Tips From an Auto Accidents Lawyer: What are Your Chances of Getting into an Accident?

Every time you get into a vehicle, whether as a driver or a passenger, there is a chance that you could get into an accident. Non-fatal accidents are just as prevalant as fatal ones, and many of the same factors increase accident risk for both fatal and non-fatal crashes and accidents. Statistically speaking, there are a number of ways to tell what your chances of getting into an accident are, and, unfortunately, many of them are things you can’t change. Before you have to seek the help of an auto accidents attorney, learn more about your accident risk and what you can do to lower it.

Age and Gender

Young males between the ages of 15 and 19 are in the highest risk group for accidents of every kind. Interestingly, this group is also most likely to be pulled over for speeding. By contrast, drivers above the age of 44, both male and female, are least likely to be involved in an accident. Between the time you start driving and age 44, the odds are that you will find yourself in a fender bender at least once in your life – so if you’ve made it to 45 without ever needing to hire an accidents lawyer or file an insurance claim, you really are one in a million.


While more minor accidents occur in urban areas, fatal crashes tend to occur on rural roads. This is probably because it is easier to lose focus on long stretches of open road no matter who you are. If you have to drive in the country, be sure to follow the speed limit carefully and keep a watchful eye out for deer at night. Remember, too, that many fatal and non-fatal accidents are single vehicle accidents, which may be related to the increased risk of crashes in rural areas.

Type of Vehicle

Newer vehicles are generally considered much safer than older models, because cars, trucks, and SUVs today are designed to reduce your chances of getting into an accident rather than simply keep you safe if an accident happens. Among older vehicles, cars are more likely than trucks or SUVs to be involved in a crash. In fact, the 2013 national average of fatalities involving car crashes was about 39%, compared to 25% involving pickups and SUVs.

Substance Abuse

Some 70% or more of fatal accidents involve alcohol, and a large percentage of non-fatal accidents involve alcohol as well. Alcohol isn’t the only culprit, however; even driving while under the influence of your own prescription medication can drastically increase your chances of crashing. In fact, recent studies have shown that prescription medication is more dangerous for drivers than marijuana, which may only minimally increase your chances of an accident. Avoid driving under the influence of any substance, and your chances of crashing your vehicle will always be much lower.

Understanding your chances of getting into an accident can help you take steps to avoid one. And if something happens and you do find yourself in an accident, a San Diego accidents attorney is standing by to give you the professional representation you deserve.

Who is at Fault? Advice from an Accidents Lawyer

If you are involved in an accident, dealing with the insurance company and any other involved parties can be difficult. In some instances, determining who is at fault can be even more difficult when it is a “he said, she said” situation. A San Diego accidents lawyer can be instrumental in helping you understand what the law says on the matter, and how much you can expect to recover.

What does California law say?

There are several different ways of determining fault throughout the country, but the state of California uses pure comparative fault as the method to determine how to award damages in the event of an accident. The insurance company or companies will determine what percentage of an accident is your fault and what percentage is due to the other party, and you will pay or collect accordingly. If an accident is deemed to be 30% your fault, for example, 30% will be deducted from the damages you can collect.

What if each party blames the other?

Your insurance company and the company of the other party will negotiate fault. Hiring an accidents attorney will increase your chances of the best outcome. While the insurance company is often looking for ways to make more money for itself, your attorney will be dedicated to ensuring that you are awarded the damages you deserve if you were the injured party, or that you will have to pay as little as possible if you were more at fault.

What if one party is uninsured?

Make sure that your current insurance policy includes uninsured motorist coverage, which will at least partially cover your damages if you are injured in an accident with an uninsured driver, or if the other driver leaves the accident before you can get his information. If you are the uninsured party, an accidents lawyer can help you minimize the damages you may have to pay out-of-pocket if you were partly at fault.

How soon should I hire a lawyer?

The sooner you act after being involved in an accident, the better. In California, you have two years after an accident to file a claim for personal injury and three years to file a property damage claim. So filing a claim with your insurance company and hiring a lawyer long before these deadlines increases your chances of the best outcome – when a court case is looming before the insurance companies, you and your lawyer have more leverage to negotiate a positive outcome for you.

Understanding how the state of California determines fault in an accident, and what you can do to protect your rights, can mean the difference between a denied claim and fair compensation from your insurance company. Every individual case is different, so the best way to figure out how much compensation you are entitled to is to consult an auto accidents attorney. This will keep you from encountering any surprises when you file an insurance claim.

