Rental Car Accident: Who Is Liable in California?

June 28, 2018 Auto Accidents

California hosts more than 30 million registered cars, commercial trucks, and other vehicles on its roads. Approximately 200,000 auto accidents

Airport information car rental sign California hosts more than 30 million registered cars, commercial trucks, and other vehicles on its roads. Approximately 200,000 auto accidents occur in California every year, a substantial portion of which involve rented vehicles.

Assessing liability in any car accident is rarely a straightforward analysis, particularly if a rental car is involved. The attorneys at the Salamati Law Firm in Los Angeles have extensive experience in representing clients that have been involved in accidents with rental cars, both as drivers of those rentals or as owners of vehicles that have been in accidents with rentals.

The Basic Rule of Car Accident Liability in California

Regardless of whether a vehicle in an accident is a rental car, the basic rule in California is that the driver of the car that caused the accident will be liable for an innocent party’s damages and injuries. The fact that the responsible party was driving a rental car generally makes no difference.

Insurance Coverage and Accident Liability with Rental Cars

Assessing liability in accidents that involve rental cars can be more complicated because of insurance coverage issues. A driver’s insurance will typically reimburse an injured party’s damages, but several different insurers and types of coverage might apply when a responsible party is driving a rental car.

  • The at-fault driver’s personal auto insurance policy is often the first source of reimbursement for an injured party’s damages;
  • If the at-fault driver purchased separate insurance from the rental car company, that insurance might cover collision damage and other expenses;
  • The at-fault driver’s credit card company might also provide rental car insurance that might extend to another party’s damages and injuries.

California adds a further layer of complication because liability coverage is generally not included on car rentals that originate in California. The additional insurance that a renter might purchase often covers only damages to the rental car, leaving the renter’s personal insurance policies as the sole source of reimbursement for liability damages.

The Liability of the Rental Car Company

In specific cases, the rental car company might be liable for damages and injuries in accidents involving one of their rental cars. For example, the rental car company might be liable if:

  • It knowingly or negligently rented out a defective automobile, and the defect then precipitated the accident that caused damages and injuries (ex. the rental car had been subject to a recall for a safety defect, but the rental car company failed to remedy that defect); or
  • It rented a car to an individual that was not authorized to drive due to a suspended license.

Again, an experienced attorney will know to research these and other issues when a party is injured in an accident that involves a rental car.

LA Attorney Sean Salamati Knows the Ins and Outs of Rental Car Accident Liability

An attorney that is experienced with sorting out insurance coverage issues in accidents involving rental cars is the best resource to help an injured party recover the maximum amount of damages that may be available to compensate for physical damage, injuries, and other losses. Los Angeles car accident lawyer Sean Salamati has helped clients in L.A. County and throughout southern California to sort out liability issues in accidents involving rental cars. For answers to your questions about rental car liability, call our Los Angeles office today for a free consultation.

Additional Resources on Rental Car Accidents in California:

  1., Renting a Car in California? Watch Out for This Insurance Gotcha.
  2., When to Buy Rental Car Insurance.
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Common Types of Slip & Fall Accidents

June 15, 2018 Slip Trip and Fall

Every year in America thousands of painful injuries are caused by slip and fall accidents. According to national figures, such

caution wet floor sign at a corridorEvery year in America thousands of painful injuries are caused by slip and fall accidents. According to national figures, such incidents account for more than 20 percent of all spinal cord injuries and 15 percent of all accidental fatalities in the United States. As any experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer can tell you, other injury-producing accidents in public and workplace environments, many slip, trips and falls are preventable.

Accidental falls are the third leading cause of accidental death in our country, and the number one cause of serious injury and death in the elderly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Below are some of the most common causes of slip and fall accidents.

Floor Hazards

Slippery or wet surfaces are responsible for countless falls each year. Other floor hazards include:

  • Uneven pavement or sidewalks
  • Loose or torn rugs, floorboards, carpeting or mats
  • Wet floors
  • Ice or snow that hasn’t been salted or removed
  • Clutter, trash or debris on the floor
  • Recently waxed or mopped floors

Structural Hazards

Traumatic injuries, ranging from broken bones and torn ligaments to paralysis can be traced back to tripping hazards caused by:

Liability issues in slip and fall accidents

All property owners and caretakers have a duty to use reasonable care to keep their premises safe for patrons, employees and invited visitors. When business owners, employers and managers fail to maintain their property or fail to warn customers and hired staff about potential slip and fall dangers such as a spilled liquid or a recently waxed floor, they may be held liable by an injured party and their personal injury attorney for any ensuing damages.

