Time Limit on Filing Suits in Car Accident Cases in California

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Getting into a car accident is quite stressful -- and if you've been injured in a car accident in California, you'll need to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to ensure your rights are protected.

California laws are very specific when it comes to filing a claim after a car accident. Under Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. § 335.1, you only have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim. If, however, you want to file a claim based on damage to property (including damage to your vehicle), Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. § 338 allows you up to three years from the date of the accident to file your claim.

It isn't advised, however, to wait until the statute of limitations is nearly expired to begin the proceedings of filing a claim.

First of all, if settlement negotiations get compromised, and you haven't hired an attorney, you will be left with no recourse.

Second, an attorney will be able to advise you on laws and statutes that you, as a layperson, aren't necessarily aware of. For example, are you aware that California is a pure comparative negligence state -- meaning that the amount of compensation that you may, or may not, receive in an accident is dependent upon your percentage of fault in said accident? Many California residents have a topical awareness of this law, but only the best personal injury lawyer can navigate through the waters of this admittedly complex law to their client's advantage.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident due to the negligence of others, contact Lederer Nojima for a consultation with one of our attorneys. 

4 Things to Ask Your Car Accident Attorney

Monday, May 02, 2016

When you have been in a car accident, chances are that you have a lot of questions that you want to ask, especially if you're playing to make a claim. Below are some of the common questions that people ask after they've been in a car accident and the answers that help put them at ease.

1. How long is the claim going to take?

The answer to this question will depend on the accident itself, your injuries, and any other things that are related to the accident. Some claims take weeks, others take months. It's like any other kind of case. The claims that are cut and dry are going to take less time than those that are more complicated.

2. How much will I be compensated?

Again, this is going to depend on your accident. The amount that you receive is going to depend on your injuries, damage to your car, and any other damages that resulted from the accident. When you meet with your lawyer, they will go over all of the damages that you have sustained because of the accident. They then will present it to the defendant or the case will go to court.

3. How quickly must I make my claim?

There's a basic rule that says you have to claim within three years of your accident date, or if you're a minor, three years following the day you turn 18. But there are times when this can be extended. If you're unsure whether or not you can still claim, it's a good idea to speak with a lawyer and get their advice. They will let you know whether or not you still have time or if you waited too long.

4. What if I've been injured in the car accident?

If you have been injured in an accident, one of the things that you should do is make sure that you get to see a doctor as soon as you can. Waiting to get medical treatment is going to make you look suspicious, because a lot of people wait to get medical treatment and then do it on the advice of their lawyer to get more money. If you really have been injured, go to the doctor that day. This will show that you really were injured and that you're not just doing it to make your case look better.

These are the things to ask your car accident attorney when you have been in a car accident. Being in a car accident can really make you feel worried, but one of the things that you can do is to find yourself a lawyer who can help you.

Study Finds Motorists at High Risk of Distraction from Pets

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Pets are an integral part of the American family, and it's very common to see motorists driving with their furry companions. In many cases, the canine head is hanging out the window, enjoying the breeze. However, having a pet unrestrained in a car like this is not just inadvisable, but also dangerous. Those dangers involve the pet and other occupants of the car.

According to a recent study that was conducted by the AAA and a pet products company, far too many American motorists drive with their animals in the car, without bothering to restrain them properly. The survey specifically asked these motorists how often they travel with their pets. The survey indicated that an overwhelming majority of motorists enjoy driving with their pet in the car, and also often allow pets to ride unrestrained. At least 6 out of 10 respondents admitted that they have traveled with their dog in the car at least once a month, over the past year alone.

Most also admitted that the pets were a huge distraction for them in the car. 54% admitted that they frequently petted their pet while driving, and 23% have taken their hands off the steering wheel to hold the pet in place while applying brakes. 19% have also used their hands to prevent the dog from climbing into the front seat while driving. In all these situations, there is a serious risk of an accident caused by distractions. Distractions don't only have to involve electronic communication devices. It can be very distracting when you're trying to keep Fido in his place.

Always make sure that your pet is safely restrained in a pet carrier while driving. Failure to do so can actually endanger you and Fido.

What to Look for in a Car for a Teen Driver

Sunday, February 15, 2015

It is a question that every parent faces at some time or the other. The answer to that question is also critical, because it is a question of your child's safety. Buying the right car for your teen child is important, and safety needs to be the top priority.

Many parents simply go in for a used car, which they believe is the safe choice for their teenager. That may not necessarily be the safest or most responsible choice for your child. Rather than the model year of the car, you should be looking at safety ratings developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency gives a “five-star rating” for cars that it considers the safest.

