This article deals with California’s Left Turn/Failure to Yield law, and explains what typically happens in the event you are involved in a collision in Los Angeles where another driver makes a left turn in front of you.

California Vehicle Code Section 21801(a)

California’s Left Turn/Failure to Yield law, otherwise known as California Vehicle Code (CVC) 21801(a), states the following:

“The driver of a vehicle intending to turn left or complete a u-turn upon a highway or turn left into public or private property or alley shall yield the right of way to all vehicles approaching from the opposite direction which are close enough to constitute a hazard at any time during the turning movement and shall continue to yield the right of way to the approaching vehicles until the left or u-turn can be made with reasonable safety.”

So, basically the collision occurs when you are driving straight through a green or yellow light, and the driver coming from the opposite direction decides to make a left turn, or a U-turn, in front of you. Looking at the law as written above, the driver making the left-turn or U-turn in front of you would always be at fault and their insurance company should always accept 100% liability, right? Not so fast. The driver who made that turn in front of you may have defenses available to them.

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Being involved in a car accident can be a very scary thing. Often, the parties are shaken up, scared, and emotions can run high. When overwhelmed by the fear, shock, and physical injuries often associated with an automobile collision, it can be very confusing to know which steps to take in order to get through the process in the best possible way.

In the event that you are involved in a collision, it will help you to know the steps to take. By following these simple steps, you will help ensure your safety and your ability to collect compensation for the damages that you suffer as the result of the collision. Continue reading ›

When you have decided on an  experienced personal injury attorney to represent you, how do you know when to finally settle your case or go to court? There are several factors to take into account in making your decision to settle or go into litigation, i.e. go to court.

The first issue to consider is what you will gain now, versus waiting some 2 years to get your day in court.  What you gain now depends on the limits of the insurance policy of the person who caused you injury.  Most drivers in California carry the minimum insurance coverage.  This usually means they have policy limits of $15,000/$30,000 covering them in the event of an auto accident.  This means one person can only receive the maximum of $15,000.  All the occupants in the vehicle, regardless of how many, can only collect a total of $30,000 between them. Continue reading ›

Although it is a requirement to have insurance to drive in California, many motorists are uninsured. There are also thousands of injuries caused by hit-and-run drivers each year.  So what do you do if an uninsured or hit-and-run driver injures you?

In some cases involving motor vehicle collisions it may be necessary to bring a claim against your own auto insurance company. This typically occurs when the at-fault driver is either uninsured or underinsured. There is, however, a difference between uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.

There are two (2) basic requirements that you should know about in the event that you are injured by an uninsured motorist or hit-and-run driver and are seeking to file a claim against your own insurance company:

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In our article entitled “What do I need to know if an uninsured driver injures me or if I am the victim of a hit-and-run collision?” we explained what uninsured motorist (UM) coverage is, and how it applies in a hit-and-run collision or when the driver that caused the collision does not have auto insurance. In this article, we explain the difference between uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.

 

Whereas the uninsured motorist coverage portion of your auto insurance policy is used when the driver who caused the accident did not have insurance (or fled the scene of the accident before they could be identified), underinsured motorist coverage is used when the driver that caused the collision does have insurance, but the amount of coverage available under their auto liability policy is less than the amount of the losses that you have suffered as a result of the collision.

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Many thousands of people are injured each year in situations where they slip or trip and fall. Wet floors, defective stairs and rough or uneven patches of ground are just a few of the conditions that lead to these injuries, some of them very serious.

If you or someone you know is injured as the result of slipping or tripping and falling on someone else’s property, it is important to consider that the property owner is not automatically responsible. There are several factors that must be examined in order to determine whether a property owner is responsible for an injury resulting from a slip or trip and fall on their property.

In order for the property owner to be legally responsible for the injury, one of the following must be provable:

  • Either the owner or their employee must have caused the condition that led to the slip or trip and fall. (Examples include a spill, a worn or torn spot on the ground, or other dangerous surface underfoot.)
  • The owner or their employee knew about the dangerous condition but failed to do anything about it; in short, he had notice of the dangerous condition.
  • The owner or their agent should have known about the dangerous condition because a reasonable person taking care of the property as would be expected of them would have discovered and fixed the dangerous condition.

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Approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur each year in the United States according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For those who have fallen victim to dog bites, you will be glad to know California is a strict liability state, which is also known as “ the dog bite statute.” Under strict liability the owner of a dog is 100 percent liable for any injuries the dog may inflict on the victim. This applies so long as the victim was not provoking the dog, trespassing, attacked by an employer’s dog, or rendering paid services that involve a dog. Strict liability does not require the injured party to prove the owner’s negligence in failing to properly supervise its dog. This means that in California there is no such thing as a “free bite.” As outlined by California Civil Code Section 3342:

“The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness. A person is lawfully upon the private property of such owner within the meaning of this section when he is on such property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when he is on such property upon the invitation, express or implied, of the owner.”

Keep in mind, strict liability applies only to the owner of the dog. If you were attacked by a dog that at the time was under the care of a “keeper” or “handler” they also may be liable for your injuries. If there is proof suggesting the “keeper” or “handler” had knowledge of prior dog bites or of the dog’s vicious propensities then liability can be placed on the “keeper” or “handler” for lack of vigilant care of such dog.

Damage PhotoIn this article, we discuss property damage that is the result of an automobile collision, and answer some of the most common questions people have relating to their vehicle’s repair.

1. Do I need an attorney?

The answer depends on whether there are injuries involved. Generally speaking however, if there are only issues of damage to your car as a result of the collision, you do not need an attorney. Furthermore, an attorney will probably not take the case if the only damages are those to property.

2. What about insurance?

One of the reasons we pay for insurance is so we do not have to come out of pocket when accidents happen. In the event of an accident you will want to use either your insurance or the other party’s insurance. Your policy likely has a deductible. This may vary from $500 to $5,000. Typically the lower the deductible, the cheaper the premium for the policy. In the event you decide to use your insurance, you will be responsible for your deductible. Any check you receive for the repair will be less your deductible. If you choose to use your insurance and pay the deductible, your insurance company will bring a claim against the third party’s insurance or directly against the third party if they did not have insurance. This is called “subrogation”. Once the two parties settle, you will receive back the deductible amount that you paid up front.

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fast-car-1561464Have you been in an auto accident and the investigating officer finds that while the accident is primarily the fault of the other driver, you also were a contributing factor?   That is, your speed also contributed to the accident.  The officer writes in his report that you violated  California’s basic speed law.  You think, “Wait a minute! I was only doing 40 in a 45 mph zone, and now the guy’s insurance company wants to find me 30% at fault for the collision?”

Let’s start with the definition of California’s basic speed law as found in Vehicle Code Section 22350.  It states:

“No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.”

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