In California, it is the proprietor’s duty to perform routine inspections and maintenance and warn guests and visitors of any on-site dangers.  This holds especially true for health care providers and administrators in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, where senior residents are more prone to debilitating injury.

Some 25 percent of nursing home falls are attributed to environmental hazards, including poor lighting, slick floor surfaces and clutter left about.

California premises liability lawyer

Whether a slip and fall accident occurred in a nursing home, movie theater, at a neighbor’s house or in the workplace, victims may have a legal claim for compensation. The personal injury lawyers at Salamati Law understand the financial burdens and emotional toll of serious personal injury and has the expertise and resources to help victims obtain justice and the money damages they deserve. A successful claim can secure compensation for past and future medical bills, lost income, rehabilitation, pain, suffering and permanent disability.

For a free case evaluation with a Los Angeles slip and fall lawyer who is dedicated to client success, please call 1-855-476-1115.

Additional Slip and Fall Accident Resources:

  1. CDC, Falls are leading cause of injury and death in older Americans
  2. National Floor Safety Institute, Slip & Fall Quick Facts,
  3. National Safety Council, Slip, Trip and Fall Prevention will Keep Older Adults Safe and Independent
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4 Things to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident

June 15, 2018 Slip Trip and Fall

Slip and fall accidents are responsible for thousands of injuries every year, in businesses, homes, and on streets. People who

caution wet floor sign at a corridorSlip and fall accidents are responsible for thousands of injuries every year, in businesses, homes, and on streets.

People who slip and fall are often disoriented. They may be injured. They may be embarrassed. They may simply want to get home.

But it’s very important to take the right steps after a slip and fall accident. Businesses and private property owners must take reasonable care to maintain their premises in a safe condition. If something occurs to make the premises unsafe, such as spilled liquid or rain, they must take steps to clear up the unsafe conditions, including placing warning signs around the area.

Businesses and private property owners can also be responsible for sidewalks that are directly in front of their property.

If they don’t do this, they can be found liable for any injuries in a slip and fall. But injured people need evidence of their injuries, and they need evidence of what the conditions were. Immediately leaving the scene could mean that you don’t have a record of what happened, and thus you don’t have evidence. This will make it much harder for your Los Angeles personal injury attorney to present your case.

Here’s what you need to do after a slip and fall accident.

1. Get medical attention

If you are injured in a slip and fall accident, the first thing you need to do is seek appropriate medical attention. Don’t wait! Falls that resulted in your hitting your head could cause a concussion, for example, which can have serious consequences. You may feel okay, but still have serious injuries.

Be sure to tell your doctor everything that happened. If you bring a legal claim, those records can be used.

2. Report the incident

Second, you need to report the incident to the person in charge. This could be a store manager, a landlord, or whoever would be responsible for the area.

They need to know that a condition exists that needs to be fixed. In addition, if you have a legal claim that goes to trial, a jury might find it odd that you never reported the incident.

3. Take pictures and keep a record

In today’s world, many people carry a smartphone with a camera. For slip and fall victims, that’s actually good news. One of the most crucial things you can do is collect evidence of your slip and fall accident, and pictures are a great way to make an immediate record.

If you are injured, take pictures of your injury from several angles. Don’t wait until bruises have faded or cuts healed.

Take pictures of the area. Show any unsafe places.

If you don’t have a phone or camera, take notes immediately on what happened. People tend to misremember once a day or so has passed, so take notes as soon as you can. Write what happened, why, and what occurred as a result.

4. Get contact information of witnesses

If people saw you slip and fall, try and get their contact information. They may be called as witnesses in a legal case.

While many business owners and private property owners want to do the right thing, some may try to minimize the situation or even make untrue statements. Witnesses will make sure that you have evidence.

