Articles Tagged with california

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Speeding, Car Accidents, Injury LawyerSpeeding is one of the most common causes of motor vehicle accidents in the United States. More than 10,000 deaths each year are attributable to accidents in which one or more of the drivers was speeding. In terms of economic impact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration puts the cost of accidents caused by speeding at more than $40 billion a year.

There are 34 states that have maximum speed limits of 70 mph or higher for motor vehicles. Although the highest posted speed limits in California of 70 mph speed are restricted to rural interstate highways and limited access roads, a new report linking speeding and motor vehicle accident fatalities offers evidence that drivers in populated urban areas, such as Oakland and San Jose, are ignoring posted speed restrictions.

California cities lead the nation in speeding fatalities

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Home Depot, California, Accident, AttorneyA correctional officer was shopping in a Home Depot store in California when a palm tree for sale fell onto her back, which caused her injuries requiring surgery and left her unable to work. A welder in Boston broke his shoulder after falling off a ladder purchased from a Home Depot when the top rung collapsed. A man driving in Tennessee was hit head-on by a Home Depot delivery driver nearly costing him his life.

What do these people have in common besides their connection to Home Depot? They all received six-figure payouts from the company.

Regular Home Depot shoppers got a shock last year when the company revealed that customers’ credit card data had been compromised, but that isn’t the only accident the company is trying to clean up. The trend of customers incurring injuries at the retail chain’s stores or from using their products has been less high-profile.

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ride share, injury claims, CaliforniaUber Technologies, Inc. has fast become the largest of a new breed of transportation companies commonly known as “ride-sharing” nationwide and especially in large urban areas like Los Angeles and San Francisco.  Unfortunately, it appears that the growth of the company is outpacing the planning for safety and consumer protection.  One high profile incident in San Francisco involving an Uber driver who struck and killed a 6 year old girl has now spawned both criminal charges against the driver and a wrongful death lawsuit against Uber. (See discussion here: Insurance Journal).

How do ride sharing companies operate in California?

Ride sharing is a good concept in theory.  People “volunteer” to use their own vehicles to pick up and drop off passengers based through an app that is installed on a smart phone.  It tracks where drivers are in relationship to potential passengers and allows people to request a “ride” at a moments notice as an alternative to calling a taxi.  As I have discussed in other posts (see here), the California Public Utilities Commission (“PUC”) was one of the first public agencies to attempt to regulate these services and provide some basic requirements for operation.  They enacted provisions which require Uber, Lyft, SideCar and others to conduct background checks on drivers, to train drivers on safety and to provide insurance above and beyond the limits of the auto accident policy for the vehicle or the driver.

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mercury insurance, auto accident claims, CaliforniaMercury Insurance is one of California’s largest auto insurance carriers.  In a recent decision, Mercury Cas. Co. v. Chu, 229 Cal. App. 4th 1432, 178 Cal. Rptr. 3d 144 (2014) the Fourth District California Court of Appeal has upheld a $333,300 judgment despite protests by the insurance carrier that the claim was not covered.

Facts of The Case: 

Mercury Casualty issued an insurance policy to Hung Chu insuring his automobile. Chu was driving with his roommate, Tu Pham, when Chu collided with another vehicle, injuring Pham. Pham filed a personal injury action against both Chu and the driver of the other vehicle. Mercury agreed to provide Chu with a defense to the lawsuit under a “reservation of rights” but, asserted that Pham’s injuries were not covered because Pham qualified as an “insured” under the policy due to the fact that he resided with Chu at the same address. The policy broadly defined an “insured” to include “residents,” defined as, “an individual who inhabited the same dwelling as the insured.” According to Mercury, the permitted exclusion authorizing auto liability insurance to exclude coverage for bodily injury claims brought by an insured applied and they should not have to pay the judgment against Chu by Pham.

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planes, trains, automobilesThe National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has just released its “Most Wanted” list, which reflects what it feels should be priorities for transportation safety in the U.S. moving forward into 2014.  These priorities are all well in line with what I see as transportation safety needs for California as well.  They include the following:

  1. Subways, Commuter and Light Rails: The report indicates that there are still active, pending investigations of rail crashes causing injury or death in various light rail incidents across the U.S. including incidents involving Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) in the San Francisco Bay Area.  As cities in California including Los Angeles and San Diego continue to develop more light rail projects such as the Metro Lines in L.A. or the San Diego Trolley system, there will inevitably be light rail crashes that prompt calls for further safety measures in the Golden State.  Los Angeles intends to extend their subway system further into West Los Angeles / Santa Monica and the San Fernando Valley, for instance and increased ridership will, no doubt result in some additional mishaps.  The key is determining cause in these incidents and trying to use this information to improve railway safety by modifying equipment and / or operational practices.
  2. Helicopter Operations: The NTSB article points out that helicopter traffic continues to increase especially in urban areas as more and more copters are being used for various purposes like law enforcement support, news gathering, medical services, and transportation.  Between 2003 and 2013, there were 1,470 helicopter crashes nationwide, which resulted in 477 deaths and 274 serious injuries.  Urban areas of California like Los Angeles have seen an increase in aviation traffic including helicopters and will no doubt need to heed the call for further safety to prevent such mishaps here in CA.
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