4 Leading Causes Of Motorcycle Accidents In California

motorcycle accidents

Whether commuting to work every day or taking long scenic routes to enjoy what California has to offer, getting on a motorcycle always comes with its own set of risks.

Motorcyclists are more exposed when riding and are much more likely to die or recieve extreme injuries in an accident than those in a regular passenger vehicle. Aside from potentially losing a limb or a life, coping after an accident can be challenging as medical bills pile up and time off work is taken.

Hiring a trusted accident attorney will negotiate with insurance companies and get you the maximum amount of compensation for your injury to help while you heal.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Understanding the leading causes of accidents allows you to be hypervigilant in avoiding dangerous situations and how to stay safe as a motorcyclist.

Errors Made by Other Drivers

Motorcycle accidents often are caused by automobile drivers, and occur because a driver is unaware of the motorcyclist when making left turns, changing lanes, or coming on to a roadway.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles offer a handbook for guidance when riding a motorcycle that recommends riders to:

  • Avoid riding in automobile’s blind spots, and maintaining visibility to others
  • Communicate with other drivers with hand signals and lights
  • Increase visibility by keeping headlights on at all times
  • Give adequate spacing when passing or lane splitting
  • Be a defensive driver and act quickly to avoid other vehicles

Negligence of the Rider

Negligence when riding means engaging in risky, dangerous, and sometimes illegal activities when on a motorcycle. When motorcyclists have been at fault in accidents, the cause was usually:

  • Speeding
  • Riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Improper turning
  • Ignoring signals
  • Improper lane positioning

These accidents are typically avoidable by simply obeying traffic laws and riding safely. Experience is a major part in most motorcycle accidents, and those with less experience can find themselves in trouble without the basics of safety while riding. It’s advised to attend a safety course before riding on streets with other traffic, and to make sure your motorcycle meets your level of experience.

Motorcyclists are also able to reduce their injuries by wearing the appropriate protective gear when riding. Helmets are obviously the best way to avoid having head and face injuries in an accident. It’s advised to wear other eye protection, boots with steel-toe protection, riding gloves, fitted clothing with full body coverage, and bright or reflective colors to make yourself more visible.

Poor Road Conditions

It’s important to always keep your eyes on the road ahead to avoid any potential road hazards. Potholes, debris in the road, poor road conditions, construction zones, or animals in the way can lead to an accident if you’re not watching your speed or paying attention. If you are aware of extreme weather conditions, avoid riding if you can to lessen your chances of running into storms, slick roads, or potential dangerous situations.

Motorcycles are on two wheels that makes maintaining control on uneven or hazardous roads much more difficult than when riding in a car or truck. In the event of getting caught up in bad weather, pull off the road and try to take shelter until you can safely continue.

Mechanical Failure

Mechanical failure can have dire consequences for a motorcyclist, especially if you do not have proper training or knowledge of how to steer and maneuver while experiencing a tire blowout or brake failure. Any faulty mechanics on your motorcycle can make riding much more dangerous.

California law states that all motorcycles require brakes, tires, a rear view mirror, and horn in operating condition, a multi-beam headlight to remain on at all times, and a tail light with a license plate light. Inspect your motorcycle before and after riding to avoid a crash from mechanical failure in the future.

Defective manufacturer parts also can be a part of a motorcycle accident, and being injured in a crash that has been caused by faulty parts may allow you to seek out compensation from the manufacturer of the part that was defective.

Seeking Compensation for a Motorcycle Accident?

Even if you are the safest rider in the world, it is not a matter of “if” you get into an accident, it is a matter of “when”. If you or someone you love have been injured by another person’s negligence during a motorcycle crash, you have the right to seek compensation for damages and injuries caused by the accident.

At Hann Law Firm, you and your case matter to us and we will work tirelessly to compensate you for damages like medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering. 

Contact us today and let us defend you and protect your rights. You do not need to stand alone against the ones who have caused you harm.

Essential Evidence You Need for Your Car Accident Case

car accident

Car accidents happen when you least expect it, even if it’s close to home. In the event of an accident, it can be hard to remember what you need to do at that moment. 

