Understanding and Avoiding Situations of Vicarious Liability

How many times have you loaned your automobile to a friend or family member?  Even if you trust the person you are lending your car to, incidents can occur that can put you at risk for legal liability. Many automobile accidents involve parties other than the owners of the vehicle and, in the event of an auto accident, there are situations where you might be held responsible for another person’s behavior.  Continue reading for a legal primer on such potential situations in and an outline of the legal implications of auto accidents that occur when someone other than you is driving the car.

Under many circumstances, if you loan your car to your relative and your relative is driving your vehicle, you will be held responsible for any damages he or she causes due to negligence (such as texting and driving, drinking and driving, or other forms of distracted driving). This is a legal concept called “vicarious liability”.

Hit & Run Motorcycle Accidents

As many Los Angeles County residents have witnessed firsthand, motorcycle accidents are all too common. From the curves of Mulholland Drive to the Gridlock of the 405, motorcyclists and drivers compete for space on a relatively small amount of roadway in an very slow moving attempt to get to their final destination. Sometimes, this competition leads to serious motorcycles accidents. And in other instances, the automobile drivers involved in the accident drive off, resulting in a hit and run motorcycle accident. To learn more about what to do after being involved in a hit and run accident, please visit our hit and run / uninsured motorist resource center.

Recently, a motorcyclist was struck and killed by a driver who then tried to flee the scene. The suspect, a man in his 30s, was arrested nearby and faces possible charges of vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence. Sadly, this innocent accident victim is not alone. Indeed, the Department of Transport recently issued its latest findings on motorcycles deaths and related injuries in the U.S. and the report shows that 4,612 motorcyclists died in 2011 in the U.S. According to NHTSA, this is a 2% increase in rider fatalities over 2010.

Motorcycle Accident Statistics

Smartphones, Maps, and Distracted Driving

What? Is texting and driving now legal in California? Not quite… But the California Court of Appeals has recently ruled that it is permissible to view maps on smartphones while driving.

In a law that took effect in 2008 (and which has been subject to several updates), the state of California banned talking on a cell phone and texting while driving. This law was put in place as a result of the number of car accidents that were caused by distracted drivers who looked down at their phones for “just a second” to send or read a text message while driving. Unfortunately for all of us, texting and driving car accidents in the San Fernando Valley are still quite common. If you or a loved one was injured in an auto accident because the other driver was texting, talk to an experienced car accident attorney about your legal rights and potential for financial recovery.

Do I Need to Hire an Auto Accident Attorney?

You were involved in an auto accident in the San Fernando Valley, but thankfully it seemed relatively minor. You didn’t break any bones or suffer a concussion, and your car only has minimal damage. So should you just avoid filing a claim with your auto insurance company and move on? As an experienced auto accident attorney would attest, the answer is no. Car accident injuries (such as neck injuries resulting from whiplash) can sneak up on you in the days or weeks following the accident. Therefore, it is critical to seek help for both medical claims and legal claims.

After a car accident, the last thing you want to deal with is your insurance company. This is one area where an experienced auto accident attorney will be very useful. There is just no need to go through the process of filing insurance and medical claims alone. By retaining the services of a qualified Woodland Hills personal injury lawyer, the necessary steps will be taken to ensure that your legal rights are considered that you receive fair compensation for any injuries or losses suffered in the accident. Without hiring a car accident lawyer after an accident, it is possible to end up having to pay medical bills and/or other damages caused in the accident.


Elderly Drivers and Car Accidents

Are you concerned about an elderly loved one’s determination to remain mobile and independent and not give up the keys to their car? Were you injured in a San Fernando Valley car accident caused by a senior citizen who technically should not have been driving? If you can relate to either of these experiences, keep reading.

It seems that older people are often stubborn when it comes to admitting they should not longer be driving, or giving up their drivers licenses. And in places like Los Angeles County, who can blame them? Getting around via public transportation is often not the easiest in our part of the country. However, this is no excuse to put oneself or others at risk. It is an unfortunate and true statistic that the risk of being injured or killed in a motor vehicle crash increases as you age. An average of 500 older adults are injured every day in crashes. According to the CDC, fatal crash rates per mile traveled increase starting at age 75 and jump notably after age 80. Experts believe this is largely due to increased susceptibility to injury and medical complications among older drivers rather than an increased tendency to get into crashes.

Older Drivers are Vulnerable

Police Pursuit Accidents and Liability

Residents and drivers in the greater Los Angeles area are no strangers to police chases. We seem to see one on the news on weekly basis! Have you ever wondered what happens in the cases when the driver trying to get away hits an immobile object or another car? Who’s at fault?

Is the Suspect in a Police Chase Liable?

Maybe . . . The suspect in a police chase may be liable for breaching the duty of care owed to others on the road, including pedestrians, cyclists, and fellow motorists.  If the suspect is negligent for failing to exercise the standard of reasonable care under the circumstances, he or she could be liable for damages caused by his/her actions. This would mean that: [1] the suspect had a duty to take risk-reducing precautions and to conform to a specific standard of conduct, [2] the suspect breached that duty by falling below the applicable standard of care, [3] the breach was the actual and proximate cause of injuries, and [4] someone suffered damages. If the suspect is violating traffic laws, or any other statute, regulation, or ordinance designed to protect others, and the violation was a substantial factor in causing injuries, the suspect may be liable under the negligence per se doctrine.

Personal Injury Attorney

The Strange case of the UM/UIM Arbitration

Article Summary There are many strange twists and turns in handling Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Arbitrations. This article highlights some of the unique nuances in handling these arbitrations and suggests a model for an agreement to use certain statutes and rules in addition to Insurance Code §11580.2. With adequate planning, agreement of counsel at the…