Being Involved in an Auto Accident with Children

by Ali Golchin

Since children under 18 years of age are not treated the same as adults in the eyes of law, any legal matter involving them can get tricky. If you have a child that was injured in a car accident, either as a pedestrian or as a passenger, it is important to know what steps you can take to claim compensation. Children are just as entitled as adults are to compensation when they are injured automobile accidents. By hiring an auto accident attorney, you can be sure that your child recovers the damages that they deserve.

Making a Claim on Behalf of the Child

It may seem strange to try and file an auto accident claim for your child who is under 18 years of age, but as their parent, it is your choice. Your child is not able to file a claim for themselves and if they were injured in the accident, you need to be able to pay for their medical needs and anything else that may come up because of the accident. An auto accident attorney can help you through the process so that you know what is required and how to file the claim.

Once your child turns 18, they can file claims on their own for any automobile accidents. If you started the claim for your child before they turned 18 years of age, the child should take responsibility for the claim once they are of age. Furthermore, if you decide not to file a claim for an auto accident for your teenage child, they can file one themselves once they are 18.

If your child suffered serious injuries and are not medically capable of dealing with their own claim, they will not be responsible for it once they turn 18.

The Litigation Friend

You are considered your child’s litigation friend when you file a claim on their behalf. This title is given to you in any documentation to keep the claim clear and easy to understand. It is important to note that the litigation friend is independent of the claim, so if you are to blame for the accident, you may not file a claim for your child. In this situation, the other parent or any close relative can file the claim on your child’s behalf. Your insurance will have to pay out to your child along with the other party if they are at fault.

If the claim is won, the litigation friend doesn’t receive any compensation. The money is put into a trust for the child and is only accessible with permission from the court until the child is 18 years of age.

If your child is involved in an auto accident, things can get complicated without the help of an auto accident attorney who is familiar with automobile accidents involving children.

Auto Accidents Lawyer’s Tips on Bike Collisions With Cars

More and more auto accidents happen at intersections, and as recent statistics show, these are the result of collisions between cars and bikes. If you have been the victim of such a collision, you should know what liability is actually involved in such incidents.

 When is a cyclist at risk of colliding with a car?

If you have been riding a bike in the city, you know that only a small portion of a cyclist’s travel route includes intersections. Recent statistics show that basically a little over 10 percent of bicycle accidents involve a collision with a car; but of these, 45% take place in intersections.  Also, the majority of bicycle accidents -involve only the cyclist, who loses control of the bike and crashes.

Why is an intersection a dangerous place for a cyclist?

Vehicles often underestimate the speed of a bike and this is one of the most important reasons. Also, cars often don’t expect bikes to be on the road so car drivers aren’t watching for bikes, increasing the danger of auto accidents happening.

Visibility is another matter. Even if cars are on the lookout for bikes, they sometimes just don’t see them because bikes are smaller and can blend into the background.

What can a cyclist do to avoid collisions at intersections?

There are ways to minimize the risk of being hit by a car. First of all, a good cyclist would need to make everything in their power to maximize their visibility, understand the rules of the road, learn to recognize some of the most dangerous intersection hazards, and take safety precautions when approaching and riding through an intersection. Increasing the visibility of the bike and cyclist  is done by using front and rear lamps, reflective clothing, and brightly colored clothing. Also, cyclists are legally required to be on the lookout and to learn how to execute emergency maneuvers in order to avoid collision.

What are the legal liability provisions in car collisions?

It is not always easy to determine who the guilty party in such an incident is. However,  cyclists who don’t follow road rules or don’t keep a proper lookout might be deemed responsible for an accident.  In order to avoid liability for an accident after being hit by a car, cyclists must understand both the basic legal rules of liability and the rules of the road.

Legally speaking, in nearly every state a bicycle is considered to be a “vehicle” and therefore, just like motorists, cyclists must follow the rules of the road. The first and most logical thing in what regards liability is that it usually boils down to who had the right-of-way: the bike or the vehicle.

There are many legal considerations that come into play depending  in such traffic incident, and many depend on the type of intersection and overall traffic incidents. This is why, if you have been involved in an auto accident involving a vehicle collision, the first logical step would be to contact a specialized attorney who can help with your liability case.