In order to build the best case for your car insurance claim after an accident, it’s important to document as much as you can about the crash, how it happened, and how it has affected you. 

The more documentation you have to support your claim, the more likely you will receive a fair settlement. Let’s look at some of the essential pieces of evidence you should gather after being involved in an accident:

Medical Records

If you were injured in the accident, seek medical attention as soon as you can. In order to secure compensation, you’ll need to prove your injuries happened as a direct result of the accident, and also correctly establish how much compensation is needed.

Make sure to document the nature and extent of your injuries. By keeping track of all information surrounding your healthcare appointments, the doctors you visited, treatments given, and whether or not you were required to pay any money out of pocket. Any time you complete a necessary visit, ask your healthcare provider for a record of your medical treatment, including important imaging like x-rays or MRIs.

Police Reports

Regardless of the accident or injuries, call for the police and wait for a report to be made. This police report being made at the time of the accident can be helpful in your case later with the responding officer’s determination of which driver was at fault.

If law enforcement was involved, you will be able to use the report the responding officer filed as evidence in your claim. The report will include valuable information like a description of the accident, names of drivers and witnesses involved at the scene, and the responding officer’s assessment of how the collision occurred. This document can highlight any inconsistencies in the at-fault driver’s story, giving your case more credibility and provide more insight about the accident.

Evidence of Damage

In most car accidents, a large portion of compensation is related to the vehicle’s damage. Gather all records related to the repairs, possible car rentals, and also any recent repairs or improvements done to your car prior to the accident. If you have receipts that your car has higher value due to any new improvements, this can help increase your compensation.

If you were injured, your medical records can also provide sufficient evidence, such as the extent of your injuries, and the cost of treatment you received. Aside from the medical bills from each visit with your medical provider, make sure to track all pay stubs, W-2’s, and other evidence supporting lost wages or income.

Scene of the Accident Photos

If you are able to move around safely, and avoid causing any further injury, gather all evidence you can at the scene of the accident. Take photos at different angles of the collision, of the location of traffic signals, all vehicles involved in the accident, skid marks, debris from the vehicles, or any other evidence. Photographs can help your attorney build your claim, and ensure consistency of your story.

Witness Statements

An insurance company or court will want to hear from any third-party witnesses. People who have witnessed the crash can provide testimony to help determine how the accident occured, and who was responsible. Having witness testimonies can act as evidence to validate your story, and disprove any contradicting claims against you from the other driver. If any of the drivers were driving for an employer at the time, include their employer’s name and contact information when gathering information from those involved.

Remember that you cannot leave the scene of the accident without gathering personal information from all parties, including name, address, phone number, and insurance provider information. If the at-fault driver flees the scene, try to get their license plate number and contact police immediately.

Count On Hann Law Firm to Help

Being in an accident is a disorienting experience. Once you’ve gathered all information at the scene of the accident and received necessary medical attention, contact a trusted car accident lawyer.

At Hann Law Firm, we take a personal approach from the very start. We address your specific challenges, prepare diligently for the best possible outcome in the courtroom, and create a personalized approach to help you through your insurance claim and receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free consultation and get quality, compassionate legal guidance today.

What Are the Top Causes of Car Accidents?

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 6 million car accidents happen annually. 

From distractions to lack of safety measures, drivers are at risk to some extent every time they get behind the wheel. Unfortunately, the majority of car accidents are caused by driver error. 

The importance of driver safety and strict adherence to traffic laws can prevent accidents from occurring. However, just because you are driving safely doesn’t mean that everyone else on the road is following suit. Protecting yourself and your passengers comes first. 

Some accidents can be minor while others can be serious. Damages, injuries, and, in serious cases, fatalities can occur from car accidents involving driver error and other causes. 

Accidents can happen in a split second, but can change the course of your life, the lives of your passengers, or the lives of the passengers/driver of another vehicle forever. Knowing some of the top causes of car accidents can help you to take precautionary action and possibly prevent them from happening in the first place. 

