Archive for October, 2014

Road Rage – Does it affect my car accident?

Road Rage – How does it affect my accident?

I often get calls from people involved in car accidents wanting to know how “road rage” or other aggressive driving actions affects an accident. While each situation is different, there are some things to know about road rage; what it is, how it’s codified in California as a criminal offense, and how to avoid being a victim of road rage.

Definition

Aggressive, angry, rude, or confrontation actions or behaviors by drivers of vehicles.

Common Road Rage Actions/Behaviors

  • Tailgating, honking, flashing lights
  • Yelling, threatening, making obscene gestures, throwing projectiles
  • Cutting off a driver, intentionally making contact with another driver’s vehicle
  • Exiting a car, assaulting other drivers/passengers/cyclists

A Little History

The term “road rage” originated in the late 1980s, right here in Southern California when a rash of shootings occurred on the freeways of Los Angeles (in case you were wondering, the shootings occurred on the 405, 110, and 10 freeways).

Aggressive Driving v. Road Rage

Aggressive driving generally involves one or more traffic violations. Drivers may be fined up to $200 and receive points on their driving record for each moving violation associated with aggressive driving and could even spend time in jail. When a traffic incident escalates into a more serious situation, that’s road rage. If road rage results in violence, a collision or injury, it is a criminal offense (California Penal Code Sec. 245(a)).

How to Avoid an Incident with an Aggressive Driver

  • Be a confident, courteous, and calm driver
  • Allow aggressive drivers to pass, do not “brake check” them
  • Do not make eye contact, yell, or make gestures
  • If you still feel unsafe, you may want to call 9-1-1 or begin driving toward the local police station

Legal Action

California is one of few states that has legalized the term “road rage”. There are many laws and protections for the victims of road rage. If you think you may have been the victim of a road rage induced assault or battery, you may be able to take legal action. Consult a local attorney to figure out the next step you should take.

The author, Joshua Bonnici, is the managing attorney at BONNICI LAW GROUP, APC, who represents injured and disabled individuals fight for fair and just outcomes. Feel free to learn more and reach out for a free case evaluation, at: the firm websitehelp@bonnicilawgroup.com, or at: 619-259-5199.

Disclaimer: while the jokes may be corny and the tone casual, none of the above is intended to be legal advice, and does not amount to any attorney-client relationship. Should you wish to investigate attorney representation, please contact us for a consultation to discuss a possible attorney-client relationship. Thank you!

Ignore these key words: san diego accident lawyer, san diego accident attorney, rear end lawyer, san diego car accident lawyer, car accident attorney, san diego lawyer road rage, road rage lawyer san diego.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Uninsured Motorist Coverage – What is it, and do I need it?

Should I Purchase Uninsured Motorist Insurance?

Think about how many miles you travel by car per day. Think about how many other drivers you encounter throughout a given day. Now think about how many of those drivers do not have insurance.

In 2011, the Insurance Research Council estimated that chances are approximately one in seven that a driver in the United States is uninsured. Chances are probably even greater for Southern California drivers, who share the road with many uninsured drivers from Mexico every day.

Getting into a car accident is stressful, no matter what the circumstances. Being involved in an accident where the other driver is uninsured can be life changing. Luckily, there are some preventative measures you can take to protect yourself – and one of those things is purchasing uninsured motorist insurance. This article presents some commonly asked questions and answers about uninsured motorist protection.

What typically happens if the other driver is at fault for the accident?

If the other driver has insurance, you usually will be able to recover only the amount of insurance the other (at fault) driver decided to purchase. It is important to note that California requires drivers to purchase only $15,000 of liability insurance ($15,000 per injured person, and $30,000 per total occurrence).

What types of damages can I recover from the other driver?

The amount you attempt to recover typically needs to cover your medical expenses (x-rays, treatments, physical therapy, etc.) and lost wages resulting from your injuries. Often times, the amount recovered from the other driver (if anything) is not enough to cover damages resulting from the accident.

What is uninsured motorist coverage?

Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage can help cover costs resulting from a car accident when the uninsured motorist is at fault. This includes a hit and run driver. UM coverage is an add-on coverage that is not mandatory by the state, and is not included in the “minimum” policy insurers offer. Generally, a small UM coverage add-on is very inexpensive; sometimes as low as an extra $5 per month.

What type of costs does uninsured motorist protection typically cover?

Medical damages, pain and suffering, and lost wages.

How can I buy uninsured motorist coverage?

You can purchase uninsured motorist coverage from the same provider you bought liability insurance from. I

Will uninsured motorist coverage protect me, whether I was at fault or not?

No. Uninsured motorist coverage will protect you only if you were not at fault in the accident.

Do I have to be the driver of the vehicle for uninsured motorist coverage to protect me?

No, you do not have to be driving to be protected by uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist protection will cover your injuries if you were injured while walking or riding a bike. The only requirement is that you were physically touched by the uninsured vehicle.

Does UM only apply when I’m in a car? 

