger. Four people were killed on this road in 2019.
U.S. Highway 101
US 101 goes up and down the entire U.S. west coast. The section that runs through San Jose is particularly treacherous. In 2019. Nearly 25% of all traffic deaths in San Jose (17) occurred on US 101.
State Route 17
If you don’t know exactly where you’re going on Highway 17, you’ll be at a very high risk of being in an accident due to its blind curves, narrow shoulders, and wildlife entering the roadway.
San Luis Obispo
Two roads in our neighborhood, U.S. 101 and Foothill Boulevard, are extremely dangerous.
U.S. Highway 101
Yes, US 101 is dangerous in San Luis Obispo, too. It winds through the mountains, yet gets heavy traffic each and every day. It’s considered the most dangerous stretch of road in the entire city.
Between 2012 and 2016, 82 accidents occurred at the intersection of Foothill and Santa Rosa.
Car Accident in California? Call us to see how we can help.
Since March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, it is a great time to educate yourself on what brain injuries are, how they can happen, and how you can help injured victims.
Types of Brain Injuries
There are two types of brain injuries that are not hereditary, congenital, or related to birth. These two types are Acquired Brain Injuries (ABIs) and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs).
Acquired Brain Injury
An Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) occurs as a result of internal causes, not from external trauma. Some causes of ABIs include but are not limited to:
Traumatic Brain Injury
A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) can happen as a result of sudden external assault to the head that damages the brain’s structure and/or functioning. TBIs can be closed-brain injuries or penetrating brain injuries depending on whether the trauma caused a break in the skull or not.
An example of a cause of a penetrating brain injury is a gunshot wound to the head where the bullet enters the brain.
Closed-brain TBIs can be caused by sports accidents, car crashes, or falls, although any trauma to the head can cause internal damage and closed-brain injuries.
Symptoms of TBIs can include:
Slurred or slowed speech
Some milder brain injuries can heal over time, while some more severe brain injuries cause permanent disability and deficits in cognitive, motor, sensory, and communicative functioning.
Some Professions Carry a Higher Risk of TBI, but Anyone Could Be Affected
Brain Injury Awareness Month is an excellent time to evaluate your risk of sustaining a traumatic brain injury.
Some professions carry a higher risk of TBI. If you are an athlete, construction worker, or work in law enforcement or the military, you have a higher risk of TBI. Adhering to safety regulations in the workplace is imperative to lowering that risk.
While some people have a higher risk of TBI than others, anyone can be affected. Accidents happen and TBIs can never be 100% preventable, but there are steps you can take to lower your risk of brain injury.
Read the instructions and heed the warnings on your medications. Some medications may have side effects such as dizziness or drowsiness that can increase your risk of falling, while some may warn against operating heavy machinery while taking them.
Don’t drive under the influence, and always make sure all car passengers are wearing their seatbelts. Also, be sure to check that your airbags are working properly when you get your car serviced.
Always wear a helmet when participating in sports with a high risk of falls and head injuries, such as horseback riding, skateboarding, biking, skiing, football, and hockey.
If you have issues with stability or risk of falling, consider using a walker or a cane. Nearly 50% of all brain injuries are related to falls.
Brain Injuries in Women
Brain injuries are often more fatal among women than men. There’s a high incidence of assault-related TBIs due to the prevalence of violence against women.
Women are more likely to sustain assault-related TBIs in the workplace in the fields of education, social services, and healthcare.
Intimate partner violence is also a major cause of assault-related TBIs in women. If you are experiencing intimate partner violence, or believe there is a risk of violence in your home, reach out to your local domestic violence agency for immediate assistance and safety planning.
One common recommendation made during the safety planning process is to try to remove yourself from conflict in rooms such as the kitchen or bathroom. These rooms are more likely to contain hard surfaces and sharp corners that increase the risk of TBI.
If you are experiencing intimate partner violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).
How to Observe Brain Injury Awareness Month All the Time, Not Just in March
For more information, check out these videos covering a range of topics such as information on rehabilitation for TBIs, personality changes as a result of TBIs, ways to make your daily life better after a TBI, how to help TBI victims financially, and more resources for victims and their caregivers.
The Ernst Law Group’s California resource center for brain injuries is also a great place to educate yourself.