Top Causes of Car Accidents in the United States

Distracted Driving

As one of the leading causes of car accidents for decades, distracted driving has become a driver’s worst enemy, especially in the age of technology. 

Texting and social media have drivers glued to a screen while behind the wheel more often than you might think. Bluetooth technology built into vehicles has sought to limit distractions but has become a distraction in-and-of-itself in many cases. Billboards, makeup application, personal grooming, food, messing with items in your car while at a stoplight, and even talking with your hands to the passenger next to you while driving have all contributed to car accidents over the years. 

How do you keep distracted driving out of the picture? Keep your eyes on the road. Be attentive to what is going on around you, pay attention to traffic signals and other drivers, and always be on guard while driving. 

Drunk Driving

Drunk driving causes more than 10,000 deaths annually and is one of the most dangerous causes of car accidents in the U.S. today. While impaired driving laws have long been in effect, that doesn’t always stop people from having a drink or two and getting behind the wheel. 

Given that drunk driving is a criminal offense, keep your keys at home or give them to a friend if you plan on heading out for a drink. Line up a designated driver or make use of modern-day ride-sharing companies like Lyft or Uber. 

Speeding

It’s Monday morning, and you’re running late for work. Flooring it isn’t the answer. 

As the second most common cause of traffic accidents, speeding causes some of the most serious traffic accidents, many of which lead to fatalities (as traveling at high levels of speed means a most severe impact for the vehicle, driver, and passengers). 

Speed limits are designed to give you enough time to brake and keep a safe distance between yourself and other vehicles. Take your time and follow the posted speed limits whether you’re in a neighborhood or on the highway. 

Weather

Weather plays a major role in the flow of traffic and how drivers react to situations on the road. 

Slippery roads caused by rain, ice, and snow can result in treacherous road conditions for even the most attentive and safe drivers. Rain can cause hydroplaning while ice and snow can cause wheels to spin out or cars to slide off of the road or into other vehicles. 

Precipitation on the road, however, isn’t the only concern here. Visibility issues also result in a significant number of car crashes. Dense fog, snow bursts, heavy rain, and even full sun in your eyes can cause blind spots while driving, possibly leading to traffic accidents. 

While the conditions may seem outside of a driver’s control, an accident involving a driver rear-ending another vehicle because of weather-related issues is still the driver’s fault. Taking precautionary measures like slowing down or waiting for the bad weather to pass can help in preventing weather-related traffic accidents. 

Running Red Lights

A cardinal rule of driving, red means stop. You might be at an empty intersection, but traffic can change in an instant. 

Driving distracted, speeding to get through a light while it is yellow, or simply ignoring traffic regulations can result in cars going through a red light and potentially hitting a car coming from the opposite direction. 

You might think you can get through a yellow light in enough time, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Yellow lights are designed to give you enough time to stop before it turns red and opposing traffic starts moving through the intersection. Otherwise, you could find yourself in the middle of the intersection and hit by a car coming the other way too. 

Get In Touch With A California Personal Injury Attorney

If you have been injured in an accident in California and would like to learn more about your legal rights, Hann Law Firm is here to help. 

We provide a thoughtful approach to personal injury cases and help you get the compensation you need while you focus on your recovery. We are seasoned California personal injury attorneys who know how to win – Contact us today to find out how we can help you get the justice you deserve.

The Most Common Car Accident Injuries

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 3 million Americans are injured in car accidents each year. 

While you could be the safest driver, remain completely attentive and defensive on the road, and follow all traffic regulations, collisions and accidents can still happen. Some of these result in mild to serious car accident injuries. 

Of course, the extent of injuries can depend on several factors during a collision:

  • If the occupants were wearing seatbelts or not
  • The direction of the impact 
  • Which way the occupants were facing at the time of impact
  • The speed the car(s) were traveling at upon impact
  • Airbag deployment 

There are two categories of car accident injuries. 

Impact injuries occur when the body makes contact with the car’s interior. An example of this would be if an occupant’s head hits the dashboard or steering wheel upon impact. 

