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Kern County Motor Vehicle Accidents Blog

Ride-sharing drivers need more insurance

As more and more people across California rely on ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, understanding their impact on the road becomes increasingly important. As a rider, Money magazine explains, you will be covered for damages up to $1 million, and if you collide with an Uber or Lyft driver, the insurance claims process is the same as it is if you were in an accident with anyone else. For drivers who use ride-sharing apps, things are not as cut and dry.

For those who make their living picking up rides, or just use it for some cash on the side, it is extremely important to confirm the correct insurance coverage so so a person is not exposed to an incredible amount of risk. There are several different levels of liability that are needed to be covered for outside of insurance for day-to-day life. First, anytime a driver has accepted and is on the way to pick up a ride-share passenger or have one in the car, Lyft and Uber have both liability and collision insurance protecting the ride. When the app is on, but the driver has not been assigned a passenger, this is more of a gray area, and the Uber and Lyft insurance doesn’t provide collision coverage during this period at all. They do provide limited liability coverage of up to $100,000 per accident.

Road debris causes fatal freeway crash

The causes of car accidents in California run the gamut from driver negligence to poor road conditions and then some. People who choose to drive while drunk, text while driving or drive recklessely such as weaving in and out of traffic at high speeds all put other innocent people at risk unnecessarily. However, it is not always the immediate choices of drivers that end up prompting an action that results in a crash.

According to a study conducted by AAA, road debris is a serious risk on the road to drivers and passengers alike. While certainly coming upon an object in the road and hitting it may be a problem, the study actually found that it was not coming into contact with an item on the road that caused a plethora of wrecks but the resulting actions that happened when drivers maneuvered in such a way as to avoid such an obstacle. Overall, as many as 500 people are believed to die every year from road debris crashes.

Serious injuries often result from commercial truck crashes

Most people drive carefully to avoid car crashes. You may double-check your mirrors before merging, diligently use your blinkers to signal other drivers, and slow before intersections, even if you have the right away. While these practices are critical to improving your overall safety, they can't change the way other people are driving. Often, the bigger the other vehicle in the crash, the greater the risk it represents for you and your passengers. Commercial vehicles, particularly semi trucks, are responsible for a large number of serious injuries and deaths every year in California.

While the fatality rate for truck crashes has reduced in recent years, the number of serious injuries has increased. In 2015, the most recent year with federal data available, at least 138,000 people suffered injuries as the result of a crash with a commercial truck. When commercial truck drivers cause accidents, whether by negligence, distraction, exhaustion or intoxication, the victims are often the ones who suffer serious injuries and personal losses as a result of the accident.

Head injuries among most severe after an accident

There are many kinds of injuries you may suffer in a car accident, and some are more visible than others. If you’re lucky, the injury may not be bloody or involve severe trauma to your organs or limbs, but you might still suffer a head injury.

When a person suffers a head injury, any number of symptoms might arise. In severe cases, a victim may die from a severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). However, even if the victim does not die at the scene, the effects can be serious.

Fullerton apartment building struck by semi truck

The many semi trucks and other commercial vehicles one may see traveling throughout Kern County at any given time may cause a bit of anxiety in the drivers that share the road with them. Any sort of abrupt movement may send the cargo that such vehicles carry flying into the road, or could cause the vehicles themselves to lose control and endanger others. Yet if there is one place where people may rightly feel safe from the dangers posed by these vehicles, it is in their rooms. In some cases, however, even a residential structure may be at risk of collision from a big rig.

Such was the case in a recent truck accident that occurred in Fullerton. Law enforcement officials were called in to respond to a vehicle having hit a building. What they found was a semi truck that had run into an apartment building. It was reported that the vehicle suddenly shot across multiple lanes of traffic, struck a curb and then ran into the building. An investigation is currently underway to determine what might have caused the driver to lose control of the truck. The driver and a passenger in the truck sustained injuries in the crash, as did a family of three that was inside their apartment when the accident occurred. Ultimately, five of the apartments in the building had to be evacuated due to damage caused by the accident.

Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in California?

You may hear news reports regarding wrongful death lawsuits in Kern County and wonder exactly who benefits from such action. After all, the decedent is no longer around to benefit from the money, and no amount of compensation can truly make up for the loss felt by his or her family. Yet in most cases, the amounts awarded in wrongful death cases are simply meant to fill the financial void left by the decedent. As a wrongful death action is typically filed on behalf of the decedent, compensation earned from such action is awarded to his or her estate, which is managed by a personal representative or executor. Given this connection, you may wonder exactly who can initiate a wrongful death lawsuit?

Because wrongful death awards are treated as part of one’s estate, most states only allow a personal representative to file such a lawsuit. California is a bit different, however. Aside from granting this privilege to personal representatives, the California Code of Civil Procedure states that the following parties may also initiate such action:

  •          A surviving spouse or domestic partner
  •          A decedent’s children
  •          The issue of a decedent’s children
  •          Anyone entitled to the decedent’s property according to the state’s policy for intestate succession

Understanding and dealing with a truck accident

Truck accidents often have tragic consequences. Due to their size and weight, large commercial trucks have the ability to cause extensive damage to other vehicles and their passengers. If a truck is hauling hazardous materials, the damages can increase exponentially. These are some of the reasons why the government heavily regulates the trucking industry. However, safety requirements cannot stop all accidents from happening.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a truck accident, you might be able to pursue legal action. An attorney in the Bakersfield area can help file a claim to recover your medical expenses, property damage to your car, and lost wages. Read further to find out more about commercial truck accidents and your rights as a victim.

Determining the safety of self-driving cars

California drivers who are interested in tracking the evolving world of autonomous cars know that one of the big reasons people cite in favor of these vehicles is the alleged safety they may offer. In short, the goal is that a car operated more or all by a computer could be safer than one operated by a human being.

While that is great in theory, Scientific American notes however that identifying if this is possible or true is not quite so easy. This is due in part to the fact that there is no standard definition of what constitutes safety on the road. Additionally, there have been no standardized methods for testing or measuring the safety of autonomous vehicles yet developed. These vehicles are still in the early stages of development and one professional from the RAND Corporation suggests their driving abilities to be on a par with the average teenage driver.

Biker killed by drugged driver

California's temperate climate lends itself so well to motorcycle riding all year round. While mostly good weather may reduce problems with dangerous road conditions, it cannot negate the realities that bikers face when it comes to sharing the road with other motorists. Motorcyclists must always be aware of the risks posed to them by negligent drivers of cars, trucks and other vehicles.

A reminder of this can be seen in the recent death of a motorcyclist caused by a crash with a suspected drugged driver who is now in custody at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside after being charged with multiple criminal offenses. The incident occured on a Friday morning along a stretch of Interstate 10 near Bob Hope Drive. A 56-year-old woman in a passenger car is said to have hit a motorcycllist not just while he was on his bike but after he was thrown from his bike as well. The woman, who was driving on a suspended license, then failed to stop but was later found by authorities.

Tips on choosing the right motorcycle gear

Motorcyclists in California know that there is nothing more thrilling than being on the open road. However, along with the many thrills comes a need for safe gear, which can offer protection in a number of different respects to riders of all skill levels. Choosing the right gear can be difficult in some cases, especially for new riders who may be unaware of what comprehensive protection actually looks like.

According to RideApart.com, there is a lot more to motorcycle gear than just helmets. For instance, the right jacket is imperative for providing good protection to a number of different areas of the body. In general, jackets are available in two forms; textile materials and leather. Rougher materials are essential for protecting the rider in the event of a crash, and even leather jackets not created specifically for motorcycle riders may not be up to the task. It’s good to look for a jacket that has certain features, such as double stitching, body armor on key areas, and a snug fit to prevent wind intrusion.