If you are a parent or caregiver of a young person with a traumatic brain injury, this free guide can give you valuable tips and resources to help support the TBI survivor in your life.
Join a support group.
Brain injuries can permanently affect your life in significant ways, but you can still have a happy and meaningful life after sustaining a TBI.
Get involved in a support group – you are not alone and there are resources to help you.
If your brain injury was caused by another’s negligent, intentional, or reckless behavior, they should be held accountable, and you deserve justice and can seek compensation to pay for damages.
Under California law, the injured party can still recover some damages in the form of compensation even if they are partially at fault for the accident. While compensation may not always help a victim heal their brain injury, it can help their quality of life to be as close as possible to what it was pre-injury.
Treatment for brain injuries can be expensive and cost thousands or even millions of dollars for the remainder of the victim’s life. The Ernst Law Group has recovered millions of dollars for their clients in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits.
The Ernst Law Group has a proven track record and reputation for aggressive and experienced legal representation for victims of personal injury. Ernst Law Group takes cases on a contingency basis and there are no fees unless we win your case. There are no up-front fees, and your first consultation is always free.
If you have a brain injury, even if it is a mild concussion, that may have been caused by someone else’s negligence, call 1-805-541-0300 to schedule a complimentary case consultation. You may also email us at [email protected].
California Family’s Home Burns Down Due to Tesla Fire in Garage
A series of high-profile lawsuits involving well-known electric vehicle manufacturers Audi, Tesla, and Chevrolet has brought into question the companies’ claims that their cars are less likely to catch fire than gas-powered vehicles.
Safety experts warn that although electric vehicles may not catch fire as easily, any fire that does erupt can burn more intensely and take as long as 24 hours to extinguish.
One of the most recent large-scale fires involved two Teslas left to charge overnight in a garage. The Californian couple who owned the vehicles awoke early one morning last December to the sound of blaring car alarms. They smelled smoke; there was a fire in the house. The fire had started in one Tesla Model S and spread quickly to the other. The vehicles’ lithium-ion batteries amplified the blaze, making the fire burn longer and hotter than a gas-fueled explosion would have.
The couple has not been able to return to their home, which suffered more than $1 million in damages.
The double-vehicle fire makes this a unique case, but it’s only the latest in a string of recent incidents involving electric vehicles bursting into flames. Electric vehicle manufacturers are warning owners not to leave their cars charging unattended in certain circumstances or leaving them fully charged in garages. General Motors, Audi, and Hyundai have recalled hundreds of thousands of electric vehicles following reports of battery fires.
Electric vehicle fires are deadly and have already claimed the lives of dozens of Americans. If you were injured or a loved one killed in an electric vehicle fire, you may be able to hold the manufacturer liable for damages.
Ernst Law Group is a California law firm specializing in product liability. We’ll help you hold the manufacturer accountable for producing and distributing unsafe or defective vehicles. If you’ve suffered any damages from a Tesla, contact our Tesla defect and Tesla autopilot crash lawyers today for a free consultation.
The Ernst Law Group is investigating a fatal bicycle accident including an Amerifreight truck and a bicyclist that occurred at 7:20 am on June 25, 2021 in San Luis Obispo, California.
The collision occurred between Suburban Road and Higuera Street. The bicycle was trapped under the semi-truck resulting in the bicyclist’s death.
The cause of the collision, at this point, is unknown. But The Ernst Law Group has been filing lawsuits against semi-trucks for more than 40 years and there are a few things that we are investigating with this incident.
The first factor is whether fatigue was a factor in the collision. Fatigue is a common factor in truck accidents as truck drivers are pressed to deliver their cargo faster and faster. There are strict regulations on truck driver rest and driver time.
The second is whether or not the logbooks were up to date, and if the driver was operating at the normal hours that are regulated under the Federal Motor Safety Carrier Regulations (FMSCR). This is known as 49 CFR Parts 300-399. These are federal laws that mandate rules and truck driver regulations on semi-trucks to help keep pedestrians and vehicles safe. These regulations include allowed drive time, driving breaks, and more.
The most important part of the FMSCR is part is drug testing. While we have no information at this time to support or claim the driver of the Amerifreight was under the influence of drugs, this is something that must be ruled out, especially with the truck causing the death of the bicyclist.