There are also other ratings that you can use to make your choice. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for instance, every year releases its “top safety picks” in which it rates the safest cars. The Insurance Industry for Highway Safety, in fact, rates models that perform the best in not just in frontal impact, but also side-impact, roll over and rear accident testing.

A safe car is not necessarily expensive. Look for a car that comes with good ratings, and has essentials like electronic stability control systems. These are potentially life-saving technologies that help reduce the risk of deadly rollovers.

If you believe that you should avoid buying your child SUV or pickup truck because of the high risk of a rollover involving these cars, you are wrong. SUVs and pickup trucks have become significantly safer over the years, especially since many of these models now come with electronic stability control. That means a reduced risk of a rollover. Besides, your child is much more likely to survive an accident if he is in an SUV or pickup truck rather than in a compact or subcompact.

For help filing a claim after a car accident, speak with a Los Angeles car accident lawyer.

US Motorist Death Rates Drop by More Than a Third

Thursday, January 08, 2015

American motorists are safer behind the wheel than they have been in years. According to new data released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, death rates have fallen by more than one-third in three years.

To many motorists reeling under an onslaught of recalls announced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it may not seem like driving a car is so safe. After all, 2014 was the year of record recalls with more than 60 million cars recalled for a range of defects, some of which contributed to fatal accidents.

However, the Insurance Institute insists that in spite of all these recalls, American motorists continue to be very safe in cars, compared to the past decades. The chances of driver fatalities in accidents involving late-model vehicles actually dropped by more than a third in three years.

This is a huge improvement even when you consider that the auto industry has been struggling with a number of safety problems. From the General Motors ignition switches defect that has been linked to several fatalities, to the Takata air bag deployment problem that has been linked to at least five fatalities, automakers have been forced to pull vehicles off the roads for a number of safety problems. In spite of these defective vehicles, the fact is that modern automobiles are simply much safer than they have been, and safer automobiles have played a significant role in the reduction of accident fatalities over the past decade.

However, some cars continue to be more dangerous than others. The death rates in accidents involving small cars for instance, continue to remain higher than death rates in other categories of vehicles. Meanwhile, the death rates involving SUVs are some of the lowest on record in any category of vehicles.

Victims of car accidents in Los Angeles can file compensation claims to recover damages. Speak to a Los Angeles car accident lawyer for help filing a claim.

Seniors Support Tougher Licensing Laws

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

As many as 9 out of 10 senior motorists above the age of 65 are still driving. That is a hefty percentage of senior drivers who are still riding on Los Angeles streets. According to a survey by the American Automobile Association, however, many seniors are in favor of stronger driving safety laws that would subject them to greater scrutiny.

According to the study, 80 percent of the 65- and- above population are still behind the wheel. Approximately 84% of Americans of the same age currently hold a valid driver’s license. Back in the 1970s, that percentage of licensed motorists in this category was only about 50%. Seniors are now mobile, and are more likely to continue to drive well into their 70s.

The general thinking has been that seniors are very protective of their driving privileges, and resist any attempt to impose restrictions on their driving abilities. A new study by the American Automobile Association however finds that seniors are actually ardent supporters of tougher driving laws that would place them under greater scrutiny. They are in favor of tougher driving laws for all motorists, including motorists in their age group.

About 70% of the seniors in the survey reported that they supported medical screening and medical tests before license renewals or senior drivers. They also supported license renewals for senior drivers in person.

Other studies have also indicated to Los Angeles car accident lawyers that seniors are very good at self-policing themselves. Your loved one is possibly very aware of his diminishing driving abilities, and is taking steps to prevent the risk of an accident by cutting down on driving at night, and avoiding busy routes. If however, you find that your loved one is frequently returning home late after driving, or see dents or scratches on the car, then it might be time for you to consider restrictions on your loved one’s driving privileges.

Older Cars May Be Deadly for Teen Drivers

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Spend a few extra dollars, and get your teenager a new car that comes with more safety features. That's the message to take home from the results of a study that finds that teenage drivers driving older cars are much more likely to be in fatal accidents.

The results of the study which were published recently in the journal Injury Prevention, found that teenage drivers who were killed in accidents were 46% more likely to be in cars that were in the “mini” or ”small” category, compared to older drivers. These teenagers were also much more likely to be driving older cars.

Compared to older drivers, teenagers were 10% more likely to be driving a car that was between six and 10 years old, and 17% more likely to be driving a car that was between 11 and 15 years old.

