Car Accident Liability: Lane-Changing

First and foremost, we will want to make sure you are not hurt after your accident. After we make sure that you are OK, we will want to know exactly whose fault the accident was when you have a car accident liability case. This can be especially tricky when it comes to highways and multilane roads, as these roads typically have higher speed limits and more cars on them at any given time. Many drivers change in and out of lanes at an alarming rate and we will want to know the facts about the accident to help determine who is at-fault in a lane-changing accident. There are a few elements that will be looked at when trying to figure it out.

Liability in Lane-Changing

The driver in a lane-changing accident may be at-fault because of either their negligence or because they violated motor vehicle statutes. There are four primary elements that are involved in a negligence claim after a lane-changing accident occurs.

Breach: Did the other driver change lanes too quickly and without checking first? This would mean they failed to meet this duty.

Causation: Did the other driver’s lane change cause an accident that resulted in your injury, or where you injured because of another matter?

Duty: Did the other driver have a duty of care to drive responsibly?

Damages: Are you able to prove your injuries through current medical records and expenses? Do you have evidence of emotional distress because of the accident?

When you are trying to establish liability in a case, you may also be able to look at the accident report to see if the other driver committed illegal actions to prove that they were at fault. Since almost every state has certain laws that govern lane changes, most also require that drivers should only change lanes when it is safe to do so. Drivers should always “give an appropriate signal throughout the entirety of the lane change”. The other driver does not need to be charged for you to use the evidence of a violation in your car accident liability case.

Talk to an Attorney First

If you believe you have a car accident liability case, call Arata, Swingle, Van Egmond & Goodwin today. We have experienced lawyers standing by who will assist you in your case.

Injured at an Amusement Park?

Summer has officially arrived. This means that many people will be departing for amusement parks expecting a day of fun and excitement. But they might be getting something very different. Statistics indicate that more than 1,000 people are injured in amusement parks accidents annually. While fatalities remain relatively low, more than 52 deaths occurred over a 10 year period from 2003 to 2010. It’s important to note that these mishaps weren’t the result of a heart attack or heat exhaustion. So it would seem that there’s no question as to who would be liable. But you might be surprised. Entire blog →

Do Motorcycle Accidents Occur More During the Summer?

During the spring, many individuals with motorcycles are preparing their bikes for summer. Although summer is the ideal time for motorcycle enthusiasts to enjoy their motorcycles, many wonder if riding during the summer increases the risk of a motorcycle accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTS), the answer is yes.

Why are There More Motorcycle Accidents During the Summer?

The NTSA reported that summer is the peak season for traffic accidents. Here are a few reasons motorcycle accidents happen more during the summer:

New Drivers

In the summer, there are more inexperienced drivers behind the wheel. Teen drivers are out of school during the summer, so most of them will spend more time driving. Research has shown that teen drivers spend an average of 40 percent more time on the road during the summer.

More Drivers, Bicyclists, and Pedestrians are on the Road

Teen drivers are not the only individuals that are on the road more during the summer. Summer is when most people take vacations, so there will be more travelers on the road during this season. Furthermore, there are more bicyclists and pedestrians on the road during the summer, and it can be difficult for drivers and motorcyclists to see them, which increases the risk of accidents.

There are More Road Crews That Work During the Summer

The roadways are more crowded during the summer months, and it is also the time more work crews are are on the roads. Freeway work crews can make driving conditions difficult. Furthermore, many work crews work during the summer at night because the weather is cooler, which makes it even more dangerous for drivers, motorcyclists, and work crews.

What to do if You are in a Motorcycle Accident

If an individual is injured in a motorcycle accident, and it was the fault of another driver, the driver should be held accountable. A motorcyclist who was injured because of the actions of another driver could file a personal injury lawsuit. A personal injury lawsuit is complicated, so it is best for victims to seek legal guidance from an attorney. A knowledgeable attorney who has experience with personal injury cases that involve motorcycle accidents can help his or her clients build a strong case.