Drug and alcohol testing are required by part 382 of the FMSCR and are a mandatory part of any truck driver who holds a commercial driver’s license.
We will be providing updates as our firm learns more from our ongoing investigation about this fatal bicycle accident.
When you file an insurance claim, you expect that your claim will be honored and that the insurer will help you repay all of your accident losses. After all, isn’t that what insurance is for?
Unfortunately, this is not always how it works. Insurers have a profit-driven motive to pay out as little as possible for claims. They may expedite certain claims and honor most of the losses. Other times they will fight tooth and nail to deny a claim or deny certain areas of coverage.
What to Do When You’ve Been Denied
So, what can you do when your claim is denied? The answer depends on the type of insurance policy you were filing under and the specific language of that policy.
Many first-party claims (filing with your own insurance) contain forced arbitration clauses, meaning you could be unable to take your claim to court in the event of a dispute. Some third-party claims also include some form of mandatory alternative dispute resolution (ADR), although these arbitrations are less likely to be binding.
Overall, it always helps to have an experienced San Luis Obispo personal injury attorney in your corner when the claims process gets complicated. Your attorney can investigate the incident that led to your losses, examine the language of your policy, and work to refute common defenses insurers use to avoid liability.
Call Ernst Law Group today to schedule a free, no-obligation case review with one of our personal injury attorneys in San Luis Obispo. We will help you determine the next best steps you could take to assert your claim. Call (805) 678-0272 or contact us online to schedule your free appointment now.
Insurers tend to have much more control over their policy-holders than they do over third-party claimants.
A first-party claimant is someone who is trying to file under their own insurance policy, such as when they want to file a homeowner’s claim after a bad storm causes roof damage. Filing for collision or comprehensive car insurance coverage also counts as a first-party claim.
When you file a first-party claim, insurers must make a good faith effort to honor your claim. If they want to deny you coverage for certain areas or deny your entire claim, they must provide sound reasons for doing so.
Unfortunately, when advocating for yourself, you may be limited in your legal options. Many first-party coverage policies have mandatory binding arbitration clauses.
Mandatory Binding Arbitration Clauses
What does it mean to have a mandatory binding arbitration clause? It means that in order to dispute your claim, you have to agree to participate in arbitration.
Arbitration is similar to a trial but without many of the legal trappings that add time and expense to a case. A neutral third-party (arbiter) hears arguments and evidence from both sides. Then, they will issue a judgment or propose a compromise that can satisfy both sides.
Arbitration is different from mediation, another common form of ADR, in that a judgment comes at the end. This judgment may even be binding, meaning that once it has been issued, neither side will have the opportunity to overturn it except through legal appeal. Even then, getting an appeal after a binding arbitration can be difficult, if not impossible.
Other times, the arbitration will not be binding. In these cases, the decision is simply a milestone along a longer process that may or may not allow a trial at a later date.
So, put simply, you may be unable to sue your own insurance company if they have a mandatory arbitration clause.
Even still, you and your attorney can examine the language of the contract, and together you may be able to explore options outside those listed. Many insurance contracts can be disputed as unfair in court, for example. You always owe it to yourself to explore all available options and seek the possibility of having your full claim honored.
Stand your ground after receiving notice of a claim denial. Work with an experienced personal injury attorney in San Luis Obispo, address each reason for denial, and assert your right to coverage according to the terms of your policy.
Forced Arbitration Less Likely in Third-Party Claims
A third-party claim occurs when someone else causes an injury or damages your property. The most common example is when a car accident happens and someone files under an at-fault driver’s third-party property damage liability (PDL) and bodily injury liability (BIL) policies.
Third-party contracts tend to not enforce mandatory arbitration as often as first-party claims. This is likely because the injured person – the third-party claimant – did not formally enter into a contract with the insurance company before the accident happened.
Without a contract, it’s more difficult for an insurer to deny coverage and block further legal action outside of a binding arbitration agreement.
Why You Want Your Day in Court After an Insurance Claim Denial
Always fight to pursue your claim in court through a lawsuit once it is denied. This increases your chances of getting the maximum compensation available for your damages.
Arbitration can be a great option for many cases because it can reduce time and expense. However, arbitration can be much more difficult to litigate. Essentially, many factors are put outside of you and your attorney’s control during these arbitration sessions. It may even be impossible for the final judgment to be overturned.