Accidents Attorney Tips: How to Act if You Have Been Charged with a DUI

Have you been arrested on a DUI or DWI charge? There are many steps to take in this case, but the first and the most important involves hiring a competent auto accidents attorney. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can represent yourself. There are a few things to keep in mind, read on to find out how it is best to go about such a charge.

Will you be arraigned for a DUI?

As your accidents attorney will explain, this does a formal arraignment procedure in court. At your arraignment, you will be asked to plead to the charge, either guilty or not guilty. Having an attorney represent you at arraignment is more than necessary. At this stage, you are only entering a plea, and you can plead not guilty. In most states you can also insist on a jury trial. If you’re charged with having prior under-the-influence convictions, you should deny these convictions so that you or your attorney can challenge their validity later.

What happens after you make bail?

There are many alternatives here but the most common include simply pleading guilty as charged, trying to plea bargain down to a reduced charge like reckless driving , asking for a trial before a judge. Generally, the more likely a jury is to find you guilty of driving under the influence (DUI), the more you will want to plea bargain or negotiate a settlement with the prosecutor. One of the most important factors is your blood alcohol level. If higher than .12 %, chances of winning in trial are actually low. All an attorney can do is attempt to shed doubt on the validity of the test results so that the jury either entirely disbelieves them or thinks that, after adjusting for possible errors in your favor, your blood alcohol level might have been lower.

You have more chances of winning if your blood alcohol level is under .11%. Your chances will depend largely on the type of testimony your lawyer can elicit from anyone who was with you either before or while you were driving.

A well seasoned accidents attorney should be able to cross-examine the prosecutor’s expert witnesses to show that the likelihood of one’s driving ability being affected at a blood alcohol level of less than 0.08% is small. Naturally, the farther below 0.08% your blood alcohol was, the better your chances are of being acquitted are.

Should you go for a plea bargain?

This is a process where the defendant and the prosecutor reach a compromise. Plea bargains in DUI situations, however, are no longer as common.

Whether you’d prefer to plea bargain or take your case to trial, think about getting an attorney to represent you. If you cannot afford to pay for a specialized attorney’s full services, you can choose the option of hiring legal help for the limited purpose of fully explaining your options to you or working out a plea bargain with the prosecutor.

Auto Accidents Involving Mopeds: A Few Useful Tips

If you or someone in your family has been involved in an auto accident involving a moped or scooter, there are some things to keep in mind. The below accidents attorney tips will help.

How do moped accidents happen?

It is true, a scooter or moped may be a very simple, cost- effective and rather efficient way of getting around, many families in urban areas use them. However, on the road, mopeds can be very difficult to see, especially under difficult weather conditions or where the driver is distracted. Another thing that doesn’t really help is that mopeds, unlike motorcycles, are very quiet and will not be heard coming. If a driver is completely unaware that a scooter or moped is occupying the space they wish to be in, it could result in a serious auto incident. Also, it is safe to assume the person suffering most injuries will be the moped driver.

So, to sum this up, a few common causes for scooter incidents include:

1-      Failure of drivers to see the moped on the road

2-      Distance or speed have been misjudged

3-      Bad weather

4-      Distracted drivers on the road

5-      Excessive speeding

A lot of moped accidents tend to be serious due to the unprotected and exposed nature of the rider. Even if the scooter or moped rider follows the letter of the law to the tee, wears a helmet, signals appropriately and adorns their moped or scooter with the appropriate lights and reflectors, it still doesn’t guarantee they won’t be involved in a scooter accident or moped accident.

How are damages calculated?

If you or a loved one has been injured in a scooter or moped accident involving another vehicle, they may be entitled to recovery for damages and injuries. To see if you have a good case in a scooter accident, contact an experienced auto accident lawyer who is familiar with scooter accidents and injuries.

What are the steps you need to take if you have been involve in a moped incident?

As any expert accidents attorney will tell you, the first step is seek medical attention for your or the other person’s injuries. Don’t let any time lapse between the accident and the medical treatment, as that is very important for legal purposes.

Make sure not to disclose any information to the insurance company other than to mention that there has been an accident. Do not mention any circumstances or don’t even think of making assumption as to who is at fault.

Contact a qualified lawyer ASAP. Preferably someone with experience in dealing with auto accidents.  They will help you handle the confusion and overwhelming amount of legwork involved in a scooter accident case, and if there is compensation available to you, they should be able to spot it and obtain it for you.