If You Need an Experienced Slip and Fall Attorney in Southern California

Were you or a loved one injured in a slip and fall accident in Los Angeles? Sean Salamati is a Los Angeles slip and fall lawyer who is experienced and aggressive in premises liability cases. Call us today for a free consultation at 800-957-9898.

More tips on what to do after sustaining a slip, trip or fall injury:

  1. National Restaurant Association. Don’t Trip Up: Preventing Slips and Falls.
  2. National Safety Council. Slip, Trip and Fall Prevention Training.
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5 Things To Do If You Are Involved in a Lyft or Uber Accident in Los Angeles

May 9, 2018 Auto Accidents

As ride-sharing services continue to be a popular choice for transportation across Southern California, the likelihood of being involved in

woman waiting for lyft or uber rideshare

As ride-sharing services continue to be a popular choice for transportation across Southern California, the likelihood of being involved in an Uber or Lyft accident in Los Angeles keeps increasing. In some ways, Uber and Lyft crashes are like other auto accidents, but they can be extra complicated for a passenger who chooses to file a personal injury claim. If you are involved in a ride-sharing crash, here are some tips for what to do in the aftermath.

#1: Put safety first

Like any other type of auto accident, the first step is to check to see if everyone is safe. Be sure to check yourself carefully and do not be tempted to downplay your own injuries – pain often intensifies for the first 48 hours after a crash.

#2: Report the accident to the authorities

Call the police and, if there is any sign of an injury, the paramedics. Do not be tempted to skip making a police report, even if the Uber or Lyft driver wants to skip this step. You will be much better off if there is an official record of the accident.

#3: Gather information

Like any other crash, you should exchange contact and insurance information with the others involved in the accident. Also try to obtain:

  • Names and contact information of any witnesses
  • Notes on the vehicles involved, including license plate numbers, make, model, and color
  • Pictures of the vehicles, accident site, and even shots including people at the scene

#4: Seek medical attention

If you are immediately injured, head to the ER. But even if you think you are not injured, make a visit to your doctor as soon as possible. Many injuries caused by car crashes are not immediately known, but the earlier you address it, the better your outlook will be. Also, spotting an injury quickly makes it easier to prove that it was caused by the accident rather than something else.

#5: Speak with a lawyer

Your driver should report the accident to the ride-sharing company, but if they do not, someone needs to do that on your behalf. Let your lawyer do that; once you have a lawyer representing you, the Uber or Lyft insurance company will need to communicate with your lawyer instead of hassling you directly.

Your lawyer will also take care of things like sending letters informing the ride-share company and other potential parties that they must preserve all evidence for potential litigation. He or she can also help you determine whether you need to make insurance claims to anyone other than the ride sharing company’s insurer.

Protect your rights after a ride-sharing accident

Unfortunately, Uber and Lyft accidents are the wave of the future. The popularity of the services is growing, and so is the number of accidents involving ride-sharing vehicles. But the skilled Los Angeles car accident attorneys of the Salamati Law Firm understand the issues involved, helping those injured in Lyft and Uber accidents obtain full recovery.

Read More on Uber and Lyft accidents:

  1. What Do I Do If My Uber Ride Crashes?
  2. Uber Accidents and Ride Sharing Liability in California.

Additional resources for Lyft and Uber accidents in L.A.:

  1., Ride Sharing Is Convenient. But What Happens If There’s an Accident?,
  2. Nerdwallet, Should You Worry About an Accident With an Uber or Lyft Driver?,
Read More

3 Construction Fall Hazards

May 8, 2018 Construction Site Accidents

Year after year, falls remain one of the top causes of death on construction sites across the nation. According to

Construction workers on construction siteYear after year, falls remain one of the top causes of death on construction sites across the nation. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), from 2003 through 2013, falls were responsible for more than 3,500 workplace deaths in the industry. During this decade, falls from rooftops accounted for nearly 35 percent of all construction worker fatalities. The real tragedy in this figure is that most of these deaths are preventable with proper training, the right equipment and planning.

In 2016 alone, 360 construction workers fell to their death while on the job. It is no surprise then, that falls are one of OSHA’s “Fatal Four” – the principle safety hazards that account for the lion’s share of construction worker deaths. The Fatal Four, which include falls, electrocutions, struck-by accidents and getting caught in-between incidents, are responsible for more than 67 percent of all reported deaths in the construction industry.