On the other hand, a trial allows you to take your chances with a jury. Your attorney can subpoena witnesses and information during a discovery period. You may also have the opportunity to appeal a verdict if you feel that justice was not carried out in a way consistent with state or federal law.
Insurance companies have a lot of resources available to fight claims. But when the insurer knows that a case can be won in court, then they are more likely to offer a reasonable settlement. However, when the insurer has options like forcing arbitration, they may risk receiving an unfavorable decision simply because more factors are in their control.
Work with Experienced San Luis Obispo Personal Injury Lawyers
When you receive a denial from your insurance company, call an experienced San Luis Obispo firm.
Ernst Law Group can advocate for you and interpret the language of your insurance policy. We work hard to gather evidence that satisfies the claim’s requirements for reimbursement. For instance, your attorney can help you establish fault and document all of your losses.
Call us today to talk about your case and learn what strategies you could have available. Simply dial (805) 678-0272 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation case review now.
There is, unfortunately, no clear-cut answer to this question. However, several factors influence the predicted length of your truck accident case.
Get Answers About Your Truck Accident Case
A trustworthy attorney will speak of case length in general terms. Typically, the larger the claim, the longer the case. The more difficult the investigation, the longer the case.
On the other hand, some cases are easy to settle because the details are extremely clear and the insurance company is willing to accept the amount of liability in question.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident in San Luis Obispo, call Ernst Law Group today at (805) 678-0272. Or, contact us online to discuss your incident with one of our expert attorneys at no cost to you.
In the meantime, continue reading to discover the factors that contribute to the length of a truck accident case.
In some wrecks, your injuries are immediately obvious. In others, you aren’t aware of the full extent of your injuries for weeks or months.
An accident victim will not know how much their case may be worth until they are well into the recovery process. Your injuries may require a single medical visit or years of therapy. This variance can have an impact on the length of your case. The severity of your injuries and cost to stabilize and heal them will also influence the amount of your award.
The Necessary Steps
Every court case must move through certain steps. If you and your attorney determine that going to trial is your best course of action, your case will take longer than it would if you simply settle with the insurance company.
Every step in the civil litigation process has a specific time limit. If the steps are completed quickly and one falls right after the next, your case will be shorter.
When you and your lawyer discuss your accident, you can ask how long your case should reasonably take. Find out how long each step could take at a maximum, and estimate from there. Ask about the worst-case scenario regarding the timeline for your case.
Don’t expect an insurance company or defense attorney to accept your request and settle immediately. There are actions that either party can take to delay the case. It’s a tactic used in many personal injury cases. The longer the insurance company or defense attorney can stall, the more likely they believe the plaintiff will be to accept a settlement offer that is lower than what a court would award.
It’s not uncommon for the opposing party to attempt to delay your case. They want to frustrate you into accepting a low offer. Never accept any type of settlement without speaking with your attorney. Remember that you hired an expert advocate for a reason.
Complexity of Your Case
Your case could take longer if your attorney calls more witnesses than average, needs to petition large volumes of evidence, or holds more than one party liable at a time. The length of the investigation, amount of paperwork, and scheduling meetings with people who will testify on your behalf are all time-consuming.
Of course you intend to cooperate with your attorney. However, you can inadvertently cause delays.
Changing your contact information and not providing your attorney with your new email or phone number could delay your case. Failing to provide the information your attorney asks for could delay your case.
Always remain in contact with your attorney and periodically check to see if your case is on schedule.
Ernst Law Group Is Your Advocate
While some personal injury lawsuits are settled quickly, others can take years to come to an end. No attorney can give you an exact end date, but they can give you an estimated timeline based on their experience.
We understand that you want this to be over. You have been under enough stress since your accident, and you don’t need more. We also understand that you and your family may be facing financial distress. The team at Ernst Law Group is here for you.
Ernst is a premier truck accident law firm that knows what it takes to secure compensation for your accident losses. While we cannot guarantee results, our history of past client successes can give you confidence.
Call us today at (805) 678-0272 to discuss the details of your case. You can also contact us online at your convenience. We look forward to speaking with you and advocating on your behalf. An initial consultation is free and you are under no obligation to continue working with us once you speak with an attorney.