Penetrating injuries involve cutting, lacerating, or scraping of the skin. This could occur if the window glass is shattered and lodged in the skin or if a seatbelt causes a laceration requiring stitches. 

The Most Common Car Accident Injuries 

Mild and significant injuries incurred during a car accident can forever change the life of a driver and their passengers. Injuries from a car accident are possible to nearly every part of the body. 

While some of these injuries occur immediately, others can come on slowly. Regardless, it is important to seek medical attention to avoid long-term or disastrous effects. 

Back and Spinal Injuries 

The spine/spinal cord is not designed to withstand heavy impact, making back and spinal injuries some of the most common injuries in the event of a serious car crash. The impact of a car accident on the back and spine can cause lasting effects on both the driver and any passengers. 

Long-term disability can occur as a result of a spinal injury sustained in a car crash. Damage to the spinal cord can cause partial or full paralysis depending on the location of the injury. A complete spinal injury occurs when there is no movement and feeling is lost below the location of the injury. An incomplete spinal injury occurs when some feeling and motor function are left below the location of the injury. 

Aside from spinal injuries, several different back injuries can occur as a result of car accidents. Back strains and sprains involve pulled muscles and tendons in the back, while other injuries like a ruptured disc or nerve trauma can cause impaired movement and damaged vertebrae. 

Internal Injuries and Bleeding 

When impact injuries occur, they often leave injuries to the driver and/or passengers that aren’t visible at skin level. These injuries aren’t always immediately treated by medical professionals, leading to extensive trauma or even sudden death. 

Blunt force trauma occurs when the body collides with a hard object (like the inside of the car or another car hitting your car). Penetrating trauma occurs when an object breaks skin and tears into blood vessels, muscles, nerves, and organs. Spleen, kidney, and liver injuries are some of the most common penetrating trauma injuries sustained in car accidents. 

When major organs, blood vessels, or muscle tissue are damaged, internal bleeding can also occur. Symptoms of internal bleeding can include abdominal pain, fatigue, dehydration, dizziness, nausea, and skin bruising. To avoid serious lasting effects or even sudden death, emergency medical treatment is necessary when blunt force or penetrating trauma occurs in a car accident. 

Broken Bones and Ribs

Impact injuries can also result in broken bones or ribs. 

Rapid impact with the dashboard, steering wheel, or seatbelt restraint can cause fractured ribs. While these can heal on their own, broken ribs can cause further internal damage such as puncture wounds to organs, muscles, and other tissue. 

Broken bones are common in car accidents. While most can heal with a cast, sling, or other protective settings, some broken bones may require surgery to fix. Commonly broken bones in car accidents include bones in the arm, femur, neck, collarbone, and hip. 

Concussion

A concussion can occur when there is a traumatic blow to the head. Concussions are considered a more mild form of a traumatic brain injury but must be treated with caution. 

Symptoms of a concussion include confusion, headache, memory loss, lack of balance, and vision impairment or changes. Medical providers will often diagnose a concussion and immediately recommend rest and activity restriction. Most concussions can heal within days of an accident if rest and restriction are maintained. 

Choose Hann Law Firm for Personal Injury Assistance Today

If you’ve been in a car accident that resulted in mild or serious injuries to you or your loved ones, you may be feeling hopeless, uncertain, and financially strained. 

If you’ve been in a car accident, knowing your rights is essential. You could be entitled to lost wages, pain and suffering, the cost of medical bills, and other damages. Unfortunately, without an experienced lawyer on your side, you won’t get everything you’re entitled to.

That’s why you should let Hann Law Firm fight for you.

Legal challenges are always a trying time, especially with personal injury cases. Our compassionate and personalized approach walks you through filing your lawsuit from start to finish. 

Contact us today for a free consultation.

Injured in a Car Accident: When to Hire a Lawyer?

A lot goes on in your head before and immediately following a car accident. You’ll be worried about your wellbeing, the safety of anyone else in your car, and the damage done to your vehicle and the others involved. With so much going on, you might not prioritize calling a lawyer, but you should.