Occupational fatalities caused by falls

Fall hazards are prevalent at all construction sites and are defined as any factor that can cause a worker to lose their balance or support resulting in a fall. Any time you are working at heights more than four feet, you are at risk for a serious fall-related injury. OSHA mandates that fall protection must be furnished when working at 6 feet in the construction industry, or in environments where one is working above heavy equipment or dangerous machinery.

Major types of fall hazards in construction

What are the most prevalent fall hazards in construction? Anecdotal evidence and accident reports have shown these to be the biggest culprits:

#1: Unprotected roofs, roof edges and leading edges on structural steel.

Example provided by OSHA: An iron worker standing on a concrete wall fell 30 feet to the ground and suffered spinal injuries resulting in paralysis below the chest. He was wearing a harness at the time, but was not tied in.

#2: Improper scaffold construction.

Example: A worker preparing to remove masonry fascia from a build site fell from the third level of a welded-frame scaffold. There was no guarding system on the scaffold. And the surface was coated in ice, making it extra slippery. 

#3: Dangerous portable ladders.

Falls from unsecure ladders result in 100 deaths annually. Example: A worker fell 12 feet from an unsecured 24-foot extension ladder, which he had leaned against the façade board of a building wall. He suffered leg fracture injuries and was hospitalized for over a week.

Employer responsibility

Construction workers must be provided with proper training on how to identify fall hazards, whether working on scaffolds, ladders, or other building structures more than 6 feet in height. Employers are obligated to follow OSHA regulations by providing:

  • Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)/Personal Fall Arrest System
  • Ensuring portable ladders and scaffolds are properly used and in good condition
  • Performing routine worksite equipment inspections
  • Training on the use of fall protection equipment

Legal recourse for victims

When employers fail to ensure their workers have the right training and fall protection equipment, catastrophic injuries often result. OSHA’s regulations are in place to help minimize needless injuries and deaths and create a safe working environment.

The Salamati Law Firm is well-versed in the various hazards common to the construction industry. When negligence plays a role in serious personal injury, victims deserve an advocate who will fight for their rights to fair compensation.

To schedule a complimentary case review with a skilled construction accident lawyer Los Angeles residents have come to trust, call our offices today at 1-855-583-6837.

Additional Resources on Construction Fall Hazards:

  1. Construction Connect, Avoiding OSHA’s Fatal Four – Fall Hazards
  2. Safety and Health Magazine, Falls in construction: A deadly hazard
  3. OSHA, Fall Hazards
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Who is Liable if I Slip and Fall on a Wet or Waxed Floor?

April 25, 2018 Slip Trip and Fall

If you’ve ever slipped and fallen on a wet or waxed floor, you know it can happen in an instant.

slip and fallIf you’ve ever slipped and fallen on a wet or waxed floor, you know it can happen in an instant. One minute you’re walking along. The next minute, you could be flat on your back.

Unfortunately, slip and fall accidents on a wet or waxed floor can be more than sudden. They can be extremely dangerous. Slipping and falling can cause fractures, sprains, concussions, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and lacerations. They can cause people to lose time from work and suffer the economic consequences.

A Los Angeles personal injury lawyer can help you recover from these accidents but, in the worst case, they can be deadly. 

Who bears the responsibility?

But who is responsible for a slip and fall accident on a wet or waxed floor?

According to California law, the management of commercial establishments must keep their premises safe at all times. If they do not, they are responsible for accidents that occur as a result of unsafe conditions. They can be held accountable for injuries under premises liability statutes if their establishments — stores, hotels, malls, anywhere a consumer might encounter a wet or waxed floor — have unreasonable dangers.

But, if we consider wet or waxed floors, we will realize that there are different levels of responsibility.

If an employee has been mopping or waxing a floor, or is in the midst of so doing, the floors may be dangerous to walk on. For that reason, the employee should place signs clearly demarcating the recently mopped or waxed floor as recently worked on. They should urge passers-by to exercise caution while walking. Better yet, if the floor is truly unsafe, they should rope it off until it is dry again.