Auto Accidents Tips: What Steps to Take When Reporting a Car Incident

Accidents happen every day, and while you may think this can never happen to you, one day may come when you will be involved in a traffic incident. There are a few things to keep in mind, even in the rush of the moment. One of them is who do you notify regarding the accident? The below tips will give you a few hints.

It all depends on how serious the traffic incident is. Generally, however, if you get into an auto accident, there are three entities that you might need to report  it to: your insurance company, the police and the local Department for Motor Vehicles. And while you are at it, notify your certified auto accidents attorney.

Should I call the police immediately?

Usually, the call to the police must go from the accident scene. In many US states, the law requires the police to be informed, especially when a traffic incident causes either property damage  (in excess of $500) or personal injury. This is why it is best to never take a chance with these issues. Especially if you, or someone else involved in the auto accident seems injured, call the police as soon as possible. If you notice visible damage to your car, or other car involved, call the police as well.

When the police come, they will ask you what happened. You will undoubtedly have some time to wait before the police arrive. Make sure to use that time to review in your own mind how you believe the accident happened.  Try and answer in an accurate and honest way, when a police officer will answer your questions.

What is my next step?

The next step would be to report the accident to your insurance company immediately. If you cannot do it asap, try to be no later than 24 hours. You may lose money on this, as every insurance policy has a requirement that the insured needs to cooperate with the insurer and report any incident.

Don’t take a chance on this and it is best not to wait.  If you get into a car accident, call your insurance company that day — or the next day — at the latest and tell them exactly what happened.

Another important requirement is honesty. If you will falsely report the facts, your insurer could deny coverage for the accident. Depending on the severity of the incident, your insurance company might want to take its own pictures of your car. Keep your insurance company informed about when you are getting your car fixed so that it can take pictures of your car if it wants to.

Should I file a report with a state agency?

Several US states require that the report be filed with the state Department of Motor Vehicles; other states require that the report be filed with the local police department, or with the police department and the Department of Motor Vehicles. If you are not sure on your particular local circumstances, it is best to ask your accidents attorney and they will tell you what to do.

The report usually has to be filed within a short period of time, generally ten days or two weeks. If you cannot figure out whether your state’s law requires you to file an accident report, you should ask your insurance company or inquire at your local police station. You can most likely get a copy of the report form at your local police station or online at your Department of Motor Vehicles website.

Auto Accidents Tips: What Is a Deposition?

Whether you are a party in an auto accident claim or just a witness, you should know what exactly to expect from your deposition in court. Below are a few important tips

What kind of a trial is one involving a car accident?

Any accidents attorney will tell you this is considered a civil suit. While the rules governing lawsuits vary from state to state, civil actions generally follow the same format. There will be three distinct stages involved:

–          1. Law suit commencement procedures. Generally, the Plaintiff begins a lawsuit by filing a “petition” or “complaint” in court. The Defendant will answer the lawsuit by also filing documents with the court.

–          2. Discovery. This is also known the lengthiest phase of a lawsuit based on auto accidents. The purpose of discovery is to allow both sides to exchange information and documentation about their respective claims and defenses. What will it consist of?  First of all, it will be based on the exchange of written documentation, from medical records, medical bills to witness statements, police reports, and photographs of the accident scene. Also as part of the discovery are interrogatories, written questions sent from one party to another.

–          3. The Deposition.  This is another legal method to obtain information relevant to a car accident case. In a deposition,  a party’s legal representative will ask questions of another person who has information that is pertinent to something having to do with the car accident.

Who can be involved in depositions?

A wide group of people involved in an accident may be involved- from the cars’ drivers, to passengers in those cars, various witnesses, medical experts who provided treatments, police officers who worked on a case. There really is no limit to the types of persons who can be deposed as part of a car accident lawsuit. Typically, the only requirement is that the deponent possesses information related to the lawsuit.

Other tips about depositions

Generally, a deposition can be conducted anywhere, but most court rules require that it should be held at a location reasonably close to where the witness resides. Typically, this will occur in the office of one of the attorneys involved in the lawsuit.

A handful o people will attend a deposition. This restricted group of people includes the attorney who is requesting the deposition, the witness and their attorney, other legal reps in the lawsuit and a court appointed reporter. The latter is a very important part in the entire process. This is because testimony is usually done under oath and it needs to be officially recorded.

Giving testimony under oath means that if the witness is later found to have given knowingly false testimony, they can be subject to criminal penalties.

What kind of questions will be asked?