So many aspects of filing a lawsuit require a timely response. Additionally, the process of actually filing a lawsuit can quickly become complex if you’re not prepared. If you wait to contact a lawyer, you could unintentionally be forfeiting some of your rights related to the accident.

We’ve seen this happen too often, but it doesn’t have to happen to you, so we’ve highlighted the most critical points to call an attorney following a car accident. 

1. The Other Drive Lacks Insurance

California law requires every driver to have current insurance if they are involved in a car accident. That’s because auto insurance usually covers the costs of damages and repairs for the other driver. Getting your just compensation can become complicated if someone without insurance gets into an accident.

You should consult with a lawyer as soon as you learn the other driver doesn’t have insurance (or if they don’t give you their insurance information). They’ll determine the best course of action for you to take based on your circumstances. Often, this means filing a civil suit against the other driver.

The time frame for filing a lawsuit varies depending on what you’re suing for. You only have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit following the accident. You have three years to file if you’re suing for property damage.

2. The Insurance Company Wants You to Settle

If you’ve never had to file an insurance claim before, you may be surprised at how quickly they offer to settle a claim. The insurance company’s role is to prevent its clients from going to trial whenever possible. To that end, they will aggressively pressure you into accepting a settlement, even if it’s less than the cost of damages.

Talking to an insurance adjuster on your own can potentially sink any chances of a future lawsuit. This is because they will try to get you to downplay the accident’s severity and then use your words against you. However, you don’t have to worry about that if you hire a lawyer before contacting the insurance company.

Your lawyer will work as your advocate when speaking to the insurance company. They have a solid grasp of what your injuries are worth based on past cases and settlements. They’re crucial to getting the compensation that you deserve.

3. The Other Driver Won’t Admit Fault

Unless you have hard evidence that the other driver caused the accident, they will have no reason to admit they were at fault, even if they were. Without evidence, the insurance company will similarly question your claim and use it as leverage to lower or deny your settlement. But what can you do to gather evidence?

Contacting your lawyer as soon as possible sets the wheels in motion to start documenting the accident scene. Your lawyer will get and confirm witness statements and get records from nearby security cameras. They can also use professional connections to uncover other details relevant to your claim.

You can do some things on your own to help gather evidence, too. For example, you can photograph the damage and ask for witness contact information. These are great foundational steps, but keep in mind that your lawyer will have wider access to evidence and details that could help your case, so it is always recommended to ensure you have legal counsel.

4. Your Insurance Company Isn’t Giving You Priority

In theory, your insurance company works to help you with your claims. And usually, they will (at the lowest cost to them). However, you’re not their only customer, and they probably won’t see your claim as being more important than anyone else’s.

With so many customer claims to work through, they have to work fast. In the process of trying to close your case, many of your concerns will likely go unaddressed. In some respects, it’s very similar to talking to the other driver’s insurance adjuster.

A lack of sympathy from your insurance company can quickly sink your claim. If you feel like your insurance company is trying to close your case quickly, you should call a lawyer right away. They will make sure that all of your needs get met.

5. Once You Visit A Hospital

Regardless of the accident’s severity, you should seek medical attention right away. It’s possible that you suffered injuries that you otherwise might overlook until much later. In addition, an early evaluation will give credence to any suit you file later.

You should call your lawyer once medical professionals have examined you. They’ll get the records needed to support your claim. Even if you’re uninjured, you can use these records to sue to recover the examination cost.

You Can Turn to Hann Law Firm For Help

If you’ve been in a car accident, knowing your rights is essential. You could be entitled to lost wages, pain and suffering, the cost of medical bills, and other damages. Unfortunately, without an experienced lawyer on your side, you won’t get everything you’re entitled to.

That’s why you should let Hann Law Firm fight for you.

Legal challenges are always a trying time, especially with personal injury cases. Our compassionate and personalized approach walks you through filing your lawsuit from start to finish. Contact us today for a free consultation.

What Is The Difference Between DUI And DWI In California?