If this is done, and a guest ignores the signs and walks anyway, a court might find the injured party responsible or partly responsible for any accident that follows.

But if an employee is mopping or waxing and takes no safety precautions, a court might find for the plaintiff, since the defendant breached their duty of care.

Premises liability and duty of care

But say that a floor gets wet not as a consequence of anything a store employee does. It may be raining, and people’s outerwear or umbrellas track water on the floor. In a busy mall, someone may spill coffee or a bottle of water. In a grocery store, someone may drop a product that they were planning to buy. It if breaks, it could result in a wet floor.

In circumstances like this, business owners or the people responsible for the premises still are obligated to keep the premises safe to walk on. But they must also 1) know that the premises have become unsafe and 2) have had a reasonable amount of time to make the premises safe again.

So in a hotel, store, or mall, management should know within a reasonable amount of time that rain water or spilled liquid is on the floor. They should dispatch someone promptly to cordon the area off until the liquid has been mopped up.

If they do not fix the situation in a reasonable amount of time, a court might find them liable for any ensuing accident.

Slip and fall attorneys in Southern California

The Salamati Law Firm has an exceptional track record of securing justice for their clients, helping them achieve the best possible results following a serious personal injury.

If you or a loved one is in need of a trusted slip and fall lawyer in Los Angeles, call  800-957-9898 to schedule a complimentary consultation.

Additional Resources on Slip and Fall Liability:

  1. Insurance Information Institute. Insuring Your Business: Small Business Owners’ Guide to Insurance. Controlling Liability Risks
  2. LA Times, City settles slip-and-fall case for $30K
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How Do I Find a Car Accident Lawyer in Los Angeles?

April 18, 2018 Auto Accidents

Auto accidents of all types can result in serious physical injuries, medical expenses and lost wages. If you were hurt

Auto accidents of all types can result in serious physical injuries, medical expenses and lost wages. If you were hurt because of a negligent driver and want to pursue your options for legal compensation, it’s important to choose a reputable attorney to represent your best interests. You’ll want to partner with a lawyer who has ample experience litigating (and winning) auto accident claims, particularly ones that are similar to your own situation.

But how do you find a reliable car accident lawyer in Los Angeles – one who can help secure the money damages you need to recover and move on?

Follow these tips to find an attorney who will handle your case professionally and has the resources to achieve optimal results.   

#1 Look for personal referrals

The quality of your lawyer can make or break your case. You may have colleagues or friends who have had positive results working with a specific car accident attorney. This is a good starting point for generating a list of potential contacts.

#2 Experience and credentials matter

Once you get a few names of attorneys in your area, research their credentials. Look at their websites, do an Internet search and find out about their education, years of experience in the field, and whether they’ve received any legal awards or have been recognized by their peers for superior achievements. You are hiring an advocate, not a friend, and have every right to ensure that your counsel has the qualifications and expertise to properly handle your case.

#3 Review their past case results

A competent attorney with experience should have a list of case results – verdicts and settlements they have achieved during their career. You want to ensure the attorney you choose has a winning track record both inside and out of the courtroom. A good car accident attorney knows how to maximize your recovery and press insurance companies for higher settlements.

#4 Are they prepared to try your case?

Most car accident claims settle out of court, but when push comes to shove, does your attorney have the skill to argue your case before a jury and win? You want an advocate who is prepared to try challenging cases and has the resources and experience to do so.

#5 Clear communication skills

Good lawyers will be engaged during your initial consultation. They will ask detailed questions and provide clear, easy-to-understand answers to your own queries regarding the legal process and fee structure. They will respond to emails and phone calls promptly and keep you updated about the status of your claim.

Questions to ask yourself

After interviewing several prospects, ask yourself the following questions to help narrow down your list.

  • Does the attorney show dedication and passion for the case?
  • Do I believe they have the resources and expertise to win money on my behalf?
  • Do I feel comfortable with them personality wise?
  • Do I understand the legal fee arrangement?
  • Do they inspire full confidence?

Superior legal advocacy in California

Attorney Sean Salamati has devoted his personal injury practice to providing superior legal advocacy for clients. His work ethic, legal prowess, critical thinking skills and experience have earned him a reputation as a leading car accident lawyer in Los Angeles.  Renowned for his tenacious, results-driven representation, Sean Salamati leverages 20 years of experience playing hardball with insurance companies.