Once the deposition process starts, the witness will be asked basic questions about their connection to the lawsuit, following specific questions about the incident itself. Generally, the investigating attorney will want to know what the witness observed as the car accident occurred. If the witness is a medical expert, the questions will be related to the prognosis for recovery from the injuries. Sometimes the parties may wish to depose the investigating law enforcement officer, who can provide more detail about the officer’s observations while at the accident scene.

Injury Types that Make Hiring an Accidents Attorney a Necessity

Many people tend to believe that hiring an accidents attorney may be unnecessary and this can only end up costing them more money. The opposite may be actually true. In most cases the skills of a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer and the very presence of such an experienced lawyer may pose a real threat to insurers and adjusters. Also, a lawyer will win you a personal injury case without too much trouble. But why would you need a lawyer, anyway, when the fault was not yours? This is a question many people would pose, hoping they can represent themselves. Sadly, they soon find out how complex the legal rules involved in their own claim are. Also, compensation on your injuries may vary greatly if you choose to represent yourself and if you choose to hire a lawyer.

Below are a few types of accidents and injuries that require assistance from a specialized accidents attorney.

Disabling injuries that are long term and have debilitating effects

Many accidents may result in physical damage that can greatly hurt your appearance or your overall physical capabilities. Some of these injuries’ effects may last for months, others may be forever. It is actually difficult to figure out how much such a disabling injury is worth in compensation amount, and only an experienced accidents attorney can help you get the most of your claim. Keep in mind that the severity of injuries needs to be well documented and medical bills have to be provided as evidence.

Disabling conditions as a result of medical malpractice

If you have suffered damage, have been injured or became more severely ill due to unprofessional conduct from the medical staff treating you, there is definitely a malpractice case in the works there. Medical staff may include hospital or lab assistants, clinic doctors or nurses or other certified medical providers. A specialized attorney will be able to help with putting together a proof solid case in this respect.

Injuries resulting from exposure to toxic substances

Cases of people becoming ill because of exposure to contaminants in the environment or in their food are sadly increasing. Most of the chemical companies, however, are doing their best to protect themselves from any legal exposure. An experienced lawyer will be able to get through that wall of protection and find evidence that is hard to come by. There is no way around it here, if you want to win, you need a specialized attorney.

Add to the above the financial damage you can suffer, when insurance agencies or governmental organizations refuse to pay or to come to a fair settlement with you over your injuries. Fighting this can be exceptionally difficult without an attorney by your side.

Do’s and Don’ts after an Auto Accident: Follow Your Lawyers’ Advice

Have you been the victim of a traffic accident? Although many people believe they are as prepared as can be in such cases, an auto accident happens out of the blue and the complications it can bring with it are countless. This is why you will need the help of a specialized attorney, no matter how bad your injury or how severe the material damage that you have suffered.

Below are a few dos and don’ts that every driver should be aware of:

Do Not admit fault in front of anyone.

Usually statements made at the scene of the accident can be used as hard evidence against you in a trial. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be cooperating with the police investigation but just limit yourself to giving your insurance and licence information, without emotionally admitting to any guilt.

Do Not sign any documents for the other driver

At some point during the initial investigation, the other driver involved in the incident may ask you to sign some documents for his insurance company. Do not do this without first seeking advice from a specialized accidents attorney. By signing any such papers, you can lose some of your own insurance benefits.

Do Not give a written statement or a recorded one to the other driver

Actually, do not let anyone record your voice after a traffic incident. You are not required by law to do so and even if you do not have anything to hide, some of your statements can be used against you by being taken out of the context.

Do report the accident to your insurance agency

In some cases, an insurance company has the right to refuse to protect you, if you did not report the incident promptly to them. By instantly calling your agent, you can also find out what benefits are available under your own policy. You may not be aware of this, but sometimes some of these insurance benefits can be used while you settle your claim with the other party.  Also, entire cooperation with your insurance company will be in your best interest. Generally, an agent will inspect your car or speak to the physician who treated you.

Do seek prompt medical attention

If you have been injured following a traffic accident and you do not seek medical attention, this can definitely hurt your claim. Make sure to document any medical bills and any time you have spent off work.

 Do seek early legal advice

This is probably the most valuable piece of advice anyone would give you after being involved in an auto accident. Only with the help of a specialized attorney you will be able to get through this challenging incident without too many damages. So contact your local accidents attorney immediately after the accident and make sure you inform them on all specific details.