If you are a licensed driver in California, you’ve likely heard the term “DUI” and “DWI”. DUI stands for driving under the influence, while DWI is the acronym for driving while intoxicated. Drunk driving laws are set by states and each has their own rules and regulations when it comes to each term. Some states have separate rules for each term, but states like California use DUI as a blanket term for driving under the influence of a substance or being impaired as specified by that vehicle code of law.

There is more than one way to get a DUI, such as a per se DUI, drug DUI and other similar distinctions. While we never want to be in the position of receiving a DUI, being informed of what it entails and the penalties is important to not only help if you are charged, but to also for context the next time you may grab your keys after a function or long work lunch. 

What Does DUI Mean in California?

While some states use the terms DWI and DUI separately, California officially uses the term “DUI” for any conviction that falls under the blanket of someone driving impaired/under the influence. If arrested for a DUI, you can be convicted either because the court proves you had a high blood alcohol level, or because there is evidence that you were operating a vehicle while impaired. Either way, the penalties are the same. 

Charges for DUIs

There are different types of vehicle code offenses (VC) that are all related to impaired driving. California vehicle code offenses include:

Minimum and Maximum Penalties for a First DUI Conviction

A first-time DUI conviction is deemed a misdemeanor in California and the person charged will face the following penalties:

  • Fines. The first DUI can carry a fine from $390 to $1,000 plus any penalty assessments. The total can be several thousand dollars or more.
  • Jail. For a first DUI conviction, it is possible to get as little as 48 hours to as much as six months in jail. The judge can order probation, which is more common, and comes with no jail time. 
  • License suspension. A six-month license suspension is the most common for first time DUI offenders. If your blood alcohol concentration is .08% or more, then there will be a four-month administrative suspension added by the DMV. 
  • Probation. First DUI offenders normally receive a three-year term of informal probation (though it can be up to five years). As a condition of probation, the defendant normally must complete a three-month DUI course, consisting of 30 hours of classes. However, for defendants who had BACs of .20% or more, the program is nine months in duration and 60 hours of class time.

Penalties for a Second and Third DUI Convictions

The second and third DUI convictions come with penalties that only get more severe and cause you to lose more freedoms with each conviction. Both are still deemed misdemeanors in California, but incur misdemeanor probation of 3-5 years, mandatory second offender DUI school (18-30 months), installation of an driver interlock device (IID) on one’s vehicle (for one year), and a mandatory minimum of 96 hours in county jail (up to one year).

Felony DUI Charges

There are specific aggravating factors that can turn a misdemeanor DUI conviction into a felony. Felony DUIs come with more serious penalties than any misdemeanor charge, especially if they involve injury or death.

DUIs Involving Deaths or Injuries

DUIs with injuries: If you injure someone in a DUI incident, you will face more severe penalties than a standard DUI. Injury DUIs are “wobblers”—meaning they can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. If charged as a felony, an injury DUI can result in a prison sentence of 16 months to four years. And depending on the defendant’s history, fines for an injury DUI can range from $390 to $5,000.

DUIs with fatalities: A DUI offense that causes the death of another person is typically prosecuted under California’s vehicular manslaughter laws. A defendant who is found to have caused a death can be charged with:

  • Negligent vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated
  • Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, or
  • Second-degree murder

Find An Experienced DUI Attorney

When you face criminal charges, it’s hard not to focus on what you have to lose. But you have control over your defense – and we’ll do everything in our power to protect your rights. Whether you face a DUI, assault charge, or something else entirely, we put our decades of combined courtroom experience to work for you. We have successfully defended many clients in San Jose and central California over the years. We can defend you, too.

At Hann Law Firm, we take a personal approach to everything we do. From our first consultation, we’ll listen to your needs and concerns. Listening to our clients is at the heart of our success in the courtroom. When you work with us, we’ll address your specific challenges, prepare diligently for the best possible outcome, and create a personalized approach to help achieve your goals. 

Contact us today for a free consultation and we will fight for you!

Can I Claim Punitive Damages in a Car Accident Case?

It can happen in an instant. The screech of the tires, the flash of the lights, the force of the impact. 