Work with an attorney who knows how to maximize your settlement monies. Call The Salamati Law Firm for a free case review today!

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How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in California?

April 16, 2018 Auto Accidents

Your first order of business after being in a car accident will always be to get the medical attention you

Judge gavel, scales of justice and law books in courtYour first order of business after being in a car accident will always be to get the medical attention you need and to replace any property that was lost or damaged in the accident.

When the initial shock of the accident starts to wear off, you might begin to wonder how much time you have to file an injury claim against the negligent party who was responsible.

Whether the crash happened in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California, the state imposes strict deadlines for filing a car accident lawsuit.

The Two-Year California Statute of Limitations 

The California Code of Civil Procedure sets a two-year deadline for starting your lawsuit to recover damages for injuries that you have experienced. If you initiate your case after this two-year deadline, a California Court will likely dismiss your complaint and you will have no opportunity to recover damages for your injuries.  

When does the Statute of Limitations begin?

The two-year deadline generally runs from the actual date of your accident.  If you fail to bring the claim before the two-year anniversary of the accident, a California Court will probably not consider it, unless:

  • you had the accident when you were a minor (i.e. you were under 18 years of age at the time of the accident), in which case the Statute of Limitations does not begin until your 18th birthday;
  • the negligent party was outside of the State of California for a long time and you have been unable to locate him or her, in which event the Statute of Limitations may be extended by the amount of time that the negligent party was outside of the State;
  • an injured party is determined to have been mentally incompetent at the time of the accident.

Other factors that might affect a Statute of Limitations include the death or imprisonment of one of the parties to an accident, or absence due to military service. In all cases, however, you will always be better served by starting your lawsuit within the prescribed two-year period instead of trying to qualify for an exception.

What is the purpose of this deadline?

The Statute of Limitations for starting a car accident lawsuit in LA or anywhere else is designed to resolve disputes before any evidence of the accident is gone and while the memories of witnesses are still fresh. Memories can easily fade or change over time, and actual physical evidence of an accident might be cleaned up or discarded. The legal process is structured to resolve disputes over who is at fault for a car accident quickly, before any evidence is gone or memories become muddled. 

Protect your rights after an auto accident

When it comes to any type of personal injury litigation, time is of the essence. If you choose the Salamati Law Firm to represent your case, our attorneys and investigators will begin the process of gathering all evidence and witness testimony in an effort to recover the largest damages award.

To speak with one of our lawyers about filing a car accident lawsuit in Los Angeles, we invite you to reach out for a free consultation today.

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Six Ways Accidents Happen at Intersections

March 30, 2018 Auto Accidents

Intersections are one of the most dangerous areas motorists encounter. Why? Because intersections are sites of high rates of accidents

Intersections are one of the most dangerous areas motorists encounter. Why? Because intersections are sites of high rates of accidents and fatalities. Every year traffic accidents result in 32,000 fatalities and 2 million injuries. One-quarter of the deaths and about half of all injuries occur at intersections.

The U.S. Department of Transportation refers to intersections as “conflict points.” What that means is that the routes of multiple vehicles cross, separate or join at intersections, along with the routes of bicyclists and pedestrians.

Intersection Accidents in Southern California

How do accidents at intersections happen?

  1. Collisions with side impact, often referred to as “T-bones.” These are most frequent if a driver goes through a red light and hits a motorist whose light has turned green. Some drivers try to beat a yellow light before it turns red and don’t succeed. Other times, drivers simply blow through a red light.
  2. Collisions in which one vehicle side-swipes another, often if one or both are turning.
  3. Head-on collisions, especially if one vehicle is turning across traffic.
  4. Rear-end collisions, frequently because the driver following the rear-ended car is distracted or because the first car stops suddenly at a red light or stop sign.
  5. Collisions with pedestrians and cyclists, often because the driver is focusing on the turn and doesn’t register the presence of a pedestrian or cyclist until it’s too late.
  6. Collisions at rail crossings. These are special types of intersections, and collisions between trains and vehicles can be fatal to the occupants of the vehicle.