Our professional motorcycle lawyers are here to help, contact Arata, Swingle, Van Egmond & Goodwin for a free consultation.

Fatal Motorcycle Accident

It was early Tuesday morning when a big rig traveling on Interstate 205 in Tracy didn’t see a motorcyclist. The truck driver was headed in the same direction as the motorcycle, and struck the rider, killing them. The fatal motorcycle accident occurred around 7:00 AM as the truck and motorcycle were going westbound.

The location of the accident has been said to be the Mountain House Pkwy exit, and the motorcyclist was pronounced dead when authorities arrived on the scene. Officers on the scene detailed the fatal motorcycle accident, piecing together what had occurred.

Unfortunately, the motorcyclist was trying to split traffic, hit another car, and flew into the path of the big rig, losing control. The motorcyclist did not survive.

The California Highway Patrol did not release names or further information on this fatal motorcycle accident.

When Tragedy Strikes Call For Legal Help

Stories like the one mentioned above are not uncommon. Every day on California roads and highways, accidents occur, many of which leave people without recourse. They are struck, killed or injured, and family members are left wondering why. While many have insurance, sometimes they drag their feet in helping. That’s why it’s very important to understand what to do in case of a fatal accident.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a fatal motorcycle accident, call a legal professional. Motorcycle accident lawyers are trained to help with a variety of issues related to the law. This is to help with the medical costs, funeral expenses, and fighting insurance companies that may not want to pay up according to their own policies.

Don’t Navigate The Law Alone

If your loved one has been killed in a fatal motorcycle accident, consult an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. They can help you navigate the tricky California law and ensure that you’re not left stranded without financial resource. While nothing can bring back a loved one, having financial compensation can help you pick up the pieces and move on with your life.

Our professional motorcycle lawyers are here to help, contact Arata, Swingle, Van Egmond & Goodwin for a free consultation.

Safety Tips for Your Summer Road Trips

As summer is fast approaching, there will be more people on the roads at any given time. This is the season to be prepared for anything that can happen while on the road.

Tips before you start on your summer road trips:

1. Stock your car with emergency items in case you break down. These items include canned food, bottled water, jumper cables, a flashlight, and a first aid kit.

2. Check your cars make and model for any new recalls. This will prevent the faulty parts from malfunctioning while you are on your trip.

3. Get your car serviced before you go. This includes getting an oil change, getting your tires rotated, and getting your car washed inside and out.

Tips while you are driving your summer road trips:

1. Stay alert at all times and take frequent breaks. By taking breaks, it allows you to stay focused on the road instead of nodding off or zoning out.

2. Pay attention to bikers and motorcyclists. People on motorcycles, whether it be a Harley or a street bike tend to ride in people’s blind spots. Always double check and ensure you are clear before changing lanes.

3. Always use your blinker. This will signal to other drivers what you plan to do and they can react accordingly.

4. Be extra cautious during a summer rain shower. The roads are the slickest within the first five minutes of a rain storm. Additionally, follow your state’s laws about having your lights and hazards on in a rain storm.

With all these fantastic driving tips for your summer road trips, the most important tip is to always buckle your seat belt. Most states have a hefty fine if the police catch you driving without a seatbelt on. You never know when you will be in a wreck, it can save your life.

Have a fantastic summer and safe travels.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Driving is a risky business for sure; however, driving when distracted is not only dangerous and risky but can be deadly. With millions of people on the road today, it is important, more than ever, to drive defensively.

Types of Distracted Driving

Keep in mind; there are three types of distracted driving; visual, manual and cognitive. Examples of visual distractions are adjusting a radio or GPS, looking outside at a distraction on the road or looking at the passenger next to you and viewing a text message on their phone to see who is calling.

• Examples of manual distractions are: answering a call or sending a text message
• Eating a meal while driving or grabbing a cup of coffee.
• Cognitive distractions are distractions that keep your mind from being focused while driving.
• Cognitive distractions could come from family or money problems, emotional stress or using the phone.