But what happens after the accident? If you or a loved one have experienced a personal injury due to someone else’s driving, you are entitled to pursue damages from the responsible party. However, you need to be aware that there are two categories of damages that you have a right to pursue.

The at-fault driver — or their insurance company — is required by law to pay what are known as compensatory damages for any injury or damage that a victim incurs. This is what most car insurance covers, and it is intended to compensate the victim for any immediate financial losses they have suffered. 

There are scenarios, however, in which the victim may also wish to pursue punitive damages — a personal injury lawsuit — against the person liable.

Why Should I Pursue Punitive Damages?

In cases of grave injury or wrongful death resulting from reckless behavior, barely recovering compensation for financial losses may not be adequate. If it can be shown that the responsible party acted in a manner they knew to be dangerous, the victim may be entitled to file a civil suit to recover further damages as well as to impose a legal punishment against the offender. 

A car accident can have life-altering effects on a person and their family. If the offending party has shown disregard for the safety of others, it is sometimes necessary to pursue punitive damages to deter any further misconduct. Precedent can also be set to deter others who may think about engaging in such reckless behavior.

3 Most Common Examples of Reckless Driving

1. Known Mechanical Problems

If a driver knowingly operates a vehicle that has serious mechanical issues and injury results, it may be considered reckless driving. 

For example, if a driver was aware that their car’s engine stalled at high speeds and they drove it on the freeway and it caused an accident, the victim could have grounds on which to pursue punitive damages. This is one reason why the state of California has very clear standards that a vehicle must meet during its safety inspection.

2. Racing/Chicken

The second scenario is probably the most common. Street racing, games of chicken, and other such reckless undertakings are some of the leading causes of traffic fatalities and injuries. 

Participants in these activities show a blatant disregard for traffic safety laws and for the innocent bystanders who may get injured as a result of their actions. It often results in multi-car collisions and injury, and can often involve pedestrians and bicyclists. Fortunately, it is one of the easier cases to prove in court.

3. DUI/DWI

While this seems like the most obvious scenario in which a victim could claim damages, it actually requires a slightly higher burden of proof on the victim. If a person was aware that serious injury or death could be a result of their driving a vehicle while inebriated or impaired, the victim may have a claim to punitive damages. These cases are a little harder to prove, and having a good attorney is key.

Contact Hann Law 

Filing a personal injury lawsuit doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience, itself. When faced with the burden of having to choose this option, a personal injury attorney is your best bet.

If you find yourself in this position, contact the attorneys at Hann Law. We will help you in your time of need and we will fight to help you get the justice you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Injured as a Rideshare Driver? Who’s at Fault?

Driving for a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft is a great way to earn money. But insurance and liability can get tricky quickly for gig workers and independent contractors. 

In the case of an accident or injury, determining who’s at fault and who’s liable for coverage requires a careful look at several factors. 

Rideshare drivers should know their rights and responsibilities and know when to seek help. Whether you’ve recently been injured or want to prepare yourself for such an event just in case, let’s take a look at what you need to know.

Rideshare Drivers are Independent Contractors

Most rideshare drivers aren’t considered employees of the companies that pay them to drive. Instead, they are independent contractors providing a service for the company. 

Typical liability protections extended to employees injured on the job may not always apply to rideshare drivers. A careful review of the employment contract and local law is required to determine when such protections are valid.

Drivers Are Required to be Insured

All drivers must be insured to operate a motor vehicle. Companies that require employees to drive often provide insurance coverage for cars their staff use. But independent contractors are typically required to maintain private, personal insurance and meet coverage minimums. For example, in California, all drivers must have:

  • $15,000 of bodily injury coverage per person injured in an accident
  • $30,000 of bodily injury coverage per accident
  • $5,000 of property damage per accident

Liability Changes Based on Vehicle Use

There’s a difference between driving your car for personal use and driving it as a rideshare vehicle. As a rideshare driver turns on their app and begins work, there are several distinct phases, each with different liability requirements. For example, California defines four periods:

  • Period 0

The rideshare app is off. In this period, drivers are considered private vehicle operators, and their private insurances are liable for injury or accident.