Common causes of intersection crashes

In addition to the ways that accidents happen, drivers need to focus on why intersection accidents happen.

The two most frequent causes are ignoring safety precautions and reckless behavior. In urban traffic, for example, drivers often try to beat a red light. Drivers may also ignore yield signs and stop signs.

Driving too fast into an intersection is another common reason for intersection collisions.

Poor visibility at night or inclement weather may also contribute to intersection accidents.

Motorists should always drive defensively. Follow an adequate number of car lengths behind the car in front of you. Obey the speed limit. Slow down at intersections, and obey all safety signals. Never try to run a red light or stop sign. Don’t drive distracted, using your phone or texting.

Seasoned Car Accident Attorney in Los Angeles

Traffic accidents, at intersections and elsewhere, cause too many deaths and injuries in southern California every year.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a car crash due to someone’s negligent or reckless behavior, we can help. Please call the Salamati Law Firm today at 800-957-9898 for a free initial consultation with a car accident lawyer Los Angeles trusts.

Additional Resources on Intersection Accidents:

  1. United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths.
  2. United States Department of Transportation. Federal Highway Administration. Intersection Safety.
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Self-Driving Uber Car Accidents: Who Is to Blame?

March 29, 2018 Auto Accidents

Proponents of self-driving cars have championed the technology with the promise that eliminating human driver error would make the roads

Proponents of self-driving cars have championed the technology with the promise that eliminating human driver error would make the roads safer. On March 18, the flaw in that assumption was made crystal clear when a pedestrian was killed by a self-driving Uber vehicle.

As investigators work to pin down all of the factors in the unfortunate crash, there are already some liability issues coming under scrutiny.

Pedestrian killed by self-driving Uber car

The theory behind the push for self-driving cars is that high-tech sensors would have more accurate perception than a human eye and that an automated vehicle response would be faster than a human’s could possibly be. This did not prove true in the evening of March 18th in Tempe, Arizona, when 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg was struck and killed by an Uber SUV.

According to reports, the SUV had a human backup driver who was behind the wheel and had the ability to take control if necessary. However, in-vehicle camera footage shows the backup driver, 44-year-old Rafael Vasquez, looking down toward a cell phone until just a second or two before Herzberg became visible to the exterior camera.

Footage shows a look of horror on Vasquez’s face just before the SUV struck Herzberg and the bicycle she was walking across the street. Officials reported that she died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.

Liability issues raised in the self-driving car accident

Reports indicate that there are a number of factors that could impact liability.

  • Could the backup driver have avoided the accident if paying attention? Vasquez was clearly not watching the road while Herzberg was crossing the street outside of a crosswalk in the dark. Some have questioned whether the accident would have been avoidable.
  • The Uber was outfitted with both laser and radar sensors intended to detect and respond to obstacles in the road. The manufacturer of the laser alleges that Uber disabled some of the safety sensors before the crash and that, if fully functioning, the vehicle would have been able to automatically slow down to avoid the accident.
  • Newspaper reports indicate that Vasquez had a criminal history that involved more than three years served for armed robbery and this should have prevented hiring by Uber, under its own policies. Last year, Uber was fined $8.9 million in Colorado for hiring more than 60 felons, who are ineligible under Colorado law to provide ride-sharing services.

The more parties involved and potential flaws in question, the more technical a personal injury case can become. New technology like autonomous cars will further complicate the fact-finding and legal argument processes.

Uber accident lawyer in California

For the moment, Uber has suspended its testing of autonomous cars around the country. But Uber may resume testing, and there are many other companies currently working on self-driving cars.

As the technology continues to add complexity to legal liability issues, it is crucial for those injured in autonomous car accidents to speak with an expert in the area.

Sean Salamati, a proven car accident lawyer in Los Angeles, is committed to helping victims of preventable accidents recover maximum compensation for their losses. We offer free consultations and we never take a fee unless and until we secure an award on your behalf. If you’ve been in an Uber accident in Los Angeles, call 855-463-7309 today to schedule your free case review.

Additional resources on fatal self-driving Uber crash:

  1. Chicago Tribune, Experts: Uber self-driving system should have spotted woman,
  2. Fox News, Uber disabled safety component in self-driving car before fatal crash, company alleges,
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