Depending on your policy, some coverage extends to injuries sustained to a rider when riding a bicycle on a roadway. Check with your policy, or your insurance professional, to see if your coverage extends beyond your vehicle.

Will uninsured motorist insurance cover expenses if the other driver has insurance, but not enough to pay my bills?

No. In this scenario, the other driver is considered under-insured rather than uninsured. An underinsured driver has some liability insurance but it may not be enough to cover your injuries and/or damages. A different type of insurance, underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, can be used to offset these costs. (Keep an eye out for an underinsured blog coming soon!)

How does this affect my car accident?

It’s important to understand how each facet of your insurance policy can help you during an auto accident claim – especially if there are injuries involved. It is helpful to speak with an insurance professional and a local personal injury attorney to understand your rights and how to use your insurance coverage.

The author, Joshua Bonnici, is the managing attorney at BONNICI LAW GROUP, APC, who represents injured and disabled individuals fight for fair and just outcomes. Feel free to learn more and reach out for a free case evaluation, at: www.bonnicilawgroup.com, help@bonnicilawgroup.com, or at: 619-259-5199.

Disclaimer: while the jokes may be corny and the tone casual, none of the above is intended to be legal advice, and does not amount to any attorney-client relationship. Should you wish to investigate attorney representation, please contact us for a consultation to discuss a possible attorney-client relationship. Thank you!

Leave a comment

What to Do After a Car Accident

You Were in a Car Accident…What Now?

We know that car accidents occur every day. Unfortunately, many people do not know where to begin after being in one. It can be an extremely emotional and stressful situation. This article provides a quick reference including preparedness tips; what to do immediately after an accident occurs’ and how to handle the days and weeks following the accident.

BE PREPARED

  1. Carry a set of reflectors or flairs, to inform oncoming traffic of the accident.
  2. Keep a pen and relevant medical information for you and your family in your glove compartment or console.
  3. Have your mobile phone with you and charged at all times; you may need it to call for emergency assistance, the police, or to take pictures of damage. (But remember, a mobile phone should never be used while driving a car!)
  4. Make sure you always carry proper identification and insurance information.

IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE ACCIDENT

  1. Try to relax and not become overly excited or stressed.
  2. Check for injuries on yourself and others. Some common resulting injuries include: Whiplash, concussions, PTSD, and broken bones. Obviously there are numerous additional injuries that can occur, and it is very important to remember that many injuries cannot be seen by the naked eye and do not present immediate symptoms. Very often, people experience pain, confusion, weakness, and/or other symptoms hours or even days after the accident. It is best to err on the side of caution when it comes to having possible injuries evaluated and ruled out.
  3. If someone needs medical attention, call 911. Do not attempt to move the person unless they are in immediate danger.
  4. If the accident is relatively minor, move vehicles to a safe place (if possible, and reasonable safe) and turn on hazard lights. Use traffic cones or other things to signal there is an accident ahead to oncoming traffic.
  5. Call the police to request an accident report.
  6. Gather information from other driver(s).
  7. File a claim with your own insurance company as soon as you can.

DAYS AND WEEKS FOLLOWING THE ACCIDENT

  1. Get a property valuation determination from your insurance company. The state of CA allows for you to take your vehicle to any registered auto body shop of your choice. If you cannot come to an agreement on your car’s value, consider obtaining an attorney.
  2. If anyone was injured, keep track of medical records, doctor visitis and expenses. This includes any doctor, chiropractor, physical therapist, or any other medical professional who treated you or others for injuries after the accident. Make note of treatments, payments, and referrals. Request copies of medical records and bills. It is also important to keep a record of “pain and suffering” — how the injuries affect your daily routine or make life more difficult.
  3. If anyone was injured, you may want to consider hiring an attorney. Many attorneys will offer a free consultation, where you relay basic information about the accident, injuries, and damages sustained. A local attorney may also be able to connect you with a doctor at no immediate cost if you cannot afford to see a doctor.

Quick Reference of Do’s and Don’ts

Do Don’t
Call 911 if anyone is injured.

Make immediate notes about the accident, including:

  • Driver’s name & contact info
  • License plate number
  • Make and model of both cars
  • Insurance policy number for other driver
  • Where accident occurred with cross streets
  • Witness contact info
  • Damage on both vehicles

Call the police to request an accident report.

Take pictures of vehicle damage and location (street signs).

File an insurance claim with your insurance company.

Seek medical care if injuries arise.

Consider consulting with a local personal injury attorney.

Tell anyone that you were at fault for the accident.

Sign any documents or take any money at the scene of the accident.

Discuss your insurance details beyond exchanging insurance company name and policy number.

Attempt to move an injured person.

Leave the scene of the accident.

Ignore signs of bodily injury (which may arise days after the accident).

Fail to report accident to your insurance out of fear or request by other party.

 

The author, Joshua Bonnici, is the managing attorney at BONNICI LAW GROUP, APC, who represents injured and disabled individuals fight for fair and just outcomes. Feel free to learn more and reach out for a free case evaluation, at: www.bonnicilawgroup.com, or at: 619-259-5199.

Leave a comment