  • Period 1

The driver is logged into the rideshare app and ready to work but hasn’t been paired with a ride request or picked up any passengers. During this period, the drivers’ private insurance is still the primary coverage, but the rideshare company may provide additional coverage to help drivers meet minimum coverage requirements.

  • Periods 2 and 3

Period 2 is when a driver gets paired with a ride request, and Period 3 is when the driver has a customer in their vehicle. During these periods, the rideshare companies provide more comprehensive coverage for both the driver and passenger. However, injury or damage claims still target the driver’s private insurance first, even during periods 2 and 3.

Laws Vary From State to State

The situation is even more complicated as different states have different requirements and laws regarding rideshare insurance and liability. While there are some federal laws and guidelines, many states have adopted more specific regulations as the rideshare economy has grown and evolved. If you’ve suffered an injury while driving for a rideshare company, you’ll need guidance to understand all of the local level rules and laws governing your insurance claim.

Help is Available

When you’re dealing with the stress of recovering from an injury, the last thing you need is a complicated insurance process creating frustration and uncertainty. With the layered and nuanced nature of rideshare regulations, it is best to get the help of some experts in your area who can help you get the compensation you deserve.

At Hann Law Firm, our purpose is to advocate for you in the face of these challenges. We’ll get you the compensation you need to heal and move forward with your life. Fighting for fair treatment from insurance companies and big businesses can seem like an uphill battle, but we’ll protect your interests every step of the way. We have a long, proven track record of success in San Jose and throughout California – you can trust us when it’s most important. Contact us today and let us fight for you.

Motor Vehicle Accidents More Likely With Older Models

In California and across the U.S., car crashes more commonly happen with vehicles that are older than 10 years. These older vehicles are often involved in fatal or preventable crashes because owners fail to do routine maintenance, according to the Ohio Highway Patrol.

In one study of the last three years, older vehicles were involved in the majority of vehicle defect-related crashes. According to the Ohio Highway Patrol, 56% of accidents were caused by defective equipment in vehicles with model years from 1999 to 2008. Only 24% of accidents caused by defective equipment happened in vehicles with model years from 2009 to 2018.

The most common causes of motor vehicle accidents were blown tires and brakes that failed. Blown tires caused 42% of fatal crashes. These accidents could have been prevented with regular vehicle maintenance.

According to the Ohio Insurance Institute, the average vehicle age is 11.8 years, and that is the highest it has ever been. The average vehicle age has been steadily increasing since 2002 when the number was 9.6 years. These figures reflect the fact that drivers are keeping vehicles longer, and some vehicles can last for 15 years and go up to 300,000 miles. One of the reasons that drivers keep vehicles longer is because it is more expensive to repair and replace parts on newer vehicles. An example is a bumper that would cost $200 to repair on an older vehicle and now costs $1,000 on a newer vehicle.

With more older vehicles on the road today, the likelihood of being in a motor vehicle accident has increased. Car accidents can result in serious or debilitating injuries that can last a lifetime as well as cause job loss and excessive medical bills. When an individual is a victim of a motor vehicle accident, it may be important to have a personal injury lawyer to fight for just compensation.

Crash Risk Higher For Teens Who Have A Peer As A Passenger

Teenagers are inexperienced drivers and can be distracted even by other people in the car, especially when those people happen to be their friends. California parents should know that teens run a 44% higher risk for a car crash when they invite just one peer to be a passenger. This is according to research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

For this reason, experts recommend that teens keep from having any young passengers for at least six months after obtaining their license. If parents can get them to do this for the first year, then all the better.

However, parents should not make an allowance for siblings. Though it can be convenient to have teens pick up and drop off their siblings in lieu of the parents, this is actually more dangerous than having a friend in the car. A younger sibling could easily get the older sibling excited or angry, which means a greater chance for inattentive driving.

Parents may want to set up restrictions when it comes to having their teens ride in a friend’s car. For example, if the friend is newly licensed and they intend to make a long trip, parents should give their disapproval. The possibility of night driving is another factor that parents may want to consider.