The aftermath of a truck accident is overwhelming. The injuries you sustain can have devastating, lifelong consequences and astronomical medical bills. Whether you have insurance or not, you could be paying tens of thousands to cover the cost of medical care during a time when you should be able to focus on your recovery.
Are you faced with financial difficulties because of someone’s negligence? Hold them accountable and recover the money you’re owed.
How do you prove that the truck driver who caused your accident was negligent? With the help of an experienced truck accident attorney.
Your attorney will work to prove that either the driver or trucking company was negligent in some way. Maybe the fleet wasn’t properly maintained. Perhaps the driver was distracted. An experienced truck accident lawyer in San Luis Obispo will get to the heart of the matter.
Ernst Law Group is here if you have any questions about your truck accident injury claim or need assistance building a strong case. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation now when you call (805)-541-0300 or contact us online.
Negligence isn’t the only thing you will have to prove in court. You will also have to show that your injuries were a direct result of the accident. Your attorney understands what evidence is necessary to build a solid case. While you can certainly file a lawsuit on your own, having an expert advocate in your corner improves your chances of a positive outcome tenfold.
Four Elements of a Successful Case
You know that your attorney must prove that the other driver was negligent, but what exactly does that look like? There are four elements needed to prove the legal concept of negligence. These elements are:
Duty of Care. The truck driver must have had a duty of care. In other words, when they slipped into the driver’s seat and started their rig, they automatically accepted the responsibility in driving in such a way that no one would be harmed. Likewise, their employer has a duty to train the driver, vet their capabilities, and ensure they follow industry regulations.
Breach of Duty. Next, your attorney will have to prove that the driver or the company failed to perform their work in a safe way. This occurs when the defendant breaks specific regulations or otherwise fails to exercise “ordinary care” in the way that a “reasonable person” might.
Injury. The breach of duty must have caused your injuries. This means that you couldn’t have had a back injury before your accident. The accident must have directly led to your injuries.
Damages. Many people are unaware that injuries must have led to damages. What this means is that you must have incurred medical bills or other losses as a result of your injuries.
Establishing Breach of Duty
In truck accident cases like yours, attorneys must work to prove that someone breached their duty of care.
In a truck accident, the breach of duty of care could have been on the part of the driver, the owner of the fleet, or even the manufacturer of the truck. There are a significant number of rules that drivers and fleet owners must follow, typically because of the sheer danger that trucks can pose on the roadways.
Common types of neglect in truck accidents include:
1. Hours of Service
Truck drivers are only permitted to drive for so many hours per day and week. Truckers must keep a logbook as required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Truckers are also expected to take breaks after a certain number of hours are driven. If the driver in your accident failed to comply with these regulations, they are negligent.
2. Weight Limits
Each type and size of truck is limited to the weight of the load it can carry safely. When a company or driver decides to forgo this required maximum weight and overload their trailer, they are negligent.
3. Maintenance Issues
It may be up to the driver to maintain their rig, or it could be up to the owner of the company to have routine maintenance performed across their fleet. No matter whose responsibility this is, when vehicles are not maintained properly, it is negligence.
Prove Fault with a San Luis Obispo Truck Accident Lawyer
How can we determine who is at fault in truck accidents? Through careful and precise investigative work.
At Ernst Law Group, we have been representing victims of San Luis Obispo truck accidents for years. We know what it takes to prove your case, and we are ready to fight for the compensation you deserve.
Whether you are wondering if the settlement offer made to you by an insurance company is fair or you are already planning on pursuing a case, your Ernst legal advocate can assist you in taking the appropriate next steps. We believe that knowledge is power, so call today to schedule your free case evaluation at (805) 678-0272.
When you’re thinking about filing a personal injury claim in the aftermath of your car accident, a lawyer can help make your claim stronger. Working with the right attorney increases the chances that you will obtain the maximum compensation available.
Working With a Lawyer
With that said, it’s important to realize that working with a San Luis Obispo car accident lawyer is a two-way street. Your attorney will want to know specific details about your case and will expect you to perform crucial tasks, like visiting the doctor on a regular basis. On the flip side, you can expect your lawyer to provide guidance, let you know about your options, and answer any key questions you have.