How to Prevent Distracted Driving

Most importantly, there are things you and I can do that will prevent distracted driving such as turning off our cell phones while driving, eating or drinking before driving and programming our GPSs before leaving.

Ways to Prepare for Your Trip

It may sound simple but is true and effective; before leaving, eat use the bathroom, apply your makeup or shave, and make all necessary phone calls.

• Put your mobile phone away
• Take breaks or naps if your trip is long.
• If you are taking young children along, take several things along with you that will keep them occupied such a books CDs, DVDs, and video games.
• In addition, be sure to take along snacks and drinks. In addition, it is also important to have control of your emotions as you drive.

By practicing defensive driving techniques and accepting responsibility for all your driving decisions, you will not be distracted and will enjoy positive driving experiences. Driving is a risky business for sure; however, driving when distracted is not only dangerous and risky but can be deadly.

Protect Yourself From Springtime Agriculture Injuries

Farming is consistently rated as one of the most dangerous jobs in America, according to agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. This means that those heading to fields, orchards and vineyards across California this spring are at risk of agriculture injuries.

As you prepare to begin the season’s work, it’s important for you to be aware of the risks involved, to know what you can do to protect yourself, and to be prepared for what to do next should you be hurt. Entire blog →

Surprising Seasonal Car Accident Statistics

Car accident statistics based on time of year can be deceiving. Weather during “winter months” in northern Maine, for example, can differ greatly from that experienced by drivers in southern California. Though one would naturally believe that winter driving, in general, is more hazardous, and that it therefore results in more crash-related deaths, a closer look at the data suggests otherwise.

In the United States, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (i.e., NHTSA), under the direction of the Department of Transportation, is charged with compiling state and federal statistics on the rate of vehicular accidents and injuries that occur within our borders. Their mission is to:

. . . save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce economic costs due to road traffic [and] crashes, through education, research, safety standards, and enforcement

As part of that mission, the NHTSA makes extensive data available to the general public which includes information related to seasonal trends in vehicular accidents. Specifically, the NHTSA compiles data on fatalities due to crashes that it analyzes by quarter.

Though it seems counter-intuitive, the data suggest that the fatality rate per 100-million vehicle miles of travel (VMT) is actually highest between July and September, at 1.19 per 100 million VMT. During the quarters comprising late fall (i.e., October through December) and winter (i.e., January through March), the numbers are 1.18 and 1.02, respectively. It is important to note, however, that the reported difference between the quarters is quite small, and may not reach statistical significance.

Have you been involved in a car accident near Modesto? Regardless of the time of year during which the accident occurred, it is vital that you secure highly qualified, experienced representation, lest your rights be needlessly trampled. At Arata,  Swingle, Van Egmond & Goodwin, two of our specialty practice areas are vehicular accidents and personal injury cases. Get in touch with us using our convenient contact form or give us a call at (209) 522-2211 to discuss your case in detail.

Highway 132 Closed After Deadly Car Crash

At approximately 5:30 a.m. this morning, January 19, 2017, a deadly car crash took place on Highway 132 just west of Modesto between Stone Avenue and Dakota Avenue. Highway 132 was closed for approximately two hours while the California Highway Patrol investigated the incident. The highway reopened in both directions at approximately 7:30 a.m.

If you or a loved one was involved in a deadly car crash, you may need legal representation to safeguard your interests or help you recover the compensation that you are entitled to. Give the experienced attorneys at Arata, Swingle, Van Egmond & Goodwin a call today to discuss the circumstances of your situation.

Are California Employers Ready For The Increase In Minimum Wage?

As a result of Senate Bill 3 being signed by Governor Jerry Brown on April 4, 2016, California’s minimum wage will increase on January 1, 2017 and will increase each year until reaching $15 per hour in 2022.  This change in employment law not only raises the minimum hourly rate affected employers are required to pay employees, but also results in a change in which employees will be considered “exempt” from the requirement of paying overtime. When an employee is misclassified as exempt, substantial legal liability arises for the employer. This means keeping up with the changes by the new minimum wage increase law is important.
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