Many older cars lack the kind of safety features that can help reduce the risk of injury in an accident. During an accident, the kind of forces that the occupants of a car suffer is heavily influenced by the weight and size of the car. Older cars also have seatbelt systems that may not work as strongly to protect in an accident, which also increases the teen’s risk of a fatal injury.

However, many parents continue to buy their children older or smaller cars. Their logic is that a used car may not pack a lot of horsepower, and therefore, may be safer for a teenager who is much more likely to speed. That could be a dangerous decision. It makes much more sense to spend a little more money, and buy a car that comes with key safety features, like electronic stability control systems. These devices are responsible for a significant reduction in the number of rollover accidents recorded across the country.

Many States Ban Guardrail Unit Because of Safety Concerns

Sunday, October 12, 2014

As the controversy over the level of fraud committed by a company that supplied a key guardrail component to many states rages, several states are moving to ban the sale of those units, because of fears that the guardrails could injure car occupants.

The ET-Plus rail head at the center of the controversy is manufactured by Trinity Industries. The Federal Administration recently demanded that the unit be retested and inspected for safety, prompting Mississippi and Oregon to declare that they would ban the installation of the guardrail unit.

The problem with these units seems to be the fact that the company made changes to the design, without informing federal agencies. The company continued to neglect requests to provide information about the safety of these units. The units could possibly increase the risk of the guardrails piercing a vehicle, during an accident. Five fatalities are linked to accidents involving these guardrails, and several injuries have been reported. Trinity Industries faces several personal injury lawsuits related to these deaths and injuries.

Several states have already banned the guardrail units, but California has not yet followed suit. The defects in the guardrails were brought to light after a whistleblower lawsuit that resulted in a massive verdict against the company. In that lawsuit, a Texas jury found that the company had defrauded the Federal Highway Administration for seven years, by concealing changes that were made to the ET-Plus unit. The Federal Highway Administration is demanding that the company allow federal inspectors at new crash tests of the guardrail unit.

Almost every state currently has these guardrails in place. Several states have already launched assessments of the device, and will wait for the results of these before making a decision. Other states are waiting for more information from the Federal Highway Administration before they make a decision.

Most Drivers Could Do with Refresher Training

Monday, September 15, 2014

The last time most motorists underwent a proper driver education program or driver training course, was when they received their license. Unlike commercial drivers or fleet drivers, motorists are not required to get their driving skills upgraded, and that, according to new research, could be a problem. Los Angeles car accident lawyers believe that there could be far too many motorists driving on Los Angeles roads, with inadequate knowledge of driving safety or driving laws.

In a study that was conducted recently, researchers found that motorists were unable to clearly figure out how much stopping distance to leave between their vehicle and the car in front. In approximately 50% of the cases, they overestimated the stopping distance, while only 16% of the motorists were able to remember the stopping distance that they learned in their driving education program.

But motorists are not required to undergo a driver education program to upgrade their driving knowledge of driving laws. For instance, the laws related to distracted driving, or speeding, bicycle safety and other laws frequently change in California. Motorists could benefit with upgraded driver training modules that allow them to stay updated with changes in the laws. A new law in California, for instance, now requires motorists to maintain a minimum of 3-feet passing distance when they pass by a bicyclist. A motorist who is not even aware of this new law could be at serious risk of causing a bicycle accident, and getting a traffic violation citation on his record.

The researchers are calling for at least periodic retraining of motorists to learn about the latest driving safety laws, and refresh their driving skills.

NHTSA Tool Helps Motorists Identify Whether Recalled Car Has Been Repaired

Monday, August 11, 2014

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is helping motorists identify whether the recalled car that they are driving has been repaired or not.

The new service is included in the website operated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. According to the federal agency, motorists can simply enter the vehicle identification number into the search box, to identify whether the car has been repaired after being included in a recall list. The unique identification number can be found on the dashboard near the windshield. You can also look out for the number on the driver’s side doorpost.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also requiring that auto companies maintain and update the same data on their website. The data must be updated at least once every week. The National Traffic Safety Administration estimates that as many as one-third of all vehicles recalled in the United States are not repaired. That means that millions of cars every year that are included in the recall list for other defects are simply not repaired. Many of those cars continue to be driven in a possibly dangerous condition, until they are finally sold into a used car lot.

When new buyers purchase these cars, they may not even be aware that the car was earlier recalled for possibly serious defects. Similar dangers also exist when a person walks into a rental car service, and drives out with a recalled car that has not been subjected to a fix. The federal agency believe that much of the problem is linked to the fact that people move homes often, and therefore, may not receive recall notices sent by the federal agency. In other cases, motorists are simple too negligent to take their cars in for a fix.


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