There are a number of questions every personal injury client should ask their car accident lawyer. If you have questions or want more information regarding your personal injury case, you can schedule a free, no-obligation appointment with an attorney at Ernst Law Group when you call (805) 541-0300 or contact us online.
What Are My Options for Moving Forward With My Case?
The first thing you want to do is be aware of all of your legal options. Knowing what paths you can take moving forward can make each decision easier and clear up any confusion.
Typically speaking, there are four options available once you have been hurt in a car accident:
Do nothing and pay for your injuries out of pocket (not usually recommended if there are available alternatives)
File a personal injury claim with an at-fault driver’s bodily injury liability (BIL) policy
File an injury claim with another form of insurance, such as a workers’ compensation plan
File a lawsuit against an at-fault driver, their insurance company, and/or another third party
By explaining each option in detail, your San Luis Obispo car accident attorney will inform you of their individual pros and cons as well as the steps needed to go through them. They may also indicate which of the options seems like the best path to choose for your given case.
How Does My Car Accident Injury Case Compare to Others?
Your car accident lawyer cannot predict the future, but they can make an educated guess based on their past experience.
When evaluating your chances of success with a legal option, they will compare your case to a hypothetical “generic” case. In a generic car accident injury case, the cause of the accident might be obvious, and the resulting injuries might be, easy to diagnose, easy to treat, and easy to document.
It will also, hopefully, be easy for the injury victim to prove that their injuries were connected to the accident. In this sort of case, the insurance company representing the at-fault driver will most likely settle for a reasonable amount in a relatively short period of time.
Of course, this ideal case probably never existed, and your case will most likely have some key differences. For instance, your injuries may result in substantial medical bills, meaning the insurer will be motivated to poke holes in your claim and reduce its amount.
Fault may also be murky, meaning an accident investigation will be lengthy. Your case may also need substantial legal research to prove fault.
Any one of these factors can make a case more or less likely to result in success, and different factors can also affect the size of your payout. For these reasons, asking the question “How does my case compare?” is usually more productive than asking “How strong is my case?”
What Will the Process Be Like?
You want to be prepared for the road ahead, and you want to have clear expectations. Accordingly, your San Luis Obispo car accident lawyer will explain the process of filing a claim, what steps are involved, and what timeline you can expect the process to follow.
If your case is complex – if it involves multiple potential at-fault parties, for example – then your lawyer might explain how these multiple processes will work out over the long run.
Very few car accident injury cases progress to a lawsuit or court trial, but your attorney will also inform you of the steps required to go through this adversarial legal process.
Overall, learning about the process of filing a car accident injury claim and/or lawsuit helps you understand the amount of time and effort involved in seeking compensation for your injuries.
How Many Cases Like Mine Have You Handled?
Every car accident lawyer in San Luis Obispo will give roughly the same answer to the three questions above, but the answer to this one is a clincher.
You want a lawyer who has handled cases similar, if not identical to, the one you’re currently dealing with. By being familiar with certain factors, your lawyer is better prepared to handle your case efficiently and effectively.
More importantly, your lawyer can prove that they have what it takes to win a case like yours. While a history of winning past cases doesn’t guarantee future results, it does show that the law firm you intend to work with knows the legal strategies and arguments needed to get their clients money for their injuries.
What Do I Need to Do Next?
The answer to this question will vary depending on the legal path you choose to take. No matter how you intend to move forward, it’s important to know what your personal obligations are and what the next big event on your timeline will be.
In most cases, your personal injury lawyer will tell you to visit a qualified doctor and receive a full, accurate medical diagnosis. They will also likely suggest that you avoid discussing the case with anyone and that you be careful speaking to insurance companies.
Start Getting Answers to Your Questions From an Experienced San Luis Obispo Car Accident Lawyer
The sooner you get your questions out in the open, the sooner you and your San Luis Obispo car accident lawyer can start working on a case together.
Demystify the legal process, find out the best next steps to take, and potentially start filing your personal injury claim now when you call Ernst Law Group at (805) 541-0300 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation now.
We represent only the injured parties against insurance companies or large corporations. We never do defense work. We never will. The defense wants to minimize the amount of money given to our clients, even when they are responsible.
The materials in this website have been provided only for general information purposes and are not legal advice. None of the information on this website is intended to constitute, nor does it constitute legal advice nor create any type of relationship between the Ernst Law Group and the recipient.